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´╗┐Title: Child of the Regiment
Author: Anonymous
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 "Child of the Regiment" ***

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Collections, University Libraries, Ball State University

[Illustration: Book Cover]

  CHILD
  OF THE
  REGIMENT.

  NEW YORK:
  P. J. COZANS, PUBLISHER,
  107 NASSAU STREET,
  CORNER OF ANN.



[Illustration]

LITTLE MARY.


Not many years ago a terrible battle was fought between the soldiers of
Napoleon Bonaparte and the Austrians, at a small village in Italy. The
Austrians were severely beaten, and the houses of the village were set
on fire by the cannon, and all burned or torn down; the poor villagers
were driven from their homes, and thousands of soldiers were killed or
wounded, and left to die on the ground; the Austrians tried to get away
from the French, but the furious soldiers of Napoleon pursued them with
their bayonets, or trampled them to death with their horses.

[Illustration]

In the French army was a regiment of soldiers who were called
_guards_; they were all dressed alike, in blue coats and white
pantaloons, trimmed with crimson and gold: they were terrible fellows
to fight, and their enemies were very much afraid of them, or they
were always in the thickest of the battle, clearing their way with the
points of their bayonets. While this regiment was pursuing the
Austrians, near the burning village, one of the Guards, an old man,
saw a sweet little girl who could scarcely walk; her papa and mama had
been driven from their homes, and her papa, who carried her in his
arms, was killed by the soldiers. Mary, for that was her name, held up
her little hands crying bitterly, as she lay among the killed and
wounded; and the Old Guard, who was a brave but kind soldier, pitied
her, and took her in his arms, and when the battle was ended, carried
her to his tent, and calling his comrades together, told them of the
little girl he had found; and no one knowing who she was, or who her
parents were, they called her Mary, the Child of the Regiment, and
agreed to take care of her as well as they could. Poor little Mary,
she had no mama to undress her at night, and make her a little bed,
but the good old Guard, gave her some of his supper and laid her down
on some straw, for the soldiers have no other beds in their tents; and
after laying his coat over her to keep her warm, and his haversack
under her head, she sobbed awhile, and fell asleep to forget the
scenes of that dreadful day. The next morning the old Guard awoke
little Mary, and washed her face, and combed her hair as well as he
could, for he had never taken care of a child in his life, and was
almost afraid to touch her with his hard and rough hands, which he
thought only fit to shoulder arms or charge bayonet with; and after
taking some dried meat and hard bread for breakfast, he took her out
to let her see the soldiers: they were delighted with Mary, and many
of them ran to take her up in their arms, but she liked the Old Guard
best, and wanted to be with him, for she was afraid of their
glittering muskets, as she remembered how terrible they looked only
the day before, when the noise of their guns, and deafening hurrahs
had almost frightened her to death; but they were kind to her, and she
afterwards loved them very much, for she said the whole of the
twenty-first regiment was her father, as they called her their child,
and took care of her.

[Illustration]

The old Guard then took little Mary to live with him, and she learned
to sew and play with her doll, which he had bought for her; and
delighted in filling his canteen with water, and polishing his
epaulettes; she would also sing and dance with him; which pleased him
very much, for he loved no body but her; as he was a great many miles
from his home, and had marched all the way with the army.

[Illustration]

At other times, when the old Guard was not with her, she amused
herself by rambling through the fields gathering wild flowers, or
climbing the mountains to see the army in the valley below.

At length the regiment was ordered home, and took little Mary with them.
She suffered many hardships in travelling so great a journey, for
sometimes she had to walk a long way, or ride on a baggage waggon, which
was no better than a cart; and in crossing the Alps, they frequently
slept on the cold ground, without any fire or even their suppers; and as
the mountains were covered with snow and ice, poor little Mary passed
many bitter nights and tedious days; and often thought of the peaceful
and happy home she had lost for ever; but the old Guard was kind to her,
and often carried her on his back or in his arms a great way: and after
many lone weeks, during which time a great number of the poor soldiers
died from suffering and toil, they arrived in France.

[Illustration]

By this time she had grown up to be a fine girl; she always lived with
the regiment, and had almost forgotten her papa and mama, and the
battle. The old Guard had never tried to find any of her friends, for
he thought they were all killed when the village was destroyed; at any
rate nobody had ever enquired for her; and they had no hopes of
finding out who she was or who her parents were. While the regiment
stayed in France they were quartered near a large city, where Mary
used to buy fruit and flowers for herself, and many things to please
the Old Guard. She was delighted with the town, and wished to live
there very much; upon which the regiment agreed to send her to a
boarding school, where she soon became acquainted with many little
girls who were amiable and kind, and much amused with her stories
about the army, particularly the battle and her journey across the Alps.

[Illustration]

During Mary's stay in the town she became acquainted with a school-boy
named Rodolph, who was in the same class with her. He was a sprightly,
daring little fellow, and on one occasion threw himself between Mary
and a mad ox that was rushing furiously along the street, and would
probably have gored her to death but for the courage of Rodolph, who
succeeded in rescuing her. From this time Mary became much attached to
him, and they frequently took many pleasant rambles together, and the
Old Guard called him a little corporal, and said he might one day be
an officer.

Rodolph was the son of a poor widow, who had lost her husband in
battle, and was in consequence reduced in circumstances, and scarcely
able to support herself and send him to school; but more misfortunes
came upon them, and they were at a loss what to do to save themselves
from the poor-house. Rodolph was proud, and could not bear the thought
of poverty and want, and was determined to do something to relieve the
distress of his mother.

One day, while occupied with these thoughts, the fife and drum of a
recruiting party met his ears, and as a large sum of money was offered
to those who would join the army, and a military life (as related by
little Mary) he thought would be the most likely to suit him, he
stepped forward to the ranks, took his gun, held up his head, and
became a soldier in a minute.

Rodolph rushed home to present the money to his mother, who was almost
distracted when she heard what he had done; as the regiment he had
joined was ordered into immediate service, and he would soon be in all
the hardships and horrors of war, from which she never expected he
would return.

[Illustration]

War is a horrible thing, and Rodolph before long was seen upon the field
of victory; here he behaved so bravely that he was made a corporal, and
afterwards a sergeant; and at another hard fought battle attracted the
notice of his officer, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

But good fortune was in store for the young soldier, in a way that he
would never have thought of; it happened that the wife of the colonel of
the regiment to which Rodolph belonged, who had followed her husband to
the field of battle, was surprised one day while alone, by two
stragglers from the enemy who were proceeding to rob and perhaps murder
her; when very fortunately Rodolph and another soldier who happened near
the spot, and drawing their swords, attacked the robbers boldly;
Rodolph's comrade however received a severe wound, and he was therefore
left alone to defend himself and the lady against the ruffians; but
Rodolph was fearless and fought desperately; he wounded the two
villains, and conveyed the lady in safety to the tent of the officer.

[Illustration]

The colonel scarcely knew how to show his gratitude; he gave Rodolph a
large sum of money which he immediately sent home to his mother, and
gave him also the command of a company of soldiers, after raising him
to the rank of captain.

How happy was Rodolph when he was thus raised from a common soldier
and many hardships, to independence and honour, notwithstanding all
the dangers and sufferings he had encountered. Another officer was,
however, very much displeased with the good fortune which had attended
one whom he considered to be so much below him, and took every
opportunity to insult and injure him. Rodolph bore this for some time
with great patience, but at last the gentleman became so ugly and
troubled him so much, that he could not bear it any longer; and the
consequence was, though he knew it was very wrong, that he was forced
to fight a duel, or else be looked upon as a coward by the rest of his
companions in arms.

They at length met to fight, and Rodolph not wishing to harm his enemy,
fired his pistol in the air, but the other taking advantage of Rodolph,
severely wounded him. It was sometime before Rodolph recovered, but he
did at last, and by earnestly entreating the officers to save the man
who had thus acted treacherously towards him, he escaped a severe
punishment which he otherwise would have met with. The noble conduct of
Rodolph filled him with gratitude; he asked his forgiveness, which was
instantly granted, and they became the best of friends.

[Illustration]

After the war was over, the army returned to France, and great was the
joy of Rodolph at the thought of once more beholding his mother, and
to think he had now the means of rendering her comfortable for life.
On entering the town he flew to the home of his parent, for he had
been away a long while; and he was so altered with his splendid
uniform, bright sword and epaulettes, that his mother scarcely knew
him; but her joy at once more seeing him, knew no bounds.

[Illustration]

Rodolph had been home but a short time, when the thoughts of his
little companion would not let him remain long without trying to see
her. He repaired immediately to the school, but all were strange
faces, and nobody seemed to know him or little Mary either. He next
visited the camp, but found the regiment had gone back to Italy a long
time since, and Mary of course was with them. Poor Rodolph returned,
with bitter disappointment, and determined to join the army again, and
die on the field of battle. With this resolution, after taking an
affectionate leave of his mother, he returned to tent, and was soon
again amid the roar of cannon and the clash of arms; for Rodolph had
been so long surrounded by danger and the busy scenes of a soldier's
life, that the peaceful home of his boyhood seemed wearisome to him.

