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[354] guarded and critical interest. He held it at arm's length for philosophic consideration. Of course life was nothing; but after all, might not the whole game, about which the nation was excited, prove as valueless as the particular pawn which was all he could contribute if he took part? Even when he had actually enlisted, he was very willing to let it be supposed that it was only from ennui, or because he was tired of being asked whether he were not going. One of his intimates told me that he only once ventured to put the question to Stephen point-blank, why he went into the army, and then he only replied, with his accustomed shrewd, meditative smile, that ‘it was an ancient and honorable profession.’ But one of his female relatives has since said that at the outbreak of the war, on her remarking to him, rather heedlessly, that the war was not likely to come home to their two lives, for instance, in any immediate way,—he answered, with an unwonted seriousness that was almost sternness, ‘I do not know that it will make any difference in your life, but it is likely to make a very great difference to mine.’ In a few days he had enlisted.

In passing to the sequel of the story, it would be easy for a stranger to conjecture that this proved one of the cases where the war gave the needed fulness and completion to a life otherwise incomplete. But I do not think it was so with Stephen Perkins. With his rare powers, and his sensitive, haughty nature, the course of development was not to be so easily rounded. On the 8th of July, 1861, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts (Infantry); was promoted First Lieutenant in the same month of the following year, and was killed within a month after his promotion. The intermediate period was the most tedious epoch of the war, and he was engaged in its most tedious service, in the Army of the Potomac. Danger and exertion would have seemed to him worthy the sacrifice they brought; but he chafed under a forlorn and monotonous routine, and amid a seemingly aimless waste of resources. Life, which had appeared of little value at home, seemed utterly valueless there, and the secret languor of the blood increased rather than diminished. His

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