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From a position in the rear of the
grove a battery was throwing shells
over it. The guns squatted in a row
like savage chiefs. They argued with
abrupt violence. It was a grim pow
wow. Their busy servants ran hither
A small procession of wounded men
were going drearily to the rear. It
was a flow of blood from the torn body
of the brigade.
To the right and to the left were the
dark lines of other troops. Far in
front he thought he could see lighter
masses protruding in points from the
forest. They were suggestive of un
Once he saw a tiny battery go dash
ing along the line of the horizon. The
tiny riders were beating the tiny
From a sloping hill came the sound
of cheerings and clashes. Smoke
welled slowly through the leaves.
Batteries were speaking with thnn
derous oratorical effort. Ilere and
there were flags, the red in the Btripes
dominating. They splashed bits of
warm color upon the dark lines of the
The youth felt the old thrill at the
sight of the emblems. They were like
beautiful birds strangely undaunted in
As he listened to the din from the
hillside, to a deep, pulsating thunder
that came from afar to the left, and td
the lesser clamors which came from
many directions, it occurred to himhim.
that they were fighting, too, over there
and over there and over there. Here
tofore, he had supposed that all the
battle was directly under his"nose.
As he gazed around him, the youth
felt a flash of astonishment at the blue,
pure sky and the sun-gleamings on the
trees and fields. I was surprising
that nature had gone tranquility on
with her golden process in the midst of
so much devilment.
The youth awakened slowly. He
came gradually back to a position from
which he could regard himself. For
moments he had been scrutinizing his
person in a dazed way, as if he had
never before seen himself. Then he
picked up his cap from the ground. He
wriggled in his jacket to make a more
comfortable fit, and, kneeling, relaced
nfs shoe. He thoughtfully mopped his
So it was all over at last The su
preme trial had been passed. The red,
formidable difficulties of war had been
He went into an ecstasy of self-satis
faction. He had the most delightful
sensations of his life. Standing as if
apart from himself, he viewed the last
scene. He perceived that the man who
had fought thus was magnificent.
But, of a sudden, cries of amazement
broke out along the ranks of the new
regiment. ''Here they come again!
Here they come again'.*"
The youth turned quick eyes upon
the field. He discerned forms swelling
in masses out of a distant wood. He
again saw the tilted flag speeding for
The shells which had ceased to trouble
the regiment for a time, came swirling
again and exploded in the grass or
among the leaves of the trees. They
looked to be strange war flowers burst
ing into fierce bloom.
The men groaned. The luster faded
from their eyes Their smudged coun
tenances now expressed a profound de
They fretted and complained each to
each. "Oh, say. this is too much of a
good thing. Why can't somebody send
"We ain't nevr going to stand this
second banging. I didn't eorae here to
tight the whole damned rebel army."
There was one who raised a doleful
cry. "I wish Bill Smithers had trod
on my head instead of me treading on
his." The sore joints.of the regiment
creaked as it painfully floundered Into
position to repulse.
The youth stared. Surely, he thought,
this impossible thing was not about to
happen. It was all a mistake
But the firing began somewhere on
the regimental line and ripped along in
both directions. The level sheets of
flame developed great clouds of smoke
that tumbled and tossed in the mild
wind near the ground for a moment and
then rolled through the ranks as
through a grate. The clouds were
tinged an earth-like yellow in sun rays,
and, in the shadow, were a sorry blue.
The flag was sometimes eaten and lost
in this mass of vapor, but more often it
projected, sun-touched, resplendent.
Into the youth's eyes there came a
look that one can see in the orbs of a
jaded horse. His back was quivering
wHh nervous weakness and the mus
cles of his arms felt numb and blood
less. His hands, too, seemed large and
awkward as if he were wearing invisi
ble mittens. And there was a great
uncertainty about his knee joints.
He began to exaggerate the endur
ance, the skill and the valor of those
who were coming. Himself reeling
from exhaustion, he was astonished be
yond measure at such persistency. They
must be machines of steel.
He slowly lifted his rifle and catch
ing a glimpse of the thick-spread field
he blazed at a cantering cluster. He
stopped then and began to peer as best
he could through the smoke. He caught
changing views of the ground covered
with men who were all running like
pursued imps and yelling.
