xt798s4jmj7x https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt798s4jmj7x/data/mets.xml Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. 190618  books b92-230-31280747v11 English C. Scribner's sons, : New York : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 11) text Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 11) 1906 2002 true xt798s4jmj7x section xt798s4jmj7x 












PLANTATION

  EDITION



VOLUME XI

 

































































Over Evelyn he bent silently.
          (PAGE 212)

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Af THE NOVELS, STORIES,
SKETCHES AND POEMS OF



THOMAS NELSON



PAGE Af



TWO ALITTLE



AMONG THE.



CONFEDERATES



CAMPS



    TWO PRISONERS






CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
NEW YORK,  4 + + 1906

 




















TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
     Copyright, 1888, by
  CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


  AMONG THE CAMPS
     Copyright, 1891, by
 Ca-urA S SCRIBNER'S SONS


     TWO PRISONERS
     Copyright, 1898, by
  ROBERT HOWARD RuSSELL
     Copyright, 1903, by
   HARPER & BROTHERS


     Copyright, 1906, by
  CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

    AlU Rights Reserved

 















                CONTENTS


                                          PAGE
TWO LIT'TLE CONFEDERATES  . .... .   . . . 3


AMONG THE CAMPS

   A CAPTURED SANTA CLAUS.     .  .. .. 173

   KITTYKIN, AND THE PART SHE PLAYED IN THE WAR . 217

   "NANCY PANSY.. . . . .   . .. . . . . . 243

   "JACK AND JAKE. .. . . . . . . .. . . . 296


TWO PRISONERS ............ . . 353

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                 ILLUSTRATIONS



"OVER EVELYN HE BENT SILENTLY" .. .  . . .   . Frontispiece
Drawn by W. L. Jacobs
                                              FACING PAGR
"'I 'M IN COMMAND,' SAID THE GENT: EMAN, SMILING AT HIM
    OVER THE TOWEL ......... .    . . . .. .   .  . 20
 Drawn by A. C. Redwood


THE MAJOR'S CHRISTMAS PRESENTS .                    162
Drawn by W. L. Jacobs

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TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES

 






















TO MY MOTHER






















     ii

 






                  TWO
  LITTLE CONFEDERATES


                     I

T HE "Two Little Confederates " lived at
IOakland. It was not a handsome place,
as modern ideas go, but down in Old Virginia,
where the standard was different from the later
one, it passed in old times as one of the best
plantations in all that region. The boys thought
it the greatest place in the world, of course ex-
cepting Richmond, where they had been one
year to the fair, and had seen a man pull
fire out of his mouth, and do other wonderful
things. It was quite secluded. It lay, it is true,
right between two of the county roads, the
Court-house Road being on one side, and on
the other the great "Mountain Road," down
which the large covered wagons with six horses
and jingling bells used to go; but the lodge lay
this side of the one, and "the big woods," where
the boys shot squirrels, and hunted 'possums
                    3

 


     TWO LITTLE      CONFEDERATES
and coons, and which reached to the edge of
"Holetown," stretched between the house and
the other, so that the big gate-post where the
semi-weekly mail was left by the miail-rider each
Tuesday and Friday afternoon was a long walk,
even by the near cut through the woods. The
railroad was ten miles away by the road. There
was a nearer way, only about half the distance,
by which the negroes used to walk, and which
during the war, after all the horses were gone,
the boys, too, learned to travel; but before that,
the road by Trinity Church and Honeyman's
Bridge was the only route, and the other was
simply a dim bridle-path, and the "horseshoe-
ford" was known to the initiated alone.
  The mansion itself was known on the planta-
tion as "the great-house," to distinguish it from
all the other houses on the place, of which there
were many. It had as many wings as the angels
in the vision of Ezekiel.
  These additions had been made, some in one
generation, some in another, as the size of the
family required; and finally, when there was no
side of the original structure to which another
wing could be joined, a separate building had
been erected on the edge of the yard which was
called " The Office," and was used as such, as
                     4

 

