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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Youth's companion
Volume 37 (1863)
The Youth's companion, v. XXXVII, no. 39, Thursday, September 24, 1863.
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The Youth's companion, v. XXXVII, no. 39, Thursday, September 24, 1863.
6 March 2020
Boston : Olmstead & Co.
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
Children's periodicals, American.
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“ sponge. : angry and searching eyes—said but a very few ' words (our rage was too deep to be demonstrative,) _NUMBER 39," : OLMSTEAD & CO., PUBLISHERS. MY REVENGE. We met in the beginning of the battle, I and my enemy, Richard Withers—he a rebel, Ia federalist ; he on foot, I mounted. It matters not why I hated him with the fiercest wrath of my nature. “The heart knoweth, its own bitterness,” and the details, while most painful to me, would be of tri- fling interest to you. Suffice it to say that our feud was not a political one. For ten years we were the closest intimates that the same studies, the same tastes and the same aims could make us. I was the older of the two, and the stronger, physi- cally; comparatively friendless, as the world takes it, and had no near relatives. Young, solitary and visionary as we were, it is hard to make you under- stand what we were to each other. Up to the pe- riod of our estrangement, working together, eating together, sleeping together, I can safely say: that we had not a joy or grief, not a pleasure or vexa- tion ,that we did not share with an almost boyish single-heartedness. One day changed all. We arose in the morning dear friends—we lay down at night bitter enemies. I was a man of extremes— I either loved or hated with the whole strength of my heart. The past was forgotten in the present. The ten years of kindness, of congeniality, of al- most womanly tenderness,. were erased, as with a We looked each other in the face with and we parted. Then in my solitude I dashed my clenched hand upon the Bible and vowed passion- ately: “I may wait ten years, Richard Withers! I may wait twenty, thirty, if you will, but sooner or later, I swear I will have revenge!” “And this was the way we met. I wonder if he thought of that’ day when he laid his hand on my bridle-rein and looked up at me with his treacherous blue eyes. I scarcely think he did, or he could not have given me that look. He was beautiful as a girl—indeed, the contrast of his fair, aristocratic face, with its regular outline, ‘and red, curving lips, to my own rough, dark ex- terior, might have been partly the secret of my former attraction to him. But the loveliness of an angel, had it been his, would not have saved him from mé then, There was a pistol in his hand, but before he had time to discharge it, I cut at him with my sword—and as the line swept on like a gathering wave, I saw him stagger under the blow, throw up his arms and go down in the press. ° Bit- terly as I hated him, the vision of his ghastly face haunted me the long day through. You all remember how it was at Fredericksburg —bpw we crossed the river at the wrong point, and under that raking fire of the enemy, were 80 disas- trously repulsed. Tt was a sad mistake, and fatal to many a brave heart. When night fell, lay upon the field among the dead and wounded. I was comparatively help- less. A ball had shivered the cap of my right knee, and my /shoulder was laid open by a sabre cut. The latter bled profusely, but by dint of knotting my handkerchief tightly around it I matlaged to staunch it in a measure. For my knee I could do nothing. Consciousness did not desert me, and the pain was intense; but from the moans and wails about me I judged that others had fared worse than I. ' - Poor fellows! many a mother’s darling was suf- fering there—many of my comrades, lads of eigh- teen and twenty, who had never been a night from home until they joined the army; spoiled pets of fortune, manly enough at heart, but children in years and constitution, who had been used to have every little ache and scratch compassioned with an almost extravagant sympathy—there they lay— crippled, gashed and bleeding, crushed and dying, huddled together—some where they had weakly crawled upon their hands and-knees—never a wo- man’s touch to bind up their wounds, or a woman’s Yoice to whisper gentle consolation. It was pitch dark, and a cold miserable rain falling upon us. The very heavens weeping over our miseries, Then through “the darkness and drizzling rain, through the moans’ and prayers of the fallen men about me, I heard ‘a familiar voice by my side: i. sO - “Water! water! water by I am dying with thirst BOSTON, T recoiled in dismay. It was the voice of Rich- ard Withers. They were once very dear to me, those mellow tones! once the pleasantest music I wished to hear.” Do you think they softened me now? You are mistaken. I am candid about it. My blood (what I had left) boiled in my veins when I heard him; when I knew that he lay so close to me, and I powerless to withdraw from his detested neighborhood. There was water in my canteen—I had filled it before the last ball came. By stretch- ing out my hand I could have given him to drink, but I did not raise my finger. Vengeance was sweet, I smiled grimly to myself, and said down in my secret heart, “Not a drop shall pass his lips, though he perish. I shall have my revenge.” Do not recoil with horror! Listen how merciful God was to me. There was a merry little drummer on the other SNOW CRYSTALS, this the judgment. could I expect, if the same was to be meted that I had meted to my enemy. |. The tears swelled in my eyes and trickled down “It is appointed unto men once to die; and after Worse and worse. What measure of mercy my checks; the first I had shed since my boyhood. I felt subdued, and strangely moved, The rain was falling still; but the little head on my breast was gone. He had crept away silently into the darkness. His unconscious mission was performed ; he did not return at my call. Then I lifted myself with great effort. The old bitterness was crushed, but not altogether gone. “Water—water,” moaned Richard Withers, in ‘is agony. I dragged myself close to him. “God be praised!” I said, with a solemn heart. “Dick, old boy, enemy nolonger. God be praised! side, a manly little boy of thirteen, the pet and plaything of the regiment. There was something of the German in him. He had been with us from the first, and was considered one of the ablest drummers in the army. We would never march to the tap of Charley’s drum again! He had gota ball in his lungs; and the exposure and fatigue, to- Poor little child! he crept close to me in the dark-| ness, and laid his cheek upon my breast. Maybe) he thought it was his own pillow at home, maybe, he thought it was his own mother’s bosom. God | alone knows what he thought, but with his hot arms about my neck, and his curly head close to my wicked heart, even then swelling with bitter hatred of my enemy, he began in his delirium to murmur— “Our Father who art in Heaven.” Iwas a rough-bearded man. I had been an or- phan for many a long year ; but not too many or too long to forget the simple-hearted prayer of my childhood—the dim vision of that mother’s face, over which the grass had grown for twenty chang- ing summers. Something tender stirred within my hardened heart. It was too dark to see the little face ; but the young lips went on brokenly— “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” . It went through me like a knife—sharper than @ sabre cut, keener than the ball. God was merci- ful unto me, and this young child was the channel of His mercy. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” . Ihad never understood those words before. If an angel had uttered them, it could scarcely have been more of a revelation, For the first time, the thought that I might be mortallgrounded, that death might be nearer than I dreamed, struck me with an awe and horror. The text of @ long-for- —if it is but a mouthful—water! For God's sake, O give me water !” ‘ gether with the wound, had made him light-headed. jean drink. I watched him with moist eyes, leaning Tam able and willing to help you. Drink and be friends.” It had been growing lighter in the east, and now Hit was day—day within and without. In the first ' gray glimmer of dawn, we looked into each other's ' ghastly faces for a moment, the canteen was at | Richard's mouth, and he drank as the fevered only upon my elbow—forgetting my bandaged shoulder. He grasped me with both hands. Blood-stained and pallid as it was, his face was as beautiful as a child’s. “Now let me speak,” he said, panting. ‘You have misjudged, Mr. Rufus. It was all a mistake. I meant to have spoken this morning when I grasped your—” : “Forgive me, Dick,” I murmured. I felt some- thing warm trickle down my shoulder. I fainted and fell; then all was thick darkness, . . * . ° - Topened my eyes. Where was? How odd everything was. Rows of beds stretched down a long, narrow hall, bright with sunshine; and wo- men, wearing white caps and peculiar dresses, flit- ted toand fro with a noiseless activity, which in my fearful sickness it tired me to watch. My hand lay outside of the covers; it was shadowy as a skeleton’s. What had become of my flesh? Was Ta child or a man? A body or spirit? So light and frail did I feel, I began to think I was done with all material things altogether, had been sub- jected to some refining process, and was now awakened to a new existence. But did they have beds in the other world? Iwas looking Jazily at the opposite one when some one took my hand, A face was bending over me. I looked up into it with a beating heart, The golden sunshine was on it—on the fair, regular features, the red lips, and the kindly blue eyes. “Dick!” I gasped, “where have you been all 22 SCHOOL STREET, BOSTON. “Weeks, you mean,” said Richard, with the old smile. “But never mind now. You are better now, dear Rufus—you will live, dear—we shall be happy together again.” . “Where am IP” I asked, still hazy. “What is the matter with me?” 1 “Ifospital, in the first place,” said Richard. “Typhus, in the second. You were taken after that night at Fredericksburg.” It broke upon me at once. I remembered that awful night—I could never, never forget it again, Weak as a child, I covered my face with my hands and burst into tears. Michard was on his. knees by my side at once. “I was a brute to recall it,” he whispered, re- morselessly; “do not, think of it, old boy; you must not excite yourself. It is all forgotten and forgiven.” “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!” I prayed from my most inmost heart. “Those words have been in your mouth night and day, ever since you were taken,” said my friend. T lay silent, cogitating. “Tell me one thing, Dick,” I asked; “are we in the North or South?” . “North—Philadelphia.” 7 ' » “Then you are a prisoner,” I said mournfully, recalling his principles. “Not a bit of it.” “What do you mean ?” Richard laughed. “I have seen the error of my ways. I have tak- en the oath of allegiance. When we are strong enough again, we shall fight side hy side.” “And the wound in your head?” I asked with emotion, looking up at his bright, handsome face. “Don't mention it, It healed up long ago.” “And the little drummer ?” Richard bowed his head upon my hand. “He was found dead upon the field.” “JIeaven bless him.” “They say he died praying, with his mother’s name upon his lips.” “Revere him as an angel!” I whispered, grasp- ing him by the hand. “But for his dying prayer, we had yet been enemies. O, Richard, God's grace is with the simple and pure of heart!” For the Companion. WIGGLETY MOPPET. About ten o'clock one sultry morning in June, a lame and poorly dressed woman and a little girl walked slowly up the long avenue leading to “Oak Grove Academy.” They seemed tired, and would perhaps have been glad to sit down and Test, but there was no pleasant green to tempt them, for they lived in a distant southern State, and on account of the venomous insects and snakes, grass is not allowed to grow in the yards; indeed, the ground about the houses is swept very often, and it is as” smooth and hard as a floor. The teacher noticed them soon after they entered the great gate; for from the window near her desk, she could see the village distinctly, and this long and beautifully shaded walk opened from the prin- cipal street, Well, they walked along quietly enough until near the school-house, when the little one began tocry, At this the old woman shook her roughly, and speaking very loud, said: “Go ‘long, you no ’count gal, the missus "ll make you mind, I reckon,” and with that gave the child a push which almost hurled her against the steps, The teacher ran out in haste and caught the trembling little creature in her armé, and asked what was the matter. “Granny says you'll beat me, O, O, 0.” The old woman now tottered along. She was evidently under the influence of something stronger than water, and her remarks were not particularly intelligible, but by dint of questioning, it appeared that the child, now five years old, was motherless, and had been left in charge of her grandparents for a year, when her father, who lived in the “Red River country,” was to come for her; and as the body called her, thought it was high time the little Becky “should begin her eddication,” and “learn gotten sermon was in my ears:. these years?” er manners.” time had nearly passed, “Granny Lumley,” as every *