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Title: A Yankee Girl at Shiloh
Author: Curtis, Alice Turner
Language: English
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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.

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Internet Archive)



[Illustration: “NOW LET’S PLAY IT’S A REAL PARTY.”]



                            A YANKEE GIRL
                                  AT
                                SHILOH

                                  By

                         ALICE TURNER CURTIS

                              Author of

     The Little Maid’s Historical Series, “A Yankee Girl at Fort
              Sumter,” “A Yankee Girl at Bull Run,” etc.

                            [Illustration]

                   _Illustrated by_ ISABEL W. CALEY

                         THE PENN PUBLISHING
                         COMPANY PHILADELPHIA
                                 1922



   COPYRIGHT
   1922 BY
   THE PENN
   PUBLISHING
   COMPANY

   [Illustration]

   A Yankee Girl at Shiloh

   Made in the U. S. A.



                             Introduction


Mrs. Curtis in the two other books of this set, “A Yankee Girl at Fort
Sumter” and “A Yankee Girl at Bull Run,” has told delightful stories
of little Northern heroines at these great battles.

In this present story Berenice Arnold with her mother and father came
from Vermont to the mountains of Tennessee in order that Mr. Arnold
might regain his health. During the second winter of their stay the
Armies of the North and the South began to draw closer to Shiloh,
which was not far from the Arnold cabin. Berry had many exciting
adventures. She found a young runaway slave-girl, who was sheltered
by her parents and proved a devoted friend. She was mistaken for a
boy by a Southern spy because of the fact that she wore blue corduroy
knickerbockers. He tried to force her to bear secret messages to his
Commander, but Berry, braving his anger and the misunderstandings
in the Northern camp, managed to give military information to the
Northern Army, which enabled it to gain a complete victory. Her deed
was so splendid that General Grant himself visited the Arnold cabin to
dine with Berry and thank her personally.



                       Contents

        I. “BERRY”                             9

       II. MOLLIE BRAGG                       21

      III. SCHOOL                             38

       IV. A CABIN PARTY                      50

        V. LILY                               58

       VI. SECRETS                            67

      VII. A SURPRISE                         77

     VIII. LILY’S STORY                       86

       IX. THE WITCH’S TREE                   96

        X. BERRY IN DANGER                   106

       XI. THE MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE            118

      XII. ORSON’S MISTAKE                   127

     XIII. BERRY RECEIVES A MESSAGE          135

      XIV. ON GUARD                          149

       XV. SOLDIERS ON SHILOH RIDGE          169

      XVI. BERRY IS TAKEN PRISONER           177

     XVII. THE EVENING BEFORE SHILOH         185

    XVIII. AFTER THE BATTLE                  194

      XIX. GENERAL GRANT                     204



                      Illustrations

                                                     PAGE
  “Now Let’s Play It’s a Real Party”       _Frontispiece_

  Without a Word Berry Pointed to the Heavy Rock      119

  “Here Is the Little Messenger of Whom I Told You”   209



                       A Yankee Girl at Shiloh


                              CHAPTER I

                               “BERRY”


There had been a light fall of snow during the night, and the tall
oak trees that grew near the Arnolds’ log cabin, which stood on the
slope of a wooded ridge overlooking the Tennessee River, were still
sprinkled with clinging white flakes when the heavy door of the cabin
was pushed open and a slender little figure appeared on the rough
porch.

If a stranger had been passing along the trail that led near this
secluded cabin he would perhaps have decided that it was a boy who
darted out and jumped up and down exclaiming, “Snow! Snow! Just like
Vermont snow!” for the curling brown hair was cut short, and the blue
flannel blouse, the baggy knickerbockers of blue corduroy, as well as
the stout leather shoes, were all in keeping as a suitable costume for
a ten-year-old lad whose home was a log cabin in the rough region
on the westerly bank of the Tennessee River, over two hundred miles
from its mouth. And when some casual stranger, failing to see the blue
corduroys, so mistook Berenice Arnold, and called her “my lad,” she
was very well pleased.

On this January morning, in 1862, Berenice had been awakened at an
unusually early hour by a call from her father, telling her to dress
quickly and hasten down in time to see the snow, that lay like a white
veil over the wooded slopes, before the sun came out from behind the
distant mountains and swept it away.

“Snow! Berry! Not enough for a sleigh ride, but enough to make you
think of Vermont,” he had called, as if announcing an unexpected
delight. For the Arnolds had only lived in Tennessee for two years.
Berry was nine years old when, with her father and mother and her
older brother Francis, she had left the big white house in the
pleasant Vermont village near Montpelier and come to this hillside
cabin where Mr. Arnold hoped to regain something of his former health
and strength. This was the second winter, and this fall of snow in
early January was the first real snowfall since their arrival. There
had been many “flurries,” but, until this January morning, not enough
had fallen to whiten wood and trail; and the Arnolds ran to door
and windows exclaiming over the new beauty of the slopes and forest
beneath their white coverlets.

“What would Francis say to this?” exclaimed Berry, as her father came
out and stood beside her.

Francis was now a soldier, with the Northern forces in Virginia, and
Berry’s thoughts were often with her brother; wondering why he had
been so determined, a year ago, to return to Vermont and enlist in
a Northern regiment in the conflict to prevent the Southern States
from leaving the Union, and to bring an end to the slavery of the
negroes in America. Francis had been only eighteen when he had become
a soldier, and Berry knew that her father and mother had both been
willing that he should go. The little girl had often puzzled about
it, for she had heard her father say that when Abraham Lincoln became
President the United States would soon understand each other and all
the talk of war would come to an end. But even Mr. Lincoln had not
been able to avert the conflict; and the hillside cabin, ten miles
distant from the flourishing town of Corinth, was shadowed by the news
of far-off battles.

“You must write Francis about it,” responded Berry’s father; “tell
him the slope is as white as the main street at home in Vermont in
midwinter.” And Berry nodded smilingly.

“It will be gone before noon, so we can go out to the river road, and
see what the mail-rider left for us yesterday,” continued Mr. Arnold.

“And, if ’tis not too muddy, can we not walk as far as Lick Creek and
try for fish?” asked Berry, her brown eyes shining with eagerness
at the thought of a long tramp with her father through the winter
woods, and, best of all, the fun of catching a pickerel or bass from
the waters of Lick Creek. For, in the two years that Berry had lived
on this remote mountain slope, she had been her father’s constant
companion in his out-of-door life, and it was for that reason that her
mother had decided to dress the little girl in suitable clothing. If
Berry had been obliged to wear dainty clothes, if her hair had been
long and hung down her back in curls or braids, and her feet covered
only by thin kid shoes, she would never have known every nook and
crevice along the table-land, rolling and ridgy, a few miles above
Pittsburg Landing, a place that was to become an historic spot.

“No fishing to-day,” her father declared; and, as at that moment Mrs.
Arnold called them to breakfast, he did not add that he intended going
in the opposite direction that morning to visit the rude log chapel
known as Shiloh church, where Sunday services were occasionally held,
and where Mr. Arnold now and then busied himself in repairing windows,
painting the outer door, and doing such light work as his strength was
equal to, in improving the condition of the neglected building. Berry
was of great assistance to her father in this work; he had taught her
how to use a plane, and smooth off a piece of wood until it was fit
for use. She knew the names and use of all the tools he used about
his carpentering work; and as a trip to Shiloh church meant a picnic
dinner cooked in the open air, Berry was always well pleased when her
father set off in that direction; and on hearing that he intended to
start as soon as the sun was well up she quite forgot her plan to
visit Lick Creek.

Berry helped her mother clear the table and wash the dishes while her
father selected the few tools he would need, and also packed a small
basket with food for their midday meal; and when he called “All ready
for the trail,” Berry slipped on her brown corduroy jacket and her
knitted cap of scarlet wool and was ready to start.

“If there is a letter from Francis in the mail-box I will bring it
home as fast as I can, Mother,” she promised, as Mrs. Arnold stood on
the porch to watch them start.

“We will be home before sunset,” Mr. Arnold promised, and followed
Berry, who was running down the trail.

Mrs. Arnold stood looking after them for a moment, smiling at
Berry’s delight in starting off for a day in the woods, and thinking
gratefully of her husband’s improvement in health. Their cabin was
several miles from any neighbors, and Mrs. Arnold had in the first
months of their stay often been homesick for the friends and home
she had left so far away among the peaceful hills of Vermont. But
gradually the peace and quiet of their simple life in the hillside
cabin, Berry’s happiness in playing out-of-doors, and, best of all,
the improvement in Mr. Arnold’s health, reconciled her to the exile
from New England. Often she accompanied her husband and Berry on
their excursions, but this morning she intended writing a long letter
to her soldier son.

Before Berry and her father reached the mail-box, that was fastened
to a stout oak tree on the highway, the veil of snow had nearly
disappeared, and the piles of brown leaves along the trail glistened
in the morning sun. There was nothing in the box, and Mr. Arnold and
Berry turned back into a path that would lead them direct to Shiloh
church. A flock of bluejays started up from the underbrush and went
scolding and screaming into the branches of a tall chestnut tree,
their blue feathers and crested heads catching the sunlight and
brightening the shadowy path. Berry gazed after them wonderingly. “I
do think it’s a pity they squawk so,” she said thoughtfully, “when
they are so lovely to look at. And the mocking-birds are so plain and
gray.”

Berry had become familiar with the birds who nested near the woodland
cabin, and had learned much about their ways. She knew that the
handsome jay was a thief who ate the eggs from the nests of other
birds and sometimes even destroyed the birds. She knew where the
fine cardinal in his scarlet coat, and Madam Cardinal in her more
modest colors, made their nest in the underbrush along the banks of
the ravine; and the tiny wrens who fluttered about the trail were her
friends. But, best of all, Berry loved the mocking-birds, with their
musical trills and clear song. Even in January they could be heard
near the cabin; not with their springtime song, but with soft notes
and hopeful calls. The little girl often put bits of bread and cake on
the porch rail, and it was not long before the birds had discovered
this unexpected bounty and came fluttering down to look for it; and
gradually the family had all made friends among their bird neighbors,
giving them names, and keeping a sharp outlook for the young birds who
were their springtime visitors.

“What are you going to do to-day, Father?” Berry questioned as they
came in sight of the log building that stood on the crest of the ridge.

“I am going to fix the benches. Some of them are dropping to pieces,”
responded her father. “I have a good store of fine oak wood dry and
ready for use in the shed near the church, and we can soon make the
old seats as good as new.”

“And may I put the new rail on the pulpit? I have polished it until
it shines like glass,” said Berry, as they came out into the little
clearing in which the church stood.

“Of course,” her father agreed, smiling down at his little daughter’s
eager face. He was well pleased that Berry found pleasure in the
outdoor life, that she was learning to do many things that little
girls seldom have an opportunity to learn, and that she was as active
and healthy as it was possible for a girl to be.

Before beginning the work he had planned Mr. Arnold stood looking
at the wild country spread out before him. “Look, Berry,” he said,
pointing to a ravine on the left, along which ran the main road to
Corinth. “This spot is like a picture in a frame,” he continued, “the
little streams of Owl Creek and Lick Creek, the road to Corinth, and
the Tennessee River making the frame. It would make a safe camp for an
army,” he added thoughtfully, but without an idea that within three
months that very spot would be the scene of one of the most important
battles of the Civil War; or that his little daughter who stood so
quietly beside him would, by her courage and endurance, have rendered
a great service to the cause of the Northern forces.

They had walked a long distance, and seated themselves on the broad
step of the chapel for a rest.

“It is nearly noon; I’ll start our fire and get lunch under way,” said
Mr. Arnold. But Berry was eager to do this; for she knew exactly how
to lay a fire in the open; how to bake potatoes in hot ashes, and to
broil bacon over the coals; and to set the tin pail, in which they
made coffee, where it would boil slowly.

“All right,” agreed Mr. Arnold, “I’ll fetch the wood.”

Berry ran along the ridge to where a granite ledge made a good shelter
for a blaze, and in a short time a little curl of smoke crept into the
air, and the appetizing odor of broiling bacon and of fragrant coffee
made Mr. Arnold declare that he was “hungry as a bear,” greatly to
Berry’s delight.

“Wouldn’t it be splendid if Francis was here?” she said, as she and
her father began their luncheon.

“Not much hope of seeing Francis this winter,” replied Mr. Arnold.

“I hate war!” Berry declared, breaking open a well-baked potato, and
proceeding to sprinkle salt on it. “If it were not for war Francis
would be here this minute.”

“No; Francis would be in college,” her father rejoined.

“What’s college?” Berry demanded.

“Why, Berenice Isabel Arnold!” exclaimed her father in amazement. “I
will have to turn schoolmaster and keep you shut in the house with
books if you really do not know the meaning of ‘college’!”

Berry shook her head: her mouth was filled with hot potato, and she
could not speak.

“College is a school where young men like Francis learn more important
things than can be taught to younger boys,” explained her father. “And
I have made up my mind, Berry; to-morrow your regular lessons begin.”

“Oh, Father! Not like the school at home?” Berry pleaded. “Not
geography and maps, and arithmetic and sums, and grammar and
compositions?”

“Exactly! It will never do for a little Yankee girl, even if she does
live in Tennessee, to grow up without an education. School will begin
to-morrow!” replied Mr. Arnold.

“Then Mollie Bragg will have to go to school with me,” Berry declared.



                              CHAPTER II

                             MOLLIE BRAGG


The nearest neighbors to the Arnolds were a family named Bragg, who
lived in a cabin some three miles distant, near the road leading to
Corinth. The Braggs’ cabin was not a comfortable, convenient home
such as the Arnolds had made their own mountain cabin. The doors of
the Braggs’ cabin sagged from clumsy leather hinges; the floor of the
rough porch was broken here and there, so that anyone entering the
house had to be careful where he stepped. Mr. Bragg announced each day
that he was “gwine ter try mighty hard to find time to fix that po’ch,
an’ mend up the roof.” But days, weeks, and months went by and no
repairs were made, although Mr. Bragg spent long hours on the porch,
tilted back against the house in an old chair, smoking, and, as he
would promptly explain to any visitor, “tryin’ to rest up.”

Indoors Mrs. Bragg swept and scoured, mended the poor garments of
her family, and tried her best to make the rough place pleasant for
her children. Mollie Bragg, the youngest of the family, was a little
girl about the age of Berenice Arnold, but not as tall or strongly
built as Berry. Mollie’s eyes were a pale blue, her hair, which hung
straight about her thin little face, was a pale yellow, and her arms
and legs were so thin that Berry sometimes wondered that they did
not break as Mollie ran down the rough mountain paths, or valiantly
followed Berry in climbing a tall tree to peer into the nest of a
robin or yellowhammer. Mollie’s elder sister had left home, the year
the Arnolds came to Tennessee, to live with an aunt in Nashville, and
the only son, a lad of sixteen, had run away to join the army of the
Confederacy, so that in January, 1862, Mollie was the only child at
home.

Although the Arnold and Bragg cabins were three miles apart, hardly
a day passed that Mollie and Berry did not see each other. Mollie
would often set out early in the morning and appear at the Arnolds’
door before they had finished breakfast, to be eagerly welcomed by
Berry, and urged to a seat at the round breakfast table near the big
window that overlooked the ravine by Mrs. Arnold, and helped to the
well-cooked porridge, followed by crisp bacon and toast, and often
a dish of stewed fruit, all of which the little visitor evidently
enjoyed.

To Mollie the Arnolds’ cabin seemed the finest place in the world.
Although it had only five rooms, and the family had their meals in
the kitchen, it was indeed a pleasant and attractive home, with its
muslin-curtained windows, its floors painted a shining yellow, with
rag rugs here and there, the open fire in the sitting-room that
blazed so cheerfully on winter days, the well-filled bookshelves in
one corner and the stout wooden chairs and settles with their big
feather-filled cushions. Mr. Arnold had spent a good part of his time
in improving the cabin from the rough state in which they had found
it, and had made most of the simple furniture. A vine-covered fence
enclosed the yard, where Berry had her own garden. Each spring she
began by planting lettuce and radishes, and then peas and carrots
and string beans; before these had time to sprout she had bordered
her vegetable beds with spring flowers. Mollie learned many things
from her new friends, and, in her turn, showed Berry where the wild
trillium and Jack-in-the-pulpit could be found, and where to look for
the nests of cardinal and mocking-bird, birds that the little Yankee
girl had never seen before coming to Tennessee. Therefore when Mr.
Arnold declared that it was time for Berry to have regular lessons,
“to begin school,” as he termed it, it was quite natural for Berry to
say that Mollie Bragg would also have to study.

There was no schoolhouse within miles of these mountain cabins where
the little girls could “begin school,” and Berry understood that her
father would be her teacher. And on the day after their excursion to
Shiloh church Mr. Arnold told Berry that she could go to the Braggs’
cabin and ask Mollie to be her schoolmate.

“Tell her school begins at ten o’clock each morning and closes at
twelve,” he said as Berry put on her cap and started toward the door.

“And say to Mrs. Bragg that we shall expect Mollie to stay for
dinner,” added Mrs. Arnold, who realized that the Bragg family seldom
had the kind of food that would nourish a delicate child like Mollie,
and welcomed the opportunity to give her small neighbor one good meal
each day.

“All right,” Berry called back, as she ran down the path, turning to
wave her hand before the thick growing forest trees hid her from sight.

Berry’s way led through the forest, across a wide brook that went
dancing down over its rocky bed toward the river, and then the path
turned into the highway near which was the rough clearing surrounding
the Braggs’ cabin. A tiny gray bird called “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” as
if to greet the red-capped little figure that ran so swiftly along the
rough path. Further on she heard the cheerful whistle of the cardinal,
and stopped for a moment to look up into the wide-spreading branches
of the big trees that towered above her, hoping for a glimpse of the
red-coated songster, but he was not to be seen.

The crossing of the wide brook meant stepping carefully from stone to
stone until the middle of the stream was reached, where a broad flat
rock gave a firm foothold, and from which Berry was accustomed to
jump to the opposite bank. She made the passage skilfully, springing
over the rushing water and landing on firm ground with the lightness
and sure footing of an active boy; before she had taken a further
step, however, a chuckling voice close at hand called: “Well done,
youngster! It takes a Tennessee lad to jump,” and Berry found herself
facing a tall man whose face was nearly covered by a brown beard, and
whose brown eyes twinkled with amusement at her surprise. He wore a
round, close-fitting cap of coonskin, a leather jacket, with stout
trousers of corduroy and high boots. A hunter’s belt held a revolver
and hunting-knife, and a knapsack was strapped across his shoulders.
It was seldom that Berry encountered anyone in her forest tramps, but
she had been taught to believe in the friendliness of the mountain
people, and smiled and nodded in response to the man’s greeting.

“I can jump farther than that,” she boasted. “I can jump farther than
most boys of my age.”

The man nodded approvingly. “Well, you ain’t so stocky as some,” he
said thoughtfully. “Guess your ma kind of likes to dress you up, don’t
she, sonny?” he continued, with an amused glance at Berry’s red silk
tie and scarlet wool cap.

Berry nodded. If this stranger mistook her for a boy she did not mean
to undeceive him.

“Well,” continued the man, “you can’t help that, my lad. What’s your
name?”

“Berry,” responded the little girl.

“Berry what?” he continued.

“Berenice,” said Berry, thinking that now the stranger had discovered
her secret, and that he would at once tell her that the place for
little girls was at home, helping their mother, as Mr. Bragg so often
announced.

But the man evidently had not understood her. “‘Nees,’ eh! Berry Nees.
Well, you mountain folks have queer names. But I’m glad to make your
acquaintance. I reckon you can run considerable as well as jump?”

“Yes,” Berry replied quickly, well pleased that she need not hear that
“Girls should not be running wild in boys’ clothes,” as had sometimes
been said to her. “I can run faster than Len Bragg, who is sixteen
years old.”

“Where does Len Bragg live?” questioned the man.

“Oh! He’s in the war! He’s with General Johnston’s army,” replied
Berry promptly.

“That’s right!” declared the man approvingly. “There’s not a finer man
in the Confederate army than Albert Sidney Johnston.”

Berry had heard her own father praise General Johnston’s character, so
she was not surprised, and replied politely, “Yes, sir.”

“I’m bound for Corinth myself,” continued the man. “I’ve journeyed
across country from Fort Donelson, and I reckon I shan’t stop long at
Corinth; like as not I may come back this way, long in the spring,”
and the man smiled to himself as if well pleased with such a prospect.
“If I do, Berry, maybe I’ll want you to let me see if you can run as
fast as you say. Maybe I’ll want you to take a message to Pittsburg
Landing in a hurry for me.” And the man’s eyes rested sharply upon
Berry.

Before Berry could reply the man spoke again, and in a sharper tone
than he had yet used.

“And see here, my lad! Don’t you let on to a living soul about
having met me. Understand?” and his hand touched the sheath of his
hunting-knife in a threatening manner. But Berry did not wait to
answer; she was off like a flash, not keeping to the path, but darting
behind big trees, circling around underbrush and at last hiding behind
a tall stump. She heard the man crashing along behind her, but Berry’s
boast of being a swift runner was well proved; the woodsman could not
overtake her. Berry smiled to herself as she heard him floundering
about through the thickets. She was not at all afraid of being
caught, for she knew all the forest ways, and many a hiding-place.
She kept very quiet, however, and did not venture out from behind the
stump until a hovering flock of nuthatches, who had been scolding
vigorously at being disturbed, settled down in a near-by thicket.

“He’s gone,” she whispered, and stepped cautiously out; “he didn’t
come this way or the nuthatches would not have stopped flying.”

Berry peered sharply about, however, as she made her way noiselessly
from tree to tree, stopping often to listen for any sound that might
mean she was being followed, but, except for the far-off call of
woodland birds, the forest was quiet. Berry was sure the man had given
up trying to find her, and hastened down the ridge to the Braggs’
cabin. She said nothing of her adventure to the Braggs, but told of
her father’s plan for morning lessons. “Mollie may come every day, may
she not?” she pleaded; “and Mother wants her to stay for dinners.”

Mrs. Bragg’s anxious face had brightened as Berry spoke of lessons,
and she answered quickly, “I reckon prayers are answered, fer I’ve
been a hopin’ and a prayin’ there’d be some chance for Mollie to
get book-larnin’, but no way seemed to open, and now your folks
come along an’ want to teach her. Of course she can come, an’ mighty
thankful fer the chanst,” and Mrs. Bragg wiped her faded eyes with
the corner of her worn apron, and managed to smile at Mollie, who
was jumping up and down as if too happy to keep still. Mr. Bragg had
started off to look after the traps he set along the river banks for
muskrats, whose skins he sold to a trader in Corinth, so there was no
argument about the “foolishness of book-larnin’,” for Mr. Bragg often
proudly announced that he “never had no schoolin’, an’ never was any
the wus’ fer it,” without any idea that his poverty and laziness had
been caused by his ignorance.

“School begins to-morrow,” Berry added, “at ten o’clock.”

“What will we learn to-morrow?” Mollie asked eagerly, her pale blue
eyes shining with delight.

Berry shook her head. “I don’t know. I expect it will be a surprise. I
don’t believe it will be like a real school,” she replied.

Mollie’s smile vanished. To go to a “real school” seemed the finest
thing in the world to the little mountain girl, who had not even
known the letters of the alphabet until Berry had taught them to
her, and who could now, at ten years of age, only read words of one
syllable, and was just beginning to learn the meaning of figures.

Berry was quick to notice the change in Mollie’s expression, and
added, “I mean we won’t sit behind little desks, and keep as quiet as
mice, the way girls do in schools.”

“P’raps we will,” Mollie rejoined hopefully; “p’raps I’ll learn
writin’.”

“Of course you will,” Berry declared, and Mollie’s smile promptly
reappeared.

“May I spin this morning?” Berry asked, going toward the big
spinning-wheel that stood in one corner of the kitchen, on which Mrs.
Bragg spun the yarn for the stockings worn by the family, and often
permitted Berry to spin the soft fleecy rolls of wool into yarn. Berry
always considered this permission a great privilege, and her father
had promised to make a spinning-wheel for her.

Usually Mrs. Bragg was quite ready to let Berry try her hand at the
wheel, but this morning she shook her head dolefully.

“The wheel’s give out,” she declared. “Steve promised to take a look
at it, but land knows when he’ll get ’round to it.”

Berry approached the big wheel and looked at it anxiously. “What’s the
matter with it?” she asked.