     TWO LITTLE CONTFEDERATES
well as for a lodging-place by the young men
of the family. The privilege of sleeping in the
Office was highly esteemed, for, like the toga
virilis, it marked the entrance upon manhood of
the youths who were fortunate enough to enjoy
it. There smoking was admissible, there the
guns were kept in the corner, and there the dogs
were allowed to sleep at the feet of their young
masters, or in bed with thenm, if they preferred it.
  In one of the rooms in this building the boys
went to school whilst small, and another they
looked forward to having as their own when they
should be old enough to be elevated to the
coveted dignity of sleeping in the Office. Hugh
already slept there, and gave himself airs in
proportion; but Hugh they regarded as a very
aged person; not as old, it was true, as their
cousins who came down from college at Christ-
mas, and who, at the first outbreak of war, all
rushed into the army; but each of these was in
the boys' eyes a Methuselal.. Hugh had his own
horse and the double-barrelled gun, and when
a fellow got those there was little material
difference between him and other men, even if
he did have to go to the academy,-which was
really something like going to school.
  The boys were Frank and Willy; Frank being
                     5

 

    TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
the eldest. They went by several names on the
place. Their mother called them her "'little
men,'" with inuch pride; Uncle Balla spoke of
them as ' them chillern,"' which generally im-
plied somethling of reproach; and Lucy Ann,
who had been taken into the house to " run
after" them wlhen they were little boys, always
coupled their names as "Frank 'n' Willy."
Peter and Cole did the same when their mistress
was not by.
  W1hen there first began to be talk at Oakland
about the war, the boys thought it would be a
dreadful thing; their principal ideas about war
being formed from an intimate acquaintance
with the Bible and its accounts of the wars of
the Children of Israel, in whieh men, women and
children were invariably put to the sword. This
gave a vivid conception of its horrors.
  One evening, in the midst of a discussion
about the approaching crisis, Willy astonished
the company, who were discussing the merits of
probable leaders of the Union armies, by sud-
denly announcing that lie 'd "bet they didn't
have any general who could beat Joab."
  Up to the time of the war, the boys had led a
very uneventful, but a very pleasant life. They
used to go hunting with Hugh, their older
                     6

 

    TWO LITTLE CONFEDEIRATES
brother, when he would let them go, and after
the cows with Peter and Cole. Old Balla, the
driver, was their boon comrade and adviser, and
taught them to make whips, and traps for hares
and birds, as he had taught them to ride and to
cobble shoes.
  He lived alone (for his wife had been set free
years before, and lived in Philadelphia). His
room over "the old kitchen " was the boys' play-
room when he would permit them to come in.
There were so many odds and ends in it that it
was a delightful place.
  Then the boys played blindman's-buff in the
house, or hide-and-seek about the yard or gar-
den, or upstairs in their den, a narrow alcove
at the top of the house.
  The little willow-shadowed creek, that ran
through the meadow behind the barn, was one of
their haunts. They fished in it for minnows and
little perch; they made danms and bathed in it;
and sometimes they played pirates upon its
waters.
  Once they made an extended search up and
down its banks for any fragments of Pharaoh's
chariots which might have been washed up so
high; but that was when they were younger and
did not have much sense.
                     7

 







II



THERE was great excitement at Oakland
1T  during the John Brown raid, and the
boys' grandmother used to pray for him and
Cook, whose pictures were in the papers.
  The boys became soldiers, and drilled punc-
tiliously with guns which they got Uncle Balla
to make for them. Frank was the captain, Willy
the first lieutenant, and a dozen or more little
negroes composed the rank and file, Peter and
Cole being trusted file-closers.
  A little later they found their sympathies all
on the side of peace and the preservation of the
Union. Their uncle was for keeping the Union
unbroken, and ran for the Convention against
Colonel Richards, who was the chief officer of
the militia in the county, and was as blood-
thirsty as Tamerlane, who reared the pyramid
of skulls, and as hungry for military renown as
the great Napoleon, about whom the boys had
read.
  There was immense excitement in the county
                     8

