« السابقةمتابعة »
As quick as Vaughan could get words, he said:
“ Tell them yes, yes, yes; tell them they shall go to the Mountains of the Moon, if they will. If I sail the schooner through the Great White Desert, they shall go home!”
And after some fashion Nolan said so. And then they all fell to kissing him again, and wanted to rub his nose with theirs.
But he could not stand it long; and getting Vaughan to say he might go back, he beckoned me down into our boat. As we lay back in the stern sheets and the men gave way he said to me: “Youngster, let that show you what it is to be without a family, without a home, and without a country. And if you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing that shall put a bar between you and your family, your home, and your country, pray God in His mercy to take you that instant home to His own heaven. Stick by your family, boy; forget you have a self, while you do everything for them. Think of your home, boy; write and send, and talk about it. Let it be nearer and nearer to your thought, the farther you have to travel from it; and rush back to it when you are free, as that poor black slave is doing now. And for your country, boy," and the words rattled in his throat, “ and for that flag,” and he pointed to the ship, “never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you, though the service carry you through a thousand hells. No matter what happens to you, no matter who flatters you or abuses you, never look at another flag, never let a night pass but you pray God to bless that flag. Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with, behind officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to her as you belong to your own mother.”
I was frightened by his calm, hard passion; but I blundered out that I would, by all that was holy, and that I had never thought of doing anything else. He hardly seemed to hear me; but he did, almost in a whisper say: “Oh, if anybody had said so to me when I was of your age!”
When we parted from him at the end of our cruise, I was more sorry than I can tell. I was glad to meet him once more in 1830, but after that I never saw him again. And now it seems the dear old fellow is dead. He has found a home at last, and a country.
Since writing this, I have received a letter which gives an account of Nolan's last hours. Here is an extract from the letter :
LEVANT, 2° 2' S. 131° W.
DEAR FRED: - I try to find heart and life to tell you that it is all over with dear old Nolan. I could see that he was not
strong, but I had no idea the end was so near. He had let the doctor come and see him as he lay there, - the first time the doctor had been in the stateroom, and he said he should like to see me. Well, I went in, and there, to be sure, the poor fellow lay in his berth, smiling pleasantly as he gave me his hand, but looking very frail. I could not help a glance round, which showed me what a little shrine he had made of the box he was lying in. The stars and stripes were triced up above and around a picture of Washington, and he had painted a majestic eagle, with lightnings blazing from his beak and his foot just clasping the whole globe, which his wings overshadowed. The dear old boy saw my glance, and said, with a sad smile, “Here, you see, I have a country!” And he said, “ Look in my Bible, when I am gone.” And I
I had no thought it was the end. But in an hour, when the doctor went in gently, he found Nolan had breathed his life away with a smile.
We looked in his Bible, and there was a slip of paper at the place where he had marked the text:
“They desire a country, even a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God : for He hath prepared for them a city.”
On this slip of paper he had written:
“Bury me in the sea ; it has been my home, and I love it. But will not some one set up a stone for my memory at Fort Adams or at Orleans, that my disgrace may not be more than I ought to bear? Say on it:
IN MEMORY OF
“ Lieutenant in the Army of the United States
EDWARD EVERETT HALE (Abridged).
THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON
At two in the morning of April 19, 1775, under the
eye of the minister, and of Hancock and Adams, Lexington common was alive with the minutemen; and not with them only, but with the old men, who were exempts, except in case of immediate danger to the town. The roll was called, and of the militia and alarm men, about one hundred and thirty answered to their names.
The captain, John Parker, ordered every one to load with powder and ball, but to take care not to be the first to fire. Messengers, sent to look for the British regulars, reported that there were no signs of their approach. A watch was therefore set, and the company dismissed with orders to come together at beat of drum. Some went to their own homes; some to the tavern, near the southeast corner of the common. Samuel Adams and Hancock, whose seizure was believed to be intended, were persuaded to retire toward Woburn.
The last stars were vanishing from night, when the foremost party, led by Pitcairn, a major of marines, was discovered, advancing quickly and in silence. Alarm guns were fired, and the drums beat, not a call to village husbandmen, only, but the reveille to humanity. Less than seventy, perhaps less than sixty, obeyed the summons, and in sight of half as