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as she dated. To know the shortest
way back to her horse might mean
life to her. She understood that. Also
she fully realized tfiat-she might at
that very instant be under hostile
observation. In her easily excited
imagination, all around her the forest
seemed to conceal a hundred male
volent eyes. She shivered slightly,
wiped the perspiration from her brow
with one small bare fist, and plodded
on, clutching her light-wood to her
soft, rounded breast.
And now at last she was nearing
the open cabin door; and she must
not hesitate, must show no suspicion.
So she went in, dragging her clumsily-shod
A very young man in the uniform
of. a Confederate cavalry officer was
seated inside before the empty fire
place of baked clay. He had a bad
scar on his temple. She looked at
him, simulating dull surprise; he rose
and greeted her gracefully.
"Howdy," she murmured in re
sponse, still staring. ,
. "Is this. your house?" he asked..
"Is this your house?"
"I reckon," she nodded.. "How
come you all in my house?"
He replied with another question:
"What were you doing in the
"Light-wood," she answered brief
ly, stacking the fragrant splinters on
"Do you live here all alone?"
"Reckon I'm alone when I live
"What is your name?" He had a
trick of coloring easily.
"What may be yoh name, suh?"
she retorted with a little flash of
Southern spirit, never entirely
quenched even in such as she seemed
Genuine surprise brought the red
back into his face and made it, worn
as it was, seem almost handsome.
The curious .idea came to hex that
she had "seen him before somewhere.
,At the same moment speech seemed
to tremble on his lips; he hesitated,
looked at her with a new and sudden
keenness, and stood looking.
"I expected to meet somebody
here," he said at length.
She did not seem to comprehend.
"I expected to meet a woman
"Who? Me?" incredulously.
He looked her over for a while
carefully; looked at her dustjr, bare
ankles, at her walnut-smeared face
and throat. She seemed so different
from what he had expected. They
had said that the woman he must
find was pretty.
"Was yuh-all fixin' to meet up
with me?" she repeated with a bold
"I don't know," he said. "By the
Eternal, I don't know, ma'am. But
I'm going to find out in right smart
time. Did you ever hear anybody
"Suh?" blankly; and the audacity
. "Latin?" he repeated, a trifle dis
comfited. "For instance, sic itur
Do you know what -'sic itur' means?"
"Sick what, suh?"
" 'Sic itur!' Oh, Lord, she is what
she looks like!" he exclaimed in frank
despair. He walked to the door,
wheeled suddenly,- came back', and
"Either, ma'am, you are the most
consummate actress in this war
drama, or you don't know, what I'm
saying, and you think me crazy. ...
And now I'll ask you once for all: Is
this the road?"
- The Special Messenger looked him
full in the eyes; then, as by magic,
the loveliest of smiles transfigured
the" dull, blank features; her round
shoulders, pendulous, arms, slouching
pose, melted away into superb. sym
metry, quickening with grace and
youth ' as she straightened up and
faced him, erect,, supple, laughing,
"Sic itur ad Astra," she said, de
murely, and offered him her hand.
"Continue' "she added.. ...