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through, and his name was called, the child seemed, in her eagerness, to forget me and all the earth beside him. She rose to her feet and leaned forward for a better view of her beloved, as he mounted to the speaker's stand. I knew by her deep breathing that her heart was throbbing in her throat. I knew, too, by the way her brother came up the steps and to the front that he was trembling. The hands hung limp; his face was pallid, and the lips blue as with cold. I felt anxious. The child, too, seemed to discern that things were not well with him. Something like fear showed in her face.
He made an automatic bow. Then a bewildered, struggling look came into his face, then a helpless look, and then he stood staring vacantly, like a somnambulist, at the waiting audience. The moments of painful suspense went by, and still he stood as if struck dumb. I saw how it was ; he had been seized with stage-fright.
Alas! little sister! She turned her large, dismayed eyes upon me. “He's forgotten it,” she said. Then a swift change came into her face; a strong, determined look; and on the funeral-like silence of the room broke the sweet, brave, child-voice :
“Amid the permutations and combinations of the actors and the forces which make
up the great kaleidoscope of history, we often find that a turn of Destiny's hand'"
Everybody about us turned and looked. The breathless silence; the sweet, childish voice; the childish face; the long, unchildlike words, produced a weird effect.
But the help had come too late ; the unhappy brother was already staggering in humiliation from the stage. The band quickly struck up, and waves of lively music rolled out to cover the defeat.
gave the little sister a glance in which I meant to show the intense sympathy I felt; but she did not see
Her eyes, swimming with tears, were on her brother's face. I put my arm around her, but she was too absorbed to heed the caress, and before I could appreciate her purpose, she was on her way to the shame-stricken young man sitting with a face like a statue's.
When he saw her by his side the set face relaxed, and a quick mist came into his eyes. The
young men got closer together to make room for her. She sat down beside him, laid her flowers on his knee, and slipped her hand in his.
I could not keep my eyes from her sweet, pitying face. I saw her whisper to him, he bending a little to catch her words. Later, I found out that she was asking him if he knew his piece" now, and that he answered yes.
When the young man next on the list had spoken, and while the band was playing, the child, to the brother's great surprise, made her way up the stage steps, and pressed through the throng of professors and trustees and distinguished visitors, up to the college president.
“If you please, sir,” she said with a little courtesy, “ will you and the trustees let my brother try again? He knows his piece now.”
For a moment the president stared at her through his gold-bowed spectacles, and then, appreciating the child's petition, he smiled on her, and went down and spoke to the young man who had failed.
So it happened that when the band had again ceased playing, it was briefly announced that Mr. would now deliver his oration—“Historical Parallels.”
A ripple of heightened and expectant interest passed over the audience, and then all sat stone still, as though fearing to breathe lest the speaker might again take fright. No danger ? The hero in the youth was aroused. He went at his “piece” with a set purpose to conquer, to redeem himself, and to bring the smile back into the child's tear-stained face. I watched the face during the speaking. The wide eyes, the parted lips, the whole rapt being said that the breathless audience was forgotten, that her spirit was moving with his.
And when the address was ended with the ardent abandon of one who catches enthusiasm in the realization that he is fighting down a wrong judgment and conquering a sympathy, the effect was really thrilling. That dignified audience broke into rapturous applause; bouquets intended for the valedictorian rained like a tempest. And the child who had helped to save the day—that one beaming little face, in its pride and gladness, is something to be forever remembered.
SARAH WINTER KELLOGG.
THE DRUMMER BOY OF MISSION RIDGE.
D'D you ever hear of the Drummer Boy of Missioạ
With his face to the foe, 'neath the enemy's guns, in the
charge of that terrible day? They were firing above him and firing below, and the
tempest of shot and shell Was raging like death, as he moaned in his pain, by the
breastworks where he fell.
“Go back with your corps,” our colonel had said, but
he waited the moment when He might follow the ranks and shoulder a gun with the
best of us bearded men ; And so when the signals from old Fort Wood set an
army of veterans wild He flung down his drum which spun down the hill like
the ball of a wayward child. And then he fell in with the foremost ranks of brave old
company G, As we charged by the flank, with our colors ahead, and
our columns closed up like a V, In the long, swinging lines of that splendid advance,
when the flags of our corps floated out, Like the ribbons that dance in the jubilant lines of the
march of a gala day route. He charged with the ranks, though he carried no gun,
for the colonel had said him nay, And he breasted the blast of the bristling guns, and the
shock of the sickening fray; And when by his side they were falling like hail he
sprang to a comrade slain, And shouldered his musket and bore it as true as the
hand that was dead to pain. 'Twas dearly we loved him, our Drummer Boy, with a
fire in his bright, black eye, That flashed forth a spirit too great for his form, he only
was just so highAs tall, perhaps, as your little lad who scarcely reaches
your shoulder Though his heart was the heart of a veteran then, a
trifle, it may be, bolder.
He pressed to the front, our lad so leal, and the works
were almost won, A moment more and our flags had swung o'er the muzzle of murderous
gun; But a raking fire swept the van, and he fell ʼmid the
wounded and slain, With his wee, wan face turned up to Him who feeleth
His children's pain. Again and again our lines fell back, and again with
shivering shocks They flung themselves on the rebels' works as ships are
tossed on rocks ; To be crushed and broken and scattered amain, as the
wrecks of the surging storm, Where none may rue and none may reek of aught that
has human form. So under the Ridge we were lying for the order to charge
again, And we counted our comrades missing, and we counted
our comrades slain ; And one said, “ Johnny, our Drummer Boy, is greviously
shot and lies Just under the enemy's breastwork; if left on the field
he dies.” Then all the blood that was in me surged up to my
aching brow, And my heart leaped up like a ball in my throat, I can
feel it even now, And I said I would bring that boy from the field, if God
would spare my breath, If all the guns in Mission Ridge should thunder the
threat of death.