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[132] his enemy's base. Even into his brain did the inconvenience of such line of advance now insinuate itself, and he paused at Harrisonburg. Paused awkwardly, with the road open to his coveted prize, Staunton, the strategical key of the commonwealth, with not a man in gray there to affiright his doughty pickets: the quarry trembling for the expected swoop of the vulture. Forward, General Banks. Carpe diem; the road is open. But Banks would not forward—could not! There was a poised eagle upon the vulture's flank, with talons and beak ready to tear out the vitals beneath his left wing. Shall Banks face to the left and drag the eagle from his aerie, and then advance? Let him try that. Then, there is the water-flood in front to be crossed, only by one long, narrow bridge, which would be manifestly a bridge of Lodi, but not with obtuse, kraut-consuming Austrians behind it. And there is the mountain, opening its dread jaws, right and left, to devour the assailant. No, Banks cannot even try that! What then shall he try? Alas, poor man, he knows not what, he must consider, sitting meanwhile upon that most pleasant village of Harrisonburg, amidst its green meadows. Is not the village now his veritable dunce-stool for the time, where he shall sit, reluctant, uneasy, ‘swelling and snubbing,’ until it appear whether he can learn his horn-book or not? And it was while he was there sitting, the horn-book not mastered, that Jackson like the tornado, made his first astounding gyration, his first thunder clap at McDowell, away on the western mountain, his second echoing to it from Front Royal on the far east, his crowning, rending crash at Winchester. And Masters Banks and Shields find themselves with incomprehensible smoke and dust, clean outside the school-room, yea, the play-ground, they scarcely know how, (they ‘stood not on the order of their going,’) with eyes very widely glaring, yet with but little light of speculation in them.

This was lesson number first. And now say my masters to each other, ‘This lesson which cost us so dear, learned by buffetings so rude, yea, even kicks, with the bitter chorus of inextinguishable laughter of rivals, shall we not profit by it? Shall we not use it in our turn? Yea, we will not be always dunces: we will let people see that we can say, at least, that lesson again. The lion will retreat surlily, after he brake the toils at Strasburg, up the great Valley road, growling defiance, huge ribs of the prey between his jaws. Fremont shall closely pursue his rear with 18,000, and Shields shall advance abreast, between him and the mountain, with 8,000, to head ’


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