“’Twon’t move!” and to prove this Mrs. Bragg touched the rim of the
wheel, that usually responded to the lightest touch, but now kept firm
and steady.

Berry had watched her father in his work with tools, had seen him
oil hinges that would not move, or loosen nuts that held some wheel
or bar too tightly, and she had been taught to do many things that
most little girls never learn; so now she examined the wheel with so
serious a face that Mrs. Bragg looked at her in amazement.

“If I had a screw-driver and an oil-can I believe I could fix it,” she
declared.

“Fer the land’s sake!” muttered Mrs. Bragg. “We never saw a
screw-driver, but there’s a broken knife that’ll twist a screw mighty
fine.”

“Perhaps that would do,” Berry responded gravely, and Mollie ran off
to find the broken knife, while Berry peered under the wheel-bench to
make sure that she understood the simple movement of the wheel.

Mrs. Bragg watched Berry as the little girl carefully loosened and
adjusted the axle on which the wheel turned, until it would move, but
it did not move smoothly.

“It needs a drop of oil!” Berry announced.

But the Bragg cabin could furnish nothing better than a bit of melted
tallow, and Mrs. Bragg declared that far superior to oil, and hastened
to prepare it, and at last, to the amazement and delight of Mrs. Bragg
and Mollie, and to Berry’s great satisfaction, the big wheel revolved
as swiftly as ever.

“I reckon you know ter do sich things, Berry, on account of being a
Yankee girl,” Mrs. Bragg declared admiringly. “Steve says folks up
North prides theirselves on workin’, an’ on inventin’ ways ter make
work. I declar’ to it, I’ll have ter rest a spell,” and Mrs. Bragg
sank down on a wooden bench near the door.

“Maw, tell Berry that story you tole me ’bout the selfish mouse,” said
Mollie. “Maw kin tell gran’ stories, Berry,” the little girl continued
eagerly. “W’en we wus off up in the mountains she used ter tell a new
one mos’ every night.”

Berry’s face brightened at the prospect of a story, and Mrs. Bragg
said she would tell it as nearly as she could remember it.

“It’s ’bout a mouse that jes’ was set on gettin’ all he could fer
hisself,” she explained. “This mouse lived with his mother an’ four
brothers in a fine cabin whar thar was a big cupboard. Thar was cakes
an’ cheese an’ nice white bread, an’ cold meat; an’, like as not, thar
was raisins an’ nuts in that thar cupboard. But the door was allers
kep’ shut tight, an’ thar was a big white cat that, seemingly, was
allers lurkin’ roun’ that pantry door. So Mother Mouse warned her
children to be satisfied with the crumbs they could pick up ’roun’ the
kitchen. But one day one of the little mice found that the door was
open and he slipped in, an’ ’twa’n’t a minute afore that little mouse
found a big round cheese an’ began to nibble it; an’ he was so busy
and so happy that he didn’t hear the cupboard door shut, or notice
that ’twas dark.

“Wal, Mother Mouse didn’t miss him fer a considerable spell, bein’
busy collectin’ grain jest outside the cabin. But when it began ter
get dark she calls fer the young ones so’s to settle down fer the
night, an’ she finds one of ’em don’ come. The first thing Mother
Mouse thought of was the white cat, but the cat wasn’t anywhar ter be
seen; so Mother Mouse goes all about the kitchen calling the missing
mouse, an’ when she crept by the cupboard she heard a little bit of a
squeak, and then she stopped mighty quick. She knew the little mouse
was in that cupboard, an’ she prob’ly knew that thar war traps set in
it. So she calls her fam’ly an’ then says she, ‘Your brother is in
thar, an’ we mus’ get him out. Now the folks have all gone to bed, an’
we’ll begin work.’ So she began to nibble at the edge of the door, and
the little mice did their best to help her, and jes’ ’fore daylight
there was a hole big enough for the little mouse to come through. But
he wouldn’t come. Says he, ‘I only squeaked so you’d know that I’m
well fixed fer life,’ says he. ‘I ain’ no need ever to gather kitchen
crumbs again,’ he says, ‘an’ so you can all go your ways an’ ferget
me.’ An’ he ran back to his cheese. Wal, at that very minute the woman
of the house came into the kitchen to light up the fire, an’ she sees
the mice. ‘My land!’ she calls out; an’ off went Mother Mouse and all
her family into a safe hiding-place. But the woman opened the cupboard
door, and then she called, ‘Puss, puss!’ an’ the big cat came running,
an’ into the pantry she sprung an’ the little mouse, who had felt so
grand and had scorned his own folks who were tryin’ ter help him, was
so stupid and clumsy because he had eaten so much that he couldn’t
run, and in a minute the cat had grabbed him and fetched him out to
the kitchen an’ ate him up. Thar,” Mrs. Bragg concluded, “I guess I’ll
hev to stir up a corn pone fer dinner,” and she got up from the bench.

“What became of the Mother Mouse and the other little mice?” Berry
demanded.

But Mrs. Bragg shook her head, “I reckon they jes’ moved away,” she
said.

It was now nearly noon, and Berry realized that she must get home as
soon as possible; so reminding Mollie that “school” would begin the
next morning, she bade them good-bye.

As soon as she had left the Bragg cabin Berry’s thoughts flew back
to the man she had encountered that morning. Although she had not
spoken of him to Mrs. Bragg, for some reason that she could not easily
account for, she was now eager to reach home and tell her father
and mother of the stranger who had taken her for a boy, and who had
threatened her.

“I’ll go home another path,” she decided. “I never want to see that
man again,” and she made her way up the crest of the ridge, circling
about thick growths of trees and underbrush, and coming into the trail
that led to the cabin a mile above the place where she had encountered
the stranger.



                             CHAPTER III

                                SCHOOL


It was with a grave face that Mr. Arnold listened to Berry’s story
of her morning’s adventure at the brook; and her mother instantly
declared that Berry could no longer run about alone. “The man was
probably a Confederate spy,” she said anxiously, “and if he had
discovered that a family from New England were living near by, that,
instead of being a little boy of Tennessee, you were a little Yankee
girl, we cannot tell what would have happened.”

“Yes, I believe the man has been traveling along the Cumberland and
Tennessee Rivers looking over the Confederate line of defense, and
his saying he might return this way in the spring may mean that the
Confederates fear an attack will be made upon Fort Henry or Fort
Donelson. If the Union army could capture these forts and open the
Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, the Confederate line of defense
would be destroyed,” said Mr. Arnold thoughtfully; and Mrs. Arnold
instantly added, “We surely need not fear any battle taking place near
this remote spot, but with spies everywhere we must take all possible
precautions. I hope you did not tell the Braggs of meeting a stranger,
Berry?” she added.

“No; I didn’t tell Mrs. Bragg. I don’t know why I didn’t,” Berry
responded thoughtfully. “I guess I was really frightened after all,
and didn’t want Mrs. Bragg to know it.”

“Nonsense, Berry!” said Mr. Arnold sharply. “You could run away
from anyone. And if you blew your whistle, even if you were too far
away for me to hear and come to your assistance, it would make any
dangerous person sure that help was close at hand, and would probably
frighten him away.”

Berry’s father did not like the idea of the little girl going about in
fear. He knew it would destroy all her pleasure in the free woodland
life which they had all taken so much happiness in. The whistle of
which he spoke had been a gift to Berry from her brother Francis.
It was a silver whistle, attached to a long silver chain that Berry
always wore about her neck, with the whistle tucked into the pocket
of her blouse. During the first year in the cabin Mr. Arnold had
not been sufficiently strong to walk far, and it was Francis who
had chopped the wood for the cabin fires, journeyed to Corinth for
necessary provisions, and fished for bass and pickerel along the
river; and Berry had often been his companion. He had given her the
whistle so if she lost sight of him in the woodland trails she could
instantly call him; and Berry valued it more than anything else and
never left the cabin without it.

Nothing more was said that day in regard to the stranger, but in the
afternoon Mr. Arnold started off into the forest, telling Berry that
he thought she would better stay and keep her mother company. He
followed the trail to the Braggs’ cabin, and made his way for some
distance up the stream where Berry had encountered the stranger; but
he found nothing to cause alarm, and was tempted to believe that,
after all, the man might have been only a woodsman journeying across
country, who had thought it an amusing game to frighten the small boy
for whom he had mistaken Berry.

As he walked along the ridge and down the slope to his cabin Mr.
Arnold thought to himself that, as his wife had said that noon,
however the conflict went between the armies of the North and the
South, there was small danger of its coming nearer to Shiloh church
than the defensive line of the Confederates at the river forts, and
which stretched on through Kentucky from the Mississippi River to the
Cumberland Mountains. The control of this defense was in the hands of
General Albert Sidney Johnston, a man respected alike by his opponents
and his soldiers. His line of defense included Fort Henry, on the
right bank of the Tennessee, and Fort Donelson, on the left bank
of the Cumberland River; and Mr. Arnold was confident that General
Ulysses S. Grant, the commander of Union forces in the West, would not
long delay in an attempt to conquer these river strongholds. “With
those forts destroyed Grant’s army could soon break the whole western
line of defense,” reflected Mr. Arnold, little realizing that within a
month this very thing would be accomplished.

Before Mr. Arnold reached home the sky filled with heavy clouds and it
began to snow. “Glad Berry is indoors,” he thought, as he approached
the cabin and saw the dancing blaze of the sitting-room fire shine out
through the windows. Berry and her mother were on the settle beside
the fire busy with sewing.

“It looks just like my things, only smaller,” said Berry, holding up a
blue serge blouse.

“Only Mollie’s suit is a skirt and blouse, instead of knickerbockers,”
her mother smilingly reminded her.

“Well, Mollie would like knickerbockers, but her father never would
let her wear them,” said Berry. “Why does Mr. Bragg think I ought to
wear long calico skirts, I wonder? I could not run or climb trees or
jump across brooks if I wore skirts. Mollie is always tearing hers,
and tumbling down when she runs after me.”

“Mr. Bragg doesn’t really think, my dear. He simply echoes,” responded
Mrs. Arnold. “But I am sure Mollie will like her new skirt.”

“Won’t she be surprised, Mother, to have a birthday party? And on the
very day school begins. The minute Mrs. Bragg said that January tenth
was Mollie’s birthday I thought I’d make her a present; but it was you
who thought of a party,” and Berry gazed admiringly at her pretty,
smiling mother, who was always thinking of such interesting things for
little girls to do. For it was Mrs. Arnold who had suggested ripping
up a blue serge skirt of her own and making a blouse and skirt of it
for Mollie. But it was Berry who, with her mother’s help, had cut out
blouse and skirt, and who had stitched the seams and embroidered a
star in red worsted on the corners of the collar.

When the Arnolds came to Tennessee they had brought a good store of
clothing; but they had not believed a great war was so close at hand,
a war that was to impoverish the Southern States and to make it nearly
impossible for people to procure suitable clothing; and at the close
of their second year in their mountain cabin the Arnolds began to
realize that they must take good care of their garments, as they could
not purchase new material in the town of Corinth. With the Braggs
conditions were more difficult, as they had never possessed decent
clothing; such dresses as Mrs. Bragg had managed to secure for herself
and Mollie were worn to rags. Mrs. Arnold had given Mrs. Bragg a dress
of stout gingham; but poor little Mollie ran about in a thin worn
calico. Mrs. Arnold was teaching the little girl to knit a jacket for
herself of the fine blue yarn that her mother spun, and, with a dress
of serge, Mollie would soon be comfortably clothed.

When the last stitches were set and Mollie’s dress was quite finished,
Berry carried the serge blouse and skirt into her own room, which
opened from the sitting-room, and that was as pleasant a chamber as
any little girl could ask. The floor of the room, like all the cabin
floors, was painted yellow. The walls and ceiling were boarded with
pine, whose soft color blended with the floor. Mr. Arnold and Francis
had built this room on to the cabin, and its wide window overlooked
the deep ravine toward Lick Creek. But a tall oak tree grew so close
to the cabin on this side as to hide the little building from sight,
and when Berry looked from her window she looked out between the
branches of the trees toward rough banks and wooded ridges. Mr. Arnold
had made the simple white bedstead that stood in Berry’s room, and the
dressing-table, over which hung a small square mirror. And Francis had
built the box-like window-seat, which Mrs. Arnold had covered with
flowered chintz which she had brought with her from the North, and
had made curtains for the window of the same material. A white rug of
sheepskin lay beside the bed, and there was a chest of drawers in one
corner of the room, and a small wooden rocking-chair painted white.

Berry put Mollie’s new dress in the lower drawer of the wide chest
and looked at it admiringly. Then, from a far corner of the drawer
she took a long package wrapped in a piece of newspaper—for tissue
and wrapping paper were not easy to obtain in that part of the world
in 1862—and unrolled it, and a small doll appeared, a doll made of
cloth, whose hair was of yarn raveled from the foot of an old brown
stocking; whose eyes were black buttons, and whose scarlet mouth had
been marked by beet juice. The doll wore a gay dress made of bits of
yellow silk from Mrs. Arnold’s scrap-bag. Her feet were covered with
kid shoes, made from a worn-out glove, and the little hat, tied on
with a bit of yellow silk, Berry had made by plaiting dried grasses.

“Mollie will like this doll, too,” Berry thought happily, as she
returned the package to its former place. “I wish there were some
other little girls to ask to her birthday party,” she thought,
recalling her former playmates of the far-off Vermont village, where
a birthday party had meant the gathering of at least a dozen little
girls, all in pretty dresses, and each bringing a gift for the girl
whose birthday they were celebrating. Berry smiled to herself as she
glanced down at her stout leather boots and baggy knickerbockers.
“They would all think my clothes as queer as Mr. Bragg does,”
she thought, recalling the full flounced skirts and embroidered
pantalettes that she had worn before coming to Shiloh.

Snow continued to fall during the night, so that Mollie’s feet were
wet and her faded skirt more drabbled and limp than usual when she
reached the Arnolds’ cabin the next morning. An old brown shawl of
Mrs. Bragg’s covered her head and shoulders, and one end of it trailed
behind her as she entered the pleasant kitchen.

Mrs. Arnold took off Mollie’s shawl as she welcomed their little
visitor, and Berry ran for a pair of moccasin slippers that Mr. Arnold
had made from tanned sheepskin, and in a few moments Mollie’s wet
shoes had been set to dry and she was following Berry through the
sitting-room to Berry’s chamber, looking about as she always did with
admiring eyes at the simple comforts of a home so different from the
Braggs’ dark, squalid cabin.

“Do you remember what day this is, Mollie?” Berry demanded as they
entered her room.

Mollie nodded eagerly as she smiled radiantly up at her friend.

“’Deed I does. It’s the day school begins!” she responded, her pale
eyes shining with delight.

“And what else?” questioned Berry.

Mollie’s smile faded and her face grew anxious.

“I dunno, Berry. It’s snowing; you don’t mean that, do you?” she
questioned, and Berry gave a gay little laugh, and leaning toward her
kissed Mollie’s cheek, saying, “Happy birthday, Mollie Bragg. Here you
are, eleven years old to-day! And you forgot all about it!”

Mollie looked at her friend with wide eyes. “I ’most always fergits
it,” she replied. “I guess nobody ever said ‘Happy birthday’ to me
before.”

“Well, I’ll always say it to you after this, always!” Berry declared.
“If I go back to Vermont and can’t _say_ it, I’ll write it,” she
promised; and it was a promise she remembered and fulfilled after the
two little girls were separated by the long distance between Vermont
and Tennessee.

As Berry spoke she turned toward the chest of drawers and said:

“Birthdays mean presents, and here are your birthday presents from
Mother and me,” and Berry drew forth a little petticoat of soft gray
flannel, one that she had formerly worn, and the blue serge blouse and
skirt.

“Slip off your dress, Mollie, and we’ll see if they fit,” urged Berry,
laying the garments on her bed, and before Mollie had recovered from
her surprise she found herself dressed in the warm petticoat and
the pretty serge dress, and Berry was tying one of her own scarlet
neckties under the wide sailor collar of the blouse.

“There, Mollie! Look at yourself!” and Berry swung Mollie about in
front of the small mirror, where the little girl gazed admiringly at
her new appearance. Then, with a sober face, she began to untie the
strip of scarlet silk and to unfasten the blouse.

“Don’t take them off, Mollie!” exclaimed the astonished Berry. “You
are to wear them, to-day anyway.”

“Are they mine? Truly?” asked Mollie, as if unable to believe that she
could really own such beautiful apparel.

“Of course they are yours. I helped to make them, but it was Mother
who planned them,” responded Berry.

“O-ooh!” exclaimed Mollie; but before she could say anything more a
bell in the sitting-room tinkled sharply.

“School! Father is waiting!” Berry exclaimed laughingly, and putting
her arm about the blue-clad little figure she drew Mollie toward the
door.



                              CHAPTER IV

                            A CABIN PARTY


There was nothing in the Arnolds’ sitting-room that January morning
to remind Berry of a schoolroom unless it was the little brass bell
that stood on the table beside which Mr. Arnold sat. Berry was so
much in advance of Mollie in the usual school lessons that her father
realized it would be difficult to teach the two little girls at the
same time. The slate Berry had used in the village school in Vermont,
and a box of slate pencils lay on the table, and a large atlas, opened
at a good-sized map of the United States, was spread out beside it.
While Mr. Arnold intended that Berry should have a proper knowledge of
grammar and mathematics, he felt that she should understand something
of the government under which she lived; and this morning he called
the girls to look at the map of the United States, thinking it a good
plan for both the girls to learn the names and location of the various
states of the Union.

“Where’s Shiloh?” questioned Mollie, gazing wonderingly at the
brightly colored spaces on the map which Mr. Arnold pointed out as the
different states of the Union.

“Poor little Shiloh isn’t even a village, Mollie; it is only the name
of a log church on a mountain ridge in Tennessee,” he responded. But
before the year 1862 ended Shiloh was known all through the country as
the name of the place of one of the most terrific battles of the Civil
War and had become an historic spot.

“Here is Tennessee,” continued Mr. Arnold; “and this blue line is
the Tennessee River. Along here,” and with a pencil he pointed out
the course of the broad stream, “it sweeps for many miles along the
boundary line of Alabama, then turns northerly, in this great curve,
and flows past Fort Henry, and pours its waters into the Ohio River.
Right here is Pittsburg Landing.”

Both the little girls exclaimed at this familiar name; for Pittsburg
Landing was not many miles distant, and was the point where the river
steamers landed freight for Corinth, eighteen miles distant.

Before the morning lesson hours were over Mollie had learned that
Washington was the capital of the United States, where laws for the
government of the Union were made. That the terrible war between the
Southern and Northern States, with Francis Arnold in the Northern
army and Len Bragg with the Southern troops, meant that the South
wished to “secede,” to leave the Union, and form a new government. If
the Northern armies won, the negroes would be freed, and the North
and South remain a united nation. If the South conquered the North,
slavery would continue, and there would be two separate governments.

“My Pa says the South will win,” Mollie announced. “He says they beat
the Yankees at Bull Run,” she continued.

“Yes, the Southern troops are valiant fighters,” Mr. Arnold agreed;
for he never forgot that the Union had been formed by South and North
alike, and he hoped earnestly for a peace that would again unite them
in a firm and lasting friendship.

Then, while Berry was learning the rules of a lesson in algebra,
Mollie happily began her first effort in writing. The slate and
pencil seemed a wonderful thing to the little mountain girl, and she
patiently endeavored to copy the lines and letters that Mr. Arnold
traced for her.

The clock struck twelve, and Mr. Arnold again tinkled the small brass
bell, and said smilingly, “Pupils are expected to be in the schoolroom
at ten sharp to-morrow morning.” As he finished speaking the door into
the kitchen opened and Mrs. Arnold said:

“This is Mollie’s birthday dinner party, so she must lead the way to
the table.”

“O-ooh!” Mollie whispered softly to herself, a little flush creeping
over her thin face as Berry gave her a gentle push toward the kitchen,
where the round table was spread for four, and where Mollie’s chair
held the newspaper bundle containing the doll.

Mollie Bragg always remembered her eleventh birthday; and she always
treasured the cloth doll, the only one she ever owned, and which she
at once named “Mrs. Arnold.” There were broiled partridge for dinner,
that Mr. Arnold had shot in the ravine two days before; and baked
potatoes; there were spiced pears, that Mrs. Arnold had put up the
previous autumn; and crisp hot rolls and steaming chocolate, a great
luxury. And then a marvelous thing happened.

When Mollie believed that the dinner was quite over, and was again
holding “Mrs. Arnold,” and almost too happy to believe in so much good
fortune, Mrs. Arnold went to the pantry and came back bringing a round
white-frosted cake, on which stood eleven tiny pink lighted candles.

“O-o-ooh!” again murmured Mollie, as Mrs. Arnold set this wonderful
creation in front of her little guest.

“Your birthday cake, Mollie! Wish! Wish for something splendid. Then
try to blow all the candles out with one breath, like this,” and Berry
puffed out her cheeks and blew so strongly that the little flames
wavered. “If all the candle flames go out your wish will come true
before your next birthday,” Berry concluded earnestly.

Mollie promptly obeyed Berry’s directions, with such good success that
every tiny flame was extinguished.

“Goody! Goody! But you mustn’t tell your wish until next birthday,”
cautioned Berry, running around the table and carefully removing the
candles from the cake. They were the same candles that had been used
on Berry’s own cake on her eleventh birthday in October, and they
were now carefully put away. For who could tell when it would again
be possible to purchase wax candles?

Then Mrs. Arnold helped Mollie cut the cake, and at the first taste
Mollie smiled more radiantly than ever, but quickly put the piece back
on her plate.

“Don’t you like it, Mollie?” Berry asked anxiously.

“It’s beautiful!” Mollie replied soberly; “but I’m goin’ ter take it
home ter Ma. May I?” she added, a little doubtfully.

“The whole cake is yours, Mollie dear. But you must eat the first
piece yourself,” Mrs. Arnold said quickly; “you are to take the
remainder home.”

Mollie drew a long breath. “I reckon my Ma never tasted a birthday
cake,” she said soberly.

After dinner was over and Mollie had seen Mrs. Arnold put the cake
carefully into a small basket, which she told the little girl she was
to carry home, Berry and Mollie went back to the sitting-room; and
Berry brought out her own two fine dolls, which had heads of china
with black curls painted on them, and were dressed in white muslin
and wore sashes of blue silk. Berry had brought these dolls from
Vermont, and one was named Josephine Maria, for Berry’s Grandmother
Arnold, who had given the dolls to Berry, and the other was called
Maria Josephine. “Then, you see, neither one can be the favorite,”
Berry explained, as she set the dolls side by side in her father’s big
chair. “Now let’s play it’s a real party; my dolls and your doll can
be ‘real’ girls, and we’ll talk for them,” she continued.

Mollie nodded with smiling delight, and for an hour or more the two
little friends and their dolls played happily. But as the clock struck
three Mollie announced that she must start for home.

“It gets shadowy and kinder fearsome in the woods come late
afternoon,” she said, “and my Pa says that niggers are runnin’ off
every little while, and maybe are hid up in the woods; so I’d be
skeered to go home late.”

“Don’t be afraid of any poor colored man or woman who might be coming
over the ridge, Mollie,” said Mrs. Arnold gently.

“You mean niggers?” questioned the little girl; and then added
quickly, “Oh, Mrs. Arnold! I never knew how grand it would be to be
eleven years old, and have a birthday cake, and a doll, and a dress!”
And she looked from one gift to another with so radiant a face that
Mrs. Arnold felt well rewarded for her friendly efforts for her small
neighbor’s happiness. Berry had slipped on her cap and coat and was
ready to go part of the way home with Mollie. Just as they had started
Mollie suddenly turned back, and running to Mrs. Arnold she looked up
at her and said earnestly, “I been tryin’ to say ‘thank you.’ But
’tain’t enough to say, fer all you give me. ’Tain’t enuff jes’ ter
say, ‘Thank you!’”

“Indeed it is enough, dear Mollie,” responded Mrs. Arnold, leaning
down to kiss the little face now flushed with the joy of her happy
birthday.

Mrs. Arnold stood in the doorway of the cabin and watched the two
little girls until the forest shut them from view. The snow had all
vanished, the winter sun still shone warmly above the tree-tops, and
only the caws of a passing flock of crows disturbed the perfect quiet
of the scene.



