The Crossing by Gilbert Morris | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Crossing

The Crossing

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by Gilbert Morris
     
 

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From the beloved author of the bestselling House of Winslow series comes a new trilogy about the Civil War. Join Gilbert Morris as he explores the life of General Stonewall Jackson through the story of the fictional Yancy Tremayne. Raised among the Cheyenne, Yancy rejects the Amish community his father rejoins and instead studies under Thomas Jackson, a professor

Overview

From the beloved author of the bestselling House of Winslow series comes a new trilogy about the Civil War. Join Gilbert Morris as he explores the life of General Stonewall Jackson through the story of the fictional Yancy Tremayne. Raised among the Cheyenne, Yancy rejects the Amish community his father rejoins and instead studies under Thomas Jackson, a professor at the local military school. When war breaks out, will Yancy further distance himself from the pacifist community and join the fighting? And can he find a home for his heart?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prolific author Morris (House of Winslow series) opens a new series set in the years leading up to the Civil War. Widower Daniel Tremayne returns to his Amish roots, but his son, Yancy, joins a Virginia militia and becomes one of "Stonewall's Boys" in the War between the States. The novel is rich with characters struggling to make sense of the war and of Amish pacifism while maintaining loyalty to family. Yancy's grandmother says, "I saw that you'd decided to be a soldier. And we always told you that we would respect your decisions, and we do. But I have to tell you that it grieves me, it truly does." Injured in battle, Yancy is nursed back to health by Lorena, who wrestles with her own past. The first in "The Last Cavaliers" series combines adventure and romance in a thick historical and religious setting that fills the page with believable missives, news reports, and a love story in the midst of war. (Feb.)
RT Book Reviews

Morris has written a wonderful Civil War story with an unusual twist and true-to-life characters. The Amish don't believe in taking up arms against their fellow man, but they do not condemn those who do. The Civil War provides a vivid background to this story of how one person's choices affect those around him.

— Patsy Glans

Reading to Know

I'll say as a first timer that I enjoyed his [Gilber Morris] manner of story telling. I enjoyed the way Morris develops his characters over an extended period of time, giving the reader ample opportunity to know the story well. I also like historical fiction so it was a safe bet I'd enjoy this fact-and-fiction tale. I was equally amused that Morris was hitting all sorts of topics that Christian fiction writers love to touch on (i.e., the Amish, talk of horses, southern belles, etc.) I was amused but still entertained in an engrossing sort of way. I rather flew through this book as it was easy to do so. I genuinely wanted to know how this story played out. Knowing at least a little bit about Stonewall Jackson made this story all the more interesting and engaging to me.

For myself, I enjoyed my first experience reading a Gilbert Morris book and have no qualms about recommending The Crossing if you like a tiny bit of romance, historical fiction and a flowing story line. I was never jolted out of the picture that Morris was trying to paint due to poor writing or use of modern expressions. I thought that Morris was pretty faithful to the timeline in which he had placed his story in terms of dress and language.

— Carrie

Troubling the Stars

Through the course of The Crossing, the reader finds himself sitting up straighter, walking taller, treating others with a deeper kindness, and looking more closely at the path that is laid before him, a path of honor, grace, and virtue. An encounter with the characters of Gilbert Morris’s The Crossing will no doubt leave the reader in that state that great stories always do: Changed.

— Michael Foster

CBA Retailers + Resources - Von Mitchell

Gilbert Morris creates likable characters and reveals a strong knowledge of Civil War events in this work of historical fiction. The Crossing escorts readers across the great divide in American histroy and reminds them of the transforming power of love.
RT Book Reviews - Patsy Glans

Morris has written a wonderful Civil War story with an unusual twist and true-to-life characters. The Amish don't believe in taking up arms against their fellow man, but they do not condemn those who do. The Civil War provides a vivid background to this story of how one person's choices affect those around him.
Reading to Know - Carrie

I'll say as a first timer that I enjoyed his [Gilber Morris] manner of story telling. I enjoyed the way Morris develops his characters over an extended period of time, giving the reader ample opportunity to know the story well. I also like historical fiction so it was a safe bet I'd enjoy this fact-and-fiction tale. I was equally amused that Morris was hitting all sorts of topics that Christian fiction writers love to touch on (i.e., the Amish, talk of horses, southern belles, etc.) I was amused but still entertained in an engrossing sort of way. I rather flew through this book as it was easy to do so. I genuinely wanted to know how this story played out. Knowing at least a little bit about Stonewall Jackson made this story all the more interesting and engaging to me.

