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ADVENTURE AT FARMVILLE, VIRGINIA.
By Lieutenant Jeff L. Colburn, Company A, First Maine Cavalry.
After our charge through Farm- where the main approach was loville, our regiment remained on the cated. As we neared the house at a western side of the Appomattox walk, we had a good opportunity about an hour, dismounted, support- for taking in the situation. ing a battery which was shelling As has been said, the house was the enemy, and then returned to the located upon elevated grounds in city, recrossing the river by fording the southwestern suburbs of the just below the dismantled bridge city, and was one of those really above referred to. Captain Freese, fine, old mansions in the pure Grewho had not been with his company cian order of architecture so comsince being wounded at Sailor's mon in the South thirty years ago. Creek two days before, rejoined us A broad portico extended along while marching up the principal its entire front, whose massive, street, and rode along at the head Ionic columns gleamed ivory-white of “A” Troop to the high ground through the scant, spring-time foliat the southwest outskirts of the age of the trees.
A broad walk city, where the regiment bivou- bordered by some flowering shrubacked for several hours.
bery led up to the portico from an As we were marching out from artistically-arched iron gateway, the city along a street skirted by sub- and it was plainly to be seen that urban residences, Captain Freese the place was the home of people suddenly exclaimed, “ By the Gods, of wealth and refinement, for it had Sergeant, there's a rebin that an air about it that impressed the house, or I'm a sinner! Take a beholder as embodying the select detail and ride around upon the in architecture, horticulture, and other street, and interview him. landscape gardening, which imYou can't get in at the rear for the parted an air of sober elegance high fence. I 'll leave a detail here rarely attained, and only accomto watch this side. Hurry up now.” plished by the student in love with We had just received orders to be the grand and the beautiful in all on the lookout for the enemy's things, especially as pertaining to stragglers, and wheeled the first the spot that is, and is to be, his set of fours in “A” Troop out of home. column, and galloped along a cross We had been commenting upon street to a street running parallel to the beauties of the place, which the one on which we had been march- seemed to be quite deserted, but, ing, and soon approached the house as we dismounted at the gate we at its western or principal front, noticed that the portico was occupied by a party of young ladies. was, I fully realized that I beat the Then for the first time during the record, and wished myself out in day I gave a thought to my per- the street again, even back amid sonal appearance, my attention be- the Dinwiddie pines, anywhere but ing called to it by a remark made there, I thought, as I fumbled about by one of the squad. He did n't an inside pocket for a small oval use the exact words, perhaps, but glass and handkerchief, and while in substance, said, as he caught a unscrewing the cap off the glass, glimpse of the girls in the portico. another one of the cranks sug** Well, I'll be d--, Orderly, if gested, “I would n't, Orderly, you have n't struck it now, for you you 'll loose what little confidence are one of the toughest looking sub- you've got.” You see Colonel Ciljects for an Anglo Saxon on this ley being a methodical man had asNorth American continent.” “ Me? signed all of the cranks in the regiI! Why, won't I do?” “Do! ment to “A” Troop, and “A”Troop You 'll have to do of course, but had parked them all on the right. you won't do for an Anglo Saxon, Anyway, they were all there at the and scarcely for a New Zealander, gate and near vicinity, and I reckon unless you have a ring in your nose, they must have suspected it up in and a letter of recommendation.” the portico, for the last remark of But it could n't be helped. There that military hybrid inspired a I was, mud besplashed from head to sound altogether too resonant for foot, dried and undried with reddish- an echo up in that direction, else brown Virginian soil, my long, jet- the acoustic properties of the place black hair and moustache as un- were immense. kempt as night and day field service Anyway, it added the last straw during our week'svacation” from to the camel's back, and in my deswinter quarters could promote; up peration I caught at the idea of beand down my six feet of anatomy, ing generously civil instead of genfrom the bottom of my high-topped erously clean, and so unclasped my cavalry boots to the top of my low- belt and slammed the whole armory crowned, black felt slouch-hat, army upon the ground as I started on the blouse and pants, black and white charge up the walk. As I prochecked flannel shirt, collar rolling ceeded, I not only snatched at a few away over a magenta red silk scarf alto bars of " My Maryland,” but tie about my neck, face begrimmed at a white flower temptingly nodwith a compound of dirt, sweat, and ding by the way, and now I think smoke, and a fiery, red, week-old of it, we-I and that flower-must streak across my jaw.
