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.as she dared. To know the shortest
way back to her horse might mean
.life to her. She understood that. Also
she fully realized that she might at
that very instant- he under hostile
observation. In her"" easily excited
(imagination, all around her the forest
seemed to conceal a hundred male
volent eyes. She shivered slightly,
Swiped 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.
tSo 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
Iplace 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.
) "Suh?" blankly.
"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 .1 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 her that
she- had seen him before somewhere.
Afctti 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 dusty, 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
confronted her. .
"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 sdpiles transfigured
the dull, blank features ; her round
shoulders, pendulous arms, slouching
pose, melted away mto 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.