For myself, I enjoyed my first experience reading a Gilbert Morris book and have no qualms about recommending The Crossing if you like a tiny bit of romance, historical fiction and a flowing story line. I was never jolted out of the picture that Morris was trying to paint due to poor writing or use of modern expressions. I thought that Morris was pretty faithful to the timeline in which he had placed his story in terms of dress and language.

Troubling the Stars - Michael Foster

Through the course of The Crossing, the reader finds himself sitting up straighter, walking taller, treating others with a deeper kindness, and looking more closely at the path that is laid before him, a path of honor, grace, and virtue. An encounter with the characters of Gilbert Morris’s The Crossing will no doubt leave the reader in that state that great stories always do: Changed.

CBA Retailers + Resources

Gilbert Morris creates likable characters and reveals a strong knowledge of Civil War events in this work of historical fiction. The Crossing escorts readers across the great divide in American histroy and reminds them of the transforming power of love.

— Von Mitchell

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410437518
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
05/18/2011
Series:
The Last Cavaliers
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
657
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Crossing

The Last Cavaliers: One


By Gilbert Morris

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Gilbert Morris
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60742-241-9


CHAPTER 1

I feel like a bag of sticks in a bunch of gaudy Christmas baubles." Daniel Harvey Hill, normally of a dry and caustic humor, still glanced at his wife with a look of tenderness in his eyes.

"Don't you dare call me gaudy, Harvey," Isabella Morrison Hill retorted, "after you practically forced me to buy this material for this dress." She was a pretty woman, as were her two sisters who accompanied them in the carriage.

Isabella was the older sister, with ash brown hair and dark eyes set in a small oval face. Her younger sister, Mary Anna, had a more quiet beauty. Her hair was a darker, thicker chestnut brown and her brown eyes were soft and warm. The youngest sister, Eugenia, was vivacious, with sparkling eyes and a bow-shaped mouth that looked as if she were always smiling. All three sisters were small-boned, petite women.

On this fine snowy day of December 12, 1855, D. H. Hill, in his somber black suit, had indeed almost disappeared in the finery worn by his wife and two sisters-in-law. His wife, Isabella, wore a scarlet dress that showcased her tiny waist, with a touch of white fur on her collar and cuffs and hem. Anna Morrison wore a festive holly green trimmed with frosty white lace. Her bonnet was velvet and framed her face perfectly. Eugenia Morrison Barringer wore a daring winter white trimmed with black velvet. Instead of a traditional bonnet, she sported a skullcap hat bordered by rich black sable, and her black gloves and hem were trimmed with the same expensive fur.

"You look lovely, my dear," Hill said gruffly. "You all do. Very festive. Puts me right in the Christmas spirit." His looks belied his words; he was a rather severe-looking man with sandy hair and a stubborn chin.

"Wonderful!" Eugenia, the saucy one, said. "So you won't be so grumpy, brother?"

"I'm never grumpy. I'm just matter-of-fact."

"Here's the bookseller's," Anna said, always the peacemaker. "Perhaps we may find a thesaurus, and each of us can pinpoint our particular dispositions. For myself, I do agree that brother Daniel is always factual and to the point."

"Pointy, you mean," Eugenia said merrily. "As for me, I believe I am of a spirited disposition. Isabella is good-humored and personable, and you, Anna, are reserved and of an intellectual nature."

"Boring, you mean?" Anna asked, her eyes twinkling.

"Never, sister," Eugenia said. "You're much too smart to be boring. So, shall we go in? If we don't settle all of this soon, we'll be late for Uncle William's party." Their driver opened the carriage door and pulled down the steps.

Anna started to step out and was surprised to see a hand extended to her and a gentle voice ask, "May I be of assistance, Miss Morrison?"

"Why, yes, Major Jackson. How wonderful to see you!" In spite of her reserve, Anna flushed slightly and her eyes lit up.