                              CHAPTER V

                                 LILY


Although Mrs. Arnold had told Mollie there was no need to fear the
fugitive negroes who now and then made their way across the mountains,
hoping to find freedom from slavery in the Northern States, the
little girl’s words made Mrs. Arnold thoughtful. Supposing a fleeing
Tennessee slave appealed to her for a hiding-place, or for assistance
to escape into Kentucky, which remained loyal to the Union, while
Tennessee was a Confederate state, what could she do? Mr. and Mrs.
Arnold both realized that, even on that remote mountain ridge, the
fact that they were from the North, that their son was a soldier in
the Northern army, would naturally prejudice Southerners against them,
and if any member of the little household was discovered befriending a
fleeing negro—who in those days was regarded as a piece of property
by his master, and could be dragged back into slavery—it would place
them in a dangerous position.

She spoke of it to her husband, but Mr. Arnold saw no cause for
uneasiness.

“Of course, if any human being came to our door in need we would
have to do what we could for him. Especially if it were a black man
or woman; for they have never had a fair chance in this country, and
we are bound to help them. I do not think there are half a dozen
people beside the Braggs who know anything about us; and they are our
friends,” he concluded.

“Mr. Bragg declares he doesn’t care which side wins,” responded Mrs.
Arnold. “He says he is ‘neutral,’ and that is why he is so angry at
Len’s running away to join the Confederate army. But I don’t quite
trust Steve Bragg.”

While Mr. and Mrs. Arnold discussed the questions that were then
causing so much trouble, Berry and Mollie had reached the brook and
were saying good-bye.

Berry had carefully explained just how Mollie’s doll had been made. “I
spread out a piece of white cloth, doubled, and marked a doll out with
a piece of charcoal, and then cut it out and stitched the two pieces
together, just leaving a place open on top of the head, and then
filled her with sawdust, sewed up the open place and covered her head
with raveled yarn,” said Berry.

“P’raps I can make one!” Mollie suggested hopefully.

“Of course you could,” Berry agreed promptly.

“I’ll make a black nigger doll, so’s ‘Mrs. Arnold’ can have it for a
slave,” said Mollie.

“Oh! Mollie, you can’t! That’s what this war is about; to make white
people stop making slaves of black people; it isn’t fair!” declared
Berry, and quickly added, “Mollie, why don’t you give your doll an
easier name?”

“I don’t know any names. I loves your Ma, an’ I loves this doll; so I
calls the doll ‘Mrs. Arnold,’” Mollie responded soberly, “an’ I don’
see no harm in makin’ a nigger doll.”

“Well, Mollie, my mother’s name is Ellen; why don’t you call the doll
that?” Berry suggested.

“Oh! Yes! Ellen is lovely. ‘Mrs. Arnold,’ your name is ‘Ellen,’”
Mollie promptly informed her doll, holding it out at arm’s length that
she might better admire it.

“I’ll start back now,” said Berry. “School is going to be fine, isn’t
it, Mollie?”

Mollie vigorously nodded her shawl-covered head. “It’s grand!” she
declared; and then, coming very close to Berry, she whispered, “I’ve
got a secret! Maybe I can tell it to you to-morrow!” and before Berry
had time to question her, Mollie had taken the basket that held the
precious birthday cake and started to cross the brook, making her way
carefully from stone to stone. She did not leap from the broad stone
to the opposite bank, as Berry delighted in doing, but followed the
stepping-stones until the stream was safely crossed. Then she turned
and called to Berry, who had stood waiting to be sure that Mollie
crossed the stream in safety.

“I’m all right, Berry,” she called. “I think it’s fine to be eleven.”

“What’s the secret, Mollie?” Berry called back; but Mollie had turned
and was hurrying off toward home. Berry looked after the little figure
in the trailing shawl until it vanished in the forest path, and then
turned and ran lightly up the ridge. A cold wind crept among the
branches of the tall oaks as Berry ran; a rabbit leaped out from the
underbrush and sped along before her for a short distance, and then
vanished. Squirrels scolded noisily from the oak trees, and from the
deep woods Berry could hear the distant call of some winter-loving
bird. But the little girl hardly noticed these familiar sounds of the
forest.

“I wonder what Mollie’s secret can be?” she thought, and resolved to
start out and meet Mollie the next morning. “Then she can tell me
before lesson-time,” she decided.

Berry had just reached this conclusion when her quick eye caught the
movement of a dark object behind the underbrush that bordered the
path. “A fox, maybe!” she thought, stopping to look more closely at
the dark form. As she looked the figure raised itself from behind the
underbrush and Berry gave a startled exclamation; for it was not a fox
or any woodland animal that confronted her, but a young negro girl,
evidently more frightened than Berry, and it was Berry who spoke first.

“What are you hiding there for?” Berry demanded. “Come out in the path
where I can see you.”

There were few negroes near Shiloh, and since coming to live in the
mountain cabin the little Yankee girl had seldom encountered them. But
she knew that Tennessee was a state where negroes were considered
as the property of white masters; that negroes possessed no rights
in regard to protection from cruelty and injustice. If they were
fortunate in belonging to a kind master, and there were many such
throughout the slaveholding states, they were well treated; but if
owned by cruel, ignorant men, the negroes were abused; and it was
from such unfair treatment that they frequently endeavored to escape
by fleeing North. But, unless they could reach Canada, there was no
safety for them in the Northern States, as the law of the Union, then,
gave their masters the right to pursue them and force them to return.
To end this injustice was one of the chief reasons for the Civil War.

As Berry looked at the frightened black face that peered at her above
the underbrush she instantly realized that this was a runaway slave,
and she again called:

“Come out in the path where I can see you,” and now the negro girl
crept out from her hiding-place and stood facing Berry.

“Oh, young Massa, don’ mek me go back,” she faltered. “I’se hongry an’
col’, an’ I dunno ’zackly whar I be; but I reckons, if yo’ jes’ go on,
young Massa, I kin git off so’s I won’t be kotched,” and she fixed
her big eyes pleadingly on Berry’s face, her thin form, clad in a
ragged garment made of coarse bagging material, shivering in the cold.

“I’m a girl,” Berry announced. “You can’t hide out in the woods; it’s
too cold. You’ll freeze,” she added quickly. “And you need not be
afraid of me. I’ll help you.”

The negro girl stared at Berry as if even more frightened than before.

“Wot yo’ dressed up dis way for?” she asked.

“Never mind about me,” Berry replied, “but do as I say. If you will
come with me you can have something warm to eat and drink, anyway.
Then if you want to keep on running away you can.”

For a moment the little white girl, rosy, well clad, and unafraid,
and the gaunt, half-clothed, frightened black girl faced each other.
Then a softer expression crept over the face of the negro girl,
and she took a step toward Berry. “I’se gwine ter trus’ yo’, young
Mass—Missie,” she said softly.

Berry nodded. “Nobody shall hurt you,” she promised soberly. “And
let’s run, or Father will be coming to find me.”

But the negro girl shook her head dolefully. “I cyan’t run, young
Mass—Missie; my feetes is hurt,” and now for the first time Berry
noticed that the girl’s legs were bare, and that her feet were
protected from the rough, frozen ground only by worn pieces of cloth,
tied about with string. And at this Berry exclaimed pityingly:

“Your poor feet! Well, we’ll go easy,” and she clasped the girl’s thin
arm, and started forward.

The negro girl did not speak again until they came in sight of the
cabin, then she stopped suddenly. “Yo’ ain’ gwine ter let nobuddy sen’
me back ter Alabamy?” she asked fearfully.

Berry’s clasp on the girl’s arm tightened. “I am going to help you,
I am going to be your friend!” she promised earnestly. And the slave
girl, meeting the pitying, friendly glance of Berry’s brown eyes, was
convinced that the impossible had happened; that a runaway slave girl
had really found a friend. From that moment she had full confidence in
Berry; whatever Berry told her to do she did instantly, sure that no
harm could befall her as long as Berry was near.

“What is your name?” Berry asked, as they reached the porch.

“My name’s Lily.”

Berry pushed open the door into the kitchen, still clasping her
companion’s arm. “Mother, here is Lily!” she announced.



                              CHAPTER VI

                               SECRETS


Mrs. Arnold was busy at the kitchen table when Berry’s announcement:
“Here is Lily!” caused her to turn toward the door, and it was small
wonder that for a moment she was too surprised at the sight that
confronted her to speak. But she quickly realized what had happened,
that Berry had encountered a fugitive slave girl and brought her to
the cabin, and poor Lily’s frightened, pleading eyes, as well as her
half-clothed, trembling form, instantly appealed to Mrs. Arnold’s
sympathies.

“Come right to the fire, Lily,” she said kindly. “And, Berry, you
would better heat some milk at once.”

Mrs. Arnold did not ask any questions. She could see that the negro
girl was worn out by fatigue, hunger and cold, and promptly began to
make her comfortable, bringing a warm blanket from the little chamber
off the kitchen, where Francis had formerly slept, and wrapping
it about the girl, who, silent, and still inclined to be afraid,
sat stiffly on the wooden kitchen chair near the stove. Berry had
instantly slipped off her cap, jacket and mittens, and put on a long
gingham apron, that at once changed her appearance from that of a
slender, alert boy to a curly-headed little girl. And as the shivering
Lily watched her new friend set a small dipper filled with milk on the
stove, and hurry back to the pantry for bread which she proceeded to
toast and liberally spread with butter, Lily’s face softened and she
became sure that this wonderful little person, who had brought her to
warmth and shelter and promised to protect her, was really a girl.

Lily ate ravenously. The hot milk and buttered toast disappeared
so quickly that Berry hurried to the pantry for the remains of the
partridge, left from dinner, and for more bread, and a new supply of
milk, all of which the negro girl devoured.

“I ain’t et rael food fer days,” she whispered, looking up at Berry.
“An’ I neve’ ’spected I’d hev a chanst ter eat agin.”

While Berry was providing food for this unexpected visitor, Mrs.
Arnold had filled a big kettle with water and set it on the stove
to heat. The door into Francis’s room was open, and Mrs. Arnold
had placed a small tub there, and by the time Lily’s appetite was
satisfied the water was ready and the tub filled. Taking soap and
towels Mrs. Arnold told the negro girl to follow her, and the
surprised Lily was soon after introduced to the first hot bath of her
life. Then, clad in a warm flannel wrapper, she curled up on the cot
bed and was fast asleep when Mrs. Arnold returned to the kitchen.

Berry told her mother the story of finding the fugitive slave girl
hiding on the side of the ridge, and Mrs. Arnold listened with a grave
face. “It was so cold, Mother, and she was so shivery and frightened,
I had to bring her home. And you said that of course we must help
anyone who needed help,” Berry pleaded, half afraid, by her mother’s
serious face, that she did not approve of Berry’s having brought the
negro girl home.

“Of course, Berry dear, you did exactly right. It has begun to snow
again, and the poor creature would have perished if you had not
brought her to shelter. She looks half-starved,” and Mrs. Arnold
wondered to herself at the courage of this young slave girl who had
started out in midwinter, facing the dangers of the forest, of hunger
and cold, and of probable pursuit, capture and punishment, rather than
remain a slave.

“But you look as if you wished I hadn’t, Mother!” said Berry.

“Do I?” and Mrs. Arnold smiled at Berry’s troubled expression.
“Well, my dear, I was wondering what we can do with Lily. You know
slaveholders always try to find a runaway negro, and if Lily’s owner
comes after her and finds her here, he would have a right to take her.
That is the law, and we could not prevent her going.”

“It’s a horrid law!” Berry declared, and her mother promptly agreed.
“But, Mother, perhaps Lily’s master may not even try to find her, and
then Lily can stay here,” the little girl continued hopefully, and
Mrs. Arnold assented, saying:

“We will see what Father says when he comes in. Of course the girl
must stay here for the present.”

Mr. Arnold had gone to the little clearing further down the ridge
where stood the rough log shelter that he had built for the cow, and
when he entered the cabin Berry and her mother were eager to tell him
of Berry’s encounter with the negro girl, and that Berry had promised
to befriend her, and had brought her home; and greatly to Berry’s
delight, and to the relief of Mrs. Arnold, he did not appear to be
greatly troubled by Lily’s presence in the cabin.

“We’ll find out more about her, when the girl is well rested. Very
likely her owner won’t bother to look for her,” he said; “but I don’t
know what we can do with her,” he added.

“Oh, Father! There are lots of things Lily could do,” Berry assured
him eagerly, quite as if she had known the negro girl all her life,
and Mr. and Mrs. Arnold smiled at their little daughter’s evident
adoption of the fleeing Lily.

The wind, thrashing among the branches of the forest trees, and the
cold rain that had followed the fall of snow, made the blazing fire
in the Arnolds’ sitting-room seem even more pleasant than usual that
evening, as Berry drew her small rocking-chair near the hearth.
Berry’s thoughts were occupied with Lily: she was sure that Lily must
have had wonderful adventures, and looked forward to hearing them. She
had entirely forgotten Mollie’s “secret,” and was earnestly planning
how Lily could be provided with clothing. While Berry’s thoughts were
filled by this new adventure that had befallen her, Mr. and Mrs.
Arnold were talking of the Union armies, and of the troops under
General Ulysses S. Grant, a quiet, unostentatious officer, whose name
was to be linked with the mightiest achievements of the Civil War.

“Grant’s soldiers are now on their first campaign, untrained and
unused to war. But most of them are from the West, hardy and brave,
and if Grant moves against Forts Henry and Donelson it will open the
Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, and carry forward the Union front of
war two hundred miles,—for General Grant would have Foote’s fleet of
iron-clads on the river to make victory sure,” declared Mr. Arnold.

“If the Tennessee is once opened there will be conflicts near
Pittsburg Landing, at Corinth—perhaps even nearer to us than that,”
responded Mrs. Arnold anxiously.

Mr. Arnold acknowledged that might be possible. “But, even so, we
could not be in a safer place than in this mountain ravine. An army
might march by on the Corinth road, or arrive at Pittsburg Landing,
without troubling us. I am much more anxious about Berry’s adventures
with these wanderers along the trails than I am about armies and
battles coming to Shiloh,” he said, and at the sound of her own name
Berry jumped up and ran to the big settle where her mother and father
were sitting.

“What army, Father?” she asked.

“General Grant’s army of West Tennessee, and the Confederate army of
Commander-in-Chief Albert S. Johnston,” replied her father. “Are you
going to meet strange woodsmen or fleeing negroes every time you leave
the house?” he added, smiling down at Berry’s serious face.

“I wish spring would come! I’m tired of winter,” said Berry.

“It won’t be long now,” her mother declared. “If the weather turns
warm after this storm the catkins will begin to show on the alder
bushes, the wild geese will come flying over, and spring will be close
at hand. But it’s bedtime, Berry, dear, so say good-night and be off.”

“May I peek in and see if Lily is asleep?” asked Berry, and at her
mother’s smiling nod the little girl ran to open the door into the
little room where the negro girl slept in safety.

The Arnolds had finished breakfast the next morning before there
was any sound in the adjoining chamber. Mrs. Arnold had selected
some part-worn garments for the negro girl, and in a little while
Lily appeared in the kitchen, a very different Lily from the ragged,
frightened Lily that Berry had brought home. She was eager to help in
the work of the cabin, and before the hour for lessons arrived Mrs.
Arnold realized that Lily had been well trained as a house servant.

“Do not ask Lily any questions, Berry,” her mother cautioned. “Wait
until she is ready to tell us her story,” and Berry, a little
reluctantly, agreed, for she was eager to hear of Lily’s journey, and
of her escape from slavery.

At ten o’clock the little bell tinkled warningly, and Berry hastened
to the sitting-room.

“Mollie has not come,” she announced.

“We will have to plan extra studies for pupils who are late or
absent,” said Mr. Arnold.

“Oh, Father! You said that just like a real teacher,” said Berry. “Are
we not going to wait for Mollie?”

“No, indeed! You and I will read a while,” replied Mr. Arnold, opening
a book on the table.

Berry looked at him questioningly. “But reading isn’t lessons, Father!
It’s just fun,” she said, a little note of reproach in her voice.

“Listen to this, and then, when I finish, repeat as much of it as you
can remember,” responded Mr. Arnold smilingly.

      “‘Pansies, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
        Let them live upon their praises;
        Long as there’s a sun that sets,
        Primroses will have their glory;
        Long as there are violets,
        They will have a place in story.
        There’s a flower that shall be mine,
        ’Tis the modest celandine.’”

“Father! That’s not a lesson. I can say it all,” declared Berry, and
indeed she could, so well had her memory been trained in this very
way, repeat Wordsworth’s beautiful lines without a mistake. The lesson
in algebra followed, and the morning hours of study ended without
Mollie appearing.

“Probably she doesn’t want to come,” said Mr. Arnold.

But Berry and her mother were sure that was not the reason that kept
Mollie away.

“May I go down and find out why she did not come?” asked Berry, as she
sat down at the dinner table.

“No, I’m not willing for you to go down the trail to-day,” said Mrs.
Arnold quickly. “Perhaps Mollie will appear this afternoon.”

“Perhaps she will,” agreed Berry hopefully; “and I guess she will be
surprised to see Lily,” and she smiled at the silent Lily, who stood
in one corner of the kitchen with her eyes fixed wonderingly upon her
new friends.



                             CHAPTER VII

                              A SURPRISE


When the third day passed without Mollie appearing at the Arnolds’
cabin Mrs. Arnold gave Berry permission to go and find out the reason.
There were not to be any lessons that morning, as Mr. Arnold had not
been well for several days, and it was Lily who cared for the cow,
brought the milk to the cabin, the wood from the shed, and did all the
chores that Berry’s father usually did about the cabin.

“Isn’t it lucky I found Lily?” Berry asked soberly, as she made ready
for her tramp over the ridge to the Braggs’ cabin.

“Lily is a great help,” Mrs. Arnold replied, but she did not tell
Berry that the fact of having the fugitive slave girl in the house
might prove a great danger to the Yankee household on the Tennessee
mountain ridge.

“Do not say a word about Lily to Mollie or to Mr. and Mrs. Bragg,”
Mrs. Arnold added, and Berry promised, thinking that whatever
Mollie’s secret was it could not be more wonderful than the discovery
of Lily.

“It’s like spring,” thought Berry as she strode along the leaf-covered
path. “I smell it in the air.” For it was one of the days of late
January when, among the ravines and valleys of the Tennessee
mountains, spring seems close at hand. The sun shone warmly down, and
wrens, nuthatches and cardinals flitted about the forest. “It won’t
be long before the sap begins to run and we can make maple-sugar,”
thought Berry. For there was a grove of sugar maples not two miles
distant from the cabin, and Berry recalled the previous spring when
she and her father had tapped the trees, boiled down the sap and
made maple-sugar. “And that’s what we’ll do this year,” she decided
happily, as she left the path for a moment to watch a scurrying
partridge as it fluttered over the rough ground.

Berry had not gone far from home, however, before she was sure that
she was being followed; that someone, keeping well out of sight behind
trees and underbrush, was not far behind her; and she wondered if it
might not be the man who, only a week earlier, had spoken to her at
the brook crossing, and mistaken her for a boy; and at this thought
Berry’s hand sought the silver whistle.

“But the whistle wouldn’t help to-day; Father is too ill to come,” she
thought; “but it might frighten anyone who was hiding,” she decided.
But Berry did not use the whistle. She was a fleet runner, and off
she went at her best pace, sure that she could outrun any would-be
pursuer. Nevertheless, by the breaking of twigs and the crashing
noises in the undergrowth, the little girl knew that her unseen
pursuer still kept her in view; and not until she reached the highway,
along which she must go for a short distance before reaching the rough
lane leading to the Braggs’ cabin, did she believe that she was at
last out of reach of her pursuer.

“I’ll ask Mr. Bragg to go home with me,” Berry resolved as she hurried
up the lane, for she recalled the stranger’s threats if she told of
having seen him, and did not wish to encounter him again.

As Berry came in sight of Mollie’s home she noticed that there was no
thread of smoke rising from the chimney of the cabin; it had a lonely
and deserted look, but Berry did not stop to think of this. She was
sure that in a moment the door would open wide, and Mollie, smiling
with pleasure at the sight of her friend, would give her a warm
welcome.

Berry rapped on the door, and then gave it a little push. But the
door did not open, there was no response to her knock, and Berry now
noticed that the cabin windows on each side of the door were evidently
boarded up on the inside.

“They’ve gone away! And Mollie did not tell me!” she exclaimed aloud,
with a sense of angry resentment against poor Mollie.

“That was her old secret! All the time I was making her doll, and
her dress, and when she was pretending to want to come to school she
knew she was going off,” thought Berry, tears of angry resentment and
disappointment coming to her eyes.

It was to be many weeks before Berry was to hear the true story of the
Braggs’ sudden disappearance, and learn that poor little Mollie had
not been given time to tell her great secret, or to say good-bye to
the friends who had given her such a happy birthday.

For a few moments Berry stood on the worn stone that formed the
threshold to the dilapidated cabin, wondering where the Braggs had
gone, and if they meant to return. The boarded windows made her feel
sure that they had no intention of coming back, and, with a mournful
sigh, Berry at last turned from the cabin and started on her tramp
back through the forest.

Her thoughts were so filled by Mollie’s disappearance that she had
entirely forgotten the possibility of again encountering the man who
had called her “Berry Nees,” and not until she had left the main road
and chanced to see a crouching figure lurking behind an old stump near
the path did she realize that whoever it was that had followed her
from home was still watching her every step.

Almost without thinking Berry drew the silver whistle from her pocket
and its sharp call sounded clearly through the silence of the woodland
path, and came echoing back as if repeated by a dozen whistles, and
instantly the crouching figure sprang upright and leaped toward the
little girl, exclaiming:

“Don’, Missie! Fer de lawd sakes, don’ blow no whissel!” and Berry
found herself clasped tightly by the thin arms of Lily, who whispered
fearfully:

“Yo’ don’ know w’at a whissel might fotch, Missie. ’Deed yo’ don’!”
and her big, frightened eyes stared at Berry as if they were both
facing some great peril.

Berry pulled herself angrily away from the girl’s clutching fingers.

“Was it you who followed me all the way from home?” she demanded.

“Yas, Missie,” came the faltering response.

“And you were hiding behind that stump to follow me home, I suppose?”
she continued.

“Yas, Missie,” replied Lily in a whisper.

Berry was now feeling herself a much abused person. To have Mollie,
her only friend and playmate, disappear without a word of explanation
or good-bye had been a bitter experience; to have felt herself pursued
all along the forest trail by a possible enemy, and now to discover
that she had been needlessly afraid because of this stupid negro girl,
made her angry and resentful. Berry did not stop to ask why Lily had
followed her, or to remember that the girl was still afraid of every
sound, and felt herself safe only when near to the little girl who had
befriended her, and angry words rushed to her lips.

“Don’t you dare follow me another step! I don’t want to see you
again, ever!” she declared, and without another glance at the cowering
figure, Berry hurried on up the trail. She no longer noticed the calls
of the forest birds, or the sunshine that sent flickering shadows
across the woodland path. Mollie was gone, she was sure she would
never see her again, and that stupid negro girl had made her run all
that distance down the ridge as if pursued by a mountain lion, she
thought resentfully.

“I wish Francis was home,” she half sobbed, as she drew near the
cabin. “Everything was all right when he was here. I hate war!” For
Berry realized that it was the war that had taken her brother from
home to unknown perils and to certain danger, and left her alone with
her mother and father in the cabin, remote from friends.

She ran into the kitchen and, almost ready to cry, exclaimed:

“Mother! Mother! Mollie’s gone! The Braggs are all gone, and the cabin
fastened up! And Mollie never let us know!”

“Perhaps Mollie did not have a chance, my dear,” said Mrs. Arnold
quietly. “I am sure she would have told us if she could. But the
Braggs are not the only ones who have disappeared. Lily has run
away from us. She disappeared just after you left the cabin. I don’t
understand her going, for she seemed to think herself safe with us.”

Berry stood silent for a moment, and then said slowly, “Lily will come
back. Of course she will.”

“I hope she will; she was a great help; if your father has to stay
indoors for a time I do not know how we will manage without her help,”
rejoined Mrs. Arnold.

Berry stepped back to the porch and looked anxiously down the path,
but there was no sign of Lily.

“Come in, dear; it is no use to look for her. Something must have
frightened her, and so she has started off, or else she is dishonest
and ungrateful,” said Mrs. Arnold.

When Berry told her father of the disappearance of the entire Bragg
family, he declared that he was not surprised.

