The eyes, whose dulness or suffusion always betrays weeping, nervous agitation, or a sleepless night, were as clear, bright, and calm as an infant's. As he stepped from the threshold of his cell they began to beam, until they shone with an unusual and unearthly splendor. As he passed out, he turned to Messrs. McClure and Ritchie and said: “Good-bye, boys; I die in the hope of a resurrection, and in defence of my country!” . . . Again the march is resumed, and the victim passes into the hollow square around the scaffold. Before stepping upon it, he turns with a smile to Dr. Weston, and remarks: “As some author has said, we may be as near God on the scaffold as elsewhere.” He may be thinking of the sainted Abbot of Aquila, “who wished to be buried under a gallows, and it was done.” Mounting to the platform, the prisoner takes his seat upon the chair immediately under the fatal rope. The adjutant of the post commences to read the charges, specifications, and the orders of General Dix for his execution. Beall, little dreaming of the test to which he is to be subjected, rises respectfully when the reading is commenced. But finding that, instead of the last and briefest order for his execution, the whole prolix and unsoldierly pronunciamento of General Dix is to be gone through with, he deliberately draws up a chair with his foot, and resumes his seat. When he hears himself designated as a citizen of the “insurgent State of Virginia,” his smile grows intensely sad and significant. He sees now the men before him no longer as his own executioners only, but as the executioners of a sovereign State—his own beloved Virginia; and he smiles not in derision, but in protest and remonstrance. At the point where the general denounces his heroic attempt to rescue three thousand fellow-soldiers as “piracy,” he again smiles; but when he is accused, as a “guerilla,” of attempting “to destroy the lives and property of peaceable and unoffending inhabitants,” he mournfully shakes his head in denial. Finally, when the adjutant reaches the concluding passage of the order, in which General Dix descants thus: “The major-general commanding feels that a want of firmness and inflexibility on his part, in executing the sentence of death in such a case, would be an offence against the outraged civilization and humanity of the age,” the reporters declare that “the prisoner seems to be reminded of some amusing incident in his military experience.” The truth is, Beall hears in
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