They say two or three men sprang to catch me, but the first thing I knew was that the ambulance was under way and I in it on my back within elbow-touch of Ferry, looking up into a surgeon's face. "How's the Lieutenant?" I asked.I waved a pleasant refusal and rode toward the house.XLVIII IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS RIGHT ARMXIV CORALIE ROTHVELT
"Yes, I was," he replied; "she's got more sense in a minute than Camille's got in a week," and shut the door between us."Why,--yes,--I do. I--I thought everybody did." She averted her face and toyed with the sweet-pea vines. Suddenly she gulped, faced me, blinked rapidly, and said "If I oughtn't to call him--that,--then I oughtn't to have called--" she dropped her eyes and bit her lip."Yes, the new man is detailed in your place.""Come!" I echoed. We swung into the broader road and followed the contrabands.
- "But I thought the' was fi-ive letters," said the Squire as we were about to leave the board; at which Mrs. Wall mumbled to him to "hush up;" for the fifth was to Cécile.
- "No, I do not like him. Do you?"
- "Yes," replied Gholson, "pistols first, and then the turpentine." Whereat Harry and I exchanged glances again, it came so pat that Scott Gholson should be a dispenser of inflammables. At a house a mile behind the camp the surgeon stood waiting for us. He frowned at me the instant he saw Charlotte, and I heard him swear. As we bore her in with Gholson and me next her head she murmured to him:
- Charlotte's head drooped and her hands trembled. "Yes, by law and church decree he is my husband."
- However, there was not the urgency for instant flight that Charlotte had thought there was; night fell; a whole regiment of our mounted infantry came silently up from the rear of the plantation and bivouacked without lights behind a quarter of a mile of worm-fence; our two wounded and three unharmed prisoners, or Miss Harper's, I should say, for it was in response to her entreaties that the latter had thrown down their arms, were taken away; the dead man was borne out; lights glowed in every room, the servants returned to their tasks, a maddening fragrance came from the kitchen, and the three nieces flitted everywhere in their benign activities, never discovering the hurt on my shoulder until everything else on earth had been discovered, and then--"Oh, Richard, Richard!" from Estelle, with "Reach-hard, Reach-hard!" from Cécile, and "Mr. Smith!" from Camille, as they bathed and bound it. At length a surgeon arrived, gave a cheering opinion of Ferry and of Charlotte, and scolded Harry savagely for the really bad condition of his hand. Then sounds grew few and faint, our lights went out, we lay down fully dressed, and nearly all of us, for a while, slept.
- "Ah!"--Ferry guardedly pointed to the ground at the corner of the house nearest Charlotte's room; there were both the dogs, dim as phantoms and as silent, standing and peering not toward us but around to the wing side in a way to make one's blood stop. We drew deeper into the grove and made a short circuit that brought us in line with Charlotte's two windows, and there, at the farther one, with her back to us, sat Charlotte, looking toward Hazlehurst. The bloodthirsty beasts at the corner of the house were so intently waiting to spring upon something, somebody, between them and the nearer window, that we were secure from their notice. We had hardly more than become aware of these things when, in the line of planted trees, out of the depths of the one nearest the nearer window, sounded a note that brought Charlotte instantly to her feet; the same feeble, smothered cry she had heard the night she was wounded. She crossed to the front window and listened, first standing erect, and then stooping and leaning out. When we saw her do that we knew how little she cared for her life; Ferry beckoned me up from behind him; neither of us needed to say he feared the signal was from Oliver. "Watch here," he whispered, and keeping the deepest shade, started eagerly, with drawn revolver, toward the particular tree. I saw the dogs discover and recognize him and welcome his aid, yet I kept my closest watch on that tree's boughs and on Charlotte. She was wondering, I guessed, whether the call was from some messenger of Ferry, or was only a bird's cry. As if she decided it was the latter, she moved away, and had nearly re-crossed the room, when the same sad tremolo came searching the air again. Nevertheless she went on to the farther window and stood gazing out for the better part of a minute, while in my heart I besought her not to look behind. For Ferry and the dogs had vanished in shadow, and outside her nearer window, wavering now above and now below the sill, I could just descry a small pale object that reminded me of that missive Coralie Rothvelt had passed up to me outside the window-sill at old Lucius Oliver's house exactly a month before. From the upper depths of the nearest tree this small thing was being proffered on the end of a fishing-rod. Presently the rod must have tapped the sill, with such a start did she face about. Silently she ran, snatched the dumb messenger, and drew down the window-shade. A moment later the room glowed with a candle, while her shadow, falling upon the shade, revealed her scanning a letter, lifting her arms with emotion, and so passing out of the line of view.
- On a day late in October our company were in bivouac after some hard night-riding. Some twenty-five miles west of us the brigade had been resting for several days on the old camp-ground at Gallatin, but now they were gone to union Springs. Ferry, with a few men, was scouting eastward. Quinn awaited only his return in order to take half a dozen or so of picked fellows down southward and westward about Fayette. Between ten and eleven that night a corporal of the guard woke me, and as I flirted on my boots and jacket and saddled up, said Ferry was back and Quinn gone. I reported to Ferry, who handed me a despatch: "Give that to General Austin; he has gone back to Gallatin--without the brigade--to wait--with the others"--his smile broadened.
- I fear I answered evasively. I added that I must go to Lieutenant Ferry, and started toward the door, but she touched my arm. "Oh, Dick, you should have heard him praise you to her!--and when he said you had chased Captain Jewett and was missing, she cried; but now I'll tell her you're here." She started away but returned. "Oh, Dick, isn't it wonderful how we're always victorious! why don't those poor Yankees give up the struggle? they must see that God is on our side!" 更多 CPK 推荐