“Very likely Steve Bragg has heard that Commodore Foote’s gunboats are
ready to come up the Tennessee, and that General Grant is preparing
to advance upon the river forts, or that the Confederate forces may
move toward Corinth. For Bragg is as much afraid of one army as of
the other, and he has probably taken his family to some place farther
from the river, and from the road to Corinth,” he said, adding, “Poor
little Mollie; her one day at school is likely to be her last.”

“Perhaps they will come back?” Berry suggested, wishing she had not
been so quick to blame Mollie for what it was plainly evident the
little girl could not help.

“I do not think so,” said Mr. Arnold; “but what do you suppose has
become of your black Lily?” and her father’s eyes rested questioningly
on the sober face of his little daughter. Berry made no reply. She was
beginning to be ashamed of her anger toward Lily, and to be sorry for
her hasty words.



                             CHAPTER VIII

                             LILY’S STORY


Mr. Arnold had been right in thinking that Steve Bragg had removed
to a location that he believed safer than the neighborhood of the
Tennessee River in the late winter of 1862, and it was a long time
before the Arnolds had any news of their former neighbors. But in her
anxiety about Lily, Berry forgot, for the moment, that her playmate
Mollie would not be on hand for their walks and games, and that
henceforth she would be the only little girl on Shiloh Ridge.

Noonday passed, and the winter afternoon drew to a close, and Berry
now became sure that they would never see Lily again. She thought
of the friendless negro girl again wandering about without food or
shelter, and trembling at every noise, and earnestly wished she had
not driven her away.

Just at nightfall the outer door was cautiously pushed open, and Lily,
her arms filled with wood, appeared on the threshold. Without a word,
or a look toward the astonished Mrs. Arnold and the surprised Berry,
she quietly filled the wood-box, and taking the milking-pail from its
accustomed place started toward the door. Before she could reach it
Berry called “Lily!” and started toward her.

“I knows yo’ don’ wan’ me h’ar, Missie, an’ soon’s I do de chores
fer yo’ Ma I’ll get my ole dress an’ go,” the girl said humbly, not
raising her eyes to look at the little girl who had promised to be her
friend, and who had then ordered her never to return to the cabin.

“Berry does not want you to go, Lily. Whatever made you think that?”
questioned Mrs. Arnold. “We have all been troubled and anxious about
you.”

At the sound of Mrs. Arnold’s friendly voice Lily looked up, and her
eyes sought Berry’s questioningly.

“Don’t go away, Lily,” exclaimed the little girl. “I don’t want you to
go.”

A broad smile crept over Lily’s face as she glanced from Berry to Mrs.
Arnold. “Den I ain’ ever gwine away,” she declared, and started off
with the milk pail toward the barn.

“Lily seemed to think you did not want her here. Poor girl. I wonder
what will become of her,” said Mrs. Arnold thoughtfully.

“Oh, Mother! You talk as if you did not mean for her to stay here!”
Berry reproachfully responded. “And I told her to go and never come
back!” she added quickly; and then Berry told the story of Lily
following her to the highway.

“She kept out of sight all the way, Mother. But so near that I could
hear her in the underbrush. And then, after I found the Braggs
were gone, and started for home, and heard someone ready to follow
me again, and found it was Lily,—and she acted so foolish and
frightened, I told her I never wanted to see her again.”

Mrs. Arnold busied herself with some work at the kitchen table, and
for a moment made no response. It was Berry who was the first to speak.

“Of course I did not mean it, Mother. I want her to stay. I was only
angry.”

“I expect Lily is used to people being angry with her; perhaps that is
why she ran away. It may be the reason that she would rather suffer
cold and hunger, and flee in terror from every noise, rather than live
with people who were easily angered,” Mrs. Arnold responded quietly;
“angry people are usually cruel people,” she added, and before Berry
could speak her mother continued: “The only reason that troubles me
in regard to Lily staying with us is that your father and I might be
accused of sheltering a runaway slave, and if she is found in our
house it might involve us in serious trouble. You know, Berry, this is
a slaveholding state.”

“But no one knows she is here. And if anyone comes they will think
Lily belongs to us,” Berry responded eagerly. “And, Mother!” she added
soberly, “I did not mean to be angry. I just couldn’t help it.”

Mrs. Arnold shook her head. “That’s what everyone thinks, my dear. But
even if you were angry it was no excuse. Lily followed you because
she loved you: if any accident had befallen you on the way Lily would
have been close at hand to help or protect you. I am sure that was her
reason for following you. You see, Berry, you were the first one to
help Lily, and she trusted you.”

“Oh, dear!” sniffed Berry, ready to cry as she remembered that Lily
had not tasted food since early morning, and had believed herself
deserted by her new friend.

“And she came back to do your chores,” she whimpered. “I’ll make it up
to her, so she will know I didn’t mean it,” the little girl declared,
and when Lily brought in the milk it was Berry who ran to meet her and
declared:

“Oh, Lily! We couldn’t manage without you,” smiling up at the
wistful-eyed negro girl, who beamed with happiness at the unexpected
kindness.

“I jes’ follered yo’, Missie, ’cos I was feared fer yo’,” she
whispered. “I didn’ mean no harm!”

Berry nodded. She did not want Lily to see her cry, and so she ran off
to the sitting-room to tell her father the good news of Lily’s return.

As the days passed and no one appeared in pursuit of a runaway negro
girl, the little household in the hillside cabin became sure that, at
least for a time, Lily was safe, and Mrs. Arnold came to feel that
Berry might be right in thinking that chance visitors to the cabin
would believe Lily belonged there, and, as a week went by before Mr.
Arnold could venture very far from the cabin, Lily became Berry’s
companion when the little girl journeyed down to the mail-box on the
Corinth road, and in her walks along the mountain paths. And as the
two girls wandered about together Lily told her new friend something
of her pitiful story.

“I reckons I had a mammy sometime, but I don’ ’member her. I was
raised in Alabamy, Missie; an’ ev’buddy wus allers a-givin’ me a hit.
Dey wus, show as yo’ lib! ’Twan’t de Massa and Missus, fer dey nebber
seem ter see me; ’twere de niggers in de house dat batted me ’bout,
an’ I jes’ made up ter run off. I hern de Yankee army wus a-comin’
right soon ter set all de slaves free. Am dat a fac’, Missie?” and
the negro girl fixed her solemn eyes questioningly on the face of her
little mistress.

Berry nodded. “My father says slavery must end,” she declared solemnly.

“I’se glad! I hopes ebery one ob dem high-handed niggers dat batted
me ’bout’ll be set free an’ hab ter look arter theirselves. Dat’s wot
I hopes. Wid no massa or missus ter feed an’ tak’ keer ob ’em!” said
Lily, with a delighted chuckle, as if she felt that her wrongs would
be punished by the freedom of her fellow-servants.

Berry looked at her in astonishment. “Didn’t you run away to be free,
Lily?” she asked.

“Yas, Missie, course I did. Dose niggers ’bused me. I had ter run off
ter get clear ob ’em.”

“Then you didn’t run away from a cruel master and mistress?” continued
Berry, wonderingly.

Lily shook her head. “I don’ know much ’bout ole Massa; he go off
las’ year ter help Massa Jeff’son Davis win de war, and Missus she
jes’ went long wid him. I ain’ nuffin ’gainst _dem_,” Lily declared
soberly. “’Twas dem stuck-up niggers dat batted me all de time, dat
I runs off frum; an’ I jes’ hopes dey is gwine ter be set free,” and
Lily again chuckled, as if comforted by the possibility that her
fellow-servants would soon be obliged to look after themselves.

As soon as they reached home Berry repeated the story of Lily’s escape
from the Alabama plantation. “She hid in swamps, and crept into barns
to sleep, and ate corn, and frozen apples, and eggs. And it wasn’t her
master she ran away from!” said Berry, and then told her mother what
Lily had said.

“Then we can feel safe about her not being followed, or a reward
offered for news of her!” said Mrs. Arnold with evident relief. “Very
likely her master does not even know that she has run away.” And the
little household was no longer troubled by anxious fears lest their
kindness to the wandering slave girl might involve them in trouble,
and Mrs. Arnold felt that Berry was much safer in her wanderings about
the ravine with Lily for her companion.

And Berry soon discovered that the slave girl knew many interesting
things about the little creatures of the forest. It was Lily who
discovered the partridge eggs behind a fallen log not far from the
cabin and cautioned Berry not to go near them or the partridge might
desert the eggs. “Jes’ keep ’way from dar, Missie, an’ fus’ t’ing
dar’ll be a flock of little partridges,” she said. And it was Lily who
heard the first call of the wild geese flying north, one morning in
early February. It was Lily who tamed the two tiny woodland mice that
peered out from under an old stump one sunny morning when Berry and
Lily were resting near by. The negro girl cautioned Berry to be quiet,
and attracted the tiny creatures with little calls until they stopped
and fixed their bright eyes upon her, and even ventured near enough to
eat bits of bread from the girls’ luncheon. For several days Berry and
Lily made daily trips to the old log with food for their new friends,
whom they named “Dot” and “Dash,” and the mice apparently were always
on the watch for them.

When Mr. Arnold was again able to take his usual walks there were
many hints of spring along the slopes of the ravine, and on one of
his visits to the highway a traveler told him that the forts on the
Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers had been captured on February 16
by General Grant, assisted by the fleet of gunboats commanded by
Commodore Foote. Fort Donelson had been taken, and General Buell was
preparing to advance against the Confederate army at Nashville.

This was a great success for Northern forces, and the Arnolds
earnestly hoped might help to bring the war to an end. But Mr. Arnold
realized that it must bring the troops of both the Confederate and the
Union armies further south, and who could tell how near the little
mountain cabin might stand to some future battlefield? But he did
not mention this anxiety to Berry, but cautioned her not to go to the
road leading to Corinth. And Berry was now counting the days when the
sugar-maples could be tapped, and sugar-making begin, when another
adventure befell her that might well have proven a dangerous one had
it not been for Lily’s courage and faithfulness.



                              CHAPTER IX

                           THE WITCH’S TREE


“Mother! Can’t Lily wear those old clothes of Francis’s?” Berry asked
one March day, when Lily had returned from a scramble up the ridge,
with the old dress of Mrs. Arnold’s, that she had worn since coming to
the cabin, so badly torn by the thorns and underbrush that it was no
longer fit to wear.

“She can’t climb trees, or run as fast as I do, or anything in that
long skirt,” complained Berry, and added quickly, “And she would like
to wear things like mine.”

“Yas’m!” Lily agreed hopefully, looking admiringly at her little
mistress.

“Why did I not think of it before!” exclaimed Mrs. Arnold, who had
been puzzled to know how to obtain clothing for the negro girl. With
Northern armies advancing into Tennessee, and with General Johnston
at the head of the Southern forces at Nashville, the family in the
mountain cabin would have no opportunity to procure clothing. Mrs.
Arnold realized that it might be months before it would be safe to
venture to any of the neighboring towns, and that they must take every
possible care of their supplies; therefore Berry’s suggestion that
Lily should wear the outgrown garments of Francis seemed to solve a
difficult problem, and Mrs. Arnold, closely followed by Berry and
Lily, hastened to open the old trunk in the small chamber where Lily
slept, where Francis’s part-worn clothing was packed.

“Here are some very good shoes,” said Mrs. Arnold, as she took out
a pair of stout leather shoes. “Try them on, Lily.” The negro girl
promptly obeyed, and they proved a fairly good fit.

Then Mrs. Arnold drew forth the brown corduroy knickerbockers, and the
patched flannel blouse which her boy, who was now so far away with the
Army of the Potomac in Virginia, had worn in the early days of their
stay in the mountain cabin.

Lily was soon dressed in these comfortable garments, and Berry jumped
about in delight as she exclaimed: “Now, Lily, we’ll see who can run
the faster, and if I win you can’t say it is because you wear long
skirts.”

“Dat’s de truf, Missie Berry. But I reckons yo’ll win anyways,”
responded Lily, her solemn eyes fixed admiringly on Berry.

That afternoon Berry raked the leaves from her garden bed, and began
to make plans for the border of wild flowers that she would transplant
from the slopes of the ravine, or from sheltered places in the wood.
On the previous day she and Lily had discovered the butterwort in
bloom near the wide brook, where she had encountered the threatening
stranger, its pale yellow flowers nodding from their slender stems
above its flat rosette of curious leaves. It was one of the earliest
blooms of the year in that part of Tennessee, and Berry was eager to
bring home enough of the plants to brighten her garden border, as she
knew the butterwort would continue to blossom through March; and early
in the afternoon, with Lily as her companion, she started off toward
the brook. Lily carried the large basket in which they planned to
bring the plants home.

There were many hints that spring was close at hand. Robins and
cardinals flitted about among the tree-tops, squirrels scolded
and chattered, and little wood-mice now and then scampered out
from shelter. As the girls came out from the forest Berry stopped
suddenly and looked about in delight. “The red-bud is in blossom!”
she exclaimed, for the tall, slender “Judas-Trees” growing along
the borders of the forest, and standing in small clumps in the open
clearing, had put forth their crimson buds and blossoms, brightening
the leafless branches, and making the woods glow with color.

“I knows dat tree; it’s de witch tree!” Lily declared solemnly. “Dat
tree grow all ’bout in Alabamy. An’ all de niggers uster tell dat,
’long ’bout midnight, witches comes ter dese trees an’ meets up wid
one anudder, an’ makes der plans!” and Lily shook her head, as if
feeling it was hardly safe to speak of such dangerous subjects.

“Do you really believe it is a witch’s tree?” asked Berry.

“It shu’ be, Missie. Dat’s de reason it bust out, widout a leaf
a-showin’, in Feb’ry! Sum ob dose Alabamy niggers knows a sight ob
t’ings ‘bout witches. Ole mammy, what uster bang me right smart all
de time I wus a-growin’ up, she uster say dat if yo’ could only be
near one ob dese meetin’s ob witches at dese trees yo’d h’ar strange
t’ings!” replied Lily, rolling her eyes solemnly. “It’s ’long ’bout
dis time ob de year, w’en de blossoms show dat dey meets up an’ makes
der plans,” she added.

“I wish I could see them,” said Berry thoughtfully; “and, if they were
good witches, perhaps they would tell me where Mollie Bragg is, and
when she is coming home.”

“Dar ain’ no sich thing as a ‘good’ witch, Missie!” said Lily. “I
reckons dey might tell yo’ w’ot yo’ wants ter know if yo’ wus ter mak’
’em promises,” she added thoughtfully.

Berry was now eager to know all that Lily could tell her, and,
forgetting all about the butterwort, the two girls seated themselves
on a moss-covered log near the “red-bud” trees, and Lily began the
story she had so often heard on the Alabama plantation, of the proper
way to secure the friendly assistance of a witch.

“’Course, Missie, yo’ knows jes’ w’ot a witch is. Dey’s a kind ob
black woman, wid wings. An’ sometimes dey ain’ no bigger dan a spider,
an’ ag’in, dey’s big as a house! I knows all ’bout ’em!” declared
Lily. “I wus bro’t up ’mongst niggers w’ot had seen ’em! Yas, ’deed
dey did!” and Lily nodded her woolly head so solemnly that Berry was
convinced that her companion could tell her exactly the right manner
to win the friendship of these powerful creatures who met at midnight
beneath the blossoming Judas-tree.

“Yo’ has ter take a sight ob trubble, Missie, ter meet up wid a witch,
an’ I dunno as I orter tell yo’,” and Lily cast a troubled glance at
her young mistress.

“Of course you must tell me, Lily!” Berry insisted eagerly. “Just
telling me what people do to get a promise from a witch can’t do me
any harm. And sometime it might be a great help,” she urged.

“Dat’s so, Missie,” Lily agreed thoughtfully, and, with a cautious
look toward the flaming red-buds, as if even in daylight some careless
witch might forget herself and appear at the chosen meeting-place of
her kind, the negro girl drew a long breath and, leaning nearer to
Berry, began, in almost a whisper, to tell the proper way to gain the
favor of witches.

“Fus’ t’ing ter do, Missie, is ter chuse de right time o’ de moon. If
dar be a moon showin’ clar at midnight ’tain’ no use! De berry bes’
time am de dark ob de moon. An’ yo’ mus’ be mighty near de tree, so’s
if de witches be de small kind yo’ kin see ’em. But yo’ mus’n’ let ’em
see yo’! ’Deed yo’ mus’n’, Missie!”

Berry nodded solemnly, and leaned a little nearer to her companion.

“_An’_ yo’ mus’ fetch t’ings de witches likes. Dey is special fond ob
fine honey,” continued Lily. “Fac’ is, dey likes sweet t’ings mighty
well. Dat ole mammy I tells yo’ ’bout, who banged me ’bout so, she
uster mak’ ’er fine cake long ’bout time de witch-tree blossom, an’
put it near de trees com’ dark, and dey witches allers kerry it off
’fore mornin’; dey shu did. I kinder ’magines dat ole mammy wus a
relation to dem witches,” said Lily thoughtfully.

“And what else, Lily? What else?” demanded Berry eagerly.

“Wal, Missie, I reckon dat am ’bout all: ter put de sweet t’ings
near de tree, an’ ter hide up clost so’s dey won’ see yo’, an’ den,
w’en de hour of midnight come, an’ dar ain’ no moon ter be seen, and
eberyt’ing am all black, den w’en de witches, each one ob dem carryin’
a lille shinin’ light on der heads, w’en dey begins to gather ’roun’
de tree, den speak sof’ an’ remin’s ’em ob de t’ings yo’ set out
fer ’em, an’ ask ’em w’ot yo’ wants ter know,” replied Lily, adding
quickly, “’Course dey mek yo’ promise ter do w’otever dey wants yo’
ter promise, an’ I’se heard tell dat if yo’ don’ promise quick dey
binds yo’ up ter de tree an’ leabs yo’.”

Berry drew a long breath as Lily finished. The little girl was quite
ready to believe that this negro girl really was sure in regard to the
witches and their power.

“If I can find out about Mollie, and perhaps send her a message,
it will be splendid,” thought Berry; and then made the decision to
try and win the favor of the witches who made the Judas-tree their
meeting-place. But she said nothing to Lily of this resolve, and,
as the negro girl took up the basket and they made their way to the
borders of the stream where the butterwort was in blossom, neither
of the girls even imagined that, close to the log where they sat, a
man had been hiding behind the underbrush; a tall man, whose face was
nearly covered by a brown beard; he wore a round, close-fitting cap of
coonskin, a leather jacket, stout corduroy breeches, and high boots. A
hunter’s belt held a revolver and a hunting-knife, and if Berry could
have had even a glimpse of this skulking figure she would have at once
recognized him as the threatening stranger whom she had encountered
near this very spot nearly two months earlier.

The man chuckled to himself as he watched the girls go down the little
slope to the stream. “Berry has a nigger boy with him nowadays, eh!”
he reflected. “That witch-story may be a help later on, for that white
boy means to find out more about witches. Well, I’ll send him over the
road to Corinth at a good pace, or know why, when the time comes,”
he concluded, and slunk away in the forest. The man was a spy in the
employ of the Confederate army, and was now traveling back along
their line of defense, carrying messages from General Breckinridge,
commander of the Confederate reserves, who, only a little more than a
year earlier, had been Vice-President of the United States, to General
Beauregard, whose plan to concentrate the Confederate army of the
Mississippi at Corinth was to bring about one of the greatest battles
of the Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh.

The name of this man was Orson. He realized that the time was
close at hand when a swift-footed messenger might be of the utmost
importance, and in “Berry Nees,” he believed he had discovered such
a messenger. Orson was still sure Berry was a lad from some remote
cabin, and meant very soon to make Berry prove the boast of being a
fleet runner.



                              CHAPTER X

                           BERRY IN DANGER


Lily was interested in all the tiny wild creatures who lived along the
mountain slopes, or made their homes near the creeks. She had queer
names for many of these, calling the foxes “Sly-foot,” and telling
Berry many stories of the cleverness of Reynard. “Some darkies knows
jes’ how ter talk ter de wil’ animiles. Dey shure does, Missie Berry.
Dey knows w’ot ter say ter de fox. Dat same ole mammy w’ot tell me
’bout de witch tree she know how ter talk ter a fox or a sheep, or to
de hawks dat hover ’roun’. She say to Sly-foot: ‘Be yo’ a good fox,
or be yo’ snoopin’ ’roun’ after chickens?’ an’ she know by de way de
fox look dat he unnerstood. Mebbe de fox talk back, I dunno ’bout
dat,” Lily would conclude soberly; and as the two girls wandered about
the mountain trails Lily’s keen eyes were always searching path and
thicket for a sight of some well-concealed nest or the hiding-place
of tiny woodland creatures. Of each one of these she would have some
story to tell, either of the way the birds built their nests, or of
how weasels would spring from unseen coverts upon rabbits or squirrels.

Lily had made a rough bag of a piece of cloth that she had begged from
Mrs. Arnold, and Berry noticed that the negro girl was always on the
alert to discover and secure any feather that might drift across their
path, or that had lodged on some wayside bush. Lily had fastened this
bag to her belt, and not a day passed that some downy feather was not
secured and safely put away. Sometimes she would be fortunate enough
to discover a tiny red feather of the scarlet tanager, or perhaps a
blue-edged quill from the blue jay, and on these fortunate occasions
she would rejoice triumphantly. “Dat shure am fine!” she would exclaim
with chuckles of delight.

“What do you want with all those feathers, Lily?” Berry would ask, but
Lily would only nod and say:

“Jes’ yo’ wait, Missie Berry. Some day yo’s gwine ter be s’prised!”
and after a while Berry ceased to question her, believing that the
gathering of these tiny feathers was only another of Lily’s peculiar
ways.

Beside securing birds’ feathers Lily was always searching for the
strong, pliant grasses that grew near the creeks. She would cut these
grasses close to the ground with the greatest care, and tie them
together. One day as the two girls climbed the slope toward Shiloh
church Lily suddenly exclaimed:

“Dar! I b’en a-lookin’ fer cedar, and har it be,” and she left the
trail and began to tug at the small trailing roots of a cedar tree.
With the small knife that Lily always carried she cut and dug up
portions of these roots, and then scraped off the soft bark, nodding
and smiling her satisfaction. Berry’s mind was entirely filled with
possible plans for visiting the blossoming red-bud trees at midnight,
and with securing the necessary gifts by which the witches were to be
made friendly and willing to answer her questions in regard to Mollie
Bragg. A fine cake was not an easy thing to secure. The Arnolds’ store
of sugar was now very small, and Berry remembered that, in order to
make the birthday cake for Mollie, her mother had said they must
henceforth be careful in their use of sugar. Beside that, Berry could
not offer a good reason in asking her mother to make a cake.

There was, however, no lack of honey in the mountain cabin, for,
in the early autumn, Mr. Arnold had the good fortune to discover a
“honey-tree,” a partly hollow tree where wild bees had stored up
honey, and Berry remembered with satisfaction that her mother had
declared it to be of the finest quality. The little girl knew she
could easily secure enough of this store of honey to satisfy any
witch. But Lily had declared that witches were not easily influenced
to friendly deeds, and Berry felt that the cake must in some way be
obtained, and as soon as possible; for, with the approach of spring,
Berry missed Mollie more and more, and was eager to try any plan by
which she might get news of her absent playmate.

At the beginning of March, the week after Berry first heard of the
possibility of securing the good-will of midnight witches, Mr. Arnold
received news that General Buell, in command of Union forces in East
Tennessee, had captured Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, and that
General Johnston and the Confederate troops had moved southward to
Murfreesboro. Thus, while the Confederates had won all the earlier
battles of the conflict along the eastern line of defense, the
capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and the taking of Nashville
had restored the confidence of the North, and created vague terrors in
the South.

Berry heard her father and mother discuss these happenings, and her
father even declared that if General Johnston, with his army of 20,000
men, should join General Beauregard at Corinth, there would be 50,000
Confederate troops ready to meet General Grant’s army if he moved
against such a stronghold.

“Where would Grant’s army come from?” Berry asked eagerly. “Would it
march up the road from Pittsburg Landing? Oh! I could see it march
from the big oak tree that hangs over the ravine!” she exclaimed
eagerly.

“Very likely Grant’s soldiers may be landed at Pittsburg and march
over the ravine road,” Mr. Arnold responded thoughtfully; “but, if
they do, we may not know anything about it. Armies do not advertise
the time of their arrival, my dear. And, for my part, I hope General
Grant will choose another approach to Corinth. But you must promise
me, Berry, not to go near the ravine road. Even now the Confederates
may be on guard at Pittsburg Landing, and we must all do our best to
keep near the cabin until we really know what Grant will do.”

