The Home Front: 1861 to 1865
What is the most affecting story Mrs. Pember tells?
Several reach a grand level. The one that lasts the longest in most people’s memories goes as follows:
After the battle of Fredericksburg, while giving small doses of brandy to a dying man, a low, pleasant voice said “Madam.” It came from a youth not over eighteen years of age, seeming very ill, but so placid, with that earnest, far-away gaze, so common to the eyes of those who are looking their last on this world. Does God in his mercy give a glimpse of coming peace, past understanding, that we see reflected in the dying eyes into which we look with such strong yearning to fathom what they see? He shook his head in negative to all offers of food or drink or suggestions of softer pillows and lighter covering.
“I want Perry,” was his only wish.