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stood and watched the filing on of what seemed endless battalions, brigade after brigade, division after division, host after host, rank beyond rank; ever moving, ever passing; marching, marching ; tramp, tramp, tramp—thousands after thousands, battery front, arms shouldered, columns solid, shoulder to shoulder, wheel to wheel, charger to charger, nostril to nostril.
Commanders on horses whose manes were intwined with roses and necks enchained with garlands, fractious at the shouts that ran along the line, increasing from the clapping of children clothed in white standing on the steps of the capitol, to the tumultuous vociferation of hundreds of thousands of enraptured multitudes, crying " Huzza! Huzza !” Gleaming muskets, thundering parks of artillery, rumbling pontoon-wagons, ambulances from whose wheels seemed to sound out the groans of the crushed and the dying that they had carried. These men came from balmy Minnesota, those from Illinois prairies. These were often hummed to sleep by the pines of Oregon, those were New England lumbermen, and miners from the coal-shafts of Pennsylvania. Side by side in one great cause consecrated through fire and storm and darkness, brothers in peril, on their
way home from Chancellorsville and Kenesaw Mountain and Fredericksburg—in lines that seemed infinite they passed
We gazed and wept and wondered, lifting up our heads to see if the end had come ;—but, no! Looking from one end of that long avenue to the other, we saw them yet in solid column, battery front, host beyond host, wheel to wheel, charger to charger, nostril to nostril, coming as it were from under the capitol. Forward! Forward! Their bayonets, caught in the sun, glimmered and flashed and blazed, till they seemed like one long river of silver, ever and anon changed into a river of fire. No end to the procession, no rest for the eyes.
We turned our heads from the scene, unable longer to look. We felt disposed to stop our ears, but still we heard it, marching, marching ; tramp, tramp, tramp. But, hushuncover every head ! Here they pass, the remnant of ten men of a full regiment. Silence! Widowhood and orphanage look on, and wring their hands. But wheel into line, all ye people! North, South, East, West—all decades, all centuries, all Millenniums! Forward, the whole line! Huzza ! Huzza !
“Fly to the mountain! Fly!”
For she stayed
Fly to the mountain ! Fly!
"Fly for your life! oh, fly!”
Face to face with duty and death,
The torrent took her. God knows all.
-Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.
THE MAID OF ORLEANS.
It was just at the dawn of day, when the first rays of the morning were breaking over Europe, and dispelling the darkness of the Middle Ages. France and England were engaged in a desperate struggle, the one for existence, the other for a throne. The western part of France had espoused the English cause, and the English king had been proclaimed at Paris, at Rouen, and at Bordeaux, while Orleans, the key to the French possessions, was besieged. The supplies were exhausted, the garrison was reduced to a few desperate men, and the women and children had been abandoned to the English. But far away on the border of Germany, in the little village of Domremy, the Nazareth of France, God was raising up a deliverer for Orleans, a savior for the nation.
The out-door life of a peasant girl had given to Joan of Arc a
well developed form, while the beauties of her soul and the spiritual tendencies of her nature must have given to her face that womanly beauty that never fails to win respect and love. Her standard was a banner of snowy silk; her weapon a sword, that from the day she first drew it from its scabbard until she finally laid it down upon the grave of St. Denis, was never stained with blood; and her inspiration was a self-sacrificing devotion to the will of God, to the rights of France and her king.
It needed no eloquent speech to incite the men of Orleans to deeds of valor and of vengeance. The ruins of their homes choked the streets ; the desolated city was one open sepulchre ; while the cries of half-starved children and the wails of heart-broken mothers stirred them to such a mad frenzy of enthusiasm, that now, since a leader had come, they would have rushed headlong and thoughtlessly against the English forts as into a trap of death.
The maid of Domremy, waving her sword aloft, and followed by her snowy banner, led her Frenchmen on to slaughter and to victory. Then from the English archers came flight after flight of swiftwinged arrows, while the wild catapults threw clouds of death-laden stones crashing among the French. Broadsword and battle-axe clashed on shield and hemlet, while the wild horses, mad with rage and pain, rushed with fierce yells upon the foe; but ever above the din and noise of battle, above death shouts and sabre strokes, though the dust and smoke obscured her banner, ever could be heard the clear, ringing voice of their leader, shouting for victory and for France. An arrow pierced her bosom, but drawing it out with her own hand and throwing it aside, she showed the French her blood-stained corselet, and once more urged them on. As when the archangel Michael, leading the heavenly cohorts, forced the rebellious angels to the very brink of hell, then hurled them over, and so saved the throne of heaven, so did the Maid of Orleans, leading on frenzied Frenchmen, press back the English step by step, till the whole army turned and fled, and Orleans was free and France was safe.
But she who had raised the siege of Orleans and led the way to Rheims could not escape a jealous fate.
The Duke of Burgundy had laid siege to Compiègne. Joan of Arc went to the rescue, and fell prisoner to the recreant French and was sold to the English.
Her trial came, but her doom was already sealed. The Bishop of Beauvais, with a hundred doctors of theology, were her judges. Without a particle of evidence againt her, they convicted her of sorcery and sentenced her to be burned at the stake. A howl of fiend. ish joy went up from the blood-thirsty court of Paris,-a howl of fiendish joy that made its way to every battle-field where she had fought; it rang against the rescued walls of Orleans, and was echoed to the royal court at Rheims; it reached to the bottomless pit, and made the imps of Satan dance with glee; it echoed through the halls of heaven, and made the angels weep; but there was no rescuer for the helpless girl. Not a single hand was raised to save the maid of Domremy, the savior of Orleans.
Had she not faithfully done her work? Had she not bled for them? Had she not saved the kingdom ? And in all chivalrous France was there not a champion to take up the gauntlet in defence of a helpless girl? When she led their armies, their spears blazed in heaven's sunlight; now they would quench them in her blood. With scarcely time to think of death, she was hurried away to the public square and chained to the stake, and when the fagots were fired, more painful than the circling flames she heard the mocking laugh of the angry crowd. Higher and higher rose the flames, until, pressing the cross to her heart, her unconscious head sank upon her bosom, and her pure spirit went up amid the smoke, and soared away
THE VOLUNTEER ORGANIST.
The gret big church wuz crowded full uv broadcloth an' uv silk,
there, An' doods 'ith trouserloons so tight they could n't kneel down in
prayer. The elder in his poolpit high, said, as he slowly riz,"Our organist is kep' to hum, laid up 'ith roomatiz, An' as we hev no substitoot, as Brother Moore a’n't here, Will some 'un in the congregation be so kind 's to volunteer?”