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
over the election. Though the boys' mother had
made them add to their prayers a petition that
their Uncle William might win, and that he
might secure the blessings of peace; and though
at family prayers, night and morning, the same
petition was presented, the boys' uncle was
beaten at the polls by a large majority. And
then they knew there was bound to be war, and
that it niust be very wicked. They almost felt
the "invader's heel," and the invaders were in-
variably spoken of as "cruel.," and the heel was
described as of "iron," and was always men-
tioned as engaged in the act of crushing. They
would have been terribly alarmed at this cruel
invasion had they not been reassured by the
general belief of the community that one South-
erner could whip ten Yankees, and that, collec-
tively, the South could drive back the North with
popguns. WNhen the war actually broke out, the
boys were the niost enthusiastic of rebels, and
the troops in Camp Lee did not drill more con-
tinuously nor industriously.
  Their father, who had been a Whig and op-
posed secession until the very last, on Virginia 's
seceding, finally cast his lot with his people, and
joined an infantry company; and Uncle William
raised and equipped an artillery company, of
                     9

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
which lie was chosen captain; but the infantry
was too tame and the artillery too ponderous to
suit the boys.
  They were taken to see the drill of the county
troop of cavalry, with its prancing horses and
clanging sabres. It was commanded by a
cousin; and from that moment they were cav-
alrymen to the core. They flung away their stick-
guns in disgust; and Uncle Balla spent two
grumbling days fashioning themr. a stableful of
horses with real heads and "sure 'nough"
leather bridles.
  Once, indeed, a secret attempt was made to
utilize the horses and mules which were running
in the back pasture; but a premature discovery
of the matter ended in such disaster to all con-
cerned that the plan was abandoned, and the
boys had to content themselves with their
wooden steeds.
  The day that the final orders came for their
father and uncle to go to Richmond,-from
which point they were ordered to "the Penin-
sula, "-the boys could not understand why
every one was suddenly plunged into such dis-
tress. Then, next morning, when the soldiers
left, the boys could not altogether comprehend
it. They thought it was a very fine thing to be
                     10

 


     TWO LITTLE CONFFEIDERATES
allowed to ride Frank and Hun, the two war-
horses, with their new, deep army saddles and
long bits. They cried wher their father and
uncle said good-bye, and went away; but it was
because their mother looked so pale and ill, and
not because they did not think it was all grand.
They had no doubt that all would come back
soon, for old. Uncle Billy, the "head-man," who
had been born down in "Little York," where
Cornwallis surrendered, had expressed the sen-
timent of the whole plantation when he declared,
as he sat in the back yard surrounded by an ad-
miring throng, and surveyed with pride the two
glittering sabres which he had allowed no one
but himself to polish, that "Ef them Britishers
jest sees dese swodes dee '11 run!" The boys
tried to explain to him that these were not Brit-
ish, but Yankees,-but he was hard to convince.
Even Lucy Ann, who was incurably afraid of
everything like a gun or fire-arm, partook of the
general fervor, and boasted effusively that she
had actually "t etched Marse John 's big pistils. "
  Hugh, who was fifteen, and was permitted to
accompany his father to Richmond, was re-
garded by the boys with a feeling of mingled
envy and veneration, which he accepted with
dignified complacency.
                    11

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
  Frank and Willy soon found that war brought
some immunities. The house filled up so with
the families of cousins and friends who were
refugees that the boys were obliged to sleep in
the Office, and thus they felt that, at a bound,
they were almost as old as Hugh.
  There were the cousins from Gloucester, from
the Valley, and families of relatives from Balti-
more and New York, who had come south on the
declaration of war. Their fax orite was their
Cousin Belle, whose beauty at once captivated
both boys. This was the first time that the boys
knew anything of girls, except their own sister,
Evelyn; and after a brief period, during which
the novelty gave them pleasure, the inability of
the girls to hunt, climb trees, or play knucks,
etc., and the additional restraint which their
presence imposed, caused them to hold the
opinion that "girls were no good."



