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The Soldier's Letter

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TiY T. S. AI'.TIIÜR. " " Wiikn did you heax from Thomas ?" A voun lady liad stopper! u the door of asinall house, standing 011 theoutskirt of a villajre in Peunsylvanii), and Asked tlus qucstion of a woinau wlio gat workmg on a coarte garnient. " It's mora than two months sinco I've had a word from liirn," replied the woman, in a half troubled, half eomplaining tono. Then rising, she added, " Wou't yon come in, Miss Anote ? " The youtig lady aecepted the invita don, and as she took a profferd chair, said, " Two months is a long time not to have heard from j'our soa, Mrs. Rogers. Whcre is he ? " " The last news I liad carne from Willrainsburg just afler the battlo. He sent me thrce or four linea, to say that he wasn't burt." ' And vou've board nothing since ? " " No'hing, Miss Annic. He may be dead, or a prisoner, for all I know 01), denr ! dear ! It's worrying the very life out of me." " When did you write to liim last ? " inquired the young lady. Mrs. Hogers moved uneasily, and a shame flush covered her face, as she replied, " I haven't taken a pen in my firgers these five yenrs. They're all crarapel with hard work, and I couldu't write fit to be seei; " " A singlo line from your hand, Mrs. Rogers, blotted and scruwled though it might have been, would have come to Thomas, in his far away camp, as a mos, weleome visitor from home. Think of his comrades getting leiters by every mail white theru cante uot i word or a token for him " ' Oh ! but Miss Annie", IVe sent him two pairs of gtoekirigs kuit with my öwn hands; and he's never so nmch as Iet me Know that he received t'iem." '■A letter should have gone with them," said the young lady. " The stockings, if tliey ever reached him, were but dumb signs ; a living sentenee, even iL he had boen obligüd to ipell it out slowly from nmong ill-formi'd worde, would have spoken to his heart, 'and warmed it with a living pleasure. - rite to your son, Mrs. Rogers. Nothing that you can send him will do ThoTHSB half (o niucl] good as a leltir from his taotter. A single line will be preciftus. Don t let him any longer have the fceling, among his comrades, that ho alone han no one to care for him, or send him Bweet reineinbrances." " I dou't believe I can write, Miss Annie,'' said Mrs. Rogers. " Try. Have you pen and ink ? " ' No, Miss. As I told you just now, I havent had n pen in mv fingers theue five years; and I doti't believe I could compose a letter, even if I liad the skill to wi te it out." ' You must try, Mrs. Rogers. It will ne er do in the world for Thomas to go any longer without a letter from hume. 1 have a spare ink stand, and will step around for it. And the young lady arose, saying. as she went out, " I'll be back again in a little while, with pen. ink, and paper. Botween us Thomas must have a letter " Oo Annie's return with writing materials, Mrs. Rogers, stilt reluctant to undertake the unaccustoined task of penning a letter, sat down, half per force, and made sundiy awkward attempts to f'orm words and sentences, by way of practice, before essaying the epistle, which her ardent young visitor had made up her mind should be produoed and mailcd to the absent geldie that day " Very well done I Oí coarte yon can write ! " said Annie, encouragingly, as she watc-hed the eíl'orts of Mrs. Royera. "Now tako a (beet of paper, and just thmk you are talking to him Write ! down wliatever you would liko to say, j and say just as much about home, and what is going on here, that you think would interest hm, as you car. cali to mind. Take your time to it, :ind don't fcel hurried I'll come around again in j the course of an hour, and seo what you've done Then we'll both go over ! it, and I'll make all tho correctiotis needed, so that you copy it out j fairly. My word for it, there'll be a ' nice letter for Thomas, that will do his heart good " Tn au huur, Annie canie back, as shn had promised. jira Hogers had filled two pages of paper witti rather badly spelled sentencs ; but the matter was all right, as far as it went. Annie made all needed ccrrectíoDs, and tUcD waited til Mrs. Rogers had copied the letter, : ïpbiéh sbe fold d und lirePted for her. ' " Shall I mail it foryou? " " Tf you picase," said Mrs. Rogers. And the yoüng lady wout away, taking tlie letter. Since learning that Thomas Rokers, whom slie veiy weil remembered, had iiot once reoeived i letter from his raother, althougb lie had been absent for over a year, she had feit pity and concern for the young man, whom slio remembered as a littla wild in h h habits btfore he went into the aruiy. ïliis liad made her t'ne more urgent that the mothe:' should do her duty. The letter wis as witll as c uld have been expeeted under the circumstances Still, as Annie's thoughts went off to thedistant can.p, and dwelt on the younor man s particular case, it did not seeni to her all that he needed. " I will write to him !'' she Faid. as the case, continuirig to dweil in her mipd, preented ïtself in stronger and stronger light. ' He was Olïoe, for a short linie, my scliolar in Sunday-school, and that si all be my warrant." So she wrote him a brief, but pointed and enrrwst letter, touehiiij his dutirs its a soldier and as a man. Not in a superior, leeturing tono; but in a kind, sujjgestive way, and in language calcula ted to touch hia feelings and aPöuse his botter nature. An officer sat in his tent, tiear Gaines' Mills, Virginia, three days previous to the apsauit on the right wing of our army before Riehmond. " In thé guard hoisse again ! ' he said, sppaking to thu orderly, who had jost fubmitted his report. Tliere was regret, as wpll as diseouragement in his voice. " Wliat are we to do with the man ? 