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HOME > Classical Novels > A Victorious union > CHAPTER XXIV
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Christy Passford dropped asleep when left alone in the sitting-room, and his slumber lasted a full hour. During this time Mr. Graines had related the incidents of the action in which he had been wounded, and given a full account of the expedition to Mobile Point. He was not sparing in his praise; but he brought it out in what had been said by others, especially by the commanders of both vessels and in the demonstrations of the seamen of the Bellevite.
When the wounded officer awoke it was with a start, and he was surprised to find he had been asleep in the midst of such happy surroundings. He rose from his couch, and found that his mother and sister had left the room. He passed out into the hall, and there heard the voice of the engineer in the library which he entered at once.
"I hope you feel better, my son," said his mother, as she and Florry rose from their chairs 269 rejoicing anew at his return home after the fearful peril through which he had passed, for the recital of his brilliant exploits by his friend had been intensely thrilling to both of them.
"I'm all right, mother dear; I was only tired a little, for I have taken more exercise to-day than usual lately," replied Christy, as Mrs. Passford kissed him again and again, and Florry followed her example.
"Charley Graines has told us all about it, Christy," said his sister.
"So you have been spinning a yarn, have you, Charley?" asked the hero.
"I have related only the simple truth, Christy, for I knew you would not tell them the whole of it," replied the engineer.
"I am afraid you were reckless, my son," added Mrs. Passford.
"Reckless!" exclaimed Christy. "When I saw my duty there was no alternative but to do it; and that was all I did. You have been decorating your yarn, Charley."
"Not a particle; and Captain Breaker would confirm everything I have said," protested Mr. Graines. "So would Captain Rombold, if he were here, as I suppose he will be soon."
270 "That reminds me, mother, that you are to have some visitors; for I expect Captain Rombold and Dr. Davidson will be here some time to-day, for I have spoken to have them paroled," interposed Christy.
"Who is Dr. Davidson, my son?" asked his mother.
"He was the surgeon of the Tallahatchie. Both of your visitors are rebels to the very core," added the lieutenant playfully. "I was hit in the arm by a bullet when I was in the mizzen rigging; but I did not report to the surgeon"—
"As you ought to have done," interrupted the engineer.
"Dr. Linscott had his hands full, and I did not want to bother him then. I went on board of the prize to take a look at the disabled Armstrong gun. Captain Rombold, who was wounded in the right thigh, was sitting on the quarter-deck. He spoke to me, for I was well acquainted with him. While we were talking, I began to feel faint, and slumped down on the deck like a woman. The captain sent for his surgeon, though his own wound had not been dressed; and Dr. Davidson was the gentleman who came, and very soon I felt better. 271 They treated me like a brother; and that is the reason I have asked to have them both sent here."
"I am very glad you did, Christy; and we will do everything we can for them," added Mrs. Passford.
The father and mother of Mr. Graines lived in Montgomery, two miles distant, and he was anxious to see them. Leaving Christie in the hands of his mother and sister, he took his leave early in the afternoon. Later in the day a carriage stopped at the mansion, and the expected visitors, attended by the naval officer who had paroled them, were admitted by the servant. As soon as they were announced, Christy hastened to the hall, followed by his mother and sister. The captain carried a crutch, and was also supported by the doctor and the naval lieutenant.
"I am very glad to see you, Captain Rombold," said Christy, as he gave his hand to the commander. "And you, Dr. Davidson;" and he proceeded to present them to his mother and sister.
"This is Lieutenant Alburgh of your navy, Mr. Passford; and he has been very attentive to us," interposed the surgeon, introducing the paroling officer.
272 "I am very happy to know you, Mr. Alburgh;" and he presented him to Mrs. Passford and Florry.
The lieutenant declined an invitation to dinner; for he was in haste to return to New York, going back to the station in the carriage that had brought him. Mrs. Passford invited the party to the sitting-room, and Christy and the doctor assisted the wounded commander. He was placed upon the sofa, where he reclined, supported by the cushions arranged by the lady of the house.
"I am extremely grateful to you both, gentlemen, for your kindness to my son when he was beyond my reach, and it affords me very great pleasure to obtain the opportunity to reciprocate it in some slight degree," said Mrs. Passford, when the captain declared that he was very comfortable in his position on the sofa.
"And I thank you with all my heart for what you did for my brother," added Florry.
"You more than repay me; and, madam, permit me to congratulate you on being the mother of such a son as Lieutenant Passford," replied Captain Rombold warmly. "I am still a rebel to the very centre of my being; but that does not prevent me from giving the tribute of my admiration to an 273 enemy who has been as brave, noble, and generous as your son. The brilliant exploit of Mr. Passford, I sincerely believe, cost me my ship, and at least the lives or limbs of a quarter of my ship's company. It was one of the most daring and well-executed movements I ever witnessed in my life, madam."
"Please to let up, Captain," interposed Christy, blushing as Florry would have done if Paul Vapoor had entered the room at that moment.
"He is as ............
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