"I suppose that's so," laughed the officer. "I'll tell you how it was. My guard were just about to hang me for saying I thought we had a right to make soldiers of the darkies, when your friend came galloping along, saw the thing, and rushed in and cut the halter with his sword. And when they demanded to know who and what he was, he told them Durand, and that they'd hear it again, for he should report them."
"Why, with that Quinn popped them big glass eyes o' his'n till the whites showed clear round the blue, and s'e 'I know it better than you do; that's just what it suited you to forget. Oh! I'd already seen through you in one flash, you sneak. It's good for you you're not in my command; I'd lift you to a higher sense of whose war this is, damn you, if I had to hang you up by the thumbs.' With that he started right on by, Gholson a-keepin' his face to him as he passed, when Ned Ferry and--her--came out o' the parlor, and Ned turned out on the rear gallery with Quinn while she sort o' smiled at Gholson to come to her and sent him off on some business or other. George! I never seen her so beautiful."
"You recognize her?" the rider asked, delightedly. "She's not stolen, she's only served her country a little better than usual to-day; haven't you, Cousin Sallie?" (Cousin Sallie was short for Confederate States.)!
Gin-house and all, we burned him up. On our horses out in the open road to the house, we sat, the girl perched behind the Colonel, and watched the fire mount and whirl and crackle behind the awful black arms of the cotton-press. The Arkansan shook his head: "It's too fine; 'tain't a dog's death, after all. Lord! why didn't I think of it in time? we'd ought to 'a' just dropped him alive into that lint-box and turned the press down onto him with our horses!"
I stood equally amazed and alert. The voices still growled in the next room, and my horse's bridle still hung before the window. I peered out; there stood the priceless beast. I came a sly step nearer, and lo! in his shadow, flattened against the house, face outward, was Coralie Rothvelt comically holding the forked stick at a present-arms. Throbbing with a grateful, craving allegiance, I seized the rein. Then I bent low out the window and with my free hand touched her face as it turned upward into a beam of moonlight. She pressed my fingers to her lips, and then let me draw her hand as far as it could come and cover it with kisses. Then she drew me down and whispered "You'll do what I've asked?"
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Oh, he wasn't taking offence. His reptile temper crawled into hiding, and when I said day was breaking, he said he would show me my way..
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