Berry promised, a little reluctantly. Pittsburg Landing was so far
from the hillside cabin that Berry thought the road from there to
Corinth, that led through a ravine not far distant, would be safe
enough, even with soldiers at each end of it; and if armies, by any
chance, should march that way Berry felt it a great pity to miss so
wonderful a sight, for she was too young to realize all the terror and
suffering brought by war, and she had not the faintest idea how soon
she was to be almost in the centre of one of the most terrific battles
of the Civil War up to the spring of 1862: the Battle of Shiloh.

When her father spoke of General Grant’s probable advance against
Johnston’s army, Berry’s thoughts were chiefly occupied with plans for
a midnight visit to the Judas-tree, and she did not really believe
it possible that troops might soon be on the march along those quiet
roads near her home. It was now early March; Mrs. Arnold and Lily
were busy with making a supply of soap: setting a barrel half-filled
with ashes over which water was turned, and which was called the
“leach-barrel,” to drip into a big iron kettle; then the scraps of
fat, that had been carefully saved for months, were boiled down over a
fire in the yard, and strained; the lye from the wood-ashes was added,
and again boiled, and a good supply of soft soap was the result.

These yard fires had to be carefully watched and tended; the soft
soap, in its last process of boiling, had to be frequently stirred,
and Berry and Lily spent the greater part of several days in the yard
tending fires and kettles.

Beside soap-making there were other springtime affairs that required
attention; it was time to tap the sugar-maples in the little grove on
a distant hillside, and Mr. Arnold had begun to spade the plot used
for a vegetable garden, so that every member of the little household
was busy, and, until the day set for the visit to the maple grove,
Berry and Lily did not go outside the fenced-in space about the cabin.

The day set for the visit to the maples was clear and sunny, and it
was decided that the entire family should go, have a picnic dinner,
and spend the greater part of the day on the hillside.

“We will find arbutus in bloom,” said Mrs. Arnold, as they started
out, Berry and Lily leading the way along the woodland paths. Berry
had now discarded the long-legged leather boots that she had worn
during the winter months, and wore moccasins, that Mr. Arnold had made
for her, and as she went rapidly along the leaf-covered trail she made
no more noise than a woodland squirrel.

Berry and her father tapped the maples: this was done by making a
small incision into the trunk of the tree about two feet above the
ground, inserting a tiny spout, and setting a pail under it to hold
the sap; the next morning Mr. Arnold would come and gather the sap,
turn it into a large kettle, and boil it down to a syrup.

While Berry and her father went from tree to tree, Mrs. Arnold and
Lily searched the hillside for the arbutus blossoms, and carefully
placed damp moss about the blooms they gathered to keep them fresh.

Mr. Arnold was busy with his work and did not notice when Berry
wandered farther up the hillside, and when he had finished setting
the pails, and the little girl was not to be seen, he supposed she
was with her mother and Lily searching for arbutus, and looked about
for a suitable place to start a fire over which to boil the coffee,
and cook the bacon and potatoes for their out-of-door dinner. When
this was well under way he opened the basket containing the food, and
decided to surprise Mrs. Arnold by having the meal all ready before
calling her, and it was nearly an hour later when his familiar whistle
brought Mrs. Arnold, closely followed by Lily, scrambling up the
hillside, each carrying a clumsily-made basket of twisted spruce and
fir branches well filled with moss and the delicate, fragrant arbutus
blossoms.

“It is like a May day!” Mrs. Arnold declared smilingly. “And how good
that bacon smells! Frederic, I never was so hungry,” and seating
herself a short distance from the glowing bed of coals over which the
bacon was cheerfully sizzling, Mrs. Arnold looked about for her little
daughter, thinking Berry was close at hand.

Mr. Arnold refused any assistance, declaring no one could broil bacon
over a wood fire as perfectly as he could do it; and not until Mrs.
Arnold had been served with a well-roasted potato, bacon, and a plate
of biscuit from the lunch basket set beside her, did Berry’s father
and mother look about for her, and then discovered that Lily had also
disappeared.

“Berry can’t be as hungry as I am or she would be on hand,” said Mrs.
Arnold, as the sound of Mr. Arnold’s whistle echoed along the hillside.

“Hunting for flowers, but she’ll soon be here, with Lily at her
heels,” responded Mr. Arnold, and added: “I wonder if we shall ever
see little Mollie Bragg again?”

“I am sure we will,” Mrs. Arnold replied. “Poor child, I am glad
she was not taken away before we could give her a happy birthday to
remember,” and, talking of the Braggs, the time sped by, and yet no
sign or sound of Berry or Lily. But neither Mr. nor Mrs. Arnold felt
anxious as to the girls’ safety. Berry had her whistle, which she
would surely sound if in any danger, and, with Lily close at hand,
it did not seem probable that any accident had befallen their little
daughter, and only the fact that the potatoes and bacon would not keep
hot at last decided Mr. Arnold to repeat his call, and finally to
start back toward the maple grove in search of Berry, quite sure that
he would find Lily with her.

Berry had not intended to go out of sight of her father when she
wandered up the ridge, but the discovery of an unexpected trillium
in blossom led her to go further on hoping to find more, and, by the
time her father had started his fire, Berry was on the further slope,
out of hearing of Mr. Arnold’s shrill whistle. She had just decided to
turn back when she noticed a tiny thread of smoke creeping up behind
a ledge. Berry knew the dangers of a forest fire, and, thinking some
careless woodsman had failed to put out his fire, she promptly started
toward the smoke, meaning to put out the fire. Her moccasin-covered
feet made no noise as Berry climbed over the ledge. As she looked down
toward the thread of smoke Berry nearly lost her balance: for, just
below, not twenty feet from the ledge of rocks where she crouched, was
the threatening stranger whom she had met at the brook in January,
and who had mistaken her for a boy. The man was crouched near a tiny
fire over which he was roasting a partridge. If he had not been so
intent upon his cooking he might have become conscious that someone
was very close to him, for Orson was a thorough woodsman, with every
sense on the alert. Berry, looking down upon him, realized that the
man was camping there, as a rough shelter of boughs stood near by. She
resolved to slip away as noiselessly as possible; with her eyes still
fixed on the crouching figure, she cautiously moved one foot, and then
the other, backward, holding to the rocks with both hands. There was
a little noiseless movement along the ledge, and Berry felt both her
feet held; a loose rock, started by her movements, had been gradually
slipping, and now held Berry a prisoner. It had rolled against her
ankles binding her to the side of the ledge.

“What can I do?” she wondered. To sound her whistle, even to endeavor
to push the rock away, would instantly bring the man leaping up the
ledge. “I must get clear myself, some way!” she resolved, but she
could think of no way to free herself.



                              CHAPTER XI

                        THE MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE


Lily’s wanderings during her flight from the Alabama plantation had
made her alert and watchful of every woodland noise and sign. Since
Berry had not come down the ridge with Mr. Arnold, Lily was sure she
had followed a wandering path leading to the summit, and the negro
girl sped swiftly along. At first she thought of calling her young
mistress’s name, but her instinct for silence prevented this, and,
as she found herself facing the ledge where Berry was held prisoner
by the rock that had slipped against her ankles, Lily had no impulse
to cry out. As quietly as Berry herself she crept down close to
the ledge, and noticing the thread of smoke a dreadful fear took
possession of her.

“Lak as not it’s fo’ks a-huntin’ fer me. My lan’! W’ot I better do?”
was her first thought; then her eyes turned toward the girl clinging
to the ledge, the girl who had been the first to speak kindly to
the fugitive slave girl, and instantly Lily recalled all Berry’s
kindness had meant to her, and she forgot her fears for her own
safety, and thought only of her young mistress.

[Illustration: WITHOUT A WORD BERRY POINTED TO THE HEAVY ROCK.]

“She be ’fraid ob dat man a-campin’ down dar,” she instantly decided,
as peering from behind a sheltering tree she discovered Orson, still
intent on his roasting bird. Lily crept up the ledge, whispering
softly: “Missie Berry—Missie Berry,” and Berry turned her head to
find Lily’s hand near her shoulder.

Without a word Berry pointed to the heavy rock resting against her
ankles, and then toward the camp beneath the ledge, and shook her
head solemnly, and Lily promptly understood that Berry feared to
be discovered. Lily nodded her understanding of the message and
cautiously worked her way to a place where she could make an effort
to release Berry’s feet. Pulling with all her strength she was able
to raise the heavy stone so that Berry could draw herself free from
its hold, and then, noiselessly as before, the negro girl lowered the
stone gently back, and the two girls crept down the ledge and were
soon safely in the shelter of the forest. Neither of them had spoken a
single word since Lily’s whisper when she reached the ledge.

But now Berry turned quickly to her companion and said gratefully:
“Oh, Lily! What would I have done if you had not found me! And how
clever you were to come so quietly! That’s the man who threatened me
near the brook, before you came,” she added as they hurried up the
rough slope.

“Dat man a-searchin’ af’er me!” Lily declared solemnly. “Oh, Missie
Berry, don’ let him tek me! He’s de kin’ dat sells black fo’ks. I’se
seen black fo’ks all chain’ togedder, Missie Berry, a-standin’ at
railway stations to be tuk off.” And Lily trembled at the thought of
being discovered.

At that moment, before Berry could reply, Mr. Arnold’s shrill whistle
reached their ears and Berry instantly responded, and Lily had only
time to say: “Don’ say a wud ’bout dat man; don’, Missie Berry!
Promise!” she pleaded so urgently that Berry agreed.

“But I know he isn’t after you, Lily,” she added, as they ran forward
to meet Mr. Arnold.

“Oh, Father! I got my feet caught in a ledge, and Lily helped me out,”
she explained hurriedly; “and we’re both hungry.”

Mrs. Arnold had contrived to keep the potatoes hot, and the two girls
made an excellent lunch, while Berry told of finding the trillium
blossom, and of climbing a ledge, and a rock rolling against her
ankles.

“Lily came just in time, and moved the rock so gently that my ankles
don’t hurt a bit,” said Berry; while Lily listened, fearful that some
careless word might betray the secret. But Mrs. Arnold hurried them
all toward home, as the March day was drawing toward sunset, and
on the way Berry found a chance to tell Lily that the man they had
seen was probably a Confederate spy. “My father says that General
Beauregard has a Confederate army at Corinth, and probably this man
is watching to see if General Grant’s soldiers are coming this way,”
she explained to the frightened negro girl, and her explanation was
the right one. Orson knew that numbers of Confederate soldiers were
daily arriving from Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, in regiments,
squads, or unarmed and singly at Corinth. All these were being formed
into the Confederate army of the Mississippi, with General Johnston
in supreme command, and with the brave and accomplished Beauregard as
second. Supplies for this army reached Corinth over all railroads.
Spies were bringing daily reports of the progress of Grant’s army, and
of General Buell’s rapid approach from Columbia; and Orson was lurking
along the roads from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth, ready to carry, or
send, instant news of any approach of the enemy over these roads.

But Lily shook her head over Berry’s explanation.

“He luk jes’ lak de men dat hunt af’er de run’way niggers!” she
insisted, and so Berry again agreed not to tell her father of her
discovery of the camping spy.

Orson knew of the Arnolds’ cabin, but kept a good distance from it,
although he believed it the cabin of some industrious mountaineer who
was, without doubt, loyal to the Confederacy. He had seen Lily and
Berry more than once, unseen by them, and supposed Lily to be a negro
boy, owned by the Arnolds. He meant, at the right moment, to send
“Berry Nees” speeding over the road to Corinth with news for General
Beauregard. He kept a nightly watch by the “witch-tree” to see if
Berry had brought the sweets that would mean a midnight visit, and,
on the second evening after the Arnolds’ visit to the maple grove,
his watch was rewarded: for close against the trees rested a number of
small packages.

Orson had no scruples in examining these. One contained a glass
tumbler filled with honey, over which the spy chuckled, thinking it
would be an acceptable addition to his somewhat limited food supply.
In another package was a square of maple-sugar, made from the fresh
syrup. There was also a small square cake, sweetened with maple-sugar,
that Berry had persuaded her mother to make for her that morning.
For Berry had noticed that the red-buds were beginning to fade, the
leaves rapidly covering such blossoms as remained, and, by cautiously
questioning Lily, she discovered that unless the tree were in bloom
the witches were not apt to visit them, and she realized she must lose
no time in asking their help for news of Mollie.

Berry found no trouble in carrying her gifts to the red-buds near the
stream, for that afternoon Lily had gone with Mrs. Arnold to bring
home the syrup that Mr. Arnold had made, leaving Berry alone in the
cabin. And she collected her supplies and hastened off to leave them
at the red-buds, in order that the witches might not fail to find
them on their arrival, and she was resolved to be on hand when the
witches appeared at midnight, although she was a little fearful that
it might not be an easy matter to keep awake until the time came to
leave the cabin, or to creep out without being discovered by her
mother or father. Nevertheless she was resolved to make the attempt,
for it seemed to Berry as if she could get news from Mollie in no
other way than through the friendly help of witches, who were new
possibilities in Berry’s experience.

The sky clouded over before Mrs. Arnold and Lily returned, and by
sunset a strong wind was sweeping along the ridge.

“Dis am a reg’lar witch’s night! I ’clar ter goodness if ’tain’t!”
said Lily, as Berry helped her wash the supper dishes. “De win’ am
a-shreekin’ an’ a-hollerin’ jes’ de way witches lik’s,” continued
Lily; “dey’ll all be out ter-night, I specs,” and she rolled her eyes
solemnly and shook her head.

Berry made no response. She heard the wind moaning and shrieking, as
the big branches of the forest trees bent before it, and began to
dread the undertaking that was before her. She was so quiet in the
early evening that her mother was sure Berry must be more tired than
usual, and suggested that the little girl go to bed. Lily had already
gone to her room, and Mrs. Arnold declared that she herself was too
sleepy to sit up, and at an unusually early hour the lights in the
little cabin were extinguished, and the entire household, excepting
Berry, were fast asleep.

In her own room, still fully dressed, Berry sat on the edge of her
bed waiting for the clock to strike eleven, the time she had set to
leave the cabin. More than once she dozed off, to wake with a sudden
start fearful lest she had overslept. But when the clock in the
sitting-room sounded the hour of eleven Berry was wide awake. Her
window, that opened outward on hinges, was already partly open, and
Berry’s moccasin-covered feet made no noise as she crossed the room,
cautiously swung the latticed window wide open and fastened it back,
and then, reaching out, grasped the strong branch of the big oak tree,
that grew close to the cabin, and fearlessly swung herself clear of
the window-sill.

Berry had done this many times; it was no new exploit for the little
girl to scramble along the stout branch and down the trunk of the oak
tree to a secure footing on the slope of the ravine below her window;
she stood silent a moment, looking up at the cabin. Then, sure that no
one had heard her quiet escape, she crept up to the trail and was off
toward the witches’ tree.

The wind swept against her, and the trees of the forest creaked and
swayed: the night was too dark even for shadows, and Berry, with a
little thrill of fear, recalled Lily’s words that it “was a reg’lar
witch’s night.”

As she neared the brook she saw a tiny light near the place where
she had left her gifts, and stopped suddenly; then, remembering that
Lily had said witches usually carried tiny lanterns, she drew a long
breath, and stepped boldly forward, bowing very low, according to
Lily’s directions, and putting both hands over her eyes: for Lily had
said it would be a fatal thing to let your eyes rest upon a witch.



                             CHAPTER XII

                           ORSON’S MISTAKE


With bent head and covered eyes Berry stumbled toward the trees, and
at the sound of her approach Orson promptly extinguished his pipe; the
tiny light, that Berry had mistaken for a witch lantern, having been
the match he had used in lighting it.

The little girl had just reached the clump of trees when, close
at hand, a high-pitched voice called: “Halt! What seek ye at the
witch-tree?”

Orson was so close to Berry that he could have touched her, and
Berry gave a little gasp of terror at the sound of a voice coming,
apparently, from the tree itself. But her question was ready, and,
although her voice faltered a little, Orson could hear distinctly.

“If you please, kind witch, I want to know where Mollie Bragg is, and
when I will see her?” said Berry.

“Do you intend to obey, and promise what I require, if I answer?”
growled the voice, so near to Berry that she gave a little backward
start.

To obey a witch seemed rather a dreadful undertaking, but Berry did
not hesitate. “I do!” she faltered.

“’Tis well! You promise to come to this tree each day: to look under
a flat rock at its roots, and when you find a letter there to take it
and run your swiftest until you give it to the person whose name is
written upon it?” growled the voice.

“I promise,” said Berry.

It seemed to the little girl that the witch chuckled, and then there
was a moment’s silence. The wind died away, the thrashing branches of
the forest trees gradually lessened, stars shone out from among the
drifting clouds, and the darkness of the night grew less dense. Berry
heard the movement of some large body close beside her, and knew that
the witch would soon vanish.

“But tell me of Mollie?” she called anxiously.

“Boy! Mollie will soon return; watch for letters,” came the response
from some little distance. And now Berry uncovered her eyes and lifted
her bowed head.

“Boy!’” she repeated in amazement. “Witches don’t know everything
after all!” she decided, “and it was so dark how could it see I didn’t
wear a dress?” And Berry was conscious of a vague disappointment, as
she turned back toward the cabin. But the “witch” had said Mollie
would soon return; and Berry told herself that this news was worth all
her trouble. Then she recalled her promise, and wondered about the
letter. To carry a witch’s letter would, she thought, be something
that had never before happened to a little girl. She wished she could
tell her mother of this wonderful encounter with a witch; but Lily had
said that one must never tell of such things or the witches would be
angry. So Berry made her way back through the shadowy forest, climbed
into her chamber-window, and crept noiselessly into bed. But she lay
long awake thinking over her wonderful adventure at the witch’s tree.

Orson was well pleased at his success in securing “Berry Nees’s”
promise to watch for any message the “witch” might leave at the
Judas-tree. He lurked behind a stout oak until the little girl had
made her way up the trail, and then started back toward his camp. If
this “boy” could run as fast as Berry had boasted he knew it might
prove the means of defeating General Grant when that officer should
decide to attack the Confederates, and assured himself that he had
been very clever indeed in making Berry believe that she had really
encountered a witch.

Orson knew that Grant was determined to push on to the Memphis and
Charleston railroad, and that Beauregard hoped to surprise and capture
the Union Army of the Cumberland. To send the Confederate General news
of Grant’s approach would be a great triumph for this spy, and might,
as he well realized, bring him a reward in the approval of Jefferson
Davis, the head of the Southern Confederacy. It was therefore natural
that he should think himself very clever in securing Berry’s promise
to become his messenger. Ever since he had overheard Lily’s story of
the witch-tree he had lurked about the place, confident that “Berry
Nees” intended to ask a favor of the witches; and, on discovering the
honey and cake he had promptly established himself close to the tree,
thinking if Berry braved the darkness and the high wind it would be
a good proof of “the boy’s” courage; and Orson was well pleased to
find Berry so fearless. “Plucky little chap,” he thought approvingly,
and almost regretted that he had not openly told Berry the service he
meant to ask. But, on the whole, he decided he had chosen the better
way. He was glad that he could now start off toward the Tennessee
River, where he could keep a sharp outlook for any advance of the
Union army.

Berry had not the slightest idea as she sped along through the
darkness that close behind her came Lily; or that, when the voice had
called, “Halt!” Lily, trembling with terror, had nevertheless moved
a step nearer to her little mistress, ready, if need be, to risk any
danger to herself in defense of Berry. She had been so frightened at
Berry’s question that it was a wonder she had not screamed aloud; but
when Orson responded, calling Berry “Boy,” Lily regained her courage.

“Dat ain’ no witch!” she promptly decided; for the negroes of the
Southern plantations firmly believed in the existence of unseen
creatures, which they called witches, that knew far more than mortals;
and Lily was sure that a true witch could not be deceived, and
instantly she remembered the man Berry had met at the brook and whom
they had seen at his forest camp.

“I reckon dat man am a makin’ believe jes’ ter skeer my Missie, or
else he be up to somethin’,” decided Lily; and, as Berry turned toward
home, Lily moved quickly after the shadowy figure that was rapidly
making its way from tree to tree.

It did not take Lily long to discover that she was right in her
suspicion, and to recognize the tall, shadowy figure as that of the
woodsman whom she had seen roasting a partridge near the ledge where
she had discovered Berry.

“De misserbul critter,” Lily muttered angrily to herself; “an’ who
know w’ot place he wan’ my missie ter kerry a letter to? I jes’
kal’ate I’ll get dat air letter,” and Lily now hastened after Berry,
reaching the cabin just in time to see her young mistress clamber into
the open window.

With a sigh of relief Lily crept silently to her own room. Although
she had gone to sleep very early that evening she had awakened an
hour before Berry left the cabin, and, prompted by a vague fear in
regard to the safety of her young mistress, Lily had cautiously made
her way through the shadowy rooms to the door of Berry’s chamber
and curled herself up there. Her quick ear had instantly followed
Berry’s movement toward the window, and she had been close behind the
adventurous little girl as Berry scrambled down the trunk of the oak
tree.

Both the girls slept late the next morning, and Mrs. Arnold watched
Berry a little anxiously, for the little girl seemed unusually
serious. “I believe Berry misses Mollie Bragg more than we have
realized,” she said to Mr. Arnold, after Berry had gone out to work in
her garden, where the iris was already several inches high and where
the transplanted butterwort was in blossom.

“I should not be surprised if the Braggs return to their cabin,” Mr.
Arnold replied; “Bragg is such a coward that the sight of the marching
troops, of either the Confederate or Union army, will start him off;
and he will not be welcomed by any community where brave men are
willing to fight for what they believe to be right.”

It was very hard for Mr. Arnold to feel that he could not serve his
country. He realized now that from this remote cabin, perched on
the side of a ridge of the mountains of Tennessee, he might watch
the advance of General Grant’s army of the Cumberland moving toward
Corinth to attack the forces of General Johnston. Not for a moment
did Mr. Arnold imagine that the task of the Union army would be one
of defense, or that on the heights of Shiloh the Confederates would
surprise and very nearly overcome the Army of the Cumberland; nor
could it possibly occur to him that his small daughter was to render
a great service to the Union cause, and to be long remembered as “The
Yankee Girl of Shiloh.”

Berry, busy in her garden, thought over her adventure of the previous
night and wondered if the “witch” was right in saying that Mollie
would soon return. “Father thinks they will come back,” she reminded
herself; for Berry could not forget that the witch had failed
to discover that it was a little girl who had asked assistance.
Nevertheless, Berry was resolved that not a day should pass without
her visiting the clump of red-buds near the stream, that she might
keep her promise to the witch and deliver any letter she might find
there. And, quite unknown to her young mistress, Lily had resolved to
be the first to discover any letter hidden at the witch’s tree.

“An’ I’ll tek dat letter right ter Massa Arnold. Dat’s w’ot I’ll do.
Mebbe ’tis ‘bout me,” Lily decided firmly.



                             CHAPTER XIII

                       BERRY RECEIVES A MESSAGE


Lily’s “feather-bag,” as Berry called the receptacle in which the
negro girl so carefully stored each feather that she could secure, was
missing from her belt one morning, and Berry at once announced the
fact.

“Your feather-bag, Lily! Have you forgotten it?” she asked, as Lily
appeared at the corner of the cabin and stood watching Berry who was
busily engaged in transplanting woodland violets to the shady corner
of her garden.

“No, Missie Berry. I knows jes’ whar dat bag is. Yas’m, I’se got it
hid up safe,” Lily responded with her usual nods and chuckles. “I’se
got all de feathers I wants,” she added.

“Well, you must have nearly enough to stuff a pillow,” Berry declared,
wishing that Lily would tell her what she intended to do with the
treasured feathers, but Lily only repeated:

“Yas’m,” and Berry went on with her work. Lily immediately vanished,
and did not again appear until it was time for her to help with the
midday meal.

“I do wonder where Lily goes, and what she is up to,” Berry confided
to her mother. “Every day she suddenly disappears and is gone for
an hour or two. She always comes back looking as well pleased with
herself as if she had just discovered a pot of gold.”

“Why do you not ask her where she goes?” questioned Mrs. Arnold. “Very
likely she only goes off by herself for a nap, for she is up very
early each morning.”

“I have asked her,” Berry responded, “and she just chuckles and nods
and says that she hasn’t been anywhere. ‘Jes’ kinder perspectin’
’roun’’; that’s what she says, Mother.” And Mrs. Arnold smiled at
Berry’s imitation of Lily’s voice and manner. But it was only a few
days after this when Berry, coming into the sitting-room, discovered
Lily peeping out from Berry’s chamber.

