Timestamp for In Earnest:

by  Barb



I, Scott Garrett Lancer, do solemnly swear that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have neither sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise the functions of any officers whatever, under any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power or constitution within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto. And I do further swear that, to the best of my knowledge and ability, I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.*


Harlan looked dispassionately around the room at the garish red, white and blue bunting

As he watched, Colonel Lowell stated the Oath of Office from memory and Scotty, right hand raised, repeated the words back in his deep and even voice.

He was reminded of the strength hidden in that tall, straight-shouldered build. Though he thoroughly disagreed with the profession, he couldn't help feeling a measure of pride.

Afterwards, when Scotty made a remark to Colonel Lowell, the man leaned in, listening intently. His grandson always had a fine voice. One fit for speech-making. It wasn't so much the tone or the depth, but there was something in it that made people naturally want to listen.

His sister, Elizabeth, was neatly wrapped in her fur-lined silk spencer, discreet jewelry winking at her ears, grey hair beautifully coiffed. She looked like a successful matron on her way to a luncheon. But her eyes, as vivid a blue as his own, were filled with concern.

"I'd hoped to meet with you before the ceremony," she said quietly, and reached out to lay a hand on his arm.

He flinched automatically. The Garretts simply did not touch, something his sister never quite took to heart.

"He's his own man, Rob. It's high time you recognized the fact. You did after all, endeavor to raise him as your own."

The use of his childhood name irked him. "I did my best."

"I would remind you, however, that he has a father." Starch crept into her tone. "And he needs to be informed of what is happening here."

Her eyes, previously soft with sympathy, hardened. "Pretending the past doesn't exist is as bad as living in it. Mark my words, some day you'll rue that fact. You'll lose him, if you haven't already. In the worst possible way."

"My dear, if I didn't know you better I would say threats are being made."

She reached up to touch his cheek and he felt his muscles go taut. "I feel sorry for you, Rob. In your endeavor to align the future to your specifications, you always seem to miss the present."

She went to Scotty and stood beside him. A show of solidarity if nothing else.

He was unwilling to attend Elizabeth's words. He doesn't need you, not like you need him. The distasteful thought sprang to his mind from the dusty cubbyhole where he had it buried since Scotty went off to Harvard. He'd always prided himself on considering the outcomes. Statistics and probability. And if he lost his grandson to war? The Army could do well enough without one Lieutenant at the front.

His letter to the governor had apparently fallen on deaf ears. Action would need to be taken.


Harlan rapped against the carriage door and his driver pulled the horses to a stop. Camp Meigs. From his hilltop view it resembled something of a ragged-looking town. Although laid out in a stark precision that he assumed was some pique of the Army, it appeared more so like a prison of sorts with the inmates wandering about in bunched blue. He wondered if the guards at the gate kept them in, or the rest of the world out.

His attention was drawn to some activity on the western side. A man was jumping his horse over a high obstacle. Two more were at the trot. They stopped, then started again, repeating the sequences around the enclosure. Was Scotty there?

His entreaties to the Governor Andrew had thus far been unsuccessful. A personal visit would be in order. He would see to it, one way or another, that his grandson was kept safe. Regardless of what Scotty wanted, he knew what was best for the boy.

He stared for a moment down at the activity in the camp, as busy as any beehive. With a deep sigh, he knocked against the side of the carriage, signaling to the driver his desire to leave.


The End



*Officer Oath of Office, 2 July 1862, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. Chap. 128





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