The scene in the little farm-house where the two commanders met to arrange the terms of surrender was dramatic in more ways than one. General Lee had promptly given up his own baggage waggon for use in carrying food for the advance brigade and as he could save but one suit of clothes, he had naturally taken his best. He was, therefore, notwithstanding the fatigues and the privations of the past week, in full dress uniform. He was one of the handsomest men of his generation, and his beauty was not only of feature but of expression of character. Grant, who never gave much thought to his personal appearance, had for days been away from his baggage train, and under the urgency of keeping as near as possible to the front line with reference to the probability of being called to arrange terms for surrender, he had not found the opportunity of securing a proper coat in place of his fatigue blouse. I believe that even his sword had been mislaid, but he was able to borrow one for the occasion from a staff officer. When the main details of the surrender had been talked over, Grant looked about the group in the room, which included, in addition to two staff officers who had come with Lee, a group of five or six of his own assistants, who had managed to keep up with the advance, to select the aid who should write out the paper. His eye fell upon Colonel Ely Parker, a brigade commander who had during the past few months served on Grant's staff. "Colonel Parker, I will ask you," said Grant, "as the only real American in the room, to draft this paper." Parker was a full-blooded Indian, belonging to one of the Iroquois tribes of New York.
An hour earlier in its hole among the roots of the great thorn bush the scorpion had been alerted by two sets of vibrations. First there had been the tiny scraping of the beetle's movements, and these belonged to the vibrations which the scorpion immediately recognized and diagnosed. Then there had been a series of incomprehensible thuds round the bush followed by a final heavy quake which had caved in part of the scorpion's hole. These were followed by a soft rhythmic trembling of the ground which was so regular that it soon became a background vibration of no urgency. After a pause the tiny scraping of the beetle had continued, and it was greed for the beetle that, after a day of sheltering from its deadliest enemy, the sun, finally got the upper hand against the scorpion's memory of the other noises and impelled it out of its lair into the filtering moonlight.
Sluggsy's face showed bravado, but also obedience. "Have a heart, pal! I want a piece of this baby. But now!" But he pulled out a chair and sat down, and I moved quickly away.
'Oh dear, no, sir!' I replied, most decisively. I was ingenuous and young, and I thought so.
"Gentlemen," he said, "suppose all the property you possess were in gold, and you had placed it in the hands of Blondin to carry across the Niagara River on a rope. With slow, cautious, steady steps he walks the rope, bearing your all. Would you shake the cable and keep shouting to him, 'Blondin, stand up a little straighter! Blondin, stoop a little more; go a little faster; lean more to the south! Now lean a little more to north! Would that be your behaviour in such an emergency? No, you would hold your breath, every one of you, as well as your tongues. You would keep your hands off until he was safe on the other side."