Her face spoke passionate thanks. "That's all I can ask!" she said, whispered "When you go--keep the plain road,"--and vanished.
"I don't know why you should," she said."In the smokehouse," cried Miss Harper from her knees beside the prostrate Federal officer; "go bring them!--Richard, Charlotte is calling you!""Don't you know? Oh, I remember, you were asleep when Quinn told us. Well, sir,"--he tried to speak calmly but he had to speak somehow or explode--"it was soldiers' pay--for Dick Taylor's army, over in the Trans-Mississippi; a million and a half dollars!" He was as proud to tell the news as he would have been to own the money.
"Out here somewhere. No, not in the army exactly; no, nor in the navy, but--I expect him in camp to-night. If he comes you'll have to work when you ought to be asleep. No, he is not in the secret service, only in a secret service; running hospital supplies through the enemy's lines into ours.""Gholson, s'e, 'I done as I done, sir, from my highest sense o' duty. This ain't Lieutenant Helm's own little private war, Lieutenant Quinn, nor mine, nor yours.'""What, a leather-curtained spring-wagon?"He drew a sigh. "Yes, I took my dose--of astonishment. Dick, she said yes! Oh, good Lord, Dick, do you reckon they'll ever be such full-blown idiots as to let me have her?"Old Dismukes rose. "Good-night. Shall I send this boy that Yankee's horse?"
- "Yes," I responded, "and without even waiting for Diana."
- I believed him. But I saw he was not in search of a preventive. Ah, no! he was ill of that old, old malady which more than any other abhors a preventive. Waking in the summer dawn and finding Ned Ferry risen and vanished hitherward, a rival's instinct had moved him to follow, as the seeker for wild honey follows the bee. He had come not for the cure of his honey-sickness, but for more--more--more--all he could find--of the honey. "Smith," he said, with a painful screw of his features, "I'm mightily troubled about Ned Ferry!"
- "Damn the difference; I give you one half-minute, Captain Ferry, to say you surrender! If you weren't wounded I wouldn't give you that. Corporal, go get a log out of that fireplace downstairs."
- The church we went to was in Franklin, but the preacher was a man of note, a Vicksburg refugee. On the way back Gholson and I rode for a time near enough to Squire Sessions and Ned Ferry to know the sermon was being discussed by them, and something they said gave my companion occasion to murmur to me in a tone of eager censure that Ned Ferry's morals were better than his religion.
- Late in the night Gholson came to the union captain's bedside for Miss Harper. Charlotte had sent him; the doctor had left word what to do if a certain patient's wound should re-open, and this had happened. The three had succeeded in stanching it, but Charlotte had prevailed upon Miss Harper to lie down, and the weary lady had, against all her intentions, fallen asleep. I was alone with the wounded captain. He did not really sleep, but under the weight of his narcotics drowsed, muttered, stirred, moaned, and now and then spoke out.
- "Who--o?" It was not one who asked; the whos came like shrapnel; and when, not knowing what else to do, I smiled as one dying, there went up a wail of mirth that froze my blood and then heated it to a fever. The company howled. They rolled over one another, crying, "Charlie Toliver!--Charlie Toliver!--Oh, Lord, where's Scott Gholson!--Charlie Toliver!"--and leaped up and huddled down and moaned and rolled and rose and looked for me.
- "union man, I take it, is he not?"
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