there was something in her face that was not pain and was not fight. So I let myself out a little, and turning to the men, said: “Men, if her husband joined the Stonewall Brigade in 1861, and has been in the army ever since, I reckon he's a good soldier.” I turned to look at her. It was all over. Her wifehood had conquered. She had not been addressed this time, yet she answered instantly, with head raised high, face flushing, eyes flashing. “General Lee hasn't a better in his army.” As she uttered these words, she put her hand in her bosom, and drawing out a folded paper, extended it toward me, saying: “If you doubt it, look at that.” Before her hand reached mine, she drew it back, seeming to have changed her mind—but I caught her wrist, and, without much resistance on her part, possessed myself of the paper. It had been much thumbed and was much worn. It was hardly legible, but I made it out. Again I turned to the men.
Take your hats off, boys, I want you to hear this with uncovered heads—and then I read an endorsement on an application for furlough, in which General Lee himself had signed a recommendation of this woman's husband for a furlough of special length, on account of special gallantry in battle. During the reading of this paper, the woman was transfigured, glorified. No Madonna of old master was ever more sweetly radiant with all that appeals to what is best and holiest in man. Her bosom rose and fell with deep, quiet sighs—her eyes rained gentle, happy tears. The men felt it all—all. They were all gazing upon her, but the dross was clean purified out of them. There was not, upon any one of their faces, an expression that would have brought a blush to the cheek of the purest womanhood on earth. I turned once more to the soldier's wife: “This little paper is your most precious jewel, isn't it?” “It is.” “And the love of him whose manly courage and devotion won this tribute is the best blessing God ever gave you—isn't it?” “It is.” “And yet, for the brief ecstacy of one kiss, you would disgrace this hero husband of yours, stain all his noble reputation, and turn ”