“Lily! What are you doing in my room?” she called sharply, and the
surprised Lily gazed at her a little fearfully.

“I jes’ stepped in to take yo’ somefin’. Somefin’ ter s’prise yo’,”
she finally found courage to say, for Berry did not usually speak in
so sharp a tone, and Lily was sure that she herself was to blame. “I
wasn’t lookin’ fer yo’, Missie,” she went on, as if to excuse herself
for some fault, but Berry pushed past the negro girl and entered her
chamber. Her quick glance went straight to the dainty dressing-table
and with an admiring exclamation she ran across the room and stood
looking eagerly at the prettiest basket she had ever seen. It was
shaped like a shallow bowl, and at the first glance Berry thought it
was made entirely of feathers, but the feathers were only skilfully
woven in broad bands through the sweet-grass that formed the warp of
the basket. The woof was of the fragrant cedar roots; these Lily had
split and polished until they shone like silver bands.

It was indeed a beautiful piece of work, and Lily’s “surprise” was a
great success. The negro girl had never before been so praised and
thanked, and when Mr. and Mrs. Arnold were called to come and admire
“Lily’s basket,” and when they also said that it was the finest basket
they had ever seen, Lily was as happy as it was possible for a girl to
be.

“Who taught you, Lily?” questioned Mrs. Arnold, and Lily told of the
old negroes at the plantation from which she had fled, who were expert
basket makers.

“I hears tell dey learned ter make baskets ’fore dey was fetch to dis
country,” she said, and Mr. Arnold remembered having seen feather
baskets that were brought from Africa.

“And that’s what you wanted feathers for; and that’s what you have
been doing when I wondered where you were!” Berry exclaimed, and
she was now eager to learn how to make just such a basket, and Lily
promised to at once begin gathering more feathers.

The basket henceforth was one of Berry’s chief treasures, and years
afterward, in her New England home, she would often show it and tell
of Lily’s “feather-bag.”

As the days went on Berry was constantly discovering how many things
Lily knew.

“Not the same things I know,” she explained to her mother, “but
wonderful things. Lily can make all sorts of things out of tiny twigs;
she can make dolls and birds; long-legged cranes, that look just like
those that Father and I have seen along the river.” And Lily could
indeed twist the pliant willow twigs into many shapes, over which
Berry would laugh delightedly.

The spring days went rapidly by, and it was now months since the
Arnolds had received any word from their soldier son, Francis,
and visits to the post-box on the Corinth road only brought
disappointment. One morning, toward the end of March, after her
unfailing daily visit to the clump of Judas-trees, Berry decided to
visit the box and then to go on to the Braggs’ cabin and see if there
was any sign of the witch’s promise of Mollie’s speedy return coming
true.

Much to Berry’s surprise there was something in the box. But she
quickly discovered that it was not the hoped-for letter, for her
hand had closed on a smooth roll of birch-bark. Berry drew it out
and looked at it wonderingly. There were a number of queerly-shaped
letters traced on its smooth surface.

“I wonder who put this in our box?” she said aloud, and then suddenly
she waved the bark triumphantly and exclaimed, “Mollie! Mollie did it.
She makes letters just that way. This means Mollie’s home!” and Berry
started off toward the wood road leading to the Braggs’ cabin, sure
that Mollie would come running to welcome her, and thinking happily
of all she would have to tell and of all Mollie’s probable adventures
of which she would hear. She looked eagerly for some trace of smoke
rising from the cabin chimney, but there was none to be seen, and as
she came to the rough clearing about the cabin Berry stopped suddenly.

“They’re not there!” she exclaimed; for the windows were still boarded
over and there was no sign that the dilapidated cabin was again
inhabited. Berry, standing near a sheltering clump of fir trees,
felt almost ready to cry over her disappointment. She still held the
roll of bark in her hand, and now again looked at it. The letters
M. and B. were clumsily traced with a bit of charcoal on the smooth
surface of the bark, and were followed by the lines and curves such as
Mollie had drawn on the slate during the lesson hour in the Arnolds’
sitting-room. “I am sure Mollie wrote these,” Berry whispered, “and
that she put them in our box as a message to me. She must have been
here;” and Berry’s eyes again turned anxiously toward the cabin, but
there was nothing to be seen to indicate that the Braggs had returned.

Berry decided that she would go home by a woodland trail that led
from the back of the cabin through a thick growth of forest trees
toward the stream which ran down from the Shiloh plateau, and she
walked slowly across the clearing and to the back of the cabin. Her
moccasin-covered feet made no noise, and as she turned the corner of
the cabin she heard the familiar voice of Mrs. Bragg and saw that the
back door was ajar. Berry’s first impulse was to run toward the open
door, but at that moment she heard Mrs. Bragg say, “No, Mollie! How
many times must I tell ye that yer can’t see Berry Arnold? Didn’ yer
Pa warn us ter keep ter ourselves till he lets us know which army’s
gwine ter win? I reckon we kin stan’ bein’ a little hungry, an’ I
reckon Berry’s fergot ye ’fore this!”

“Oh! Mrs. Bragg! I haven’t!” Berry exclaimed, darting forward and
pushing open the cabin door. “Why don’t you want us to know you are
home? Oh, Mollie! I’m so glad to see you!” and Berry ran toward the
thin little figure that, at the sound of her voice, had jumped up from
the wooden stool in a far corner of the room.

“Oh! Berry! Berry!” sobbed Mollie, as she felt Berry’s firm arms
holding her tightly; and for a moment the two little friends quite
forgot Mrs. Bragg and everything except the joy of seeing each other
again. It was Mollie who spoke first. “My nice dress is spoiled,”
she said, and Berry’s swift glance noticed that the serge skirt had
evidently been torn and clumsily mended, and the blouse showed that it
had received hard wear. The kitchen was cold and dark, and Mrs. Bragg
explained that Mr. Bragg had warned her not to start a fire for fear
some wandering spy might discover that the cabin was inhabited.

“Steve says Corinth is chuck full of Confederate soldiers and that
the Yankee soldiers have landed at Crump’s Landing, not more’n ten
miles from here; the Yanks tore up a good stretch of railroad between
Corinth an’ Columbus, an’ Steve says thar’s more Yanks on the march
from Columbia; an’ Steve jes’ put off ter the mountains. He’ll cum
back soon’s these pesky armies goes off,” Mrs. Bragg explained, as
if thinking it only natural that Steve should flee from any possible
danger.

“But we have fires, Mrs. Bragg; and no American soldier, Confederate
or Yankee, would harm you,” Berry declared. “Why, Mrs. Bragg, perhaps
your own boy, Len, might get a chance to come and see you if the
Confederates come this way; and if the cabin is all shut up he would
think you had all gone away, and he would go off and you wouldn’t see
him,” said Berry eagerly.

For a moment Mrs. Bragg stared at her little visitor in amazement;
then, moving toward the fireplace, she exclaimed, “My lan’! That be
the very truth. Yo’ gals fetch me some kindlin’-wood an’ I’ll start up
a blaze. An’ I’ll wrench them boards off’n the windows and open the
front door——” But a shrill scream from Mollie brought her mother’s
plans to a sudden end. Looking toward the open door Mollie had
discovered a stranger; a young negro boy stood there peering anxiously
into the cabin; for Lily never permitted Berry to be long out of her
sight and had followed her to the post-box and then on to the Braggs’
cabin.

“It’s only Lily!” Berry explained. “She is living with us, and wearing
Francis’s old clothes because they are easier to go about the woods
in.”

“Dat’s so!” agreed Lily solemnly, looking first at Mollie and then at
Mrs. Bragg.

“I declar’!” exclaimed Mrs. Bragg. “Wal, then she can take hold and
holp us git this cabin fit ter live in. Ter think I didn’t project
Len comin’ this way!” and Mrs. Bragg was now as eager to get a fire
started, to open the windows, and give the cabin the look of being
in use as, a few hours earlier, she had been to hide away from any
possible visitor.

“It’s a blessin’ you happened this way, Berry!” she declared. “Yo’
jes’ tuck that roll of nice birch-bark under those sticks,” she added,
noticing the roll of bark, on which Mollie’s message was traced, that
Berry still held.

With a smiling glance at Mollie, Berry promptly obeyed, and in a
moment the bark blazed up, the kindlings caught fire, and a cheerful
glow and warmth filled the room. With the help of Berry and Lily the
boards were taken from the cabin windows and Mrs. Bragg did her best
to put the poor rooms in order. When Berry declared it was time for
her to start for home Mrs. Bragg cheerfully consented for Mollie to go
with her, and with Lily close behind them, the two little friends made
their way along the forest trail.

Berry listened eagerly to Mollie’s story of the wandering life the
Braggs had led since leaving their cabin.

“We visited Paw’s cousin first,” Mollie explained, “but he wanted Paw
to jine up with the Tennessee sojers an’ go ter Corinth, but Paw don’
b’lieve in fightin’, so we went on. We lived in a cave fer a spell.
An’, Berry, mos’ days I’ve bin hungry!” concluded the poor little
mountain girl, looking up at her friend as if appealing for protection.

“Well! you shan’t be hungry again, Mollie!” Berry promised. “And we
have lots of new maple syrup; and I’ll ask Mother to make batter-cakes
for our dinner to-day!”

Mollie’s pale eyes brightened at this unexpected delight. She was sure
her troubles were over now that Berry was with her.

“I hoped you could read what I wrote on the birch-bark,” she said,
as they came in sight of the Arnolds’ cabin. “I put it in the box
day before yesterday. Oh, Berry! I’m so glad we have a fire in our
kitchen,” she added solemnly, with a little shiver in remembrance of
the dark, chilly cabin where she and her mother had remained in hiding
for several days without warmth or light.

Mrs. Arnold gave Mollie a warm welcome, and when, late that
afternoon, the little girl started for home, Lily, carrying a basket
filled with food, went with her; and Berry promised to be at the
brook, in the place where she and Mollie always planned to meet, by an
early hour the next forenoon.

That evening Berry told her mother and father the story of the Braggs’
wanderings, and of the hardships Mollie and her mother had suffered.
“Wouldn’t it be fine if Len could only come home and help them?” said
Berry, as she finished the story.

“He may be here at any time, for his regiment is probably in Corinth,”
Mr. Arnold responded gravely. “I do not believe the Confederates mean
to wait for Grant’s army to attack them. The spies of General Johnston
and General Beauregard will keep them informed each day of the advance
of General Buell’s troops. Beauregard is used to winning; with the
laurels of Fort Sumter and Manassas fresh in his mind he may decide to
advance upon Grant’s forces at once. Len Bragg is with Beauregard’s
army, and may find himself near home any day.”

“That will be splendid!” Berry declared, smiling happily at the
thought of the pleasure of Mollie and Mrs. Bragg if Len should
suddenly appear.

But Mr. Arnold shook his head.

“Anything but that, Berry,” he replied. “If Beauregard’s army
surprises the forces of Grant and Buell it might mean the capture of
the Army of the Cumberland. The Confederate troops must be nearly
equal in numbers to those of the Union forces. If Beauregard could
take Grant by surprise it would indeed be a sad day for the Union
cause.”

Berry listened soberly. She well knew that her brother Francis was
fighting for the cause of the Union that slavery might cease to exist
and the United States remain an undivided nation. She now began to
realize that war might come very near her cabin home; that General
Grant’s men, marching toward Corinth, might be surprised and captured
by the daring and triumphant Beauregard. And that night Berry resolved
to henceforth keep a sharp outlook for possible Confederate spies, or
for any evidence of marching troops along the Corinth road.

“If I could let General Grant know that Confederates were on the
march, then Beauregard could not surprise him,” thought Berry,
remembering that she knew all the forest trails and woodland roads,
and that, if she kept a sharp watch, no body of soldiers could reach
Pittsburg Landing, where her father believed Grant would land his
soldiers, over either of the Corinth roads without her seeing them.
“And no one can run faster than I can. I could get to the Union camp
long before the Confederates, and then General Grant would be ready,”
she thought, not realizing any of the dangers in store for such a
messenger just before an impending battle.

“I’ll go to the top of the ridge twice every day, and I’ll make Lily
promise to keep a sharp watch,” resolved Berry.

At first the little girl thought she would tell her mother and father
of her plan; but she remembered her father’s caution in regard to
keeping out of sight of wayfarers along the trails, and said to
herself, “I’ll wait until I have seen real soldiers. Perhaps until
after I have seen General Grant himself. I guess my father will be
proud if I run faster than any Confederate soldier.” And so Berry
confided her new resolve to no one but Lily; and the colored girl
proved the best possible assistant.



                             CHAPTER XIV

                               ON GUARD


Mollie Bragg wondered a good deal about Lily. Berry treated the
colored girl as if she had the same right to friendship and kindness
as if her skin were white. In fact, to Mollie it sometimes seemed that
Berry was more kind and thoughtful toward Lily than toward anyone
else, and this sadly puzzled Mollie; and, one day when the two little
friends were making a playhouse under the big oak tree behind the
Arnold cabin, Mollie said:

“Berry, Lily’s a nigger, ain’ she?”

Berry, who was carefully building a “make-believe” fireplace, stopped
and gazed at Mollie in astonishment.

“Why, Mollie! You know just as well as I do that Lily’s a negro girl.
My mother says Lily _couldn’t_ be any blacker!” she responded.

“Well, you treats her jes’ like you treats white folks; you says
‘please’ to her when you asks her to do things, an’ you says ‘thank
you’ after she’s done ’em. I’ve heard you, Berry,” and Mollie nodded
solemnly, as if expecting Berry would promptly deny it.

But Berry also nodded, and only looked more and more surprised.

“Of course I say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’” she said; “and of course
I treat her just as I would a white girl. I guess I ought to treat
her better than I do,” Berry continued thoughtfully, “because she has
never had anyone to be kind to her until she came to live with us.
Lily can’t help being black. Just suppose your skin was black, Mollie,
you’d be Mollie just the same inside of your skin, wouldn’t you?”

“Mebbe I would,” Mollie replied soberly.

“And just think how many things Lily knows that we don’t,” Berry
continued eagerly. “Don’t you remember that wood pewee’s nest she
showed us between the forked twigs of the young oak tree near our
gate? and the cat-bird’s nest in the cedar tree? and all the stories
she tells us, Mollie. About the thrush that pounds acorns on the
ground until the shells are broken and he can get the nut; and she
made that beautiful basket; and—and——” Berry hesitated for a moment
in her list of Lily’s achievements and then said, “And, anyway, she
is ‘Lily,’ and I like her just as well as if she were white.”

Mollie nodded. She could understand Berry’s final reason better than
any other: to like Lily “Just because she is Lily” satisfied her.

“I likes you, Berry, jes’ because you are Berry,” she said; and the
two little friends resumed their play. Neither of them imagined that
Lily had heard every word of the conversation from her perch on one
of the lower branches of the big oak tree. It was Lily’s secret
hiding-place. Perched there among the branches she could look far down
the ravine in one direction, and toward Shiloh church in the other,
and with little danger of being discovered. She had just settled
herself there at the time when Berry and Mollie arrived beneath the
tree, and so could not help hearing Mollie’s questions and Berry’s
reply. And as she eagerly listened to Berry’s declaration that she,
Lily, knew many things that the little white girls did not know,
that she was “just the same inside her skin” as if she were a white
girl, and Berry’s assertion of affection toward her, Lily nearly
tumbled from the tree. Tears came to her eyes, and a new sense of
happiness filled her heart. For the first time in her life the
homeless, uncared for negro girl knew that she was loved. “Jes’ like
I was white,” she whispered to herself. And her affection for Berry
deepened, and she again made solemn vows that no harm should ever come
near “Missie Berry.”

It was the next day when Berry confided to Lily the news that
Confederate troops might, at any day, appear on the Corinth road.

“That is, unless the Union soldiers march to Corinth first,” explained
Berry. “And, Lily, my brother Francis is a Union soldier; he’s
fighting to set you free!” she continued, her brown eyes resting
solemnly upon Lily.

“Yas, Missie Berry. I reckon yo’ brudder would do dat,” Lily
responded, “an’ yo’ don’ wan’ de Confedrits ter ketch de odder army?
Yo’ means ter watch out fer ’em?” questioned Lily.

“Yes, Lily, and you must help me. And it must be a secret. Not even
Mollie Bragg is to know,” cautioned Berry. “We must begin to-day,” she
added.

“Yas, Missie Berry,” Lily promptly agreed. Whatever Berry wanted done
Lily would do without question. But there was something on Lily’s
mind that troubled her. She knew that Berry made daily visits to the
red-buds, ready to fulfil the promise to the “witch”; and Lily now
resolved to tell her young mistress that the voice Berry had heard at
midnight as the wind swept down the ridge had been the voice of the
man of whom Berry seemed afraid. And now the colored girl began to
wonder if this man might not be one of those Confederates for whom
Berry meant to watch.

“Missie Berry, yo’ knows w’ot I tells yo’ ’bout de witch-tree? An’
yo’ ’members de night yo’ wen’ down dar, wid de win’ a-howlin’ an’
a-screechin’, an’ de dark jes’ lak’ a black wall? I wus clus beside
yo’, Missie Berry! An’ dat wan’ no witch w’ot call yo’ ‘boy,’ an’
makes yo’ promis’ ter kerry a letter. No, Missie! ’Twas dat man we saw
a-cookin’ a burd ober der fire by de ledge!”

It was now Berry’s turn to be surprised. But she instantly realized
that Lily was right; and when Lily added, “I follered arter dat man
an’ I knows,” Berry looked at her companion admiringly. “Lily!” she
exclaimed, “my father thought that man was a spy; and probably the
letter he means to hide at the witch-tree will be for some Confederate
general.”

“Do yo’ reckons ’twill be fer sum Confedrit gen’ril?” questioned Lily.

“Yes; because he has been about Shiloh all winter, I’m sure he has;
keeping watch of the Tennessee River, so that he could send word of
Union troops being landed. And the time I met him at the brook I
bragged of how fast I could run,” Berry continued eagerly, “and that’s
what made him want me for a messenger. He must have been hiding near
the brook, Lily, the day you told me about witches.”

“Dat’s so, Missie Berry! An’ I reckon he got de cake an’ de honey,”
Lily responded regretfully.

“He’s exactly like the cupboard mouse that Mrs. Bragg told me about,”
Berry declared, remembering how difficult it had been for her to
secure the cake, and how much trouble she had taken to please some
possible witch, only to have the woodsman laugh at her folly.

“I ain’ nebber heard no story ’bout de cupboard mouse,” said Lily; and
Berry repeated it, greatly to the negro girl’s satisfaction.

“Dat am a fine story, Missie, an’ maybe we’s gwine ter set de cat
af’er dis mouse dat kep’ all de cake ter hisse’f,” she chuckled.

Berry was sure that any message this wandering spy might leave at
the red-bud tree, trusting to her promise to run her swiftest to
deliver it to whomever it might be addressed, would be a message of
great importance to both the contending armies. It might be to inform
General Johnston of the progress of Grant’s army, or it might even
tell when it would be best for Johnston’s troops to march toward
Pittsburg Landing, thought Berry; and her brown cheeks flushed with
excitement at the possibility that she, Berenice Arnold, a little
Yankee girl from far-off Vermont, of whom General Grant had never
heard, might do this great soldier a real service by delivering this
message, whatever it might prove to be, into his hands.

“For the army that knows first what the other army plans to do will
surely have the best chance,” she gravely decided, and resolved that
it should be through no fault of hers if the message did not promptly
reach the commander of the Union forces.

Berry could now think of but little else than her plans to outwit the
spy. She realized that henceforth a constant watch must be kept, that
either Lily or herself must be steadily on the alert, so that the
moment a message was deposited at the witch’s tree she could start
instantly for the race that she firmly believed might result in the
triumph of the Union forces.

As all these thoughts went swiftly through her mind, Berry stood
flushed and silent, while the negro girl watched her, wondering what
her young missie was thinking about, and when at last Berry exclaimed:
“Lily! Instead of standing here we ought to be on the outlook for that
man,” Lily nodded her head soberly and promptly agreed; and when her
young mistress said that Lily must start at once for Shiloh church,
carefully keeping out of sight of any possible traveler along the
trails, Lily was quite ready to obey.

“And if you see any signs of him, or get a glimpse of him, hurry back
as fast as you can and tell me,” said Berry as Lily started off.

For a moment the negro girl hesitated; she knew that Mrs. Arnold would
expect her to return to the cabin with Berry, and she remembered that
there was work for her to attend to; beside this Lily was sure that,
as she could not explain her absence, Mrs. Arnold would think she had
purposely neglected her duties, and as Lily was always eager to win
Mrs. Arnold’s approval she now had to choose between being praised and
approved by Mrs. Arnold for returning promptly, and so disappointing
Berry, or obeying Berry’s wish and having Mrs. Arnold think her a
thoughtless and ungrateful girl. But her indecision lasted only a
moment. Berry would always hold the first place in Lily’s affections;
to please Berry seemed the most important thing. Lily would never
forget that it was Berry who had rescued her from the dangers and
hardships of her perilous flight from slavery, and brought her to the
safety and comfort of her own home; so Lily started off toward Shiloh
church, going almost noiselessly along the rough path.

As Lily made her way up the slope she thought of all the trouble this
woodsman spy was making.

“’Pears like ’tain’ only dat he am a-botherin’ ob Missie Berry, but he
am a-stirrin’ up trubble fer dat Gen’l Grant an’ fer Missie Berry’s
brudder, an’ dey’s a-fightin’ ter set me free; looks like I orter do
somet’ing to dat spy to stop his doin’s,” she whispered to herself,
and her thoughts flew to possible aid from “witches,” but she shook
her head remembering how they had failed her young mistress.

“Looks ’s if I’d got to conjure up some way by myse’f,” she decided,
and before Lily reached the woods that bordered on the little clearing
where stood the rough cabin-like structure known as Shiloh church,
she had thought of several plans by which she could prevent this
threatening stranger from being of further trouble either to Berry or
Berry’s brother, or to General Grant. But, notwithstanding the making
of plans, Lily’s eyes had been sharply on the alert for any noise that
might indicate someone near at hand, and she had frequently stopped
to listen for sounds of movements that would betray any traveler
along those mountain trails. But beyond the bubbling song of the
wood-thrush, the musical calls of the pewee and scarlet tanager, and
now and then the rush through the underbrush of some small woodland
creature, there was nothing to be heard, and a quick glance about the
clearing proved that there was no lurking stranger in sight.

Close by where Lily had halted grew a bunch of slender ash saplings,
and, after she had satisfied herself that there was no one within
sight or hearing, Lily drew out the pocket-knife that Mr. Arnold had
given her, and after carefully examining the size and condition of the
various saplings, she began to cut at a branch of one of the larger
trees. In a short time she was able to break the branch off without
splitting it.

“Dat gwine ter make a good ’nuff bow,” she decided, with a little
chuckle, “an’ I reckon I kin cut off de top of my moc’sin fer de cord,
an’ dar’s some fine arrow-wood in dat shed back of de church.” And
Lily, still careful to keep out of sight of any possible traveler,
slunk along the edge of the woods and came out behind the rough shed
where Mr. Arnold kept a store of seasoned wood for repairs on the
church.

It did not take long for her to find a number of slender pieces of
hard wood of the desired length for arrows, and seating herself on an
old stump behind the shed Lily began to whittle one of these into the
proper shape, notching one end and pointing the other end.

“I reckon I won’ mek but one arrow ter-day,” she decided, as she
pulled off one of her moccasins and with great care carefully cut
two slender strips from its top. With these she proceeded to string
the bough cut from the sapling, and although it lacked the force and
rebound of seasoned wood, it nevertheless proved equal to speeding the
arrow with considerable force.

“I jes’ fin’ a chanst ter mek dat spy t’ink he’s shot,” she thought,
as she turned toward home, realizing that hours had passed since
she had parted from Berry, and beginning to dread Mrs. Arnold’s
questionings as to her absence.

“I reckon I cyan’t say nothin’, jes’ kind of act sulky,” she decided
mournfully; but a moment later she forgot her own troubles. The soft,
even pad of approaching footfalls made her scurry into the underbrush
and conceal herself, and she was not a moment too soon, for she had
hardly crouched behind a thick growing mass of laurel, before the
hated figure of the spy came into sight.

