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A War-Time Wooing by Charles King

A WAR-TIME WOOING

A Story

by

CAPTAIN CHARLES KING, U. S. A.

Illustrated

New York Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square Copyright, 1888, by Harper & Brothers. All rights reserved.

[Illustration: "_Colonel Putnam raises to the light of the first lantern a hairy, bushy object._"--[See p. 50.]]

ILLUSTRATIONS.

"COLONEL PUTNAM RAISES TO THE LIGHT OF THE FIRST LANTERN A HAIRY, BUSHY OBJECT" _Frontispiece_

"THE VIRGINIANS KNEW A BRAVE MAN WHEN THEY SAW ONE" _Facing page_ 8

"THE WHOLE TROOP IS HURRIEDLY SADDLING" " 70

"THEN BATHES, WITH COLOGNE, THE WHITE TEMPLES AND SOFT, RIPPLING, SUNNY HAIR" " 90

"BACK COME THOSE DAREDEVILS OF STUART'S" " 110

"A CAVALRY ORDERLY MAKES HIS APPEARANCE AT THE DOOR" " 136

"THEN A YOUNG SOLDIER, IN HIS STAFF UNIFORM, TAKES THREE SPRINGING STEPS, AND IS AT HER SIDE" " 172

"DRAWS FORTH HER PRECIOUS PICTURE AND LAYS IT AT A RIVAL'S FEET" " 194

A WAR-TIME WOOING.

I.

After months of disaster there had come authentic news of victory. All Union-loving men drew a long breath of relief when it was certain that Lee had given up the field and fallen back across the Potomac. The newsboys, yelling through the crowded streets in town, and the evening trains arriving from the neighboring city were besieged by eager buyers of the "extras," giving lists of the killed and wounded. Just at sunset of this late September day a tall young girl, in deep mourning, stood at a suburban station clinging to the arm of a sad, stern-featured old man. People eyed them with respect and sympathy, not unmixed with rural curiosity, for Doctor Warren was known and honored by one and all. A few months agone his only son had been brought home, shot to death at the head of his regiment, and was laid in his soldier grave in their shaded churchyard. It was a bitter trial, but the old man bore up sturdily. He was an eager patriot; he had no other son to send to the front and was himself too old to serve; it had pleased God to demand his first-born in sacrifice upon his country's altar, and though it crushed his heart it could not kill his loyalty and devotion. His whole soul seemed with the army in Virginia; he had nothing but scorn for those who lagged at home, nothing but enthusiastic faith in every man who sought the battle-front, and so it happened that he almost welcomed the indications that told him his daughter's heart was going fast--given in return for that of a soldier lover.

For a moment it had dazed him. She was still so young--so much a child in his fond eyes--still his sweet-faced, sunny-haired baby Bess. He could hardly realize she was eighteen even when with blushing cheeks she came to show him the photograph of a manly, gallant-looking young soldier in the uniform of a lieutenant of infantry. Strange as the story may seem to-day, there was at the time nothing very surprising about its most salient feature--she and her hero had never met.


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