To the youth it was an onslaught of
redoubtable dragons. He became like
the man who lost his legs at the ap
proach of the red and green monster.
He waited in a sort of horrified, listen
ing attitude. He seemed to shut his
eyes and wait to be gobbled.
Men began to scamper away through
the smoke. The youth turned his head,
shaken from his trance, by his move
ment as if the regiment were leaving
him behind. He saw the few fleeting
He yelled then with fright and swung
about. For a moment, in the great
clamor, he was like a proverbial
chicken. He lost the direction of safe
ty. Destruction threatened him from
Directly he began to speed toward
the rear in great leaps. His rifle and
\j, cup were gone.
^^^1 His unbuttoned
coat bulged in
the wind. The
flap of his car
bled wildly and
his canteen, by
its slender cord
swung out be
hind. On his face
was all the hort
ror of those
things which he
HE SPED TOWARD- THK imagined.
REAR. The lieutenant
sprang forward, bawling. The youth
saw his features, wrathfully red, and
saw him make a dab with his sword.
His one thought of the incident was
that the lieutenant was a peculiar
creature, to feel interested in such
matters upon this occasion.
He ran like a blind man.
three times he fell down,
knocked his shoulders so
against a tree that he went headlong,
Since he had turned his back upon
the fight his fears had been wondrously
magnified. Death about to thrust him
between the shoulder blades was far
more dreadful than death about to
smite him between the eyes.
As he ran on he mingled with others.
He dimly saw men on his right and on
his left, and he heard footsteps behind
He thought that all the regiment
was* fleeing pursued by these ominous
As he went across a little field, he
found himself in the region of shells.
They hurled over his head with long,
wild soreains. As he heard them he
imagined them to have rows of cruel
teeth that grinned at him. Once, one
lit before him and the livid lightning
of the explosion effectually barred his
way in his chosen direction. He grov
eled on the ground and then springing
up went careering off through some
The youth moderated his pace when
he had left the place of noises behind.
Later, he came upon a general of di
vision seated upon a horse that pricked
its ears ax an interested way at the
battle. There was a great gleaming of
yellow and patent-leather about the
saddle and bridle. The quiet man,
astride, looked mouse-colored upon such
a splendid charger.
A jingling staff was galloping hither
and thither. Sometimes the general
was surrounded by horsemen and at
other times he was quite alone. He
looked 4o be much harassed. He had
the appearance of a business man whose
market is swinging up and down.
The youth went slinking around this
spot. He went as near as he dared try
ing to overhear words. Perhaps the
general, unable to comprehend chaos,
might call upon him for information.
And he could tell him. He knew all
concerning it. Of a surety the force
was in a fix and any fool could see that
if they did not retreat while they had
He felt that he would like to thrash
the general, or, at least, approach and
tell him in plain words exactly what
he thought him to be. It was oriminal
to stay calmly in one spot and make no
effort to stay tempestuous defeat. He
loitered in a fever of eagerness for the
division-coinmander to" apply to him
But, a moment later, the youth saw
the general bounce excitedly in his
'Yes, by heavens, they have." The
officer leaned forward. His face was
aflame with excitement "Yes, byfixed
heavens, they've held them They've
He began to blithely roar at his staff.
He beamed upon the earth like a sun.
In his eyes was a desire to chant a
paeon. He kept repeating- "They've
held 'em, by heavens."'
His excitement made his horse plunge
and he meirily kieked and swore at it.
He held a little carnival of joy on horse
The youth cringed as if discovered
at a crime. By heavens, they had won
after all. The imbecile line had re
mained and become victors. He could
He lifted himself upon his toes and
looked in the direction of the fight.
A yellow fog lay wallowing on the tree
tops. From beneath it came the clat
ter of musketry. Hoarse cries told of
He turned away, amazed and angry.
