ttempted; but the discordant voices that joined in the effort sounded so very like the voices of the wild Indians in their war-whoop, that the proprietor, at once awakened and fully persuaded that his peaceful residence was surrounded by a party of marauding Yankees, carefully opened a window and begged most anxiously that the building and the lives of its inmates might be spared, promising that he would do his best to satisfy our demands.
His surprise and delight, when at last he recognised Jeb Stuart's voice, cannot be described.
In a few minutes the whole household, young and old, were aroused, and we remained talking with our kind friends, until the morning sun, stealing through the curtains of the drawing-room, reminded us that it was time to be off. And so, after a hasty but hearty breakfast, we took leave of the hospitable family and rode back to our command.
Meanwhile the Federal army had halted in the neighbourhood of Fairfax Court-house, and was there throwing up intr
ed banjo-player, Joe Sweeney, forerunner of all the Christy's;--Bob Sweeney, who also played this favourite instrument of the family with amazing cleverness; who knew sentimental, bibulous, martial, nautical, comic songs out of number; who was carried about with him by the General everywhere; who will have a conspicuous place in some of our later adventures; and who, after having safely passed through many accidents of war, died at last of small-pox, regretted by everybody, but most of all by Jeb.
Bob was assisted by two of our couriers who played the violin, musicians of inferior merit; but his chief reliance was in Mulatto Bob, Stuart's servant, who worked the bones with the most surprising and extraordinary agility, and became so excited that both head and feet were in constant employment, and his body twisted about so rapidly and curiously that one could not help fearing that he would dislocate his limbs and fly to pieces in the midst of the break-down.