Lily held her breath until he had passed her hiding-place, then she
stepped out noiselessly into the path behind him, drew her bow, took
careful aim, and the clumsy arrow sped through the air striking the
man sharply on his neck.

With a yell that echoed through the silent woods he gave a leap
forward, and fled as if pursued by an army of foes. As, indeed, he for
the moment believed himself to be. The impact of the sharp pointed
arrow had left its mark on his neck, a bruise that he believed to
be that of a glancing bullet, and he afterward wondered why he had
not heard the report of the rifle, and finally decided that he had
heard it. But he did not turn back or seek to discover his assailant,
but Lily’s clumsy arrow had made him resolve that there was no time
to be lost in sending a message to Corinth, and as he crawled into
a hiding-place that he believed secure he decided to take no more
chances by traveling on trails.

If Orson could have seen the delighted Lily as she gazed after his
fleeing figure, it is probable that she would have had to flee for her
life, for Lily fairly danced with delight, and as she sped toward the
cabin she would frequently come to a standstill and laugh and wave her
bow in triumphant satisfaction. While she had not really injured the
dreaded stranger Lily was sure that she had frightened him, and was
well satisfied with that.

Meanwhile Berry had met Mollie at the brook, as they had agreed
on, and the two friends turned toward the Arnolds’ cabin. Although
Berry’s thoughts were full of the spy and the mysterious message, she
realized that she must not speak of them to Mollie; and as she looked
at Mollie’s happy face, and noticed how much better the little girl
looked since the day when Berry had discovered the returned wanderers
in their own cabin, Berry for the time forgot her plans to help the
Union Army and thought only of what she could do for this friend who
depended so much on her.

“I am going to teach you after this, Mollie,” she said, reaching out
to clasp Mollie’s hand firmly in her own as they walked on side by
side. “You see, Father is too busy just now; and I am sure I can help
you learn to write.”

“Oh, yes! Why, you can teach me all you know!” Mollie agreed eagerly,
thinking how fortunate she was to have such a friend.

“Perhaps so,” responded Berry a little doubtfully. “Anyway I am sure
I can teach you to write, and then if you ever go away again you can
write me.”

“I don’t want to ever go away again,” Mollie declared soberly,
remembering the weeks of uncertain wanderings about the mountains
during the past winter; weeks when she had often known cold and hunger
and fear, and that made her rough cabin home seem a place of comfort
and safety, and which she hoped never again to leave.

Clasping Berry’s hand, and tightly holding her birthday doll, “Mis’
Ellen Arnold,” to which Mollie had clung during all her wanderings,
Mollie listened happily to Berry’s plan for teaching her to write,
and to learn wonderful things, such as who discovered America, the
places first settled, and of the great rebellion that had made America
an independent nation.

Mrs. Arnold was standing at the cabin door as the two little girls
came up the path, and smiled as she noticed how eagerly they were
talking and how much better Mollie seemed. But where was Lily, she
wondered, for there was no sign of Lily; and after greeting Mollie and
telling Berry that she and Mollie could help themselves to a freshly
baked ginger cake that was cooling on the kitchen table, she began to
ask about the missing Lily.

“Where is Lily?” she questioned; and much to her surprise was obliged
to repeat her question before Berry replied:

“Oh! Lily’s coming.”

So supposing the colored girl might appear at any moment, Mrs. Arnold
did not question Berry further. Berry brought her slate to the porch
steps, and began to show Mollie how to trace letters, and for a time
no more was said in regard to Lily’s absence. But as the hour of
noon drew near and there was no sign of her, and when Mrs. Arnold
had several times come to the cabin door and looked down the path in
search of the missing girl, Berry began to feel uneasy. Suppose after
all the stranger was in search of runaway slaves and had recognized
Lily, she thought fearfully, and had captured the negro girl and taken
her away! And Berry found it difficult to sit quietly beside Mollie on
the porch step instead of rushing off to search for Lily.

Dinner-time came and as they gathered at the table Lily was still
missing, and now Mrs. Arnold also began to feel anxious. She wondered
if it might not be possible that Lily had tired of living with them;
or, perhaps becoming frightened by the rumors of advancing armies, had
again started on her wanderings, and she questioned Berry very closely
as to probable reasons for Lily’s absence, and finally said:

“After this Lily must remain in the cabin, or near at hand, unless I
give her permission to go with you, Berry. Now that Mollie is once
more at home you can have her for a companion, and will not need Lily
with you so constantly.”

Berry listened, hardly believing it possible that all her well-laid
plans could be so overturned; for she knew that unless Lily could go
and come without interference that she might easily fail to secure
the spy’s message in time for it to be of any use to General Grant;
and as her mother turned back to the kitchen Berry ran after her.

“Oh, Mother! I’ll do Lily’s work. Please, _please_, do not say she
must stay in!” Berry pleaded so earnestly that Mrs. Arnold looked at
her wonderingly. But she shook her head.

“No, Berry, you have your own work to do. And nothing could do Lily
more harm than to let her run wild. After this I mean to have her
learn more about household work, so that when she leaves us she can
find a good home.”

Berry stared at her mother in amazement. “But Lily isn’t going to
leave us, ever! I promised she should always stay with me,” she
responded, nearly ready to cry at these new possibilities; if Lily
could not run about, if she was to be kept indoors, Berry knew that
she must give up her effort to defeat the spy.

If Mrs. Arnold wondered at her little daughter’s excitement over her
decision she did not speak of it. “We will always befriend Lily, my
dear, you know that,” she said. But Berry would not be satisfied with
this promise.

“Mother! Say that Lily shall always, always, _always_ stay with
us,” she urged. “I have told her over and over that she should; and,
Mother, it will be dreadful if Lily cannot go and come as she wants
to. Why, she will think that you are displeased with her.”

“I am displeased with her,” responded Mrs. Arnold. “She has neglected
her work and is wandering about for her own pleasure. Look! There she
comes!” And Berry turned to see Lily coming up the path, swinging
the clumsy ash bow in one hand and smiling radiantly as if very well
pleased with herself. Berry started to run to meet her, feeling sure
that Lily had important news; but Mrs. Arnold quickly prevented this.
“Stop, Berry! Go back to Mollie. I want to speak to Lily. You can
see that I was quite right; she has been making a bow and arrows and
playing about in the woods.”

“Please, Mother, don’t——” Berry began; but Mrs. Arnold only shook
her head, and Berry had only time to wave a welcoming hand toward her
faithful messenger before Lily reached the porch.

Lily at once realized that her fears in regard to Mrs. Arnold’s
disapproval were justified. She made no effort to explain her absence,
but stood with bowed head and downcast eyes while Mrs. Arnold told
her that all the work expected of her had been delayed, and added
that henceforth she was not to go out of sight of the cabin without
permission. Lily listened silently. When Mrs. Arnold had finished the
colored girl dropped the weapon she had so cleverly made and turned
diligently toward the work of the cabin. It was nightfall before she
found an opportunity to tell Berry of her successful shot at the spy,
and of his flight along the trail. But Berry was too anxious about the
fact that Lily was no longer to be free to go and come to praise her
for her clever shot; and poor Lily, who was quite willing to bear Mrs.
Arnold’s blame, hard as that might be, if Berry was only pleased, went
about her usual duties with so solemn an air that Mrs. Arnold became
sorry for the girl, and feared that she had been too severe with her.

It was toward sunset when Mollie started for home. It had been rather
an unhappy day for the little girl, for, after Mrs. Arnold’s decision
in regard to Lily, Berry’s interest in Mollie’s lesson vanished; she
became impatient with all Mollie’s attempts to write, and all Mollie’s
efforts to please her were of no avail; nor did Berry notice the
tears in Mollie’s eyes as the little girl bade her good-bye.

“I’ll write better to-morrow, Berry, I know I will,” Mollie faltered,
as clasping her shabby, beloved doll, she started to join Mrs. Arnold,
who had offered to walk as far as the brook with her.

“I don’t care how you write,” Berry had carelessly responded, her eyes
anxiously following Lily, and eager for Mollie to go that she might
hear whatever Lily could tell her.

Mollie gave a little sob as she turned and followed Mrs. Arnold down
the path. She decided that she must be so stupid that Berry no longer
cared to teach her. It was the first time Berry had ever spoken
unkindly to the little mountain girl. Mrs. Arnold was quick to notice
Mollie’s trouble and comforted the little girl by saying that Berry
was anxious about Lily; and when she added, “I have a skirt for your
mother in this package, Mollie,” the little girl’s eyes brightened
happily; for Mollie’s chief sorrow was that her mother had nothing for
herself. Whatever Mollie had she was eager to share with her mother.
Mrs. Arnold knew this, and it made her very tender toward the little
girl.



                              CHAPTER XV

                       SOLDIERS ON SHILOH RIDGE


Berry had not realized that her words would hurt Mollie’s sensitive
nature; indeed she hardly remembered what she had said, for her
thoughts were full of marching armies; of sleeping soldiers suddenly
attacked by relentless foes; and of herself, as a swift-footed
messenger, reaching the Union camp in time to warn and save them. She
went about the cabin after her mother’s departure repeating a verse
from a poem she had learned that winter, a poem by Sir Walter Scott:

      “‘Down from the hill the maiden pass’d,
        At the wild show of war aghast,—
        O gay, yet fearful to behold,
        Flashing with steel and rough with gold,
        And bristled o’er with swords and spears,
        With plumes and pennons waving fair,
        Was that bright battle-front——’”

“My lan’, Missie Berry!” exclaimed the admiring Lily, “does yo’ reckon
we’s gwine ter see all dat?”

And at Lily’s question Berry quickly remembered that she should
be off to Shiloh and keep watch. The little girl realized from her
father’s anxious face, and from what he said of the probable advance
of Confederate troops, that any hour might see them on the march.

“I don’t know, Lily,” she responded gravely, “but I’m sure we ought to
keep watch all the time; and I’m going up the ridge now.”

“I bin a projectin’, Missie Berry, ’bout yo’ Ma tellin’ me to stay
clus in dis cabin in de mawnin’s. Co’rse I mus’ min’ her,” said Lily,
“so I jes’ wonner if I hadn’ better keep a watch out at night. Dar
ain’ no reason w’y dose sojers wouldn’ come a-creepin’ fru de woods at
night!” And Lily rolled her eyes and nodded her head solemnly.

“Oh, Lily! Of course! I forgot all about nights!” Berry responded
eagerly. “But how can you keep awake?”

“I reckon I kin,” declared Lily.

“Well, we’ll begin to keep a steady watch from to-day. I’ll be on
guard days and you can watch nights,” said Berry. “If you hear or see
anything, Lily, you must let me know as quickly as you can!”

“Yas, Missie Berry, I kin swarm up dat oak tree side yo’ winder an’
tells yo’, if I hears sojers or sees armies,” promised Lily, and
returned to her work, while Berry put on her red cap and started off
for another look along the roads leading to Corinth.

It was the twenty-eighth day of March, 1862, and on that very day
General Halleck, of the Union army, had informed General Buell that
Grant would attack the enemy “as soon as the roads are passable.” It
was to be a deliberate forward movement on Corinth from Pittsburg
Landing, to be undertaken some days later; for the Union forces had
no idea of the Confederates’ plan to surprise them by an attack on
Pittsburg Landing.

The river banks at the Landing rise eighty feet above the river, but
are cloven by a series of ravines, through one of which runs the main
road to Corinth. Beyond the crest of the acclivity stretches a rough
tableland. On this plateau five divisions of General Grant’s Army of
West Tennessee were camped, feeling themselves absolutely secure from
any hostile visit, and unsuspicious of any shock of battle, and little
imagining that a small Yankee girl was to be the means of saving them
from capture.

As Berry ran along through the forest she could hear the cheerful
songs of cardinals and robins. Squirrels scolded at her as they clung
to the trunks of the tall oaks; and the air was full of the springtime
fragrance. The silver chain and whistle hung about her neck, and Berry
gave them a little loving touch, thinking of the absent brother who
had given them to her. As she came out on the high plateau and stood
looking toward the Tennessee River there was no sound except the songs
of birds and the chattering of squirrels to break the stillness.
Berry’s keen glance scanned the distant road, but there was no moving
form to be seen. She turned and looked toward Shiloh woods; the woods
where Confederate troops would lay on their arms on the night before
the Battle of Shiloh were now quiet in the spring sunshine.

Berry perched herself on the stump of an old tree and began to wish
that she had asked Mollie to be her companion.

“Mollie would not imagine why I wanted to climb up here; and we could
play our old games,” thought Berry, recalling the previous autumn when
she and Mollie had made families of dolls out of sticks and twigs with
moss for hair and with gowns of oak-leaves and vines. They had made
playhouses among the ledges or at the roots of some big tree, where,
happy and undisturbed, they would play for hours. Berry wondered if
they would ever again play together on that pleasant hillside.

She had only been resting a few moments when she heard the crashing
of underbrush on the slope beneath her. Berry quickly concealed
herself behind a tree; and in a moment the sound of loud voices, the
jingle of arms and the noise of approaching feet made her whisper,
“Soldiers!” And it was not long before half a dozen men, in the blue
uniform of the Northern army, came out into the open space on top of
the ridge. They were evidently tired from their climb up the ravine,
and, to Berry’s surprise, they apparently had no notion of concealing
themselves—they were talking and laughing together as if they had no
thought of war.

Berry was near enough to the newcomers to see them distinctly, and to
hear every word they said. She heard them speak of the army in camp at
Pittsburg Landing, and gave a little gasp of surprise, wondering if
her father knew that Grant’s troops were so near.

“There ought to be outposts stationed all along here,” she heard one
of the younger soldiers declare; and another laughingly responded,
“Oh, Colonel Peabody, the Confederates won’t march over these roads
and gullies. It’s the Union soldiers who will go after them at
Corinth.”

“That may be, but it would do no harm to guard the roads,” responded
the young officer gravely.

Berry waited to hear no more. It seemed to the little girl that
there must be marching soldiers in every direction, and she crept
noiselessly away into the shelter of the forest and ran toward home
eager to tell her father of what she had seen and heard.

Half-way down the ravine she met her father, who was on his way home
from a visit to the Braggs’ cabin.

“Father! Father! There are soldiers at Shiloh church! I saw them! And
Grant’s army is at Pittsburg Landing!” Berry exclaimed, clasping her
father’s hand as if she expected an army instantly to seize him.

“Yes, my dear. And you must now stay closely at home. The main roads
to Corinth will be guarded by soldiers; but our cabin is too far from
the highways for us to see them,” Mr. Arnold quietly replied.

“Do you suppose we will see General Grant?” asked Berry; and her
father smiled down at the little girl’s eager face.

“He will probably march on to Corinth in a few days,” he responded,
and then added, “The flare of his camp-fires can be seen from Shiloh;
their outposts are not more than a mile from the main line. If the
Confederates surprise them it will be a terrible struggle.”

“But they mustn’t surprise them!” the little girl exclaimed earnestly;
and again resolved that she would watch more closely than ever for any
sign of the approaching enemy.

When they reached the cabin Mrs. Arnold was on the outlook for them.
She and Mr. Arnold spoke of Mollie and her mother, and Mrs. Arnold
declared that Mrs. Bragg was sure that Len might appear any day.

“Their cabin is so far in from the highway that I think they will be
safe,” Mr. Arnold said thoughtfully. And both Berry and her mother
understood that he was thinking that it might be possible, before many
days passed, that Northern and Southern troops would meet in deadly
conflict along those peaceful country roads.

That night Berry followed Lily when the colored girl started toward
the barn. “Lily, I’m going to take turns watching at night!” she said.
“General Grant’s army is at Pittsburg Landing, and if the Confederates
surprise them my father says they might capture the Union army.”

Lily gazed at her young mistress a little fearfully. “My lan’, Missie
Berry! Yo’ don’ reckon we cud stop a army, does yo’?” she said, waving
the milk pail as if it were a banner; “how does yo’ reckon we gwine
ter do sich a thing?”

“We can do it by letting General Grant know that the Confederates mean
to attack his camp!” declared Berry.

“We shu’ kin do dat, Missie Berry; pervided we sees ’um fust! I
reckons we’ll hev ter watch out sharp!” Lily responded soberly.



                             CHAPTER XVI

                       BERRY IS TAKEN PRISONER


Berry’s morning lessons with her father were now for a time
discontinued. The little household in the mountain cabin realized that
the encampment of Union soldiers at Pittsburg Landing meant that a
battle was near at hand; and Berry’s thoughts, as well as those of her
mother and father, were absorbed in what General Grant’s next movement
might be.

Mollie Bragg came nearly every morning to practise her lessons in
writing, and apparently had quite forgotten Berry’s thoughtless
unkindness. Berry presented the slate and pencil to the little girl
so that she might use it at home; and this gift made Mollie sure that
Berry had not meant to be unkind. Mrs. Arnold had again fitted Mollie
out with a neat dress of stout gingham. Mrs. Bragg had made the poor
cabin neat and livable, and had planted the rough garden plot with
early vegetables. Every day she and Mollie kept a sharp outlook for
Len. But General Beauregard was doing his best to get his forces at
Corinth ready for a march on the enemy and no absences were permitted.
But Len was to see his mother and sister, nevertheless, much earlier
than he then imagined.

Lily’s first night of “guard duty,” as Berry called it, passed without
her seeing or hearing anything to awaken her fears. The colored girl,
however, had slept for several hours as she crouched against a mossy
log near Shiloh church. But Lily was sure that she would have awakened
at the slightest sound. On her way home, in the gray light of the
early morning, she had stopped at the red-buds and found a sealed
letter under the rock at the roots of the tree.

“I reckons I’ll let Missie Berry see dis fus’,” she resolved, and
followed Berry’s plan of reaching her chamber by the help of the old
oak; so that Berry was suddenly awakened, just at daybreak, by a
gentle touch on her curly hair and a whispered word:

“Missie Berry, Missie Berry, de letter’s cum,” said Lily.

For a moment Berry believed herself dreaming, and rubbed her eyes
sleepily. Then instantly she was wide awake, and seized the letter.
It was enclosed in a brown paper, and tied with a coarse string. In
the dim morning light Berry read: “For General Johnston, at Corinth,”
and beneath it in large letters, “RUN!”

The two girls stared at each other with sober faces.

“W’ot yo’ gwine ter do, Missie Berry? Yo’ gwine ter gib dis letter to
yo’ pa?” questioned Lily.

Berry shook her head. “I don’t know yet. If I give it to Father I
would have to tell him about my going to the witch-tree at midnight,”
she whispered. “I’ll have to think what I will do.” And Lily nodded
and made her way noiselessly to the kitchen.

Berry turned the letter over in her hand. To open a letter addressed
to another person did not occur to her. But this was a spy’s letter;
it must contain news of the Union army, secretly obtained, and Berry
knew that it would be of value to the enemy and that it would be a
service if she could give it to a Union officer.

“I’ll carry it to the Pittsburg camp,” she resolved.

The moment breakfast was over Berry sauntered out to the porch and
instantly disappeared. She scrambled down the rough slope of the
ravine, and followed a path just above the Corinth road. It was a day
of early April, and a damp mist lay over the river and drifted in
little clouds along the hills. Berry had to make her way with some
caution, as recent rains had made the path boggy and uncertain; but
within an hour she was in sight of the rows of white tents that dotted
the rough plateau facing the Tennessee River. Not a single spadeful of
earth had been thrown up for entrenchments; no horseman patrolled the
encampment. As Berry stood for a moment looking at what seemed to her
so wonderful a sight, she heard the sound of laughter, and a moment
later a group of soldiers came from a tent very near to where she was
standing.

“What’s this?” exclaimed one of the men, as he discovered a slight
boyish figure in a well-worn flannel blouse and knickerbockers, and
wearing a red tam-o’-shanter cap, standing directly in front of him.

“Off with that cap, young man! Don’t you know enough to salute the
officers of your country’s army?”

Berry instantly clutched at her cap, and bowed to each officer in
turn.

The three men laughed again, and one of them, whom Berry now
recognized as the officer she had seen a few days earlier at Shiloh,
and who had been addressed as Colonel Peabody, exclaimed: “Pretty good
for a Southern lad. What’s your errand at this camp, my boy?”

“If you please, Colonel Peabody, I want to see General Grant!” Berry
replied soberly.

“Sorry, young man, but the General is at his headquarters in Savannah,
nine miles down the river! Did you call to ask him to dinner?”
responded the officer, smiling kindly down at the brown eyes that
rested on his with so serious an expression.

“No, sir; although I am sure we would be pleased to ask him to
dinner,” began Berry; but before she could continue, the officers,
evidently greatly amused by her response, broke into laughter; and the
man who had first spoken said, “Southern hospitality, eh? Well! This
boy looks a bit different from most of those I’ve seen! What do you
want?” he concluded a little suspiciously, looking at Berry so sharply
that, for the first time, she began to feel a little afraid.

“This letter,” and she pulled the brown-covered message from the
pocket of her blouse, “I found it and I thought General Grant would
like to see it,” and Berry held the letter out toward Colonel Peabody.

“‘To General Johnston at Corinth. RUN,’” he read the inscription
aloud; and the three officers gazed at each other in amazement; and a
second later Berry felt a firm hand grasp her shoulder.

“So you are a messenger for the Confederate spy, eh? Well, you have
come to the wrong camp. What’s your idea in bringing this letter
here? Want to count our troops? Pretty clever scheme, wasn’t it?” and
the man turned to his companions, who nodded their agreement. They
believed Berry had been sent to the camp to secure information for the
Confederates, and that the letter had only been an excuse. Colonel
Peabody thrust it into his pocket and, keeping a fast hold of Berry’s
shoulder, led her toward a near-by tent. “Guess we’ll keep you with us
until we march into Corinth,” he said, giving her a little push into
the tent, where two soldiers instantly sprang up from a small table.

“Keep your eyes on this boy until I come for him,” commanded the
officer, and Berry found herself alone facing the two soldiers, one of
whom motioned to a wooden stool and said roughly, “Sit down!”

Berry quickly obeyed. This was a very different reception than the
one she had imagined. She began to wish that she had followed Lily’s
suggestion and given the letter to her father. Once or twice she
started to speak, but one of the men promptly commanded her to “Shut
up!” with so rough a voice that Berry did not dare to continue.

She realized that she was a prisoner in the camp of the Union army,
and that no one would know where to look for her.

“If I had only told Lily what I meant to do,” she thought mournfully
as the hours passed and her hope of a speedy release vanished. But she
was resolved that in some way she must escape, and was on the alert
for a possible chance to slip out of the tent. Once free from the camp
she was sure she could outrun any pursuer.

The hour of noon came, and one of the soldiers sauntered out after his
dinner. The other followed him to the entrance urging him to hurry.
Berry was sure she would have no better opportunity to make an attempt
to escape. In a moment she had slipped from the stool, and creeping
behind the unsuspecting soldier, she gave him so sudden and unexpected
a push that he stumbled, and she sped past him and was off, running
her best toward the steep slope above which stood the camp.

With a yell the soldier was after her; and Berry dared not look
backward. She was sure the whole army was in pursuit as she fled down
the embankment.



                             CHAPTER XVII

                      THE EVENING BEFORE SHILOH


It was well on in the afternoon when Berry reached the cabin. As
Mollie had not appeared that morning Mrs. Arnold supposed Berry was
with her and had not been anxious. But Berry now told the story of her
adventure, to which her mother and father listened in amazement.

“The soldiers did not give me a chance to tell them that I was a
little Yankee girl,” Berry concluded resentfully.

“No pickets on guard; and General Grant at Savannah!” exclaimed
Mr. Arnold, quite forgetting Berry’s experience with “witches” and
spies, as Berry described the unguarded camp at Pittsburg Landing.
“If Johnston and Beauregard discover these things they will attack at
once!” he said thoughtfully.

“Perhaps that letter was to tell them,” said Berry, adding: “I’m so
hungry!”

Lily instantly sped to the pantry; and in a few moments Berry was
happily occupied with a plate of corn bread and a pitcher of milk.
Later on her mother talked seriously with the little girl, telling
Berry of the possible accidents that might have befallen her, and no
one at the cabin knowing where to look for her.

“And if you had given the letter to your father, my dear, he would
have read it and discovered if it was of any importance,” she
concluded. Mrs. Arnold did not ask any promise from Berry, for she
felt sure there would be no more midnight visits to the “witch-tree”;
and she did not for a moment imagine that Berry had resolved to do
“guard duty” for the camp at Pittsburg Landing.