12

 








Ill



IN course of time they saw a great deal of "the
army, "-which     meant the Confederates.
The idea that the Yankees could ever get to Oak-
land never entered any one's head. It was un-
derstood that the army lay between Oakland and
them, and surely they could never get by the in-
numerable soldiers who were always passing up
one road or the other, and who, day after day
and night after night, were coming to be fed, and
were rapidly eating up everything that had been
left on the place. By the end. of the first year
they had been coming so long that they made
scarcely any difference; but the first time a
regiment camped in the neighborhood it created
great excitement.
  It became known one night that a calvary reg-
iment, in which were several of their cousins,
was encamped at Honeyman's Bridge, and the
boys' mother determined to send a supply of
provisions for the camp next morning; so sev-
eral sheep were killed, the smoke-house was
                    13

 


     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
opened, and all night long the great fires in the
kitchen and wash-house glowed; and even then
there was not room, so that a big fire was kin-
dled in the back yard, beside which saddles of
mutton were roasted in the tin kitchens. Every-
body was "rushing."
  The boys were told that they might go to see
the soldiers, and as they had to get off long be-
fore daylight, they went to bed early, and left
all "the other boys"-that is, Peter and Cole
and other colored children-squatting about the
fires and trying to help the cooks to pile on wood.
  It was hard to leave the exciting scene.
  They were very sleepy the next morning; in-
deed, they seemed scarcely to have fallen asleep
when Lucy Ann shook them; but they jumped up
without the usual application of cold water in
their faces, which Lucy Ann so delighted to
make; and in a little while they were out in the
yard, where Balla was standing holding three
horses,-their mother's riding-horse; another
with a side-saddle for their Cousin Belle, whose
brother was in the regiment; and one for him-
self,-and Peter and Cole were holding the car-
riage-horses for the boys, and several other men
were holding mules.
  Great hampers covered with white napkins
                     14

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
were on the porch, and the savory smell decided
the boys not to eat their breakfast, but to wait
and take their share with the soldiers.
  The roads were so bad that the carriage could
not go; and as the boys' mother wished to get
the provisions to the soldiers before they broke
camp, they had to set out at once. In a few min-
utes they were all in the saddle, the boys and
their mother and Cousin Belle in front, and
Balla and the other servants following close be-
hind, each holding before him a hamper, which
looked queer and shadowy as they rode on in the
darkness.
  The sky, which was filled with stars when they
set out, grew white as they splashed along mile
after mile through the mud. Then the road be-
came clearer; they could see into the woods, and
the sky changed to a rich pink, like the color of
peach-blossoms. Their horses were covered with
mud up to the saddle-skirts. They turned into
a lane only half a mile from the bridge, and, sud-
denly, a bugle rang out down in the wooded bot-
tom below them, and the boys hardly could be
kept from putting their horses to a run, so fear-
ful were they that the soldiers -were leaving, and
that they should not see them. Their mother,
however, told them that this was probably the
                     1 5

 


     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
reveille, or "rising-bell," of the soldiers. She
rode on at a good sharp canter, and the boys
were diverting themselves over a discussion as
to who would act the part of Lucy Ann in waking
the regiment of soldiers, when they turned a
curve, and at the end of the road, a few hundred
yards ahead, stood several horsemen.
  "There they are," exclaimed both boys.
  " No, that is a picket," said their mother;
' gallop on, Frank, and tell them we are bring-
ing breakfast for the regiment. "
  Frank dashed ahead, and soon they saw a
soldier ride forward to meet him, and, after a
few words, return with him to his comrades.
Then, while they were still a hundred yards dis-
tant, they saw Frank, who had received some
directions, start off again toward the bridge, at
a hard gallop. The picket had told him to go
straight on down the hill, and he would find the
camp just the other side of the bridge. He ac-
cordingly rode on, feeling very important at be-
ing allowed to go alone to the camp on such a
mission.
  As he reached a turn in the road, just above
the river, the whole regiment lay swarming be-
low him among the large trees on the bank of
the little stream. The horses were picketed to
                     16

