Read CHAPTER IV - A GRAND REVIEW of Red‚ White‚ Blue Socks‚ Part Second, free online book, by Sarah L Barrow, on ReadCentral.com.

THERE are really scarcely words enough in the dictionary properly to describe the immense amount of drill got through with by the Dashahed Zouaves between three o’clock that afternoon and twelve, noon, of the following day.  This Friday afternoon was going to be memorable in history for one of the most splendid reviews on record.  They almost ran poor old Jerry off his legs in their eagerness to go over every possible variety of exercise known to “Hardee’s Tactics,” and nearly dislocated their shoulder blades trying to waggle their elbows backward and forward all at once when they went at “double quick;” at the same time keeping the other arm immovably pinioned to their sides.  Then that wonderful operation of stacking the rebellious guns, which obstinately clattered down nine times and a half out of ten, had to be gone through with, and a special understanding promulgated in the corps as to when Jerry’s “’der arms!” meant “shoulder arms,” and when “order arms” (or bringing all the muskets down together with a bang); and, in short, there never was such a busy time seen in camp before.

Friday morning dawned, if possible, still more splendidly than any of the preceding days, with a cool, refreshing breeze, just enough snowy clouds in the sky to keep off the fiery summer heat in a measure, and not a headache nor a heartache among the Zouaves to mar the pleasure of the day.  The review was to come off at four o’clock, when the July sun would be somewhat diminished in warmth, and from some hints that Jerry let fall, Mrs. Lockitt, and the fat cook, Mrs. Mincemeat, were holding high council up at the house, over a certain collation to be partaken of at the end of the entertainments.

As the day wore on the excitement of our friends the Zouaves increased.  They could hardly either eat their dinners, or sit down for more than a moment at a time; and when, about three o’clock, Mr. Schermerhorn entered the busy little camp, he was surrounded directly with a crowd of eager questioners, all talking at once, and making as much noise as a colony of rooks.

“Patience, patience, my good friends!” laughed Mr. Schermerhorn, holding up a finger for silence.  “Every one in turn.  Tom, here are your ’double headers,’ with love from your mother.  Fred, I saw your father to-day, and they are all coming down to the review.  George, here is a note left for you in my box at the Post Office, and Dashahed Zouaves in general I have one piece of advice to give you.  Get dressed quietly, and then sit down and rest yourselves.  You will be tired out by the end of the afternoon, at all events; so don’t frisk about more than you can help at present;” and Mr. Schermerhorn left the camp; while the boys, under strong pressure of Jerry, and the distant notes of a band which suddenly began to make itself heard, dressed themselves as nicely as they could, and sat down with heroic determination to wait for four o’clock.

Presently, carriages began to crunch over the gravel road one after another, filled with merry children, and not a few grown people besides.  Mr. and Mrs. Jourdain, with Bella, were among the first to arrive; and soon after the Carltons’ barouche drove up.  Jessie, for some unknown reason, was full of half nervous glee, and broke into innumerable little trilling laughs when any one spoke to her.  A sheet of lilac note paper, folded up tight, which she held in her hand, seemed to have something to do with it, and her soft brown curls and spreading muslin skirts were in equal danger of irremediable “mussing,” as she fidgetted about on the carriage seat, fully as restless as any of the Zouaves.

Mr. Schermerhorn received his guests on the piazza, where all the chairs in the house, one would think, were placed for the company, as the best view of the lawn was from this point.  To the extreme right were the white tents of the camp, half hidden by the immense trunk of a magnificent elm, the only tree that broke the smooth expanse of the lawn.  On the left a thick hawthorne hedge separated the ornamental grounds from the cultivated fields of the place, while in front the view was bounded by the blue and sparkling waters of the Sound.

Soon four o’clock struck; and, punctual to the moment, the Zouaves could be seen in the distance, forming their ranks.  Jerry, in his newest suit of regimentals, bustled about here and there, and presently his voice was heard shouting, “Are ye all ready now?  SQUAD, ’SHUN!  HARCH!” and to the melodious notes of “Dixie,” performed by the band, which was stationed nearer the house, the regiment started up the lawn!  Jerry marching up beside them, and occasionally uttering such mysterious mandates as, “Easy in the centre! keep your fours in the wheel! Steady now!”

Oh, what a burst of delighted applause greeted them as they neared the house!  The boys hurrahed, the girls clapped their hands, ladies and gentlemen waved their hats and handkerchiefs; while the Dashahed Zouaves, too soldierly now to grin, drew up in a long line, and stood like statues, without so much as winking.