He felt that he had been wronged. 'Hie
brittle blue line had withstood the
blows and won. He grew bitter over
it. It seemed that the blind ignorance
and stupidity of those little pieces had
betrayed him. He had been overturned
and crushed by their lack of sense in
holding the position, when intelligent
deliberation would have convinced
them that it was impossible. He, the
enlightened man who looks afar in the
dark, had fled because of his superior
perceptions and knowledge. He felt a
great anger against his comrades. He
knew it cou'd be proven that they had
He went from the field into a thick
woods as if resolved to bury himself.
He wished to get out of hearing of the
rackling shots which were to him like
The ground was cluttered with vines
and bushes and the trees grew close
and spread out like bouquets. He was
obliged to force his way with much
noise. The creepers, catching against
his legs, cried out harshly as their
sprays were torn from the barks of the
trees. The swishing saplings tried to
make known his presence to the world.
He could not conciliate the forest. As
he made his way it was always calling
out protestations. When he separated
embraces of trees and vines the dis
turbed foliages waved their arms and
turned, their face-leaves towards him.
He dreaded lest these noisy motions
and cries should bring men to look at
him. So he went far, seeking dark and
After a time the sound of musketry
grew faint and the cannon boomed in
the distance. The sun, suddenly ap
parent, blazed among the trees. The
insects were making rhythmical noises.
They seemed to be grinding their teeth
In unison. A woodpecker stuck his
impudent head around the side of a
tree. A bird flew on light-hearted
Off, was the rumble of deaths It
seemed now that nature had no ears.
He went again into the deep thickets.
The brushed branches made a noise
that drowned the sounds of cannons.
He walked on, going from obscurity
into promises of a greater obscurity.
At length he reached a place where
the high, arching boughs made a
chapel. He softly pushed the green
doors aside and entered. Pine needles
were a gentle brown carpet. There
was a religious half-light.
Near the threshold, he stopped hor
ror-stricken at the sight of a thing..
He was being looked at by a dead
man who was seated with his back
against a col
The corpse was
dressed in a uni
form that once
had been blue,
but was now
faded to a mel
ancholy .shade of
green. The eyes,
staring at the
dull hue to be
seen on the side
TH E ^Bi^CETrt ^tr^^^&jte^^^^^^K^P
of a dead fish. The
mouth was opened. Its red had changed
to an appalling yellow. Over the gray
skin of the face ran little ants. One
was trundling some sort of a bundle
along the upper lip.
The youth gave a shriek as he con
fronted the thing. He wasj for mo
ments, turned to stone, before it. He
remained staring intp the liquid-look
ing eyes. The dead man and the liv
ing man exchanged along look. Then
the youth cautiously put one hand be
hind him and brought it against a
tree. Leaning upon this, he retreated,
step by step, with his face still toward
the thing. He feared, that if he turned
his back, the body might spring up and
stealthily pursue him.
The branches, pushing against him,
threatened to throw him over it. His
unguided feet, too, caught aggravat
ingly in brambles. And, with it all,
he received a subtle suggestion to touch
the corpse. I she thought of his hand
upon it, he shuddered profoundly.
At last he burst the bounds which
had fastened him to the spot and fled,
unheeding the underbrush. He
pursued by a sight of the black ants
swarming greedily upon the gray face
and venturing near to the eyes.
After a time he paused, and, breath
less and panting, listened. He imag
ined some strange voice would come
from the dead throat and squawk after
him in horrible menaces.
The trees about the portal of the
chapel moved slightly in a soft wind.
A sad silence was upon the little guard
The trees began softly to sing a
hymn of twilight. The burnished sun
sank until slan'ed bronze rays struck
the forest. TLce was a lull in the
noises of insects as if they had bowed
their beaks and were making a de
votional pause. There was silence
save for .the chanted chorus of the
Then, upon this stillness, there sud
denly broke a tremendous clangor of
sounds. A crimson roar came from the
The youth stopped. He was trans
by this terrific medley of
noises. It was as if worlds were being
rended. There was the rippling sound
of musketry and the' creaking crash of
His mind flew in all directions. He
conceived the two armies to be at each
other panther-fashion. He listened
for a time. Then he began to run in
the direction of the battle. He saw
that it was an ironical thing for him to
be running thus toward that which
he had been at such pains to avoid.
