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The Littlest Rebel   By: (1869-1924)

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First Page:

The

LITTLEST REBEL

By

EDWARD PEPLE

GROSSET & DUNLAP: Publishers

NEW YORK

Copyright, 1914 By the ESTATE OF EDWARD H. PEPLE

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO PART OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT PERMISSION IN WRITING FROM THE PUBLISHER.

Printed in the United States of America

FOREWORD

The play, from which this book is written, was in no sense of the word intended as a war drama; for war is merely its background, and always in the center stands a lonely little child.

War is its theme but not its purpose. War breeds hatred, horror, pestilence and famine, yet from its tears and ashes eventually must rise the clean white spirit of HUMANITY.

The enmity between North and South is dead; it sleeps with the fathers and the sons, the brothers and the lovers, who died in a cause which each believed was just.

Therefore this story deals, not with the right or wrong of a lost confederacy, but with the mercy and generosity, the chivalry and humanity which lived in the hearts of the Blue and Gray, a noble contrast to the grim brutality of war.

The author is indebted to Mr. E.S. Moffat, who has novelized the play directly from its text, with the exception of that portion which appeared as a short story under the same title several years ago, treating of Virgie in the overseer's cabin, and the endorsing of her pass by Lieutenant Colonel Morrison.

EDWARD PEPLE.

THE LITTLEST REBEL

CHAPTER I

Young Mrs. Herbert Cary picked up her work basket and slowly crossed the grass to a shady bench underneath the trees. She must go on with her task of planning a dress for Virgie. But the prospect of making her daughter something wearable out of the odds and ends of nothing was not a happy one. In fact, she was still poking through her basket and frowning thoughtfully when a childish voice came to her ears.

"Yes, Virgie! Here I am. Out under the trees."

Immediately came a sound of tumultuous feet and Miss Virginia Houston Cary burst upon the scene. She was a tot of seven with sun touched hair and great dark eyes whose witchery made her a piquant little fairy. In spite of her mother's despair over her clothes Virgie was dressed, or at least had been dressed at breakfast time, in a clean white frock, low shoes and white stockings, although all now showed signs of strenuous usage. Clutched to her breast as she ran up to her mother's side was "Susan Jemima," her one beloved possession and her doll. Behind Virgie came Sally Ann, her playmate, a slim, barefooted mulatto girl whose faded, gingham dress hung partly in tatters, halfway between her knees and ankles. In one of Sally Ann's hands, carried like a sword, was a pointed stick; in the other, a long piece of blue wood moss from which dangled a bit of string.

"Oh, Mother," cried the small daughter of the Carys, as she came up flushed and excited, "what do you reckon Sally Ann and me have been playing out in the woods!"

"What, dear!" and Mrs. Cary's gentle hand went up to lift the hair back from her daughter's dampened forehead.

" Blue Beard !" cried Virgie, with rounded eyes.

"Blue Beard!" echoed her mother in astonishment at this childish freak of amusement.

"Not really on this hot day."

"Um, hum," nodded Virgie emphatically. "You know he he he was the terriblest old man that that ever was. An' he had so many wifses that "

"Say 'wives,' my darling. Wives ."

Sally Ann laughed and Virgie frowned.

"Well, I thought it was that, but Sally Ann's older'n me and she said 'wifses.'"

"Huh," grunted Sally Ann. "Don' make no differ'nce what you call 'em, des so he had 'em. Gor'n tell her."

"Well, you know, Mother, Blue Beard had such a bad habit of killin' his wives that that some of the ladies got so they they almost didn't like to marry him!"

"Gracious, what a state of affairs," cried Mrs. Cary, in well feigned amazement at the timidity of the various Mrs. Blue Beards. "And then "

"Well, the last time he got married to to another one her name was Mrs... Continue reading book >>




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