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Winsome Winnie and other New Nonsense Novels By Stephen Leacock Characters: 3944

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

It was at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania that Randolph found General Lee.

The famous field is too well known to need description. The armies of the North and the South lay in and around the peaceful village of Gettysburg. About it the yellow cornfields basked in the summer sun. The voices of the teachers and the laughter of merry children rose in the harvest-fields. But already the shadow of war was falling over the landscape. As soon as the armies arrived, the shrewder of the farmers suspected that there would be trouble.

General Lee was seated gravely on his horse, looking gravely over the ground before him.

"Major Randolph," said the Confederate chieftain gravely, "you are just in time. We are about to go into action. I need your advice."

Randolph bowed. "Ask me anything you like," he said.

"Do you like the way I have the army placed?" asked Lee.

Our hero directed a searching look over the field. "Frankly, I don't," he said.

"What's the matter with it?" questioned Lee eagerly. "I felt there was something wrong myself. What is it?"

"Your left," said Randolph, "is too far advanced. It sticks out."

"By Heaven!" said Lee, turning to General Longstreet, "the boy is right! Is there anything else?"

"Yes," said Randolph, "your right is crooked. It is all sideways."

"It is. It is!" said Lee, striking his forehead. "I never noticed it. I'll have it straightened at once. Major Randolph, if the Confederate cause is saved, you, and you alone, have saved it."

"One thing more," said Randolph. "Is your artillery loaded?"

"Major Randolph," said Lee, speaking very gravely, "you have saved us again. I never thought of it."

At this moment a bullet sang past Eggleston's ear. He smiled.

"The battle has begun," he murmured. Another bullet buzzed past his other ear. He laughed softly to himself. A shell burst close to his feet. He broke into uncontrolled laughter. This kind of thing always amused him. Then, turning gra

ve in a moment, "Put General Lee under cover," he said to those about him, "spread something over him."

In a few moments the battle was raging in all directions. The Confederate Army was nominally controlled by General Lee, but in reality by our hero. Eggleston was everywhere. Horses were shot under him. Mules were shot around him and behind him. Shells exploded all over him; but with undaunted courage he continued to wave his sword in all directions, riding wherever the fight was hottest.

The battle raged for three days.

On the third day of the conflict, Randolph, his coat shot to rags, his hat pierced, his trousers practically useless, still stood at Lee's side, urging and encouraging him.

Mounted on his charger, he flew to and fro in all parts of the field, moving the artillery, leading the cavalry, animating and directing the infantry. In fact, he was the whole battle.

But his efforts were in vain.

He turned sadly to General Lee. "It is bootless," he said.

"What is?" asked Lee.

"The army," said Randolph. "We must withdraw it."

"Major Randolph," said the Confederate chief, "I yield to your superior knowledge. We must retreat."

A few hours later the Confederate forces, checked but not beaten, were retiring southward towards Virginia.

Eggleston, his head sunk in thought, rode in the rear.

As he thus slowly neared a farmhouse, a woman-a girl-flew from it towards him with outstretched arms.

"Eggleston!" she cried.

Randolph flung himself from his horse. "Leonora!" he gasped. "You here! In all this danger! How comes it? What brings you here?"

"We live here," she said. "This is Pa's house. This is our farm. Gettysburg is our home. Oh, Egg, it has been dreadful, the noise of the battle! We couldn't sleep for it. Pa's all upset about it. But come in. Do come in. Dinner's nearly ready."

Eggleston gazed a moment at the retreating army. Duty and affection struggled in his heart.

"I will," he said.

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