[Illustration]


[Illustration]

We now return to little Mary, who was at school, making friends of
every one she became acquainted with, and carefully studying her
lessons, and most always at the head of her class. On entering the
room one morning, and looking round, she saw that Rodolph was not
there. He staid away the next day, and the next; when Mary heard he
had been seen in company with some recruiting soldiers, and she
trembled for fear he had gone with them. She immediately hastened to
the camp, and almost the first thing she saw was Rodolph, with his
musket shouldered, and the perspiration streaming down his cheeks,
while the rough, harsh voice of an old corporal ordered him instantly
to his quarters.

[Illustration]

Mary waved her hand to him, but he did not see her. The tears rolled
down from her eyes, as she turned from him--for she knew the hardships
he would have to suffer--and hurrying home, threw herself in the arms
of the Old Guard, and wept as though she had lost her only friend. The
next day she heard of his departure, and went to her studies, with the
hope that he might return and spend some happy hours with her once more.

After the regiment had stayed a long-time in France, it returned to
Italy again; and coming to a beautiful village, the Old Guard told
Mary it was the place where the battle was fought, and showed her the
place where he found her. Mary could not remember the spot nor any
thing else which she saw, for it was a long while ago, and she was a
very little girl at that time. The houses which had been burned down
were all built up again, and the little boys and girls were all
playing about as though nothing had ever happened. On the arrival of
the soldiers, they all ran to look at the Guards and hear the drums.

[Illustration]

It soon became known that a young lady was with the regiment, and the
story of her and the Old Guard was told to almost every one, and that
she once lived in that beautiful village, and was found on the
battle-field and carried off by the French soldiers. It was not long
before the story of little Mary was told to a lady, who lived in a
beautiful mansion or villa near the quarters of the regiment. Her
husband, who was an officer, was killed in battle, and her little
child lost in the crowd of people and soldiers who were trying to save
themselves, on that terrible day the French soldiers came to fight the
Austrians. The dead body of her husband was found, but nothing was
ever known of the little child. The more she thought of the story of
Mary the more she thought of her own little girl; and ordering her
carriage directed it to be driven to the camp; where she found the
tent of the Old Guard, and inquired for little Mary. When the lady saw
her she was surprised, to see such a beautiful girl with the
soldiers--for Mary was now a young lady, and had been many years with
the regiment. She asked the Old Guard many questions concerning the
battle; and heard how she was found on the field, surrounded by
cannons, and horses, and killed and wounded soldiers; that she was
crying bitterly, and sat by the side of a dead officer. The lady heard
the Old Guard, and wept while he was telling the story, for she began
to think that Mary was her long lost little girl. But when the Old
Guard brought the dress, and a necklace and locket which she had on
her neck, all of which he had carefully kept, and showed them to the
lady, she cried for joy, and clasped Mary in her arms; for it was
indeed her little Mary; and she kissed her over and over again. The
dress was the same she had worn on the morning of the battle, and the
necklace was a present from her papa, the officer who was killed; and
the letters on it were for her name, which was Mary St. Clair. The Old
Guard was surprised and delighted to know that little Mary was an
officer's daughter, and that her parents were so rich and great; but
the tears came in the old soldier's eyes when he thought she must
leave him; and Mary could not bear the thought of parting with him
forever. But Mrs. St. Clair, Mary's mother, was determined they should
not be separated, when she heard how kind the Old Guard had been to
her; and, after procuring his discharge, invited him to live with
them. The party at length set out for the villa, and the soldiers of
the Guards took leave of her with tears in their eyes, and rushed from
the ranks to kiss her for the last time.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Mary was delighted with her ride, but more pleased with her beautiful
home, and the splendid apartments, and the costly furniture. Mary was
immediately introduced to many young ladies and gentlemen, and soon
became one of the liveliest and most beautiful women in Italy. The Old
Guard dressed himself in his best uniform, which he would never
exchange for any other dress: for although Mrs. St. Clair wanted to
have him dress like a gentleman, he always refused, saying he had
always lived and was determined to die a soldier. Not long after this,
a great Ball was given by some of the nobility, and all the officers
of the army, far and near, were invited. The assembly was brilliant,
and imposing; the bright uniforms and gay dresses glittered by the
light of chandeliers, and music and festivity seemed to delight them
all. As Mary was leaning on the arm of the Old Guard, she noticed a
young captain of infantry continually gazing on her, whose face
appeared familiar. He stepped forward and mentioned her name, and in
an instant they were in each other's arms; it was Rodolph. The wars
were ended, and in travelling about the country, he had accidentally
received an invitation. As soon as Mary entered the room, he
remembered her, and after making himself known, enjoyed her society
for the evening. The Old Guard died at the villa, and Mary and Rodolph
were married, and lived at the village the rest of their lives.

[Illustration]



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Transcriber's Note


  * Obvious punctuation and spelling errors repaired.





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