"Yes, our side does the same. If I wanted such a fate to overtake him I should only have to let him alone. At risks too hideous to name I have saved him from it twice. I am here to-day chiefly to circumvent his purposes; but if I may do so in the way I wish to propose to you, I shall also save him once more. I am willing to save him--in that way--although by so doing I shall lose--fearfully." She dropped her glance and turned aside.On our return to the veranda, Camille and I, we found on its front the house's entire company except only the children of the family. Mrs. Sessions, Estelle and C茅cile formed one group, Squire Sessions and Charlotte Oliver made a pair, and Ferry and Miss Harper another. Our posies created a lively demonstration; Camille yielded them to Estelle, and Estelle took them into the house to arrange them in water. Gholson went with her; it was painful to see her zest for his society.
XXXVIII "BEAR A MESSAGE AND A TOKEN"
From certain rank signs of bad management in the Federal camp one could easily guess that our circuit was designed to bring us around to its rear. That a colonel's tent--the one where the singers were--was not where the colonel's tent belonged was a trifle, but the slovenliness with which the forest borders of the camp were guarded was a graver matter. Evidently those troops were at least momentarily in unworthy hands, and I was so remarking to Kendall when a murmured command came back from Ferry, to tell Dick Smith to stop that whispering. I was sorry, for I wanted to add that I knew we were not going to attack the camp itself. That was on Wednesday night. Charlotte and Gholson had made their ride of fifty miles on Monday. The friends with whom she stopped at nightfall contrived to cram him into their crowded soldiers' room, and he had given the whole company of his room-mates, as they sat up in their beds, a full account of the fight at Sessions's, Charlotte's care of the sick and dying, and the singing, by her and the blue-coats, of their battle-song. Next morning Charlotte, without Gholson--who turned off to camp--rode on to Goldschmidt's store, just beyond which there was then still a Confederate picket. Here she hired Mrs. Goldschmidt's pony, rode to the picket, and presented the Coralie Rothvelt pass.XXXVIII "BEAR A MESSAGE AND A TOKEN"
The rifle cracked, but its ball sang over us; a shot answered it behind me; the howling man's voice died in a gurgle, and Sergeant Jim ran by me, leaped upon the horse that had stayed beside his fallen rider, and was off hot-footed after the other. "Turn your prisoner over to Kendall, Smith," he cried, "and put out like hell for Clifton!"Five, ten, fifteen minutes dragged by. Counting them helped me to lie still. Then I caught another pregnant sound, a mumbling of male voices in the adjoining front room. I waited a bit, hearkening laboriously, and then ever so gradually I slid from the bed, put on everything except my boots, and moved by inches to the door between the two rooms. It was very thin; "a good sounding-board," thought I as I listened for life or death and hoped my ear was the only one against it.
He was amused. "Go if you want; but be quick; here they come already, a small bunch of them.""Hello, Ned!" he whispered in antic irony; "what an accident is dat, meeding so! Whoever is expecting someding like dis!"
But he said Lieutenant Ferry was in a captured ambulance ahead of us and of our hundreds of prisoners, that a full creek and a burning bridge were between us and the foe, and that the fight was over.
"Oh, come, now, you know!" He leaned to me and whispered, "Miss C茅cile!"
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"They're all about the house, tending the wounded; Mrs. Sessions is with the Squire, of course,--dear, brave old gentleman! we thought he was killed, but Charlotte found the ball had glanced."
Once more the Arkansan shook his head at the leaping flames. "Too good, too good for either of 'em, entirely; we've let 'em settle at five cents on the dollar. Here girl,"--he reached back and handed her a wad of greenbacks,--"here's your dividend; you're a preferred creditor." He had rifled the pockets of both the dead men, and this was their contents. "Now, boys, we'll dust, or we'll be getting shot at by some fool or other. We're leaving a fine horse hid away somewhere hereabouts, but we can't help that; come on."Another mile, another half; then my horror and dismay broke into gesture and speech, and over and over I reviled myself as a fool, a traitorous fool, to be fooled into confession of my errand! I moaned with physical pain; every fatigue of the long day now levied payment, and my back, knees, shoulders, ached cruelly. But my heart ached most, and I bowed in the saddle and cried--详情
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