The day came, 5 May, when our men left. .. on a special troop train, down from Kansas City, a swing over to Springfield, then up to St Louis, and east - destination Georgia. All of us went over to Butler, Mother and Father in the lead, in his buggy, drawn by Loafer, while the rest of us followed in the surrey, ordinarily used only on Sundays, with Tom driving Daisy and Beau. The train pulled in, and we made hurried goodbyes as they were already shouting ‘All abo. .. ard! ' Father turned Loafer over to Frank, and I inherited the surrey with the gentle team.
They didn't actually pull out all that quickly; baggage and freight had to be loaded as well as soldiers. There was a flat car in the middle of the train, with a brass band on it, supplied by the 3rd regiment (Kansas City) and it played all the time the train was stopped, a military medley.
They played ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory. .. ' and segued right into ‘I wish I was in de land of cotton' and from that into ‘Tenting tonight, tenting tonight' and ‘- stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni! ' Then they played ‘In my prison cel I sit' and the engine gave a toot and the train started to move, and the band scrambled to http://softwarebuy.ru get off the flat car into the coach next to it, and the man with the tuba had to be helped.
And we started home and I was still hearing ‘Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching' and that tragic first line, In my prison cell I sit. .. ' Somebody told me later that the man who wrote that knew nothing about it, because wartime prison camps don't have anything as luxurious as cells. He cited Andersonville.
As may be, it was enough to make my eyes blur up and I couldn't see. But that didn't matter; Beau Brummel and Daisy needed no help from me. Just leave the reins slack and they would take us home. And they did.
I helped Frank unharness both rigs, then went in and upstairs. Mother came to my room just as I closed the door, and tapped on it. I opened it.
‘Yes, Mother? '
‘Maureen, your Golden Treasury - May I borrow it? '
‘Certainly. ‘I went and got it; it was under my pillow. I handed it to her. ‘It's number eighty-three, Mother, on page sixty. '
She looked surprised, then thumbed the pages. ‘So it is, ' she agreed, then looked up. ‘We must be brave, dear. '
‘Yes, Mother. We must. '
Speaking of prison cells, Pixel has just arrived in mine, with a present for me. A mouse. A dead mouse. Still warm. He is so pleased with himself and clearly he expects me to eat it. He is waiting for me to eat it.
How am I going to get out of this?