have constituted a floral syndicate Besides, there is no doubt but what of the first magnitude. As I proI would have been a great curiosity ceeded up the walk, you may be to the bevy of beauties upon that sure that the situation within that portico even at my best, but, as it portico was not neglected out fror.
under the rim of my slouch-hat, ance at that moment, I which had been pulled down to allowed to try and describe that of stay; and if I should live a thousand my“ antagonist " also. As strangeyears, what transpired within the ly contradictory as her light blonde next few minutes would be as fresh features, blue eyes, and auburn in my memory as at this writing, hair were to the darker personnel and would transport me back to the of the group of lovely women scene of thirty years ago
very about her, none the less so was her day and hour, restoring even the magnificent attire utterly at variminutest details, that would re- ance with the time and place and awaken the old spirit of adventure, passing events, for the very atmosand thrill my heart with a sense of phere about her seemed spiced with ludicrous satisfaction rather than of the chill of the ice winds, while her bitterness, which would, as now, dress suggested some great social guide my pen seemingly without event. The groundwork of her effort of nerve or will. At my ap- dress was of some soft, faintlyproach, the ladies had arisen, and tinted stuff that matched her comwere turning away as if to retire plexion, but was almost completely from the portico, seeing which, in enveloped by a mazy film of creamy my desperation, my hat came off tinted lace whose intricate meshes with a jerk, and all my good reso- like delicate tracery, revealed to the lutions, that respect for decency eye of the initiated the handiwork must be my excuse for lack of gal- of deft and patient fingers long belantry, were dissipated in an instant, fore her day in climes beyond the and as I was just starting in to blurt seas. A sash of the same delicate out my little piece which had been tint as the underdress, a diamond carefully conned while on my way of great brilliancy flashed at her up the walk, “ Ladies, I deeply throat, and another upon her white, regret the necessity which compels perfect hand.
A single, creamy -- ,” when a door was jerked flower of exceeding beauty, with open under the portico and a very yellowish, pistillated, bell petals beautiful young lady from sixteen drooped at her corsage, sustained to seventeen years of age came by a simple clasp of pearl; and as sailing out into the portico with she moved down upon me with her the air of a tragedy queen as she flashing eyes and imperious bearswept across the floor. She made ing, I felt like diving under the an imperious gesture towards her hedge, and probably should have, companions as she said, " Let me had I not heard the chuckle of the deal with this fellow !” My story, squad at the gate, as her words, I know, should proceed direct, but * Let me deal with this fellow," I beg a little indulgence from my reached them. readers. Having tried to fairly de- As it was, when the chuckle scribe my own dress and appear- came up my hat went down with a
slap upon my head and then I me and make me truly repentant calmly, even deliberately, folded for my sins!” She struggled to my arms and stood meeting her speak, but the words were so hot fierce, level gaze, awaiting the first that sought utterance that they act as though it was nothing but an crisped each other and died like every-day occurrence. “ By what choking things upon her lips. I right, sir, might I enquire, do you in- continued, “Still, my dear, inastrude upon these private grounds ?” much as you have succeeded in
-and a moment later—" and might enlisting my sympathy, I cannot I also inquire if it ever occurred to refrain from warning you in adyou that gentlemen usually remove vance that all such testimony will their hats in the presence of fail; and that the day of resurrecladies?” “Certainly, Miss, make tion only will see your claim estaball the inquiries you choose. As lished upon the basis of your for the habits of gentlemen, I'm hopes.”
