MoboReader> Literature > Two Little Confederates

   Chapter 19 No.19

Two Little Confederates By Thomas Nelson Page Characters: 4937

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The boys' Uncle William came the next day. The two weeks which followed were the hardest the boys had ever known. As yet nothing had been heard of Hugh or the General, though the boys' father went to Richmond to see whether they had been released.

The family lived on corn-bread and black-eyed pease. There was not a mouthful of meat on the plantation. A few aged animals were all that remained on the place.

The boys' mother bought a little sugar and made some cakes, and the boys, day after day, carried them over to the depot and left them with a man there to be sold. Such a thing had never been known before in the history of the family.

A company of Yankees were camped very near, but they did not interfere with the boys. They bought the cakes and paid for them in greenbacks, which were the first new money they had at Oakland. One day the boys were walking along the road, coming back from the camp, when they met a little old one-horse wagon driven by a man who lived near the depot. In it were a boy about Willy's size and an old lady with white hair, both in deep mourning. The boy was better dressed than any boy they had ever seen. They were strangers.

The boys touched their limp little hats to the lady, and felt somewhat ashamed of their own patched clothes in the presence of the well-dressed stranger. Frank and Willy passed on. They happened to look back. The wagon stopped just then, and the lady called them:

"Little boys!"

They halted and returned.

"We are looking for my son; and this gentleman tells me that you live about here, and know more of the country than any one else I may meet."

"Do you know where any graves is?-Yankee graves?" asked the driver, cutting matters short.

"Yes, there are several down on the road by Pigeon Hill, where the battle was, and two or three by the creek down yonder, and there's one in our garden."

"Where was your son killed, ma'am? Do you know that he was killed?" asked the driver.

"I do not know. We fear that he was; but, of course, we still hope there may have been some mistake. The last seen of him was when General Sheridan went through this country, last year. He was with his company in the rear-guard, and was wounded and left on the field. We hoped he might have been found in one of the prisons; but there is no trace of him, and we fear--"

THE BOYS SELL THEIR CAKES TO THE YANKEES.

She broke down and began to cry. "He was my only son," she sobbed, "my o

nly son-and I gave him up for the Union, and--" She could say no more.

Her distress affected the boys deeply.

"If I could but find his grave. Even that would be better than this agonizing suspense."

"What was your son's name?" asked the boys, gently.

She told them.

"Why, that's our soldier!" exclaimed both boys.

"Do you know him?" she asked eagerly. "Is-? Is--?" Her voice refused to frame the fearful question.

"Yes'm. In our garden," said the boys, almost inaudibly.

The mother bent her head over on her grandson's shoulder and wept aloud. Awful as the suspense had been, now that the last hope was removed the shock was terrible. She gave a stifled cry, then wept with uncontrollable grief.

The boys, with pale faces and eyes moist with sympathy, turned away their heads and stood silent. At length she grew calmer.

"Won't you come home with us? Our father and mother will be so glad to have you," they said hospitably.

After questioning them a little further, she decided to go. The boys climbed into the back of the wagon. As they went along, the boys told her all about her son,-his carrying Frank, their finding him wounded near the road, and about his death and burial.

"He was a real brave soldier," they told her consolingly.

As they approached the house, she asked whether they could give her grandson something to eat.

"Oh, yes, indeed. Certainly," they answered. Then, thinking perhaps they were raising her hopes too high, they exclaimed apologetically:

"We haven't got much. We didn't kill any squirrels this morning. Both our guns are broken and don't shoot very well, now."

She was much impressed by the appearance of the place, which looked very beautiful among the trees.

"Oh, yes, they're big folks," said the driver.

She would have waited at the gate when they reached the house, but the boys insisted that they all should come in at once. One of them ran forward and, meeting his mother just coming out to the porch, told who the visitor was.

Their mother instantly came down the steps and walked toward the gate. The women met face to face. There was no introduction. None was needed.

"My son--" faltered the elder lady, her strength giving out.

The boys' mother put her handkerchief to her eyes.

"I have one, too;-God alone knows where he is," she sobbed.

Each knew how great was the other's loss, and in sympathy with another's grief found consolation for her own.

* * *

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares