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Title: A Daughter of the Union
Author: Madison, Lucy Foster, 1865-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Daughter of the Union" ***

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A DAUGHTER OF THE UNION

by

LUCY FOSTER MADISON

Author of "A Colonial Maid," Etc.



Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers . . New York
By arrangement with The Penn Publishing Co.

Copyright 1903 by The Penn Publishing Company

Manufactured in the U. S. A.



Contents

  Chapter                                                     Page
        I WHAT GIRLS CAN DO                                      5
       II A GREAT AWAKENING                                     20
      III STARTING FOR DIXIE                                    31
       IV A TIMELY RENEWAL OF ACQUAINTANCE                      41
        V CASTING BREAD UPON THE WATERS                         53
       VI IN DIXIE LAND                                         70
      VII THE EXAMPLE OF A GIRL                                 83
     VIII THROUGH SHOT AND SHELL                                95
       IX JEANNE MEETS THE HERO OF NEW ORLEANS                 104
        X AN UNFORESEEN RESULT                                 117
       XI CLEARED OF SUSPICION                                 128
      XII AN UNEXPECTED MEETING                                137
     XIII UNDER EVERY FLOWER THERE LURKS A SERPENT             147
      XIV A VICTIM OF DECEIT                                   158
       XV BEFORE GENERAL BUTLER AGAIN                          168
      XVI THE VELVET GLOVE CONCEALS THE IRON HAND              178
     XVII AGAIN DECEIVED                                       189
    XVIII IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP                                  200
      XIX "BOB"                                                212
       XX THE ARREST OF A SPY                                  225
      XXI A SURPRISE AND AN ESCAPE                             237
     XXII DICK TO THE FORE                                     250
    XXIII RECAPTURE                                            259
     XXIV VICKSBURG                                            272
      XXV MADAME AGAIN                                         280
     XXVI JEANNE MEETS FRIENDS                                 290
    XXVII A PRISONER OF WAR                                    302
   XXVIII THE SIEGE BEGINS                                     314
     XXIX MADAME FOR THE LAST TIME                             324
      XXX THE END OF THE SIEGE                                 334



A DAUGHTER OF THE UNION



CHAPTER I

WHAT GIRLS CAN DO


"That finishes everything," exclaimed Jeanne Vance, placing a neatly
folded handkerchief in a basket. "And oh, girls, what a little bit of a
pile it makes!"

The five girls drew their chairs closer to the basket and gazed ruefully
at its contents.

"How many handkerchiefs are there, Jeanne?" asked one.

"There are fifty handkerchiefs and five pairs of socks. It seemed like a
great many when we took them to make, but what do they amount to after
all?"

"There isn't much that girls can do anyway," spoke another. "If we were
boys we could go to the war, or, if we were women we could be nurses. I
don't like being just a girl!"

"Well, I wouldn't mind it so much if there was anything I could do,"
remarked Jeanne who seemed to be the leader. "But when Dick is in the
army, father in government service, and mother at work all day in the
Relief Association, it is pretty hard not to be able to do anything but
hem handkerchiefs and make socks."

"A great many persons don't even do that," said Nellie Drew, the youngest
girl of the party. "And they are grown-up people, too."

"Then the more shame to them," cried Jeanne indignantly. "In such a
war as ours every man, woman and child in the United States ought to be
interested. I don't see how any one can help being so. For my part, I
am going to do all that I can for the soldiers if it is only to hem
handkerchiefs."

"What else could we do? We can't help being girls, and Miss Thornton was
pleased when we asked for more work. She said that our last socks were
done as well as women could do them. I am sure that that is something."

"That is true," admitted Jeanne soberly. "I have heard mother say that
some of the things were so poorly made that the ladies were ashamed
to send them to the front, but that often the need was so urgent that
they were compelled to do it. I am willing to knit socks and to hem
handkerchiefs, but I would like to do something else too. There is so
much to be done that I don't feel as if I were doing all that I might do."

"We don't either, Jeanne, and if you know of anything we will gladly help
to do it," cried the girls together.

"I don't know of anything else, girls, but maybe I can think of
something," said Jeanne, looking at the earnest faces before her.

It was a bright May afternoon in the year of 1862, and the great conflict
between the North and the South was waging fiercely. The terrible battle
of Shiloh of the month before had dispelled some of the illusions of
the North and the people were awakening to the fact that a few victories
were not sufficient to overthrow the Confederacy.

Aid societies under the United States Sanitary Commission for the relief
of the soldiers were springing up all over the Union, and patriotism
glowed brightly inflaming the hearts of rich and poor alike. This zeal
was not confined to the old but animated the minds of the young as well.
Numerous instances are recorded of little girls who had not yet attained
their tenth year denying themselves the luxuries and toys they had long
desired and toiling with a patience and perseverance wholly foreign to
childish nature, to procure or to make something of value for their
country's defenders.

Our group of girls was only one among many banded together for the purpose
of doing whatever they could for the relief of the boys in blue, and
their young hearts were overwhelmed with a sense of their impotence.
Jeanne Vance, a tall, slender, fair-haired girl of sixteen, serious and
thoughtful beyond her years, was the leader in every patriotic enterprise
of her associates.

Her father since the beginning of the war had devoted himself exclusively
to furthering the interests of the government; her mother was a prominent
worker in The Woman's Central Relief Association, giving her whole time
to collecting supplies and money to be forwarded to the front and
providing work for the wives, mothers and daughters of the soldiers.
Her brother, Richard Vance, had responded to the first call of President
Lincoln to arms: thus the girl was surrounded by influences that filled
her being to the utmost with intense loyalty to the Union.

As she looked at the eagerly waiting girls around her a sudden inspiration
came to her.

"Let's give a fair, girls. We could make pretty things to sell and I am
willing that all my toys and games shall be sold too. Perhaps we could
get a great deal of money that way, and I am sure that even a little would
be welcome."

"But how about the socks and handkerchiefs? Shall we give up making them?"

"No, indeed! We must keep right on with those, but this fair will be all
our own effort. I believe that we will feel as if we were really doing
something worth while if we can manage it. What do you say?"

"It is the very thing," cried they. "When shall we begin?"

"This afternoon," said Jeanne energetically. "There is no time like the
present. This is May. We ought to be ready by the last of June. We can
do a great deal in that time if we work hard."

"And we can get our mothers to help us too," suggested Nellie Drew.

"We ought not to do that, Nellie," replied Jeanne seriously. "They are
so busy themselves, and it would not be truly ours if we have the older
ones to help. Don't you think we ought to do just the very best we can
without them?"

"Oh, yes, yes!" chorused the girls.

"I can make pretty pin cushions," said a girl about Jeanne's age. "I will
make as many of them as I can."

"I can do pen wipers very nicely, mamma says," spoke Nellie modestly.

"Mother always lets me help dress the dolls for Christmas," cried another.

"Where will we have it, Jeanne?"

Jeanne looked puzzled for a moment. "I'll tell you, girls. Let's have it
on our steps. We'll have a big card telling all about it printed and put
up. Then people will stop and buy things when they know it is for the
soldiers."

"On your steps," cried Nellie. "Oh, Jeanne, will your mother let you? It
is right on Fifth Avenue."

"Why, mother won't care!" answered Jeanne, surprised at the question.
"Fifth Avenue is the best place in New York for anything of the sort,
because so many well-to-do people pass, and they will be sure to be
generous for the soldiers' sake."

"Mercy, Jeanne, where did you learn so much about things?" gasped Nellie
in admiration. "I wouldn't have thought of that."

"Well," said Jeanne, flushing at the praise, "I hear mother and the ladies
talking, you know. They say that such things must always be taken into
consideration. If you have anything to sell, or you want money, you must
go where there is money to be had. I know the ladies do that in their
fairs."

"Then of course that is the way to do," remarked a tall girl decidedly.
"Let's take our handkerchiefs and socks to the Relief rooms and begin
right away."

The girls set to work joyfully, and labored zealously for their fair.
Their parents were amused at their earnestness, but seeing them happy and
contented encouraged them in their efforts. The days were busy ones,
but the knowledge that every boat and train was bringing hundreds of
wounded soldiers into the hospitals from the disastrous Yorktown campaign
spurred them to greater exertion, until at last they declared themselves
ready to open the sale.

Handkerchiefs, aprons, homemade candies, dolls, with all the paraphernalia
belonging to them, pin cushions, pen wipers, and books, presented a
goodly appearance as they were spread enticingly upon the steps of the
mansion in lower Fifth Avenue. A large card, which Mr. Vance had had
printed for them with the inscription, "For the relief of our wounded
and sick soldiers. Please buy," reared its head imposingly over the
articles, and five little maids, neatly dressed, stood in expectant
attitude eagerly watching each passer-by in the hope of a customer.

The placard caught the eyes of an elderly man, and the little girls could
scarcely conceal their delight as he paused before them.

"Well, my little ladies, what have we here?" he asked kindly. "For the
soldiers, eh? Who put you up to this?"

"No one, sir," answered Jeanne as the other girls shrank back abashed.
"We are doing it ourselves to help buy things for the boys."

"But who made the articles?" queried the old gentleman. "I am a poor judge
of such things, but these handkerchiefs seem to be very neatly done. They
are not of your making, I presume."

"Indeed they are," answered the girl earnestly. "We have done all the
sewing, and made the candies. The toys were our own, given to us by our
parents, but we would rather have the money to give to the soldiers, so
they are for sale too. We girls have made everything but the toys and
the books."

"But why," persisted he good-naturedly. "The government provides for its
soldiers, and there are women and men to do what the government doesn't
do. Why should you interest yourselves in such things? The war doesn't
concern you!"

"Whatever concerns our country concerns us," answered Jeanne with dignity.
"We are only girls, sir, and cannot do much, but what we can do to help
those who are fighting for us we will do."

"Nobly said, my little maid. I was anxious to see if this was a mere whim
of the moment, or if you really were actuated by patriotic motives. You
have taught me that girls can feel for their country as well as grown
people. How much are those handkerchiefs?"

"A dollar a dozen, sir."

"H'm'm!" mused the old gentleman drawing forth a well filled pocketbook.
"Too cheap by far. Give me a couple of dozen."

Jeanne obeyed with alacrity and carefully wrapped the handkerchiefs
in tissue paper. "I can't change this bill, sir," she said as the old
gentleman gave her a twenty dollar note.

"I don't want you to, my little girl," returned he kindly. "Take it for
the cause."

"Oh," cried Jeanne her eyes filling with glad tears. "How good you are!
How good you are!"

"Nonsense! It's a pity if I cannot give a little money when you girls have
given so much time and work. Good-day, my little patriots. Success to you
in your undertaking. You may see me again."

"Good-day, sir," cried the girls together. "And thank you ever so much."

"Oh, girls," gasped Jeanne delightedly. "Isn't it fine? Twenty dollars! I
didn't think we'd make more than that altogether."

"Here come more customers, Jeanne," cried Nellie excitedly. "Oh, but I
believe that we are going to have luck!"

It was but the beginning. There was little leisure for the girls after
that. Their evident zeal and earnestness impressed the passers-by whose
hearts were already aglow with sympathy for the soldiers, and bills and
shinplasters poured in upon the little merchants until at dusk not an
article remained upon the steps. Then, tired but happy, they assembled
in Mrs. Vance's parlor to count the proceeds.

"Two hundred dollars!" exclaimed Mr. Vance as the girls announced the
result in excited tones. "Why, girls, this is wonderful! The government
would better turn over its finances into your hands."

"You blessed dears," cried Mrs. Vance, "it will do so much good! You
don't know how much that will buy, but you shall go with the committee
and see for yourselves."

"We have done well," said Jeanne in congratulatory tones.

"I don't believe that grown people could do any better," and Nellie Drew
gave her head a proud toss.

"There's a little lame boy asking to see Miss Jeanne, ma'am," announced
a servant entering at this moment. "Shall I show him up?"

"Yes, Susan. Who is it, Jeanne?"

"It must be Eddie Farrell. He lives down on Fourth Avenue. His mother
washes for Nellie's mother, and they are awfully poor. He came by while
we were fixing our things and we told him all about what we were doing
and why we were doing it. How do you do, Eddie?" as the door opened to
admit the visitor.

A little fellow not over ten years old, with great blue eyes that were
just now alight with eagerness, paused abruptly as he caught sight of
Mr. and Mrs. Vance. He made a pathetic looking figure as he stood in the
doorway. He was deplorably lame and leaned on a pair of rude crutches
for support, balancing in some way known only to himself, a long bundle
under his arm.

"Have a chair, my boy," said Mr. Vance, kindly noticing his embarrassment.
"Did you wish to see Jeanne?"

"Yes, sir." The boy sat down and then opened his bundle disclosing a pair
of well made crutches. "The girls told me what they wuz doing fer the
sogers and I've been thinking ever since what I could do. I didn't have
no money ner nuffin' ter give 'cepting these crutches. I thought mebbe
they'd do some pore feller some good what 'ud have his leg cut off."

"But where did you get them?" queried Mr. Vance.

"They wuz mine, sir. Bill, a sailor man I knows, he spliced on some pieces
to make 'em longer, and there they are, sir."

"My lad," and Mr. Vance laid his hand softly on the boy's head, "it is a
great deal for you to give. You need them yourself."

"I'll get along all right," said the boy eagerly. "'Deed I will, Mr.
Vance. See, Bill he rigged me up a pair that'll do me all right, an'
I'd like ter help some pore feller."

Mr. Vance gazed pityingly at the rude substitutes which the boy held up,
and then looked at the crutches so deftly lengthened. His voice was husky
as he spoke:

"It is a great gift. More than you should give."

"It ain't nuthin'," answered the lad. "I feel fer the feller that is born
with two good legs an' then loses one of them."

Mr. Vance nodded understandingly. Mrs. Vance's eyes were full to
overflowing as she stroked the boy's hair gently.

"We'll write a little note and tie on the crutches," she said. "Then
whoever gets them will know who gave them."

"That will be fine," cried the lad gleefully. "I'm so glad you'll take
them. I wuz afraid mebbe it wouldn't be enough ter give."

"It is more than we have done," said Jeanne as soon as she was able to
speak.

"Then good-bye," and Eddie arose. "I'll run back and tell mother." He
nodded to them and left the room, his face aglow with satisfaction.

"We haven't done anything," said Jeanne emphatically. "We didn't give a
thing we could not do without. Oh, I feel so mean!"

She looked at the girls tearfully, then drew a slender chain from her
throat, and detached the gold piece which was suspended from it. "There!"
she said, putting it with the bills on the table. "Uncle Joe gave me that
before he went to the army. After he was killed at Shiloh I thought I
would never part with it, but I am going to let it go for the soldiers
too."

"It is good for us," said Nellie wiping her eyes. "We were awfully puffed
up over this fair. I was beginning to think that we had done something
great."

Mr. Vance laughed.

"You need not feel so bad, girls," he said. "If it had not been for you
that poor little fellow wouldn't have thought of giving his crutches."

"I wish he had some though," remarked Jeanne wistfully.

"Make your mind easy on that score, my dear, I'm going to look after that
boy."

"And meantime you girls can go with me to the Association to carry the
money and the crutches, and we'll tell the ladies all about it," said Mrs.
Vance.



CHAPTER II

A GREAT UNDERTAKING


For a time affairs went on in their usual way, and the girls contented
themselves with hemming towels and handkerchiefs and making socks. That
is, all the girls save Jeanne Vance. With her the desire was stronger than
ever to do something more than she had done.

"What makes you so thoughtful, Jeanne?" asked her father one evening
looking up from his paper. "You are as still as a mouse. Come, and tell me
all about it."

"It's the country," said Jeanne settling herself comfortably on his lap
and laying her head on his shoulder. "I was thinking about our army and
how much there was to be done for it."

"I am afraid that you think too much about the war," observed her father
soberly. "It is not good for you."

"I can't help it, father. Dick's letters make me, and the work that you
and mother do keeps it always before me. I am the only one who doesn't do
much."

"I am sure that you carried that fair through admirably, and have made
a number of articles for the soldiers. Best of all you are looking after
yourself so well that your mother and I can devote our whole time to the
cause. And that is a great deal, my little girl."

"But I should like to do something else," persisted Jeanne. "It doesn't
seem as if I were helping one bit."

"Very few of us can see the result of our labors. If you were in the
army it would be the same way. A soldier often has to obey orders for
which he can see no reason, but his disobedience might cause the loss
of a battle. We are all of us part of a great whole striving for the
same end. If each one does his part all will be well. If every little
girl in the country would do as much as you are doing, the amount of
work accomplished would be startling."

"If I were a boy I could do more," sighed Jeanne. "It is very hard to be
'only a girl,' father."

Mr. Vance laughed.

"But since you are one, Jeanne, try to be contented. I am very thankful
for my daughter if she is 'only a girl.'"

"You are troubled too," observed Jeanne presently, noting a look of
anxiety on her father's face.

"Yes, child; I am."

"Could you tell me about it, father? Perhaps it would help you. I feel
ever so much better since I have talked with you."

"I am afraid that you cannot help me, child. If only Dick were here," and
he sighed.

"Could I if I were a boy?" asked the girl, wistfully.

"Yes," replied Mr. Vance unthinkingly. "If you were a boy, Jeanne, with
the same amount of brightness and common sense that you now have, I would
be strongly tempted to send you forth on some private business."

"Oh, father!" Jeanne sat bolt upright. "Send me anyway. I am sure that I
could do it just as well as a boy."

"But this would necessitate a journey into the enemy's country. A bright
boy could go through all right if he would exercise his wits, but a
tender, delicate girl like you! Why, I couldn't think of it!"

"I could do just as well as a boy," declared Jeanne with conviction. "I
am sure that I could. Please let me try, father."

"I am sorry that I spoke of it, child. I will tell you just what the
service is, and you will see the impossibility of any girl undertaking
it. In the cities both North and South there are men whose duty it is
to look after certain private matters for the government. In our
communications with each other we must be very guarded. We do not dare
to risk even the mails, because in almost every department of the
service there are traitors. In some mysterious manner the enemy becomes
aware of all our plans. Therefore we have tried and trusted men who are
our go betweens. On some occasions we have employed boys because they
could pass through the lines of the armies without being suspected of
carrying important information. But as it is a hazardous business we use
the boys only when there is no one else to send. Just at present our
men are all out, and even the few boys who are ordinarily available are
not on hand. That is why I spoke as I did."

"Where would the boy have to go?" queried Jeanne, who had listened
attentively.

"To New Orleans, dear. It is a long distance, and would be a perilous
journey. You see, Jeanne, how I am trusting you. You will be careful not
to repeat anything I say."

"I understand perfectly, father. You need not fear when you tell me
anything. You could not be useful if others knew of your affairs."

"That is it precisely, my daughter."

"Is the errand important, father?"

"Very." Mr. Vance thought she saw the impossibility of going and therefore
spoke more freely than he otherwise would have done. "I ought to send a
messenger not later than day after to-morrow with the documents, but I
fear that I shall have to let the matter rest until some of the men come
in, and then it may be too late."

"Father, doesn't Uncle Ben live in New Orleans?"

"Yes, Jeanne; why?"

"Why couldn't I go down to see him, and carry these papers hidden about
me? The trains are still running, aren't they?"

"Yes," said her father thoughtfully; "but those in the Southern States
are under Confederate control, you know."

"Well, suppose I were to take the train from here to St. Louis," mapping
the route on her lap, "then from there I could go down the Mississippi
on a steamboat. St. Louis is for the Union, and New Orleans belongs to us
now too. I don't see much danger in that, father."

"It sounds all right, little girl. The only flaw lies in the fact that
Vicksburg is not ours. If it were then the matter could be easily
arranged."

"Don't you think that it will be ours soon, father?"

"Yes, indeed," replied Mr. Vance with conviction. "With Farragut and
Porter on the river and this new man Grant who is making such a record
in charge of the land forces it will not be long before Vicksburg will
share the fate of Forts Henry and Donelson and Island No. 10. Indeed,"
added he, for Mr. Vance in common with many others held the view that
the war could not be of long duration, "I feel sure that McClellan will
soon enter Richmond and that will virtually close the war. It is only a
question of days now before we shall see the end of this rebellion. The
administration is of the same opinion, because it has ceased to enlist
men for the army."

"Then, father, it seems to me that there would be no risk in performing
this service for you. I feel sure that I could carry your papers safely
to New Orleans. It is not as if the country all belonged to the rebels.
There would be only one place to pass that is theirs: Vicksburg. I know
that our men can easily go by one place," she added confidently.

"Your manner of taking hold of the matter almost persuades me to let you
try it, Jeanne," and Mr. Vance regarded his daughter with a new light in
his eyes.

"Do," said Jeanne as calmly as she could, realizing that if she would
carry her point she must be very matter-of-fact. "You see, father, no
one would suspect a girl of carrying papers."

"I don't know but that you are right, Jeanne. Still, I would not consider
the thing for an instant if my need were not so great. Should the papers
fall into the rebels' hands, not only would they secure important
information but they would also get the names of men whose death would
pay the penalty of discovery."

"I understand," said the girl gravely. "But the rebels shall never get
them, father. I will destroy them first. They must be concealed about my
clothing in such a manner that even if I were searched they could not be
discovered. Not that I think that I shall be," she added hastily as a look
of alarm flitted over her father's face, "but it is just as well to be
prepared for emergencies."

"What are you two plotting?" asked Mrs. Vance entering the room. "You
have been talking so earnestly that I thought that you were settling the
affairs of the nation."

"We have been," answered Jeanne gaily. "I am going to New Orleans on
business for father."

"Oh, Richard," came from Mrs. Vance in a wailing cry. "Not my girl too!
I have given my boy! Leave me my daughter."

"Mother!" Jeanne sprang to her outstretched arms where she was folded
close to the mother's heart. "You don't understand. There is no danger.
Who would harm a girl like me?"

"She shall not go, Dora, if you do not consent," spoke Mr. Vance
comfortingly. "My need for a messenger was so urgent that I spoke of
it before Jeanne, and the little witch has beguiled me into thinking that
she is the very one for the business."

"Why of course I am," cried Jeanne in decided tones. "Let's sit down and
talk it over."

"I don't like it," said Mrs. Vance after the matter had been explained.
"I am afraid that something will happen to you."

"But, mother, what could happen? Even if I were to fall into the hands of
the Confederates what could they do to me? Men don't make war on girls."

"I know that the Southern people are counted chivalrous," answered Mrs.
Vance, "but soldiers are usually rough fellows, and I would not like you
to be brought into contact with them even though they were our own boys."

"Dick is a soldier, and he isn't a bit rough. They are all somebody's
sons, mother. I thought that you liked soldiers."

"I do," assented Mrs. Vance wearily, "but I don't like the thought of
sending you where there is a chance of fighting. No one knows what might
happen."

"Dick has to take a great many chances, and why should not I risk a little
for my country? Wouldn't you be willing to give your life for it, mother?"

"Yes; but----" began the mother.

"And I am your child," cried Jeanne, kissing her. "I can't help it,
mother. It's in the blood, and blood will tell, you know. Haven't I heard
you and father many a time relate what great things our ancestors did
in the Revolution? Well, you really can't expect anything else from
their descendants."

"I suppose not," and Mrs. Vance stifled a sigh. "If it really would help
you, Richard."

"It really would, Dora. If Jeanne can carry these papers to New Orleans
she is not only worth her weight in gold but she will do the government
a great service. She is energetic, resourceful and self-reliant. I
believe that she can get through without injury to herself or I should
not consider the thing a moment. As she says, why should harm come to
a girl? She would not be suspected where older people would be subjected
to the most searching scrutiny. The more that I think of it, the more
favorably does the idea strike me."

"Then I must consent," Mrs. Vance smiled faintly though her face was very
white. "My country demands much of me, Richard."

"It does, Dora. But please God when this rebellion is put down we shall
have such peace as the country has never enjoyed. Let us hope for the
best, dear."

"When do I start, father?" broke in Jeanne.

"I think to-morrow night. The sooner the better. I will see about your
transportation in the morning, and try to arrange to send you straight
through. Now, little girl, you must say good-night because we must be up
bright and early. There is a great deal to be done to-morrow."

"Good-night," said Jeanne obediently, and kissing each tenderly she
retired to her room.



CHAPTER III

STARTING FOR DIXIE


The next day passed all too quickly for the parents, but not for Jeanne.
She went about her preparations with an uplifted mien and a solemnity of
manner that at another time would have been amusing, but which under the
circumstances went to her mother's heart.

"In this petticoat, dear, I have quilted the documents," said Mrs. Vance
as she dressed her for her departure. "It may be a little heavy, but
you need not wear so many skirts as you otherwise would, and perhaps it
will not be too warm. See how nicely it holds out your dress. It almost
answers the purpose of a pair of hoops."

"Am I not to wear my hoops, mother?"

"No, child. They are sometimes in the way, and as you have not yet learned
to manage them well, it would be best not. Your frock hangs out in quite
the approved style as it is."

Jeanne glanced down at her attire complacently.

"It does look stylish," she admitted. "I wonder if the rebel girls wear
hoops."

"I dare say they do," answered the mother rather absently. Then overcome
by a rush of emotion she caught the girl to her. "Oh, Jeanne, I wonder
if I am doing right to let you go! What if some harm should come to you?"

"Don't worry, mother," and Jeanne soothed her gently. "I feel sure that I
will get through safely."

"I shall not be easy until I hold you in my arms again," said Mrs. Vance
mournfully. "But I must not make it hard for you to go, dear. You will
be careful, Jeanne."

"Yes, mother."

"And, child, you are loyal, I know, but you are very young. You are going
into the enemy's country, where disloyalty to the Union will be the
common utterance. Are you strong enough to bear all that you will hear and
still retain that fidelity unimpaired?"

"Mother!" Jeanne spoke reproachfully.

"Yes; I know that your heart is devoted to your country, but older ones
than you have been drawn from their allegiance. I only give this as a
caution because you have always been where nothing but the Union has been
talked. Now you are apt to hear just as much on the other side, and there
may be trials that will test your strength severely. I cannot but fear
that all will not go so smoothly as your father thinks. But, Jeanne,
whatever comes, bear yourself as a true American. Swerve not from the
allegiance due to your country. Let come what will, even death itself,
suffer it rather than for one moment to be false to your country. They
are my last words to you, my daughter. Be true to your country. Will you
remember?"

"Yes," replied the girl solemnly. "Whatever comes I will be true to my
country."

"I have made you this flag," continued Mrs. Vance, drawing a small United
States flag from the folds of her dress. "I began it some time ago as
a surprise for your birthday, but finished it last night for you to take
with you. Keep it about your person, and each night look upon it and pray
for the success of the Union."

"And it is really my own," exclaimed Jeanne, delightedly, pressing the
silken folds to her lips. "It makes me so happy to have it, mother. I
never had one before that was all mine. See," folding it and placing it in
the bosom of her dress, "I will wear it over my heart that no disloyal
thought may find entrance there. I will bring it back to you unsullied."

Her mother pressed her again to her breast.

"I believe it, dear. Now kiss me, Jeanne. I hear your father coming for
you. Oh, 'tis hard to let you go!" She clasped her convulsively to her,
and caressed her repeatedly.

"Are you ready, Jeanne?" asked Mr. Vance entering. "We have not much time
left."

"I am all ready, father," answered Jeanne quickly catching up her satchel.
"Aren't you coming with us, mother?"

"No, dear;" Mrs. Vance struggled bravely with her emotion. "I am going
to let your father have you for the last few moments alone. I have had you
all day, you know."

Jeanne ran back to her for another embrace.

"My child! My child!" whispered the mother passionately. "There! Go while
I can bear it."

Unable to speak Jeanne followed her father to the carriage.

"I am afraid that I have acted hastily in letting you undertake this
matter," said her father, drawing her to him. "In one way the fates are
propitious. The papers to-day announce the fall of Vicksburg. That leaves
the Mississippi entirely open and reduces the danger. Still it may be
exposing you to some risk, and it now seems to me unwise to saddle so
great a responsibility upon so young a girl. I wish there was some one
else to send."

"Father, I am glad to be of service. I am so proud to think that you have
so trusted me. Now I am really doing something for the country. And I will
not betray your trust."

"I know that you will be as true as steel," answered Mr. Vance tenderly.
"I do not fear that you will betray my confidence, but let me caution you
for yourself. Where have you concealed the papers?"

"Mother quilted them in my petticoat," answered Jeanne.

"Then try to forget where they are. I was once on the train where a girl
was traveling alone. She had evidently been warned against pickpockets,
for ever and anon she would start up and clap her hand to her pocket. Do
you see the point, daughter?"

"It showed plainly where she kept her money," replied Jeanne promptly.

"Exactly. If you keep fingering the petticoat it will show to every
one that there is something concealed there. Therefore forget all about
the papers if you can. Act as naturally as a little girl would going
to visit her uncle. There must of course be a reason for your going and I
have provided for that in this way. Quinine is a contraband article
and highly prized in the South. This basket has a false bottom. Above
is a lunch for your journey and underneath a quantity of quinine. You
may get through without falling into the Confederates' hands but it
is just as well to be prepared for emergencies, as you remarked last
night. Should you happen to be taken by them and they question you too
closely, finally confess about the quinine. It will be a point in your
favor that you have smuggled it through the Union lines. Should they
take it no matter. Do you understand?"

"Perfectly."

"I have secured transportation to Memphis, Tennessee," continued Mr.
Vance. "It brings you closer to New Orleans and leaves a shorter distance
to be traversed by water. You will have to change cars twice. Once at
Washington City which you can do easily as you have been there a number
of times. The other is at Cincinnati, Ohio. Do you think you can manage
it?"

"Why, of course I can," said Jeanne proudly. "It isn't as if I had never
been anywhere."

"Yes, that makes a difference," assented her father. "Yet, my child,
remember that before you have been accompanied by either your mother or
me. Now you will have to rely entirely upon yourself. This is a letter
for Commodore Porter who is a friend of mine, and who is somewhere on
the Mississippi. Ask for him as soon as you reach Memphis. If he is not
there there will be others on our side who will carry you down the river
after reading the letter. If at any time you are in doubt what to do
go to the hospitals. There are always women there who will gladly give
whatever aid you may need. And here is money."

"Mother gave me some," interrupted Jeanne who had listened with the
closest attention.

"Yes; that is in your purse, which is in the satchel, is it not?"

"Yes."

"Well, take this also. I had this bag made to hold it." He put a roll of
bills into an oilskin bag and drew the cord so that the opening closed
tightly together. "Wear that about your neck, child, and keep it hidden
under your dress," he said. "Keep that always about you as a reserve fund.
So long as you have money you can get along pretty well. Take out what
you need from time to time, carrying only a small amount in your purse.
Above all beware of talking too freely to strangers. Now for the final
instructions: you are going to New Orleans to visit your Uncle Ben. When
you reach there ask him to direct you to Mr. ------," here he whispered
in her ear. "Speak that name to no person. When you have delivered the
papers into his hands your duty is done. Stay with your uncle until you
hear from me. I will write you how to come home. Now, Jeanne, I think
that this is all I have to say. If anything should happen that these
arrangements fail, don't run any danger but return home. You see that I
am leaving a great deal to your judgment. Can you remember everything
that I have said?"

"Yes. And you may be sure that I will do just as you tell me. It seems
to me that everything has been thought of and that there is no chance of
failing."

"Sometimes the best laid plans are thwarted," said her father gravely. "It
may not be a very wise thing to send my daughter on such an errand, but
you are such a sensible little thing that I feel as if you would succeed."

"I will," said Jeanne determinedly. "I want to be worthy of my name,
father. Did not another Jeanne not much older than I lead the Dauphin of
France to a crown? Surely then I can do this thing which is small in
comparison."

"I am afraid we did wrong in giving you such a name," remarked her father
smilingly. "How full of the martial spirit you are, Jeanne. I believe
that you would undertake the capture of Jeff Davis if I asked you to."

"I would," exclaimed the girl with a look that boded ill for the rebel
president. "Perhaps we will try it yet."

"We will get through this affair first, my dear. Here we are at the
station. We'll have to make a run for that train."

They had taken a ferry during the conversation and by this time had
reached Jersey City. Running through the gates they boarded the train
just as the signal was given to pull out.

"My little girl, good-bye," murmured Mr. Vance, clasping her to him for a
brief second. "God bless and keep you, Jeanne. May He bring you safely
back. Be brave," he added, as he saw Jeanne's lips quivering.

"I will," sobbed Jeanne, breaking down completely as her father started
away. "Oh, father, kiss me just once more."

"Is it too much for you, my little girl?" Mr. Vance held her closely. "You
need not go, Jeanne."

"I want to. I am all right," gasped Jeanne, controlling herself by an
effort. "Now go, father, dear. See how brave I am."

She smiled up at him through her tears. Mr. Vance regarded her anxiously.

"Go," whispered Jeanne as the train began to move. Hastily her father
left her. Jeanne leaned from the window and waved her hand as long as she
could see him. But soon the train rounded a curve and he was lost to view.
Then leaning back in her seat she gave herself up to her tears.



CHAPTER IV

A TIMELY RENEWAL OF ACQUAINTANCE


Jeanne sobbed unrestrainedly for some time. A sense of forlornness
oppressed her, and the magnitude of the task she had undertaken weighed
upon her spirits. As Mr. Vance had said she had never traveled alone
before, and now that she had actually started upon the journey a
thousand fears assailed her. The idea of being engaged upon a mission
that involved something of risk had seemed a noble thing, and easy of
accomplishment in her own home. Here, lacking the sustaining presence of
her parents, and the relaxation after the excitement of the day, made
the enterprise seem formidable indeed. So absorbed was she in her
meditations that she had not noticed the other occupants of the coach,
but presently there was borne in upon her senses the sound of singing.

"Oh, what is it?" she exclaimed with a nervous start.

"Some soldiers on their way to Washington," answered a lady who sat behind
her.

Jeanne's interest was aroused at once, and she looked about her. In the
rear of the car were a number of soldiers clad in blue. They seemed in
high spirits and were singing lustily:

    "'Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys,
      We'll rally once again,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom;
    We will rally from the hillside,
      We will rally from the plain,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom.'"

"They are going to the war with a song upon their lips, perhaps to be
killed, while I am afraid because I am alone," mused Jeanne, her lip
curling in self-contempt. "I don't believe that girls amount to much after
all."

    "'We are marching to the field, boys,
      Going to the fight,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
    And we'll bear the glorious Stars
      Of the Union and the Right,
    Shouting the battle cry of freedom.'"

"I will be brave," and the girl sat up very straight. "I will not be
afraid any more, for I, too, am battling for the right. I am just as truly
serving my country as they are, and I will be just as brave. Besides,
father would be sorry if he knew that I felt so bad."

Drying her eyes she listened attentively to the soldiers as they sang,
one after another, the martial airs that had become so popular since the
breaking out of the war. After a little time they struck up "The Star
Spangled Banner," and then there followed a scene that the girl never
forgot. Men, women and children caught the enthusiasm and, rising to their
feet, joined in the song. Jeanne sang too, as she had never sung before.
The words held a new meaning for her. She felt once more an exaltation
of spirit and a kinship with these brave fellows who were willing to give
their lives for their country. What was danger, disease or life itself,
if she could be of service in ever so small a way?

    "''Tis the Star Spangled Banner,
      O long may it wave
    O'er the land of the free
      And the home of the brave.'"

A mighty shout went up as the final chorus was rendered, and three cheers
for the flag were given with a vim that mingled musically with the rush
and roar of the train. Flushed and breathless Jeanne sank back into her
seat, her eyes shining, her cheeks glowing, her whole being thrilled with
patriotic fervor. She was no longer fearful and lonely, but eager and
ready to do and dare all things needful for the success of her mission.

And so when Washington was reached the girl took up her satchel with quite
the air of an old traveler and, accosting an official, asked about her
train with the utmost self-possession.

She had but a short time to wait before she was once more flying across
the country en route for Cincinnati. The night passed without incident.
The journey was tiresome but so uneventful that she became imbued with
confidence in her ability to travel alone and made her change to the
Memphis and Charleston Railroad for Memphis at Cincinnati without trouble.

The day had been very warm and as Jeanne took her seat in the coach she
heaved a sigh of relief as she saw the sun sinking to his rest.

"It will be cooler now," she said to herself, settling comfortably back
in the cushions. "I am glad that I have the seat to myself."

But to her dismay at the next station a rough-looking man entered the car
and took possession of the seat beside her. The girl looked intently out
of the window, after her first glance at the fellow, inwardly hoping that
his journey would not be a long one. For some time the man did not pay
any attention to her, then he turned abruptly and said:

"Do you want that window down?"

"No; thank you," returned Jeanne adopting the manner she had seen her
mother use towards people of whom she did not approve.

The man eyed her narrowly, but the girl preserved her composure under his
scrutiny.

"What's yer got in yer basket?" he demanded presently.

A look of indignation flashed over Jeanne's face. She opened her lips to
reply. "None of your business," as some of the girls she knew would have
done, but something that her mother had once said came into her mind just
as she was about to make the retort.

"My dear," her mother had said, "no matter how rudely others may behave,
be a lady. Because some one else has been impolite does not excuse it in
you."

As this came to Jeanne she closed her lips resolutely and, turning her
back very decidedly, looked out of the window.

"Yer needn't put on any of yer airs with me," growled the fellow, who was
evidently in a surly humor. "Can't yer answer a civil question?"

Still Jeanne made no reply, and the man reached out to take hold of her
basket. But the girl was too quick for him, and lifting it into her lap
held on to it tightly while she placed her feet upon her satchel.

"Yer needn't be so spunky," said the fellow sheepishly. "I jest wanted
to see if yer didn't have somethin' to eat."

"If you are hungry, you should have said so," said Jeanne, relaxing
instantly, for her warm heart was always open to appeals of this nature.
She opened her basket and took out some dainty sandwiches. "You are
quite welcome to what you wish to eat," she said graciously, "but you
were not very nice about asking for it."

"A feller don't stop fer manners," said the man nibbling at the sandwiches
gingerly, "when he's as hungry as I am. Is that all ye've got in there?"

"I have some more lunch," said Jeanne rather indignantly, for the fellow
did not seem very ravenous for a hungry man. "I shall keep that for the
rest of my journey."

"Whar yer goin'? Ain't yer got nobody with yer?" queried the man a gleam
coming into his eyes.

"Don't you think that you are rather inquisitive?" questioned Jeanne
boldly. "Why should you want to know where I am going?"

"Because folks have to be keerful in times like these," said the other
brusquely. "Haven't yer got some money too?"

"I have none to give you," answered Jeanne. "And I would rather that you
would not sit by me any longer. Will you please go away?"

"Not if I knows myself and I think I do," laughed the man. "See here! I'll
go away if you will give me your purse. I know that it's in that there
basket. You take too much care of it fer it only ter hold yer food. Now
give it to me quick."

"I won't," said Jeanne determinedly clinging to the basket, for she had
put her purse there after buying some fruit. "If you touch this basket
I'll scream and the people will know what you are doing."

"Pooh! I'll tell them that you are my crazy sister that I'm taking to an
asylum," said the fellow easily. "Now you'd better give me that money."

"People would know that I was not your sister," exclaimed the girl
scornfully. "You don't look in the least like my brother. Now, sir, go
away."

"Not without that money. Sit down," he commanded gruffly as the girl half
rose from her seat.

Jeanne cast a wild, imploring look about her for help and sank back in her
seat despairingly, for the passengers seemed intent upon other concerns,
and the noise of the train prevented the conversation from being overheard.

"Are you going to hand out that money?"

"Ye-es," faltered Jeanne, reaching for her purse.

"What do you mean by frightening this girl?" demanded a voice, and a hand
was laid upon the ruffian's shoulder. "Get out of my seat, you rascal,
or I'll have you thrown off the car."

A cry of delight escaped Jeanne's lips as she saw that the man who
had come to her assistance was the old gentleman who had bought the
handkerchiefs from her during the fair.

"I--I did not mean any harm," stammered the fellow, resigning the seat
with alacrity. "I was jest trying ter scare the girl a little."

"Well, let me catch you 'jest trying ter scare her,' any more, and it will
be the worse for you," cried the old gentleman threateningly. "Now clear
out, and let me see no more of you."

The fellow slunk off and her friend in need took the seat by Jeanne's side.

"That fellow was annoying you terribly, was he not?"

"Yes, sir; I was very much frightened, especially when he demanded my
money."

"What! Did he do that? Why the scamp! This is worse than I thought. I'll
get the conductor after him."

"Oh, let him go," pleaded Jeanne, who was quite a little upset by the
episode. "Please stay with me."

"Very well." The old man saw her nervousness and acquiesced willingly.
"He can't get off the train so long as this rate of speed is kept up, and
I'll see about getting him later. Now tell me all about it."

Jeanne gave him a succinct account of what the man had said and done.
"And I was so glad when you came up as you did," she said in finishing.
"But I did not expect to see you here, sir, and I thank you so much for
your assistance."

"Tut, tut! It is every American's duty to look after women folks when
they travel alone. I had just come from the smoker and saw as I entered
the door that something was wrong. As the ruffian had my seat I came up
at once and demanded it of him. But you are not more surprised to see me
than I was to recognize the little patriot of the handkerchiefs. Aren't
you a long way from home?"

"Yes, sir; I am, but I am going to visit my Uncle Ben in New Orleans."

"Rather a troublesome time for a visit," remarked the other musingly. Then
as a deep flush suffused the girl's cheek, he added keenly, "I know that
there are sometimes reasons why visits should be made even though the
times be perilous. There! I am not going to ask any questions, so don't
look at me like that. My name is Emanuel Huntsworth, and I live near
Corinth, Mississippi. I was formerly a New Englander but settled in the
South a number of years ago. My Union sentiments having made me obnoxious
to my neighbors I feared for the safety of my family and am returning
from moving them North. I am going back now to wind up my business,
when I shall go North once more to do what I can for the government. If
you have no friends with you, perhaps you have no objections to my company
as far as our ways lie together."

"I should be pleased to be with you," said Jeanne sweetly. "I am all
alone, Mr. Huntsworth. My name is Jeanne Vance, and I live in New York
City. I was all right until I got on this train, but now I can't help
but be a little uneasy since that man acted so."

"The rascal! I had forgotten him. Conductor," as that individual came by.
"I think there is a man on this train that will bear watching." Thereupon
he related the incident to the official.

"I will look after the fellow," said the conductor.

But search failed to reveal the presence of the man on the train and soon
Mr. Huntsworth and Jeanne were convinced that, fearing the consequences
of his actions, he had jumped from the train.



CHAPTER V

CASTING BREAD UPON THE WATERS


"You must be very tired," remarked Mr. Huntsworth, as the train drew in
at the Memphis station. "It has been a long hard trip, and if you'll take
my advice you will stay here for a day or two before trying to go farther
on your journey."

"Oh, I must not," exclaimed Jeanne quickly. "I must get to New Orleans
just as soon as I can. It is very necessary."

"Necessary, eh?" The old gentleman regarded her with a quizzical
expression on his face. "Why should you be so anxious to see your
uncle? You must be very fond of him. Have you visited him often?"

"No, sir," answered Jeanne in some confusion. "I never saw him in my life.
He went to New Orleans and engaged in business there long before I was
born. Father hasn't heard from him for a number of years."

"Then isn't it rather queer for your father to choose such a time as this
for you to pay him a visit?" queried Mr. Huntsworth keenly. "Now don't
be alarmed, child," he added hastily as Jeanne looked up in a startled
manner while the color mounted to cheek and brow. "I do not wish you
to tell me any of your secrets if you have any. I presume that there are
just and sufficient reasons for you to go or you would not be going. I
merely wished to show you that over anxiety to reach your destination
might subject you to suspicion. Also tell no one else that you have never
seen your uncle. If you do, others beside myself will wonder why you
have been sent to him at a time like this. You don't mind my telling
you this, little girl, do you?"

"No, indeed," returned Jeanne warmly. "I am very glad that you did so.
Father says that one way to learn things is to listen to older people. But
I will be truly glad to see Uncle Ben. Father has told me so much about
him. He was his favorite brother, and my brother, Dick, is named for him
and for father too. Richard Benjamin Vance."

Mr. Huntsworth's eyes twinkled, and he gave a low chuckle of appreciation.

"My dear," said he, "just answer every one who asks you questions in the
way you have me, and you'll come out all right. Of course you would
want to see your uncle under those circumstances." Again he chuckled
and looked at her approvingly. "She knows that I am her friend," he
mused, "yet she will not tell me why she is sent down here. That there is
some reason for it I am convinced. A very remarkable girl!" Aloud he
continued, "Here we are at Memphis, child. What shall you do now?"

"It is so near night that I guess that I'd better go to a hotel," said
Jeanne. "That is what father always does first. Then to-morrow morning I
want to find Commodore Porter. I have a letter for him."

"Porter is down the river with Farragut. I doubt if you will be able to
find him. But we'll see in the morning. The thing to do is to get a good
night's rest after this journey. Here is a cab for the Gayoso House. I
always stop there. It is a good place, and overlooks the river. Have you
ever seen the Mississippi before?"

"No," answered Jeanne trying to look about in the gathering darkness.
"It's a great river, isn't it?"

"None greater," answered Mr. Huntsworth enthusiastically. "Whichever side
of this struggle holds it will be the winning side. It is the backbone of
the rebellion, and the key to the whole situation."

"But we hold it, sir," said Jeanne earnestly. "My father says that now
that Vicksburg is taken it will not be long before Richmond will fall and
then the rebellion will be over."

"Pray God that your father may be right," said Mr. Huntsworth. "But I
fear that he is mistaken. These Southerners are not so easily whipped.
Every inch of the Confederacy will have to be conquered before they will
acknowledge themselves beaten. The North makes the same mistake as the
South does. Each forgets that both are of the same Anglo-Saxon blood that
never knows defeat. I fear the struggle will be a long and bloody one,
all the more bitter for being waged between brothers."

"I hope that it will not be long," sighed Jeanne. "I shouldn't like for
Dick to have to be away much longer."

"Is your brother in the army, my dear?"

"Yes, sir. Father works for the government, mother belongs to The Woman's
Central Relief Association, and I make socks and hem handkerchiefs for
the soldiers, and----" she paused suddenly, conscious that she was about
to speak of the object of her journey.

"And you hold fairs to tempt the shekels from the unwary, eh?" completed
Mr. Huntsworth. "Well, you are certainly a patriotic family. This is the
Gayoso House, child. It has been the resort of all the noted Southerners.
It is too dark for you to see the river, but you can hear its murmurings."

Jeanne leaned forward eagerly. The soft lapping of the water, as it beat
against the foot of the bluff upon which the city stood, came gently to
her ears.

"I wish I could see it," she exclaimed.

"You can in the morning. Meantime, let's get some supper. Here, boy," to a
porter, "don't you see that we are waiting to be shown to the dining-room?"

"Yes, sah. Right dis way, sah," responded the negro, his ivories relaxing
into a broad grin. "Glad ter see yer back, sah. We all's mighty sorry ter
heah dat you is gwine ter go norf, sah."

"Who told you that I was going North, you black rascal?" demanded Mr.
Huntsworth. "I've been North. Have just gotten back. Here, take this,
and tell that waiter to hurry up with that supper."

"Yes, sah. Thank ye, sah," answered the black pocketing the shinplaster
slipped into his hand, with alacrity.

"I think I never saw so many negroes before," remarked Jeanne, looking
about the dining-room. "Where do they all come from?"

"You'll see a great many more before you go back to New York," responded
Mr. Huntsworth. "The South literally teems with them. If the race only
knew its power it would not leave its battles to be fought by the North.
A while ago I said the Mississippi was the key to the rebellion. I was
mistaken. It is dar-key."

Jeanne laughed merrily.

"My dear child, did you see the point?" cried the old gentleman
delightedly. "That is indeed an accomplishment! Now my daughter,
Anne, is a good girl. An excellent girl, but she not only cannot make
a pun, but neither can she see one when it is made. I have a little
weakness that way myself."

"We used to, Dick, father and I, to make them at home. But we did it so
much that mother stopped us. She said that it wasn't refined--I am sure
that I beg your pardon," she broke off in great distress.

"There! Don't take it so to heart," laughed Mr. Huntsworth good-naturedly.
"I know that it isn't just the thing to pun, but

    "'A little nonsense now and then
    Is relished by the best of men.'

"Then, too, we have the example of the immortal Shakespeare. But I won't
indulge again before you, my dear."

"Oh, but I like them," cried Jeanne. "I think mother stopped us because
we did nothing else for a time. But she used to laugh at some of them
herself. She did, truly."

"Well, well, of course if you enjoy them that is another thing. Perhaps
you can tell when a boy is not a boy."

"I can beat any sort of a drum but a conundrum," was Jeanne's quick reply.

"My, my, but I shall have to look to my laurels," exclaimed Mr. Huntsworth
in mock alarm. "That was very bright."

"It's Dick's," confessed Jeanne blushing. "He is so clever. He could
always think of something good to say."

"You think a great deal of Dick, don't you?"

"Yes, sir; we are very proud of him. And his Colonel has complimented him
twice for bravery," and Jeanne's eyes lighted up with pride. "He went at
the first call for troops. I'll never forget the day he asked father if he
might go. 'It's our country's need, father,' he said, standing there so
brave and handsome. 'No Vance has ever turned a deaf ear to that, sir.'
And father said, 'My son, if you feel it your duty, go, and God be with
you.' O, you should see Dick, sir," she continued, enthusiastically.
"There is no one quite like him."

"Perhaps I may some day. I should like to very much. I do not wonder at
his bravery since every one of you are so devoted to the cause. Now, my
little girl, you had best retire. I am sure that you must be tired."

Jeanne rose instantly and, bidding him good-night, was shown to her room.
She was up bright and early the next morning, and, dressing quickly ran
down the stairs and out on the gallery eager to take a look at the city.

The Gayoso House fronted upon a wide esplanade which extended along
the bluff in front of the town. Blocks of large warehouses and public
buildings bordered the esplanade on the same side as the hotel. The city
was beautifully situated on the Mississippi River just below the mouth of
the Wolf River, and located upon what was known as the fourth Chickasaw
Bluff, an elevation about forty feet high.

Below the bluff ran the river, and far to the right was what had been a
naval depot established by the United States but used until the recent
capitulation of Memphis by the Confederates for the purpose of building
vessels of their own. To Jeanne, accustomed to New York City, Memphis
seemed very small indeed. It was in reality a place of about twelve
thousand inhabitants and considered a flourishing little city, being
the port of entry for Shelby County, Tennessee. At one time it was the
most important town on the river between St. Louis and New Orleans.

But if the girl was disappointed in the size of the place, the beauty of
the surroundings made up for it. She gave an ecstatic "Oh," at the
sight of the broad esplanade with the noble river washing the base of
the bluff which jutted out into a bed of sandstone that formed a
natural landing for boats. Several steamboats lay at anchor and Jeanne's
attention was drawn to them by the singing of the blacks as they
hurried to and from the wharf loading the steamers with freight. It was
a weird plantation refrain in the minor key. Jeanne had never heard
anything like it, and she listened intently as the song grew louder and
louder as the enthusiasm of the blacks increased:

    "Ma sistah, done you want to get religin?
    Go down in de lonesum valley,
    Go down in de lonesum valley,
    Go down in de lonesum valley, ma Lohd,
    To meet ma Jesus dar."

Over and over they sang the refrain, and the girl was so interested that
she did not hear Mr. Huntsworth's approach.

"Well, what do you think of the South?" he asked.

"I like it. Mr. Huntsworth, just listen to those negroes sing. Isn't it
musical?"

"They call them niggers here," said Mr. Huntsworth smiling. "Yes; their
singing is melodious. I have always liked to listen to it. Sometime in
the future, I fancy, more will be made of those melodies than we dream
of now. When you go down the river you will hear more of it. Some of
their songs are very quaint. Do you know that we will have to see General
Wallace to obtain a permit to go into the enemy's country?"

"General Wallace?" repeated Jeanne. "Why?"

"The town is under martial law with General Wallace in command. I have
been wondering what will be the best for you to do. To come with me to
Corinth, for we can go there without difficulty, or for you to stick to
the river route as you had intended. I have learned that Vicksburg is not
in our hands after all. Its capitulation was a false report. Farragut is
waiting for Halleck to send troops to occupy it and is still keeping up
the bombardment."

"But a boat could get through, could it not?"

"Yes; I think so. Davis guards the stream above Vicksburg while the
Commodore holds the lower part. I'll talk with General Wallace about it.
Meantime after we have had breakfast you can walk along this esplanade,
and see something of the place. You will not get lost, will you?"

"No, indeed," laughed Jeanne. "I came from New York, you know. I should
be able to get around a little place like this."

"Very well, then."

Jeanne donned her hat and wandered along the wide esplanade viewing the
city, the river and the surrounding country. She walked on and on until
finally she had wandered some distance from the hotel and the buildings
were growing farther and farther apart when she was startled by a groan.

Looking about her she beheld a young fellow of about twenty-one years clad
in the blue uniform of the United States lying upon the ground. Without
a thought but that one of the soldiers was suffering Jeanne sprang to
his side and knelt beside him.

"What is it?" she cried. "Are you hurt?"

"Just faint," murmured the young man in a weak voice, and the girl noted
with surprise the Southern accent. "I'll be all right in a moment."

"Smell this." Jeanne thrust her bottle of smelling salts under his nose,
and began to chafe his forehead vigorously. "There! You're better now,
aren't you?"

"Much better." The young fellow struggled to a sitting posture and smiled
wanly. "What a good little thing you are!"

"Well, I like soldiers," said Jeanne. "My brother, Dick, is one, and
whenever I see a soldier suffering I always want to do something for him.
You are fighting for us, you know. Are you sick?"

"No; but I have been. I just came out of the hospital a few days ago, and
I am not so strong as I thought."

"You should go home and stay until you get well," said the girl with a
quaint assumption of maternal authority.

"Home! I have none." The young man's brow darkened. "If I were to go to my
home, I would be spurned from its doors."

"But why?" cried Jeanne.

"Listen, and you shall hear, child. I am a native of the state of
Louisiana. I was educated at West Point, and when the war broke out had
just graduated. You know the conditions under which we are entered, do you
not?"

Jeanne shook her head.

"We are to serve the country four years for the education given, so when
the war came I felt it my duty to give those four years. I went to my
father and told him so briefly. 'Never darken my door again while you
wear that uniform,' he said. 'You are no son of mine if you side in with
a horde of miscreants sent to invade the sacred soil of the South.' I told
him that it was my duty. That I had but just graduated and that my honor
demanded that I should repay my debt to the government, but he would not
listen. So I left him."

"But have you no friends?" asked Jeanne, her face aglow with compassion.

"Friends? No; they fight on the other side," was the bitter reply. "And
what do these Yankees care for me? They don't realize what I have given
up."

"But we do care," cried the girl. "My father and mother just love
soldiers. Oh, if you would only go to them they would care for you. Do
go. Will you?"

A smile lighted up the young man's face as he noted her warmth.

"I wish all your people were like you," he said. "It would not be so hard
to do my duty then."

"We are all just alike," said Jeanne. "My father would be proud to have
you honor his house. And you are an officer, too," she added, glancing at
his epaulets.

"Only a lieutenant."

"Well, it doesn't matter what you are since you are a soldier. Have you
a pencil and paper?"

"Yes; why?"

"I want to give you my father's address. You will go there, won't you?"

"My little girl," the young man's voice was husky. "I couldn't do that,
you know. Why, it would be monstrous to intrude upon them."

"No; it would not," declared Jeanne. "I wish I were going home. I'd make
you go with me. But won't you go? Truly they would welcome you as if
you were Dick, my brother. And if you don't go, I'll always feel as if
something had happened to you just because you had no place to go. You
have done a great deal for our side, you know."

"Well, I'll promise," said the soldier a little wearily, as if it were
beyond his strength to prolong the argument. "Where do they live?"

"In New York City," and Jeanne rapidly penciled the address.

"Then it is utterly out of the question. I can't promise you."

"I know," said Jeanne quickly. "You haven't any money."

A flush passed over the Lieutenant's face.

"Soldiers never do have, Dick says," went on the girl, taking out her
purse in a matter-of-fact way.

"No--no, I--I can't do that," groaned the soldier. "Merciful goodness, has
it come to this? That I should receive charity from a child!"

"It isn't charity," cried Jeanne hotly. "You can pay it back to my father
if you like. I want you to get good and strong so that you can fight for
us again."

"I'll do it," exclaimed the young fellow impulsively. "A few weeks' rest
would put new life in me. And I'll be your soldier, little girl."

"Will you?" cried Jeanne delightedly. "That will be most as good as if I
could fight myself, won't it?"

"Every bit," declared the Lieutenant rising. "God bless you, child. Such
warm hearts as yours make life seem worth the living after all."

He raised her hand to his lips. Then as if afraid to trust himself to
speak further left her abruptly. Excited and happy Jeanne ran back to
the hotel where she found Mr. Huntsworth waiting for her.



CHAPTER VI

IN DIXIE LAND


"Oh, Mr. Huntsworth," she cried, "I have something to tell you," and she
rapidly related the incident of the young Lieutenant.

"Are you sure the fellow was telling the truth?" queried the old man
smiling at her enthusiasm. "Sometimes rascals tell all sorts of stories in
order to get money."

"This man was a gentleman and I know he was truthful. He didn't want
to take the money at all. I had to plead with him to get him to do it.
Besides he did not speak to me until I had spoken to him first. He was
not strong enough for duty and he showed it."

"Then, my dear, you have done a noble thing. If the young man told the
truth his position is indeed a sad one. His rebel kinsmen would turn from
him if he espoused the cause of the Union and his duty is doubly hard that
he must fight against father, home, neighbors and friends. I am afraid
that we do not appreciate all that a man gives up when, a Southerner by
birth, he throws his lot in with ours. Many high-minded men have gone
with the South because their state went that way, and it takes nobleness
indeed to rise above the call of one's own state when the government
demands the sacrifice. I should like to have seen the young fellow. Did he
give his name?"

"Why, I did not think to ask it," exclaimed Jeanne. "But father will know
of course."

"So you really believe that he will go to your father's."

"Certainly I do."

"Oh, for the faith of childhood," exclaimed Mr. Huntsworth. "But whether
he does or not you seemed to have infused new life into him and that is
what a man needs most when he is discouraged. You are a true patriot,
child. But now, my little Quixote, let's go to General Wallace. I have
explained everything to him, but he desires to see you personally."

The headquarters of Gen. Lewis Wallace who was at this time in charge of
the city of Memphis were soon reached, and Jeanne and her friend were
ushered into his presence. A man of medium height, rather slender in
build, stern of feature but whose eyes beamed with kindness, serious of
mien and visage and habited in a plain suit of blue flannel with two
stars upon his shoulders denoting a Major-General in the United States
Army, rose to greet them. Full of chivalric dash, possessing a cool head
with a capacity for large plans and the steady nerve to execute whatever
he conceived, the young General was an interesting figure and Jeanne
gazed at him with some curiosity.

"So, my little maid," said the General. "You wish to go to New Orleans?"

"Yes, sir," answered Jeanne returning his scrutiny modestly.

"Do you not know that it will be a difficult matter to do so? Farragut
is still storming the batteries of Vicksburg and while a transport goes
this morning to take supplies to Captain Davis, and you could go down that
far on it, still it is scarcely the time for a girl to make a visit."

"I must go, General," said Jeanne firmly.

"Will you tell me why, my child?"

"I cannot, sir."

"But I cannot let you subject yourself to danger unless there is some
necessity for it. It seems to me that a mere visit could be postponed
until a safer season. Now unless there are urgent reasons for it I feel
compelled to forbid your going."

"Sir," said Jeanne blushing at her temerity yet speaking boldly
notwithstanding, "there are urgent reasons for my going. I do not wish to
tell them because they concern the government. But my father would not
have let me come had there not been necessity."

"You surely do not mean that you are an emissary of the government?"
exclaimed the General in surprise. "Why, you are but a little girl."

"But exceedingly patriotic, General," interrupted Mr. Huntsworth. "She
has given a fair to raise money for the soldiers, made I don't know
how many shirts, socks and handkerchiefs and just now emptied her purse
to send a soldier home to her parents to be taken care of. Best of all
she can relish a pun when she hears one which you will agree is a rare
accomplishment for a girl or even a woman. Oh, she is capable of anything."

"I believe it," laughed the General. "I fear that I shall have to give
up before such a formidable array of accomplishments. Have you really done
all those things?"

"All but the shirts," answered Jeanne shyly, "mother makes those. You
see father works for the government, mother is in the Women's Relief
Association and Dick is in the army, so I just had to do something to
help too."

"I see," said the General. "What is your father's name?"

"Richard Vance, sir."

"Richard Vance!" exclaimed the General. "Oh! I understand everything now.
You shall go to New Orleans, child, if our boats can get you there. The
transport will start in an hour. Can you be ready to go by that time?"

"I am ready now, sir."

"That is the bearing of a true soldier," approved the General. "I will
give you a letter to Farragut----"

"I have one to Commodore Porter, sir," interrupted Jeanne, producing the
missive. "He is my father's friend."

"That is all right," General Wallace hastily scanned the letter. "But I
will add a few lines to Farragut. Success to you, my child."

"Thank you, sir," answered Jeanne gratefully.

"Now we will amuse ourselves by walking about a little until the transport
starts," said Mr. Huntsworth as they left the room. "My train goes this
afternoon."

"Then I shall have to tell you good-bye soon," said the girl regretfully.
"I am sorry, Mr. Huntsworth. You have been very kind to me. My journey
would not have been so easy had it not been for you."

"Tut, tut, I have done nothing," said the old gentleman. "I have pleased
myself in helping you. I was glad to have such a bright little companion.
And we shall meet again, my dear. I promise you that. I am not going to
lose sight of my little comrade easily. I want to bring my daughter, Anne,
to see you when you get home."

"I wish you would," replied Jeanne. "I should like to know her. Mr.
Huntsworth, don't you think I might send a telegram to my father from
here to let him know that I am all right and about to start for New
Orleans?"

"Why, bless my soul, child! That is the very thing to do! What a head you
have! There is the office on the other side of the street."

"Yes; that was what made me think of it."

The telegram dispatched, the two wended their way to Jackson Park.

The statue of the old hero of New Orleans stood in the centre of the
green. It was inclosed by a circular iron fence and ornamented by
carefully trained shrubbery. The bust of the hero was placed on the
top of a plain shaft of marble about eight feet high. On the north side
of the shaft was an inscription.

"Look!" exclaimed Mr. Huntsworth. "Some rampant rebel has marred that
inscription."

Jeanne looked and saw the writing which read "The Federal Union: It
Must be Preserved"--the words Federal and Union had been chipped out,
presenting an appearance as if a small hammer had been struck across them.

"The villain!" continued the old gentleman irascibly. "He ought to be hung
who ever he is!"

"It is a pity," said Jeanne. "Isn't this a cruel war, Mr. Huntsworth,
that the things both the North and South have been so proud of now become
hateful to one part of the country? I never thought so much about it until
since I met that young man this morning."

"It is a terrible thing for brothers to be arrayed against each other as
we are," assented Mr. Huntsworth. "But don't think about it too much. It
is a pity that your young life should be clouded by the knowledge. You
think too much for your age."

"I am better for it," said Jeanne. "Wouldn't it be dreadful for me to
laugh and play and be glad all day when the country is in peril? Every
one ought to think."

"Perhaps you are right. But sometimes I have heard you say things that
made me think you a bit uncanny, as the Scotch say. I am going to advise
your father to turn you out to grass when the war is over. I suppose it
would be useless to urge such a thing so long as the war continues."

"'To turn me out to grass,'" laughed Jeanne. "What a funny expression.
Do you mean for me to live in the fields like the cows and the horses?"

"Well, something on that order," smiled Mr. Huntsworth. "Your father will
understand what I mean. See, there is your steamer, child. I will see you
aboard and then I must say good-bye."

The steamer which had been a passenger packet plying her trade between
St. Louis and New Orleans before the war had been converted into a
transport for carrying men and supplies for the government. As Mr.
Huntsworth and Jeanne ascended the gangplank they were met by the Captain.

"Is this the young lady who is to be our guest down the river?" he asked
in such a hearty way that Jeanne's heart warmed to him immediately.
"General Wallace advised me that I was to expect one."

"This is the girl, Captain," replied Mr. Huntsworth. "And I hope for your
sake that you and your crew are thoroughly Union, otherwise it would be
better for you to meet with a rebel ram. I don't believe that the Johnnies
could make it any warmer for you than she could."

"This is just the place for her then," declared the Captain smilingly.
"We are Union to the core, Miss Vance. I believe that is your name."

"Yes, sir; my name is Jeanne Vance, but please do not call me 'Miss
Vance.' It makes me feel so strange."

"All right, my little girl. I will do as you say. I am glad that you have
no grown-up notions about you. I foresee that we shall get along famously.
This is the way to the cabin, and that room is where you will bunk. It
is next to mine. You can call on me or Tennessee for anything you need."

"Tennessee!" ejaculated Jeanne with a puzzled look.

"Yes; our cook. We call her Tenny for short, and she is about the jolliest
old darky that ever trod a deck. A good motherly woman with a white soul
if she is black. Now make yourself comfortable. I will send Tenny to you
to help you. I have some things to attend to on deck."

"Isn't he kind?" exclaimed Jeanne. "How good people are to girls traveling
alone!"

"It is because they are Americans," said Mr. Huntsworth. "You should
be proud of such a country. I am glad that you have fallen into such
pleasant hands. I will tell your father if I see him before you do. Will
you stay in New Orleans long?"

"I don't know. I will have to hear from my father about that. But how easy
it has been to get there!"

"The most difficult part is to come," said the old gentleman gravely.
"Once the Vicksburg batteries are passed you will be safe. I do not think
that this boat will try to make the run. She is hardly in fighting shape.
Of course you will be transferred to a gun boat. Well, well, I hope that
you will get through all right and that we will soon meet again. Good-bye,
little girl."

"Good-bye, sir," and Jeanne shook hands with him cordially. "Thank you so
much for all your kindness. I hope that I will see you again. Good-bye."

Another hand shake and the old gentleman left the cabin slowly, and went
on shore.

"Done you feel bad, honey," and a fat negress came up to her as she sat
down on the side of her berth feeling rather forlorn. "Wus dat yer par?"

"No," and Jeanne looked up quickly with a smile. "Are you Tennessee? I am
glad to see you. The Captain told me about you."

"Yes; I'se Tennessee, honey, but lawsie! Dey doesn't call me nuffin but
Tenny. But ef yer want ter see the las' ob de ole gem'muns jest foller
yer aunty ter de deck."

Jeanne followed the negress, and stood on the deck watching the
preparations for departure. Mr. Huntsworth saw her and waved his
hand. Jeanne waved hers in response, and as the transport backed out into
the river and steamed southward, she gazed at him until his figure grew
to be a tiny speck and then disappeared in the distance.

"Now, missy, I'se got ter ten' ter de dinner, but you can kum wid me ef
yer likes, elsen you can stay hyar and watch de ribber. Most folks likes
ter do dat. I 'spect mebbe dats de best thing fer yer."

"Well, then I will stay, Mrs. Tenny," smiled Jeanne.

"Mrs. Tenny! Huh! Who is yer talkin' to, honey? I'se jest Tenny or aunty
jest as yer likes. But done go ter puttin' no missis on to it. White folks
done do dat down hyar."

"Then I will call you Tenny," said Jeanne, recoiling just a little from
calling the woman aunty. "But it doesn't seem right not to say Mrs."

"Yes, missy, it's all right. Now I'll get up a good dinner. 'Specks you
is powerful hungry, ain't yer? Ole Tenny gwine ter do her bes' fer de
little missy," and the good creature hurried below.



CHAPTER VII

THE EXAMPLE OF A GIRL


Slowly the transport, which was called The Gem, steamed down the river
and Jeanne stayed on deck long hours to watch the scenery, which was
new and strange to her. The river was full of devious windings and the
girl was amazed at its great bends and loops, and sometimes it seemed to
her that the turns must bring them back to Memphis. The eastern shore
bounded by the lofty plains of Tennessee and Mississippi terminating
at times in precipitous bluffs afforded a great contrast to the flat
lands of the western bank. The dense forests of cottonwood, sweet gum,
magnolia, sycamore and tulip trees festooned with long gray streamers of
moss were interspersed with cypress swamps and a network of bayous.

"Whar you bin dat you ain't nebber seed no 'nolias befo'?" queried
Tennessee as she listened to Jeanne's expressions of admiration as a
particularly handsome clump of magnolias came into view on the western
bank. The channel of the river at this point ran so close to the shore
that the perfume of the creamy blossoms was very perceptible.

"I've always lived in New York City," replied Jeanne. "I saw some magnolia
trees once in Maryland, but I never saw them in blossom. Aren't they
beautiful?"

"Yes, honey. Dey is purty fer a fac'," replied the negress. "I allers
laked de 'nolias myself, and dat wuz de reason dat I named my darter so,
but we called her Snowball fer short."

"You did?" laughed Jeanne. "Why, Tenny, Snowball isn't any shorter than
Magnolia. Why didn't you call her 'Nolia,' if you wished to shorten the
name?"

"My ole marster, he done it," was the reply. "Ole marster say, 'Tenny, dat
li'l pickaninny too white ter be named anything so yaller as a magnolia.
Better call her Snowball.' Ole marster allers would hab his joke, and
dat gal of mine wuz jist as brack as de nex' one. I didn't want my chile
called Snowball. It wuzn't stylish nohow, but would you b'lebe me, chile?
De fust thing I knowed, white and culled wuz a callin' her Snowball, an'
den I did, too."

"Where is she now, Tenny? I should think you would want her with you on
these trips."

"Chile, chile, dat's de thing dat tears dis hyar old heart ob mine,"
said the woman, her eyes filling with tears. "Ole marster say she was a
'likely gal' an' she wuz, ef she wuz mine. Dey made much ob her and would
hab her roun' dem all de time. Seem laik nobody could do for 'em laik
Snowball. Den ole marster tuk sick and died an' ole missus she say she hab
ter sell us all, kase she didn't hab no money any mo'. An' Massa Cap'n he
bought me but 'nother man bought Snowball an' tuk her down to Loosyanny."

"Why, that is awful!" cried Jeanne, her eyes overflowing, her heart full
of sympathy for the darky. She had often heard tales of this kind but this
was the first time that this phase of slavery had been brought home to
her. A child torn from its mother appealed to her, so many miles from
her own dear mother, as nothing else could have done. "Why didn't Captain
Leathers buy her too?" she asked. "He seems like a kind man."

"He is, honey. 'Deed he is," replied Tenny wiping her eyes, "an' he did
try, but the yudder man had bought her fust an' he wouldn't gib her up.
I can't blame him fer she wuz a likely gal. Lawsie, chile, dat gal wuz
smarter'n a whip!"

"How long has she been gone, Tenny?"

"'Twas befo' de wah broke out. Massa Cap'n he wanted a good cook, an' I
sutinly am dat, so he tuk me. He say dat I'se ter hab my freedum too, but
shucks! what's freedum ter me? I'd rudder hab my gal dan all de freedum in
de world."

"Yes; I suppose so," said Jeanne dreamily. "Still, Tenny, if you had your
freedom you could go to look for Snowball."

"Now, missy, what could Tenny do? A pore ole nigger can't do nuffin nohow.
S'pose I did fin' her, what's I gwine ter do 'bout it? I couldn't buy
her. 'Sides, ef dey cot an ole 'ooman a foolin' roun' dat didn't seem
ter 'long ter nobody dey lock me up, suah. Mebbe dey'd whip me. An',
chile, once you had de whip ter yer back you doesn't want it no mo'. No;
I'se gwine ter stay right with Massa Cap'n. He's a good marster, an'
he'll take good keer ob Tenny."

Jeanne sat silently thinking over what she had heard. Her heart ached
for the helpless mother and she chafed at her inability to aid her. The
darkness of the great slavery evil fell upon her spirit. Was this the
land of the free and the home of the brave? she mused. How could she ever
sing "The Star Spangled Banner" again so long as it waved over a country
a portion of whose inhabitants groaned under a yoke of bondage!

"'Spect I ortern't ter hab tole yer dis, chile," said Tenny, becoming
alarmed at her silence. "A nigga's trubbles nuffin nohow. Done you bodder
yer purty haid ober it. I'se sorry I tole yer."

"I am glad, Tenny, but I do feel so sorry for you. I wish I could help
you. If I knew where the man was that bought your child I'd buy her back
and give her to you. Then if Captain Leathers would set you free you could
both go North and nobody could ever separate you again."

"Bress yer good haht, honey!" exclaimed Tenny, clapping her hands. "I wish
I knowed his name. He wus an horsifer. I heerd dem call him Kuhnel."

"And don't you remember his name?"

"No, missy; I doesn't. Nebber heerd him called nuffin but Kuhnel nohow.
Wait a minnit! Chile, chile, 'pears ter me I did hyar it. Lemme think. My
ole haid no 'count no mo'." She placed her hands to her head and looked
with troubled eyes at Jeanne. "Why can't I 'member? 'Twuzn't Massa Benson?
No; 'twuzn't. Think, nigga! Why done yer 'zert yersef? Nebber did hab no
sense nohow."

Thus she rambled on, muttering to herself until presently she sprang to
her feet exclaiming:

"I'se got it, missy. 'Twuz Kuhnel Peyton. Massa Kuhnel Peyton! I 'members
it now 'zactly. Massa Kuhnel Peyton! Dat's it. Dat's it."

"Colonel Peyton!" said Jeanne. "I'll remember that name, Tenny. How much
do you suppose the Colonel would want for her?"

"'Bout a tousand dollahs, I reckon," answered Tenny.

"A thousand dollars," echoed Jeanne in dismay. "Oh, Tenny, I haven't near
that much. I didn't suppose that it would be so much as that."

"Niggas wuth heaps ob money," said Tenny proudly. "My gal wuz smaht, I
tell yer. Dat's why she brung so much. Can't you buy her, missy? Tenny'll
lub yer all yer life ef yer will."

"I'll write to my father," decided Jeanne. "I'll get him to buy her for
me. He will know just what to do, and you shall have your child again,
Tenny, I'll promise you that."

"Ef yer'll jest do that, missy, ole Tenny'll do anything in de wohld fer
yer," sobbing in her eagerness. "To think ob habin' my babby ergain. She
wuz my babby, missy. I had ten befo' her but 'peared laik none ob dem
tuk sich a hole on ma haht de way she did. Ef I kin hab her ergain I'll
brack yer shoes, an' scrub yer floors er do anything all de res' ob ma
life. Yer won't need ter lift yer purty white han's ter do er a lick er
wuk nebber no mo'."

"I'll do it if it is possible," said Jeanne. "It may take some time to
find the Colonel, Tenny. You know that the war has disturbed everything
so, but my father will know just what to do. If anybody can find him I
know that he can. Just hope and pray that it will all come right yet."

"I'll do dat, honey. I'se been prayin' fer dis long time, but I didn't do
no hopin' kase it didn't seem no use. But bress yer! De Lohd seems 'bout
ter lead me outen de valley ob de shadder. Massa Cap'n say sumtime we all
be free, but dat's too much ter hope fer."

"No; it isn't, Tenny. The people up North are talking about it all the
time and working for it. I should not be surprised if it were to happen
any time."

"Glory!" shouted the old woman rapturously. "Den dere wouldn't be no mo'
whippin's, ner chilluns sold frum der mammies, ner hidin's in de swamp
wid de dogs arter yer, ner put in jail ef yer does run away. Oh, chile,
it'll be de bressed day ef it do happen! But it can't be true."

"Hope for it, Tenny. That is what we are doing, but it grows late and I
believe that I am tired. Would you mind going with me to the cabin while I
go to bed? Someway I feel lonesome to-night."

"'Course yer lonesum. Way offen yer folks laik dis. Suttinly I'll go an'
only too glad. Ole Tenny'll put yer ter bed laik she wuz yer own mammy."
She bustled about the girl when they reached the latter's stateroom and
soon had Jeanne snugly in bed. "Dis hyar winda'll gib yer air," she said
opening it. "Yer needn't be afeerd kase it opens on de ribba, and nobody
can't git in. Now shet dem eyes ob yourn, and go ter sleep."

She sat by the girl's side and began crooning weirdly. The wild barbaric
melody rising and falling in a sort of rhythm with the motion of the boat.
Jeanne listened fascinated by the music and presently her eyes became
heavy and soon she was fast asleep.

On and on down the tortuous curves of the river The Gem wended her way
until at last she came in sight of the flotilla under the command of
Commodore Davis. A shout went up from the fleet as the men caught sight
of the transport, and there was a scramble for her sides as she hove
to alongside of the flagship of the Commodore.

Jeanne kept herself in readiness to be transferred to one of the gunboats,
for Captain Leathers had told her that he did not expect to go farther.
Soon he returned from a visit to the flagship.

"Commodore Davis says that it will not be advisable for you to come aboard
any one of his ships as there are many cases of fever among the men," he
said, coming at once to the waiting girl. "Both Commodore Farragut's force
and his own are down with it. They intend withdrawing from the assault on
Vicksburg as they have received orders to that effect from Washington.
Therefore Davis will retire to Helena and Farragut to New Orleans until
they can have the coöperation of the army."

"But----" began Jeanne.

"You see the thing is to get you to Farragut," interrupted the Captain.
"Davis and I have decided that some of these supplies ought to be carried
to the Commodore directly. He knows his need; so that I am going to him
with the transport. Davis will send a gunboat with me for protection. It
is fair to tell you that there will be great danger. The ram Arkansas is
anchored just below the city and will do all she can to injure us. Now
the question is, what will you do? The best thing to my way of thinking
would be for you to stay right here with old Tenny either on one of the
gunboats, fever stricken though they be, or to land somewhere until my
return."

"There is no question at all about it," said Jeanne decidedly. "I will
go with you."

"But you understand that there is danger, child? Great danger! We may all
of us be killed."

"Yes; I know," replied Jeanne quietly, "but I started for New Orleans,
Captain, and I am going if I can get there."

"Then there is nothing more to be said," and the Captain heaved a sigh.
"I will not attempt to combat your decision, child, but I wish you would
not go. However I must see the men now, and place the matter before them.
You may go with me if you like."

Jeanne followed him and stood by his side as he called all hands aft.

"My men," said the captain in clear tones, "I have called you together
to put a plain statement of facts before you. You know that we were sent
here with supplies for the two fleets of Commodores Farragut and Davis.
Both squadrons have many cases of fever which has seriously depleted
their strength. Farragut needs the drugs that we have immediately. Of
course he can get supplies by the outside route, but that takes too
long. The poor fellows are in urgent want of what we have. Now, men,
it was not the intention to go farther when we started than Davis's
flotilla, but my heart bleeds for those suffering sailors. I want to run
by Vicksburg to-night in the darkness. I will not disguise the danger.
The ram Arkansas lies at anchor under the city as a further menace
besides the batteries. I want no man to accompany the expedition who does
not go willingly. All who wish to remain with the fleet may do so without
the least stigma of cowardice attaching to them. Who will go with me?"

There was dead silence. Jeanne looked with surprise at the grave faces
before her. She had thought that men were always ready to lay down their
lives in a good cause. She had not dreamed that any one would hesitate for
a moment. Her amazed look gave place to one of scorn as the time passed
and no one spoke. Stepping close to the Captain's side she slipped her
little hand into his and said clearly:

"I will go with you, Captain."



CHAPTER VIII

THROUGH SHOT AND SHELL


A ringing cheer went up from the men and they stepped forward with one
accord.

"I'll go with you, Captain," cried one. "With you and the little girl to
the death."

"Ay! to the death," shouted the others in chorus.

The Captain smiled down into Jeanne's face.

"You see what you have done," he said. "They did not care to follow me,
but will go anywhere with you. I believe that we shall have to turn over
the boat to your charge."

"I think they would have gone," said Jeanne, rather abashed at so much
notice. "Perhaps they were just thinking it over."

"True for you, my beauty," cried the first mate. "That's what we were
doing, Captain. We'd a gone all right."

"Now, men," said the Captain seriously, still retaining Jeanne's hand,
"you fully realize what you are doing, do you? Think well, because there
can be no backing out when we have started. Any one who does not wish
to join us may go forward. We have no means of fighting and must take
whatever the 'rebs' choose to give us. You see that I am not mincing
matters with you, boys. Move forward any of you who do not wish to go."

He paused and waited for a few moments, but not a man stirred from his
place.

"Then listen," he went on briskly. "We'll finish giving the Commodore
his supplies, and then barricade the boat with bales of cotton. Under
the protection of one of Davis's gunboats we will try to run the batteries
under cover of the darkness. Now fall to, my hearties. There is much to
be done."

There was another cheer and the men sprang to their tasks. The Captain
looked down at the girl by his side. Jeanne's eyes were like stars, and
her cheeks were red as roses. The blood of her Revolutionary ancestors was
up and she showed no sign of fear.

"What will your father say if I do not bring you safely through this?"
asked the Captain.

"It is a risk that we must run," said Jeanne. "There is no more danger
for me than for you and the men."

"True, child; yet we are men, and you are only a girl. I don't know just
where you ought to stay through this affair. One part of the boat will
be just as safe as another."

"Don't mind me, Captain. You will have your duties to attend to, and I
will not bother if I am 'only a girl.'"

"Ah! that touched you, did it?" laughed the Captain. "But I do mind you,
child. I don't half like this idea of your going. You are sure that you
won't stay here?"

"Sure, Captain. Indeed, I must get to New Orleans, and there is no other
way, is there?"

"No; to try to make it by land on either side the river would be through
the enemy's country with every chance in favor of capture. This is a
desperate risk but sometimes desperate chances stand the best show of
success. Once past Vicksburg and the rest is easy."

"Then please don't say anything more about my staying," pleaded Jeanne. "I
will try not to be the least bit in the way."

And so it came about that the transport made ready to run the batteries
of Vicksburg with Jeanne on board. The girl watched the men as they
worked, and waited impatiently for the time to come for them to start. At
last night fell. There was no moon, and a little before midnight a gunboat
drifted out of Miliken's Bend where the fleet lay, and, showing no light
from its chimney, moved like some great bird down the noiseless current,
while the transport, hugging the western shore under the cover of the
friendly darkness, followed close in the rear.

No sound could be heard from the heights of Vicksburg, nor could any
lights be seen. The city lay in the brooding darkness as calmly quiet
as though no dread batteries lay at her feet waiting but the word of
command to belch forth their terrible fire. An hour passed, and Jeanne,
sitting in the darkness of the cabin listening with strained ears to
catch the least sound, began to believe that they would get safely past
the city undiscovered.

Suddenly there came a flash followed by a crash that shook the shores.
Lights danced along the heights. Thunder answered thunder and the
roar of batteries from land and water rent the air. Presently a blaze
flickered, flashed and then sprang up in a great sheet of flame upon the
heights throwing the gunboat and the transport into a strong light,
and turning the gloom of the black midnight into the brilliancy of day.
The Confederates had fired a mass of combustibles with which to spy
out the whereabouts of their enemies.

With the first burst of the artillery Jeanne ran up on deck.

"Back to the cabin, girl," shouted the Captain hoarsely. "This is no place
for you."

But as Jeanne turned to obey him a shot tore through the cabin and fell
hissing into the water beyond. The girl paused. Captain Leathers caught
her arm and drew her behind a bale of cotton.

"Stay there!" he panted. "You will be as safe as anywhere."

At this moment a terrible shape loomed out of the darkness making straight
for the gunboat. A shout went up from the crews of the gunboat and the
transport as the rebel ram Arkansas was recognized. Determined to make a
grand effort to escape, Captain Leathers ordered all steam to be crowded
on, thinking to run down the river while the gunboat engaged the ram.

The Gem responded nobly to the appeal and her prow cut the waters until
they rolled from her in one mass of foam. But the Captain's design was
penetrated instantly by the enemy, and shot and shell sizzed through the
air like hail. It seemed miraculous that the transport escaped being
riddled.

Meantime the gunboat saw that the ram designed to run her down, and
swinging round, welcomed the visitor with a full broadside. As the sound
of the guns and their tremendous reverberations ran along the shore, the
answer came in a terrific onslaught from the batteries above. Pandemonium
seemed to have broken loose. Shot and shell whistled and sang through
the air carrying death and desolation in their wake. Shouts and cries
added to the confusion of the moment.

The ram, foiled in her first attempt to run down the Yankee, withdrew a
short distance and turned again upon the boat. This time she got her sharp
bow full in upon the heavy iron sides of the gunboat but her headway was
not sufficient to cause any very serious damage. Before she could get
away the Captain of the Yankee vessel rushed upon the hurricane deck and
seizing a pistol shot the rebel pilot dead. The rebel crew retaliated
by shooting him down. In the meantime the ram prepared for another blow,
withdrawing for a terrific onslaught.

Just at this moment a shell struck the magazine of the plucky gunboat.
There was an instantaneous explosion and the boat was blown to atoms, her
gallant crew perishing with her.

"We are doomed," groaned Captain Leathers. "Nothing can save us now. Are
you ready to die, little girl?"

"Ready, Captain," came from Jeanne's pale lips, and she arose from her
place behind the cotton. "But I want to die standing. I wish we could
shoot, Captain."

"So do I. But we are at their mercy. It would be a relief to do something,
but to die without a chance for a shot. Ah!"

The exclamation was caused by the fact that the light of the bonfires
was dying down, and the transport was nearing the turn of the lower bend.
The shadows grew deeper and longer, and soon only a pale flickering
flame remained of the brilliant light of a short time before. Then the
blackness of night settled once more upon the river and a cheer broke
from the crew as the transport rounded the lower bend of the great loop
upon which Vicksburg stood, and passed out from under the batteries of
the modern Gibraltar.

"Will that terrible vessel come after us?" asked Jeanne hardly realizing
that the danger was over.

"No, child. We are safe. The ram knows that Farragut is somewhere near
here, and she will not venture out to-night. We are safe; thank God!"

"Thank God!" echoed the girl faintly. "Safe! Oh, Captain, Captain!" and
she burst into a passion of weeping.

"Why, my little heroine, what does this mean?" cried Captain Leathers
dismayed. "You were cool enough through that fire of grape and canister.
'Ready to die,' you said; 'just so that you could die standing.' It was
enough to frighten the bravest man, yet you were not afraid. And now you
break down?"

"Leab her ter me, massa," said old Tenny coming up on deck. "Jest you
leab dat chile ter ole Tenny. Ef dis night ain't been enuff ter make an
angel weep den I dunno nuffin. Lawsie, massa! I'se been suah dat I wuz
daid fer de las' hour. Fiah an' brimstone nebber scare me no mo'. De bad
man ain't got no wuss ter gib dan dis has been, an' I knows it. Come,
chile! Come, honey! Ole Tenny'll put yer ter bed now."

"Yes; that is the best place for her," said the Captain as the girl
continued to sob uncontrollably. "I'll carry her down, Tenny, and you
see to her."

He lifted Jeanne up bodily in his arms, and bore her into the cabin
picking his way carefully through the débris scattered about.

"I--I can't help but cry," sobbed Jeanne with an effort at self-control.

"It's all right, my little girl. Cry all you want to. You are nervous
and overwrought. I feel as if I'd like to do the same if I wasn't a man.
Sleep well because you are safe now, and you won't have any more of this
to go through. Good-night."

"Good-night," murmured Jeanne and presently she grew calm under Tenny's
soothing ministrations.



CHAPTER IX

JEANNE MEETS THE HERO OF NEW ORLEANS


It was late before Jeanne awoke the next morning. The sun was shining
brightly and she lay idly watching the dancing of the sunbeams upon the
wall scarcely realizing where she was. Presently it all came back to her,
and a convulsive shudder shook her frame as she seemed to hear again the
whistle of shot and shell, the cries of the wounded and the shrieks of
the unhappy crew of the gunboat as it blew to atoms.

"How can the sun shine after all that has happened?" asked the girl with
that wonder that comes to all of us when, after some great calamity,
nature presents the same undisturbed aspect. "Oh, how can I ever laugh
again!"

"Is you 'wake, honey?" queried old Tenny peering in at the door. "Massa
Cap'n say when it's 'venient fer yer he laik ter hab yer kum ter see
'Miral Farragut."

"What! have we reached Commodore Farragut? He said 'Commodore' didn't he,
Tenny?" inquired Jeanne, who did not know that Farragut had been recently
made a rear admiral.

"No, honey; he said 'Miral, I'se suah," returned the negress.

Jeanne dressed quickly and then hastened to Captain Leathers.

"How are you this morning, Jeanne?" was the Captain's salutation. "Pretty
thankful to be on earth, aren't you? Admiral," turning to a slight, modest
looking middle aged man with gray hair, "this is the girl I was telling
you about. She stood fire last night like a veteran."

"You have shown yourself to be a true heroine," said Admiral Farragut
taking her hand. "It is not often that we meet such courage in one so
young."

"I never heard that you were deficient in this quality," said the Captain.
"Seems to me that I've heard of a number of your exploits when you were a
lad."

"I was a boy, Captain. One expects such things from a lad but a tender,
delicate little girl,"--and he smiled such a winning smile at Jeanne that
she involuntarily drew closer to him,--"that is decidedly different. Boys
take to such things naturally unless they are molly coddles. Were you not
afraid, little girl?"

"Not until it was over," answered Jeanne shyly. "But it was a dreadful
time. I can't help thinking of those poor men on the gunboat----" Her
voice faltered and her eyes filled with tears.

"Yes, child." The Admiral pressed her hand warmly. "That is the worst part
of it. To lose such gallant fellows is one of the hard things of war. And
yet--there is no nobler death than to fall in defense of one's country.
But the Captain tells me that you have a message for me."

"Yes, sir. I have a letter from my father to Commodore Porter, and General
Wallace added a few lines for you. I will get it."

She ran to her stateroom and soon returned with the letter. "It is for any
one on our side to read," she said, as Farragut hesitated slightly.

"In that case," smiled the Admiral. "I will read it. So, my little one,
it is very necessary for you to get to New Orleans? You are young to be
sent on business for the government. Tell me what led you to undertake
such a thing."

"Because I love my country and wished to do something for her," replied
Jeanne so fervently that Farragut's face kindled in response.

"Well said," he exclaimed enthusiastically. "That's the stuff I wish that
all Americans were made of. But have you no mother?"

"I have a dear mother," answered Jeanne quickly. "She was quite willing
for me to come as it was necessary. She made me this flag," drawing it
from her bosom, "and told me that not even for life itself must I betray
it. I have kissed it every night," continued the girl caressing its folds
fondly, "and I keep it right over my heart that no traitorous thought
may enter there."

"My dear child," a tear glistened in the Admiral's eye, "you are a brave
girl and have a noble mother. So long as America can produce such women
there will be no fear for the Union. You shall get to New Orleans as
quickly as possible. If it were needful I would clear a passage with
my guns. But that will not be necessary. You will soon see the end of
your journey. Would that all messengers were as brave as you have shown
yourself."

"Perhaps they would be if they could meet with such treatment as I have,
sir. Some of them are very bold and daring, and run fearful risks. I have
heard my father tell of their narrow escapes. And some of them," and her
eyes grew sorrowful, "never get back. I have done nothing compared with
what many of them have done."

"It is a great deal," said Farragut kindly. "More than most girls could
do."

And so petted and made much of by officers and men the girl made the
rest of her journey down the river without incident. The entire fleet of
Farragut was brought to New Orleans because the Admiral realized the
futility of taking Vicksburg without troops to hold it. General Butler
at New Orleans had none to send him, and Halleck dawdled at Corinth most
inexplicably. Many of the men were prostrated by fever and rest was a
necessity.

Into the crescent shaped harbor upon which the city stood the fleet came
to anchor, and Jeanne, full of anticipation at the thought of seeing her
uncle and the successful termination of her mission, stood ready to go
ashore. Captain Leathers came to her side.

"You are to go with Admiral Farragut," he said. "He will take you to
General Butler who will know just where to find your uncle."

"Thank you," said Jeanne gratefully. "How kind you have been to me,
Captain Leathers. I will never forget you."

"And I will never forget you," said the Captain heartily. "When people
brave death together it always makes them feel a sort of kinship, don't
you think? And at any time you want to go back I'll carry you if I am
here."

"Thank you," said the girl again. They shook hands and the Captain started
to lead her ashore when Tenny ran after them.

"Shorely you ain't gwine ter leab without tellin' ole Tenny good-bye, is
yer?" she panted.

"No, no, Tenny. I hope to see you soon again," said Jeanne warmly for she
had conceived a real regard for the faithful creature. "And I won't forget
about Snowball."

"Bress yer haht, I knows yer won't. Ole Tenny nebber cease ter gib thanks
dat she hab met yer. Good-bye, honey."

"Good-bye," said Jeanne again and then she followed the Captain down the
cotton platform, which was raised above the levee for the convenient
loading of cotton, to the levee itself, and along the banks to DeLord
Street where they were joined by Admiral Farragut. Jeanne bade the Captain
adieu and then walked slowly by the Admiral's side through the busy
streets en route for the St. Charles Hotel where General Butler had
his headquarters. The city had recovered something of its former activity,
and wore its accustomed garb of careless gaiety and business bustle.

The markets were bright once more with red bandannas and noisy with the
many-tongued chatter of the hucksters: Creole, Spanish, French, German
and English. A perfect babel of tongues, and louder, more obstreperous
and broader mouthed than all others rose the gleeful negro laughter.

The day was warm and bright, and the mulatto women with baskets of cakes,
figs, pomegranates, bananas, crape myrtles and oleanders, filled the
air with their musical negro cries as they vended their wares. Nurses
with children wearing Madras kerchiefs of bright colors, wrinkled negro
mammies, Creoles with French or Spanish descent plainly delineated upon
their features and soldiers, clad in the United States uniform, thronged
the banquettes and streets.

Jeanne looked about her with curiosity, for the quaint old city presented
a thoroughly different aspect to the cities of the North. Many of the
people were of sullen countenance, some of them taking no pains to
conceal their dislike to their conquerors. The stars and stripes hung
everywhere. Hundreds of flags hung over the banquettes and in some
places ropes of them were stretched across the streets. To her amazement
Jeanne saw a well dressed woman go out into the street to avoid walking
under a flag which hung over the banquette. A soldier seized her
unceremoniously and forced her to pass under the emblem. With freezing
hauteur the woman raised her parasol and interposed its shelter between
her and the offending flag.

"Verily, Butler hath his hands full," quoth the Admiral, and then he
added: "You wished to find your uncle, did you not?"

"Yes, sir," replied Jeanne, trying to overcome her astonishment at what
she saw. "And yet I don't know whether I should find him first or not."

"Why?" asked the Admiral in surprise.

"You know, sir, that I came down here on business," and as he nodded
assent she continued. "My father sent some papers to be given to a man
here in the service of the government. I have always said that I was
going to Uncle Ben, but he is not the man. Father told me not to mention
the name until I reached New Orleans and then only to some one I could
trust. The man's name is John Archer. Now do you think I should go to
him or to Uncle Ben first? I suppose Uncle Ben would help me find him."

"I should find the man, child. In every case when performing a duty finish
that first before doing anything else. You have shown great prudence in
not mentioning the name before. General Butler will of course know this
Archer, and will see that you see him. Then I know that he will gladly
find your uncle for you."

"I will do just as you say for you know best. How glad father will be when
he learns how you have helped me."

"Ought you not to send him some word?"

"I will just as soon as I can say that I have delivered the papers to Mr.
Archer. He will be so pleased. Then I will visit Uncle Ben until father
says for me to come home. Isn't it queer, Admiral, I have never seen my
uncle?"

"You have not? But you have heard from him?"

"No, sir; he came South years ago. Long before I was born, but my father
always thought so much of him that I will be glad to see him."

"In that case the very wisest thing to do is to find John Archer," said
Farragut emphatically. "This is the St. Charles, child."

They paused before the famous structure. A broad piazza supported by
pillars overarched with stone ran along the front, making an imposing
entrance. The building was a handsome one, and famed at one time as the
finest hotel in the States.

Admiral Farragut and his charge were soon admitted to General Butler's
presence. The General had chosen the ladies' parlor as his official
headquarters. The room was filled with orderlies and sergeants each intent
upon the performance of some duty. In the midst of them sat General
Butler. He received his visitors courteously. His name familiar to every
American, spoken of by some in terms of highest praise, and by others
with opprobrium, made Jeanne shrink a little closer to Farragut's side
as the General greeted them. He was of imposing presence. Not tall, but of
well-developed form and fine massive head; not graceful in movement but
of firm solid aspect; self-possessed and slow of speech.

"This is a great pleasure, Admiral," he exclaimed with heartiness.
"Welcome back to New Orleans."

"Thank you, General," returned Farragut. "I should be glad to be here
could I feel that I have not left unfinished my work behind me."

"Vicksburg then is still untaken?"

"I regret to answer, yes. But you are making progress here. You have begun
a good work. I notice that the streets are being cleaned."

"The condition of things demanded it," returned Butler. "The quality of
the climate is pernicious and wasting enough without having to brave the
terror of yellow fever. It has been in self-defense."

"It takes a strong hand to rule the city, does it not?"

"A strong hand? Yes. I am subjected to all sorts of abuse for my tyranny,
as they call it; but this one measure the strongest rebel among them must
approve. In time perhaps they will see the need of all. My administration
may be vigorous, but of one thing rest assured: So long as Benjamin F.
Butler stays in New Orleans the city shall acknowledge the absolute and
unquestioned supremacy of the United States."

"There is no doubt but that she will with you at the helm," said the
Admiral. "General, do you know a man by the name of Archer?"

"John Archer?" asked the General, giving a quick glance at him. "Well,
to any one else, Admiral, I should dissemble; but to you I will say, yes.
Why?"

"This girl," pushing Jeanne forward, "has brought messages, papers, or
something of that nature for him from New York City: I thought that
perhaps you could arrange a meeting with him for her. After that she has
an uncle in the city whom she wishes to find."

"This girl?" General Butler eyed Jeanne keenly. "Rather young for a
messenger, isn't she?"

"In years, perhaps; but she ran the fire of the Vicksburg batteries in
order to reach here."

"Indeed!" General Butler looked at her more closely. "Do you know John
Archer, child?"

"No, sir."

"Orderly, bring in the man Archer," commanded the General.

A look of surprise passed over Farragut's face, but he made no remark.
Presently the orderly returned with a man.

"Archer," said the General quietly, "this girl has brought some papers
for you."

There was a startled expression on the man's face, and he looked at Jeanne
with something like apprehension. General Butler turned his attention to
Admiral Farragut, and Jeanne was left face to face with the man whom she
had come so far to see.



CHAPTER X

AN UNFORESEEN RESULT


He was not an agreeable looking man and Jeanne felt an instinctive
distrust of him instantly. For a few moments she hesitated, and the
thought came to her that she would not give him the papers. But was it
not for this very thing that she had come to New Orleans? What would her
father say if she did not fulfil her trust?

"You wished to see me?" said John Archer, and it seemed to Jeanne that
he was trying to make signs to her.

"If you are Mr. John Archer?" and Jeanne looked at him steadily. "I came
from Mr. Richard Vance."

"Vance? Richard Vance?" repeated the other as if the name conveyed nothing
of importance to his mind. "What Vance?"

"Why Richard Vance of New York City," answered Jeanne in astonishment.
She had inferred from what her father had said that John Archer would be
well acquainted with the name. "He is my father, and he has sent me to you
with some papers. If you are Mr. John Archer?"

"I am he," answered the man, "but I know nothing about any papers."

"I thought that you would," murmured Jeanne. There seemed something
strange to her in the way the man was acting. "My mother sewed them into
my petticoat," she continued with a growing reluctance against parting
with them. "If there is any place where I could go I would get them. It
seemed the best way to carry them."

"Orderly," interposed General Butler turning to them, "take the young lady
to Mrs. Butler. My wife will gladly assist you," he added to Jeanne.

"Thank you," said Jeanne, gratefully hurrying after the Orderly. They soon
reached the apartments set aside for the use of General Butler's wife, and
she herself opened the door in answer to the Orderly's knock.

"Come right in," she said cordially in response to Jeanne's rapid
explanation. "You are young to be sent on such an errand, my dear. But
the times are such that we cannot always choose our messengers. Very
often the young prove more reliable than older persons. You say that
they are in your petticoat, my child?"

"Yes, ma'am," returned Jeanne. "You see it made my frock stand out like
crinoline and no one would think it was anything else."

"And a good place it is too," replied the lady busy with her scissors.
"You have a thoughtful mother."

"Mrs. Butler," said the little girl suddenly after she and the lady had
finished their task and the papers lay before them, "do you know John
Archer?"

"No, child. Why?"

"He is the man to whom my father sent these papers," said the girl
thoughtfully. "Someway I do not like him. I wish he were not the man."

"My dear," reproved the lady gently, "we ought not to let our fancies
dominate us. If the man came to the General's rooms and was received
there, rest assured that he is all right. The General has means of knowing
whether a man is to be trusted or not."

"True," replied Jeanne, and feeling that it would be ungracious to give
further expression to her distrust she went slowly back to the parlor.
Why should she, a mere child, presume to doubt a man whom the General and
even her own father trusted? "But I do wish," sighed she as she opened the
door of the apartment. "I do wish that he were not the man."

"Here are the papers," she said, going straight to Mr. Archer.

"Thank you." Archer took the papers mechanically and without another word
or look at her turned to the Orderly, and was conducted from the room.

Jeanne stood looking after him somewhat dismayed. Was this all? Some way
she had thought, had expected it to be so different. Mr. Huntsworth,
Captain Leathers, even the great Farragut had seemed to consider that
she had done wonders in carrying the papers but this man thought nothing
of her action. Tears of disappointment welled to her eyes.

"Never mind, child," said Farragut seeing her distress. "Some people are
so matter of fact that they suppose the whole world is of the same way of
thinking. Besides, the consciousness of a good action is its own reward."

"Ye-es," said Jeanne, "I know that it ought to be. It says so in my
copy-book. But I thought that it would be so different."

"It would be a fine thing if all our acts would receive approbation,"
remarked General Butler. "Brass bands and calcium lights are things that
human nature craves for deeds well done, but they are seldom given. That
is, until one dies."

"Don't be cynical, General," laughed Farragut. "The child will find it
out soon enough."

"Yes; I suppose so," replied Butler. "Didn't you say something about an
uncle, Admiral?"

"Yes; that is the next thing in order. She is to stay with him until her
father tells her to return. Her uncle is Benjamin Vance."

"Whe-ew," whistled the General an expression of blank amazement on his
face. "Did you say Benjamin Vance?"

"Certainly. Do you know him?"

"I do," replied the General emphatically. "And this girl is his niece,
and she brings papers down here to Archer? It is about the boldest thing
I ever heard of!"

"Why! What do you mean?"

"I'll tell you presently. Come here, girl. Do you hear often from your
uncle?" he asked as Jeanne approached.

"No, sir. Father has not heard from him in years. He came South long
before I was born, but I remembered that he lived here when I was getting
father to let me bring the papers."

"Isn't it strange that you should have remembered it just at that time?"
questioned Butler sharply.

"Why, no," answered the girl regarding him with wide open eyes. "I have
heard my father speak of Uncle Ben all my life, and when New Orleans was
mentioned I always thought of him. So I said that I was coming to see
Uncle Ben when I was truly bringing the papers to Mr. Archer. Father
thought it was best."

"I see. What is in the papers?"

"I don't know, sir." Jeanne looked at him so innocently that he was
compelled to believe her.

"Well, you at least, are innocent, I do believe. Now, child, what else
did you bring? Anything for your uncle?"

"I brought him some quinine," answered Jeanne half laughing. "Father had
it fixed for me in my lunch basket. He said if I should fall in with the
rebels and they questioned me too closely I was to own up about it. See!
here is the basket. The quinine is right down in this place."

"I don't understand about the thing," said the General in a low tone to
the Admiral. "The girl is either the most innocent person in the world
and everything is exactly as she says, or she is a consummate actress,
young as she is."

"General, what in the world do you mean?" queried Farragut.

"I mean," said General Butler sternly, "that it looks very much to me as
if some mischief were afloat. John Archer is under arrest for disloyalty
to the government. Naturally this makes it bad for the girl."

"Then," said Farragut gravely, "why did you permit him to have those
papers?"

"He will not have them long. Did you not notice an Orderly go out after
him?"

"I saw a man go out, but I thought nothing of it," was the response.

"That man has his orders. Archer was relieved of the papers as soon as
he left the room. I wanted to get all the evidence against him that I
could hence I did not tell you about the matter at first. I thought that
he might recognize the girl or she him."

"I believe that you are wrong," said Farragut earnestly. "I know nothing
of course about Archer, but I would stake my life that what the girl says
is true. It would be bold indeed to deliver documents serviceable to the
enemy under our very noses."

"The very boldness of the scheme would make it successful. Besides,
the fellow's arrest is recent. His accomplices in the North cannot
possibly have heard of it as yet. He has been in the service of the Union
until suspected of furnishing information to the enemy. You can see why
the girl would deliver the papers before us. Another thing, her uncle,
Benjamin Vance, is one of the worst rebels in the city."

"What!" cried Farragut.

"Yes."

"But she is too young to enter into any such scheme."

"Ah! you do not know these people as I do. They are perfectly unscrupulous
as regards ways and means when it comes to carrying a point. Do you know
the girl's father? I judged not from what you told me of meeting with her."

"No," admitted Farragut. "But she carried a letter to Commodore Porter
with a few lines from Wallace at Memphis to me. Really you must be
mistaken."

"Letters can be forged," said Butler sententiously. "And sometimes
wheedled from officers, as we know to our sorrow. She may be but a tool of
persons who hope that her youth will protect her from the consequences.
You must confess that it looks bad. Ah, Johnson," as his Orderly made
his appearance, "did you get them?"

"Yes, sir."

Jeanne started forward with a cry of amazement as the Orderly laid upon
the table the very papers which she had given John Archer but a short time
before.

General Butler spread them before him for inspection.

"You can see for yourself that they contain important information," he
said to Farragut. "This thing would be all right if Archer were loyal;
otherwise it may show how it happens that the enemy obtains so much
information that it should not. The girl is certainly an emissary of
the Confederates."

"A what?" cried Jeanne starting forward indignantly, for the General had
raised his voice and she had overheard the last words. "What did you say,
sir?"

"I said," and the General turned to her abruptly and spoke sternly, "that
unless you can prove otherwise, that you are sent with these papers to
Archer for the rebels."

"Why, my father sent me," cried the girl blankly. "He is in the employ
of the government and so is Mr. Archer."

"Archer was until quite recently, but he is now under arrest on strong
suspicion of giving information to the enemy. You see everything is known,
child. Tell the truth. Who sent you here?"

"My father," said Jeanne again, looking piteously from one to the other.
"Oh, what does he mean, Admiral? What does he mean?"

"Child," Farragut took her hand kindly. "Tell me truly. What is your
father?"

"He is in the employ of the government," reiterated Jeanne vehemently. "He
sends communications all over the states, because he told me so. He said
that telegraphs were not to be trusted, nor the mails either. For that
reason people were sent to the different cities with information about
the government."

"That proves nothing," said the General, "unless it can be substantiated.
Why then do you want to visit your uncle--if you are loyal--when he is
such a rebel?"

"A rebel?" cried Jeanne recoiling in horror. "Is my uncle a rebel?"



CHAPTER XI

CLEARED OF SUSPICION


The girl stared at them as if unable to believe the evidence of her senses.

"A rebel!" she repeated wildly. "My uncle a rebel? It cannot be!"

Her consternation was so apparent that General Butler almost believed in
her. Farragut's clouded face cleared instantly, and he turned to the other
quickly.

"Whatever scheme is afoot that girl knows nothing of it," he said. "Why,
Butler, she carries a United States flag in her breast, and you should
hear her talk. I am sure that she is as loyal to the Union as either you
or I."

"It may be, Admiral. One thing in her favor is the fact that you believe
in her. Let me see! How was it that you said she came from Vicksburg?"

"Did I not tell you? She came with Captain Leathers from Memphis. The
transport, The Gem, joined us just below Vicksburg. He brought us
supplies, and there is absolutely no question with regard to his
sentiments. They have been proved over and over again."

"Of course the girl may be all right and everything be just as she says,"
said General Butler again. "As I say the thing in her favor is that she
came here to ask for Archer. I suppose it was because she knew no one.
Had she sought her uncle first----"

"I advised her to come here," said Farragut in a low tone. "I told her
to find Archer first, and then to seek for her uncle, and she acquiesced
without hesitation."

"I am afraid that she is deep. Of course the whole thing was concocted
in New York City. They could not know that Archer had been arrested, and
this information would have been sent to the Confederates as other plans
have been. I tremble to think of the consequences had these papers fallen
into their hands. Really, traitors are everywhere. I had hoped that the
government had gotten rid of them by this time."

Meantime Jeanne was just recovering from the shock of learning that her
uncle was a rebel. She had not heard the conversation of the two officers,
and now she came to Admiral Farragut turning to him instinctively in her
distress.

"What shall I do?" she asked. "I can't go to Uncle Ben if he is a rebel.
Oh, what will father say!"

"I don't know, child. What shall be done, General? You command here."

"The girl must go to her uncle," said the General decidedly. "There to
remain until I sift this thing to the bottom. Meantime she must take the
oath of allegiance to the United States."

"The oath?" cried Jeanne. "Why should I take the oath, General Butler? I
thought that it was only for those whose loyalty to the Union was doubted."

"That is it precisely," returned General Butler coldly. "If you are
sincere in your avowed devotion to your country, the oath won't hurt you.
If you are not then you will either perjure yourself or else be registered
as an open enemy to the United States."

Jeanne was dumb with anguish. She, Jeanne Vance, an open enemy of the
United States! Of the country for which she was ready to give her life!
She gave one stricken glance at the austere man before her, and burst
into tears.

"Come, come, General," said Farragut laying a kindly hand on the girl's
bowed head, "you are too severe, aren't you?"

"Not at all. Every man, woman and child in this city must take this oath,
or be known as an enemy of the Union. It works no hardship if one is
loyal, and acts as a restraining power on those who are not. The authority
of the Union must be recognized while the city is under my charge."

"Take the oath, child. That is, if you can do so conscientiously. But
whatever be the consequences accept them as a brave girl, and perjure
yourself for no man," advised Farragut.

"I will," said Jeanne chokingly. "It isn't because of the oath that I
feel bad, Admiral. It is because my loyalty to the Union has been doubted.
Do you think that I would carry this," and she drew the flag from the
bosom of her dress, "if I were not for the Union? I kiss its folds each
night, and with it before me, I pray for the success of my country." She
kissed it passionately as she spoke.

"That action speaks for itself," remarked General Butler with such a
change of tone that Jeanne looked up hastily. "No rebel woman or girl
that I have ever known would kiss that flag. I have hard work to make them
even walk under it. Forgive me, child, for doubting you, but treachery
lurks under so many different forms that I am forced to suspect even
children."

"Suppose," suggested the Admiral, relieved that the General had come to
his way of thinking, "suppose you begin at the beginning and tell us all
about this business. How many have you in the family?"

"Four," answered Jeanne promptly, a little comfort creeping into her
heart at the change in the General's manner. "Father who works for the
government, mother who is in the Monarch Relief Association, and Dick who
is in the army."

"Your brother is in the Union army?" queried the General.

"Yes, sir."

"That is easily verified," said the General, making a note of the fact.
"Now how did you come to be sent down here?"

Jeanne recounted the circumstances of the affair rapidly not even omitting
her mother's parting words of counsel. Both men listened with close
attention.

"And you knew nothing whatever of your Uncle Ben?" asked Butler when she
had finished.

"No, sir; father has not heard from him in many years. He will be grieved
to learn that he is a rebel," and her eyes filled with tears.

"I have no doubt of it. Now, my little girl, I am going to send you to
your uncle until I can look up the truth of your story."

"Couldn't you send me home?" asked the girl wistfully, a sudden yearning
possessing her for the refuge of her mother's arms.

"I will soon. There are dangers by land and by sea, and, as your father
told you to wait until you heard from him, I think that it would be wise
to do so. It will be best for you to see for yourself what manner of man
your uncle is so that you can tell your father. Good-bye," and he held
out his hand. "Come in to see me sometimes while you are here."

"Good-bye," said Jeanne, shaking hands with him as in duty bound. She gave
him a look of reproach and then turned to Farragut.

"This has been a hard trial for you, child," said the Admiral. "You have
come through with colors flying though. I believe that you always will."

"It has taught me," said the girl with quivering lips, "that there are
worse things than cannon balls and grape shot. I would rather face
Vicksburg a dozen times than to go through this again."

"Don't take it too much to heart." Farragut patted her hand with great
gentleness. "It was a severe ordeal, but truth will always prevail. Just
think what it would have been had you really been guilty. Your conscience
at least was clear."

"I did not like Mr. Archer," said Jeanne musingly, loth to leave this
friend. "I told Mrs. Butler so. I did not want to give him the papers."

"Why didn't you say so?" cried the General.

"Because you had received him here and I thought that of course he was all
right. It would have been presumption on my part to have spoken against
him when my father sent me to him, and I did not know anything against him
really. Besides, I did not dream that any one could doubt my loyalty."

"You must forgive me," said the General humbly, seeing how deeply the girl
was hurt. "You don't know what I have to put up with or you would. When
you have been here a short time you will realize the situation better than
you do now. When you do, will you come to me and be friends?"

"Yes;" and Jeanne smiled a little for the first time.

"Good-bye," and the Admiral extended his hand as the girl prepared to
accompany the Orderly detailed by the General to conduct her to her
uncle's house. "I hope to see you again soon."

"I hope so too," answered Jeanne. Then as she clasped his hand she cried
half hysterically. "Oh, Admiral, I am afraid to go. I am afraid!"

"No, you're not, child. You are tired and nervous. Be brave. Meet your
uncle as if nothing had happened. I dare say that you will find him kind
and good."

"But he is a rebel," sobbed Jeanne in such heartrending tones that both
men smiled involuntarily.

"Well, some of them are very good men," said Farragut. "They are mistaken
in their views and need teaching a great many things, but otherwise they
are a warm-hearted people. I am from the South myself, you know."

"Are you?" asked the girl surprised, yet she had wondered at his soft
Southern voice.

"Yes; a Tennesseean. You seem to think that I am all right."

"You are," replied Jeanne so heartily that Farragut laughed outright. "But
Uncle Ben didn't take New Orleans."

"Perhaps you can get his services for us yet, and he may do something
better than to take New Orleans. That may be your work here."

"I doubt it," spoke General Butler emphatically. "There is no rebel so
unregenerate as a renegade Yankee. There may be some excuse for those
born in this section of the country, but for a Yankee who embraces the
pernicious doctrine of secession there is none. The Orderly waits, my
child."

Farewells were again exchanged, and Jeanne followed reluctantly after her
guide.



CHAPTER XII

AN UNEXPECTED GREETING


The Orderly called a cab and assisted Jeanne into it, putting her satchel
and basket beside her. Then springing in he gave the order and they were
off.

Past Lafayette Square with its city hall, churches and Odd Fellows Hall
which were grouped round it with fine effect they went, and on into
that portion of the city that was known as the Faubourg Marigny whose
residences were built with more architectural generosity, broader spaces,
longer vistas, ampler gardens and with more sacrifices to the picturesque
than the part of the city through which they had just passed.

At last the cab turned into the courtyard of a massive brick building.
It was a true Spanish building with broad doorways and windows, the
roof of which was a solid terrace surrounded by a stone balustrade. The
establishment had all the privacy of isolation and seclusion and was a
charming spot. The gardens were very large and spacious, and fragrant
with the blossoms from the magnolia groves. The avenue to the house was
shaded with orange trees that later would be redolent with perfume and
beautiful beyond description. Fruit trees were everywhere. Pomegranate,
peach, banana, fig, pear interspersed with rose trees and jasmine whose
odors ravished the senses.

The cab swept in an extensive circle round the courtyard to the carriage
step before the broad doorway. A tall gentleman, elegantly appareled,
stood leaning in an easy attitude against one of the pillars of the broad
piazza smoking a cigar. He advanced to meet the arrivals as the Orderly
threw open the door of the cab and handed out the girl.

"General Butler presents his compliments to Mr. and Madame Vance," he
said, with a deep bow, "and begs to introduce to them their niece, Miss
Vance of New York."

"My niece!" exclaimed the gentleman giving Jeanne a look of astonishment.
"I have none unless my brother has a daughter. Are you Dick's child?"

"Yes," replied Jeanne, her heart beating quickly. "You are Uncle Ben,
aren't you?" with a trace of wistfulness in her voice.

"I am Benjamin Vance at least," was the answer. "Come in. I don't know
your name, but you are welcome if you are Dick's daughter."

"I am Richard Vance's daughter," replied Jeanne with some dignity.

"Then you are certainly my niece, though what in the world you are doing
here is more than I can see. Dick is well, is he? But come in. You shall
tell me all about it later."

He kissed her lightly on the forehead, and without a glance or word
for the Orderly drew her up the brick stairs and through the hall, whose
stairway was beautiful enough for a palace with its elaborate, fantastic,
hand-wrought iron railing, and on to the door of a salon. A beautiful
woman swept graciously forward to meet them. She was very dark with
brilliant black eyes and silky hair of raven hue. Her manner was easy,
graceful and rather impassioned, and her features showed unmistakably her
French descent.

"Clarisse," said the gentleman, "this is my niece who has honored us with
a visit. I think that I have told you of my brother, Richard. She is his
daughter and is from New York City."

"Mais!" exclaimed the lady, with a laugh and speaking with a decidedly
French accent. "You surprise me! I knew not that you had a niece. Why did
you not tell me? It is one bad husband you are not to tell me of the dear
demoiselle. You are welcome, child. She resembles you, mon ami," taking
Jeanne's face between her hands and giving her a long look. "We shall be
great friends, my dear. Is it not so?"

"Yes;" Jeanne's lips quivered and her eyes filled suddenly with tears
at this unexpected greeting. Her mission had ended so differently from
the way she had anticipated;--the doubt of her loyalty and the knowledge
that her uncle was a rebel had filled her heart with misgivings so that
this welcome was almost more than she could bear. But as this gleam of
sunshine comforted her, she steeled herself against its influence and
drew herself up bravely.

"I must tell you something," she said, "before you welcome me too warmly.
I am for the Union."

She did not dare to look at them as she spoke. Her thought was that
they must know her principles before going further. She was homesick
and longing for love and tenderness, but not for one moment would she
receive them under false pretenses. A glance flashed from husband to
wife and then a clear, silvery laugh rang out as the lady caught her
to her.

"You dear little Yankee! you are too ridiculous for anything! Did you
think we would turn you out because you were not a rebel? Well, we are
rebels, my dear, but as we have to stand that odious, uncouth General
Butler of yours I think we won't mind a little thing like you. Come now,
and I will take you to your room and you shall rest. Then you shall tell
us why you have come all this way to see us at such a time."

Jeanne returned her caresses with fervor, and abandoned herself to the
delight of being fondled and petted again as only children can do who have
been deprived of endearments after being accustomed to them.

"They are nice people," she whispered as the lady left her in a cool quiet
room. "I wonder if it is wrong to like them? But it is father's brother,
and I ought to love them. Oh, I do wish they were not rebels! How can they
be traitors when they are so good!"

After she had rested her uncle's wife came for her.

"You are not weary now, are you?" she asked in her soft, caressing voice.
"You looked so fatigued, child. Tell me, what is your name?"

"Jeanne."

"Jeanne? Oh, you darling! That is French, isn't it? I did not know that
the Americans ever named their children so. Jeanne! It is delightful."

"And you are Aunt Clarisse?"

"Ma foi, Jeanne! Do not call me anything so prim. Call me 'Cherie.' Aunt
Clarisse indeed!" She laughed gaily.

"Cherie! what does it mean?" asked the girl wonderingly, gazing at the
bright face above her with delight. "It should be something brilliant
and sweet to suit you, I think. Something like rich red roses heavy with
perfume and sweetness."

"You little flatterer! And you call yourself a Yankee? No, no; Yankees
do not make speeches like that. You are French as your name is."

"But I like to be a Yankee," cried Jeanne.

"Be what you like, little one, so long as you are as sweet as you are.
But now let us go down to your uncle, after you take one little cup of
coffee. So! Now we are ready."

The two descended to the drawing-room arm in arm, and there Jeanne related
all the circumstances that led to her coming to New Orleans, concealing
nothing. Her deep love and attachment to her country glowed through the
narrative like a golden thread. The lady and gentleman listened in silence
until she related General Butler's doubt of herself, when her uncle
sprang to his feet with an exclamation.

"The scoundrel!" he cried. "To subject you to such treatment. And we are
helpless. Yes; we are helpless. Day after day some new act of injustice
comes to our ears and we must submit. But our time is coming, and I fancy
that Butler won't relish what his high handed proceedings will bring him."

"He is truly a beast without the instincts of a gentleman," cried Madame
Vance, excitedly. "That is our name for him, Jeanne. 'Beast' Butler, and
well he deserves it."

Jeanne moved uneasily.

"It wasn't pleasant," she said, "and it was a new thing to me to have my
loyalty questioned, but I think he must have to do that way. You are so
against him, you know, that if he were not careful you might rise up and
drive him out. And the Union must have New Orleans. Father says that the
rebellion can never be put down unless the Mississippi River is in our
possession."

"True for you, my little Yankee. And that is just where the Union will
fail. They did take New Orleans through the cowardice of its defenders,
but they'll never get Vicksburg. And so long as we can hold that the
Confederacy is safe. But you say that you ran past the Vicksburg
batteries. Tell that again."

Jeanne retold that portion of her story to please him.

"I am glad that you are here, child," remarked Mr. Vance when she had
finished. "But I am surprised at Brother Dick's sending you to face such
dangers. He always was an enthusiast in anything that he undertook, and
undervalued life if it stood in the way of accomplishing his object."

"Father did not know that it was so risky," said Jeanne unwilling to hear
aught against her father. "He would not have sent me if he had. Besides I
wanted to come, and I am glad that I did come, now that I have met you
and Cherie."

"Yes; I am glad for you to know her too," said Uncle Ben, his Yankee
tones sounding in flat contrast with his wife's sibilant ones. "I always
intended taking her North to see Dick's folks, but just as we were ready
to go this war came on and here we are now at the mercy of that Yankee."

"But you are a Yankee too, Uncle Ben," said Jeanne bluntly.

"Ages ago, little one. He has gotten over all that now," said Madame
Vance softly. "After you have been with us awhile you will get over your
rank Unionism too."

Jeanne shook her head decidedly.

"Dear Cherie," she said, "nothing could ever make me disloyal to my flag.
See! I always carry it with me."

She drew the flag from her bosom and waved it proudly before her. Madame
Vance gasped, and her husband's face darkened perceptibly.

"Little one, you will not carry it while here, will you? To please me,
dear, never take it out again."

"Oh, but I must," said Jeanne. "I promised my own dear mother that I would
look at it every night and I must keep my promise. I wish I could please
you, Cherie, but I cannot. But I will do this much. I will not take it out
before you any more. I ought to respect your feelings, I know."

"So much gained," murmured the lady aside to her husband. To Jeanne she
only said quietly:

"Thank you, dear. You are an amiable little thing, and you shall have my
favorite darky for your maid while you are here. I will call Snowball and
she will help you to dress for dinner."

"Snowball," echoed Jeanne.



CHAPTER XIII

UNDER EVERY FLOWER THERE LURKS A SERPENT


"Yes; Snowball," repeated Madame. "A quaint name, is it not? She is so
black that I fancy that was the reason it was given her. She bore it when
your uncle bought her. She is very bright, and a master hand at waiting
upon one."

Jeanne made no further remark but eagerly scanned the face of the darky
as she entered. She was indeed very black, and her shining ivories
were always visible in a smile. Good nature was written all over her
countenance, but Jeanne could see no resemblance to Tenny.

"She may not be the one after all," she mused.

"Snowball," said Madame. "Miss Jeanne will be your young lady now. Your
duty will be to attend to her and to look after her clothes while she is
here."

"Yes'm;" Snowball dropped a curtsy. "Does yer want me ter do anything now,
little missy?"

"Yes; help her to dress for dinner," replied Madame Vance speaking for
Jeanne. "We dine at eight, my dear."

Jeanne followed the black to the room which had been given her, and
Snowball proceeded to brush her hair.

"Snowball," said the girl suddenly, "was your mother named Tennessee? And
did they call her Tenny for short?"

"Bress yer soul, honey, yes," cried Snowball letting the brush fall in
her astonishment. "How kum yer ter know dat?"

"She was on the boat with me when I came from Memphis," replied Jeanne.
"She told me all about losing you and how much she thought of you, but
she thought that Colonel Peyton bought you."

"Yes'm, he did. But de Kuhnel went to de wah an' he say he hab too many
darkies, so he sell off all but de ones he hab de longes', an' Massa Vance
bought me. What my ole mammy say?"

"She loves you very much, and she misses you greatly, Snowball. I wish
I could buy you and set you free. Then you could go North to live with
her."

"Wish yer could. I'd laik dat. An' I'd laik de bes' in de wohld ter see
my ole mammy ergain. How'd she look, missy?"

Jeanne told the girl all that she could recall about Tenny. How she looked
and what she had said. Snowball's eyes glistened as she talked.

"Yer got a good heart, little missy," she said as Jeanne paused for
breath. "You is de bestest lill' lady dat I eber seed. Snowball'll lub
ter wait on yer."

And Jeanne soon found that it was really a labor of love to the girl,
and they grew to be fast friends despite the difference in color and
condition. In fact she soon found that she felt more at home with the
colored girl than she did with her aunt in spite of the caresses which
the latter lavished upon her.

The days passed into weeks, and the weeks into months until two had rolled
by and Jeanne was still in New Orleans. She had grown pale and thin and
worn. She had no illness but suffered the bad effects of the wasting
climate. In all the time she had been there no word had come to her from
her parents, and a great longing for home possessed her.

"Why does not my father write for me?" she murmured one morning as she sat
listlessly before the window. "What can have happened? Something is wrong
I know, or he would have sent for me."

"Why so triste, my love?" asked her aunt entering the room.

"Cherie," and Jeanne returned the caress that Madame bestowed upon her.
"I am wishing for my mother and home. I wonder why I have not heard from
my father."

"It is strange," admitted the lady. "And yet, child, when one considers
the state of the country and how the Yankees seize mails and telegrams,
and exercise such a rigorous espionage over them one cannot wonder after
all. I have no doubt that he has written, but that his letters are being
detained for some reason by 'Beast' Butler."

Jeanne made no reply. She had ceased for some time saying anything when
her aunt launched forth in a tirade against the Yankees. She was as
staunch a patriot as ever, but, without words, it had been borne in
upon her mind that her sentiments were unwelcome to her uncle and aunt,
and that it would be better for her not to give utterance to them.

"Where is Snowball?" asked Madame Vance presently. "I wish to take you for
a drive, and you are not dressed. That darky gets more shiftless every
day. Where is she?"

"Hyar I is, missus." Snowball started up from behind a huge brocaded chair
so quickly that she overturned a low table upon which stood a ewer that
had contained orangeade. A crash followed, and the culprit stood looking
at the fragments of the pitcher with consternation written over her face.

"Come here," and Madame's tone was so stern that Jeanne looked at her
startled. "Forty lashes you shall have for this."

"Please'm, missus, lemme off dis time. Clar ter goodness I didn't go ter
do it."

"Please, please," said Jeanne tearfully. She had heard the sound of
whippings once or twice, but her aunt had always taken her away from the
sound immediately, and her soul sickened at the thought of them. "I could
not bear to have Snowball whipped, Cherie."

"She must be punished," said the lady harshly. "Such carelessness cannot
be tolerated for a moment."

"But isn't there some other way?" cried Jeanne. "Do, do, dear Cherie, use
some other way of punishment."

"Jeanne, I beg you to say no more. Am I not capable of administering
the affairs of my own household? I want no Yankee notions down here.
I understand what she needs."

Jeanne did not dare to reply. She had never before seen her aunt angry
although she knew that the blacks were very much afraid of her. Snowball
was taken down into the yard, and soon Jeanne heard the most fearful
screams as if a human being was suffering the utmost that a mortal could
endure of agony.

She could not bear the cries. She ran down the stairs and out into the
yard where she beheld the girl stretched upon the ground on her face, her
feet tied to a stake, her hands held by a black man, her back uncovered
from her head to her heels. Her aunt was standing by directing a burly
negro in his task of applying the lash.

The girl's back was covered with blood. Every stroke of the instrument
of torture tore up the flesh in long dark ridges. With a cry of horror
Jeanne caught the man's arm as it was about to descend for another stroke.

"Stop," she cried. "For the love of mercy, stop!"

"Go into the house, girl," commanded Madame Vance in terrible tones. "Who
are you that you should interfere with my bidding? Have I not the right
to do with my own slave as I wish? I want none of your abolitionism here."

"But she has been whipped enough," cried Jeanne. "Surely it is enough. I
cannot bear it."

She burst into tears. For a moment Madame's face was convulsed with fury,
and then a wonderful change came over it. She was once again the smiling,
affectionate lady that had greeted the girl on her arrival.

"There!" she said going to Jeanne and putting her arms about her. "You
shall have your way. You see that 'Cherie' can refuse you nothing. Put up
your strap, Jeff. I will let the girl off this time because Miss Jeanne
wishes it. But see that you are more careful next time, Snowball. You
might not get off so easily."

"Yes, missus," responded the sobbing creature as she was helped upon her
feet.

"Now come, Jeanne, and we will go for our drive. You have no idea how
troublesome these blacks are, my dear. One has to keep an iron hand upon
them to hold them in subjection. But of course you are not used to them."

"No," said Jeanne shrinking a little from her caresses. "We don't have
slavery at the North. I never felt so thankful of it before. Poor things!
Poor things!"

Madame Vance's brow darkened, but she smoothed the girl's hair softly.

"And aren't you going to forgive your poor 'Cherie'? Are you going to
turn against her because of a little whipping? You are unjust, Jeanne.
We who have the blacks to deal with know more of this matter than you
do. Besides did I not give it up when you asked me?"

"Forgive me," answered Jeanne trying to feel the same toward the beautiful
woman as she had before, but too full of the recent horror to do so. "I am
not used to such things, Cherie, and it will take some time for me to get
over them."

"We will say no more about it, you quaint one, but go for our drive."

And soon they were out in the bright sunshine, the lady pointing out
places of interest as she had often done before, but it seemed to the
girl that she was trying to impress upon her mind the location of some
of the streets particularly.

"Now," said Madame after they had returned to the villa and were partaking
of refreshments, "now you shall show me again the lunch basket with
its curious hiding-place. How clever your father must be, child! I long to
know him."

"I wish we could go to him," sighed Jeanne as she obediently brought the
basket and showed once more the place where the quinine had been concealed.

"Perhaps we may soon, who knows?" said the lady gaily, examining the
basket closely notwithstanding her liveliness. "I would tell you a
secret--but no; not now."

"What, Cherie?" cried the girl with eagerness. "Is it about my father?"

"Now, now, curious one!" madame shook her finger playfully at her. "Well
then, I will tell. I can refuse you nothing, petite. You wind yourself
about my heart so. Listen, and you shall hear the grand news. Your uncle
and I wonder too why your father does not write. We know that you have
a great desire for your home, and so we are going to take you there."

"Home! Oh, Cherie!" Jeanne sprang to the lady and embraced her
rapturously, "Home! I am so glad! so glad!"

"Is it not grand, little one? And we go together to see your clever
father and your beautiful mother. But your uncle has much to do first.
I will tell you more. He has deeded you all his property. His houses,
his carriages, his slaves, his horses, his money, in fact everything
which he possesses. Is he not kind?"

"To me?" and Jeanne looked at her in bewilderment. "But why, Cherie?"

"Because he thinks so much of you, and then too you are for the Union, and
the 'Beast' will not take them from you as he would from us."

"But why should General Butler wish to take your property from you?" asked
the girl, who knew nothing of the Confiscation Act. In fact knowledge of
any kind had been carefully kept from her except such as reflected upon
the North.

"I do not know, child. Who does?" shrugging her shoulders. "The vagaries
of the 'Beast' are not to be kept up with. But it does not matter. You
will have them and we will be pleased. We have no children, you know."

"I know," said Jeanne kissing her. She could not understand the matter.
Her uncle had never shown any particular fondness for her, and in fact
seemed to shun her. "You are very kind to me, Cherie."

"So kind that you would do one little thing for 'Cherie'?" asked the lady,
flashing a quick glance at her.

"Certainly, I would," replied the girl unwarily.

"Then listen, petite, and you shall hear how you can do a great service
for your uncle and me. Draw closer, my pet. None must hear what I would
tell you."

Jeanne came close to her side and waited to hear what her aunt had to say.



CHAPTER XIV

A VICTIM OF DECEIT


"I do not know," began Madame in her soft voice, "whether I have told you
that I have a brother. Have I?"

"No, Cherie."

"I have, petite, in the Confederate Army. He is very dear to me. A few
days ago I learned that he was wounded and ill. He is not far from
the city, and he lies in a rude hospital tent without clothing or the
necessary food and medicine. Is it not hard, little one, to think of being
in the midst of plenty while my only brother is destitute?"

"Yes," answered Jeanne with ready sympathy, "it is."

"I thought that you would think so," and the lady smoothed her hair
gently. "Suppose that it were your own brother, Dick. I know that you
would do almost anything to help him, and I feel the same about Auguste. I
tried vainly to get a pass to go to him to take him some necessities,
but ma foi! That beast of a Yankee General will not give me one. I am
distressed. I suffer, but of what avail is it? I come to you, my little
one, for aid."

"To me?" Jeanne looked her surprise. "What can I do, Cherie?"

"You are so brave. You have so much cleverness. Could I do it I would not
ask it of you. But what would you! I am a coward. I faint at the least
noise. I lose my wits; and so, child, I want you to take some medicine
and food to my Auguste."

"I to take it? Why how could I do it?"

"'Tis easy to one who has the courage, petite. I would send Feliciane
with you. 'Tis only to elude the sentinels some dark night and once beyond
them the rest is nothing. Feliciane knows where a boat is hidden on Lake
Ponchartrain, and she would row you to the other side where you would
be met by one of my brother's comrades who would receive the things.
Then you step once more into the boat, and Mais! there you are safe and
sound in the city again."

"Why could not Feliciane go alone?" questioned Jeanne.

"My child, she has not the intelligence. One must demand nothing of these
creatures that calls for the exercise of reason. Will you go, my pet?"

"Would it be wrong, Cherie?"

"Wrong to carry food to a wounded soldier? Why should you think so, child?"

"Then it is nothing against the government?"

"No; I would not ask it of you if it were. Will you please me, Jeanne?
Your uncle would like it too."

"Yes, Cherie, I will," said Jeanne after a moment's thought. "If it is
only to take some food to a poor soldier it cannot be wrong. When do you
wish me to go?"

"Dearest, to-night. There is no moon and it will be easier to elude the
guards. I may use your basket, may I not? It will not be so heavy to
carry."

"If you wish," assented Jeanne. "But it will not hold much."

"I only want to send a few, a very few things. Just what he needs most
to put heart into him, poor fellow! And then when you come back, we will
plan our journey to your home. Oh, we will have the grand time!"

The day wore away. Madame Vance talked volubly about the girl's home and
asked her so many questions concerning it that Jeanne was wrought up to
the highest pitch. At last the darkness fell. With it came a drizzling
rain and to the tenderly nurtured girl it seemed that this would put a
stop to the enterprise; but no.

"Could anything be more fortunate," cried Madame who was in the highest
spirits. "Nothing could be better for our purpose. Ah, petite, you will
outwit the Yankee soldiers yet."

Jeanne looked troubled. The matter had not presented itself in that light
before.

"I am not doing wrong, am I, Cherie?" she asked dubiously. "It is nothing
against the government, is it?"

"To be sure not. How quaint you are to ask that again! Would I have you
to do wrong?"

The preparations were finally completed. Robed in dark waterproof garments
Jeanne took the basket given her by her father and, accompanied by
Feliciane, a mulatto woman, set forth, again upon a mission. But this
time the girl was downcast in spirit, and had not the lofty exaltation of
an approving conscience.

The two walked in silence through the dark streets of the city. The
woman glided swiftly along as if accustomed to the journey, making many
devious windings and turnings. Jeanne's progress was slower and the
mulatto often had to pause to wait until she could catch up with her.

"Missy be keerful hyar," whispered the woman, when at length the outskirts
of the city were reached. "Keep close ter de trees."

Jeanne obeyed. The sentinel's lonely figure could scarcely be discerned
in the darkness. Unconscious of their proximity the man was singing
softly to himself as he patrolled his post steadily. To the girl it
seemed as though her heart beats must betray their presence. The black
touched her hand gently and, as the guard turned to retrace his steps,
they glided silently past him, and were lost in the darkness. The skiff
was found, and the strong steady strokes of the woman soon pulled them
out upon the waters of Lake Ponchartrain.

"We got by all right, lill' missy, didn't we?" chuckled she.

"Yes," assented Jeanne. "Is it far, Feliciane?"

"A long way," was the response. "We won't git back 'tel de mohnin'."

"Until morning?" echoed Jeanne in dismay. "Will we have to be out in this
rain all that time?"

"Yes, honey. It's bes' fer it ter rain. De Yanks can't see yer den. Missus
she laikes fer it ter rain when she go."

"Does she ever go?" asked Jeanne sitting up very straight. "I thought that
she was afraid to go."

"De Madame ain't 'fraid ob nuffin," was the emphatic reply. "She usen ter
go often. She done carried heaps ob things ter de rebs."

"But it has been because of her brother, Feliciane," said Jeanne, gently
trying not to condemn her aunt too severely.

"Huh brudder? What brudder? She ain't got no brudder. What you talkin'
'bout?"

"Oh, Feliciane, aren't we carrying food and medicine to her poor wounded
brother, Auguste?"

"What makes you think dat, chile? Massa Auguste killed long time ago when
de wah fust beginned. 'Couhse we ain't takin' things ter huh brudder.
We's carryin' news ter de Massa Gin'ral dat de Yanks gwine ter 'tack him."

"Then," said Jeanne bitterly. "I have been fooled. I will give no aid to
the enemy. Turn this boat back, Feliciane."

"Not ef I knows myself, honey. I done want no whoppin'. Madame Vance sent
me, an' I'se gwine ter do what she say. What'd yer kum fer ef yer didn't
want ter holpe dem?"

"Because I did not know what I was doing. Madame told me it was to take
food to her wounded brother."

"She's a great one fer pullin' de wool ober de eyes," chuckled the
negress. "Missus kum nigh gittin' ketched de las' time she kummed, so
den she sent you."

"Oh!" Jeanne sat very still, her heart heavy with what she had heard.
Truthful herself, the knowledge that her aunt could stoop to such
duplicity filled her with anguish. Her eyes were fast opening to the
fact that the sweetness of the lady and her honeyed words masked a cruel,
treacherous nature, and unaccustomed as she was to deceit of any sort
she was weighed down by the discovery.

"Feliciane," she said coaxingly. "I will give you more money than you ever
had in all your life before if you will turn this boat back."

"No, missy. Yer can't hiah me ter do nuffin ob dat kine," came the
relentless tones of the darky. "Feliciane knows what's good fer huh, an'
she's gwine ter do it."

"Well, my basket shall not go at any rate," cried Jeanne and she caught it
up to throw it overboard. But the darky seized her arm in a strong grip
and took the basket from her.

"Be quiet, missy," she said, "er I'll hab ter settle yer. An' missus won't
keer nuther. She done laik yer nohow."

Jeanne could do nothing in the woman's powerful clasp, and was compelled
to relinquish her hold on the basket. Placing it behind her the negress
took the oars again and resumed her rowing. Silence fell between the two
and steadily they drew nearer to the farther shore. At last after what
seemed hours to Jeanne the keel of the boat grated upon the sand and the
woman sprang out and drew the skiff upon the bank.

"Come," she said to Jeanne and the girl mechanically followed her.

"Halt! who goes there?" came the challenge.

"A frien'," responded Feliciane. "Done yer know me, sah?"

"Feliciane," exclaimed a voice joyfully. "You are a jewel. Have you
anything for us? Who is with you?"

"Yes, sah; heah in dis basket missus sent. It's all erbout a 'tack what
de Yanks is a-gwine ter make on you folks. Missus kum moughty nigh bein'
kotched de las' time, an' so she sent de lill' missy with me."

"Well, here are some letters. You won't be more than able to get back by
daylight. Are you too tired to make it to-night, Feliciane?"

"No, sah. Missus 'spects me ter do it."

"Well, good-bye. Thank your mistress for us, and tell her the boys in gray
will soon drive the Yankees out of the city, and she won't have this to
do much longer."

"I'll tell huh, sah."

Jeanne still silent went back to the boat. Every hope that she had held
that there was really a wounded brother of Madame's had died during the
interview, and the lady was meeting with that fierce arraignment in the
mind of the girl that youth always gives when for the first time the mask
of hypocrisy is torn from a loved face.

The dawn was streaking the gray sky with crimson when they reached the
city again. The rain had ceased and the stormy night was to be succeeded
by a fair day. Jeanne's face showed white and stern in the gray of the
morning as she walked slowly by the black's side. Her lips were compressed
together in a straight line for she had determined that Madame Vance
should render an account of her duplicity to her.

Presently Feliciane uttered an exclamation of alarm, and thrust the
package that the rebel had given her into Jeanne's hands.

"Run, missy, run," she cried. "De Yanks am a-kumin'."

Involuntarily the girl quickened her steps, but she had gone but a short
distance when she was caught by the shoulder, and brought to a standstill.

"You are under arrest," said the gruff voice of a soldier. "Give me that
package you have."



CHAPTER XV

BEFORE GENERAL BUTLER AGAIN


Jeanne handed the package to the soldier without a word. The man took it
and then said in a harsh manner:

"Follow me. It seems to me that you are beginning mighty young."

Still silent the girl trudged wearily along beside him. She was very tired
and the way to the Custom-House was long. But she uttered no complaint.
Far bitterer to bear than fatigue was the thought that she, Jeanne Vance,
had carried information to the enemies of her country.

The Custom-House where General Butler had established his permanent
official headquarters was finally reached, and she was conducted through
the court-room where Major Bell was dispensing justice to a smaller room
adjoining the office of the Commander. A number of persons were in the
apartment awaiting the coming of the General.

"Has the General come in yet?" asked her captor of an Orderly.

"No; but we expect him every moment. Is it anything of importance?"

"I think so. I captured a young girl who has been beyond the lines, and
has returned with a package of letters from the Johnnies. The other boys
gave chase to the negro woman who was with her, but this is the main one,
I guess. I think the General ought to see the letters immediately."

"By all means. I will tell him as soon as he comes, so that he will attend
to you at once. There are a number waiting this morning."

Faint and weary Jeanne sank into the seat assigned her, and waited
apathetically the summons which were to lead her to the General's
presence. It came soon and she was led into the office where the General
sat behind a long table on which lay a pistol.

This was the man's sole precaution against assassination, and was used
only after the discovery of one or two plots to kill him. There were
several of his staff with him in the room, but the girl saw only the
stern face of the Commander. He gave a start of surprise as his eyes
fell upon her.

"You?" he exclaimed. "Are you the girl who has been caught bringing
contraband letters into the city? Child, child, I am surprised."

Jeanne's lips quivered and she turned very pale, but she only said:

"Yes, sir; I did it."

"And you are the girl who professed such devotion to the cause of your
country? You, who carried the flag upon your person, and kissed it to show
your patriotism? I am more than surprised! I am grieved!"

"Don't," exclaimed Jeanne, her utterance choked with sobs. "Oh, sir, I
do love my country, but I am not worthy to carry its flag any longer. Take
it." She drew the flag from her dress and laid it before him.

Her distress was so evident, so real that General Butler's glance softened.

"If you feel like that," he said not unkindly, "perhaps you will tell me
the truth about the matter."

"Gladly," cried Jeanne eagerly. "I will tell you anything that you ask."

"These letters prove that there has been communication exchanged before.
Have you ever been on a like expedition?"

"No, sir; I do not know that you will believe me when I say that I did not
know what I was doing when I went on this errand. But I did not. I would
rather have died than to have given aid to the enemies of the Union; and
yet I did it."

"Suppose you tell me just how it happened," suggested the General. "I will
gladly hear any extenuating circumstances that you may give, for I am loth
to believe that you are guilty of treachery."

With many tears Jeanne related her story. "I can never forgive myself,"
she concluded mournfully. "I deserve to be punished."

"What was in the basket that you carried over?"

"There was some medicine, quinine, I think, jellies, and other delicacies."

"There were no documents of any kind? Think well, child."

"I did not see any, but Feliciane told me, and the rebel soldier also,
that there was news of an attack to be made upon General Thompson. I am
convinced that the intelligence was concealed in the false bottom of my
basket. You remember where I carried the quinine, sir?" Then she told how
her aunt had examined the basket and suggested its use.

"Beyond doubt it carried the information," remarked Butler. "General
Thompson with his men is just beyond our lines. I have known for some
time that communication had been going on between the citizens and the
soldiers, and have been keeping a sharp lookout. Still they managed to
elude my vigilance some way. The Vances are among the ring leaders. Why
have you remained here so long?" he asked, suddenly. "Why have you not
returned to your father?"

"I have not heard from him," said Jeanne, her tears flowing afresh. "In
all this long time I have not heard one word."

"That is very strange!" The General looked thoughtful. "Of course in
the vicinity surrounding us, and in all the country between here and
Richmond the telegraphs and mails are in the hands of the Confederates.
But a letter could come safely by the sea route. I am in communication
with Washington continually. There must be something wrong. Have you
written to him?"

"Often and often. Uncle Ben mailed the letters for me. My aunt told me
yesterday that they were going to take me home soon."

"After hoodwinking you the way she has, do you believe it? There is
something here that I do not understand. I believe that you are truthful,
child, and have been victimized for some purpose. I will have to watch
those people more closely."

"But how could I consent to do what I have?" cried Jeanne. "Oh, I will
never forgive myself."

"Older ones than you might have been deceived," comforted the General. "I
have read that 'under every flower there lurks a serpent'; and where there
is so much sweetness and amiability there is ground for the suspicion
that the reptile will sooner or later make his appearance. You must
guard against such seductive measures, my child. They are more to be
feared than the most violent opposition. Your uncle has a great deal of
property, has he not?"

"Why, yes," said Jeanne. "But do you know, General, that the queer part
of it is that he has given it all to me?"

"Ha, ha!" roared the General. "Another attempt to evade the Confiscation
Act, eh? And you did not know the reason?"

"My aunt said that you would take it from them because they were rebels,
and that as I was a Unionist you would not touch it if it were mine."

"I think that I'll make that a boomerang that shall rebound on their own
heads," remarked the General with a twinkle in his eye. "Now, child, what
are you going to do?"

"I do not know, sir. I wish I could go home."

"Would you feel very badly if I sent you back to your uncle's?"

"Must I go there?" Jeanne uttered a cry of dismay. "I don't believe that
I can, General Butler. I don't feel as if I ever wanted to see either of
them again."

"But if you could help me?" suggested the General. "You might, Jeanne."

"If I could be of any service," said Jeanne bravely though every feature
showed her dislike to the suggestion. "I will go."

"You are a brave little girl," said the Commander with appreciation. "I
believe in you thoroughly, child, else I would not ask this of you."

"I am glad that you trust me," said Jeanne gratefully, her last fear of
him vanishing. "I had begun to believe that I could never trust myself
again."

"Our truest strength lies in knowing our weaknesses," said the General
sententiously. "Truth is written on your face, and you are earnest and
thoughtful beyond your years. The thing I wish you to do is this: go
back to your uncle's and conduct yourself as far as possible as you have
done. I am convinced that another attempt will soon be made to carry
information to Thompson. I want you to let me know when the time will
be. You can find out by keeping your eyes and ears open. Show that you
are indignant at the part you have been made to play for that will be
expected. Send me word the moment you suspect that the attempt will be
made. Can you do this?"

"I will try, General. I will do it if only to redeem myself in your eyes.
If I can find out the time I will."

"Then you may go now. I think you can understand why it is that I am so
suspicious of every one, do you not, child? By the way, I found that
everything was just as you said it was when you were here before. That
has made it easy for you this time. Am I forgiven for the way I treated
you then?"

"I forgave you long ago," said the girl sweetly. "I had been here but a
short time when I realized that you must have hard work to hold these
people down. And you have been good to believe me, General Butler. You
are not nearly so bad as people think you are. They don't know how kind
you are."

The General laughed and then sighed.

"I am afraid that there are not many who will agree with you," he said.
"But there, child! I must attend to business. I will write to your father
myself and just as soon as I hear from him you shall know it."

"Will you?" cried Jeanne. "And oh, do tell him to send for me soon."

"Yes, you poor child! Or if I see an opportunity to send you safely home
you shall go. I think that I can send you by one of the steamers. If I
had known of this you should have returned with Mrs. Butler."

"I wish I could have done so," said the girl wistfully.

"Well, you shall go soon, I promise you. Keep a brave heart, and remember
that it will not be long before you shall go. Good-bye."

He shook hands with her warmly, and then stopped her as she was leaving
the room.

"Your flag, my little girl. We had forgotten your flag."

"I am not worthy," whispered the girl looking longingly at it.

"My dear, so long as your heart is as loyal as it is there is no one more
worthy. Take it and keep it unsullied as you have done."

Jeanne took it joyfully and then departed. Full of misgiving she
reluctantly wended her way toward her uncle's house.



CHAPTER XVI

THE VELVET GLOVE CONCEALS THE IRON HAND


There was an unusual stir in the villa when Jeanne arrived. Madame Vance
greeted her with some eagerness.

"What has become of the letters?" she cried. "Surely you did not permit
the Yankees to take them?"

"I could not help it, Cherie," answered Jeanne noting with her newly
acquired insight into the lady's character that her own well-being was
of no importance. "I did not know that the soldiers were near until
Feliciane gave the alarm and thrust the papers into my hand. She should
have kept them. Did she escape?"

"She did. Of course she thought that you would make an effort to do the
same. What did the 'Beast' say when he found that a Yankee girl was
working against him? It is very droll." And she laughed maliciously. "I
am surprised that you got away from him at all."

"I would not have done so had he not believed that I was but a tool in
your hands," answered the girl bluntly. "I will never forgive you, Cherie,
for the way you deceived me. You told me that your brother was wounded,
and that it was only to take him some medicine and food, and you have
no brother at all. Was the information that you sent concealed in my
basket?"

"Certainly it was," returned Madame lightly. "Was it not for that purpose
that you showed me the hiding-place yesterday? Thanks to your cleverness
General Thompson is aware of an attack by which Butler meant to surprise
him. That basket of yours is a jewel for hiding contraband articles. It
will be used again."

"It shall never again be so used if I can help it," cried Jeanne goaded
beyond endurance by the knowledge of how she had been tricked. "I would
not have believed that you would have been guilty of telling an untruth.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"Everything is fair in love and war," said the other mockingly. "It is
not wrong to falsify to Yankees."

"I will never forgive you. Never!" cried the girl passionately. "I told
General Butler just how you deceived me, and I never can trust you again.
To think that such a woman is the wife of my uncle!"

"Be careful of your words, my little Yankee," and the black eyes of the
lady glittered balefully. "I have treated you well heretofore, but I may
repent of my soft usage. If gentle means will not convince you of the
error of your ways we will try other means."

"What do you mean? You dare not use me otherwise than well. I would not
submit to anything else, and Uncle Ben would not allow you to ill treat
me."

"Your uncle will permit anything that I choose to do," retorted Madame
angrily, and the girl knew that she spoke truly. Mr. Vance yielded to
his wife in everything. "And listen, girl! I dare anything that I choose
to do. I am sick of your puritanical ways, and I have resolved to change
them. Why did you return if you were not of our way of thinking? Why did
you not stay with 'Beast' Butler since you agree so well? Speak, girl! why
did you come back?"

"I--I--because----" Jeanne was unable to proceed. The question was so
unexpected that she was not prepared to answer it.

"Aha!" and Madame regarded her keenly. "I see. You came back to spy upon
us. Deny it if you can."

Then as the girl made no reply she called:

"Feliciane, Feliciane!" The woman entered the room. "Take this girl to
the strong room," she commanded.

"Don't dare to touch me," cried Jeanne springing away from the woman. "I
will tell General Butler of this."

"So?" and Madame's face became purple with rage. "You admit it. I thought
as much. You have returned as a spy. Oh, he boasts of having his creatures
in every household, but he has a de la Chaise to deal with in me. Away
with her, Feliciane!"

In vain Jeanne struggled and cried out against the indignity. She was
helpless in the hands of the muscular negress, and was soon carried
struggling and screaming to the top floor of the house, and pushed
unceremoniously into a room, the door closed and locked upon her.

"Foh de land sake, lill' missy, what you doin' heah?" came in a hoarse
whisper and Jeanne turned to see the face of Snowball peering at her.

"Snowball, are you here?" she cried stifling her sobs and trying to
penetrate the gloom of the darkened chamber.

"Yes, missy, I is. Dey allers puts us in heah aftah we's whipped. But how
kum you heah? You wuzn't whipped, wuz yer?"

"No;" and Jeanne seated herself by the prostrate form of the girl and took
her hand. "I would rather have been than to do what I did yesterday." She
told the darky how Madame had beguiled her into taking the trip to the
Confederates, and of her subsequent arrest and discharge.

"I hopes dis Butler will help yer ef de missus got a grudge agin yer,"
muttered Snowball. "An' she sut'n'ly hab got one elsen she wouldn't put
yer in dis place whar we niggas is put. Why, missy, dis ain't no place
foh yer."

"But you have to stay here, Snowball. I ought to stand it if you do. I
wish there was some way to get word to General Butler. He would take me
from here I know."

"Dere won't be no way, missy," said Snowball with melancholy conviction
as Jeanne sprang to her feet and began a hurried inspection of the room.
"Missus wouldn't leab a mouse hole ef she thought it could be used."

And Jeanne found her words true. It was a small low room without furniture
of any kind. A pile of straw upon which the darky lay was the only thing
in it. There were iron shutters at the windows so strong that it would
require the strength of a man to open them. The door was bolted and
Jeanne resumed her seat by the girl in a hopeless manner.

"What can we do, Snowball?"

"Nuffin. Can't do a bressed thing tell de missus ready ter let us out.
'Tain't so bad when yer gits usen ter de dahk."

"Does your back hurt much?"

"Not now, honey. It did huht awful when dey pouhed de brine on tho'."

"The brine! Not salt water, Snowball?"

"Yes'm. It did huht shore nuff when dey pouhed dat on. Dey does it kase
dey think de whip won't make no scahs when dey heal. But it do huht awful."

This new horror held Jeanne silent, and her tears fell fast. A fierce
indignation foreign to her usually gentle nature shook her from head to
foot. "And father used to say that abolitionists were extremists," she
thought. "Oh, if ever I get home again I'll cry out on the streets against
slavery."

"Is yer cryin', lill' missy?" exclaimed Snowball, as the warm drops fell
upon her hands. "Done yer do it. It done mattah 'bout a pore nigga laik
me. Heah you is tiahed mos' ter def, I reckon. Can't yer sleep?"

"I'll try, Snowball," and Jeanne crept beside the girl on her straw. "I
am tired. I almost wish I could die."

"Done yer be downhahted, missy. Dey'll take me outen heah soon. Jes' as
soon as ma back gits well, kase dey can't 'ford ter lose a val'able nigga
laik me, and ef dey doesn't take you outen dis 'fore den I'll run away
ter de Gin'ral. Heaps of de cullah folks go ter him."

"Will you, Snowball?" A gleam of hope stole into Jeanne's heart. She
snuggled down into the straw and soon fell into a deep sleep.

When she awakened she was alone in the room. During her slumber Snowball
had been taken away, and Jeanne missed her companionship sorely. A
pitcher of water and some bread had been placed by her side, and the
girl ate ravenously for she had taken no food since the day before.
Then once more she wandered about the room trying to find some means
of escape. Realizing that her efforts were useless she sank back on the
straw and gave herself up to thoughts of home and her dear parents.

How little any of them thought that her journey would turn out as it had.
She pictured her father's indignation when she should tell him of the
treatment she had received and her mother's anxiety concerning her. Well,
even if Snowball did not get to see General Butler he would seek her just
as soon as he heard from her father. Perhaps when he found that he did
not hear from her he would come to see what the matter was. And so the
hours passed drearily by.

No one came to the room and no sound reached her from below. By the
deepening of the gloom she knew that it was drawing near night, and she
looked forward with some dread to spending the long hours of darkness
in that cheerless place. But summoning all her fortitude she composed
herself for slumber.

"I have the flag," she said to herself and took it from her bosom. "I
am so glad that the General gave it back to me. How is our side doing, I
wonder? Why didn't I think to ask him? It has been so long since I heard.
So long!"

With the flag clasped to her breast she fell asleep once more. As before,
while she slept food and drink were placed beside her, and it began to
look as if she was to be condemned to solitude. In this manner two days
passed. On the morning of the third day she was rudely awakened by some
one shaking her.

"Get up," cried Madame, who stood by her side. "Get up! We are going."

"Going? Going where?" cried Jeanne, dazedly.

"We are going to your home," answered Madame Vance. "Get up and come with
me if you care to go too."

"Home!" repeated Jeanne thinking that she still slept. "Home!"

"Yes; don't sit there like a silly, but come at once. That Yankee beast
has ordered that all of the registered enemies of the United States shall
leave the city. And we must go."

"Are you really going to take me home?" asked the girl now thoroughly
awake. "Oh, if you will, I will forgive everything!"

"Then get ready quickly," said Madame, a cruel light in her eyes which the
girl unfortunately did not see. "We must go at once. The 'Beast' will only
permit us to take what we can carry with us. The rest of the property
must go to enrich him and his brother. Oh, they are a nice pair, but ma
foi! what can one expect of Yankees?"

Jeanne made no reply, but followed her to her own room where Snowball was
waiting to dress her.

"Mus' you go, lill' missy?" whispered the girl as Madame left them for the
moment alone. "I'se 'feerd foh yer ter go."

"Are you going too, Snowball?"

"Missus say I is, an', ob couhse, I long ter huh I'se got ter ef she say
so. But I done want ter."

An hour later Mr. and Madame Vance, Jeanne, Feliciane, Snowball and Jeff
left the city in company with a number of others. General Butler, wearied
with the intrigues of these avowed enemies of the government, had ordered
that they should leave his lines for the Confederacy, and imposed the
condition that they should not return.

In all the throng that waited to see the Confederates depart Jeanne saw
no sign of the General. There were plenty of aids and members of his
staff who looked closely after the articles carried away by the departing
people, but of the General himself she saw nothing. And so the girl was
allowed to depart with the refugees without a word from the Unionists.
Blinded by her desire to get home, she left freedom and the protection
of the flag and went without question into the heart of Secessia.



CHAPTER XVII

AGAIN DECEIVED


The party of Secessionists of which Mr. and Madame Vance were members
embarked on board the boat, Ceres, which steamed up the narrow winding
river, Tangipaho, to Manchac bridge, the terminus of a railroad that
led to Ponchatoula ten miles distant from which was the headquarters of
General Thompson; the main body of Confederates being nine miles further
on.

The shores of the river presented to view nothing but desolation. Many of
the houses were deserted and every garden and field lay waste. Gaunt,
yellow, silent figures stood looking at the disembarking refugees, images
of despair. The people there had been small farmers, market gardeners,
fishermen and shell diggers; all of them absolutely dependent upon the
market of New Orleans from which they had been cut off for more than five
months. Roving bands of Guerillas and the march of the regiments had
robbed them of the last pig, the last chicken, the last egg and even
of their half grown vegetables. In all that region there was nothing
to eat but corn on the cob, and of that only a few pecks in each house.

A locomotive with a train of platform cars stood on the track and the
party soon were gliding swiftly to the village.

Jeanne's eyes brightened when she saw that the place contained a post and
telegraph office.

"Uncle Ben," she said timidly for none of the party were in good spirits.
The men were sullen and the women bewailing their fate at being obliged to
leave their belongings behind them.

"Uncle Ben," said Jeanne again as her uncle did not answer her.

"Well, what is it?" he asked ungraciously.

"Could I not telegraph to my father that we are coming? There is a
telegraph office here."

"What made you think that we were going to Dick's?" he asked after a broad
stare of amazement.

"Cherie told me," answered Jeanne her heart sinking at his expression.
"Aren't we going, dear uncle?"

"Well, I rather guess not," said Mr. Vance emphatically. "I think we've
had enough of the Yankees without going where they are. Enough to last
us a lifetime."

"Why did you tell me such a thing?" burst from Jeanne turning upon her
aunt with indignation.

"Because, my dear little Yankee, I wanted the pleasure of your company,
of course," replied Madame mockingly.

"That is not true," said Jeanne boldly. "You do not like me, Aunt
Clarisse," dropping the Cherie which she seldom afterward used.

"No? you want the truth then?" said the woman suddenly. "Because I hate
you for being a Yankee."

"But you did like me at first and I was a Yankee then," and the girl
shrank from the light in the other's eyes.

"Yes; for a time, but I soon tired of you. You were too independent, and
had views that were tiresome to me. I might have loved you had you yielded
your will to mine. But you would not. You, a mere girl, set your judgment
up against mine, although I granted your lightest wish. Then you told
that Yankee General that your uncle had given you all the property and he
seized it in your name. Think you that I would let you stay to enjoy
our property when we were driven from the city? Oh, I saw through your
artfulness! But you shall not have the property if that Beast does!"

"I did not want your property," replied Jeanne, her face becoming very
pale as she heard her aunt's words. "Why should I care for it? I want
only to go to my home. Please let me go back, Aunt Clarisse. I will beg
General Butler to let you have your property again and to send me home.
Truly, I do not want anything of yours. Let me go back."

"Never," cried the other angrily. "Who would think that a puny faced thing
like you could be so sly!"

Jeanne made no reply but sank into bitter thought. The rebel general,
Jefferson Thompson, received the refugees courteously and promised to
help them to reach friends and relatives in other parts of the South.
Meantime he gave them such refreshment as was at his disposal, resigning
to the Vances his own headquarters. For a few days they stayed here, being
joined by others from the city. Then they broke up into small parties
and scattered, each bent upon reaching his own objective point.

To her consternation Jeanne was told that her uncle and aunt were bound
for Alabama, the very midst of Secession. The girl's heart died within her
when she found that this was their destination. With no friends near how
could she, a mere girl, hope to reach her own people surrounded as she
would be on all sides by rebels? She was almost in despair.

At Waynesboro, they left the train and Mr. Vance, securing a carriage with
two good horses, announced his intention of driving through the rest of
the way. Madame Vance received the intelligence with demonstrations of joy
but Jeanne said nothing. In spite of her depression, however, she could
not but feel a sense of pleasure as they bowled along over the public road.

It was a pleasing ride, ennobling to the soul as a series of beautiful
scenes were unrolled to the view. Far in the azure blue the great banks
of white clouds seemed to lie at anchor, so slow of sail were they. The
gloom of the dense forest gently waving its boughs to the breeze greeted
the eye. Ever and anon the dulcet murmur of gurgling streams broke gently
on the ear. Quiet cottages surrounded by flowers and fruits, the abodes
of peace and content, were passed; grass green marshes with here and
there a tall pine or sombre cypress standing as sentinels of the rich
mead; song birds caroling their sweet lays as they flitted from bough
to bough, or lightly soared in space; fields of deadened trees, all
draped with the long gray Spanish moss, were silhouetted against the
sky; groups of great oaks, with clusters of the mistletoe pendent. On
past plantations, busy with slaves whose merry songs floated far on
the gentle zephyrs.

But as the day wore away proofs that grim-visaged war was raging in the
land came more and more into evidence.

Want and desolation mark the track of soldiers. Armies must be fed and
hungry men respect neither friend nor foe when it comes to satisfying
their wants, and ravaged plantations and desolated homes marred the beauty
of the peaceful landscape.

It was a long hard day's ride and Jeanne was glad when at last just as
the brief twilight was deepening, Mr. Vance descried a large house in the
distance and directed Jeff to drive them there so that they might have
shelter for the night.

"Dar's nobody ter hum," was Jeff's announcement after knocking at all the
doors.

"Go to the quarters and find out where the people are," commanded his
master, but the darky soon returned with the information that the cabins
were empty also.

"Strange," said the gentleman. "What do you think we would better do,
Clarisse?"

"Can you not open the doors in some way?" asked the lady pettishly. "I
am tired, mon ami, and if no one is there we might just as well take
possession. Private property doesn't seem to be respected these times."

Without another word Mr. Vance gave the order, and the two men soon
succeeded in forcing an entrance. The fast falling darkness gave weird
glimpses of the interior of the residence.

"Remain without," said her husband hastily, "until I get a light."

Presently the cheering flash of a fire dispelled the gloom of the dwelling
and after being assured that everything was all right within, the lady
entered followed by Jeanne and the blacks. The October air was chilly and
the warmth of the pine knots was very acceptable.

Jeanne crept into a corner where she could enjoy the blaze and fell into
a reverie. The poor child was very miserable. Her aunt and uncle scarcely
noticed her or when they did speak to her it was in such great contrast
to their former affectionate address that her heart was heavy indeed.

The brightness of the pine knots in the vast fireplace lighted up the
room vividly. The apartment seemed to have been the living-room of the
family, and its disarrangement showed that the inmates had left its
sheltering walls hurriedly. At one end of the room were great spinning
wheels with the thread still hanging.

Mr. Vance had drawn up an easy chair to one side of the odorous fire and
leaned silently back in its depths apparently lost in thought. His wife
was seated near him, the firelight glancing almost caressing on the rich
sheen of her hair and the vivid crimson of her cheek and lip. Snowball's
dusky figure flitted back and forth supplying the fire with the rich
pine knots as they were required while Jeff and Feliciane were busied
in the kitchen trying to get up something for a meal.

Jeanne fell to studying the fair face of the woman before her wondering
over and over how one so beautiful could be so cruel.

"Well! Have you finished staring at me?" demanded Madame suddenly. "Have
done with your impudence, girl. You make me nervous."

"I beg your pardon," murmured Jeanne shrinking from the light in her
aunt's eyes. "I do not wish to make you nervous. I was just thinking----"

"I don't care what you are doing," said the other sharply. "I do not wish
to be stared at." She sat back in her chair, and relapsed into silence.
Jeanne withdrew her gaze, but it wandered unconsciously to her uncle's
face. He moved uneasily, but made no comment.

Presently Madame gave utterance to a harsh laugh, and looked at the girl
strangely.

"How would you like this for a home?" she asked abruptly.

"What do you mean?" cried Jeanne.

"Just what I say. How would you like to live here?"

"I would not like it," replied the girl decidedly. "I like my own home
best. There is no place like New York."

"Perhaps you may change your mind," and Madame gave vent to a peal of
unpleasant laughter. "I believe that you will have the opportunity."

"What do you mean?" asked Jeanne again, but the lady's only answer was
a shrug of her shoulders.

A vague uneasiness filled Jeanne's mind at her strange demeanor. She kept
looking at the girl with a curious, half triumphant expression, while
ever and anon she laughed in that strange way that made the girl's blood
chill with apprehension. She was glad when at last Mr. Vance ordered them
all to retire.

"There are plenty of rooms and good beds," he said. "Very likely the
people left hurriedly else they would have taken them with them, or
perhaps they left them because they will soon return. However it may
be, we must get a good night's rest for to-morrow we have a long day's
ride before us."

Jeanne chose a room at the end of the upstairs hall and entering it closed
the door securely. Tired as she was from her long ride she could not
sleep but lay thinking deeply about her aunt's strange behavior. She had
become so accustomed to the lady's vagaries that she knew that some new
idea had suggested itself to her and she felt that it related to herself.

At last her eyes grew heavy, and soon she fell into the deep untroubled
sleep of youth.



CHAPTER XVIII

IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP


It was late when Jeanne awoke, and springing up she dressed hastily and
went downstairs. There was no one in the living-room. The fire had died
down and a few glowing coals gleamed red in the ashes. Full of a vague
alarm and fearing she knew not what, Jeanne ran into the kitchen but there
was no one there. Quickly she ran from one room to another but all were
empty. The apartments appeared larger and more desolate than ever in
their emptiness. Again and again the now frightened girl ran through the
rooms and out upon the galleries, but the echo of her own voice was all
the answer that came to her cries. At last the truth dawned upon her.
She had been abandoned by her uncle and aunt.

This then was the meaning of Madame's laughter. She, Jeanne, a Union
girl, had been left to get along as best she could on a lonely, deserted
plantation in the very midst of rebeldom; to live or die as the case
might be.

With a cry the girl flung herself upon the floor and let the flood of
her anguish sweep over her. A great fear was upon her. The fear of the
unknown. Never before had she been so utterly, so entirely alone. It was
long before she could control herself, and when at last she sat up, and
tried to think calmly, she seemed to have grown older.

"I must be brave," she thought. "Perhaps it is better so after all. I am
no worse off than I was with them. May be I can make my way back to New
Orleans and General Butler will send me home. But where am I? I don't know
whether it is Alabama or Mississippi, but whichever it is, I must try to
get back to Louisiana. Oh, my money!"

Hastily she searched for it and, to her great joy, found the bills safely
hidden in the lining of her dress. Long ago her aunt had complained of the
thieving of the blacks, and cautioned Jeanne to hide securely whatever
she had of value.

"Aunt Clarisse must have forgotten it," she exulted, "or she would have
taken it from me. 'One can always get along if one has money,' father
said. This will help me to get home. I wonder if my flag is safe!"

Full of anxiety lest the beloved emblem might have been taken she thrust
her hand into the folds of her dress, and to her great delight, found it
still there. Drawing it forth she gazed at it lovingly, and then shook it
out straight. As she did so her eye was caught by a piece of paper pinned
to one corner of it. With an exclamation Jeanne caught at it eagerly.

"My dear little Yankee," it ran. "We leave you in possession. There is
not much to eat in the house, but ma foi! what care you? Have you not your
flag? Knowing your penchant for appropriating other people's property we
have given you an opportunity to acquire more belongings. Are we not kind?

"Should you see your honored parents again (which I very much doubt)
present my truest affection to them. Hoping that your solitude will give
you time to repent of your past misdeeds, believe me,

                                                  "As ever,
                                                          "Cherie."


Jeanne's eyes blazed in sudden anger, and she clenched her hands
determinedly.

"I will see my parents again," she cried, passionately. "I will, I will!
All the rebels in the world shall not keep me from it! I'll start right
back for New Orleans."

Full of this resolution she arose and went into the house in search of
something to eat! As Madame Vance had written there was very little food
in the dwelling. A thin slice of bacon and a small hoe cake was all that
Jeanne could find, but she ate them, then started forth on her journey
back to New Orleans.

Taking what she believed was the road over which they had come the girl
trudged bravely along although it wound through a deep forest. On and on
through the dark green gloom of the woodland she walked, knowing nothing
of the vegetation of the South, and afraid to touch herbs or the wild
fruit.

"I did not think the forest went so far," she murmured, as the day wore
away and the shadowy vista of woods still opened before her. "And there
was a house just beyond the trees. I ought to get to it soon. Then I will
ask to stay for the night."

But the woods grew denser, and the road became but a narrow bridle path.
The afternoon drew to a close, and the brief twilight came suddenly upon
her in the depths of the forest.

Jeanne stopped dismayed, and then sank down at the foot of a tall pine.
A feeling of homesick desolation crept over her, filling her with vague,
undefined forebodings. The tall long-leaved pines and funereal cypress
trees rose on either side. The twilight deepened into night and the hum
of Nature's wildwood insects came to her ear. From the deeper forest
came the plaintive cry of the whippoorwill. As the darkness deepened the
hooting of the owls could be heard and the croaking of some frogs from
a near-by swamp.

Jeanne felt cold chills creep up and down her back as the tall trees
festooned with gray moss, almost reaching to the ground, swayed to and
fro as a shiver of moaning wind stirred the air.

"I cannot stay here," she exclaimed springing to her feet. "It is better
to keep on walking. Surely there must be a house somewhere near!"

And so, though she was faint from hunger and weary from walking, she
trudged on. Presently the moon came up and deluged the forest with a
shining flood of light. The dark pines, half in shadow, half in sheen,
loomed vast and giant-like on either side of the gleaming path beneath.

Afraid to stop and rest, Jeanne walked on and on. All at once she heard
singing. The sound filled her with new life and she hastened eagerly
in its direction. Louder and louder came the melody to her ears until
presently she was able to distinguish the words:

    "'Do they miss me at home,
    Do they miss me?
    'Twould be an assurance most dear,
    To know at this moment some lov'd one
    Were saying, "I wish he were here";
    To feel that the group at the fireside
    Were thinking of me as I roam;
    Oh, yes, 'twould be joy beyond measure
    To know that they miss me at home,
    To know that they miss me at home.'"

Tears rushed into the girl's eyes and a sob broke from her lips. "Do they
miss me, I wonder?" she said brokenly. "Oh, mother, mother! How little
do you think that I am wandering about in the woods without a place to
lay my head. Mother, mother!"

    "'Do they set me a chair near the table,
    When evening's home pleasures are nigh,
    When the candles are lit in the parlor,
    And the stars in the calm, azure sky?
    And when the good-nights are repeated,
    And all lay them down to their sleep,
    Do they think of the absent and waft me
    A whisper'd "good-night" while they weep?
    A whisper'd "good-night" while they weep?'"

Jeanne looked up as the singer came toward her. The bright moonlight fell
full upon him as he paused for a moment to examine the lock of his gun,
and she saw that he was a Confederate soldier on picket duty. He resumed
the song as he swung the gun back to his shoulder.

"He is like Dick," thought the lonely girl. "I am sure that he has a kind
heart, or he would not sing that song. Maybe he has a sister too."

Summoning all her courage she spoke timidly. "Sir," she said.

"Who goes there?" cried the startled picket with an ominous click of his
weapon.

"Just a little girl," answered Jeanne, coming forward into the moonlight.
"I'm lost, and I don't know where to go."

"A girl! It's true I do declare!" burst from the sentinel's lips as he
lowered his gun. "How do you come to be here in the woods at this time
of night?"

"I am trying to get back to New Orleans, and I must have taken the wrong
road." Jeanne was trembling but she tried to control herself. "Oh, could
you tell me where I could get something to eat and a place to sleep? I--I
am afraid."

Her voice broke and despite her efforts at self-command she burst into
tears.

"There! Never mind! I'll take you to Miss Bob," said the soldier with
rough kindness. "The woods ain't no place fur a girl at night. Just come
with me."

Jeanne followed him gladly. A brisk walk of fifteen minutes brought them
to a camp. The tents gleamed white among the trees and it seemed to the
girl as though she had never seen so many in all her life before. Some
men lounged lazily about one of the many fires that dotted the place,
talking in subdued tones. They stared at the girl as the sentinel came
in with her but made no remark. The soldier paused before a small tent
and called softly:

"Miss Bob! Miss Bob! are you asleep?"

"What is it, Johnson?" came the reply in the soft sleepy tones of a girl.

"Here is a girl out here who is lost. She is hungry and wants a place to
sleep. Will you see to her? I am on duty."

"Certainly. Go back to your post, Johnson. I will be out in a minute."

"All right." The soldier saluted and walked off leaving Jeanne a prey to
conflicting emotions.

In a few moments the flap of the tent was pushed aside, and the slight
figure of a girl about Jeanne's own age emerged from it.

"You are lost?" she asked advancing toward Jeanne and speaking quickly.
"And hungry, I think Johnson said. Come, we'll have something to eat, and
then go to bed. Are you tired?"

Jeanne nodded, unable to speak.

"Sit here by the fire while I fix things. Jim," to one of the men, "this
girl is hungry. Will you help me get something for her to eat?"

"'Course I will, Miss Bob." The man sprang to his feet and walked briskly
away disappearing into what Jeanne afterward learned was the commissary
department.

"We'll have something in a jiffy," remarked the girl encouragingly,
beginning to poke up the fire.

"See here, Miss Bob, let me do that," and another of the men ran to her
side. "I reckon Jim and me can fix things. 'Tain't no work for you."

Soon cold chicken, bread, and hot coffee were placed before the hungry
girl and she ate ravenously.

"I didn't know that soldiers had chickens to eat," she remarked with a
sigh of satisfaction as she finished the last morsel.

The girl called Bob laughed merrily, the men joining in heartily.

"We don't usually," and Bob controlled her risibles with difficulty, "but
you see a whole heap of them walked right into camp, and so of course we
ate them."

"Wasn't it queer that they should come right into camp?" said serious
Jeanne. "I always thought that you had to run after them to catch them."

Again the girl and the men laughed.

"Of course they didn't exactly come here," said Bob comfortably, "but
we've got the smartest regiment in the whole Confederate army. I verily
believe that it could catch and skin a hog without a man leaving the
ranks. Oh, they are fine foragers!"

"Forager?" Jeanne looked mystified. "I wonder if Dick is a forager!"

"Who is Dick?"

"Dick is my brother in the army," said Jeanne proudly.

"Well, if he is a soldier you can depend upon it that he is a forager,"
said Bob with decision. "Which side is your brother on?"

"The Union."

The smile died away from the girl's lips at the reply, and she looked at
Jeanne with coldness.

"I did not think that you were a Southerner when you spoke," she said.
"What are you doing here? We are Confederates."

"Yes, I know," answered Jeanne. "My aunt and uncle left me on a deserted
plantation because I was a Yankee, and I started back to New Orleans
hoping that General Butler would send me home. I must have taken the
wrong road, and so gotten lost. You won't turn me away, will you, just
because I am a Yankee?"

"No; not for to-night anyway. I just hate Yankees, but I reckon you don't
count as you are a girl. Come on to bed now, and we'll talk it over in
the morning."

And Jeanne went into the tent content to let the morrow take care of
itself now that she was sheltered for the night.



CHAPTER XIX

"BOB"


At daybreak the roll of martial drums startled Jeanne into wakefulness.

"What is it?" she cried, springing from the couch.

"The drummers are beating the reveille," answered the calm voice of Bob
who was already up. "That means that it is time to get up. You needn't
be in a hurry, however. There are two hours yet until breakfast."

"But you are dressing," said Jeanne. "I will too."

"I always get up when the regiment does," answered Bob. "But you are
different. You are a guest."

"What are you?" asked Jeanne curiously.

"The Colonel's daughter, and the child of the regiment. What is your name?"

"Jeanne Vance. I live in New York city."

"That is a long way from here," said Bob. "Do you mind telling me why you
came down here?"

"I think I should like to," replied Jeanne gazing at the trim figure of
the girl admiringly. She was clad in a suit of gray cloth consisting
of a skirt and close fitting jacket with epaulets upon the shoulders.
A cap of the same material was perched jauntily upon her raven black
hair. Her face, piquant and sparkling, was tanned a healthy brown through
which the red of her cheeks glowed brightly. Jeanne thought that she
had never seen a more charming girl, and, rebel though she knew she was,
she felt her heart drawn toward her.

"Yes, I think that I should like to tell you," she repeated, and then
as rapidly as possible she told of her mission and the events that had
followed its execution.

Bob listened attentively.

"It was awfully mean in your aunt to treat you the way she did," she
commented as Jeanne finished her story. "You are a brave girl even if you
are a Yankee, and I like you. Father says there are some nice ones, but
I reckon that they haven't so awfully many brave ones among them, or we
wouldn't be whipping them so."

"Whipping them?" cried Jeanne aghast. "What do you mean by whipping them?
We were doing all the whipping the last I knew anything about it."

"Well, you certainly haven't heard the news lately then," rejoined Bob.
"If you had, you would have learned that General Bragg had invaded
Tennessee and Kentucky and that the Confederates have both those states
back again. I tell you the Yankees are just 'skedaddling' before him."

"It can't be true," wailed Jeanne. "Kentucky and Tennessee both taken from
us when we fought so hard to get them? Surely it is not true!"

"But it is," asserted Bob positively. "And that is not the greatest news:
General Lee has not only driven McClellan from in front of Richmond, but
he has invaded Maryland and we expect to hear at any time that Washington
has fallen into our hands."

"Is it true?" asked Jeanne again turning so pale that Bob thought she was
going to faint.

"Here, drink this!" Bob tipped up her canteen of water to Jeanne's lips.
"I did not know that Yankees cared so much for such things."

"Cared for such things," echoed Jeanne indignantly. "Of course we care.
How could any one hear that the Capital is menaced and not care? But the
traitors will never succeed in taking it. Never! I know our people. They
will defend it with their lives, and drive the treacherous miscreants,
who would dare profane by their touch, back to where they belong."

"We are not traitors," flashed Bob. "We have a right to secede if we want
to. The Capital belongs as much to us as it does to you, anyway."

"It doesn't," cried Jeanne angrily. "It belongs to the North because the
North is trying to uphold the Government left to us by our great and good
Washington."

"Your great and good Washington," sneered Bob. "Washington belonged to
us, I'd have you know. He was a Virginian, and let me tell you, that if it
hadn't been for Southerners there never would have been any United States
anyway."

"There would too," flashed back Jeanne. "My great-grandfather fought
in the Revolution, and there were plenty who fought that were not
Southerners."

"And who led them, pray?" demanded Bob. "Why, George Washington, a
Southerner. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson, a
Southerner. Who got up the Constitution? Why James Madison, a Southerner.
And mind you, Jeanne Vance, this country couldn't be run at first
except by Southerners. Out of the first five presidents, four were
Southerners."

"Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe," and Jeanne counted them
on her fingers. "John Adams was a Massachusetts man."

"Phew!" and Bob's lips curled scornfully. "And the people were so sick
of him that they only let him stay in four years. They were glad enough
to get back to us. I am sure that I don't wonder. I don't see how they
could stand a New Englander."

"I'm afraid that you'll have to," said Jeanne, wrathfully. "They are the
best people in the world. One of them is worth a dozen Southerners."

"He isn't," blazed Bob. "He----"

"Why, what does this mean?" cried a voice from without the tent. "Bob,
is that the way you treat a guest? I am surprised."

"It's dad!" exclaimed Bob, rapidly untying the flap of the tent. "Come in."

To Jeanne's surprise she saluted her father military fashion instead of
kissing him. The gentleman entered--a tall, black-haired, black-eyed man
of splendid military bearing and courtly mien. His eyes were twinkling,
but he spoke to his daughter in rather a stern tone.

"Is this the way to entertain a guest, my child? I suppose that this is
the young lady that Johnson brought in last night."

"Yes," answered Bob, in a shamefaced way. "She is a Yankee, and we were
quarreling. I don't know how it began. Do you?" to Jeanne.

"No," answered Jeanne. "I don't."

"I am ashamed of myself," said Bob, impulsively. "I ought to have
remembered that you were my guest. If you will forgive me this time I
won't do it any more."

"I was wrong too," said Jeanne, humbly. "We'll forgive each other."

Bob hesitated a moment and then leaned toward her.

"There!" said the Colonel, as the girls kissed. "That's better. Leave it
to the men to settle the differences of the country. It is not pleasant
to see girls quarrel. Introduce the little lady to me, Bob."

"Jeanne, this is my father, Colonel Peyton," said Bob. "Dad, this is
Jeanne Vance, from New York city. And she is a brave girl, if she is a
Yankee. You must get her to tell you all about her adventures."

"I am sure that I shall be pleased to hear them," said the Colonel,
affecting not to notice Jeanne's start of surprise as she heard his name.
"Do you girls know that it is breakfast time?"

"Mercy!" cried Bob. "Have the drums beaten the call? I did not hear them.
Did you ever! We've been two hours talking and--quarreling," she added,
in a lower tone.

"Yes; there was a time when I thought that it would be coffee and pistols
for two," laughed the father. "Come, let us have breakfast. I will hear
the little lady's story while we eat."

Jeanne looked about her with curious eyes as they emerged from the tent.
Everywhere there were tents that were arranged with military precision
back of a parade-ground which formed the front. First were the tents of
the men arranged by companies. Next after the tents of the men came those
of the commissioned officers of the companies. These faced on streets
which ran at right angles with the company streets. Still back of these
were the tents of the Colonel and his staff. The flag-staff at the edge
of the parade-ground, and immediately in front of the Colonel's tent,
sported a Confederate flag that waved gaily in the breeze. In the rear
of all were found the Quartermaster's and Sutler's departments. Dick had
often written about the soldiers doing their own cooking but here the
camp seemed filled with negroes who bustled about cooking and waiting
upon the soldiers as if they had been in their own dining-rooms.

"We are here awaiting orders," said the Colonel, when Jeanne had told
him her story, "but we expect to leave soon for Jackson. There are a
number of Federals in that vicinity. It seems to me that your best plan
would be to remain with us until we reach Jackson where I will try to get
you to your own side. They will assist you to get home. That is where you
ought to be."

"And where I wish to be," said Jeanne. "You are very kind, Colonel Peyton.
Kinder than my own people were, and yet you know that I am a Yankee."

"I am treating you as I would wish my own daughter treated under like
circumstances," replied the Colonel gravely. "I don't war on girls, and
it seems to me that you have had rather a hard time of it. Well, we'll
get you out of it as soon as possible unless you and Bob destroy each
other in your quarrels." And he looked at them with a humorous twinkle
in his eye.

"We won't quarrel any more," decided Bob. "We have had our say and we feel
better. Don't we, Jeanne?"

"Ye-es," said Jeanne hesitatingly. "Only I didn't say all I wanted to."

"Never mind," laughed Colonel Peyton. "I've no doubt but that you will
have the opportunity yet. Did Bob tell you how she came to be with me?"

"No; how was it?"

"I ran away," said Bob, her mouth full of chicken. "I have no mother.
Nobody but dad. So when the war broke out, and he went into it I made up
my mind that I would go too. Dad sold off our darkies and sent me to stay
with Aunt Betty in Mobile. I stood it just as long as I could, then I
took Jack, my horse, and struck out for dad. I found him finally, and
now I've been with him for six months. And I am going to stay too. Am I
not, dad?"

"Until we get to Jackson," answered her father, regarding her fondly.
"Then I shall send you on to Vicksburg to stay with sister Sally. That
is the safest place in the Confederacy. Once there my mind will be easy
about you. A camp is no place for a girl."

The breakfast was finished and Colonel Peyton was about to leave them when
he turned to Bob abruptly.

"By the way," he said, "wasn't it Mr. Vance who bought Snowball?"

"Yes; it was, dad. I wonder how Madame treats her! It seems to me that
I've heard some awful stories about the way she uses her darkies."

"When she whips them she does whip dreadfully," said Jeanne. "But I only
know of once that she had Snowball whipped. And you are the Colonel Peyton
who bought her?" Then she told them of Tenny, Snowball's mother.

"That was why you started when you heard my name, was it not?" asked the
Colonel.

"Yes, sir."

"I wondered just a little at the cause of it," remarked the officer as
he left them. "Now, girls, be good."

"I don't want to go to Vicksburg a bit," confided Bob to Jeanne as they
reëntered the former's tent. "I just love soldiering. Besides I want to
be near dad. Suppose he should be wounded. He'd die if I was not right
there to look after him. I'm not going to say anything, but it will take
a regular guard to keep me with Aunt Sally."

"But if he wishes it," said Jeanne to whom her father's lightest wish was
law. "You will have to stay then. He knows best."

"It won't be best for me to be away from him," said Bob, rebelliously.
"I should imagine all sorts of things were happening to him."

"Everybody who has a father or a brother in the army does that," said
Jeanne sadly as she thought of Dick. "But we have to stand it, Bob,
when the men and the boys will go to the war. I could not if I didn't
think it was right. If Dick should be killed----" her voice faltered a
little--"it would be a noble death. Admiral Farragut said that there was
no nobler one than to die for one's country, and I should try not to
grieve too much if he were to fall doing his duty."

"I do wish you were a Southerner," said Bob impulsively. "You feel just
like we do about those things. But, Jeanne, what if your brother had
thought that we were right and had gone to our side? What would you do
then?"

"Dick couldn't do that," cried Jeanne. "Why the place where he was born
and the way he was brought up would be against it. No; Dick couldn't be a
rebel."

"That's what I thought about Frank," said Bob, with bitterness. "That's
one reason that I stick so close to dad. I have, or rather had, a brother
too, Jeanne. But he broke dad's heart and mine by going to fight with the
Yankees. Yet his place of birth and his raising were both against it. I
will never forgive him," and the tears rolled down her cheeks. "And dad
never will either."

"But he is your brother," said Jeanne, pressing her hand. "If he thinks
he is right, even if he does differ with you, he is still your brother."

"Never," cried Bob, dashing the tears from her eyes. "I have no brother.
Come, let's go to see the men drill."



CHAPTER XX

THE ARREST OF A SPY


Jeanne soon accustomed herself to the life of the camp, but she did not
grow fond of it as Bob was. By her gentle way and pleasant manners she
became quite a favorite with Colonel Peyton, but Bob reigned supreme in
the hearts of the men. She petted and scolded them as if they were her
brothers, and Jeanne wondered when she saw how the strong men submitted
to her least command. But the secret lay in the fact that the Southern
girl adored the soldiers and they knew it.

"It's the smartest regiment in the whole Confederacy," declared Bob with
shining eyes to Jeanne one day. "I don't believe that there is another
like it in the world."

"Dick's regiment is very gallant," said Jeanne, a trifle wistfully. "It
has been complimented publicly on account of its bravery."

"Well, it can't beat the 'Die No Mores,'" said Bob. "The boys have been
specially good this week. Dad said last night that not a man had been
under arrest for five days. I always sing to them when that happens."

"Do you sing, Bob?"

"Yes; I have quite a good voice," said Bob in such a matter-of-fact way
that the other girl smiled. "Do you?"

"A little," acknowledged Jeanne. "Father used to like to hear me."

"Then we will give the boys a good time to-night. They like singing and
dad thinks it helps to keep them cheerful. They often sing themselves."

"I have heard them in the evening, and I like it when they do not sing
rebel songs," said honest Jeanne.

"Well, you can hardly expect them to sing any other, can you?" demanded
Bob. "I don't suppose that you do like it. I shouldn't want to hear the
Federal songs if I were in one of their camps. But the spirits of the men
must be kept up for we expect to meet the enemy soon."

"Do you?" cried Jeanne. "Oh, Bob, do you think that I could go to my side?"

"I don't know, Jeanne. Dad said, you know, that it would be best to go to
Jackson with us and then he would send you to the Federals. You wouldn't
be any nearer getting home with a party of skirmishers than you are with
us."

"I suppose not," sighed Jeanne, "but it would be something to be with my
own people."

"We'll see," replied Bob. "Although I don't like to have you leave,
Jeanne. It is a great deal nicer with you here. Dad likes it too, I know,
for he said to me yesterday: 'Barbara,' he always calls me Barbara when he
is serious, 'I like that little lady. You would please me if you would
model your manners after hers. You are a bit hoydenish in your ways,
and it grieves me. Fine manners are to a girl as the perfume is to a
flower.' I said, copy-book style: 'Honored and respected parent, after
having brought me up according to military regulations, don't you think it
is a little unjust to twit me with my manners? If they are lacking, blame
the code, not me.' And then I saluted, and retired, gracefully, I hope. At
any rate the shot told for I heard him laughing as I went out. Now,
Miss Vance, let me have a lesson. I suppose it's proper to begin with
prunes and prisms. There! do I say that right?"

"Oh, Bob," cried Jeanne laughing as Bob perked up her mouth in a funny
little grimace. "What a girl you are!"

"I hope you are well," went on Bob with a fine affectation of young
ladyism. "Beautiful weather we're having, aren't we? There! Do you think
dad will like that?"

"I like you better your own natural self, and I think that he does too,"
said Jeanne. "My ways don't suit you, Bob, and yours would not suit me.
But I am sure that you could have a fine manner without modeling after
me. I like you best just as you are."

"So do I," said Bob, tucking her arm comfortably within Jeanne's. "And
so does dad but he doesn't know it. I don't want him to get too fond of
you."

Night came and as usual the soldiers gathered around the fires to sing
songs and to tell stories. Presently Bob came among them to fulfill her
promise to sing to them. Jeanne accompanied her, and the Northern girl
wondered at the self-possession and ease with which the Colonel's daughter
stood before so many men and sang. But the Southern girl was so accustomed
to the soldiers that she thought nothing of it. Song after song she sang
responding with the utmost good nature to the repeated requests for
more. At last she cried:

"Just one more, boys, and I must stop, for I am tired. What shall it be?"

"The Bonnie Blue Flag," cried several voices.

"Very well," and Bob began instantly:

    "'We are a band of brothers, and natives to the soil,
    Fighting for the property we gained by honest toil;
    And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
    Hurrah for the bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!

           *      *      *      *      *      *      *

    "'Then here's to our Confederacy; strong we are and brave;
    Like patriots of old we'll fight our heritage to save;
    And rather than submit to shame, to die we would prefer;
    So cheer for the bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

    "'Then cheer, boys, cheer; raise the joyous shout,
    For Arkansas and North Carolina now have both gone out;
    And let another rousing cheer for Tennessee be given.
    The single star of the bonnie Blue Flag has grown to be eleven.'"

"Three cheers for the bonnie Blue Flag," called a voice and with a shout
the soldiers responded.

"Now three for our beloved president, Jefferson Davis! And three for the
Confederacy!" The men responded lustily.

"And three cheers and a tiger for Miss Bob, the child of the regiment,"
shouted another enthusiastically.

These had scarcely died away when some one called. "Why can't the 'Little
Yank' give us a song?"

"Yes, yes; the 'Little Yank,'" came from all sides.

For a moment Jeanne hesitated, and then she stepped forward into the
place which Bob had vacated. Her heart beat fast as she looked into the
expectant faces before her.

"I will sing of a flag too," she said in clear thrilling tones. With a
quick motion she drew the stars and stripes from her bosom and shaking
out its folds began earnestly:

    "'Oh! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
    What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,
    Whose stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
    O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming;
    And the rockets, red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there!'"

For a few moments every one was still amazed at the girl's audacity, but
as the last strain of the first stanza came from her lips a hoarse, angry
murmur went up from the soldiers, and there was a movement toward her.
But Jeanne heeded it not and in triumphant tones began the chorus:

    "'Oh! say, does that star spangled banner yet wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!'"

"Chuck that!" growled one of the men.

"Stow it, or it will be the worst for you," called another.

"You asked me to sing," said the girl undauntedly. "And I will choose my
own song."

"She is right," and Colonel Peyton pushed his way to her side. "You asked
her, boys, and she can sing what she chooses. Take your medicine like men."

Sullenly the soldiers settled back into their places while Jeanne
courageously finished her song.

"It wasn't right," said Bob angrily as Jeanne joined her. "You didn't
treat the boys right. If dad hadn't been there they wouldn't have stood
it."

"If they don't want to hear such things they must not ask me to sing,"
cried Jeanne, her eyes blazing. "I am compelled to hear treason every day."

"You don't need to stay here," flashed Bob.

"I am sure that I don't want to," answered Jeanne. "I want to go to my
own people and I will go to-morrow if your father will let me. I don't
stay because I want to."

"Well, you needn't be so glad to be rid of us," and the tears welled up
into Bob's eyes. "I am sure that we are good to you."

"Yes; you are," and Jeanne went to her quickly. "I shall be sorry to leave
you, Bob, but I do want to see my father and my mother. It has been so
long, so long." She turned away to hide her tears.

"Yes, it has;" and Bob put her arm within Jeanne's affectionately. "I am
sure that I don't blame you for wanting to see them. I don't know why I
say such mean things, Jeanne. I wish we didn't quarrel."

"Maybe we can't help it," answered Jeanne, pressing her arm.

"No; I suppose you can't help being a Yankee," said Bob, so dolefully that
Jeanne laughed.

"I don't want to," she said. "I am not sorry that you are a Southerner,
but I wish you were for the Union."

"Well, I don't, and so there we are! I suppose that there is just one
thing to do," and Bob nodded her head sagely, "and that is not to quarrel
any more than we can help. When we do we'll make up, won't we?"

"Yes," answered Jeanne. "We will."

Once more the two were friends, and thus the days passed. October waned
and soon rested with the other months of the dying year, and chill
November reigned supreme. Still the order to move did not come. There
was an uneasiness in the Colonel's manner as his scouts brought in news
each day that the country surrounding Jackson was filling up with Federals.

One morning a number of the companies of the regiment left the camp, and
Bob confided to Jeanne the news that they expected to be in an engagement
before they returned.

Jeanne, thrilled by the intelligence that she was so near to her own
people, sat thoughtfully in front of the tent devoted to the use of the
girls.

"Would it not be possible," she wondered, "for me to join them? These
people are kind and good, but would it not be much better for me to be
with those of my own side? If I were with them they could send me to some
place where it would be safe for me to take the cars for home. Father and
mother must be so worried. I will see Colonel Peyton and ask him what
he thinks of it," she cried, springing to her feet.

She hastened toward the tent of the commander, reaching it at the same
time as a number of soldiers did. A man was in their midst who, although
he wore a suit of butternut, seemed to be a prisoner. Jeanne paused as
the men stopped directly in front of her, and gave a cry of amazement at
sight of the man.

"You," she cried, in agitated tones. "Oh, I thought that you were on our
side!"

A loud burst of laughter came from the soldiers, and the prisoner became
very pale.

"I reckon the 'Little Yank' has called your death sentence, pardner," said
one of the Confederates, roughly. "That shows that you are a spy all right
enough."

"A spy," cried Jeanne, a light flooding her mind. "Oh, what have I done?
What have I done?"

"Do not grieve," said the young man, who was none other than the officer
whom she had aided in Memphis. "They strongly suspected it any way, and
were taking me to their Commanding officer for examination."

"There doesn't need to be much examination," said a Confederate, bluntly.
"Colonel Peyton will make short work of you."

"Whom did you say?" cried the young man in such agonized tones that all
turned to look at him.

"Colonel Peyton," was the reply. "Here he is now."

"What does this mean, boys?" asked Colonel Peyton, appearing in the door
of his tent. "What is the disturbance?"

"A feller that we caught sneaking round the camp," answered the leader,
gruffly. "He claims to be a Southerner, and I reckon he is one all right,
but his actions are decidedly suspicious. We were bringing him to you
when this girl recognized him, and called the turn on him as belonging to
the Federals."

"He is that worst of men, a Southerner who has turned against the State
that gave him birth and who takes up arms against her," said the Colonel
sternly, yet with emotion. "I know him, men, personally. He is an officer
in the Federal army. If he was prowling about here in those clothes he
is without doubt a spy. Unhappy man," he continued, turning to the
prisoner, "what have you to say for yourself?"

"Nothing," and the young fellow bowed his head upon his breast.

"You know the penalty of being caught as a spy," went on the pitiless
voice of the Colonel. "A spy is one of the most dishonorable of men, and
deserves any death given him. We have not much time for such. You die
at sunrise. Take him, men, and guard him well. I believe him to be a
dangerous man."

He turned back into his tent, and the soldiers started away with him, when
Jeanne darted to the young man's side, and caught his hand between her own.

"Forgive me," she sobbed. "I did not know what I was doing. Forgive me."

"Never mind, child," said the young officer, drearily. "It would have
happened any way. He knew me. I would rather have died in battle, but
after all I have been doing my duty. It is not death I fear, but----"

"But what?" asked Jeanne, as he paused.

"It breaks my heart to be condemned to death by my own father," came the
agonized reply.



CHAPTER XXI

A SURPRISE AND AN ESCAPE


"Your father?" cried Jeanne, in amazement. "Is Colonel Peyton your father?"

The young man bowed in assent.

"And he condemns you to death?" went on the girl, a horrified expression
on her face. "How could he do such a thing? Oh, how could he?"

"By George," broke from one of the Confederates. "This is a pretty mess!
Boys, the old man has sentenced his own son to death as a spy."

The soldiers crowded about the prisoner. Jeanne drew close to him and laid
her hand pityingly upon his arm.

"I will tell Bob," she said. "Perhaps she can persuade your father not to
do this monstrous thing."

"Bob! Is Bob here?" The Lieutenant looked up eagerly and then shook his
head. "No," he said, "she must not know. It would break her heart. After
all what has he done but what is just? Had it been any other Federal we
would commend him for doing his duty. He could not do other than he has
done. But say nothing to Bob. Add this to your other kindness, Miss
Jeanne. And, as this will probably be the last opportunity I shall ever
have, let me thank you also for sending me to your home."

"Then you really went there," cried Jeanne. "You saw my father and my
mother? How did they look? Were they well? When did you leave them? Oh,
Lieutenant Peyton, do tell me all about them."

"They are all well, or were when I left them which was two months ago.
They were as kind to me as if I had been their own son. I shall never
forget them. But they were worried because they had not heard from you.
After you left Memphis no word came to them. Child, why do you treat such
parents so? Why are you here in place of being at home? It is wrong to
subject them to so much uneasiness. They cannot think what has happened to
you?"

"But I have written," cried Jeanne, tearfully. "And I want to get home. I
don't want to stay here one bit. I want----"

"Men, why do you dally here with your prisoner?" came in stern tones from
Colonel Peyton who had approached the group unobserved. "I desire that
no further communication be allowed between this man and that girl. Are
they not both Federals?"

"Being as he was your son, Colonel," said the leader, saluting, "we
thought----"

"Your business is to obey orders, not to think," interrupted the officer
brusquely. "He is no son of mine. My son died to me long ago."

"Dad," cried the cheery voice of Bob as she came toward him. "They say
that you have caught a spy. Where is he? Why----" Her gaze fell upon the
prisoner and she stopped short. "Frank," she cried, shrilly, "it's Frank!
Oh, dad, what does it mean?"

"It means," said the Colonel, trying to draw her away, "that you have no
brother, Bob. This man is nothing to you. He is a spy and as such dies
at sunrise."

"At sunrise!" shrieked Bob. "No, no!"

"Away with that fellow," ordered the Colonel, harshly. "And mind! I shall
hold each one of you personally responsible for his safety. Bob," as the
soldiers bore his son away, "you are under arrest. Go to your quarters and
stay there until I release you. And you also," to Jeanne.

"You have no right to arrest me, Colonel Peyton," said Jeanne coldly. "I
refuse to obey any man who sentences his own son to death."

"You refuse to obey me?" cried the Colonel, loth to believe his ears. "Me?"

"Yes, sir, you. I do not consider myself under arrest. You have no right
to put me there. I am neither your daughter nor your slave," and Jeanne
put her arm around Bob and faced him defiantly.

"There are ways of enforcing obedience, young lady," said the Colonel.
"Bob, to your quarters."

"But, dad,----"

"To your quarters," commanded her father sternly. "Johnson," to a soldier,
"see that these girls are well-guarded until I give other orders."

And so it came about that a guard was placed about their tent and the
girls found themselves as closely watched as if they were indeed
prisoners. In the afternoon as they sat disconsolately together a
confusion without told that something unusual was going on. Jeanne went to
the aperture in the front of the tent and looked out.

"What is it?" she asked of the sentry.

"Our men coming back," was the answer. "They have a number of prisoners
and have captured some fine horses."

Jeanne reported the news to Bob, but she received it apathetically. So
overcome by grief was she that she appeared to no longer care for anything.

"Bob," said Jeanne suddenly, "can't we do something to help your brother?"

"I am afraid not," answered Bob in heartbroken accents. "What can we do?
We are only girls. What can we do?"

"Well, we can make an effort. I will never forgive myself if I don't do
something for him."

"Why should you care?" asked Bob listlessly. "He is not your brother."

"No, Bob, he isn't. But he is one of our officers, and I intend to help
him get away. It would be an awful thing for him to die by the hand of
his father."

"What are you going to do?" asked Bob looking at her with a gleam of
interest.

"I don't know. I have been thinking all day and I don't know," said
Jeanne. "But we must do something. I did not think that your father could
be so cruel."

"He is doing his duty," said Bob with pale lips. "Poor dad! Jeanne, you
think him hard-hearted, but I know that this will kill him. Poor, poor
dad!"

"Then if he cares why does he condemn his son to death?" asked Jeanne in
surprise.

"Because he came here as a spy, and dad could not overlook that fact
even if he is his son. Dad must regard Frank as a Federal, Jeanne. He is
bound to as a Confederate officer."

"But you are not bound. Surely you are not going to let your brother die
without trying to save him?"

"Dad will never forgive me," said Bob weakly. "And yet I can't let Frank
die."

"Of course not," answered Jeanne. "Now, Bob, let's think hard. Maybe
between us we can get some plan."

But the time passed, and darkness found them still with no plan matured.

"We will save our rations," said Bob as their supper was handed in to
them. "Frank ought to have them to take with him if he succeeds in
escaping. If he doesn't we won't care to eat."

So they carefully put up the food into a small package, and again fell
to discussing ways and means for the escape of Lieutenant Peyton.

"Bob," exclaimed Jeanne presently, "do you know that I have not heard the
guard patrol our tent for a long time?"

Bob listened intently, and then sprang to her feet.

"It's true," she exclaimed excitedly. "I wonder what the reason is?"

They ran to the door of the tent and peered out cautiously. There seemed
to be a commotion of some kind in camp. Men were hurrying to and fro;
bayonets rattled, and the subdued murmur of many voices plainly told that
an unusual movement was on foot. The girls looked on breathlessly and
presently they heard the order given for the men to fall in line. Then
"Forward, March!" came the command and the ranks filed out of the camp
on the double quick, the Colonel at their head.

"Something's up," said Bob with conviction. "Let's go down to where the
prisoners are, Jeanne, and see how the land lies. Then maybe we will know
what to do."

Silently Jeanne signified her assent and the two stole quietly through
the long rows of tents to where the prisoners were.

"There is but one guard," whispered Bob in delight. "See, Jeanne! Frank
lies the closest to the fire. He is bound too, hand and foot."

"I see," whispered Jeanne. "Let's get closer, Bob."

Cautiously they approached nearer to the men. Presently Jeanne uttered
an exclamation and stopped stock still.

"What is it?" asked Bob quickly. "Did you hurt yourself?"

"Bob," whispered Jeanne in great agitation, "do you see that young fellow
just beyond Frank? The one with the yellow hair, I mean."

"Yes, Jeanne. Why?"

"That is my brother Dick. They shan't have Dick, Bob. Not if I had to face
the whole Confederate army myself."

"Jeanne, is it truly Dick? Aren't you mistaken? Maybe it's only some one
who looks like him."

"It's Dick," said Jeanne positively. "Watch him. He will know my voice."
Regardless of caution she began singing softly the then popular melody:

    "'Will you come with me, my Phillis dear,
      To yon blue mountain free,
    Where the blossoms smell the sweetest,
      Come rove along with me.
    It's every Sunday morning,
      When I am by your side,
    We'll jump into the wagon,
      And all take a ride.'"

Bob watched the young fellow as Jeanne's voice floated out upon the night
air. The boy, he was scarcely more than that, raised himself to a sitting
posture instantly, a blank look of amazement upon his face.

"Miss Bob," came from the guard, "it's against orders for either you or
the 'Little Yank' to be about the prisoners. I'm mighty sorry, but you'll
have to go."

"Johnson," said Bob coaxingly, "haven't I always been good to you?"

"Yes, Miss Bob."

"Who looked after you when you were wounded, and cooked for you, and wrote
your letters to your wife?"

"Miss Bob, for goodness sake don't tell me any of those things now. The
Colonel's away, and there are just a few of us left to guard the prisoners
and the camp. 'Tain't right, Miss Bob."

"You said that there was nothing that you would not do for me," went on
Bob inexorably.

"And I meant it," said the poor fellow. "I know what you mean. I know
that's your brother. But you must not ask it of me. Please, Miss Bob."

"I'm only going to ask you to turn your back for ten minutes," said Bob.

"And his knife," whispered Jeanne tremblingly. "Get his knife, Bob."

"Turn your back for ten minutes," repeated Bob, "and lend me your knife."

"For the love of mercy, Miss Bob," pleaded Johnson, "don't ask this of
me. It means worse than death to me. It is a betrayal of trust."

"Your knife, Johnson," and Bob held out her hand. "What would your wife
think of your refusing me anything?"

"Take it," said the man with the resignation of despair. "The Colonel will
have me shot like a dog, but take it. I cannot refuse."

He handed her the knife and then turned his back full upon the prisoners.

"Quick," whispered Jeanne. "Cut your brother's bonds first, and then let
me have the knife."

She ran to her brother's side as she spoke and threw her arms about him.

"Dick, Dick," she said kissing him repeatedly. "I am going to cut the
cords that bind you. Then you must run for your life."

"Jeanne," came the amazed voice of the lad, "how in the name of all that's
wonderful, did you come here?"

"I am well and happy," cried Jeanne hurriedly. "I cannot tell you more
now, but I am going home soon. Don't mind about me. Bob, hurry, hurry,
before Johnson turns."

"There!" said Bob flinging her the knife. Rising to her feet triumphantly
she called to her friend. "Be quick, Jeanne! Johnson is looking at his
watch."

"Run, boys," panted Jeanne as the keen edge of the blade severed the cord
that bound her brother's feet. "If you value your lives, run like the
wind."

Frank Peyton needed no second bidding. He was off but Dick Vance hesitated
as he glanced at his sister.

"She is safe," cried Bob, reading his glance aright. "I will answer for
her with my life. Go! Go! Don't look yet, Johnson. One minute more in
pity!"

"No;" and Johnson wheeled round. "Your brother is gone, but not another
prisoner goes. I am not beholden to any Federal." He swung his gun to his
shoulder just as Dick darted away.

With a scream of terror Jeanne threw herself upon him while Bob caught
hold of the musket.

"It's my brother," shrieked Jeanne. "You must not, you shall not shoot!"

"Well, I'll be switched," growled Johnson in disgusted tones. "Does the
whole Federal army happen to be related to you two girls? This is a pretty
affair! But that Yank doesn't get away if the Colonel's son does."

Shaking himself free from their clinging hands he fired two shots in the
direction that Dick Vance had taken. As other men came running up they
gave chase to the fugitives.

"They dare not follow far," comforted Bob, as Jeanne gave vent to a flood
of tears. "They won't dare to leave the camp long."

"Come then," and Jeanne dashed away her tears as an idea flashed into her
mind. "Let's call them back."

She took Bob's hand and ran with her to another part of the camp.



CHAPTER XXII

DICK TO THE FORE


Jeanne uttered an exclamation of joy as she stumbled upon a musket that
for some reason had been thrown aside.

"This is the very thing," she cried.

"What are you going to do?" asked Bob.

"I am going to make the guards think that we are attacked," answered
Jeanne, swinging the gun to her shoulder as she had seen the men do.
Before the other could stop her she had pulled the trigger. There was
a flash followed by a loud report, and with a groan Jeanne fell prone
upon the earth.

"Jeanne," shrieked Bob, falling beside her. "Jeanne, are you hurt? Oh,
she's shot! She's shot!"

"Miss Bob! Miss Bob, where are you?" shouted the voices of the soldiers,
and a number of those who had been left to guard the camp ran hither and
thither in confusion.

"To arms!" came the hoarse command of an officer. "We are attacked."

"Here! Oh, come here!" called Bob as Jeanne lay groaning upon the ground.
"Captain Dallas, come here!"

In a few moments the soldiers were about them. Captain Dallas raised the
fallen girl carefully.

"Where are you hurt?" he asked gently. "Which way did the shot come?"

"It was the gun," moaned Jeanne, feebly finding herself able to talk. "It
went off at the wrong end."

"Well, by George," cried the Captain bursting into a laugh, "we're nicely
fooled, boys. The girl isn't shot. She fired the gun herself. The musket
kicked. That's all. Now you girls go to bed," he ordered sternly, "and
let's have no more nonsense."

"But Dick," said Jeanne, getting upon her feet. "You haven't caught Dick,
have you?"

"If you mean the fellow that left with the Colonel's son, no," answered
the Captain. "We can't spare the men to give chase, but there will be
a reckoning for somebody when Colonel Peyton gets back. Now go to bed.
You'll let us keep the rest of our prisoners, I reckon," he added with
sarcasm.

"Oh, yes," said Bob, laughing a little hysterically. "It was just our
brothers that we were after."

"Better go to the surgeon and get something for that shoulder," called
the Captain as they started off. "It's liable to be pretty lame for a few
days."

Bob profited by his advice and sought the surgeon who gave her some
liniment to rub on it, but the morning found it still so lame that Jeanne
retained her bed.

On the morning of the third day the Colonel and his men returned, worn
and jaded looking. There were no prisoners, and from the spiritless
condition of the soldiers it looked as though they had been on a fruitless
enterprise.

"And if that is the case," remarked Bob to Jeanne, "dad will be in an
awful humor, and we'll catch it."

It was afternoon before Colonel Peyton sought their presence. Bob's face
blanched as her father entered the tent, but Jeanne, strong in the belief
that Dick was safe, faced him boldly.

"I want to hear the whole of this affair," said Colonel Peyton quietly
ignoring his daughter's greeting. "Barbara, tell me just what happened."

Briefly Bob related the facts of the night's occurrence. Her father
listened attentively.

"And you threw up to Johnson the benefits conferred upon him," he said
as Bob finished her narrative. "I would not have believed it of you,
Barbara. Johnson has been court-martialed and sentenced to the guard
house for one month. The officers were merciful because that unhappy
boy was my son. But I cannot risk a second offense of this nature.
Hereafter, you will occupy quarters next to my own. I did not dream
that my daughter would so far forget what was due to herself as to aid
in the escape of the enemies of her country. I cannot but think it
owing to the companionship of the past few weeks. That you may not be
influenced further I forbid you to have any further communication with
this girl. As for you," turning to Jeanne and speaking sternly, "as I have
passed my word to you that you shall be sent to the Federal lines it
shall be done. We leave for Jackson to-morrow. At the first opportunity
I will send you to your people. Meantime, may I ask that you refrain
from any intercourse whatever with my daughter? It is the smallest
return that you can make, in view of your conduct of the last few days."

"I have no desire to do other than you wish, Colonel Peyton," said Jeanne
proudly. "I am not sorry for anything I have done. Were it to do over, I
would not hesitate for a moment to do anything I could to restore either
my brother or your son to liberty. I am very sorry if my conduct has not
pleased you. I should think that you would be glad to be saved from being
the slayer of your son."

"We will not discuss the matter," said the Colonel coldly. "Come,
Barbara, I will take you to your quarters, and under pain of my severest
displeasure, I expect that you will have no more to say to this young
person."

Bob gave Jeanne a long sad look, and then silently gathering up her
belongings, left the tent.

And now began a dreary time for Jeanne. Cold looks greeted her on every
side. The old, pleasant, cheery companionship with Bob was no more. She
missed even the tiffs they had had, and longed with a passionate yearning
for home and friends. The march to Jackson would have been a pleasant one
as it led through the autumn woods which shone through a silvery mist
amid spicy breezes which blew cool and keen from the heart of the pines,
had it not been for the manner in which she was treated.

No one paid the least attention to her comings and goings. Indeed it
seemed to her that Colonel Peyton would gladly welcome the fact of her
disappearance, and so she grew into the habit of riding a little apart
from the others and sometimes of loitering considerably in the rear of the
cavalcade. It had been the original intention that she go in the wagon
with Bob, but under the altered conditions a horse had been given her
while Bob rode in front with her father.

The afternoon of the second day out Jeanne dropped behind the regiment,
for she was very tired, intending to wait for the wagons and to ask the
drivers to let her rest for a while in one of them. A bend of the road
hid the regiment from view. The wagons were far in the rear and for the
time she was alone.

"Jeanne," came her name in low tones from the underbrush at the side of
the road.

Jeanne drew rein quickly and looked wonderingly about her. She saw nothing
and thinking that she had imagined the call, she started to go on, when
it came again.

"Jeanne! Jeanne! Wait a moment."

Pale and trembling the girl stopped, and then to her astonishment Dick
came breathlessly though the undergrowth.

"Dick!" she cried. "Oh, Dick!"

"I have waited and watched for this chance ever since I left the camp,"
cried the lad. "Come with me, Jeanne. You have no business with these
rebels."

"But Colonel Peyton----" began Jeanne.

"Come," cried Dick seizing the bridle of her horse. "I do not understand
why you are here, but it is no place for you. I will take you home."

"Will you, Dick?" asked the girl joyfully, preparing to dismount.

"Don't get off the horse. We will need him. I don't know just where our
men are, and we may have a long distance to go."

"But he is not ours," objected Jeanne, whose residence among soldiers had
not been long enough to render her conscience elastic on this point.

"Yes, he is," answered Dick. "The Government confiscated all the property
belonging to the Johnnies long ago, and I guess this horse comes under
that act. I am only doing my duty in taking the animal."

"Do you think so?" asked Jeanne, dubiously.

"Certainly, I do," and the lad led the horse away from the road into the
thicket. "I thought I was going to have lots of trouble to get you away
from those people," he said, when they were a safe distance.

"They don't care anything about me," said the girl, sadly. "O Dick, I've
had such a time!"

"There! There!" Dick drew her head against his shoulder caressingly.
"It's all over now. I'll take care of you. But tell me, Jeanne, how in
the world did you come down here in this benighted country? I left you
safe at home in New York and find you here. How did it happen?"

"I thought that perhaps father had written," and Jeanne looked up through
her tears.

"No; I have not heard from the folks for quite a while, but we have been
on the march, and I was taken prisoner. I know that there are letters for
me somewhere."

"Then I will begin at the beginning," said Jeanne, stroking his hair
tenderly. "Oh, Dick, it is so good to be with some one who belongs to me!"



CHAPTER XXIII

RECAPTURE


"We must not stay here, Jeanne," said Dick, after his sister had finished
her narrative. "We must strike out for the Mississippi River. Once there
we may see some of our boats. That will be our best show for getting to
our lines."

"Is it far to the river, Dick?"

"I don't know, Jeanne. If I felt sure that Colonel Peyton would send you
to our men, I would let you go on with him, but after the treatment given
you, I don't like to let you go back."

"No; let me stay with you, Dick. I feel as if I never wanted to see a
rebel again."

"You are liable to see a good many of them before we are out of this,"
remarked Dick. "The woods are full of them. I fear----"

"What?" asked Jeanne, as the lad paused.

"For you, sister. It will be a long, hard journey. I wish I had known
just how matters stood and I would have left you where you were. You
have shown yourself a brave girl, and it will take all your courage and
resolution now to stand up under the perils we will have to encounter. I
wish we had some money. The Johnnies aren't averse to taking our money
for all their devotion to their cause. It would help us wonderfully."

"See here, Dick!" Jeanne took a roll of bills from her dress. "Will this
be enough?"

"Where did you get it?" cried Dick in delight. "Why, this is fine!"

"Father gave it to me just before I left," answered Jeanne. "He little
thought that it would help us both to get back to him. I know Aunt
Clarisse would have taken it if she had remembered telling me to hide it."

"Father will have a settling with Uncle Ben and his wife," cried the boy,
his eyes flashing. "I'd just like to meet the lady myself. I don't think
she'd like what she would hear!"

"I know it," and the girl looked at him admiringly. "I just feel as if my
troubles were all over. What a soldier you are, Dick!"

"You are a pretty good one yourself," answered Dick. "I had no idea,
Jeanne, that you could stand fire as you did on that transport. Why, I
have known big men to be afraid in a battle."

"It's the blood," observed the girl, sagely. "How could we be other than
brave, when our ancestors fought in the Revolution? We just can't help it."

Dick laughed.

"Ancestors don't seem to help some fellows I know," he said. "You'd be
surprised at some of the things they do. They play sick, fall in behind
the rest of us, or do anything in the world to get out of the way of
the bullets. The queer part of the whole thing is that those who expose
themselves the most rarely get hurt while the shots seek the cowards."

Thus conversing the two pursued their journey. Darkness came on, and Dick
proposed a halt and rest for the night.

"There are so many swamps," he said, "and so many of those things they
call bayous that I like to see where I am going. You won't be afraid to
stay out all night, will you? There isn't a house in sight, and it might
not be safe for us to go to it if there were."

"I am not afraid with you, Dick. But it does look rather ghost-like,
doesn't it, with all that moss hanging from the trees?"

"Yes; the forest is not so fine as our own Adirondacks. I don't like this
country anyway. There are cypress swamps and malaria every time you turn
round. Malaria has killed more of the boys than all the shots the rebs
ever fired. You won't get sick, will you?"

"I stood New Orleans in the summertime," said the girl, "and they said
down there that anybody who could live there through the summer could live
anywhere. But you have not told me how you came to be down here."

"Our regiment was sent to Corinth," answered Dick. "With a few others
I was taken prisoner during the battle there. General Van Dorn sent us to
Jackson, and from there we were to be taken by rail to Richmond, Virginia.
For some reason the orders were changed, and we were marched on foot to
your camp. What they intended to do with us is more than I know. I tell
you, I was glad to be free again."

"You are so pale," said Jeanne, touching him gently. "Are you well, Dick?"

"Fine! Just need a good square meal to set me up all right," answered
the boy cheerily. "I haven't had very much to eat since you girls set me
free. Just what I could find in the woods. Herbs and wild grapes, and
persimmons. I eat the green ones mostly."

"But why?" asked Jeanne mystified. "The ripe ones are ever so much better.
I like them now, although I didn't at first."

"The green ones are best if you don't have much to eat," rejoined Dick.
"They are fine to draw the stomach up to fit the supply. Say, Jeanne,
don't you wish we had some of mother's doughnuts?"

"You poor, poor boy," cried Jeanne laughing, but there were tears in her
eyes. "I wish we were where we could get them. Will the war last much
longer, Dick?"

"I am afraid so," was the lad's reply. "The rebs have played the mischief
this fall, and it looks as if all our work had to be done over again. Now,
Jeanne, you go to sleep, or you won't be fit to travel to-morrow."

"And what will you do?"

"Watch while you sleep. Never mind me. I am used to it. I have often stood
guard, and can do it just as well as not."

"I don't believe that anything will bother us, brother. I wish you would
sleep too."

"No," said Dick sturdily, "not now."

Jeanne tried to obey him but sleep would not come to her. The dark pines
were on all sides of them. The owls hooted dismally, and the chill wind
sobbed and moaned fitfully in the pine trees. Presently Dick stooped over
her.

"Are you cold, Jeanne?"

"Yes, Dick. And I can't sleep a bit. Can't we talk, or walk, or do
something?"

"We will walk," decided Dick. "I think that the horse must be rested by
this time. What is his name?"

"Robert E. Lee," answered Jeanne in a hesitating tone fearing that Dick
might not like the animal to be so called. "Bob called him 'Rel' for
short, and so do I because I don't like the full name."

"Lee is a fine general," commented Dick. "If we had had him on our side
to begin with, the war would have been over by this time. I hope the horse
is worthy of his name. Take my hand, Jeanne, and we will start."

Throwing the rein over his shoulder Dick guided himself by the stars
and the brother and sister again took up their journey to the westward.
Slowly they proceeded, stopping occasionally to rest and picking their
way carefully through the forest. At last, just at the break of day,
they came to a clearing in the woods in which stood a cabin. The blue
smoke curled invitingly from the chimney, and in the open door stood a
venerable darky.

"It's darkies," cried Dick joyfully. "They will give us something to eat."

They hurried forward. The old man stared at them as they approached him.

"Could you give us some breakfast, sir?" asked Dick. "We are willing to
pay well for it. We are Unionists."

"'Meriky," called the old man excitedly, "hyar's two ob Massa Linkum's
folks wantin' sumthing ter eat. Yes, suh; kum in, suh. We'll gib yer what
we've got. Kum in!"

Gladly they entered. A bright looking colored woman surrounded by half a
dozen pickaninnies of all ages and sizes from two to fifteen was busily
preparing the morning meal. She bustled forward bowing and courtesying
as they entered.

"Kum in an' welcome," she said. "Lawsie, you is one ob Massa Linkum's
sojers sho' nuff. Hain't neber seed one befo'. We all jest lubs Fadder
Abraham, suh."

"And the horse?" said Dick suggestively.

"Dat's all right, suh. Hyar, Geo'ge Washington! Done yer see de gem'man's
hoss a stan'ing dere? Gib him sum fodder."

With homely but cheerful hospitality they pressed the viands upon them.
It seemed to Jeanne that nothing had ever tasted so good before, and
she could not but gaze in wonder at the quantity of hominy, molasses,
cornbread and rye coffee that Dick managed to stow away.

"What would it have been if he hadn't eaten the green persimmons," she
wondered.

"You all is a moughty long ways from your lines," remarked the old man
as Dick told them that he been taken prisoner and was making his escape.
"Dere's sojers all 'bout in dese hyar woods. 'Clar ter goodness I done
see how yer gwine ter git away from 'em."

"We'll manage," said Dick hopefully. He felt now that he could face all of
Van Dorn's brigade. "Take this, my friend, and tell us the best road to
reach the Mississippi River."

"Thankky kindly, massa," said the old darky, taking the dollar bill that
Dick gave him with the eagerness of a child. "See hyar, 'Meriky, it's
Linkum money. Good Linkum money!"

"Sho' nuff it am," cried 'Merica examining it. "Thankky, suh; and you too,
missy. Ef yer eber sees Massa Linkum tell him how we all lubs him, an'
dat we am a lookin' fohwa'd ter resting in his bosom."

"I will," said Jeanne with quick courtesy as a suspicious sound came from
Dick's direction. "Perhaps some day you will see him for yourself."

"De Lohd grant it," came from the negroes fervently. "De good buk done
promised dat we shall lie in Fadder Abraham's bosom, an' we knows we will.
Tell him we's 'spectin' it suah ter kum ter pass."

"Though how Lincoln is going to take them all into his bosom passes my
comprehension," was Dick's laughing comment as they went on their way.

"I think that he has done it already, Dick," said the girl with truer
insight than the boy. "They know it too, poor souls! I hope that they
will get to see him. I think if I were a negro I would walk all the way
to Washington to do it."

They were fortunate enough to obtain some ears of corn from the home of
a poor white, the woman being so suspicious of them that she would not
permit them to enter her house. She gladly however took the money they
offered and gave them the corn.

To all inquiries concerning the Mississippi River they were told that if
they kept on in the same direction that they were going they would reach
it in time.

"All of which is very specific," growled Dick as he threw himself under
a tree and declared a halt. "I wonder if any of them ever saw the river in
their lives."

"I don't believe that they have," said Jeanne. "I found out in New Orleans
that these people that they call 'poor whites' are very ignorant. But
we'll reach it some way, Dick."

"Yes; I begin to think that we will," said Dick complacently. "I wish that
I had a Confederate uniform though. These clothes are rather conspicuous."

"Dick," cried Jeanne in horrified tones, "you would not wear that uniform
for a minute, would you?"

"Wouldn't I?" chuckled Dick. "I wish I had a chance to try. Then we would
not have to skulk along this way but would go boldly to the nearest town
and board a train, and there we'd be!"

"I would not wear one," declared Jeanne.

"It wouldn't change my principles," said Dick. "The clothes don't make
the man only in the eyes of other people, and that is what we want now. I
would be just as true a Unionist as I am now, and it would be much safer
for us both. A uniform and a gun are just what I need. I am going to get
them!"

He rose determinedly as he spoke and helped Jeanne on the horse.

"Get on too, Dick," she pleaded. "You have walked all the time and your
shoes are in tatters. Please get up too."

To please her Dick climbed up before her, and they started off at a brisk
pace. Suddenly from a bend in the road before them a body of rebel cavalry
cantered into view. Jeanne tittered a cry of alarm but Dick setting his
teeth made a quick dash into the woods.

The rebels had seen them, however, and giving vent to their terrible yell,
they dashed in pursuit.

"Surrender," cried the leader as they drew near the hapless pair.
"Surrender!"

"Never!" cried Dick, furiously urging his horse to greater speed. A shower
of bullets fell about them. The horse stumbled and then swayed heavily.
Dick leaped from the animal's back and swung Jeanne to the ground just
as the poor brute fell. Throwing his arms about his sister the boy faced
the men defiantly.

"You are our prisoner, Yank," yelled the leader as they surrounded them.

"My sister," came from the lad's lips. His face was very pale and a
despairing look came into his eyes. He tottered and fell as he spoke.

"Dick!" shrieked Jeanne, frantically flinging herself beside him. "Dick,
Dick!"

"Wounded," was the terse remark of the Captain as he made a brief
examination. "By George, but he showed pluck to face us as he did! Look
here, boys."

Turning back the lad's shirt he showed a gaping wound in his chest. With a
cry of agony at the sight, the world turned dark to Jeanne, and she fell
prostrate across the form of her brother.



CHAPTER XXIV

VICKSBURG


When Jeanne recovered consciousness she knew by the rumbling and roaring
that she was on board a train. The riding was very rough, and hardly
realizing where she was she began to feel about her for the cushions,
weakly wondering where the lights were. It came to her with a sudden
shock as her fingers touched nothing but wood that she was lying prone
upon the floor of some sort of a car with not even a blanket under her.

The knowledge brought back the full remembrance of what had happened, and
she sat up quickly and tried to peer about her.

"Dick," she called. "Dick!"

A low moan was the answer. Guided by the sound Jeanne groped her way in
its direction, and soon came in contact with the prostrate form of the boy.

"Dick," she cried again. "Dick, is it you?"

"Jeanne," came the reply, in weak tones, "are you safe? I called but you
did not answer. I did not know you were here. What has happened? Were you
asleep?"

"I think I must have fainted, Dick," answered Jeanne, as steadily as she
could, for the thought of Dick's wound sickened her, and she was still
weak from her swoon. "But I am all right. How do you feel, brother? Are
you suffering much pain?"

"It is terrible," groaned the boy. "It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for
the jolting."

"It must be dreadful," said Jeanne, with aching heart. "Let me see if I
can't help that a little."

She crawled close to his side, and seating herself with the side of the
car for a brace, gently lifted his head and shoulders into her lap.

"Is that better?" she asked, as Dick settled back heavily.

"Yes, dear; but I am afraid that it will be hard on you."

"Oh, no! It makes me feel so much better to be able to do something
for you. It breaks my heart to have you suffer. Didn't those people do
anything for you?"

"The surgeon dressed my wound when they reached the station. Then they
threw me into this box car. I felt worse because I didn't know what had
become of you."

"Now you must rest," said Jeanne, holding him tenderly against her. "We
are still together, Dick. You must sleep if you can."

And so through all the long dark night the girl held her wounded brother,
and strove to break the jolting of the rough car. Her arms ached from
their burden, and her limbs were numb, but she breathed no word of
discomfort.

Sometimes Dick would fall into a fitful sleep in which he murmured
feverishly and then he would awake with a start, but Jeanne was always
awake to soothe him and to quiet his wandering fancy.

At last the long hours of darkness passed, as the longest and darkest
must, and the sun rose lightening up even the gloomy box car with its
rays. Pale and wan Dick looked in the morning light and Jeanne's heart
was very full as she gazed at him.

"What would mother say if she could see him?" she thought. "Oh, if she
were only here to take care of him! But she can't be and I must do my
best. God help me!"

About nine o'clock the train slowed down and presently pulled into a
station. After a long time the doors of the car opened and some
Confederate soldiers appeared.

"All out for Vicksburg," called one facetiously.

"Shut up!" said another. "Don't you see that the boy is wounded and the
girl doesn't look any better than he does."

"What are you going to do with him?" cried Jeanne in alarm as two of the
men lifted Dick up.

"Take him to the provost marshal and then to the hospital. He is our
prisoner, you know."

"Then you must take me right along with him," said Jeanne, decidedly,
rising stiffly. "I suppose I am a prisoner too."

"I rather reckon so," was the dry reply.

Jeanne said no more but followed closely after the man as Dick was carried
into the station. The depot was thronged with soldiers waiting to go
out to the batteries. She obtained her first glimpse of the "Gibraltar
of the South" as she drove through its streets by Dick's side, in an
ambulance.

The city presented a fine appearance situated as it was on the wooded
summits of the Walnut Hills. From these elevations the flat alluvial
country around could be seen in every direction, which with its forests
of oaks and cottonwood interspersed with extensive plantations, formed a
picture of great panoramic beauty. The main portion of the city lay
near the water front and above it the hills were crowned with elegant
private residences, and made conspicuous by the high walls of the public
buildings. The court-house, a large structure of light gray limestone,
crowned the summit of one of the hills and was one of the first objects
to catch the eye. The streets rose from the river with an abrupt difficult
ascent and were cut through the bluffs and hills directly to the edge of
the levee.

With something approaching awe Jeanne gazed at the formidable batteries
which had been erected to dispute the advance of the Federals. The
most of them were near the lower end of the town as if the greatest
danger were to be apprehended from that point. One tier was near the top
of the bluff, another about halfway down from the summit to the water. A
single row of water batteries was located near the brink of the river to
repel all attacks made at close range. The batteries on the hills causing
more trouble to the Unionists than those lower down as none of the
Federal guns could be elevated sufficiently to reach them while their
shot could be made to plunge through the decks and disable whatever
boats or vessels came within their range. As Jeanne gazed on these
formidable defenses she could not but wonder how the transport had
escaped destruction.

The provost marshal was reached at last and Dick's name and regiment were
duly registered. Then the provost turned to Jeanne.

"I don't know what to do with you," he said. "What were you doing?"

"Dick and I were trying to reach the Mississippi River hoping that we
might get home," said Jeanne.

"Were you carrying anything beyond the lines?"

"No, sir."

"How came you within our lines?" persisted the officer, attracted by her
youth and innocence, yet determined to probe the affair to the bottom.

"I came from New Orleans," said Jeanne. "I was visiting my uncle. When
they left the city they took me with them but left me at a deserted
plantation. I started back to New Orleans but fell in with Colonel
Peyton's camp and he was bringing me to Jackson where he said that he
would send me to our side. I met Dick and so went with him because he
is my brother."

"But what was Dick doing here?" queried the man. "What business has a
Union soldier in this part of the country?"

"I was a prisoner," answered Dick, speaking for himself. "I had escaped
and when I knew that my sister was in the hands of you fellows I waited to
take her away."

And Dick awaited the effect of his bold declaration anxiously for he was
uneasy for his sister.

"I don't know what to do with you," said the provost again.

"Let me go with Dick," pleaded Jeanne eagerly. "He is wounded as you see,
sir, and needs care and attention. Please let me go with him. I won't be a
bit of trouble."

"I don't know but that that will be the best way out of the difficulty,"
remarked the officer musingly. "At least until I can investigate further.
What was the name of your uncle?"

"Vance, sir. Benjamin Vance.".

"Benjamin Vance!" exclaimed the officer in amazement. "He is well-known in
Vicksburg. Why, he and his wife are here now visiting relatives. I will
send for him at once."

"What!" cried Jeanne. "Uncle Ben here?"

"Right here," responded the other. "Orderly, will you send word to the
La Chaise manor that I would like Mr. Vance to come here?"

The Orderly saluted and left the room. The provost turned his attention to
other matters while Dick and Jeanne waited with beating hearts the return
of the man.

In about an hour's time the Orderly returned and with him came the
well-known form of Mr. Vance. Behind him, her silken skirts rustling, her
face wreathed in smiles, her manner full of smirks and graces, walked
Madame Vance.



CHAPTER XXV

MADAME AGAIN


"You dear child," cried Madame embracing Jeanne rapturously. "You cannot
imagine how desolate I have been at losing you. I was frantic when I
learned you were left behind. We went back for you, but you had gone. Ma
foi! You should have waited for our return."

"Your story being so amiably verified," said the provost beaming upon the
girl, "I am happy to say there is no reason why you should not return to
your relatives. I am charmed to have assisted in reuniting you to your
honored family."

"We will never forget it," said the lady sweetly. "If we are ever so
fortunate as to have the opportunity to repay the obligation, rest assured
that we will gladly use it. My sweet child, is this your brother? The
Orderly spoke of him as we came down."

"Yes," said Jeanne hesitatingly. She was not at all pleased at the turn
affairs had taken, and did not relish the idea of being once more in the
hands of Madame. "Yes, this is Dick, Uncle Ben. You know that he bears
your name also: Richard Benjamin Vance."

She drew near Dick as she spoke, standing between Madame and her brother,
and addressing herself to her uncle only.

"Richard, I am glad to see you," said Mr. Vance, seizing the boy's hand
and speaking so heartily that Dick was bewildered. "A prisoner, they tell
me. Come! this won't do. We must have you with us for Clarisse to take
care of. She is a fine nurse!"

"I do not want to go," said Dick weakly. The long wait was beginning to
tell upon him. "After the way that my sister has been treated I prefer
to trust to the mercy of my enemies than to receive any benefits from you."

"My dear boy, has the little one been speaking of our differences? There
were some, I believe. She is headstrong and self-willed, but what would
you? I desire to admonish her for disobedience as a mother might, and
she grieves me by thinking that I do not love her, but I adore her! You
shall both come to us, and you shall see for yourself."

"Yes," said Mr. Vance after a low conversation with the provost. "I have
arranged with the officer here that you shall come with us to be taken
care of. When you are well, then you must return to him. Orderly, can you
get some one to assist me in lifting my nephew to the carriage?"

So in spite of themselves the brother and sister were placed in charge
of their uncle and his wife. The carriage bowled rapidly over the rough
streets and at last stopped before a large residence on the summit of one
of the hills.

The building was long and low roofed, built after the Southern fashion
with wide halls and broad galleries running the entire length of the
house. It looked very inviting even to Jeanne who hovered protectingly
over her brother.

"She shan't misuse Dick," she declared, over and over again. "She shan't
harm him."

Dick was carried carefully into a large room and placed in a clean white
bed. A bright fire blazed upon the hearth and its heat was very welcome
after the ride in the chill November air.

The boy, exhausted from his suffering and weak from loss of blood,
fainted as they placed him on the couch and Mr. Vance hurriedly summoned a
physician. Jeanne found herself pushed to one side while Mr. and Madame
Vance worked over the unconscious lad, but when she saw that their
ministrations were for his benefit she was content that it should be so.

The most unremitting attention and constant care were what the boy
required declared the physician when he had made an examination. The
long ride in the rough car and exposure to chill, rendered the best of
nursing imperative.

"If he does not have it he will die," he said. "Or if his wound breaks
out afresh it will be fatal."

"He shall not die," cried Madame, with an adorable air of concern. "I will
care for him myself, doctor. He shall have the best of care."

"I do not doubt it, Madame, with you for his attendant," said the
physician, gallantly. "I leave him in good hands."

Jeanne saw with gratitude that Madame Vance did really give the best of
care to her brother, and she gladly forgave the treatment to which she had
been subjected. Occasionally she even forgot her intention of calling her
aunt "Aunt Clarisse," and the old "Cherie," came to her lips.

"Ole missus done got huh claws on yer ergain," Snowball said to Jeanne
one morning. The negro girl had been enthusiastic in her greetings. "I
wuz moughty sorry ter see yer kum back ter huh ergain."

"I could not help it, Snowball. I know that she does not like me any
better than she used to, but she is certainly kind to Dick and he needs
that now. Even mother could not nurse him more tenderly."

"She done got sum crotchet in huh haid," grumbled Snowball. "Done yer be
tuk in, lill' missy. She up ter sumthing."

The girl's words filled Jeanne with alarm. She had sometimes had the same
thought, but when she saw Madame's devotion to her brother, she dismissed
the idea from her mind.

One day she sat by Dick's bedside alone. Madame had lain down for a little
rest, although the boy was not yet out of danger.

"Jeanne," said the weak voice of her brother presently.

"Yes, Dick," and the girl hastened to his side. "What is it?"

"I wonder and wonder," said the boy, in a far away voice, "why you told me
what you did about Cherie. She is so good, so kind. The sweetest woman
that I ever knew besides my mother! Why, why did you tell me such awful
things of her, Jeanne? They are not true."

Jeanne was aghast at the question. She stood, unable to answer, fearing
to excite him by telling the truth and yet unwilling for him to be under
the impression that her story was false.

"Tell me," said Dick, weakly. "Why did you do it? I think of it always.
It was not like you, Jeanne."

"Don't ask me, Dick," pleaded Jeanne, falling on her knees beside him.
"Wait until you are well and then we can talk it over."

"You dally," cried Dick, his eyes bright with fever. "I see how it is!
You fibbed to me, Jeanne. I know you did."

"No, Dick, I did not," cried Jeanne, heartbroken at the thought that Dick
could believe such a thing of her. "Listen, and I will tell you all about
it. Snowball can tell you too, if you do not believe me. But you will be
quiet, Dick, won't you? You will be very, very quiet."

"You are not taking a very good way to get your brother well," exclaimed
Madame, entering abruptly. "I will have to forbid you the room if you
excite him like this. Can't you let your tales of me wait until he is
strong enough to bear them?"

"Are they true?" asked Dick, looking up at her with eager eyes. "They are
not, are they?"

"Yes," cried Jeanne, indignantly. "They are true, Dick! As true as I live!
Why should I tell you a falsehood?"

"Are they?" and Dick's eyes lingered on his aunt's questioningly.

"Dear boy," said Madame, caressing him, "believe what the little one tells
you. Is she not your sister? Poor Cherie would rather die than to say
aught against her. Think what you like."

"I knew it," and Dick breathed a sigh of relief. "I knew that you could
not be so wicked and cruel."

"Dick, Dick," cried his sister passionately. "You must believe me. It is
true. All that I tell you and more. Oh, Dick, turn away from that wicked
woman! Don't let her touch you! I will take care of you."

"I will leave you, Dick, my soldier boy," said the lady holding him close
to her. "Your sister can take care of you, as she says. There! I will go."

"No; I want you, Cherie," and the boy held her as tightly as his poor weak
hands would allow. "I don't want Jeanne, I want you." Exhausted by the
excitement he sank back unconscious on his pillow.

Madame's eyes flashed triumphantly at the girl.

"Go," she said in her honey sweet accents which to the sensitive ear of
the girl were full of bitterness. "Go, and let me repair the mischief you
have done. Blame yourself if this proves too much for him. His death will
be upon your shoulders."

With white face Jeanne crept from the room, and lay without the door while
her aunt summoned aid. After a time the lady joined her.

"Unhappy girl," she said, "you have almost killed your brother. It is due
to my skill alone that he lives. I forbid you to enter his room again
until he is beyond danger. If you try to see him I cannot answer for the
consequences. Or perhaps you would rather he would die than to live and
to care for me more than for you. Did you see how he turned from you to
me? How did you like that?"

"Aunt Clarisse," answered Jeanne, every word of the woman going to her
heart like the stab of a knife, "save him, and I will ask nothing more. He
may love you best----" her voice faltered. "Only save him."

"I am going to," said Madame with emphasis. "Do you want to know why,
my dear? Because I took a fancy to Monsieur Dick when you used to talk
so about him. I adore a soldier! Had you been a boy I might have loved
you. When the Orderly told us that you were here with your brother I
came down because I wanted to see him for myself. I saw him, petite.
He is the picture of what my own boy would have been had he lived. I
would not have come on your account, you little mudsill! You might have
been sent to Libby prison for all I cared, but I wanted Dick. I want him
for myself. He cares for me now. By the time he is well he will adore me.
Nay; he will be so fond of me that he will give up father, mother and even
that beloved Union of which you prate so much because I wish it. You
shall see!"

"You will do this? Aunt Clarisse, you cannot. Dick believes in you now,
but he will never love you better than he does mother. And he never will,
no matter how much he likes you, give up his country."

"We shall see," and the lady laughed unpleasantly. "You would have said
yesterday that he loved you better, wouldn't you? Yet see! to-day he
prefers me. He shall yet wear the gray of my own South."

Shaking her finger at the girl with pretended playfulness she reëntered
Dick's room leaving Jeanne full of misery.



CHAPTER XXVI

JEANNE MEETS FRIENDS


And so, fearful of exciting her brother, Jeanne refrained from visiting
his chamber. But her heart was heavy and she grew pale and thin.

"Dick will not yield," she said to herself over and over again. "He has
fought for his country, and no man who has laid down his life upon his
country's altar could ever betray her. Why do I fear? He is father's
son." But she stopped short as a sudden thought struck her. "Father's
son," she whispered, "yet Uncle Ben is father's brother. I will not
think! I will wait until he is better, and then get him to go away."

Thus trying to comfort herself she wandered through the house or stood
disconsolately in the grounds watching the soldiers as they worked
daily at the fortifications. December passed, and great were the public
rejoicings over Sherman's defeat in his attack on the city.

"Vicksburg can never be taken," said Madame Vance with insolent triumph.
"And so long as Vicksburg stands, stands the Confederacy."

"Yes; it is such folly for them to waste ammunition in trying to take
a city like this," spoke Mrs. La Chaise, Madame's relative. "Why its
defenses and protection are stronger than any city they have in the United
States."

"I thought that Vicksburg was in the United States," said Jeanne quickly.

"It is in the Confederacy," responded Madame Vance sharply. "When will you
learn, Jeanne, that the United States is a separate and distinct country."

"Never," replied the girl. "I think you will be convinced of your mistake
some time."

"When Vicksburg falls perhaps we may," interposed Mrs. La Chaise. "I will
be willing to acknowledge it then, won't you, Clarisse?"

"Yes; will you come in and see my boy this morning, Adele? He is getting
on finely."

"I will come too," said Jeanne determinedly. "I think Dick is strong
enough to see me if he can see the rest of the family."

"I forbid it," said Madame sternly. "He doesn't care to see you. The sight
would be very unpleasant to him."

"The sight of me? His sister!" exclaimed the girl in amaze. "I do not
believe it, Aunt Clarisse."

"You shall not go. He does not need you."

"I will go. I have stayed out quite long enough," and Jeanne rose from her
seat and started for Dick's bedroom. But Madame was by her side instantly.

"If you do not do as I tell you, I will lock you up again," she said
threateningly. "I think you had a taste of that once."

"You dare not," retorted Jeanne. "These people would not let you."

"Indeed, had I been in your aunt's place I would have done so long ago,"
declared Mrs. La Chaise who had always disliked the girl. Jeanne looked
appealingly at her uncle but that gentleman only turned to Mr. La Chaise
with some remark on the war. They were all against her, and as she gazed
into their faces she realized how helpless she was.

"But I want to see my brother," she cried bursting into tears.

"You shall see him when I am ready for you to if you will be a good girl
and obey me," said Madame Vance. "I do not choose that you shall to-day.
Now run out in the yard or take a walk. It will do you good. Come, Adele,
we will go to Dick."

With bursting heart Jeanne saw the two disappear into Dick's chamber. She
sat looking longingly at the door for some time and then left the house
and started for a walk, unable to sit still longer.

One of the hills of Vicksburg was called the Sky Parlor because of the
extensive view that it commanded and also because it was a favorite resort
of ladies in pleasant weather. Now, although the wind was cold and chill,
Jeanne bent her steps toward it in the effort to find some distraction
for her mind.

So intent was she on her own thoughts that she gazed on the surroundings
with eyes that saw neither the hills nor the great bend of the river, nor
indeed the two persons who were at a little distance from her. A sigh
escaped her lips as she turned at length to retrace her steps. In so doing
she was brought face to face with a man and a girl who were in the act
of coming toward her. An exclamation of surprise burst from the girl's
lips.

"Jeanne!"

"Bob," cried Jeanne gladly and then stopped short as the remembrance came
to her that Colonel Peyton had forbidden Bob to have any communication
with her. Seemingly no such recollection occurred to Bob or, if it did
she ignored it, for she flung herself upon Jeanne rapturously.

"You dear thing!" she cried kissing her. "How in the world did you get
here? We did not know what had become of you, but father said you had left
of your own accord. Did you?"

"Yes; I did, Bob. I went with Dick." Tears came to her eyes at thought of
him. "He had waited to take me after his escape."

"Is he with you?" asked Bob, quickly.

"Oh, Bob," she cried, breaking down completely. "I am in so much trouble."

"Are you?" Bob hugged her close. "Tell me all about it, Jeanne."

Jeanne looked up and started her story, but hesitated as she saw Bob's
companion.

"Don't mind him," said Bob, observing her look. "He's a real nice old man
who boards at Aunt Sally's. We are great friends."

"If I am not mistaken, this is a young lady with whom I am well
acquainted," said the old gentleman, looking at Jeanne quizzically.
"Aren't you the little girl who likes puns?"

"Mr. Huntsworth," cried Jeanne, in astonishment, "how did you come here?"

"After I left you I went to Corinth on some business," said Mr.
Huntsworth. "To wind it up satisfactorily I was obliged to come on to
Vicksburg. The good people here got it into their heads that I was in
some sort of secret work and so detained me. As they have no proof I
am permitted to have my freedom which is liberty only in a restricted
sense as I am not permitted to leave the city. However, I am quite
comfortable. I am boarding with this young lady's aunt, who is a very
fine woman. Very fine, indeed! And we have some rare times together, eh,
Bob."

"Indeed we do," cried Bob, gaily. "And dad is stationed here, Jeanne, so
that while I am at Aunt Sally's I see him almost every day."

"How do you live away from your regiment, Bob?"

"It was hard at first, but now I don't mind it so much. And then I go to
see them sometimes. Aunt Sally was horrified when she found I had been
so long with the soldiers. See, I don't wear my uniform any more. But
I expect that if the war lasts much longer I'll have to go back to it.
Goods are not being imported very fast into the Confederacy."

"You said you were in trouble, my little friend," said Mr. Huntsworth,
who had been taking note of Jeanne's pale face and distressed air. "Tell
us about it. We may be able to help you."

"Will your father care if I talk to you, Bob?" asked Jeanne, longing to
confide in these friends and yet hesitating to do so.

"Dad was sorry after you left that he had been so unkind to you," said
Bob. "Especially when he found how good you had been to send Frank to
your home. He regretted his sternness. So we can be friends all right. Now
tell us all about it."

"I will," and Jeanne told all that had occurred since she left the
regiment and briefly sketched for Mr. Huntsworth's benefit the happenings
in New Orleans.

"My dear," said the old gentleman, gravely, when she had finished, "you
are indeed in trouble. I must think it over and see if I cannot help you."

"I think your aunt is just about the meanest person I ever heard of,"
declared Bob. "I am sorry that she is a Southerner. I didn't know that we
had any one among us that could be like that."

"She is partly of foreign blood, Bob."

"To be sure! That explains everything," said Bob. "But what makes your
uncle let her act so?"

"I don't know," said Jeanne, sadly, "he seems to have no will but hers.
Sometimes I think that he is afraid of her, and yet why should a great big
man be afraid of a slender woman?"

"I have known of such cases," observed Mr. Huntsworth. "There may be more
in that than you dream, my dear. We must think over the matter and see
what can be done. And remember, child, that you have friends. That you
are no longer alone but that we will help you some way."

"Oh," said Jeanne, brokenly, "it is so good of you. I felt so forlorn. I
thought that I was forsaken by every one. But I won't feel so any more.
You are so good----" She burst into a flood of tears.

"There! there!" Bob comforted her with endearments while Mr. Huntsworth
blew his nose vigorously. "I know just how you feel, Jeanne. It nearly
killed me when Frank went over to the Union instead of staying with his
own people. I don't blame you for wanting to keep your brother on your
side."

"You are generous, Bob. I did not sympathize with you before, but I do
now. I don't believe that Dick will go, but I am so afraid of what Aunt
Clarisse may do to him if he doesn't. No! Dick won't go. But I must
return. They will wonder what has become of me."

"It is high time all of us were leaving," remarked Mr. Huntsworth. "This
is rather a breezy place for a conversation."

Still conversing the three slowly descended the elevation, and then
bidding them good-bye Jeanne returned to the La Chaise residence feeling
more hopeful now that she knew that Bob and Mr. Huntsworth were in the
city. As she entered the grounds Snowball dodged from behind one of the
trees.

"Lill' missy," she said, "go down behind de smokehouse de fust chance yer
git. I'se got sumpin' ter tell yer."

"All right, Snowball. I will go now," replied Jeanne rather startled.

"Not now, missy. Deys done seen yer kum in. Go on ter yer room and then
slip down arter yer stays dere awhile."

Jeanne followed the girl's advice, and went on to the house. Madame
Vance looked up as she entered. She gave a quick glance at the girl,
and something in the latter's face caught her attention.

"You look brighter," she commented. "Whom did you see?"

"Many people, Madame," replied Jeanne somewhat shortly.

"It seems to have helped you then. Did anything happen?"

"Nothing," returned the girl drearily, her old look of hopelessness
returning for she feared that Madame suspected something. "What could
happen?"

"Don't give me any impudence, Jeanne. I am not in the mood for it. Go at
once to your room," commanded her aunt and Jeanne gladly obeyed.

As soon as possible she crept softly downstairs and succeeded in getting
out of the house unobserved by either Madame or Mrs. La Chaise and ran
eagerly to the smokehouse.

Snowball was waiting for her.

"Missy," she said as soon as the girl reached her side, "hab yer seen yer
brudder lately?"

"No, Snowball. They won't let me," said Jeanne sadly.

"Den yer had bettah see him as soon as yer can, fer dere's a powerful lot
of meanness gwine on."

"What do you mean?" cried Jeanne apprehensively.

"Ole missus am a tryin' ter make him leab Massa Linkum's ahmy. I heerd
Jeff tell Feliciane dat she was 'suadin' him awful ha'd. Den too I heare
ole missus tell him myself dis mohnin' when dey sent me fer more wood and
didn't notice pertic'lar dat I had kum back, ole missus say ter him when
he done axed fer you, 'I done know what de mattah wid Jeanne,' she say.
'She done seem ter kyar ter see yer. I axed her ter kum dis mohnin', an'
she say, 'no, I'm gwine fer a walk.' Den yer brudder say bery weak like,
'I can't understan' it. I tought she lubed me.'"

"Did he say that?" cried Jeanne. "Oh, Snowball, what can I do? I must see
him. Won't you help me?"

"Yes, missy, I will. Eben ef dey kills me fer it," declared the girl
fervently.



CHAPTER XXVII

A PRISONER OF WAR


"But what can we do, Snowball?" asked Jeanne her voice trembling with
emotion. "How can I see him?"

"De missus takes a nap ebery day," said the darky. "An' sumtimes she calls
me ter set in de room s'posin' Massa Dick want anything. Sumtimes she
tells Feliciane ter do it. We'll jest wait tell she tells me ter do it,
an' den I'll let yer in. We'll hab ter watch sha'p elsen she'll ketch us."

"We will," said Jeanne. "I would not care for myself, but I would not like
to get you into trouble."

"Nebber you mind me, lill' missy. You'se been moughty good ter me, an'
I'll stan' anything ter help yer see yer brudder."

"Thank you, Snowball," and Jeanne's eyes filled with tears at this
evidence of affection. "When I can I am going to help you to get back
to your mother. I will never forget what you are doing for me."

"Dat's all right, missy. Jest you wait tell I does sumthin' an' den talk.
Time nuff den! Now I mus' run back. Done want missus ter know dat I hab
been talkin' ter yer."

"I'll go a different way, and she won't suspect us," said Jeanne and the
two separated.

Two days, full of anxiety to Jeanne, passed before Snowball was called to
attend Dick. Waiting only until she heard the door of Madame's chamber
click, the darky sped to Jeanne's room and called her.

"Nuffin' couldn't a happened bettah," she said. "Missus Adele, she's gone
ter town; an' tuk Feliciane with huh. Jeff's gwine huntin' wid marster
an' Mistah La Chaise. I ain't afeerd ob de res' ob de niggas. Kum now,
missy, an' yer'll hab a right smaht while wid yer brudder."

Jeanne started up eagerly and ran down the stairs to Dick's chamber. Her
brother was lying fully dressed on a couch with his back toward her. He
did not turn at her entrance and before she had time to address him,
Snowball darted through the door.

"Foh de land sake, missy, git outen heah quick," she whispered. "Ole
missus am a kumin' back."

Her terror communicated itself to Jeanne and the girl stopped stock still
in the middle of the floor. The click, click of Madame's shoes could be
heard distinctly in the hall. To go out would be to meet her, and for
the nonce the spirit of the girl quailed. Glancing quickly about her the
heavily curtained window caught her eye and she sprang toward it. It was
but the work of a moment to ensconce herself behind its voluminous folds.
Scarcely had she done so when Madame entered.

"I thought I heard some one," she said suspiciously. "Have you been
attending to Master Dick, Snowball?"

"Does yer want anyting now, Massa Dick?" asked Snowball going to the lad's
side, gladly ignoring the lady's first remark.

"Give me a drink, please," said Dick weakly.

"I will give it to him myself," said Madame. "You may leave the room,
Snowball. Master Dick and I want to have a little talk all by ourselves."

"Yes'm," acquiesced Snowball, but she lingered loth to leave Jeanne.

"At once," commanded Madame sharply. "Why do you loiter when I tell you
to go?"

"Yes'm; I'm a-gwine now," and the girl left the room reluctantly.

"You feel much better, do you not, my boy?" and the lady stroked the lad's
hair gently.

"Yes, Cherie."

"So well that we can have our little talk again? We will not be
interrupted to-day as we were yesterday."

"If you wish," and it seemed to Jeanne that Dick spoke with great
weariness. "But of what use is it? You have your views and I have
mine. Why not let the subject drop when we cannot agree?"

"Because the old adage has it, 'That constant dropping will wear away
the hardest stone.' By keeping continually at you I shall finally succeed
in overcoming your scruples, and get your signature to the oath of
allegiance to the Confederacy."

"Never!" exclaimed Dick with so much resolution that his sister's heart
swelled with thankfulness and pride. "Though you were to talk to me
forever you could not change my principles."

"Listen to me, Dick." Madame spoke in her sweetest tones. "You are but
a boy. You cannot know which side is right in this war when great men have
differed upon the matter. I have heard you say that you honored Robert
E. Lee. That he was a noble man, a great general, and one of the finest
gentlemen that you ever met. Think you that such a man would embrace our
cause if he did not believe himself right?"

"I do not," answered Dick at once. "There are many men on the side of the
South who believe themselves to be in the right. But they are none the
less mistaken for all that."

"And you set up your feeble judgment against them?" cried Madame, a trace
of anger in her voice. "It is presumption."

Dick did not reply. Presently Madame spoke again, and Jeanne noted that
her tones were once more caressingly soft.

"Dick, I have spoken to you of my own son, have I not?"

"Yes, Cherie."

"He was so much like you. When I used to hear Jeanne talk of you I knew
that you were what my boy would have been. When I saw you my heart yearned
over you, for you were the image of him. Had he lived he would have
fought to defend our South from the rank invaders."

"I do not doubt it," spoke the boy gently.

"Think how desolate I am," went on the lady quick to note the lad's
sympathy for her. "I have no one, Dick. Be my boy, I will be so proud of
you. You would be our heir, and have all the property. I have influence
too, and it should be used to advance you quickly to a high rank. You
should be a general, my boy. The handsomest and youngest in the service.
Think what I can give you. And all just to sign one little paper! Why do
you hesitate? Why throw away such advantages for the sake of a mere
notion? Come, sign it."

Dick was silent so long that Jeanne became alarmed and she pushed back
the curtain and looked at the pair anxiously. Madame Vance was holding a
paper before the boy pleadingly, while Dick was regarding it with a look
of indifference.

"You will, my beautiful boy. You will, I know. You cannot refuse a
mother's prayer. Oh, I know that you will not refuse me."

"But I do," said Dick who showed signs that the interview was taxing his
strength to the utmost. "I will die before I sign that paper."

"You refuse?" cried Madame, losing control of herself. "Then hear me,
Richard Vance. You shall not thwart me in my purpose. You shall sign that
paper. I am stronger than you, and I say that you shall do it."

She seized the lad's hand and tried to force a pen into it. Dick struggled
feebly. With a bound Jeanne was by his side, all her fear of the woman
gone in the menace to her brother.

"What are you doing here, Jeanne Vance?" cried Madame starting back at
sight of the girl. "How came you here?"

"I wanted to see my brother," answered Jeanne, throwing her arms about
him protectingly. "Have you no heart, no feeling, that you would take
advantage of his weakness?"

"I am not so weak that she could make me sign that paper," cried Dick,
his pale face and shaking hands belying his assertion.

"We shall see," cried Madame threateningly. "He shall sign it before you,
my little Yankee."

Jeanne watched her opportunity as her aunt tried to push her aside, and
snatched the paper from her hand.

"There!" she cried as she tore it into shreds. "There, Aunt Clarisse! He
cannot sign it now."

"How dare you?" cried Madame, stamping her foot. "I will have you whipped."

But as she started to call the servants a sharp peal of the door bell
rang through the house. Instantly a most remarkable transformation took
place in the lady. Her rage disappeared as if by magic, and, as one of
the darkies opened the door to announce. "Colonel Peyton," she presented
a serene and smiling countenance to the gentleman.

"Colonel Peyton," she exclaimed, sweeping forward gracefully, "this is
indeed an honor. To what good fortune am I indebted for such a favor?"

"The exigencies of war, Madame," answered the Colonel, bowing over her
hand with courtly grace. "I am accompanied by some of my men. May I ask
that they be permitted to enter?"

"Certainly," assented Madame sweetly, but there was a trace of uneasiness
in her manner.

Into the room filed a squad of soldiers and with them, Jeanne could
scarcely repress a cry of joy at sight of him, came Mr. Huntsworth.

"Madame," said Colonel Peyton, pulling a paper from his pocket.
"General Pemberton has sent a written order for a young man--a Federal
prisoner--who was put in your charge to be taken care of until he
should have recovered from his wound. As some time has elapsed he is
convinced that he has sufficiently recovered to be turned over to us.
I have come to take him and also the young girl who accompanied him. They
are prisoners of war, you understand."

Madame Vance bowed but her eyes glittered balefully.

"The girl is here, take her," she said. "But the boy--ah, mon Colonel,
you must not take him yet. He is not able to go. Besides, let me but have
him a short time longer and who knows but that a full fledged Confederate
may be the result? He is not able to go. Leave him with me, Colonel, I
beseech you. I will see the General myself."

"No; take him," interposed Jeanne who feared that the Colonel might
succumb to the lady's blandishments. "She wants to force him to her wish,
and you don't want such soldiers, Colonel Peyton."

"No," said the Colonel sternly. "We want no recruits made in such a
manner, Madame Vance. Men, take your prisoner."

"Minx," shrieked Madame, flying at Jeanne in a passion. "Is it thus you
repay my kindness? Oh, I could kill you!"

"She is our prisoner," said Colonel Peyton stepping before her. "You must
not touch the girl, Madame."

"I will report this indignity," cried Madame. "I will see General
Pemberton. I do not lack influence, sir. You shall repent this."

"As you like, Madame." The Colonel bowed gravely and, like the brave
soldier that he was, remained with the lady while the men carried Dick
out, followed by Jeanne and Mr. Huntsworth who had his arm around the
girl protectingly.

"Oh," cried the girl as they proceeded down the hill away from the place.
"I am so glad that you came when you did. I fear that I could not have
held out much longer."

"Tell us what happened," suggested Mr. Huntsworth, and Jeanne did so.

"I think I never saw such a tiger cat," remarked the old gentleman when
she had finished. "There was a time there when I thought that she was
going to tear you to pieces. I fear that you are not through with her,
my little friend."

"I will see General Pemberton," declared Colonel Peyton, "and prepare him
for Madame's onslaught. Meantime, I have his permission for you and your
brother to stay at sister Sally's until your brother fully recovers. But
he is not at liberty, Jeanne, because he is a prisoner, you know."

"Yes, I know," said Jeanne, "and I will not say a word against it. Better
a prisoner of the Confederates than to be in the hands of such a woman.
There will at least be some chance to exchange him. You don't dislike
me any more, do you, Colonel Peyton? You won't care if Bob and I are
friends, will you?"

"No; you poor child! I have been sorry that I was so unkind to you. After
all I was glad that you girls saved Frank. It would have broken my heart
had he been shot. Ah!----"

There was a rushing, whizzing sound and a huge mortar shell passed over
them, and, burying itself in the side of the hill beyond, exploded with a
great report.

"What is it?" cried Jeanne affrightedly clinging to Mr. Huntsworth.

"The Federals have begun to shell the city," said the Colonel calmly.
"Their fleet has been gathering for several days. We have been expecting
it."



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE SIEGE BEGINS


"Then we are safe, safe," cried Jeanne, forgetful of the presence of the
soldiers. "Oh, Mr. Huntsworth, the Federals will soon have the city!"

"I wouldn't be too sure of that, my little lady," remarked Colonel Peyton
dryly. "Vicksburg is impregnable, and I fear that it will be a waste of
ammunition on the part of the Federals."

"I did not mean to be impolite, Colonel," said the girl contritely. "It
wasn't very nice of me to make such a remark. I should be sorry for you
if our men did take the city."

"You are a good little girl," said Colonel Peyton warmly. "I like a
generous hearted foe."

"You must be careful not to express your feelings too openly," advised
Mr. Huntsworth in a low tone. "These people are rebels but they are going
to be our hosts and the Colonel has certainly interested himself in your
behalf."

"He has," said Jeanne gratefully, "and I will be careful not to offend
them."

Bob, rather pale and agitated on account of the shells, met them at the
door.

"Dad, what will we do if they shell the city?" she cried before greeting
Jeanne.

"I reckon we can't do anything," drawled the Colonel. "I thought you were
a soldier, Bob? Soldiers don't mind a few shells."

"I suppose not," and Bob strove to regain her composure. "So you got
Jeanne and her brother? Come in and tell me what else that woman has
done. Here is Aunt Sally! Aunty, this is Jeanne and her brother, Dick
Vance. They're Yankees but they are real nice anyway."

"I am glad to see you, my dear," said the lady, kissing Jeanne. "Any
friend of Bob's is welcome be she Yankee or Confederate. And this is your
brother? How pale he is! We must get him right to bed."

She bustled about Dick in a motherly fashion, her sympathies fully
enlisted on his behalf by his illness. Dick was in truth much exhausted by
his journey and sank into slumber as soon as his head touched the pillow.
Jeanne sat by him and told Bob and her aunt how Madame had tried to
make him sign the paper.

"Rest and quiet are what he needs," observed Mr. Huntsworth. "He will
come out of this all right, I think, now that he is removed from your
aunt's ministrations. What a creature she is! She reminds me of the middle
ages. Vindictive, passionate and cruel beyond measure as were the women
of those times!"

The slow shelling of Vicksburg went on. The people gradually became
indifferent and resumed their daily avocations. General Pemberton issued
an order for all non-combatants to leave the city, but Bob and her aunt
refused to pay any heed to it.

"Where could we go?" asked Bob when her father tried to combat her
decision to stay. "You say the country is overrun with soldiers, and
where is there a place safer than Vicksburg? The Yankees can never take
it!"

"No; they cannot," returned the Colonel. "I don't know but that you
are right, Bob. I will have a cave dug in the hill back of the house
to-morrow, and you can retire to it when the shelling becomes too bad."

And so it was arranged. Men began work the next day and soon dug a cave
in the hillside back of them. Cave residence had become quite the thing
since the shelling of the city had begun, and the hillsides were so
honey-combed with excavations that the streets looked like avenues in a
cemetery.

Bob and Jeanne settled themselves into a happy and quiet existence. They
sewed in the morning and sometimes took excursions to Sky Parlor Hill
to view the Federal fleet that lay on the river, and to look through a
glass at the Federal encampment near the head of the abandoned canal.
Rumors were rife in the city of the advance of the Federal troops. One
night heavy cannonading was heard for an hour or two, ceasing and then
commencing again early in the morning. All day the noise continued. That
night the sky in the South was crimsoned by the light of a large fire.

The lurid glare fell in red and amber light upon the houses, lighting up
the white magnolias, paling the pink crape myrtles, and bringing out in
bright distinctness the railing of the terraces where drooped in fragrant
wreaths the clustering passion vine. The next day the news came that
the little village of Warrenton had been burned by shells thrown from
the boats. Then followed the tidings that a battle was going on between
the Federal troops and General Pemberton's forces at Black River. And so
the days passed full of rumors and excitement.

The seventeenth of May dawned, and Vicksburg was thrilled to the centre by
the news of a battle and the tidings that the Confederates were beaten.
Soon the streets were filled with bands of tired, worn-looking soldiers.
Wan, hollow-eyed, ragged, footsore and bloody the men limped along
unarmed but followed by siege guns, ambulances, gun carriages and wagons
in aimless confusion. At twilight the bands began to play "Dixie,"
"The Bonnie Blue Flag," and other martial airs on the court-house hill
to rally the scattered army.

"Mr. Huntsworth," said Jeanne as they were for a few moments out of
ear-shot of the lamenting Bob. "I heard a man say that the Yankees would
be here before long. Do you think it can be true?"

"I don't know, child. Let us hope so," was the answer.

But the day passed and no Yankees made their appearance and the citizens
settled once more into a semblance of quiet. But from that time the
regular siege of Vicksburg began. Utterly cut off from the world and
surrounded by a circle of fire, the fiery shower of shells went on day
and night. Regular occupations were discontinued, and people did nothing
but eat what they could get, sleep when they could and dodge the shells.

For some time Aunt Sally, Bob, Dick, Jeanne and Mr. Huntsworth, and the
servants had been living in the commodious cave prepared for them. The
girls no longer sewed or walked about. They were content if they could
keep out of range of the shells. Once every day some one of them ran the
gauntlet of shells to buy the meat and milk. Mule meat was the staple
article of diet, but this Bob and Jeanne utterly refused to touch and
confined themselves to rice and milk.

"It is not at all bad," declared Mr. Huntsworth as he sat at the door of
the cave one evening a piece of the meat in his hand. "Come here, girls,
and let me show you the difference in the shells. There goes a Parrott.
That's a mortar shell that curls so beautifully down yon hillside.
This"--as he dodged back into the cave to escape one--"is a rifle shell."

"I don't see what difference it makes," said Bob retreating to the back
of the cave, "what kind of a shell it is if it kills you. Do you, Jeanne?"

"I think not," answered Jeanne tremblingly. "What a fearful thing war is!
Oh!"

A shell fell just without the mouth of the cavern like a flame of fire,
making the earth tremble, and with a low, singing sound the fragments sped
on in their work of death.

"We seem to be within range this evening," said Mr. Huntsworth as he came
to where the trembling girls crouched.

Shell after shell followed each other in quick succession, and our little
party stood without speaking, awaiting the sudden death that seemed almost
certain. Jeanne's heart stood still as she heard the reports from the
guns and the rushing fearful sound as the shells came toward them. As
the shells neared the cave the noise became more deafening; the air was
full of the rushing sound; pains darted through her temples; her ears
were full of the confusing noise; and, as one would explode, the report
flashed through her head like an electric shock, leaving her in a state
of terror, painful to be imagined.

The rest of the occupants of the cavern were not much better off. After
this paroxysm of fear passed they strove for composure only to be again
overcome as the fusillade was repeated.

Morning found them more dead than alive, with blanched faces and trembling
lips, but as the time passed and they were still preserved, although the
shells came as fast as ever, they took courage and at last regained a
measure of calmness.

There was not much mental rest for the people of Vicksburg, and added
to Jeanne's apprehensions for their safety was the anxiety over Dick. The
lad had grown as strong as was possible considering the scarcity of
nourishing food and, as the shelling grew worse, a sort of restlessness
seized upon him and he would stand without the entrance of the cave
careless of the shells falling about him, watching their progress intently.

"I am afraid that he will be killed," said Jeanne tearfully to Bob. "Why
does he do it, Bob?"

"Mr. Huntsworth says that it is because he is a soldier," said Bob.

"I wish I could take him home. I must as soon as possible," said Jeanne.

Bob looked at her wonderingly. It was a surprise to her how Jeanne still
kept the hope of getting home, and ignored the fact that she and Dick were
prisoners. Opening her lips she was about to reply when the unmistakable
whirring of a shell told her that the battery which they feared the
most had turned their guns upon their hill. Running to the entrance she
called Dick and the servants in. They had just obeyed her summons when a
Parrott shell came whirring in at the entrance and fell in the centre
of the cave before them all, lying there smoking.

Terrified they fastened their eyes upon it. Their fate seemed certain.
For one moment they remained thus, and then Dick rushed forward, seized
the shell and threw it into the street, regaining the cave just as the
shell exploded.

"Dick," cried Jeanne running to him, "oh, how brave you are! But what if
you had been killed!"

"It's time I was throwing them," said Dick emphatically. "I ought to have
been at the other end of them long ago."

"Oh, but what if you had been killed," sobbed Jeanne. "What would mother
say?"

"That I had but done my duty," answered the lad.

"He is right," said Mr. Huntsworth. "Besides had he not been so brave not
only he but all the rest of us would have been killed also. Let us give
thanks for our wonderful escape."



CHAPTER XXIX

MADAME FOR THE LAST TIME


Since leaving the La Chaises' Jeanne had seen nothing of her uncle and
aunt, so she supposed that they had withdrawn from the city when General
Pemberton had issued the order for the non-combatants to leave. One
afternoon amid the rush and explosion of the shells, cries and screams
arose--the screams of women amid the shrieks of the falling shells. Their
curiosity getting the better of their timidity, Jeanne and Bob resolved to
find out what was the matter.

"Then I will go too," said Dick, "if you are resolved upon going, but I
think it is foolhardy."

"Let's go," cried Bob. "I am so tired of this damp, ill-smelling, earthy
home that I almost think I would welcome death as a change. Let's go."

The three started forth, dodging the shells as they walked. Presently
they came to a cave in a side hill around which a number of people were
gathered.

"What has happened?" asked Dick of a man.

"It's the cave of the Vances and the La Chaises," was the answer. "Some
shells struck the ground above and it caved in burying them. We don't know
whether they are dead or alive."

With an exclamation of horror Dick darted forward.

"A spade," he cried. "A spade, or a pick, or a shovel! Anything that will
dig! Why do you stand here, men?"

"We can't work with the shells flying around us," growled a man.

"You are not any more likely to be hit while working than you are standing
still," cried the boy. "Get something quick!"

Moved by his earnestness the men obtained picks, shovels, spades, and
anything that would move the dirt, and in spite of the flying shells
began to dig out the unfortunate persons. Pale as death Jeanne stood
by, clinging to Bob, unwilling to leave the spot until she could learn
their condition. Her resentment toward her uncle and aunt was overcome by
the great catastrophe that had overtaken them.

Mr. Vance was found first. He was quite dead, as were also Mr. and Mrs. La
Chaise. Madame Vance was alive but had sustained mortal injuries so that
her death was but a question of a few moments. Her eyes lighted up when
they fell upon Dick.

"My boy," she cried feebly, "you did like me, didn't you?"

"Indeed I did, Cherie," and Dick took the poor crushed form into his arms.

"I knew it," she whispered looking at him lovingly. "Forgive me, Dick,
that I used you so. I wanted you to think as I did."

"It is all forgiven," said the boy tenderly. "Here is Jeanne, Cherie. Have
you no word for her?"

"No," said Madame. "I never liked her. She was a child, but she took you
from me, my boy.

"There is the property," said Madame suddenly to Jeanne. "That Yankee
General seized it in your name and declared that he should hold it for
you. It was to pay us for putting it in your name. It is yours, but I
want Dick to have it. Will you give it to him?"

"Yes," answered Jeanne her tender heart very full of sympathy for her
aunt's sufferings. "I will do whatever you desire, dear Cherie."

"Then give him the property and leave me with him. I don't want to die. It
is so cold. So cold! Where are you, Dick?"

"Here," and Dick held her tenderly.

"It is getting dark. My boy,--ah!" a gasp and all was over.

That night as the moon shed its softening rays over the besieged city,
a little cortege consisting of Mr. Huntsworth, Dick, Aunt Sally, Jeanne,
Bob and a few servants came forth from the cave to perform the last sad
rites for all that remained of Mr. Vance, Madame and their relatives.

Even in the softening light of the moon the blighting hand of warfare was
visible over the town. The closed and desolate houses, the gardens with
gates half open in which were the loveliest flowers and verdure! The
carelessness of appearance and evident haste of departure was visible
everywhere, the inhabitants feeling only anxiety for their personal safety
and the strength of their cave homes.

The guns were still and peace for a time reigned over the troubled city.
The stars shone coldly down upon them, twinkling as brightly as though
no great strife was being waged beneath them.

Jeanne's tears were falling fast as she walked back by Dick's side in the
cool fresh air of the morning.

"Dick," she whispered, detaining him as the others entered the cave, "you
don't harbor any bitterness toward me, do you?"

"Toward you, Jeanne? No;" and Dick folded her in a close embrace. "Why
did you think so?"

"You have been so still, so quiet since Aunt Clarisse died that I feared
that you thought me to blame in some way."

"No, no, sister. I have been thinking of Cherie, and of what a mixture
she was of tenderness and vindictiveness. I thought once that I should
never forgive her for turning me against you, and for trying to wean me
from my country."

"But you do forgive her, don't you, Dick? She is dead now and can never
harm us any more."

"Yes; I forgave her when she was lying there in my arms," said Dick. "But
I will never forget how good you have been, Jeanne. You stood by me as
no sister ever stood by a brother before. Why, had it not been for you I
might have been made to sign that paper."

"I do not believe that you ever would," cried Jeanne.

"And you saved me," and Dick kissed her tenderly. "How proud father and
mother will be of you, Jeanne."

"Do you think that we shall ever see them again?" asked the girl
mournfully.

"Yes, I do," said Dick positively. "I feel sure that the city will be
taken soon. It cannot hold out much longer. The soldiers have only pea
soup to live on now, and men can't fight on a diet like that. Oh, if I
were only in it!" and the boy looked wistfully over at the Federal fleet
as it lay on the broad bosom of the river. "My place is there, and yet
here I am mewed up like a girl! If ever I do get out I'll pepper the rebs
for this."

"If the Federals take the city you will soon be free," comforted Jeanne.

"Come, you must go to your rest," said Dick. "Isn't it fine the way we
are giving it to them, Jeanne? I just stand and watch those shells in
wonder. General Grant has worked for months for this and now the end is
near."

"What makes you so positive, Dick?"

"Yesterday there were some people who tried to pass out," answered the
boy. "They sent a flag of truce to the Federals asking permission to
enter their lines, and Grant sent back word to stay quietly in the city
as he would be in possession the Fourth of July. And he will, Jeanne.
Mark my words, if Grant says so, he will be here."

"Oh, Dick," and Jeanne clapped her hands for joy.

"Hush! not a word," said Dick. "I am sorry for these people. They are nice
folks, and Bob will never get over it. But of course we just had to win."

"I wonder where Snowball is," mused Jeanne, as she retired.

The morning brought the answer. As the shelling was resumed with more
frequency than ever for the delay, a number of negroes rushed into the
cave.

"We 'longs ter yer now," said Snowball acting as spokesman for the others.
"Hyar's me, an' Jeff, an' Feliciane, lill' missy. Missus Adele's niggas
done gone ter her folks, an' we reckoned we 'longed ter yer an' Massa
Dick."

"To me?" exclaimed Jeanne bewildered. "Why, what in the world will I do
with you all?"

"Dunno. Yer'll hab ter take keer ob us, I reckon," and Snowball seated
herself on the floor in happy unconsciousness of the fact that taking care
of them implied any responsibility. "You won't whip us nohow. Will yer,
lill' missy?"

"I certainly won't do that," answered Jeanne, "but it will be a problem
to feed you."

And so it proved. Supplies were running very low in the city. Starvation
stared the inhabitants in the face. And yet, despite the privations and
the constant play of artillery and musketry through every minute of the
day, when Minie balls were accompanied by Parrott, Canister, solid shot
and shrapnel shells, and projectiles of all kinds, the soldiers became
almost indifferent to them, and frequently sang amid the pattering of the
balls.

One evening as they sat in front of the cave a young officer passed them
singing words to the air of the "Mocking Bird." He seemed more concerned
about the melody than he did about the shots that were flying through the
air, and they watched him admiringly.

      "''Twas at the siege of Vicksburg,
      Of Vicksburg, of Vicksburg,
      'Twas at the siege of Vicksburg,
    When the Parrott shells were whistling thro' the air.
      Listen to the Parrott shells,
      Listen to the Parrott shells;
    The Parrott shells are whistling thro' the air.

      "'Oh! well will we remember,
      Remember, remember,
      Tough mule meat June sans November,
    And the Minie balls that whistled thro' the air
      Listen to the Minie balls,
      Listen to the Minie balls;
    The Minie balls are singing in the air.'"

"Jeanne," said Bob, "do you hear that? Do you think you have any Yankees
that are as brave as our people?"

"As brave perhaps," replied Jeanne, "but no braver, Bob. I think no people
could be more courageous than your people have shown themselves through
this siege. I am proud of them as Americans, but I am sorry that their
courage is shown for such a cause."

"Ah, we'll win yet," said Bob, her eyes shining, "and then we will show
you that we can be as generous as we are brave."

And the days passed by.



CHAPTER XXX

THE END OF THE SIEGE


It was the morning of the Fourth of July. Jeanne awoke from a deep
sleep. Generally about four o'clock the shrapnel shells were thrown
more furiously than at any other time of the day. She listened for a few
moments and then turned to Bob excitedly.

"Bob, Bob," she cried, "wake up. The shells have stopped falling."

"What!" cried Bob, awake instantly. "Are you sure? Why it is true! How
quiet it is! What can be the matter?"

The girls began to dress hurriedly and then went outside the cave to learn
the cause of the cessation of the firing. People everywhere were running
out of their caves to find the reason. A painful calm prevailed, and so
long had the constant firing been kept up that the stillness was actually
oppressive.

"What is the matter?" asked Bob as an old gray-headed soldier passed on
the hillside near the cave. Stopping and touching his cap the man replied:

"It's all over. The white flag floats from our forts. Vicksburg has
surrendered!"

With a cry that Jeanne never forgot Bob turned and passed into the cave.
A feeling of gladness and thankfulness welled up into Jeanne's heart,
succeeded by a great wave of pity for these people who had fought so long
and well.

"Bob," she called, softly, following after the girl and putting her arms
about her, "Bob, don't grieve so."

"Don't," cried Bob, throwing her off passionately. "You're glad! You know
you are."

"Yes, Bob. Just as you would be if your side had won, but dear, dear Bob,
I am sorry for you and for your brave people who have fought so well."

"If they cheer, I'll hate them," said Bob fiercely. "Oh, Jeanne, Jeanne,
my heart is broken!"

Jeanne's own tears were falling fast, and Bob seeing that she did not
triumph over her let her head fall upon her shoulder and thus Colonel
Peyton found them.

His face was very pale and he seemed bent and broken. He took his daughter
into his arms but he was more in need of comfort than capable of giving it.

"It is the beginning of the end," he said brokenly. "When Vicksburg
falls it is but the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. Our cause
is doomed. We are fighting for a forlorn hope. Oh, my country, my country!"

He bowed his head upon his daughter's and the great tears fell fast.

Jeanne stole from the cave and met Dick coming for her.

"See!" he exclaimed excitedly. "Those are Federal soldiers, Jeanne. We
are in the United States once more. Look at the Court House Hill! What do
you see?"

"The Stars and Stripes," cried Jeanne, tears of gladness rolling down her
cheeks. "Oh, Dick, how good it is to see our own flag once more!"

"Isn't it? I could shout and sing for joy if it were not for these poor
fellows who have fought and starved so long. It is a hard thing to be on
the losing side."

"True, for you, my boy," said Colonel Peyton joining them with Bob on his
arm. "We are fortunate in having so chivalrous a foe. There have been but
few cheers and no exultation over our poor unsuccessful fellows. Not a
jeer, nor a taunt from a Federal soldier."

"And the river flows on as calmly as ever, and the sun still shines, yet
Vicksburg has fallen," said Bob bitterly.

"Bear up, daughter. A soldier must learn to accept defeat as heroically as
victory," said her father. "Look, what a grand sight it is to see those
transports round the bend. See how serenely they draw up in the very teeth
of those grim batteries that were dealing death but yesterday. Now they
are silent, and their Conqueror comes boldly to their very sides."

"What are all those people running down there for?" asked Bob. "Surely
they are not welcoming their victors!"

"Bread, daughter. The Federal transports are full of supplies which are
brought for the starving people. It is a magnanimous foe!"

"Transports," cried Jeanne eagerly. "I wonder--where is Snowball?'"

"Hyar, missy," cried the girl, running forward. "Oh, missy, Massa Linkum's
men done say we all's free. Dat Fader Abe done set us niggas free way
long las' Jan'wry."

"It may be so," cried Jeanne delightedly. "I don't know, but come and let
us see if the transport that your mother is on is down there."

With a howl of delight Snowball went scampering down the hill toward
the boats, Jeanne following after her. The Gem City lay at anchor close
to the shore. Captain Leathers was dealing out supplies to the starving
people that surrounded the boat.

"Captain Leathers," cried Jeanne breathlessly as they reached his side.

"Why, bless my heart, if it isn't my little friend," cried the Captain
in surprise. "What are you doing here? Yes; Tenny's right there on deck."

"I'll tell you all about it just as soon as I see Tenny," said Jeanne
smiling at him brightly. "Come, Snowball."

She ran quickly to where old Tenny stood. "Tenny," she cried, "look here!"

The old woman turned and catching sight of Snowball gave a shriek of joy.

"It's my babby," she screamed. "Kum hyar ter yer mammy, yer bressed chile!
Kum dis bery minnit!"

Laughing and crying she caught the girl to her capacious bosom.

"It's the lill' missy dat bringed me," cried Snowball. "Oh, mammy, dey
says we's free!"

"'Course we is, honey chile. Whar you been dat you didn't know dat? Massa
Linkum done say dat long ago. Whar you been?"

"Hyar in Vicksburg. Whar you bin, mammy?"

"Eberywhar, chile. Ef I hadn't er cooked fer de sojers dey couldn't a tuk
de city. Cap'n Leathers say so. But hyar we is. Not mindin' our manners
an' a thankin' de lill' missy fer brungin' yer ter me."

But with the first word of thanks Jeanne darted away. She stopped for a
moment to talk to the Captain and explain her presence in the city, and
then went back to the cave where Dick awaited her.

"Come," said the boy. "General Grant is expected in the city soon. The
Confederates are coming from the camp to be registered and paroled."

"When can we go home, Dick?" asked the girl as they passed into the
streets again.

"Any time now, Jeanne. I want to see the General about sending a message
to father. How quiet it seems after the bombardment! Restful, isn't it?"

"It's heavenly," sighed Jeanne contentedly. "I am so happy, Dick, and the
silence enfolds me like a garment. To think that I will really see father
and mother once more! It has been a year lacking a few days since I saw
them. How little I thought that so much would happen before I should see
them again. How anxious they must be! But now! a few more days and I shall
be with them."

"There comes General Grant," said Dick suddenly.

A glittering cavalcade of Federals and rebel officers at full gallop came
down the Jackson road from the camp without. In the midst of the throng
there appeared a man, small in stature, heavily set, a broad face covered
with sandy beard, habited in a plain blue uniform of flannel with two
stars of a major-general upon his shoulders. His face was impassive but
there was the faintest gleam of satisfaction in his cold gray eyes.

    "'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on!'"

sang a low voice beside them. "Children, this is a glorious day." Mr.
Huntsworth's voice was tremulous with emotion and his eyes were misty. "It
is a sad spectacle to see brave men humiliated and humbled, but aside
from my sympathy for the Southerners it makes my old heart beat with joy
to be under the Stars and Stripes once more. Let us greet the General."

He stepped forward briskly. General Grant stopped his horse as they
approached.

"We want to give you welcome, sir," said Mr. Huntsworth extending his
hand. "We are Unionists released only by your successful siege from
'durance vile.' Welcome, sir, welcome!"

"You must have found our shells pretty warm," said Grant shaking his
hands. "How did you live?"

"Sir," replied the old gentleman whimsically, "you made us like the
Southerners' favorite bread: dodgers."

Grant smiled, and then asked. "And are these Federals too?"

"One is a soldier, the other a--what shall I call you, Jeanne? A blockade
runner or what?"

"I am a Union girl," said Jeanne smiling into the gray eyes above her.
"A Union girl longing for home."

"Where is your home?" asked Grant. "Suppose you three come along with me
and tell me the whole story."

They did as he requested. The man of iron will heard them silently. Then
he spoke.

"Get your dispatches ready," he said. "I will send them with mine to
Washington and then have them forwarded. You will take your sister home of
course."

"I ought to get back to my regiment as quick as I can, sir."

"Nonsense! I will write your General concerning it. If you have been in
ever since the war opened it's high time you had a furlough. I will stand
responsible. You shall all start to-morrow."

It was a sad leave taking for Bob and Jeanne.

"I will see you again," said Jeanne tearfully as she told Bob good-bye.
"Something tells me that we will meet again. And when the war is over,
Bob, we will have fine times together. Where do you go from here?"

"To Richmond," answered Bob drearily. "You're not leaving us much
territory, Jeanne. We are being narrowed down. I fear, I fear----"

With a burst of tears she ran from them and it was many a long day before
Jeanne saw her again. With saddened hearts they left the city of terraces
behind them, and at last Jeanne was en route for home.

Home! One of the sweetest words in the English language. The brilliant
verdure of the Southland receded from view, and the more sober vegetation
of the Northland came in sight. To Jeanne's longing eyes it had never
appeared more beautiful. As they boarded a train they heard the newsboys
crying--"Victory at Gettysburg! Grand victory at Gettysburg! Paper,
sir? Paper?"

"Here!" called Dick and Mr. Huntsworth in one breath, and they were soon
emersed in the details of the fight at Gettysburg.

"It's the turning point of the war," said Mr. Huntsworth. "It cannot be
long surely before Lee will surrender."

"It would seem so," cried Dick with exultation. "But who can withstand
us? We have freed the negroes! We have taken New Orleans, Vicksburg, the
mighty, has fallen, and Lee's army defeated in his invasion of free soil.
Hurrah!

    "'In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
    As he died to make men holy, let us die to make them free,
    While God is marching on!'"

he broke out boyishly. Mr. Huntsworth joined in and soon another and
another took up the terrible Battle Hymn of the Republic until it rolled
in one grand volume above the rush of the train.

"Jeanne, there's father," cried Dick as the train drew in at the
Cincinnati station.

The girl looked out to see both Mr. and Mrs. Vance standing on the
platform watching the outcoming people eagerly.

With a cry of thankfulness she darted forward and flung herself into her
mother's arms.





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