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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 26, 1905)
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 13
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AFTER MANY DAYS
Colonel Lucius Poindexter was not
feeling well. Firstly, lie was far
away from his Virginia home and
mingling with the, to him, cold and
sordid northerners who seemed never
to think of anything hut the chaso
of dollars. Secondly, because it was
Memorial day. and desnlto the larjso
of years he had not forgotten how
the tide of war had swept back and
forth over his beloved state.
Business had called the colonel to
this little northern village, and poor
train service had compelled him to
remain over the day . set apart for
paying tribute to the men who had
fought and marched under Grant and
Sherman and Sheridan. He heard the
shrill of the fife and the ruffle of the
drum; ho saw the children gather
ing at the village hall with flowers
in their arms; he saw the women
gathering, and saw the old veterans
marching with feeble steps to the
rallying place. And across the little
stream, over on the sloping hillside,
he saw the village cemetery in which
tiny flags floating in the May wind
pointed out tne mounds wherein lay
sleeping men whom the colonel had
met in mortal combat more than a
Despite the fact that Colonel Poin
dexter's only son fell before the walls
of Santiago, fighting under the flag
which floated from tho staff on the
village hall, the sight of the gath
ering scores made him recall the old
days of hardship, of privation, of dis
ease and of suffering when ho rode
and fought with Lee beneath a ban
ner now seldom seen save in memory
and through tears. He had nothing
personal against the blue-clad men
slowly gathering to pay the yearly
tribute of flowers to their departed
comrades. Quito the contrary. Ho
respected them as men, he loved
them as fellow citizens, and he was
proud that it took men of his own
blood and country to bring him and
his comrades up standing.
But just now Colonel Poindexter
did not feel like fraternizing, so he
donned his silk hat, reached for his
cane and started on a walk to escape
tho scenes that brought back memo
ries he wished most to escape.
Crossing the little bridge and turn
ing down a seldom used lane, Colonel
Poindexter walked slowly along,
breathing fn the clear May air and
reveling in the warm sun that re
minded him of other days on his own
loved Virginia soil. As he walked
along with bowed head his ears were
greeted by subdued sobs that seemed
to come from nowhere in particular.
The colonel stopped, alert to find the
cause, and he soon discovered a frail
little woman dressed in rusty black,
and plucking the modest wild flow
ers that grew in tho fence corners.
"Pardon me, madam," said Colonel
Poindexter, lifting him hat, "but von
seem to be in trouble. Is there inv
thing I can do?" any
"No, sir; thank you. I am just
gathering some flowers."
"There are flowers and to snaro
over in the village," said the colonel
"I know, sir; but they will not do
I want flowers that are all my o.vn
I can raise none, so I came out hero
to pluck these wild ones, for fimv wtu
seem more like mine than any that
others could give me."
"Allow me, madam," said Colonel
Poindexter. And then the gallant
colonel, memories of the long ago
temporarily forgotten, began search
ing for and plucking the violets and
sweet Williams that grew so luxuri
antly. Little by little the woman's story
was told. Two graves on tho hillside
one of a husband who had fought
under the old flag many years ago;
another of a stalwart son who had
fallen beneath the same flag on tli9
flame-swept slopes of El Caney; of
bitter privation and of a seemingly
"You say your husband was with
Grant in Virginia?" asked the colonel.
"Yes, sir; he was a captain in an
"Mason, sirWilliam G. Mason."
The colonel's hands were idle, and
his half-closed eyes looked back
through four decades and saw tho ebb
and flow of warfare .on the soil of
Virginia. He saw the fierce charge,
the repulse, and the hopeless re
treat. He saw the surgeons bending
over him; the faces of the nurses,
and then lived again the long and
weary weeks of suffering. He saw
again the last feeble rally, and lived
again the heart-breakhur wait at. An-
pomattox while Grant and Lee were
negotiating. The sad return to a de
vastated home, the long years of
toil, and the final triumph over ill
"William Mason. Mason, Mason,"
muttered- the colonel. "An Illinois
captain and his name Mason?"
"Yes, sir," replied the woman.
"I am under obligations to a north
ern captain named Mason. I was
wounded unto death at Petersburg,
and lay for a day and a night with
out attention. A northerner, a cap
tain in an Illinois regiment, found
me, took me to the hospital and saw
that I was given attention. When I
was able to leave he secured my ex
change. I owe my life to him. And
I believe his name was Mason."
"I know you, sir; I know you.
Your name is Poindexter. I"
"That is my name, madam," said
the colonel. "And it was your hus
band who saved me."
"Yes, sir. You gave him your
watch as a keepsake. He brought it
home with him and carried it until
the day of his death six years ago.
It has your name engraved in it."
Little by little the colonel man
aged to secure the rest of the little
woman's story. It had been hard
enough since the loss of husband and
son, and Colonel Poindexter peered
through the trees and caught more
than one glimpse of the old flag
for which this little woman had sac
rificed so much.
The heap of wild flowers grew un
til there were enough for both tho
colonel and the woman, and they
walked in silence down the lane to
wards the village. Suddenly the fa
miliar "tat, tat, tat-tat-tat" of the
drum was heard and the little woman
hastened her steps.
"We must hurry if we are in lime
to join the procession," she said.
Colonel Poindexter quickened his
(Continued on Page 15)
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