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tric plants, and pipe lines ready, at a trifling cost of money, to furnish proof whether the achievements of peaceful industry can or cannot be successfully employed for its protection against the assaults of destructive war.
defensive war over attack could be clearly established, there would follow a reduction of armaments, conscriptions, and war taxes. The certainty of defeat would restrain aggressive wars, and the energies of governments would be directed to
If by these means the superiority of improvement, and not to destruction.
Joseph L. Brent.
THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE.
It was the time of great purposes and small hopes; it was the time of grand deeds and dark dreams; it was the time of glory and madness, of love and despair; it was the time of the greatest motives and the noblest achievement, the truest praying and the bitterest suffering, that our land and our day have known.
The story which I have to tell, in so far as it is a story at all, is a tale of the war, and therefore not in the fashion. It is in such important particulars true that it may ask a respectful hearing, since, in the matter of which I have to speak, it will be found that the fact rather than the way of putting the fact is the source of interest.
It was the summer of the year 1862, in the New England university town which let us call Bonn upon these pages. The year and the term were at their bloom; the elms were in rich leaf, and stood stately, like unconscious pagan divinities, august, in groups and ranks upon the college greens. The paths were weeded and clean. The grass was long and luxuriant; for this was before it was thought necessary to shave one's lawn to fighting-cut. The June air melted delicately against the cheek. The proper cultivated flowers grew in the proper places, as such things do in well-directed towns. The white Persian lilac was in blossom in the sedate gardens of the faculty. The well-trimmed honeysuckle clambered over the well-painted porch. NO. 438.
One of the boys had been dangerously near an indecorum in one of those highly cultivated gardens on the June day of which we speak. It had been a merry day, full of sun and winds and spices, full of the essences of growth and blossom and of reaching on to that larger life which precedes a glowing death; and the sturdy boy felt it, as he ought to, restlessly; not as the serene elms did, and the white lilac. The elms always seemed to him to belong to the faculty.
As he sat in the shade of the particular elm that overhung the southeast corner of Professor Thornell's garden, on the rustic seat (of iron, painted, not at all rusty) against the high stone wall, the arms of the tree swooped over him vigilantly, and gave him an uneasy sense as of one who would be requested to stay after that recitation if he forgot himself. Nature herself always seemed, in Bonn, to be appointed by the trustees.
His companion on the painted rustic seat did not say "swooped." She said "swept," "swept," the branches swept. She was the only daughter of Professor Thornell.
The young man, it was easy to see at a glance, was of the sort known in college circles as the popular fellow. This may mean almost anything; it sometimes
means the best of things, as perhaps in this instance. He had a happy, hearty face. His eye was as direct as a noon sunbeam, and at times as bright; at others, it withdrew, like the eyes of a much older man, into a subdued cloud, blue, or gray, or violet, or one knew not what. He had bright brown hair, curly, and beneath the boyish mustache the cut of a firm, rather full, but remarkably delicate mouth was agreeably visible. He had the complexion and hands of carefully reared but athletic boys. He did not look as if he had ever done a stroke of work in his life outside of a campus or a schoolroom. One smiled on glancing from his cheek, ruddy and fair as a girl's, to his palms, gnarled with the knocks of baseball, and his iron wrists. He had a round, Greek head, well set upon his shoulders. Seen for the first time in a crowd, an experienced teacher would have said of him, "There goes a promise, — a well-born, well-balanced promise."
The girl beside him was a trifle older than he, by the shade of a year, perhaps. At their age each camel's-hair stroke of the brush of time tells. This little circumstance added dignity to her carriage and appearance. She hardly needed it. To some of the students she would have been more charming with a touch less of stateliness, but Harold Grand liked her the better for it. Deep in his young heart he was proud of the fact that the fellows used to say that you could not get near her with a ten-foot pole. This ancient and obvious figure of speech was the final college tribute to the distance, the modesty, and the sweet haughtiness of womanhood. Young Grand rated it Young Grand rated it accordingly.
In the pleasant, delicate fashion with which our best young people conduct such comradeships they had been friends for a long time, as university time goes, since junior year; and he was about to graduate. They talked friendship, as young folks do. Of love they had never spoken. We speak of language as if it depended
upon the lips to utter. What does the heart say, and what the turn of the head, the touch of the hand, the fall of the foot, or the mood of the eyes? He sat looking at her that day steadfastly, with the bright, fearless, masculine gaze before which her own drooped. She leaned against the painted seat, and stirred uneasily. "Will you have the rest of the song?" she said. She reached around without turning her head, and lifted her guitar from the grass to her lap. Miriam did not play the piano, like the other girls. To please her father she had accomplished herself in the use of this oldfashioned instrument, her mother's guitar. She played for Harold now and then because he liked it. Little dashes of light from the elm branches overhead flecked her sensitive face. She was not a beautiful girl, but she had the prophecy of a noble face.