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
 bushes and stakes, in long rows, the saddles ly-
 ing on the ground, not far off; and hundreds of
 men were moving about, some in full uniform
 and others without coat or vest. A half-dozen
 wagons with sheets on them stood on one side
 among the trees, near which several fires were
 smoking, with men around them.
 As Frank clattered up to the bridge, a soldier
 with a gun on his arm, who Lad been standing
 by the railing, walked out to the middle of the
 bridge.
 "Halt! Where are you going in such a hurry,
 my young man  " he said.
 "I wish to see the colonel," said Frank, re-
 peating as nearly as he could the words the
 picket had told him.
 "What do you want with him"
 Frank was tempted not to tell him; but he was
 so impatient to deliver his message before the
 others should arrive, that he told him what he
 had come for.
 "There he is," said the sentinel, pointing to
 i place among the trees where stood at least five
 hundred men.
 Frank looked, expecting to recognize the colo-
nel by his noble bearing, or splendid uniform,
or some striking marks.
                    17

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
  "Where" he asked, in doubt; for while a
number of the men were in uniform, he knew
these to be privates.
  "There," said the sentry, pointing; "by that
stump, near the yellow horse-blanket."
  Frank looked again. The only man he could
fix upon by the description was a young fellow,
washing his face in a tin basin, and he felt that
this could not be the colonel; but he did not like
to appear dull, so he thanked the man and rode
on, thinking he would go to the point indicated,
and ask some one else to show him the officer.
  He felt quite grand as he rode in among the
men, who, he thought, would recognize his im-
portance and treat him accordingly; but, as he
passed on, instead of paying him the respect he
had expected, they began to guy him with all
sorts of questions.
  "Hullo, bud, going to jine the cavalry"
asked one. "Which is oldest; you or your
horse" inquired another.
  "How's pa-and ma" "Does your mother
know you 're out" asked others. One soldier
walked up, and putting his hand on the bridle,
proceeded affably to ask him after his health,
and that of every member of his family. At first
Frank did not understand that they were mak-
                     18

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
ing fun of him, but it dawned on him when the
man asked him solemnly:
  "Are there any Yankees around, that you
were running away so fast just now6"
  "No; if there were I 'd never have found yoit
here," said Frank, shortly, i- reply; which at
once turned the tide in his favor and diverted
the ridicule from himself to his teaser, who was
seized by some of his comrades and carried off
with much laughter and slapping on the back.
  "I wish to see Colonel Marshall," said Frank,
pushing his way through the group that sur-
rounded him, and riding up to the man who was
still occupied at the basin on the stump.
  "All right, sir, I 'in the nman,'' said the indi-
vidual, cheerily looking up with his face drip-
ping and rosy from its recent scrubbing.
  "You the colonel !" exclaimed Frank, sus-
picious that he was again being ridiculed, and
thinking it impossible that this slim, rosy-faced
youngster, who was scarcely stouter than Hugh,
and who was washing in a tin basin, could be the
commander of all these soldierly-looking men,
many of whom were old enough to be his father.
  "Yes, I 'm the lieutenant-colcnel. I 'In in com-
mand, " said the gentleman, smiling at him over
the towel.
                    19

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
   Something made Frank understand that
 this was really the officer, and he gave his mes-
 sage, which was received with many expressions
 of thanks.
   "Won't you get down Here, Campbell, take
this horse, will you" he called to a soldier, as
Frank sprang from   his horse. The orderly
stepped forward and took the bridle.
  "Now, come with me," said the colonel, lead-
ing the way. "We must get ready to receive
your mother. There are some ladies coming-
and breakfast," he called to a group who were
engaged in the same occupation he had just
ended, and whom Frank knew by instinct to be
officers.
  The information seemed to electrify the little
knot addressed; for they began to rush around,
and in a few moments they all were in their uni-
forms, and surrounding the colonel, who, having
brushed his hair with the aid of a little glass
hung on a bush, had hurried into his coat and
was buckling on his sword and giving orders in
a way which at once satisfied Frank that he was
every inch a colonel.
  "Now let us go and receive your mother,'
said he to the boy. As he strode through the
camp with his coat tightly buttoned, his soft hat
                    20

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" I '111 in command,!' said the gentleman, smiling at him over the towel.

