Click here to Download The Burial of the Guns PDF Book by Thomas Nelson Page Language English having PDF Size 1.2 MB and No of Pages 82.
We do not keep Christmas now as we used to do in old Hanover. We have not time for it, and it does not seem like the same thing. Christmas, however, always brings up to me my cousin Fanny; I suppose because she always was so foolish about Christmas. My cousin Fanny was an old maid; indeed, to follow St. Paul’s turn of phrase.
The Burial of the Guns PDF Book by Thomas Nelson Page
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She was an old maid of the old maids. No one who saw her a moment could have doubted it. Old maids have from most people a feeling rather akin to pity—a hard heritage. They very often have this feeling from the young. This must be the hardest part of all—to see around them friends, each “a happy mother of children,” little ones responding to affection with the sweet caresses of childhood.
Whilst any advances that they, their aunts or cousins, may make are met with indifference or condescension. My cousin Fanny was no exception. She was as proud as Lucifer; yet she went through life—the part that I knew of—bearing the pity of the great majority of the people who knew her.
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She lived at an old place called “Woodside”, which had been in the family for a great many years; indeed, ever since before the Revolution. The neighborhood dated back to the time of the colony, and Woodside was one of the old places. My cousin Fanny’s grandmother had stood in the door of her chamber with her large scissors in her hand.
And defied Tarleton’s redcoated troopers to touch the basket of old communion-plate which she had hung on her arm. The house was a large brick edifice, with a pyramidal roof, covered with moss, small windows, porticos with pillars somewhat out of repair, a big, high hall, and a staircase wide enough to drive a gig up it if it could have turned the corners.
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A grove of great forest oaks and poplars densely shaded it, and made it look rather gloomy; and the garden, with the old graveyard covered with periwinkle at one end, was almost in front, while the side of the wood —a primeval forest, from which the place took its name—came up so close as to form a strong, dark background.
During the war the place, like most others in that neighborhood, suffered greatly, and only a sudden exhibition of spirit on Cousin Fanny’s part saved it from a worse fate. After the war it went down; the fields were poor, and grew up in briers and sassafras, and the house was too large and out of repair to keep from decay, the ownership of it being divided between Cousin Fanny and other members of the family.
Cousin Fanny had no means whatever, so that it soon was in a bad condition. The rest of the family, as they grew up, went off, compelled by necessity to seek some means of livelihood, and would have taken Cousin Fanny too if she would have gone; but she would not go. They did all they could for her, but she preferred to hang around the old place, and to do what she could with her “mammy”. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book
And “old Stephen”, her mammy’s husband, who alone remained in the quarters. She lived in a part of the house, locking up the rest, and from time to time visited among her friends and relatives, who always received her hospitably. She had an old piece of a mare (which I think she had bought from Stephen), with one eye, three legs, and no mane or tail to speak of, and on which she lavished.
Without the least perceptible result, care enough to have kept a stable in condition. In a freak of humor she named this animal “Fashion”, after a noted racer of the old times, which had been raised in the county, and had beaten the famous Boston in a great race. She always spoke of “Fash” with a tone of real tenderness in her voice, and looked after her.
And discussed her ailments, which were always numerous, as if she had been a delicate child. Mounted on this beast, with her bags and bundles, and shawls and umbrella, and a long stick or pole, she used occasionally to make the tour of the neighborhood, and was always really welcomed; because, notwithstanding the trouble she gave, she always stirred things up. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book
As was said once, you could no more have remained dull where she was than you could have dozed with a chinkapin-burr down your back. Her retort was that a chinkapin-burr might be used to rouse people from a lethargy (she had an old maid’s tongue). By the younger members of the family she was always welcomed, because she furnished so much fun.
She nearly always fetched some little thing to her host—not her hostess—a fowl, or a pat of butter from her one old cow, or something of the kind, because, she said, “Abigail had established the precedent, and she was ‘a woman of good understanding’—she understood that feeding and flattery were the way to win men.”
She would sometimes have a chicken in a basket hung on the off pummel of her old saddle, because at times she fancied she could not eat anything but chicken soup, and she did “not wish to give trouble.” She used to give trouble enough; for it generally turned out that she had heard some one was sick in the neighborhood, and she wanted the soup carried to her. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book
I remember how mad Joe got because she made him go with her to carry a bucket of soup to old Mrs. Ronquist. Cousin Fanny had the marks of an old maid. She was thin (“scrawny” we used to call her, though I remember now she was quite erect until she grew feeble); her features were fine.
Her nose was very straight; her hair was brown; and her eyes, which were dark, were weak, so that she had often to wear a green shade. I did not see much of her after I grew up. I moved away from the old county. Most others did the same. It had been desolated by the war, and got poorer and poorer.