1' " You wil! have to order a severer punishment. Simple conSnement in the guard house is of no use." " He has in him all the elements of a good soldier," remarked tho officer. "No one goes ihrough tho manual botter. He is perfectly dr i 1 led ; is quiek, steady, and brave. At Williamsburg he fought like a lion. I cannot forget, that, to his prompt courage, I owe my life No - no - not severer punishment. We must bcar with him a little longer. What is bis offence now 'Í " ' Ho was away nt roll cali; and bis report of himself is unsitisfactorv. The man is rcstless and brooding; and somet'iiics so ill-niitured as to make troublo with his comrades.'' The offieer sat in thought for some time. He was about speaking, when a swpeant came in with letters, a mail having been received. In running his eyes over them, the officer noticed twodireeted toThomas Rogers, the soldier reported as in the guard house. He h-uld them for a ; ment in his hand, and tlion laid them aside with his own letters. " Let me see you in half an hour," he said to the orderly. " Wo must do sometliing to reform tli is mao, Thcre is good in him, if we can only discover the wav to make it active.' The orderly retirod, and the officer became occupird with his 'etters. After getting tlirough with them, wrd was passed to havo Rcgers brong'n before him. Ho came, under guard, but the guard was dismissed, and i he man ivas alone with the officer, who regarded him more in pity thau in anger. The soldier was a youiig man, not over twenty years of age; of slender foim, but conipactly built, and muscular. Even under dis graee, tliere was a naanly elf poise bout him that did uot escape the offioer's rmtice, " Under arrest ajain ! What have you to say fnr yoursilf? " The ofiieer tried to be stern and to speak with severity. Tlio sodicr did not answer ; but a look, halfdi'gged, half defiant, was visible in his face " I shall have to order feverer punishment' There was no reply ; only a elitrht change in altitude and expres3Íon of couutenance, that indicaíed a bracing of niind and nerve for more endurance. " W hen did you hear froni home?" nskcd the officer, who did not rcim'mber to have seen a letter addressed to Rogers until the receipt of that day's ' Not for a long time," was answered, and with apparent surprise at so unex pected a question. " Hero are two letters to your address." And the offieer, who had tho letters in his hand, held them toward the soldier, who starter!, wit]) sfrange look of surprise and bjwildennont, and received them witli a hand that trembled visibiv. " Sit down and read them " said the officyr, poiutiug to a camp stool. The iihin sat down, show ing considerable exciteinent, and, after looking curiouslv at the delicately written suporscription?, opened one of the letters nnd elan eed it tlirough hun-iedlv. The offieer's gaze was on him, and he read in his eountenancc jhe rapid p!ay of vaiious emotions. Then he oponed the sccmid letter whiob was raad twtoe. As lic finishcd it, be drew his hand hnstily aeross his eyes. " From home?' queried the officer The young soldier stood up, tiiving the usual sign of respect, as he answered in the affirrr.ative The officer noticed that his face was graver and paler; a'ad that all the late look of dogged deüatice had faded out. " And dow, Hogers, what have you to say for yourself ? Will you drive us to a severer punishmtot? You know, as well as I do, that discipline must be enforced." There was, uot anger, in tho oiKeer's voico. "Ouly ttiis," answered the soldier, humbly, yet in a firm voice. " I have done wrong, and am surry Forgive me; and if I break a rule of the .service ngaiii) shcot me.'1 "Spoken like a irruí and soiriier ! I ' will trust 'ou, Hogers.'1 paid tlie officer; I and, rüsmissing the guard, ho sent hiiu to dtv." Two days afïerward ca;n3 thnt ovcr■- 1 ming 5S8ault ipon mir rijlit wiDg. I and ou tlie next duy the terrible conflict at Güines' MiUa. Among the coolest and bravest in all die fierce battles that fol lovved, and among the most enduring in I the long niglits of retreat, waa young I llogers. lie wus with tliat body of infantry wliich l.