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AN AMUSING INCIDENT




James A. Hassell, Superintendent of the Book Department of the American News Company, Park Row, New York, told me the following singular occurrence:

His father, John Hassell, was a Union soldier during the Civil War and developed pulmonary tuberculosis. Shortly after Appomattox, he went to Florida in the hope of renewing his strength and prolonging his life. One day, presuming too much on his vigor, he wandered too far into the country from his hotel and suddenly collapsed. He was seized with a bad hemorrhage and sank down at the side of the road, too weak to keep his feet. He felt that he must die unless help quickly reached him. Feebly raising his head on his hand, he saw a man approaching with a pair of oxen drawing a cart. When he was within a few paces, Mr. Hassell made the Masonic sign of distress.

"Whoa!" called the old Confederate to his cattle and leaping to the ground, ran forward to give what aid he could. He had the situation at a glance. The man in extremity was a "Yank," but he was also a Freemason. And then a situation developed that was unparalleled and to a certain extent amusing. Being a Yank, he who had worn the gray, refused to speak a word to him or to answer a single question.

We recall that at that time there remained a good deal of slumbering hatred between the North and the South. It was impossible to disregard his Masonic vow and the "Cracker" took off his coat, tenderly adjusted it about the sufferer, lifted him into his cart and gently drove back to the hotel, where he explained the situation to the landlord, still refusing to exchange a word with the one whom he had relieved. Mr. Hassell received the kindest attention and lived for a number of years. He often related with enjoyment his unique experience in which the former Confederate drew the line so sharply between his principles and his Masonic duties.



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