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very sorry that we have trampled
your garden. If you are loyal the
government will indemnify you "
She spoke, scarcely hearing her
own voice: "It is not that I am
loyal it is only I wish to ask you
where my brother's regiment where
the 60th Maryland is."
"The 60th Maryland oh why,
it's, in King's brigade, Wolcott's Di
vision; I think it's yonder." He point
ed toward the beechwoods.
"Yonder? Where they are firing?"
Again the cannon thundered and
the ground shook under her. She
saw him nod, smiling faintly.
But around the house the last of
the troops had passed; she could see
them, not yet far away, moving up
among the fields toward the ridges
where the sun burned on the bronz
ing scrub-oak thickets.
She stood a moment watching the
yellow dust hanging motionless in
the rear of the disappointing column.
Beyond Benson's Hfll a bugle blew
faintly; distant rifle shots sounded
along the ridge; then silence crept
through the sunlit meadows, across
the leveled corn, across dead stalks
and stems, a silence that spread like
Qn the hair-cloth sofa in the par
lor she lay, flung face down, hands
pressed to her ears. But silence en
tered with her, stifling the sob in her
When she raised her head it was
dusk. She sat up, peering fearfully
into the darkness, and she heard the
clock ticking in the kitchen and rus
tle of vines on the porch.
When she had sat silent a little
while dreaming over the sins of a
blameless life, there came to her,
peace, so sudden, so perfect, that she
could not understand. How should
she know peace? What thought of
the past might bring comfort? She
could just remember her mother
that was all. As for her father, he
had died as he had lived, a snarling
drunkard. And her brother? A lank,
blue-eyed boy, dissipated, unwhole
some, already cursed with his father's
sin what comfort could he be to
her? He had gone away to enlist;
he was drunk when he did it.
There was a creak at the gate, a
click of a latch, and the fall of a foot
on the moonlit porch. She half rose;
she was not frightened. How she
knew who it was, God alone knows,
but she looked up, timidly, under
standing who. was coming, knowing
who would knock, who would enter,
who would speak. And yet she had
never seen him but once in her life.
All this she knew this child made
wise in the space of time marked by
the tick of the kitchen clock; but
she did not know that the memory of
rhis smile had given her the peace
she could not understand, she did not
know this until he entered dusty,
slim, sunburnt, his yellow gauntlets
folded in his belt, his cap and sabre
in his hand. Then she knew it. When
she understood this she stood up,
pale, uncertain. He bowed silently
and stepped forward, fumbling with
his sabre hilt. She motioned toward
He said he had a message for the
master of the house, and glanced
about vaguely, noting the single place
at table. She said he might give the
message to her.
"It is only that if I do not incon
venience you too much " he smiled
faintly "if you would allow me
well, the truth is I am billeted here
for the night."
She did not know what that meant
and he explained.
"The master of the house is ab
sent," she said, thinking of her
"Will he return tonight?" he
She shook her head; she was
thinking that she did not want him
to go away. Suddenly the thought
of being alone laid" hold of her with
"You may stay," she said faintly.
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