"Yah, yah!" returned Pomp, who appreciated the joke.
"Now, Pomp," Frank continued seriously, "if you will learn your lesson in fifteen minutes I will give you a piece of gingerbread."
"I'll do it, Mass' Frank," said Pomp promptly.
Pomp was very fond of gingerbread, as Frank very well knew. In the time specified the lesson was got, and recited satisfactorily.
As Pomp's education will not again be referred to, it may be said that when Frank had discovered how to manage him, he learned quite rapidly. Chloe, who was herself unable to read, began to look upon Pomp with a new feeling of respect when she found that he could read stories in words of one syllable, and the "lickings" of which he complained became less frequent. But his love of fun still remained, and occasionally got him into trouble, as we shall hereafter have occasion to see.
CHAPTER XXI. THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG
About the middle of December came the sad tragedy of Fredericksburg, in which thousands of our gallant soldiers yielded up their lives in a hard, unequal struggle, which brought forth nothing but mortification and disaster.
The first telegrams which appeared in the daily papers brought anxiety and bodings of ill to many households. The dwellers at the farm were not exempt. They had been apprised by a recent letter that Mr. Frost's regiment now formed a part of the grand army which lay encamped on the eastern side of the Rappahannock. The probability was that he was engaged in the battle. Frank realized for the first time to what peril his father was exposed, and mingled with the natural feeling which such a thought was likely to produce was the reflection that, but for him, his father would have been in safety at home.