The man in front of Rulon looked up when he and Ren Lovell entered the tent. He was clothed in a military uniform with a dozen or more gold buttons up the front of the coat and copious amounts of braid adorning the sleeves. Even seated in his camp chair with one leg crossed over the other, he had an erect carriage. Several papers covered his lap, and others had spilled onto the floor around him.
"What do you want?" he barked.
"Captain Yancey, sir. Rulon Owen, come here from Shenandoah County, has reported to enlist, sir," Lovell said, snapping off a salute. "He is fixin' to sign the paper, sir. I was told to bring him here when he arrived."
Rulon imitated Lovell's salute, but the captain gave him little notice after the first cursory inspection.
"Is he outfitted?"
"He has a pistol, sir."
"Humph. I expected more from Shenandoah County than a pistol, that, that uniform, and a fancy hat." He pointed his pencil disparagingly at Rulon.
Rulon shifted his weight forward and began, "Sir, I--"
"Shh," cautioned Lovell. He spoke to the captain again. "He reckons he's your cousin, sir."
"I allowed him to join the company on that foundation," Thomas Yancey said. "It won't buy him special favors."
"No sir," Lovell said.
Lovell threw Rulon a glance and motioned with his head toward the tent flap. Then he saluted, about faced, and dragged Rulon outside while he was trying to execute another salute.
Lovell maintained his hold on Rulon's jacket until they were clear of the tent and the guard. Then he let go and grinned. "You should see your face."
"Whew." Rulon let out a breath, not sure if this would be an everyday occurance or not. He brushed his hands down his uniform. "I don't look as fine as he does."
"Not many of us do. When we get to Harper's Ferry, I reckon we'll get you outfitted with the uniform pieces you're missing and the gear you'll need, if you didn't bring anything more from home."
"Saddle and saddlebags with my personal necessaries is what I brought." Rulon felt his face go hot. Was the intense labor of his mother and sisters all for naught? He followed Lovell back to the tent where they had met.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone treated you with contempt? How did you handle it? Which of your emotional responses surprised you the most?
I hope you enjoyed this short bit from Gone for a Soldier, my forthcoming novel set during the American Civil War. Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments, so if anything in the sample compels you to speak up, rest assured that I eventually read what you write and will reply, if needed. Questions? I'm open to them, too.
Please come back next Saturday for another sample. Thank you!