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     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
 set jauntily on the side of his head, his plumes
 sweeping over its side, and his sword clattering
 at his spurred heel, he presented a very different
 appearance from that which he had made a little
 before, with his head in a tin basin, and his face
 covered with lather. In fact, Colonel Marshall
 was already a noted officer, and before the end
 of the war he attainer still higher rank and
 reputation.
 The colonel met the rest of the party at the
 bridge, and introduced himself and several offi-
 cers who soon joined him. The negroes were
 directed to take the provisions over to the other
 side of the stream into the camp, and in a little
 while the whole regiment were enjoying the
 breakfast. The boys and their mother had at
 the colonel's request joined his mess, in which
 was one of their cousins, the brother of their
 cousin Belle.
 The gentlemen could eat scarcely anything,
 they were so busy attending tc the wants of the
 ladies. The colonel, particularly, waited on
 their cousin Belle all the time.
 As soon as they had finished the colonel left
 them, and a bugle blew. In a minute all was
bustle. Officers were giving orders; horses were
saddled and brought out; and, by what seemed
                     21

 

    TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
magic to the boys, the men, who just before were
scattered about among the trees laughing and
eating, were standing by their horses all in
proper order. The colonel and the officers came
and said good-bye.
  Again the bugle blew. Every man was in his
saddle. A few words by the colonel, followed by
other words from the captains, and the column
started, turning across the bridge, the feet of
the horses thundering on the planks. Then the
regiment wound up the hill at a walk, the men
singing snatches of a dozen songs, of which
"The Bonnie Blue Flag," "Lorena," and
"Carry me Back to Old Virginia Shore," were
the chief ones.
  It seemed to the boys that to be a soldier was
the noblest thing on earth; and that this regi-
ment could do anything.



22

 







IV



A     FTER this it became a common thing for
      passing regiments to camp near Oakland,
 and the fire blazed many a night, cooking for the
 soldiers, till the chickens were crowing in the
 morning. The negroes all had hen-houses and
 raised their own chickens, and when a camp was
 near them they used to drive a thriving trade
 on their own account, selling eggs and chickens
 to the privates while the officers were enter-
 tained in the "gret house."
 It was thought an honor to furnish food to the
 soldiers. Every soldier was to the boys a hero,
 and each young officer might rival Ivanhoe or
 Cceur de Lion.
 It was not a great while, however, before they
 learned that all soldiers were not like their fav-
 orite knights. At any rate, thefts were frequent.
 The absence of men from the plantations, and
 the constant passing of strangers made stealing
 easy; hen-roosts were robbed time after time,
and even pigs and sheep were taken without any
                     23

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
trace of the thieves. The boys' hen-house, how-
ever, which was in the yard, had never been
troubled. It was about their only possession,
and they took great pride in it.
  One night the boys were fast asleep in their
room in the office, with old Bruno and Nick
curled up on their sheepskins on the floor. Hugh
was away, so the boys were the only "men" on
the place, and felt that they were the protectors
of the plantation. The frequent thefts had made
every one very suspicious, and the boys had
made up their minds to be on the watch, and,
if possible, to catch the thief.
  The negroes said that the deserters did the
stealing.
  On the night in question, the boys were sound
asleep when old Bruno gave a. low growl, and
then began walking and sniffing up and down
the room. Soon Nick gave a sharp, quick bark.
  Frank waked first. He was not startled, for
the dogs were in the habit of barking whenever
they wished to go out-of-doors. Now, however,
they kept it up, and it was in a strain somewhat
different from their usual signal.
  "What's the matter with you Go and lie
down, Bruno, " called Frank. " Hush up, Nick! "
But Bruno would not lie down, and Nick would
                    24