He helped her out of the carriage then gallantly handed down the other ladies.

D.H. shook his hand heartily. "Thomas, it is very good to see you. It's been far too long. You do look well."

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was thirty years old. For almost four years now he had been at Virginia Military Institute as professor of natural and experimental philosophy—at which he was an indifferent teacher at best—and instructor of artillery tactics—at which he was uncannily expert. He still wore the uniform he had worn during the Mexican War, where he had learned his artillery skills and, along the way, had been breveted a major for gallantry at Chapultepec, where he showed conspicuous courage and bravery. This uniform was not, however, made to show him off; it was a rather dusky blue, much worn and mended, double-breasted with two modest rows of buttons and the one oak leaf of a major on his shoulder flashes. The breeches were shiny at the knee, and the red stripe down the side was much faded. He wore his old cavalry boots and army-issued blue-caped greatcoat.

He was about five-ten and weighed one hundred seventy-five pounds. His complexion was smooth, his forehead broad, his nose aquiline. His hair was dark brown, soft, and had a tendency to curl. Jackson's most striking feature, however, was undoubtedly his eyes. They were of a lightning blue, such a bright color that they seemed almost to glow at times when he was feeling strong emotion. One of the nicknames the cadets at the Virginia Military Institute had given him was "Old Blue Light." His manner was always dignified and somewhat stiff, with an undoubtedly military bearing. In spite of this he was a forthright man, natural and unaffected. When he spoke to a person, his full attention and that frank gaze were fixed unerringly upon them.

"Thank you, D.H.," he answered. "As do you. But I must say that you lovely ladies positively brighten the day—even the whole town. Miss Morrison, that particular shade of green becomes you very much. Mrs. Hill, you look so much like a Christmas spirit that I wish it was Christmas today. Mrs. Barringer, as always, you are positively sparkling."

The ladies murmured their thanks.

D.H. asked, "Thomas, are you going to the bookseller's? Or have you already been?"

Jackson had a brown-wrapped parcel under his arm. For a moment he looked slightly uncomfortable. "No, this is a picture. That is, a daguerreotype. Of me." Next door to the bookseller's was a photographer's studio.

"Really?" Anna exclaimed. "Oh, may we see it?"

"I—I wouldn't deny you any pleasure, Miss Morrison," Jackson answered, obviously flustered. "But I think that would not be a very great pleasure. Besides, it—it is wrapped securely for my trip home."

Now Anna was embarrassed. "Of course, Major Jackson, it must stay—wrapped. I wasn't thinking."

Jackson bowed slightly. "But if you are going to Parson's Books and Reading Rooms, may I beg to accompany you all? I didn't have any particular book in mind, but I love to browse around."

"Please do, Major," Eugenia insisted prettily. "We are going to dinner at Uncle William's tonight, and we wanted to stop and get him a book for Christmas. We were thinking about A Christmas Carol. Don't you think he's much like old Mr. Fezziwig?" The sisters' uncle William Graham was a merry gentleman, a Whig of the old school who wore antique knee breeches, ruffled shirts, silk stockings, and heeled shoes with silver buckles.

Thomas smiled broadly and his eyes burned brightly. "So he is! A delightful old gentleman, if I recall. It has been, I think, two years since I've seen him."

"He looks the same," Eugenia said mischievously. "He always looks the same. I think he was born looking like Mr. Fezziwig."

"Then A Christmas Carol it must be," D.H. said. "Though he will never get the joke. My dear?" He offered Isabella his arm, and Jackson gallantly escorted both Mary Anna and Eugenia into the shop.

It was much like booksellers' shops everywhere, comfortably crowded with books both careworn and brand-new. The shop smelled like aged leather and old paper.

Mr. Parsons was a short, balding man with glasses perched on the edge of his nose and a perpetual slight squint, probably from reading almost continuously for at least forty-two of his forty-five years. He welcomed them and urged them to take tea or coffee in one of the reading rooms. Mr. Parsons was not a grasping man; he loved books so much that he had included two parlors attached to his shop that were far too inviting to promote quick sales. He barely made a profit on his shop, but he didn't care. He loved reading and avid readers and encouraged his customers to sit in one of the comfortably overstuffed chairs by the fireplace to peruse the books at their leisure.

