virile divertisements of camp.
His surroundings were all in unison with his youthful love of movement, incident, and adventure.
He rarely settled down, unless compelled to do so, in any formal headquarters.
“Here to-day and away to-morrow,” might have been considered one of his maxims.
Thus his quarters were, except in winter, the most impromptu affairs.
A canvas “fly” stretched over a pole, the horses affixed to the boughs of the forest near, saddled and champering their bits, the red battle-flag rippling in the brilliant sunshine, couriers going and coming, the staff grouped around, waiting, booted and spurred, for the order to mount, which they knew might come at any moment, and from the canvas tent the song or laughter of Stuart
busy at his desk, from which he would rise from time to time to come to the opening, yawn, throw a jest at some one, and then return to his work-such, in brief outline, were these first bivouacs of Stuart
, who always moved in “light marching order,” that is to say, with his blanket behind his saddle, and his hat, gloves, and sabre beside him; a true cavalier, ready at all moments to be up and away.
With his staff officers, Stuart
was perfectly familiar, and more.
like a “big boy” among a group of small ones, than a general enthroned among subordinates.
It was his delight to jest at the expense of each and all, and he was perfectly willing that they should jest at him in return.
His humor was often rough, unceremonious — that of the cavalryman; but he was not guilty of the smallness of becoming irritated if he was retorted on in kind.
He seemed cordially to hate ceremony, and wholly ignored his rank in his military family, though at times he was exceedingly imperious.
If on such occasions, however, he thought that he had wounded any one, he would speedily regret it, put his arm around the individual, laugh, and say, “Come, old fellow, get pleased.
I never joke with any one unless I love them.”
This was the boy speaking through the man's lips; indeed, there was a pervading spirit of boyishness about Stuart
which made it impossible to be permanently angry with him, however rough his jest at one's expense.
He was, in the interval of all this gayety, an exceedingly hard worker, and a very stern disciplinarian.
One of his humorous orders to his inspector general was: “Cry aloud-spare not-show my people their transgressions!”
And he never hesitated to compel obedience to his orders, and to throw the whole weight of his official displeasure against any officer of his command, however high his rank.
With a very warm and kind heart, he had little of the softness of disposition which induces reluctance to punish.