She wore the "spring-and-fall dress" of a well-regulated professor's daughter, who must always appear as pretty as possible on the least possible sum of money. The dress was gray, trimmed with dark blue. Her eyes played between the two colors. She wore a drapery sleeve, in the fashion of the day, with a wide, full white undersleeve finished with a narrow linen cuff; a linen collar bound her throat: both were fastened by plain gold studs. Her hands, like her playing, were different from the other girls', for she wore no rings.
Young Grand was quite familiar with the details of this severe little costume, for it was not new this spring. It seemed to him a kind of celestial uniform created for her, but he had never said so. She mourned sometimes that she could not "dress" when Harold called. She would have liked to put on a new gown every time he came to see her, and so be a new girl on each occasion; but she had never said that, either. She did not feel so when the other boys called. Now, when Tom Seyd came it was quite different.
"Under floods that are deepest,
"Yes, play to me, please," said Harold Grand.
She struck a few notes, and stopped.
"I can't!" she pleaded.
the way you look at me."
Which Neptune obey;
Over rocks that are steepest,
Love will find out the way.''
She had a sweet, not a strong voice; and it's the way—it's she sang as the young and the happy do. Harold Grand unfolded his arms. He became curiously aware of the pressure of his mother's ring upon his finger. His eyes dropped from the elm to the white lilac; then they strayed to the drooping yellow lilies. The end of the long blue ribbon at her throat blew in the warm air against his wrist. He restrained it softly with his hand.
He did not look at her any the less for this. She began to tremble, and her cheek blazed. Then he took a swift, manly pity upon her, and folded his arms and turned his head, staring at the stone wall and the elm-tree. He had never touched her in his life; beyond the conventional grasp of meeting and parting, his had never met her hand. He would as soon have dared to touch the Ludovisi Juno. But now his moment of weakness overtook him, as it overtakes most of us at some unexpected time. His fingers strolled to the edge of her gray dress; his arms ached to take her, so he folded them, like the young gentleman that he was, and nodded at the faculty elms as who should say, "No, sir! You don't keep me after this recitation!" And Miriam began to sing.
Thus ran the scene of their simple courtship; so plain and pure and young, one might say so primitive, that it seems almost too slender to reset, in these days when our very boys and girls coquet with the audacity and the complexity of men and women of the world. And that was all.
Call the memory on wings through the upper air, move the sympathy gently, and summon the imagination softly, and, possibly, then one may understand what one has forgotten or what one never understood. We keep ourselves supplied with superior, slighting phrases for the loves of boys and girls. It would become us to preserve our respect for, and our comprehension of, experiences which may be the tenderest and the truest of life.
And Miriam, under the elm-tree in her father's garden, to her mother's guitar, began to sing :
"Over the mountains,
And under the graves,
Love will find out the way.'"
Her voice fell and ceased; her ringless hands strayed over the strings of the old-fashioned instrument; she looked as if she had come out of a picture of the date of her mother's youth. He watched her profile, with the braid of brown hair low in the neck, and the silver arrow piercing the coil above. The air began to cool a little in the hot garden. The bees whispered sleepily to the honeysuckle, disdaining the lilies, which had left their prime behind them. The afternoon sank.
"Yet I like them," said Miriam abruptly. "I love those yellow lilies as long as they live, and when they die I love their ghosts. You never could think how they look by moonlight! I come out sometimes and walk up and down that path, quite late, to see them.”
"You are changing the subject," suggested the young man, but not with the self-possession that the little sally might have implied.
"I have forgotten what the subject
"Oh - it is one as old as- - older than we are older than earth is, for aught I know," the boy said, passing his hand over his eyes. "And I was going to say -to try to say
Then the color burned the girl's fine, reserved face from brow to throat. Then she caught her breath, and thrust out her hand as if she would have interrupted him. But she was spared her pretty maiden trouble.
Professor Thornell, accompanied by Professor Seyd (of the Scientific Chair), came down the garden walk. The two learned men walked ponderously between the rows of yellow lilies. They discussed the unfortunate friction at the last faculty meeting, and the probable course of pedagogical harmony at the meeting of that night. They were absorbed in these great themes. They looked vaguely at the young people on the painted iron settee. Professor Thornell smiled affectionately at his daughter and passed on, and forgot her at once.