With an old maid’s usual crankiness and inability to adapt herself to the order of things, Cousin Fanny remained behind. She refused to come away; said, I believe, she had to look after the old place, mammy, and Fash, or some such nonsense. I think she had some idea that the church would go down, or that the poor people around would miss her, or something equally unpractical. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Download
Anyhow, she stayed behind, and lived for quite awhile the last of her connection in the county. Of course all did the best they could for her, and had she gone to live around with her relatives, as they wished her to do, they would have borne with her and supported her. But she said no; that a single woman ought never to live in any house but her father’s or her own; and we could not do anything with her.
She was so proud she would not take money as a gift from anyone, not even from her nearest relatives. Her health got rather poor—not unnaturally, considering the way she divided her time between doctoring herself and fussing after sick people in all sorts of weather. With the fancifulness of her kind, she finally took it into her head that she must consult a doctor in New York.
Of course, no one but an old maid would have done this; the home doctors were good enough for everyone else. Nothing would do, however, but she must go to New York; so, against the advice of everyone, she wrote to a cousin who was living there to meet her, and with her old wraps, and cap, and bags, and bundles, and stick, and umbrella, she started. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Download
The lady met her; that is, went to meet her, but failed to find her at the station, and supposing that she had not come, or had taken some other railroad, which she was likely to do, returned home, to find her in bed, with her “things” piled up on the floor. Some gentleman had come across her in Washington, holding the right train while she insisted on taking the wrong route.
And had taken compassion on her, and not only escorted her to New York, but had taken her and all her parcels and brought her to her destination, where she had at once retired. “He was a most charming man, my dear,” she said to her cousin, who told me of it afterward in narrating her eccentricities; “and to think of it, I don’t believe I had looked in a glass all day, and when I got here.
My cap had somehow got twisted around and was perched right over my left ear, making me look a perfect fright. He told me his name, but I have forgotten it, of course. But he was such a gentleman, and to think of his being a Yankee! I told him I hated all Yankees, and he just laughed, and did not mind my stick, nor old umbrella, nor bundles a bit. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Download
You’d have thought my old cap was a Parisian bonnet. I will not believe he was a Yankee.” Well, she went to see the doctor, the most celebrated in New York—at the infirmary, of course, for she was too poor to go to his office; one consultation would have taken every cent she had—her cousin went with her, and told me of it.
She said that when she came downstairs to go she never saw such a sight. On her head she had her blue cap, and her green shade and her veil, and her shawl; and she had the old umbrella and long stick, which she had brought from the country, and a large pillow under her arm, because she “knew she was going to faint.”
So they started out, but it was a slow procession. The noise and bustle of the street dazed her, her cousin fancied, and every now and then she would clutch her companion and declare she must go back or she should faint. At every street-crossing she insisted upon having a policeman to help her over. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Free
In default of that, she would stop some man and ask him to escort her across, which, of course, he would do, thinking her crazy. The next time I saw him was in the police court. I happened to be there when he walked out of the pen among as miscellaneous a lot of chronic drunkards, thieves, and miscreants of both sexes and several colors as were ever gathered together.
He still had on his old black suit, buttoned up; but his linen was rumpled and soiled like himself, and he was manifestly just getting over a debauch, the effects of which were still visible on him in every line of his perspiring face and thin figure. He walked with that exaggerated erectness which told his selfdeluded state as plainly as if he had pronounced it in words.
He had evidently been there before, and more than once. The justice nodded to him familiarly: “Here again?” he asked, in a tone part pleasantry, part regret. “Yes, your honor. Met an old soldier last night, and took a drop for good fellowship, and before I knew it——” A shrug of the shoulders completed the sentence, and the shoulders did not straighten any more. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Free
The tall officer who had picked him up said something to the justice in a tone too low for me to catch; but “No. 4” heard it—it was evidently a statement against him—for he started to speak in a deprecating way. The judge interrupted him: “I thought you told me last time that if I let you go you would not take another drink for a year.”
“I forgot,” said “No. 4”, in a low voice. “This officer says you resisted him?” The officer looked stolidly at the prisoner as if it were a matter of not the slightest interest to him personally. “Cursed me and abused me,” he said, dropping the words slowly as if he were checking off a schedule. “I did not, your honor; indeed, I did not,” said “No. 4”, quickly. “I swear I did not; he is mistaken.
Your honor does not believe I would tell you a lie! Surely I have not got so low as that.” The justice turned his pencil in his hand doubtfully, and looked away. “No. 4” took in his position. He began again. “I fell in with an old soldier, and we got to talking about the war—about old times.” His voice was very soft. The Burial of the Guns PDF Book Free
“I will promise your honor that I won’t take another drink for a year. Here, I’ll take an oath to it. Swear me.” He seized the greasy little Bible on the desk before him, and handed it to the justice. The magistrate took it doubtfully. He looked down at the prisoner half kindly, half humorously.