We all turn and look toward the road, and there .... is
a soldier with a musket on his back, wearily plodding his way
up the low
hill just north of the gate. He is too far away for mother to
call, and besides I think she must have been a little uncertain,
for he did not so much as turn his head toward the house. Trembling
with excite¬ment she hurries little Frank into his wagon
and telling Hattie to bring me, sets off up the road as fast
can draw the baby's cart. It all seems a dream to me and I move
dumbly, almost stupidly like one in a mist . . . .
We did not overtake the soldier, that is evident, for my
next vision is that of a blue coated figure leaning upon
studying with intent gaze our empty cottage .... His knapsack
lay at his feet, his musket was propped against a post on
whose top a cat was dream¬ing, unmindful of the warrior
and his folded hands.
did not hear us until we were close upon him, and even
he turned, my mother hesitated, so thin, so hollow eyed,
so changed was he ....
could not relate him to the father I had heard so much
about. To me he was only a strange
man with big eyes and
care worn face.
I did not recognize in him anything I had ever known.