vehicle, harness and trappings.
It was noticed in the starlight that the northern sky was aglow with what was supposed to be the aurora borealis.
Merry, happy greetings and joyous faces met the father and daughter as they entered the Eastwood threshold.
Within, the warmth of great wood fires and the good cheer of a delicious supper banished from the good old general every thought of war, as he looked over the rich viands and array of luxuries before him, and contrasted them with the mess pork, ‘hard tack,’ ‘cush,’ sweet potato coffee, slapjacks, hoppina — john and hoppin-jinny and all the horrible makeshifts of food he had endured for months in camp at the front.
What a feast it was!
Genuine coffee from Mrs. Seddon
's, sugar from Mrs. Morson
's and sorghum from Mrs. Stanard
's. For the first time in many months the general laid his head on snowy pillows and tucked himself away, at midnight, in a Christian bed, with linen, lavender-scented sheets, and warm, soft blankets, to dream of days gone by, when, at his own home by the sea, in time of peace, with oysters, terrapin and canvasback ducks for the feast, judges, statesmen and even presidents had been his guests.
He sank to rest, in fancy hearing the sound of salt waves at his tidewater home, and the sighing of the winds through the seaside pines.
A soldier of the general's command had come up with him on furlough.
His home was some miles beyond Eastwood
, in the back country.
At daybreak the following morning, he had sped rapidly back to Eastwood
to tell the household that he had heard ‘boots and saddles’ sounded, and to warn his dear old general of the danger.
The mystery of the aurora borealis was solved; for right around his home he had come upon the bivouac of Dahlgren
When he was arousing the family, the enemy was coming on the same road, and not more than three or four miles behind him. The news chilled every heart with the sense of imminent peril, the dream of peace and rest was over, and the ashes on the hearth, where last night's revel was held, lay dead.
There was hurrying for the stables.
In an incredibly short time Tom and Ephraim had brought to the door Pulaski
, the blind warhorse of the general's dead son, Captain O. Jennings Wise
, of the famous Richmond
Light Infantry Blues, who had been killed at Roanoke Island
, and Lucy Washington
, Mr. Hobson
's thoroughbred riding mare.
They were not a moment too soon.
The general and his son-in-law,