-iy ut ílie bottom oi' Malvern ílill, under our death-dealiiig battefres, che fii-e from whieh staggered, and then drove back the rubel musías, w hose desperóte courage in tliat tnaddest of all assaults, was vvortliy of a better c;'use. Twice during t h is series of battles, as once at Williarasburg, had Hogers, riskiüg Ii is ovvn lifi?, aaved tliat of Ii is captain; and ia several of the confliets, he had ; shown such coolness and courage, tliat positions wero saved, wlneh bu for the infusión of his spirit into bis eoiuradcs would have boon lost One day, about three weeks after the letters were wrilten to Thomas Rpgers, the young hidy whom wo have called Annie, reoeivod a reply from the soldier, dated, " I'i Unnip, near Iiarrison's Landing " It run thus : " A good angel must have put it into your heart to genei me tliat letter, for it eame just in time to save mo. I was in the guard-house, for negleet of du' y and disohrdience of orders I was recldess and desperate. All my eomradea were getting word from homo - ketters camc to thetn by every mail - but no one wrote to me, or soemed to caro for me. So I List respect for myself, grew sour, iinhappy, aTid indifferent to duty. iïut your kind words - your talk about the past time wlien you wore iny teacher - your strong appeal to my better nature - your ca'm, true, sweet sentences, dear lady! stirred my Ireart witli newfeel?ngs, aud filled my eyea with tears I was beforo my captain, in disgrace, when your letter was placed in my hands. Iïe waited for me to read it ; saw tliat I was tom-hed, nnd. like a true man ahe is, forgave my offence. Tlien and there, I resolved to die sooner tlian sworve a hair's-breath from duty. I have been in fearful battlëa sinec, but God has kept me from harm. To daj, for bravcry and faithiul service in these battles, I have been made a Beoond liüutcnant. Thanks, thauks to you. kind, good frieud ! You have sTved ouo who camo nigh being lost ! " Fair reader, is there not, in souie far away camp, a s ildior who would be made better or happier through a letter frnin your band ? Think ! If there is, write to bim. Brothers, sisters, fathers, motuer?, write often to the soldier who have gono out ironi our homes. They re in the m'ulst of temptations, triuls, sufforings, aud piivations, and your words of love, your tenderly manifested interest, your exlmrutions to courage and duty eanuot iail to do them good. The Carte de Visite. Thost! tu whom the phiWóffraphic procflsfl doos the greatwt jtiKtice ure pe.iplu, the proportiins of whose f;iees are weíl balanceé, whose f'enlives ra t h - er err on the MiTe f smal] nes thnn largfenesfl, and tm nre not generally coniid(ril 10 be beanttful. Tt is possilile to hiive svriiriictriciil fjatunes, hhd a well proportioneel fnce. and vet fall verv far sliort of beauiy; it i- equnl'v pivssi')lü for ii coüntetinnce to b Wrong in soinii nf ïts nn1 lenve ü il iinpl'i'ssion of beauty on our mwidg But iny one, in this lit f.ase, wiil be great miffl-rer in going ihrongh the pfiotoprnphiö procesa. Af thí two likcncssen flppear side bv idl! in the album, thev will nstonish ;ill who look üt thotn. They thoujht the one waa ho inuch pbiiner a ptrson tliun she here iippeiuv-, atul the otber fo mach pi' l tier. - There ire inuny benut ies of' color and expressifn, wliiuh uuntiot be rendered by the agency of the camera. - Oolorof the hair, color of the complexion generally, of the üps, the eheekw, ihu eyes - all these go tor pot hing, iml is to i'Xpt cMion, the most expressivo conntonance suffer ino-t, irivariably ; a Titile happy touch of expression h a bhenouiöiion ne hardly ever remembers to have seen csnight in a piloto graphiü portrait. If the face be left. to tnke its ehnnoe, t-o to speak, a heavy or rrvourtiful look is the utaul result; ; i n 1 if any particular exprijsi.,n be attempted, it ilnidst sure to look like u grimuce - n truih f vvhicli we constant ly wee illusti itions in the portrajtH il tbose engaged in the fheatrieal profes sion, when some special expression has been attempted Peopla i)f mediocre abiüües, ns peoplt) of mediocre beautv. ill enne off best Lsjiilting lor their [)hotoirr;iphs. Thev vvill astonish us l iy looking so elevar, as ihe others bv looking so pretty. Real geniut and real eauty will often nstonish im the otlier way. It is clifficult to give it illaD n outside, with uil we knQW of it, in i portrwit, ns to produce u fair representa ion of his miad in :i biography. Tboso albums are fust taking the place, and doiug tlio vvork ot the longclierisbed card-basket. That institu tion hiiH had a long swing ot it. Tt ivas a good thing to leave on tlie table, that your morning culler, while waitingj in the drauing-ioom lili you were presentable, inight see what dislinguished compnny you kept, and what very unexoeptionab-le peojile wero in the habit of curling to oáll on you. But the eard basket was not comparable to the album, as an ndvei tisi-tnent of your claims to gentility. The cird of Mts Ijimvn, (■{ Peökham, w.naid well to the arfaoe, at "inu's, from tho depths to which you had coiiMgned it, and overbiy Uittt of vour favorite counteris or millii.nnire. Bwidea you could not, in fo tniiny words, cali attention to your card basket, as yyi can to tho album. Ep3 What kind of' fruit dors Toni j Thumb and wifo represent - iwxtrj ' peitr.


Old News
Michigan Argus