It no more occurred to him that she and young Grand needed matronizing than that he should offer a chaperon to the busts of Apollo and Minerva in the college library. But when he had paced to the garden fence and back again, he stopped confusedly to say :"My dear, I forgot we are so driven with Commencement business - I forgot entirely that I had a message from your mother. She said I was to tell How unfortunate! It was some minor domestic errand. Professor Seyd, what was it that Mrs. Thornell desired to have done?" pleaded the Professor of English Letters helplessly.
"She desired a salad prepared for supper," prompted the Professor of Science accurately. "She desired, if you found Miss Miriam, that she should prepare a potato salad, with the addition of beets."
Miriam rose at once. She gathered
her guitar to her lap, and put on her straw hat. The two heavily instructed gentlemen continued their walk up and down the garden paths; they discussed faculty matters, supperless and inaccessible, till eight o'clock that night.
The two young people passed on up to the house between the rows of dying lilies. They passed in silence, and separated at the front door. The winged moment had fled. The sacred embarrassment of youth and love fell between them. For his life he could not then have finished his sentence. Nor could she, for hers, have helped him.
Now, the scientific professor, having an unscientific and emotional wife, had gone home, as her nerves exacted, to report himself to her; thus he came late to the faculty meeting at the President's house. Professor Thornell was annoyed.
"We need all hands to-night," he remarked, with the natural acerbity of a colleague.
Professor Seyd turned upon him a stiffened face; it showed an unprecedented lack of color; he was usually a red, comfortable man.
"Have you seen the bulletins?" he demanded shortly. "I am just from the telegraph office. We have been defeated again. Our losses are said to be”— He began slowly to repeat, with his own frightful, statistical accuracy, the rumors - for there were only rumors yet to turn to- of the evening: Killed- Wounded - Missing - a fearful table.
The faculty sprang from their chairs and gathered round him, while with pallid lips he recounted the horrors of one of the worst days of the Peninsular campaign. The gray-haired President uttered a fierce, unscholarly exclamation, and automatically reached for his hat and cane. He acknowledged afterwards that it came into his head to go down town and enlist. For once in the history of Bonn University, Commencement was obliterated from the consciousness of her
professors. The quarrel in the faculty was forgotten. The Professor of English Letters and the Professor of Science shook hands with the Mathematical Chair, their chronic foe.
"The boys are beside themselves. They are unmanageable," said Professor Seyd, with evident agitation. "The whole University is in the streets. It is rumored that President Lincoln will is sue a call for more troops. Five sixths of the senior class will enlist, if he does, and-God bless them!-I would if I were they!
He had a boy of his own in the senior class. It never had occurred to him that Tom could go.
"Hush!" said Professor Thornell, with a break in his voice. "Hear them, now. Listen!"
Far down the street and wide over the college green the boys were singing; not wildly, but with a restrained pathos and solemnity, strange to their young lips :
"And then, whate'er befalls me,
I'll go where duty calls me." The tramping of their steps fell on the smooth, hard streets like the marching of an army corps. It approached the President's house with measured tread.
"The college militia is out," observed Professor Thornell. "They have done some good drilling, our boys."
The faculty answered with proud eyes. These elderly men flung open the doors and windows, and rushed out like boys to meet the other boys as they poured upon the lawn, calling for speeches. In the centre of the crowd stood the college company, drawn up rank and file. The lights blazed upon their grave young faces. They saluted their instructors solemnly. Their Captain advanced from the line. He stood apart, with his curly head bared, while he conferred with the President. Nobody had such a manner as young Grand. He had heroic beauty that night. His eyes were elate and remote. He seemed to see no person pre
But Tom Seyd, back in the ranks, looked straight at his old father.
In the house of the Professor of English Literature, half a mile down the surging street, a girl opened the window of her room, and put aside the white dimity curtain, to lean over the sill and listen. The drumbeats tapped the hot night air, and grew above the ceasing and the silenced college songs.
"It is the boys out drilling," thought Miriam. "They are having a good time. I wish I could see . . . He looks so handsome in that uniform! And father will make them a speech."
He who lived the war through in a university town knows what patriotism meant, in those large days, to our educated men. Where was found the purer motive, the braver, nobler act? What class of heroes in our smitten land offered to their country life more high and precious, or death so calm, intelligent, and grand?
The scientific professor, with his habitual accuracy, had foretold the turn of affairs in the college quite precisely. In fact, five sixths of the senior class, in one wild burst of sacred rage, offered themselves for enlistment; and a large number were accepted. The boys exchanged their diplomas for their mus kets. The professors held an impromptu faculty meeting on the platform of the exhibition hall, where, for the first time in the history of the old University, Commencement etiquette was hurled to the winds. The short breathed trustees clambered up by the winding stairs into