But he said, in substance, to himself
that if the earth and moon were about
to clash, many persons would doubtless
plan to get upon roofs to witness the
As he ran, he became aware that the
forest had stopped its music, as if at
last becoming capable of hearing the
foreign sounds. The trees hushed and
stood motionless. Everything seemed
to be listening to the crackle and
clatter and ear-shaking thunder. The
chorus pealed over the still earth.
It suddenly occurred to the youth
that the fight in which he had been,
was, after all, but perfunctory pop
ping. In the hearing of this present
din, he was doubtful If he had seen
real battle-scenes. This uproar ex
plained a celestial battle it
tumbling hordes a-struggle in the air.
He went rapidly on. He wished to
come to the edge of the forest that he
might peer out.
As he hastened, there passed through
his mind pictures of stupendous con
flicts. His accumulated thoughts upon
such subjects were used to form scenes.
The noise was as the voice of an elo
quent being, describing.
Sometimes the brambles formed
chains and tried to hold him back.
Trees, confronting him, stretched out
their arms and forbade him to pass.
After its previous hostility this new re
sistence of the forest filled him with a
fine bitterness. It seemed that nature
could not be quite ready to kill him.
But he obstinately took roundabout
ways and presently he was where he
could see long gray walls of vapor,
where lay battle lines. The voices of
cannon shook him. The musketry
sounded in long irregular surges that
played havoc with his ears. He stood
rcgardent for a moment. His eyes had
an awe-struck expression. He gawked
in the direction of the fight.
Presently he proceeded again on his
forward way. The battle was like the
grinding of an Immense and terrible
machine to him. Its complexities and
powers, its grim processes, fascinated
bim. He must go close and see it pro
He came finally to a road from which
he could see in the distance dark and
agitated bodies of ,troops, smoke-
fringed. In the lane was a blood
stained crowd streaming'to the rear.
The wounded men were cursing,
groaning and wailing. In the air, al
ways, was a mighty swell of sound
that it seemed could sway the earth.
With the courageous words of the ar
tillery and the spiteful sentences of the
musketry were mingled red cheers. And
from this region of noises came the
Bteady current of the maimed.
One of the wounded men had a shoe
ful of blood. He hopped like a school
boy in a game. lie was laughing hys
One was swearing that he had been
shot in the arm through the command
ing general's mismanagement of the
Another had the gray seal of death
already upon his face. His lips were
curled in hard lines and his teeth were
clenched. His hands were bloody from
where he had pressed them upon his
wound. He seemed to be awaiting the
moment when he should pitch head
long. He stalked like the specter of a
soldier, his eyes burning with the power
of a stare into the unknown.
There were soma who proceeded sul
lenly, full of anger at their wounds
and ready to turn upon anything as an
The youth joined the crowd and
marched along with it. The torn bodies
expressed the awful machinery in
which the men had been entangled.
Orderlies and couriers, occasionally
broke through the throng in the road
way, scattering wounded,men right and
left, galloping on, followed by howls.
The melancholy march was continual
ly disturbed by the messengers and
sometimes by bustling batteries that
came swinging and thumping down
upon them, the officers shouting orders
to clear the way.
There was a tattered man, fouled with
dust, blood and powder stain from hair
to shoes, who trudged quietly at the
youth's side. He was listening with
eagerness and much humility to the
lurid descriptions of a bearded ser
geant His lean features wore an exoccupied
pression of awe and admiration. He
was like a listener in a country store
to wondrous tales told among the sugar
barrels He eyed the story-teller with
unspeakable wondei. His mouth was
a-gap in yokel fashion
The sergeant taking note of this gave
pause to his elaborate history while he
administered a sardonic comment. "Be
honey, you'll be catching flies,"
The tattered man shrank back
After a time he began to sidle near
to the youth and in a diffident way
tried to make him a friend. His voice
was gentle as a girl's voice and his
eyes were pleading. The youth saw
with surprise that the soldier had two
wounds, one in the head, bound
with a blood-soaked rag and the other
in the arm, making that member
dangle like a broken bougfc
After they hau walked together for
some time, the tattered man mustered
sufficient courage to speak. "Was
prettv good fight, wasn't it?" he timidly
said. The youth, deep in thought,
glanced up at Uie bloody and grim
figure with its lamb like eyes "What?"
