Rodney The Partisan

Language: English
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"So you are going to stick to your uniform, are you? I thought perhaps you would be glad to see yourself in citizen's clothes once more, and so I told Jane to put one of your old suits on the bed where you would be sure to see it."

It was Mrs. Gray who spoke, and her words were addressed to her son Rodney, who just then stepped out of the hall upon the wide gallery where his father and mother were sitting. Rodney had been at home about half an hour just long enough, in fact, to take a good wash and exchange his fatigue suit for a sergeant's full uniform.

In the first volume of this series of books we told of the attentions our Union hero, Marcy Gray, received while he was on the way to his home in North Carolina, and how very distasteful and annoying they were to him. We said that the passengers on his train took him for just what he wasn't—a rebel soldier fresh from the seat of war, or a recruit on his way to join some Southern regiment—and praised and petted him accordingly. Marcy didn't dare tell the excited men around him that he was strong for the Union, that he had refused to cheer the Stars and Bars when they were hoisted on the tower of the Barrington Military Academy, and that if a war came he hoped the secessionists would be thrashed until they were brought to their senses—Marcy did not dare give utterance to these sentiments, for fear that some of the half tipsy passengers in his car might use upon him the revolvers they flourished about so recklessly. He was obliged to sail under false colors until he reached Boydtown in his native State, where Morris, his mother's coachman, was waiting for him. Rodney Gray, the rebel, who you will remember left the academy a few weeks before Marcy did, received just as much attention during his homeward journey. Sumter had not yet been fired upon, but the passengers on the train were pretty certain it was going to be, and gave it as their opinion that if the "Lincolnites" attempted "subjugation" they would be neatly whipped for their pains. Being in full sympathy with the passengers Rodney was not afraid to tell who and what he was.

"I am neither a soldier nor a recruit," he said over and over again, when some enthusiastic rebel shook him by the hand and praised him for so promptly responding to the President's call for volunteers. "I am a Barrington cadet on my way home, and I am under promise to enlist inside of twenty-four hours after I get there. Do you see this gray suit? I shall not wear any other color until the independence of the Southern States has been acknowledged by the world."

Such sentiments as these never failed to "bring down the car," as Rodney afterward expressed it when describing some of the incidents of his journey from Barrington, and many of the passengers assured him that he would be at liberty to put on a citizen's suit in less than six months.

"The fighting won't amount to anything," said one, who talked as if he thought himself able to whip the whole Yankee nation alone and unaided....