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The Man in Gray
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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.
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