"Was pretty good fight, wasn't iu?"
"Yes," said the youth, shortly He
quickened his pace.
But the other hobbW industriously
"Was preoty good fight wasn't it?"
he persisted, in a small voice. And
then he achieved the fortitude to con
"Dern me, I ever see fellers
fight so. Laws, hew they did fight I
knew the boy3 would lick when they
once got square at it. The boys ain't
had no fair chance up to now, but, this
time, they showed what they was. I
knew it would turn out this way. You
can't lick them boys No sir. They're
fighters, they be."
He breathed a deep breath of humble
His hoinely fape was suffused with a
light of love for the army which* was
to him all things beautiful and power
After a time, he turned to the youth.
"Where you hit, old boy?" he asked in
a brotherly tone.
The youth felt instant panic at this
question, although at first its full im
port was not borne in upon him.
"What?" he asked
"Where you hit" repeated the tat
"Why?" began the youth "II
He turned away suddenly and slid
through the crowd. His brow was heav
ily flushed, and his fingers were pick
ing nervously at one of his buttons.
He bended his head and fastened his
eyes studiously upon the button as if
were a little problem.
The tattered man locked after him
The youth fell back in the procession
until th/3 tattered soldier was not in
sight. Then be started to walk on
But he was amid wounds. The mob
of men was bleeding. Because of the
tattered soldier's question, he now felt
that his shame could be viewed. He
was continually casting side-long
glances to see if the men were contem
plating the letters of guilt he felt
burned into his brow.
At times he regarded the wounded
soldiers in an envious way. He con
ceived persons with torn bodies to be
peculiarly happy. He wished that he,
too, had a wounda little red badge of
The spectral soldier was at his side
like a stalking reproach. The man's
eyes were still fixed in a stare into the
unknown. His gray, appalling face
had attracted attention in the crowd,
and men, slowing to his dreary pace,
were walking with him. They were
discussing his plight, questioning him
and giving him advice. In a dogged
way he repelled them, signing to them
to go on and leavo him alons.
The shadows of his face were deep
ening and his tight lips seemed hold
ing in check the moan of great despair.
There could be seen a certain stiffness
in the movements of his body, as if he
were taking inflnite care not to arouse
the passions of his wounds. As he
went on he seemed always looking for
a place, like one who goes to choose a
Something in the gesture of the man
as he waved the bloody and pitying
soldiers away made the youth start as
If bitten. He yelled in horror. Tot
tering forward, he laid a quivering
hand upon the man's arm. As the lat
ter slowly turned his wax-like features
toward him the youth screamed:
"Gawd! Jim Conklin!"
The tall soldier made a little com
monplace smile, "Hello, Flemt" he said.
The youth swayed on his legs and
ly. He stuttered
The tall sol
dier held out his
There was a cu
rious red and
tion of new
blood and old
blood upon it.
been, Flem?" he
CONK- asked. con
N2 tinue iHe a mo
notonous voice I thought maybe
you got keeled over. There's been
thunder to pay to-day. I was worry
ing about it a good deal."
The youth still lamented "Oh, Jim
oh, Jimoh, Jim."
"Yeh know," said the tall soldier, "I
was out there." He made a careful
gesture. "An', Lord, what a circus.
And, b' jiminy, I got shotI got shot.
Yes, b' jiminyI got shot." He reiter
ated this fact in a bewildered way as
if he did not know how it came about.
The youth put forth anxious arms to
assist him, but the taU soldier went
firmly on as if propelled. Since the
youth's arrival as a guardian for his
friend, the other wounded men had
ceased to display much interest. They
themselves again in dragging
their tragedies toward the rear.
Suddenly, as the two friends marched
on, the iall soldier seemed to be over
come by a terror. His face turned to a
semblance of gray paste. He clutched
the youth's arm and looked all about
him, as if dreading to be overheard.
Then he began to speak in a shaking
"I tell yeh what I'm 'fraid of, Flem
I'll tell yeh what I'm 'fraid of. I'm
'fraid I'll fall downan' then yeh know
them damned artillery wagonsthey
like as not '11 run over me. That's what
I'm 'fraid of."
