" 'No,' he answered, 'not unwilling. She was only sorry for the necessity. When I told her that I felt it to be my duty, she told me at once to go. She said she would never stand between me and my country.'
" 'You must think of her often,' I said.
" 'All the time,' he answered seriously, a thoughtful expression stealing over his young face. 'I write to her twice a week regular, and sometimes oftener. For her sake I hope my life may be spared to return.'
" 'I hope so, too,' I answered warmly. Then after a minute's silence, I added from some impulse: 'Will you let me call you Frank? I have a boy at home, not many years younger than you. His name is Frank also--it will seem to remind me of him.'
" 'I wish you would,' he answered, his face lighting up with evident pleasure. 'Everybody calls me Frank at home, and I am tired of being called Grover.'
"So our compact was made. I shall feel a warm interest in this brave boy, and I fervently hope that the chances of war will leave him unscathed.
"I must give you a description of Hiram Marden, another of our small company, a very different kind of person from Frank Grover. But it takes all sorts of characters to make an army, as well as a world, and Marden is one of the oddities. Imagine a tall young fellow, with a thin face, lantern jaws, and long hair 'slicked' down on either side. Though he may be patriotic, he was led into the army from a different cause. He cherished an attachment for a village beauty, who did not return his love. He makes no concealment of his rebuff, but appears to enjoy discoursing in a sentimental way upon his disappointment. He wears such an air of meek resignation when he speaks of his cruel fair one that the effect is quite irresistible, and I find it difficult to accord him that sympathy which his unhappy fate demands. Fortunately for him, his troubles, deep-seated as they are, appear to have very little effect upon his appetite. He sits down to his rations with a look of subdued sorrow upon his face, and sighs frequently between the mouthfuls. In spite of this, however, he seldom leaves anything upon his tin plate, which speaks well for his appetite, since Uncle Sam is a generous provider, and few of us do full justice to our allowance.
"You may wonder how I enjoy soldier's fare. I certainly do long sometimes for the good pumpkin and apple pies which I used to have at home, and confess that a little apple sauce would make my hardtack a little more savory. I begin to appreciate your good qualities as a housekeeper, Mary, more than ever. Pies can be got of the sutler, but they are such poor things that I would rather do without than eat them, and I am quite sure they would try my digestion sorely.
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