And now the music died away, and everybody was as still as a mouse, while Jerry advanced to the front, and issued the preliminary order: 

“To the rear open order!” and the rear rank straightway fell back; executing, in fact, that wonderful “tekkinapesstoth’rare” which had puzzled them so much on the first day of their drilling.  Then came those other wonderful orders: 

          “P’sent humps!
          “Der humps! 
          “Grnd humps!”

And so on, at which the muskets flew backward and forward, up and down, with such wonderful precision.  The spectators were delighted beyond measure; an enthusiastic young gentleman, with about three hairs on each side of his mustache, who belonged to the Twenty-second Regiment, declared “It was the best drill he had seen out of his company room!” a celebrated artist, whose name I dare not tell for the world, sharpened his pencil, and broke the point off three times in his hurry, and at last produced the beautiful sketch which appears at the front of this volume; while all the little boys who were looking on, felt as if they would give every one of their new boots and glass agates to belong to the gallant Dashahed Zouaves.

After the guns had been put in every possible variety of position, the regiment went through their marching.  They broke into companies, formed the line again, divided in two equal parts, called “breaking into platoons,” showed how to “wheel on the right flank,” and all manner of other mysteries.

Finally, they returned to their companies, and on Jerry’s giving the order, they started at “double quick” (which is the most comical tritty-trot movement you can think of), dashed down the slope of the lawn, round the great elm, up hill again full speed, and in a moment more were drawn up in unbroken lines before the house, and standing once again like so many statues.

It was really splendid!  Round after round of applause greeted the Zouaves, who kept their positions for a moment, then snatching off their saucy little fez caps, they gave the company three cheers in return, of the most tremendous description; which quite took away the little remaining breath they had after the “double quick.”

Thus ended the first part of the review; and now, with the assistance of their rather Lilliputian battery, and Tom’s double headers, they went through some firing quite loud enough to make the little girls start and jump uncomfortably; so this part of the entertainment was brought to rather a sudden conclusion.  Jerry had just issued the order, “Close up in ranks to dismiss,” when Mr. Schermerhorn, who, with Miss Carlton and Jessie, had left the piazza a few minutes before, came forward, saying, “Have the goodness to wait a moment, Colonel; there is one more ceremony to go through with.”

The boys looked at each other in silent curiosity, wondering what could be coming; when, all at once, the chairs on the piazza huddled back in a great hurry, to make a lane for a beautiful little figure, which came tripping from the open door.

It was Jessie; but a great change had been made in her appearance.  Over her snowy muslin skirts she had a short classic tunic of red, white, and blue silk; a wreath of red and white roses and bright blue jonquils encircled her curls, and in her hand she carried a superb banner.  It was made of dark blue silk, trimmed with gold fringe; on one side was painted an American eagle, and on the other the words “Dashahed Zouaves,” surrounded with a blaze of glory and gold stars.  She advanced to the edge of the piazza, and in a clear, sweet voice, a little tremulous, but very distinct, she said: 

          “COLONEL AND BRAVE SOLDIERS: 

“I congratulate you, in the name of our friends, on the success you have achieved.  You have shown us to-day what Young America can do; and as a testimonial of our high admiration, I present you the colors of your regiment!

“Take them, as the assurance that our hearts are with you; bear them as the symbol of the Cause you have enlisted under; and should you fall beneath them on the field of battle, I bid you lay down your lives cheerfully for the flag of your country, and breathe with your last sigh the name of the Union!  Colonel, take your colors!”

Freddy’s cheeks grew crimson, and the great tears swelled to his eyes as he advanced to take the flag which Jessie held toward him.  And now our little Colonel came out bright, sure enough.  Perhaps not another member of the regiment, called upon to make a speech in this way, could have thought of a word to reply; but Freddy’s quick wit supplied him with the right ideas; and it was with a proud, happy face, and clear voice that he responded: 

          “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: 

“I thank you, in the name of my regiment, for the honor you have done us.  Inspired by your praises, proud to belong to the army of the Republic, we hope to go on as we have begun.  To your kindness we owe the distinguishing colors under which we march hereafter; and by the Union for which we fight, they shall never float over a retreating battalion!”

Oh! the cheers and clapping of hands which followed this little speech!  Everybody was looking at Freddy as he stood there, the colors in his hand, and the bright flush on his cheek, with the greatest admiration.  Of course, his parents weren’t proud of him; certainly not!

