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he cared for supper, with a gesture
toward the table, and when he thank
ed her she took courage and told
him where to hang his cap and sabre,
There came a clatter of hoofs. "My
orderly," he explained "he may
sleep in the stable, may he not?"
"My own bedroom is all I have
here, she said.
"Not not the one you gave me!"
She nodded. "You may have it-
often sleep in the parlor I did when
my brother was home.
"If I had had any idea," he burst
out. She stopped him with a gesture;
but he insisted and at last he had his
own way. "If I may sleep in the par
lor I will stay," he said, and she nod
ded and seated herself at the table.
He ate a great deal; much bread
and butter and many eggs; he spoke
about his orderly and the horses, and
presently asked for a lantern. She
brought him one; he lighted it.
When he had gone away with his
lantern, she rested her white face in
her hands and looked at his empty
chair. She thought of her brother,
she thought of the village people
who leered askance when she was
obliged to go to the store at Willow
Corners. The mention of her father's
name, of her brother's name in the
village aroused sneers or laughter.
As long as she could remember the
one great longing of her life had been
to be respected. She had seen her
father fall at night in the village
street, drunk as a hog; she had seen
her brother reel across the fields at
noonday. She carried her curse and
her longing supposing that she was
a thing apart. In the orchard at mid
day a man, a young boy, a soldier,
had spoken to her and looked at her
in a way she had never known. All
at once she realized, dreaming there
in the lamplight, that she was a wo
man to him, like other women; a
woman to be spoken to with defer
ence, a woman to be approached with
courtesy. She had read it hi his eyes
Bhe'Tfadlleara it in his voice, 'it was i
this that brought to her a peace as
gracious, as sweet, as the eyes that
had met her own in the orchard.
He was coming back from the
stable now she hear his spurs click '
across the grass by the orchard. And ,
now he had entered, now he was
there, smiling vaguely across the
table. A rush of tears blinded her and
she looked out into the night where
the yellow moon stared and stared.
She found herself in the parlor
after a while, silent, listening to his
voice; and all about her was peace,
born of the peace within her breast.
He told her of the war. She had
never before cared, but now she
cared. He spoke of long marches, of
hunger and of thirst, with a. boyish
laugh, and she laughed, too, not
knowing how else to show her pity.
He spoke of the Land, and now, for
the first time, she loved it; she knew
it was also her Land. He spoke of
the 'flag and what it meant. In her
home she had no symbol of her coun
try, and she told him so. He drew a
penknife from his pocket, cut a but
ton from his collar, and handed it to
her. On the button was an eagle
and stars, and she pinned it over her
heart, looking at him with innocent
She told him of her mother she
could not tell much, but she told him
all she remembered. Then, involun
tarily, she told him more about her
life, her hopes long dead, her bronei$
bearing his father's name and curse.
She had hot meant to do this at
first; but as she spoke she had a dim
idea that he ought to know who it
was that he treated with gentleness
and deference. She knew it would
not change anything in him, that he
would be the same.
When she was silent, he "began to
speak, and she listened breathlessly.
Ah, but she was right! The God of
Battles had sent to her a messenger
of peace. Out of the smoke and flame
he had come to find her and pity her.
Throueh him she knew she was
worthy of respect, through him sW