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“ [35] moment, I think you would find that these men are soldiers, and willing to die in defence of women and children.”

“Quite a fine speech, sir, but rather cheap to utter, since you very well know the Yankees are not here, and won't be till you've had time to get your precious carcasses out of the way. Besides, sir, this thing is over, and has been for some time. The government has now actually run off, bag and baggage—the Lord knows where—and there is no longer any government or any country for my husband to owe allegiance to. He does owe allegiance to me, and to his starving children, and if he doesn't observe this allegiance now, when I need him, he needn't attempt it hereafter, when he wants me.”

The woman was quick as a flash and cold as steel. She was getting the better of me. She saw it, I felt it, and, worst of all, the men saw and felt it, too, and had gathered thick, and pressed up close, all around the porch. There must have been a hundred or more of them, all eagerly listening and evidently leaning strongly to the woman's side.

This would never do.

I tried every avenue of approach to that woman's heart. It was either congealed by suffering, or else it was encased in adamant. She had paried every thrust, repelled every advance, and was now standing defiant, with her arms folded across her breast, rather courting further attack. I was desperate, and, with the nonchalance of pure desperation—no stroke of genius—I asked the soldier—question:

“What command does your husband belong to?”

She started a little, and there was a slight trace of color in her face, as she replied, with a slight tone of pride in her voice.

“He belongs to the Stonewall Brigade, sir.”1

I felt, rather than thought it-but, had I really found her heart? We would see.

“When did he join it?” A little deeper flush, a little stronger emphasis of pride. “He joined it in the spring of 1861, sir.”

Yes, I was sure of it now. Her eyes had gazed straight into mine—her head inclined and her eye-lids drooped a little now, and

1 The Stonewall Brigade was, of course, not so named until after the first battle of Manassas, and it did not exist as an organization after May, 1864; but men who had at any time belonged to one of the regiments that composed it, ever after claimed membership in the brigade. Among soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, and yet more among their families and friends, once of ‘The Stonewall Brigade,’ always of that immortal corps.

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