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   Chapter 9 No.9

Two Little Confederates By Thomas Nelson Page Characters: 5484

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The boys were not sure that they had even fallen asleep when they heard Lucy Ann call, outside. They turned over to take another nap. She was coming up to the door. No, for it was a man's step, it must be Uncle Balla's; they heard horses trampling and people talking. In a second the door was flung open, and a man strode into the room, followed by one, two, a half-dozen others, all white and all in uniform. They were Yankees. The boys were too frightened to speak. They thought they were arrested for hiding the silver.

"Get up, you lazy little rebels," cried one of the intruders, not unpleasantly. As the boys were not very quick in obeying, being really too frightened to do more than sit up in bed, the man caught the mattress by the end, and lifting it with a jerk emptied them and all the bedclothes out into the middle of the floor in a heap. At this all the other men laughed. A minute more and he had drawn his sword. The boys expected no less than to be immediately killed. They were almost paralyzed. But instead of plunging his sword into them, the man began to stick it into the mattresses and to rip them up; while others pulled open the drawers of the bureau and pitched the things on the floor.

The boys felt themselves to be in a very exposed and defenceless condition; and Willy, who had become tangled in the bedclothes, and had been a little hurt in falling, now that the strain was somewhat over, began to cry.

In a minute a shadow darkened the doorway and their mother stood in the room.

"Leave the room instantly!" she cried. "Aren't you ashamed to frighten children!"

"We haven't hurt the brats," said the man with the sword good-naturedly.

"Well, you terrify them to death. It's just as bad. Give me those clothes!" and she sprang forward and snatched the boys' clothes from the hands of a man who had taken them up. She flung the suits to the boys, who lost no time in slipping into them.

They had at once recovered their courage in the presence of their mother. She seemed to them, as she braved the intruders, the grandest person they had ever seen. Her face was white, but her eyes were like coals of fire. They were very glad she had never looked or talked so to them.

When they got outdoors the yard was full of soldiers. They were upon the porches, in the entry, and in the house. The smoke-house was open and so were the doors of all the other outhouses, and now and then a man passed, carrying some article which the boys recognized.

In a little while the soldiers had taken everything they could carry conveniently, and even things which must have caused them some inconvenience. They had secured all the bacon that had been left in the smoke-house, as well as all other eatabl

es they could find. It was a queer sight, to see the fellows sitting on their horses with a ham or a pair of fowls tied to one side of the saddle and an engraving or a package of books, or some ornament, to the other.

A new party of men had by this time come up from the direction of the stables.

"Old man, come here!" called some of them to Balla, who was standing near expostulating with the men who were about the fire.

"Who?-me?" asked Balla.

"B'ain't you the carriage driver?"

"Ain't I the keridge driver?"

"Yes, you; we know you are, so you need not be lying about it."

"Hi! yes; I the keridge driver. Who say I ain't?"

"Well, where have you hid those horses? Come, we want to know, quick," said the fellow roughly, taking out his pistol in a threatening way.

The old man's eyes grew wide. "Hi! befo' de Lord! Marster, how I know anything of the horses ef they ain't in the stable,-there's where we keep horses!"

"Here, you come with us. We won't have no foolin' 'bout this," said his questioner, seizing him by the shoulder and jerking him angrily around. "If you don't show us pretty quick where those horses are, we'll put a bullet or two into you. March off there!"

He was backed by a half-a-dozen more, but the pistol, which was at old Balla's head, was his most efficient ally.

"Hi! Marster, don't pint dat thing at me that way. I ain't ready to die yit-an' I ain' like dem things, no-ways," protested Balla.

There is no telling how much further his courage could have withstood their threats, for the boys' mother made her appearance. She was about to bid Balla show where the horses were, when a party rode into the yard leading them.

"Hi! there are Bill and John, now," exclaimed the boys, recognizing the black carriage-horses which were being led along.

"Well, ef dee ain't got 'em, sho' 'nough!" exclaimed the old driver, forgetting his fear of the cocked pistols.

"Gentlemen, marsters, don't teck my horses, ef you please," he pleaded, pushing through the group that surrounded him, and approaching the man who led the horses.

They only laughed at him.

"GENTLEMEN, MARSTERS, DON'T TECK MY HORSES, EF YOU PLEASE," SAID UNCLE BALLA.

Both the boys ran to their mother, and flinging their arms about her, burst out crying.

In a few minutes the men started off, riding across the fields; and in a little while not a soldier was in sight.

"I wish Marse William could see you ridin' 'cross them fields," said Balla, looking after the retiring troop in futile indignation.

Investigation revealed the fact that every horse and mule on the plantation had been carried off, except only two or three old mules, which were evidently considered not worth taking.

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