The group wandered about the shop, Jackson to find Shakespeare and Hill in search of Dickens.

Eugenia was heard to exclaim, "Oh, look sisters! It's the newest Godey's Ladies' Book!"

The three sisters crowded around the magazines then went into the nearest parlor to spread them out on the library table so they could all look at them together. Jackson selected a copy of Shakespeare's sonnets then followed the ladies. The parlor was a large room, with four armchairs grouped comfortably around a brisk, crackling fire. The library table was large enough to accompany twelve people, and the sisters were grouped at one end, excitedly talking about the newest ladies' fashions. Jackson helped himself to hot tea from a sideboard then sat down by the fire.

Soon D.H. joined him, with his newly purchased copy of A Christmas Carol. Hill and Jackson had been friends for almost ten years now, because they had served together in the Mexican War. Hill, who in 1851 had been professor of mathematics at Washington College in Lexington, had recommended Jackson to the post at VMI that he had been awarded. The previous year, in 1854, Hill had joined the faculty of Davidson College, near Charlotte, North Carolina. In the last year he and Jackson had not corresponded much, both because Hill had moved and because of the tragic death of Jackson's wife, Elinor. She had died in November of 1854, giving birth to a stillborn son.

Hill settled into the armchair next to Jackson.

Jackson looked up and smiled, a sad and lonely smile that had been his customary expression for more than a year.

"How have you been, Thomas?" Hill asked quietly.

Jackson sighed. "It has been very difficult, I admit, D.H. I miss my Ellie more than I can say."

Hill shook his head. "I cannot imagine the trial, Thomas. I am so truly sorry."

"God has given me comfort, but you're right. It is indeed a trial. I know that Ellie and my son are waiting for me in Paradise ... and sometimes I wish I could join them." He stared into space for a moment then continued, "But I have found solace in my work, and in my home."

"You are still living with Mr. Junkin?" Hill asked. When Elinor and Thomas had married in August of 1853, her father had built onto the family home for them.

"Yes, and he is a pillar of strength. And my sister-in-law, Margaret, has also been a great help to me," Jackson answered. "Sometimes I wonder at the enduring faith and love that seems to strengthen women more than men."

"I agree," D.H. said. "I also think Isabella is much stronger than I am, in so many ways."

Jackson brightened a bit. "She and her sisters are all such lovely ladies. A man would be blessed to have a wife from the Morrison family."

"So true, my friend," Hill agreed.

Carelessly Thomas commented, "I'm surprised that Miss Anna has not married. She is such a lovely lady, so intelligent and engaging."

"She is, and she has had two offers that I know of," Hill said. "But she wasn't the least bit interested. It seems that it must be very difficult for a man to persuade her to have him."

"Mmm," Jackson hummed noncommitally. "Most of the time the things that are hardest to obtain are the more precious to have."

With some negotiations about exactly how many Godey's Ladies' Books to buy, and whether or not to also purchase Bleak House, which Isabella had never read, the group finished their book shopping and returned to the carriage.

Once again Jackson escorted Anna, but Eugenia was walking with Isabella, still talking excitedly about their new magazines. Anna asked, "Won't you let us drive you home, Major?"

"Thank you, but no, I prefer to walk. In spite of the cold, it is a lovely day."

It was true; Lexington looked like an idyllic greeting card. The small village had feathery pillows of snow, but the sun was shining beatifically. Far on the horizon were more snow clouds, but they only served to accentuate the brightness of the late afternoon. The walks had been shoveled by industrious boys who earned a nickel from the town's treasury. They had done a fine job, pushing the snow up into neat snowbanks bordering the streets.

Anna agreed. "It is a beautiful afternoon. But I'm afraid if I walked too far I might muss my hem." Her hooped skirt was floor-length, as was fashionable, and it took particular care to hold it up without exposing a glimpse of a forbidden ankle.

Jackson smiled down at her. "In that case, Miss Morrison, I would be obliged, like that gentleman Sir Walter Raleigh, to cast my cloak at your feet. But I'm afraid it would be a sorry carpet for you." Jackson's blue caped coat, like his clothes, was worn and thin.

