Leah Mordecai eBook

Belle K. Abbott
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about Leah Mordecai.

“Great God! it is Franco!  I thought I knew the poor fellow from afar!  Poor, poor boy!  Poor fair-haired Franco!” he exclaimed in a breath.  Then gently turning the soiled cap, he read “Third Regiment United States Regulars.”  “My old command, my old command,” he murmured.  “Alas! poor Franco!  I thank God we did not meet in deadly conflict.  Your true, kind heart wished no one ill, yet an unkind fate has brought you to a mournful end, and I, for one, shall mourn your hapless lot.  Alas! poor boy, you’ll never see your vine-clad France again, and your kind mother’s peasant home will ever be darkened by your absence.”

Then kneeling for a little time beside the dead boy, the kind-hearted colonel dropped a tear and bowed his head in deep reflection.  Then, arising and looking eagerly about him, he said at length, “There, in the end of that entrenchment, by the side of that shattered tree, I can lay his body, in lieu of a better grave.  There it will at least be safe from the vultures and the horrible fate that awaits the unburied dead of a defeated army.”

Then tenderly and sadly he laid the young soldier away in his peaceful grave, covering his face with his smoke-stained cap, and folding his pulseless hands upon his bosom.  At last, covering the mound upon which his tears had fallen, with some evergreen boughs, he patiently carved upon a rude board, that he set up to mark the grave, the words: 

Poor Franco.  Aged 20.”

CHAPTER XXXII.

The bombardment of the Queen City continued.  With unprecedented stubbornness did she resist the enemy’s fierce demands, and stand firm amid the death-dealing blows of shot and shell.  Many of the inhabitants had fled from their homes at the first boom of the shelling guns, but many, too, had remained; and among the latter number was Mr. Mordecai’s family.  But now the moment had arrived when farther exposure to danger seemed to the banker a reckless disregard of life.  So they were going-going, as many others had gone, leaving behind the palatial home, with its comforts and luxuries, for the privations, hardships, discomforts, of a refugee life.  Articles of value were being removed to places of greater security, some to be sold, others given to remaining friends, who could not get away, and some left uncared for.  It was the day before the proposed departure.  The house wore the aspect of a dismantled castle.  In the room formerly the library, but now well filled with trunks, boxes, bundles, and so on, Rebecca and her faithful attendant were busy with the packing, unpacking, and repacking of their household goods.  “Here, Barbara,” said Rebecca, turning to the woman nearest her, as she pushed aside an old worn portmanteau, “you can take this.  It’s an old valise that my husband sent up from the bank the other day, among his rubbish from there.  Here, give me the papers out of it, and I’ll lookover

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Leah Mordecai from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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