A week passed, with heavy rains making the roads to Corinth nearly
impassable, and convincing Berry that there was no need for anyone
to look out for marching foes. But although Saturday morning, the
fifth of April, dawned in a furious rain, Berry resolved it was again
time for her to visit the distant ridge. But her father was ill that
morning; Lily was kept busy at household tasks, and Mrs. Arnold
required Berry’s assistance, so it was not until night that Berry
could leave the cabin.

Dark clouds were sweeping over the tops of the forest trees as the
little girl lowered herself from the window of her room and made her
way through the gathering darkness to the trail leading to Shiloh.
Long before her journey was completed she heard strange sounds and
muffled noises, but the rain had ceased and she went slowly forward,
stopping now and then to listen, but with no idea that, in spite of
rain and almost impassable roads, the Confederates had marched from
Corinth, and that in Shiloh woods yonder, grimly awaiting the dawn,
40,000 Confederate troops lay waiting the command to attack Pittsburg
Landing; an army that General Grant believed to be in Corinth, twenty
miles away. This stealthily moving host now lay on its arms, weary
from its day’s march. No fires had been lighted; and sheltered in the
shadowy forest a council of Confederate generals gathered in the small
clearing toward which Berry was noiselessly approaching.

The flicker of a light attracted the little girl’s attention, and she
made her way toward it, and in a moment stopped suddenly, too amazed
and frightened to comprehend that she was gazing upon one of the
important scenes in the history of the Civil War.

Resting on a stump was a lantern; a drum served as a writing-desk;
and seated on a blanket close by was General Hardee, broad-shouldered
and muscular; General Bragg, who sat beside him, was wan and haggard;
his iron gray beard and thin form in great contrast to that of
Hardee’s. Berry’s eyes rested longest on a dignified and martial
figure that paced slowly from the stump to the edge of the group.
Tall, erect and powerful, with a gray military cloak thrown over
his shoulders, General Albert Sidney Johnston, Commander of the
Confederate forces at Shiloh, might well hold the attention of any
observer; and Berry never forgot her only glimpse of this resolute and
fearless soldier who, before another sunset, was fated to fall on the
field of battle.

Walking quickly to and fro was a slender figure in gray uniform; the
soldierly and handsome Beauregard; and Generals Breckinridge and Polk
stood silent near by.

Berry, crouching behind a stump, could hear their entire conversation.
She heard Beauregard declare that the Union camp was entirely
unprepared to face an attack; that General Grant was nine miles
down the river, and on the other shore at that; and, as he bade
his companions good-night, he confidently announced, “Gentlemen,
to-morrow night we sleep in the enemy’s camp.”

Berry waited to hear no more. Here was the very opportunity for which
she had been waiting: to be of use to the cause for which Francis
was fighting. She quite forgot her reception at the Union camp that
morning of a week earlier as she realized how close at hand was the
attack upon them. She knew that no time must be lost. The night was
dark, and it would be no easy matter for her to find her way along
trails and over the streams, swollen by recent rains, that she must
cross to reach Pittsburg Landing. One clumsy step might plunge her
down the ravine, or into the muddy waters of the stream; but she did
not consider these things as she fearfully made her way from the
steadily moving sentinels about the sleeping army. Alert as they were,
they did not see or hear the little figure that slid from tree to tree
in the forest darkness; and Berry was soon on a shadowy trail that
would take her to the Corinth road leading to Pittsburg Landing.

Colonel Peabody, who commanded the first brigade of General Prentiss’s
division, had read the letter that Berry had given him; but, as
he believed it some sort of a hoax, gave it little attention.
Nevertheless he was vaguely uneasy that night of April fifth over the
safety of the camp, and, long after his companions were asleep he
paced about the plateau; and when a tired, panting little figure came
running toward him out of the shadows he stopped in amazement. Before
he could speak Berry was close beside him.

“I’m not a Southern boy; I’m a little Yankee girl from Vermont,”
she announced before the surprised officer could ask a question.
“And there are thousands of Confederate soldiers in Shiloh woods who
are going to march here early; perhaps they are coming now,” Berry
whispered, too tired to speak aloud. But she managed to answer the
officer’s sharp questions without faltering; and Colonel Peabody was
quickly convinced that this tired little girl had brought news that
might save the Pittsburg Landing camp from capture. He now realized
that the little figure beside him could hardly stand upright, and
lifting Berry in his arms he carried her to his tent and set her
gently down on his bed. “Rest here, brave little Yankee,” he said
kindly. “You have indeed proved your courage.”

Berry heard his words as if they were part of a dream; almost
instantly her eyes closed. Before she awoke the battle of Shiloh had
begun.

The morning of Sunday, April sixth, was already dawning as Colonel
Peabody hastened to dispatch five companies of soldiers down the
Corinth road. The divisions of McClernand, Prentiss and Sherman were
at once ready for action, while Generals Hurlburt and Wallace made
ready to defend the Landing. As the Union soldiers marched down the
Corinth road they were met by a rattling fire of musketry. It was
the advancing Confederates. Instantly the woods were alive with the
yells of the exultant Confederates. The Union generals, overwhelmed
by surprise, could only do their best to defend themselves. General
Sherman’s troops, with two batteries at Shiloh church, for a time held
off the foe. Sherman himself held his surprised troops to their task,
and was the chief figure on the Union side that day at Shiloh. General
W. H. Wallace moved his troops forward to Sherman’s assistance, but
the Union troops were forced steadily back toward the Landing, and by
afternoon the fate of the Union army was critical.

But at this crisis Nelson’s division, sent forward from General
Grant’s headquarters, arrived, and rushed upon the scene. Darkness
approached, and Beauregard called off his troops, confident that on
the morrow they could complete their triumph.

Next morning, however, the astounded Confederates beheld a new
enemy in the field: General Buell’s troops and those of General Lew
Wallace had arrived; and before Monday night the Confederate retreat
had begun. It was conducted with masterly order and precision. The
Confederates, winning the first day, were conquered only by the timely
arrival of Buell’s 25,000 fresh troops. But it is easy to picture
the disappointment of the brave Beauregard as he led his men back to
Corinth.

Berry had awakened to the roar of cannon, the reports of musketry, and
the calls of officers urging their men forward. She peered from the
tent door and wondered how she could ever again reach home. For the
first time she began to think of how troubled and anxious her mother
and father must be as they heard the reverberations of guns through
the ravines, and realized that a battle was under way, and discovered
that their little daughter was missing.

“But I couldn’t help it,” Berry whispered to herself, with a little
sob. “I had to come.” Her feet were nearly blistered, and she found it
difficult to walk, and crept back to the bed. It was nearly dusk when
a soldier stumbled into the tent, opened a box and muttered: “Here,
the Colonel said to give you a bite to eat,” and handed Berry some
hard crackers and strips of dried beef.

“There’s water in that jar,” he said, pointing to a stone jar on a
near-by table; and Berry drank thirstily.

“I want to go home!” she announced, turning toward where the soldier
had stood; but he had vanished. Berry again found herself alone. The
reports of artillery gradually ceased; darkness settled over the camp;
and the little girl, who had brought the news of the advancing enemy,
was apparently forgotten.



                            CHAPTER XVIII

                           AFTER THE BATTLE


Berry’s absence from home on the morning of the battle of Shiloh made
Mr. and Mrs. Arnold seriously anxious. The fact that Lily had also
disappeared was of some comfort, however, for they knew the colored
girl would do her best to protect and shield her young mistress
from any danger. The position of the Arnolds’ cabin in the remote
ravine was, fortunately, out of range of the guns, and the terrible
encounters between the Confederate and Union forces were all several
miles beyond the ridge that sheltered the cabin. But Sunday, with the
echoing sound of guns, passed slowly by to the nearly frantic parents.
To venture far from the cabin was not to be considered; and, added to
their anxiety for Berry, was the fear of what might have befallen Mrs.
Bragg and Mollie. But at the approach of night the sound of musketry
ceased, the roar of cannon died away for a time, and a heavy rain
began to fall. But with darkness came a new sound: Union gunboats
had come up the Tennessee River and began a steady fire upon the
Confederates. Sleep was impossible, and when Monday morning came Mr.
Arnold declared that he must go in search of Berry, and Mrs. Arnold
determined to accompany him. But as they turned down the familiar
trail, two miles from the cabin, to the brook, where Berry had met
the spy, they could see the dense smoke from the guns rising in every
direction; and down a near-by road a mass of Confederate soldiers in
their gray uniforms dashed by.

“It is of no use to go any farther. We may be shot by stray bullets,
or taken prisoners as ‘suspicious’ strangers,” said Mr. Arnold.
“Possibly some friendly officer has taken charge of Berry and Lily,
and when the battle ends will send them safely home. All we can do is
to return to the cabin and wait!”

Mrs. Arnold sadly agreed, and they made their way home, wondering
anxiously as to the course of the battle.

“If the Union army had any warning at all of the advance of the
Confederates they may be able to defend the Landing,” said Mr.
Arnold, as they again reached the cabin.

When Lily awakened on Sunday morning to the sound of echoing
artillery, and when she discovered that Berry was not at home, she at
once understood what had happened.

“Missie Berry’s at de Union camp!” she promptly decided, “an’ I’se
gwine dar ter tek keer ob her,” and Lily was off like the wind. But
she found it no easy matter to reach her destination.

After she had left the rough ridge where the Arnolds’ cabin stood and
made her way down the ravine she was instantly in the midst of moving
masses of Confederates; and it took all her alertness and caution to
avoid discovery. For hours she crouched in thickets, and once even
marched steadily along with a division of soldiers who were driving
Union soldiers back toward the Landing; and darkness had begun to
gather before the tired, frightened Lily reached the plateau above
the Tennessee River, from where the thunder of guns held back the
advancing Confederates.

Slowly and cautiously Lily crept along the embankment. Rain began
to fall; darkness came; and the Confederates fell back; and the
exhausted Lily crawled along and at last found herself near a tent.

“I reckon I’ll jes’ go in dar,” she thought, “an’ wait til’ dis rain
stops,” and, making no more noise than a woodland rabbit, Lily softly
crept under the swinging flap of the tent. But, quietly as she had
entered, ears as sharp as her own, and eyes accustomed to shadowy
woodland ways, had discovered her.

“Who’s there?” called a familiar voice; and Lily jumped to her feet
and ran forward.

“My lan’! Missie Berry!” she exclaimed. “Ain’ I de lucky nigger ter
cum right to dis tent! I’se bin all day a-gettin’ har!”

“Oh, Lily!” For a moment Berry clung silently to the faithful girl who
had braved every danger to reach her young mistress; and then quickly
told the story of her discovery of the Confederates in Shiloh woods.
“And now I want to go home. We’ll start this minute!” she exclaimed
eagerly.

“We cyan’t, Missie Berry! Dar’s milluns ob men a-fightin’ out dar! An’
lissen ter dat rain, Missie Berry! If we wusn’t killed by guns we’d be
droun’d daid! We shu’ wu’d, Missie Berry. An’ yo’ ma and pa dey knows
I’ll tek keer ob yo’,” Lily concluded, and Berry at last agreed not to
attempt to start for home until the next morning. Lily curled up on
the floor beside the cot where Berry lay; and, in spite of storm and
the crashing sound of guns, the girls were soon fast asleep.

On Monday Lily was awake at an early hour, and left the camp to
skirmish for food. It was too serious a moment in the great battle for
Colonel Peabody to remember the little Yankee girl in his tent, but
Lily managed to secure a quantity of hard biscuit and refilled the
water jug. “We kin go home ter-night, I reckon,” she assured Berry,
who was now rested and eager to leave the tent.

Early that afternoon the sound of cheers echoed along the plateau, and
Berry and Lily ventured to peer from the tent. A soldier rushed past
them shouting: “Beauregard’s men are retreating. The Battle of Shiloh
is over!”

“Praise de Lawd!” said Lily; “an’ I hopes dis ends de noise.”

By four o’clock the last shot had been fired, and the Union generals
found that in the two days’ battle 15,000 Union soldiers had been
killed or taken prisoners by the enemy, while the Confederate loss
was not over 10,699 men.

In spite of Berry’s pleading Lily resolutely refused to start for home
until night.

“’Tain’ safe, Missie Berry! Jes’ wait!” she insisted; and Berry at
last agreed.

It was six o’clock when the flap to the tent was drawn back and
Colonel Peabody, his arm in a sling and a bandage about his head,
stood smiling in the doorway.

“Thank heaven you are here, and safe!” he exclaimed, as Berry started
toward him; and then, discovering Lily, dressed in Francis’s old
clothes, added, “Where did this boy come from?”

“From my home; it’s Lily!” Berry explained. “She’s going to take me
home!”

The officer looked puzzled, but asked no further question in regard
to Lily; and a moment later a soldier appeared with a pitcher of hot
coffee, a plate of fried eggs and bacon, and another of biscuit. He
set the food on a rough table and Colonel Peabody at once drew a
stool toward it. He had hardly tasted food since the beginning of the
battle, but he did not forget his visitors, and Berry was told to sit
beside him, while Lily was given a liberal share. They were all too
hungry to talk until they had satisfied their hunger, and Colonel
Peabody was the first to speak.

“Now, little Yankee girl, tell me your name, or, better still, write
it down for me. You will find some paper and a pencil in that box,”
and he pointed toward a wooden box at the head of the cot.

“Write your father’s name also,” he added, as Berry began to write.

“My brother Francis is a Union soldier. He’s a Corporal!” Berry
proudly announced, as she handed Colonel Peabody the paper on which
she had written her own name and that of her father.

“Well, I think you should be a General!” declared the officer.
“So your name is Berenice Arnold!” said Colonel Peabody, and in a
thoughtful tone he repeated: “Berenice Arnold, the little Yankee girl
of Shiloh,” and then added: “If you had not reached us when you did
with your warning of the advancing Confederates this camp would surely
have been captured. General Grant will thank you himself.”

“Missie Berry, I reckons we better be startin’,” whispered Lily, and,
before Berry could respond, Colonel Peabody rose to his feet and said:

“Before you go, Berenice, I must take you to the hero of the day,
General William T. Sherman. His efforts led us to victory,” and
resting his hand on Berry’s shoulder the wounded officer moved toward
the door of the tent, with Lily close at his heels.

The Union generals were gathered in a tent near by discussing the
fortunes of the day. General Rousseau, whose brigade had swept
everything before it; General McCook and Crittenden, who, against
tremendous odds, had held their stand at Shiloh church, and General
Buell, whose arrival had given victory to the Union forces, were all
gathered about General Sherman as Colonel Peabody with his two odd
companions appeared in the open doorway of the tent. Very briefly
he told the story of Berry’s flight through the forest on the night
before the Battle of Shiloh to bring the news of the stealthy
advance of the enemy, and with a gentle push sent Berry toward the
black-whiskered, grave-faced General whose keen eyes softened as they
rested on the slender little figure; and, as he clasped Berry’s hand
and smiled down upon her, Berry wished with all her heart that there
was some greater service she could do for the man who had that day won
an undying fame.

Later on, when Berry attempted to repeat to her father and mother what
General Sherman had said to her, she found that all she could remember
was that he had called her “a brave little Yankee girl,” and, when
Colonel Peabody summoned a tall young soldier to go to the outskirts
of the camp with the girls, that each one of the great generals had
clasped her hand and smiled upon her and repeated General Sherman’s
words.

The late April twilight had begun to fade when Mr. and Mrs. Arnold
from their seats on the cabin porch heard the sound of a clear
whistle, three times repeated, Berry’s signal, and started to their
feet to see Berry, with Lily close behind her, running toward the
cabin. And when the little girl told the story of her night watch
in Shiloh woods, her journey to the Union camp, and all that had so
quickly followed, her mother and father listened in amazement. There
was no word of blame for the girl who had been intent only on being of
service to the cause for which her brother was fighting.

“We have two soldiers in the family!” her father declared proudly, as
she finished the story of her adventures.

“I tole Missie Berry yo’d know I’d tek keer ob her,” said the smiling
Lily, as Mrs. Arnold said to the faithful girl that she had been sure
Lily had followed her young mistress.

“Len Bragg is at home,” said Mr. Arnold; “he was wounded, but not
seriously, in the fight along Corinth road, and carried to the cabin.
I have just returned from there, and must go down again to-morrow
morning.”



                             CHAPTER XIX

                            GENERAL GRANT


The sunny April days brought many blossoms along the Tennessee ravines
near Shiloh; trillium and butterwort, arbutus and violets were to be
found, and masses of dogwood bloomed along the slopes, where only a
few weeks earlier the fierce Battle of Shiloh had raged. The Union
fleet had moved down the Tennessee; Beauregard, convinced that the
campaign was lost, was about to leave Corinth in the possession of
Grant’s army, and it was felt that the Union cause would soon triumph.

In the Arnolds’ cabin the little household had returned to the
peaceful occupations of the days before the two armies had come
so near to them. Berry’s garden flourished; Lily was becoming a
well-trained servant, and Mr. Arnold was rapidly gaining strength.
Within two weeks after Beauregard’s defeat Steve Bragg had appeared
at his cabin, and was as warmly welcomed as if he had been a brave
soldier returned from war. It was soon evident, however, that a
change had come over Mr. Bragg, for he at once began to work steadily.
He enlarged the garden; cut logs with which he built a shelter for the
calf that Mr. Arnold gave him; made repairs on the old cabin, and was
so praised by his wife and children for his industry that he firmly
resolved that in the future no one should ever again truthfully speak
of him as “Shiftless Steve.” When he looked at his wounded soldier son
Mr. Bragg also made many other excellent resolves.

It was late in May when Mr. Arnold made his first trip since the
preceding autumn to Corinth, and brought back the long-hoped-for
letter from Francis, who was with the Union forces in Virginia, and
wrote that he was well. But it seemed to Berry that her father had
other good news; he smiled so often, she noticed, and Berry had been
quick to see that, whatever it was, her mother was in the secret.

“Maybe it is about going back to Vermont this summer,” she decided,
for Berry knew that her father and mother were both hopeful that a
return to their New England home might soon be possible, and when
Mrs. Arnold announced that she was going to have a party, Berry was
convinced that she was right in her conclusions.

“Of course ‘a party’ means that we are to have the Bragg family to
dinner,” said Berry. But Mrs. Arnold shook her head smilingly.

“That’s not what this party means. Although Len is so much better
that we will ask them all to come up on next Sunday. This party is a
surprise!” she responded.

“Tell me, Mother! Oh! Please tell me!” urged Berry, but Mrs. Arnold
laughingly refused.

“No, my dear! Not until the very day comes. And then you are to wear
your white muslin dress. I will let out the tucks and the seams so it
will do, and your Roman sash, and be a real little Yankee girl. And
Lily shall have a dress and a white apron and cap. And I shall wear
my gray tibet dress, and your father will wear a white collar! Yes,
indeed! It is to be a great occasion!” and Mrs. Arnold laughed again,
as if her secret was one that meant a great pleasure near at hand.

So Berry was greatly puzzled, and she and Lily waited expectantly for
the day to come when they would be told to discard knickerbockers and
blouses and put on the dresses that were ready for them, and on the
morning of June first, Berry awoke to find her mother taking the white
muslin dress from the closet.

“Oh, Mother! Is to-day the party?” exclaimed the little girl,
springing out of bed. “And who is it, Mother? Who is coming? You said
you would tell me when the day came!” And Berry seized her mother’s
arm and looked pleadingly up at her mother’s smiling face.

“Yes; as soon as you are dressed, dear!” responded Mrs. Arnold. “Put
on your white stockings and slippers, and make these short curls as
neat as you can!” and she touched Berry’s brown hair, and left the
room.

“Oh! How can I wait!” thought Berry impatiently as she hurried to
dress. “If I was in Vermont I should think it was either the minister,
or Aunt Melvina coming to visit,” she decided, as she vigorously
brushed her brown curls.

When Berry reached the kitchen she exclaimed in amazement, for the
table was spread for six people. Its coarse cover was white as
snow, and the blue of the dishes, the glass dish filled with wild
strawberries, and the white bowl filled with violets, gave it a very
festive air. Lily, in a blue dress, and wearing a white cap and
apron, was busy at the stove, and Mrs. Arnold was just cutting out
a pan of rolls, while Berry’s father, “dressed for church,” as the
little girl exclaimed, stood in the open doorway over which hung the
American flag.

“Who is it? Who is it that is coming? I should think it was General
Grant himself!” exclaimed Berry as she ran toward her father.

Before Mrs. Arnold could speak and fulfil her promise there was the
sound of hoofs, the jangle of harness, and Mr. Arnold ran down the
path. Berry was close behind him, but she suddenly stopped short.

“It’s Colonel Peabody!” she exclaimed, and then noticed a bearded man,
mounted on a fine gray horse, whom her father was eagerly welcoming.
Behind these two officers rode the young soldier, whom Berry instantly
remembered as the one who had guided Lily and herself from the camp at
Pittsburg Landing.

The two officers dismounted, and the young soldier took charge of
their horses.

Berry stood on the path not knowing quite what to do, but Colonel
Peabody came to meet her, and in a moment Berry was being led
toward that quiet, unimposing, and unostentatious officer,
Brigadier-General U. S. Grant; whom, in 1862, neither public opinion,
nor his own thought, had marked out for the mighty achievements before
him.

[Illustration: “HERE IS THE LITTLE MESSENGER OF WHOM I TOLD YOU.”]

As Berry heard Colonel Peabody say: “General Grant, here is the little
messenger of whom I told you, the Yankee girl of Shiloh!” she looked
up to meet the steady, friendly glance of the grave eyes of the great
General of the Civil War, and it was Berry who walked beside him to
the cabin door, and who sat at his right hand at that simple breakfast
party where the war-worn soldiers feasted on hot rolls and coffee, and
praised the broiled chicken and hominy that Mrs. Arnold and Lily had
so carefully prepared.

The visit was a brief one; within an hour the “party” was over, and
General Grant and his companions were again on horseback. As Berry
bade them good-bye General Grant rested his hand lightly on the curly
head, and said gravely:

“Good-bye, Berenice. Be sure I shall not forget you,” and Berry smiled
up at the serious face and responded:

“I wish I were a soldier, like my brother Francis, and could fight in
your army, General Grant.”

After the last sound of the horses’ feet had died away, and Berry had
ceased to exclaim over the “surprise,” Mr. Arnold told the little girl
more fully of the great honor that had befallen her.

“General Grant’s visit was wholly for you, Berry,” he said soberly.
“Colonel Peabody told me of the plan on the day of my visit to
Corinth. And you must not forget the honor of such a visit.”

Berry nodded silently. Her thoughts drifted back to the night when in
Shiloh woods she crouched listening to the words of the Confederate
generals planning their attack on Grant’s army.

“I never can forget it,” she responded, and added quickly: “Nor the
Battle of Shiloh, Father! Or anything that has happened this winter.
But I do wish we could go home to Vermont.”

“Well, my dear, that is just what we are going to do. General Grant
has given us passes through the Union lines, and within a few weeks we
will start,” replied Mr. Arnold smilingly.

“Oh, Lor’! W’ot’s gwine ter become ob me?” wailed a smothered voice
close at hand, and Berry turned to find Lily, with her apron thrown
over her head, swaying back and forth on the path.

“You will go with us, of course!” Berry declared, and Mr. Arnold
promptly repeated her words: “‘Of course,’” and instantly Lily was
smiling radiantly.

But Mollie Bragg heard the news of Berry’s departure with a sad heart.
Not even the gifts that the Arnolds bestowed on Mollie’s mother could
comfort the little mountain girl for the loss of the only playmate she
had ever known. The only comfort for Mollie was the fact that Berry
promised to write to her, from far-off Vermont.

“And you can write to me, Mollie,” Berry reminded her, and at this a
smile crept over the little girl’s face.

“Yes, I kin,” she responded proudly. “Len says I’m a right smart
writer.”

“And sometime I’ll come back and see you,” Berry promised.

Mollie’s pale eyes brightened. “Oh, Berry! I hopes you will come
back,” she said eagerly. “Promise you will.” And again Berry
promised. But it was many years before the little Yankee girl visited
the cabin on the ridge beyond the battlefield of Shiloh, and fulfilled
the promise to the little mountain girl.



          The Stories in this Series are:
      A YANKEE GIRL AT FORT SUMTER
      A YANKEE GIRL AT BULL RUN
      A YANKEE GIRL AT SHILOH
      A YANKEE GIRL AT GETTYSBURG (in press)



Transcriber’s Notes:

    Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).
    Retained anachronistic and non-standard spelling and grammar as
      printed.
    Removed redundant title from bottom of Illustrations page.





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