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Mammy Peggy’s Pride
by [?]

A cold “thank you” fell from Mima’s lips, but then she went on, hesitatingly, “I should like to come sometimes to the hill, out there behind the orchard.” Her voice choked, but she went bravely on, “Some of my dear ones are buried there.”

“Go there, and elsewhere, as much as you please. That spot shall be sacred from invasion.”

“You are very kind,” she said and rose to go. Mammy carried away the tea things, and then came and waited silently by the door.

“I hope you will believe me, Miss Harrison,” said Bartley, as Mima was starting, “when I say that I do not come to your home as a vandal to destroy all that makes its recollection dear to you; for there are some associations about it that are almost as much to me as to you, since my eyes have been opened.”

“I do not understand you,” she replied.

“I can explain. For some years past my father’s condition has kept me very closely bound to him, and both before and after the beginning of the war, we lived abroad. A few years ago, I came to know and love a man, who I am convinced now was your brother. Am I mistaken in thinking that you are a sister of Philip Harrison?”

“No, no, he was my brother, my only brother.”

“I met him in Venice just before the war and we came to be dear friends. But in the events that followed so tumultuously, and from participation in which, I was cut off by my father’s illness, I lost sight of him.”

“But I don’t believe I remember hearing my brother speak of you, and he was not usually reticent.”

“You would not remember me as Bartley Northcope, unless you were familiar with the very undignified sobriquet with which your brother nicknamed me,” said the young man smiling.

“Nickname–what, you are not, you can’t be ‘Budge’?”

“I am ‘Budge’ or ‘old Budge’ as Phil called me.”

Mima had her hand on the door-knob, but she turned with an impulsive motion and went back to him. “I am so glad to see you,” she said, giving him her hand again, and “Mammy,” she called, “Mr. Northcope is an old friend of brother Phil’s!”

The effect of this news on mammy was like that of the April sun on an icicle. She suddenly melted, and came overflowing back into the room, her smiles and grins and nods trickling everywhere under the genial warmth of this new friendliness. Before one who had been a friend of “Mas’ Phil’s,” Mammy Peggy needed no pride.

“La, chile,” she exclaimed, settling and patting the cushions of the chair in which he had been sitting, “w’y didn’ you say so befo’?”

“I wasn’t sure that I was standing in the house of my old friend. I only knew that he lived somewhere in Virginia.”

“He is among those out on the hill behind the orchard,” said Mima, sadly. Mammy Peggy wiped her eyes, and went about trying to add some touches of comfort to the already perfect room.

“You have no reason to sorrow, Miss Harrison,” said Northcope gently, “for a brother who died bravely in battle for his principles. Had fate allowed me to be here I should have been upon the other side, but believe me, I both understand and appreciate your brother’s heroism.”

The young girl’s eyes glistened with tears, through which glowed her sisterly pride.

“Won’t you come out and look at his grave?”

“It is the desire that was in my mind.”

Together they walked out, with mammy following, to the old burying plot. All her talk was of her brother’s virtues, and he proved an appreciative listener. She pointed out favorite spots of her brother’s childhood as they passed along, and indicated others which his boyish pranks had made memorable, though the eyes of the man were oftener on her face than on the landscape. But it was with real sympathy and reverence that he stood with bared head beside the grave of his friend, and the tears that she left fall unchecked in his presence were not all tears of grief.