But the wonders were not at an end yet; for suddenly the band began playing a new air, and to this accompaniment, the sweet voice of some lady unseen, but which sounded to those who knew, wonderfully like Miss Lucy Carlton’s, sang the following patriotic ballad: 

          “We will stand by our Flag let it lead where it will
          Our hearts and our hopes fondly cling to it still;
          Through battle and danger our Cause must be won
          Yet forward! undaunted we’ll follow it on! 
          ’Tis the Flag! the old Flag! still unsullied and bright,
          As when first its fair stars lit oppression’s dark night
          And the standard that guides us forever shall be
          The Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!

          “A handful of living an army of dead,
          The last charge been made and the last prayer been said;
          What is it as sad we retreat from the plain
          That cheers us, and nerves us to rally again? 
          ’Tis the Flag! the old Flag! to our country God-given,
          That gleams through our ranks like a glory from heaven! 
          And the foe, as they fly, in our vanguard shall see
          The Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!

          “We will fight for the Flag, by the love that we bear
          In the Union and Freedom, we’ll baffle despair;
          Trust on in our country, strike home for the right,
          And Treason shall vanish like mists of the night. 
          Then cheer the old Flag! every star in it glows,
          The terror of traitors! the curse of our foes! 
          And the victory that crowns us shall glorified be,
          ’Neath the Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!”

As the song ended, there was another tumult of applause; and then the band struck up a lively quickstep, and the company, with the Zouaves marching ahead, poured out on the lawn toward the camp, where a bountiful collation was awaiting them, spread on the regimental table.  Two splendid pyramids of flowers ornamented the centre, and all manner of “goodies,” as the children call them, occupied every inch of space on the sides.  At the head of the table Jerry had contrived a canopy from a large flag, and underneath this, Miss Jessie, Colonel Freddy, with the other officers, and some favored young ladies of their own age, took their seats.  The other children found places around the table, and a merrier fête champêtre never was seen.  The band continued to play lively airs from time to time, and I really can give you my word as an author, that nobody looked cross for a single minute!

Between you and me, little reader, there had been a secret arrangement among the grown folks interested in the regiment, to get all this up in such fine style.  Every one had contributed something to give the Zouaves their flag and music, while to Mr. Schermerhorn it fell to supply the supper; and arrangements had been made and invitations issued since the beginning of the week.  The regiment, certainly, had the credit, however, of getting up the review, it only having been the idea of their good friends to have the entertainment and flag presentation.  So there was a pleasant surprise on both sides; and each party in the transaction, was quite as much astonished and delighted as the other could wish.

The long sunset shadows were rapidly stealing over the velvet sward as the company rose from table, adding a new charm to the beauty of the scene.  Everywhere the grass was dotted with groups of elegant ladies and gentlemen, and merry children, in light summer dresses and quaintly pretty uniforms.  The little camp, with the stacks of guns down its centre, the bayonets flashing in the last rays of the sun, was all crowded and brilliant with happy people; looking into the tents and admiring their exquisite order, inspecting the bright muskets, and listening eagerly or good-humoredly, as they happened to be children or grown people, to the explanations and comments of the Zouaves.

And on the little grassy knoll, where the flag staff was planted, central figure of the scene, stood Colonel Freddy, silent and thoughtful for the first time to-day, with Jerry beside him.  The old man had scarcely left his side since the boy took the flag; he would permit no one else to wait upon him at table, and his eyes followed him as he moved among the gay crowd, with a glance of the utmost pride and affection.  The old volunteer seemed to feel that the heart of a soldier beat beneath the little dandy ruffled shirt and gold-laced jacket of the young Colonel.  Suddenly, the boy snatches up again the regimental colors; the Stars and Stripes, and little Jessie’s flag, and shakes them out to the evening breeze; and as they flash into view and once more the cheers of the Zouaves greet their colors, he says, with quivering lip and flashing eye, “Jerry, if God spares me to be a man, I’ll live and die a soldier!”

The soft evening light was deepening into night, and the beautiful planet Venus rising in the west, when the visitors bade adieu to the camp; the Zouaves were shaken hands with until their wrists fairly ached; and then they all shook hands with “dear” Jessie, as Charley was heard to call her before the end of the day, and heard her say in her soft little voice how sorry she was they must go to-morrow (though she certainly couldn’t have been sorrier than they were), and then the good people all got into their carriages again, and drove off; waving their handkerchiefs for good-by as long as the camp could be seen; and so, with the sound of the last wheels dying away in the distance, ended the very end of

THE GRAND REVIEW.