“Rubineau is expiring,” whispered a lad, as he proceeded quietly among the ranks of soldiers surrounding the tent of the wounded.
And it was so. His friends had gathered around his couch, and, conscious of the approach of his dissolution, he bade them all farewell, and kissed them.
“Tell her I love, I die an honorable death; tell her that her Rubineau fell where the arms of the warriors clashed the closest, and that victory hovered above him as his arm grew powerless; and, O, tell her that it was all for her sake,—love for her nerved his arm, and love for her is borne upward on his last, his dying prayer. Tell her to love as I—”
“He is gone, sir,” said the surgeon.
“Gone!” exclaimed a dozen voices.
“A brave man has fallen,” remarked another, as he raised his arm, and wiped the flowing tears from his cheek.
At the mansion of the old general every arrival of news from the war sent a thrill of joy through the hearts of its inmates. Hitherto, every despatch told of victory and honor; but now a sad chapter was to be added to the history of the conflict.
Alett trembled as she beheld the slow approach of the messenger, who, at all previous times, had come with a quick step. In her soul she felt the keen edge of the arrow that was just entering it, and longed to know all, dreadful though it might be.
Need we describe the scene of fearful disclosure? If the reader has followed the mind of Alett, as from the first it has presumed, conjectured, and fancied,—followed all its hopes of future bliss, and seen it revel in the sunshine of honor and earthly fame,—he can form some idea, very faint though it must be, of the effect which followed the recital of all the facts in regard to the fallen.
In her wild frenzy of grief, she gave utterance to the deep feelings of her soul with words that told how deep was her sorrow, and how unavailing every endeavor which friends exerted to allay its pangs.
She would not believe him dead. She would imagine him at her side, and would talk to him of peace, “sweet peace,” and laugh in clear and joyous tones as she pictured its blessings, and herself enjoying with him its comforts.
Thus, with enthroned reason, she would give vent to grief; and, with her reason dethroned, be glad and rejoice.
And so passed her lifetime.
Often, all day long, attired in bridal raiment, the same in which she had hoped to be united indissolubly to Rubineau, she remained seated in a large oaken chair, while at her side stood the helmet and spear he had carried forth on the morning when they parted. At such times, she was as calm as an infant’s slumberings, saying that she was waiting for the sound of the marriage-bells; asked why they did not ring, and sat for hours in all the beauty of loveliness-the Warrior’s Bride.