hopes.” I had spoken in subdued not posted; it has, however, oc- tones from the start, and my concurred to me that · fellows' always cluding sentences
uttered remove their hats under certain almost under my breath. And one conditions,” (taking a side step might have heard a pin drop upon and again raising my hat to the the floor of that portico while I had party beyond her). “ As for my been speaking, and as I concluded, rights here, I respectfully refer you she seemed by a spasmodic effort to the president of these United to break away from an awful enStates.” " These United States," thralment, extending her clasped (sarcastically)— I'd have
as she turned her gaze know, you dirty apology of a heavenward. I wish I might deYankee, that the president of these scribe her appearance during that Confederate States does not per- moment's attitude, for she made a mit such vile things as yourself to picture one might in a lifetime seek intrude upon gentlemen's private again in vain; for she was not only grounds here or elsewhere in Vir- a very beautiful woman, but of exginia.”
.” “So I have been advised, ceeding grace in every outline and Miss, elsewhere in Virginia, and so motion of her slender, willowy I am led to infer here, that is, if your form, while every lineament of her rhetoric counts, but unfortunately refined, aristocratic features was for you, such is not in evidence, enhanced by an instant's transforjust at present, either here or else- mation in that upward glance of where in Virginia. However, I
mute appeal to heaven. am willing to take your word for call this sentimentality, bosh, or it, if you persist in insisting that whatever you like; better that, such is the fact, that is, under oath than to imagine me so much of an of course, so hold up your right idiot, dunce, numskull, as hand, please, Miss. O Lord, deliver be observing or appreciative enough
You may upon it.
to be able to recall and describe the toward my squad at the gate, made situation about that portico at Farm- a peremptory motion, determined to ville, Virginia, even though thirty summarily end it all, when a new years have elapsed since that day, actor appeared upon the scene in for I do not wish to be accounted the person of one of the young lady for in any such way, especially in occupants of the portico who had this line of thought.
been standing behind my antagoShe was standing a few paces nist and of whom I had only a moback upon the portico, I upon the mentary glance as I approached. greensward close to its edge, our As my antagonist was about to ring eyes upon a level, as I concluded up the curtain again with another my plea to the jury and she her stamp, the young lady hastened appeal to heaven. Then her hands forward and laid her hand ever so unclasped and dropped by her side, lightly upon the shoulder of her as she took a swift step or two for- furious companion. ward, and the floor of the portico Madge, you must not! You quivered as she furiously stamped shall not! The gentleman has been
“ You lie, you wretch! civil and shall not be abused in Leave my presence or I'll set the such a shameful way any longer.” dogs at you, you dirty, cowardly, I had turned on the instant and sent Yankee cur!" Well, now let me a negative motion toward my squad. get my breath once more before I "Gentleman ! Insult !!" With inticontinue, after a choking gasp or nite scorn in her tones, " as if Itwo, as I did that day and moment I (choking) were mistress here.” I am trying to describe.
• Fortunately for us all, Madge, It had been more than a hun- you are not,” (in quiet even tones) dred years since my ancestors had “and it remains for me flourished down the James apologize for the indiscretion of my river, during which time the com- guest. Sir,” she continued, steping man of my race had failed to ping forward, “we,” (using the put in an appearance at least in the plural with a comprehensive motion sense of the McAllister-Wilde ilk, of her hand that might have been but in most others had some celeb- construed as including, and I really rity and especially in the line of believe she meant to include, the standing considerable punishment, entire Confederacy,) “we are very either within or without the prov- sorry for the abuse you have suffered ince of etymology, but I here have here. Yes,” (raising her voice) to confess that the sudorific, diu- “and I wish to apologize in the retic essence of my tragedy queen's name of the Confederacy,” (and sassafras proved altogether too then after a moment) “ you were stimulating, and for short acting under orders when you breath I lost my temper in front of called here, sir?" " Acting under a woman, and, turning spitefully orders? Yes, Miss."