 

    TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
not keep quiet, though at the sound of Frank's
voice they felt less responsibility, and contented
themselves with a low growling.
  After a little while Frank was on the point
of dropping off to sleep again, when he heard
a sound out in the yard, which at once thor-
oughly awakened him. He nudged Willy in the
side.
  "Willy-XWilly, wake up; there 's some one
moving around outdoors."
  " Umm-mm, " groaned Willy, turning over
and settling himself for another nap.
  The sound of a chicken chirping out in fright
reached Frank's ear.
  "Wake up, Willy!" he called, pinching him
hard. "There 's some one at the hen-house. "
  Willy was awake in a second. The boys con-
sulted as to what should be done. Willy was
sceptical. He thought Frank had been dream-
ing, or that it was only Uncle Balla, or "'some
one" moving about the yard. But a second
cackle of warning reached them, and in a minute
both boys were out of bed pulling on their
clothes with trembling impatience.
  "Let's go and wake Uncle Balla," proposed
Willy, getting himself all tangled in the legs of
his trousers.
                    2-

 


    TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
  "No; I '11 tell you what, let's catch him our-
selves," suggested Frank.
  "All right," assented Willy. "We '11 catch
him and lock him up; suppose he's got a pistol
your gun maybe won't go off; it does n 't always
burst the cap. "
  " Well, your old musket is loaded, and you can
hold him, while I snap the cap at him, and get it
ready. "
  "All right-I can't find my jacket-I '11 hold
him."
  "Where in the world is my hat" whispered
Frank. "Never mind, it must be in the house.
Let's go out the back way. We can get out with-
out his hearing us."
  "What shall we do with the dogs Let 's
shut them up."
  "No, let's take 'em with us. We can keep them
quiet and hold 'em in, and they can track him
if he gets away."
  "All right;" and the boys slowly opened the
door, and crept stealthily out, Frank clutching
his double-barrelled gun, and Willy hugging a
heavy musket which he had found and e-dhined
as one of the prizes of war. It was almost pitch-
dark.
They decided that one should take one side of
                    26

 

     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
the hen-house, and one the other side (in such a
way that if they had to shoot, they would almost
certainly shoot one another!) but before they
had separated both dogs jerked loose from their
bands and dashed away in the darkness, barking
furiously.
  "There he goes round the garden," shouted
Willy, as the sound of footsteps like those of a
man running with all his might came from the
direction which the dogs had taken.
  "Come on," and both started; but, after tak-
ing a few steps, they stopped to listen so that
they might trace the fugitive.
  A faint noise behind them arrested their atten-
tion, and Frank tiptoed back toward the hen-
house. It was too dark to see rauch, but he heard
the hen-house door creak, and was conscious
even in the darkness that it was being pushed
slowly open.
  "Here's one, Willy," he shouted, at the same
time putting his gun to his shoulder and pulling
the trigger. The hammer fell with a sharp
"click" just as the door was snatched to with a
bang. The cap had failed to explode, or the
chicken-eating days of the individual in the hen-
house would have ended then and there.
  The boys stood for some moments with their
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     TWO LITTLE CONFEDERATES
guns pointed at the door of the hen-house ex-
pecting the person within to attempt to burst
out; but the click of the hammer and their hur-
ried conference without, in which it was
promptly agreed to let him have both barrels
if he appeared, reconciled him to remaining
within.
  After some time it was decided to go and wake
Uncle Balla, and confer with him as to the
proper disposition of their captive. Accordingly,
Frank went off to obtain help, while Willy re-
mained to watch the hen-house. As Frank left
he called back:
  "Willy, you take good aim at him, and if he
pokes his head out-let him have it!"
  This Willy solemnly promised to do.
  Frank was hardly out of hearing before Willy
was surprised to hear the prisoner call him by
name in the most friendly and familiar manner,
although the voice was a strange one.
  "Willy, is that you  " called the person inside.
  "Yes."
  "Where's Frank"
  "Gone to get Uncle Balla."
  "Did you see th