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But my exhortations were useless. She continued to moan and wring her hands and weep as if over the grave of her best-beloved. Her mother-in-law, an elderly lady—and an invalid—was lying in a small bed when the invaders arrived. They had forced her to rise, suspecting some ruse to protect valuables in or under the bedding. Then thrusting in their sabres they literally disembowelled the mattress and feather-bed, the debris of which was now strewn far and wide. The poor old lady was deeply distressed at the indignity of their treatment, but she opened not her lips, and surveyed the ruins with Roman fortitude. I spoke a few encouraging words to her, gave a glance at the side-board with doors broken off their hinges, and empty decanters and a sugar bowl lying about; then hastened back to watch, and, if possible, prevent the work of destruction. V., still entirely self-possessed, remained, trying to quiet her distracted mother.

Sounds of discordant music issued from the parlor, and thither I went. One of the blue-coats was seated at the piano, strumming away quite complaisantly, while another, in some seeming embarrassment at my sudden appearance, dropped a plated water-pitcher which had attracted his artist eye. At this moment my little sister rushed up from some unexpected quarter, crying wildly: ‘Oh, where is mamma's picture? They will get mamma's picture?’

‘Hush!’ I whispered, grasping her arms. ‘Or they will get it just to provoke you.’

But she would not hush, and was not to be intimidated.

‘Horrid old things!’ She went on crying angrily. ‘Called me “Sis!” They shan't call me “Sis!” Oh, where is mamma's picture?’

The silver connoisseur, relieved by the diversion, made a hasty exit from the parlor, and dashed by me up-stairs. My heart was with my Lares and Penates (two trunks!) and I as hastily followed, M. at my heels. When or why she turned back I never could exactly discover, nor did I miss her for some minutes. She was still in pursuit, however, of ‘mamma's picture,’ which she now recollected had been given, with others, into the safekeeping of Aunt Pony, the household factotum and V.'s former nurse.

The investigating Federal proceeded to open drawers and wardrobes upon reaching my room; and, after watching him a few moments, I asked quietly what he wished. (I had heard that these conscientious creatures never stole anything right under one's nose! Hence my persistent presence.)

‘We have come to look for arms,’ was his somewhat sullen reply.

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