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The Fatal Uniform

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"The only bad feature of this thing oí addressing the school children," said Colonel James A. Sexton, the former postmaster, "is the f act that tbey always want me to wear my regimentáis. It's a thing I haven't the courage to do except wben I'm among a uniformad body of men. "My aversión to wearing a uniform about in public dates frora my boyhood days. Upon that aversión is based an early incident that may have had a good deal to do with the course of my subsequent life. "I enlisted as a private at the ontbreak of the war, being then a boy of 17; rather mature looking, however, for those years. Like all boys of that age, I was of a romautic turn, but exceedIngly bashf ui in the presence of women. The one woruan in whose presence I was especially shy was a dear girl whoni I nsed to see home from prayer meeting. "No parting in all that time of parting was more affecting than was onrs when my regiment started for the front. When, a year later, I was sent back to Chicago to recover from a wound in the jaw, I found myself as dear to her as ever, and she as dear to me, it goes without sayiug. I was in the hospital at Camp Douglas. My wound healed rapidly. I was allowed to go about the city very much as I chose, and prayer meetings, with thcir escort privileges, claimed a ereat part of my atteution. "About that time the Y. M. C. A. was organizing á regiment, to be composed exclusively of men who professed religión. The scheme aatnrally attracted a great deal of atteution. The papers were full of it. I was selected to captain one of the new regiment's companies. Protest agaiust the selection was made on account of my age - then just 18. The matter was carried up to the adjutant general of the state, who finally decided in my favor. My age, the singular character of the case and the popularity of the regiment caused such an amount of uewspaper gossip tbat it seemed as though everybody must have heard of the matter at least. All this time I never wore my uniform outside of camp. The dear girl, therefore, never saw me exsept in citizen's clothes. " 'It's an outrage, ' she said just af ter we met a very youthful looking man in captain 's uniform on one of our walks, 'that such young men are trusted with the responsibilities of commaud. I don't know what the country is coming to. ' "For a moment I wae overeóme by the shock. When I recovered my breath, I told her thatyouth did not necessarily debar a man from possession of the qnalities of a commander. She declined to be convinced, and the conversation became decidedly chilly. Instead of making my customary cali wheu we reached her house, I stopped at the front cate. " 'Laura,' I said, 'I must teil you goodby. My regiment has orders to leave for the front tomorrow. It may be that we never shall see each other again. ' " But we did. All f ashionable Chicago carne to Camp Douglas the next day to see the final dress parade of the much talked of Y. M. C. A. regiment, and I could see the dear girl among the crowd. My new captain 's uniform gave me a good deal of satisfaction just at that time, I can teil you. The colonel of the regiment had asked me, on acoount of the power of my voice, to act as adjutant for the occasion. That furnished additional gratification. The parade had the magnificent splendor that only a dress parade can have, and the solemnity of this occasion was vastly increased by the reflectioa, not to be dismissed, that many of those among regiment and spectators were seeing each other for the last time on earth. The band played as though speaking our last farewell to our friends. Every one, I am sure, was deeply impressed. It was at this time that the dear girl had her first and last view of me in my captain's uniform. " 'Officers to the front and center! March!' I ordered, with all the dignity I could assume. As they reached the center they saïuted me. " 'Sir, the parade is formed, ' I said, saluting the colonel. "The colonel returned as grave a salnte as he had received and put the regiment tbrough the manual of arzns. Meantime I marched a few paces behind him, turned squarely and took position almost within arm's length of the dear girl. There I stood at parade rest, with my back to her, until the regiment wheeled into column to march off the field. At that juncture I took command of my company and went with it aboard an Illinois Central train. Between the dear girl and myself there passed no word. " A few montbs passed and I received a slight wound. The circumstance was mentioned in the Chicago papers. Then, for the firsfr time after my departure from Chicago, the dear girl wrote me a letter. It was a beantiful epistle, full of regret for onr misunderstanding, hopes that my wound would not prove gerious, aseurances tbat she never conld bave doubted my ability and requests for forgiveness for her mistake. I antwered it, and harmony was restored. "At the close of the war I at once sought her," the colonel added, "and


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