"I would still be honored, sir," Anna said. "I would be glad to tread on your cloak any time."

He handed her up into the carriage, and D.H. stopped at the open carriage door. "Thomas, won't you join us for dinner? Not tomorrow—Isabella and I have a prior engagement—but what about on Friday night? Rufus and Eugenia and Anna and I would, I think, make a merry party."

"That you would, D.H.," Jackson gravely agreed. Glancing at Anna he added, "It would be a very great pleasure, and I will be sure to bring my cloak."

* * *

The Hills, Anna, and Eugenia and her husband, Rufus Barringer, were staying at the Col Alto Manor House. All of them had relatives in Lexington, but instead of imposing on them for their Christmas visit, they had decided that it would be much easier to stay at this comfortable boardinghouse.

Col Manor had been built in 1827 and was a gracious two-story home with spacious bedrooms, two parlors for guests' use, and an elegant dining room. Col Alto was very well-known, too, for its fine food and was one of the locals' favorite places to eat.

Thomas Jackson joined them in the dining room, which was sumptuously lit with dozens of candles. It was a large room, but the tables were so discreetly located that it gave each party a feeling of privacy. Two enormous fireplaces faced each other across the room, and on this frosty night, the fires, continually tended by servants, snapped and sparked. The smoky scent of aged Virginia oak mingled with the delicious aromas of food cooked fresh and served hot. The D.H. Hill party was seated at a table in a corner, with the fireplace pleasantly distant enough so that they could feel the warmth but not to excess.

D.H. Hill introduced Thomas to Rufus Barringer, Eugenia's husband, whom Thomas had never met.

Barringer was a neat, compact man, balding, with light brown hair and a fine-trimmed mustache and beard. His blue eyes seemed to continually twinkle with good humor, and his mouth was wide and appeared, like his wife's, to be always on the verge of a smile. He was a man of good humor and patience, which served him well in his marriage to the spirited Eugenia Morrison. Barringer said, "Sir, I have heard of your famous artillery expertise, both in the Mexican War and at Virginia Military Institute. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"You're too kind," Jackson said. "But I must agree that both the study and the practice of artillery gives me a great deal of pleasure—much more, I'm afraid, than the study of natural and experimental philosophy."

"I admit to considerable ignorance," Barringer said. "My study has been confined almost exclusively to the law. What, exactly, is natural and experimental philosophy, sir?"

"I don't know," Jackson answered, deadpan.

There was a long silence at the table, and then the entire party—except for Jackson, who only smiled—laughed.

They were a merry party that evening. Jackson and the other two men were wearing the only acceptable fine evening attire—dark suits, black ties, and white ruffled shirts. The women, in contrast, looked like colorful little birds in a drab wood. Isabella looked regal in royal blue, Anna glowed in a deep rose, and Eugenia wore a golden brown that made her complexion look like pure ivory. The candlelight cast a rich aura over them; as was the fashion, their shoulders were bare and their hair was gracefully swept up. Isabella wore a golden comb, and Anna and Eugenia wore dainty tortoiseshell. Anna rarely wore jewelry, but on this festive night, she wore pearl drop earrings that her uncle William Graham had given her years before, stating that they were such purity as became her naturally.

The party was seated at a round table, which served well, in that the matching of Anna and Thomas was not so obvious. Thomas Jackson exerted himself to be lighthearted company, but he was obviously still mourning the loss of his wife. Often when there was a pause in the conversation, his face took on a distant look, his fire blue eyes dimmed, and he stared into the distance as if searching for something far away. But throughout the long and delicious meal, he was for the most part amusing and perfectly cheerful.

Rufus Barringer questioned him about his service in the Mexican War, with his brother-in-law, D.H. Hill, as a fellow soldier.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Crossing by Gilbert Morris. Copyright © 2011 Gilbert Morris. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Award-winning, bestselling author, Gilbert Morris, is well known for penning numerous Christian novels for adults and children since 1984 with 6.5 million books in print. He is probably best known for the forty-book House of Winslow series, and his Edge of Honor was a 2001 Christy Award winner. He lives with his wife in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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