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The Man in Gray   By: (1864-1946)

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First Page:

[ILLUSTRATION: "YOU'D LIKE YOUR PAPA TO COME BACK HOME FROM THE WAR?"]

THE MAN IN GRAY

A ROMANCE OF NORTH AND SOUTH

BY

THOMAS DIXON

AUTHOR OF "THE SOUTHERNER," "THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS," "THE BIRTH OF A NATION," "THE CLANSMAN," ETC.

DEDICATED TO MY FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE KAPPA ALPHA FRATERNITY FOUNDED UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF ROBERT E. LEE 1868

TO THE READER

Now that my story is done I see that it is the strangest fiction that I have ever written.

Because it is true. It actually happened. Every character in it is historic. I have not changed even a name. Every event took place. Therefore it is incredible. Yet I have in my possession the proofs establishing each character and each event as set forth. They are true beyond question.

THOMAS DIXON CURRITUCK LODGE Munden, Va.

LEADING CHARACTERS OF THE STORY

ROBERT E. LEE The Southern Commander.

MRS. LEE His Wife.

CUSTIS His older Son.

MARY His Daughter.

MRS. MARSHALL Lee's Sister.

UNCLE BEN The Butler.

SAM A Slave.

J.E.B. STUART "The Flower of Cavaliers."

FLORA COOKE His Sweetheart.

PHIL SHERIDAN His Schoolmate.

FRANCIS PRESTON BLAIR Lincoln's Messenger.

SENATOR ROBERT TOOMBS of Georgia.

JOHN BROWN of Osawatomie.

JOHN E. COOK His Spy.

VIRGINIA KENNEDY Cook's Victim.

GERRIT SMITH A Philanthropist.

GEORGE EVANS A Labor Leader.

F. B. SANBORN Brown's Organizer.

REV. THOMAS W. HIGGINSON A Revolutionist.

WM. C. RIVES Confederate Senator

GEN. E. P. ALEXANDER of Lee's Artillery.

JOHN DOYLE A Poor White.

MAHALA DOYLE His Wife.

EDMOND RUFFIN A Virginia Planter.

THE MAN IN GRAY

CHAPTER I

The fireflies on the Virginia hills were blinking in the dark places beneath the trees and a katydid was singing in the rosebush beside the portico at Arlington. The stars began to twinkle in the serene sky. The lights of Washington flickered across the river. The Capitol building gleamed, argus eyed on the hill. Congress was in session, still wrangling over the question of Slavery and its extension into the territories of the West.

The laughter of youth and beauty sifted down from open windows. Preparations were being hurried for the ball in honor of the departing cadets Custis Lee, his classmate, Jeb Stuart, and little Phil Sheridan of Ohio whom they had invited in from Washington.

The fact that the whole family was going to West Point with the boys and Colonel Robert E. Lee, the new Superintendent, made no difference. One excuse for an old fashioned dance in a Southern home was as good as another. The main thing was to bring friends and neighbors, sisters and cousins and aunts together for an evening of joy.

A whippo'will cried his weird call from a rendezvous in the shadows of the lawn, as Sam entered the great hall and began to light the hundreds of wax tapers in the chandeliers.

"Move dat furniture back now!" he cried to his assistants. "And mind yo' p's and q's. Doan yer break nuttin."

His sable helpers quietly removed the slender mahogany and rosewood pieces to the adjoining rooms. They laughed at Sam's new found note of dignity and authority.

He was acting butler to night in Uncle Ben's place. No servant was allowed to work when ill no matter how light the tasks to which he was assigned. Sam was but twenty years old and he had been given the honor of superintending the arrangements for the dance. And, climax of all, he had been made leader of the music with the sole right to call the dances, although he played only the triangle in the orchestra. He was in high fettle.

When the first carriage entered the grounds his keen ear caught the crunch of wheels on the gravel. He hurried to call the mistress and young misses to their places at the door. He also summoned the boys from their rooms upstairs. He had seen the flash of spotless white in the carriage. It meant beauty calling to youth on the hill. Sam knew.

Phil came downstairs with Custis. The spacious sweep of the hall, its waxed floor clear of furniture, with hundreds of blinking candles flashing on its polished surface, caught his imagination... Continue reading book >>




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