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Newspaper Page Text
ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
(Copyright, 1914, by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.)
The Special Messenger drew "her
buckskin gloves carefully through
her belt and buttoned the holster of
A hospital . orderly, passing hur
riedly, stopped to hold her stirrup;
she mounted, thanked the orderly,
and swinging her powerful horse
westward; trotted off through5 the
woods, passing the camp sentinels
with a nod and a4 low-spoken word.
There seemed to be no firing any
where in the vicinity; nothing to be
seen but dusky pine woods; and aft
er she had advanced almost to the
edge of a little clearing, and not en
countering the outer line of Union
pickets, she drew bridle and sat stock
still in her saddle, searching in every
direction with alert dark eyes. .
A forest path, apparently leading
west, attracted her attention; into
this she stirred" her horse and contin
ued, even after her compass had
warned her that .the path was run
ning directly south.
A cabin stood at the farther edge.
Three forest bridle-paths ran west,
east and south from this blackened
clearing. She unbuttoned lier waist,
drew out a map, and flattening it on
her pommel, bent above it in eager
silence. And, as she sat studying her
map, she became aware of a faint
tremor in the solid earth under , her
horse's feet It grew to a dull, jarring
vibration nearer nearer nearer
and she hastily backed -her horse
into the depths of the laurel, sprang
- to the ground and placed both gaunt
leted hand's over her horse's nostrils.
A moment later the Confederate
cavalry swept through the clearing at
a trot a jaunty, gray column, riding
two abreast, then falling into sin
gle file as they entered the bridle-path
at a canter.
There were o'nly a hundred of
them probably some of S,tuart's rid-'
ers, for they seemed strangely fami
liar. What were they doing here? She
-did not know. There seemed no logi
cal reason for their presence.
This must be the burnt clearing;
her map and the cabin corroborated
her belief. Then it was here that she
was to meet this unknown man in
Confederate uniform and Union pay
a. spy like herself and give him
certain information and receive cer
tain information in return.
Her instructiops had been unusu
ally rigid; she was to take every pre
caution; use native disguise whether
or not it might appear necessary,
carry no papers, and let any man she
might encounter make the advances
until she was absolutely pertain of
him. For there was an ugly rumor
afloat that he had beta caught and
hanged, and that ay. Confederate
might attempt to impersonate him.
So she looked very carefully at her
map, then out of the thicket at the
burnt clearing. , jThere was the
wretched cabin aomed as rendez
vous, the little garden patch with
standing corn and beans, and here
and there a yellowing squash.
At last, with a slight shiver, she
opened her saddle bags and drew .out
the dress she meant to wear a
dingy, earth-colored thing of ging