The youth cried out. to him hyster
ically: "I'll take care of yeh, Jim. I'll
take care of yeh. I swear to Gawd I
"Surewill yeh, Flem?" the tall sol
"Yes, yes, I tell yehI'll take care
of yeh, Jim," protested the youth. He
could not speak accurately beeausp of
the gulping in his throat.
But the tall soldier continued to
plead in a lowly wa\. He now hung
babe-like to the youth's arm His eyes
rolled in the wildness of his terror. "I
was alius a good friend t' yeh, wa'nt I,
Flem" I've alius been a pretty good
feller, a^nt I"' An' it aint much t' ask,
is it? Jestt' pull me along outer th'
road? I'd do it fer you, wouldn't I,
He paused in piteous anviety to await
his friend's reply.
The youth had reached an anguish
where the sobs scorched him He
strove to express his loyalty, but he
could only make fantastic gestures.
However, the tall soldier seemed sud
denly to forget all those fears. He be
came again the grim, stalking specter
of a soldier. He went stonily forward.
The youth wished his friend to lean
upon him, but the other always shook
his head and strangely protested: "No
noleave me beleave me be"
His look was fixed again upon the
unknown. He moved with mysterious
purpose. And all of the youth's offers
he brushed aside. "Nonoleave me
beleave me be"
The youth had to follow.
Presently the latter heard a voice
talking softly near his shoulder. Turn
ing, he saw that it belonged to the
tattered soldier. "Ye'd better take 'im
outa th' road, pardner. There's a
bat'try comin' helitywhoop down th'
road an' he'll git runned over. He's a
goner anyhow in about five minutes
yeh kin see that. Ye'd better take 'im
outa th' road Where th' blazes does
he git his stren'th from?"
"Lord knows," cried the youth. He
was shaking his hands helplessly
He ran forward, presently, and
grasped the tall soldier by the arm.
"Jim, Jim," he coaxed, "come with
The tall soldier weakly tried to
wrench himself free. "Huh," he said,
vacantly. He stared at the youth for
a moment. At last he spoke as if dimly
"Oh, inteh th' fields? Oh."
He started blindly through the grass.
The youth turned once to look at the
lashing- riders and bouncing guns of
the battery. He was startled from his
view by a she'll outcry from the tat
"Gawd. He's runnin'."
Turning his head swiftly, the youth
saw his friend running in a staggering
and stumbling way toward a little
clump of bushes. His heart seemed to
wrench itself almost free from his
body at this sight. He made a noise of
pain. He and the tattered man began
a pursuit. There was a singular race.
When he overtook the tall soldier, he
began to plead with all the words he
could find. "JimJimwhat are you
doingwhat makes you do this way
you'll hurt yourself."
The same purpose was in the tall
soldier's face. He protested in a dulled
way, keeping his eyes fastened on the
mystic place of his intentions. "No,
nodon't tech meleave me beleave
The youth, aghast and filled with
wonder at the tall soldier, began qua
veringly to question him. "Where yeh
goin', Jim? What you thinking about?
Where you going? Tell me, won't you,
The tall soldier faced about as
upon relentless pursuers. In his eyes
there was a great appeal. "Leave me
be, can't yeh? Leave me be fer a min-
The youth recoiled "Why, Jim," he
said, in a dazed way, "what's the mat
ter with you?"
The tall soldier turned and, lurching
dangerously, went on. The youth and
the tattered soldier followed, sneaking
as if whipped, feeling unable to face
the stricken man if he should again
confront them. They began to have
thoughts of a solemn ceremony. There
was something rite-like in these move
ments of the doomed soldier. And there
was a resemblance in him to a devotee
of a mad religion, blood-sucking, mus
cle-wrenching, bone-crushing. They
could not understand they were awed
and afraid. They hung .back, lest he
have at command a dreadful weapon.
At last, they saw him stop and stand
motionless. Hastening up, they per
ceived that his face wore an expression.
telling that he had at last found the
place for which he had struggled. His
spare figure was erect his bloody
hands were quietly at his sides. He
was waiting with patience for some
thing that he had come to meet. He
was at the rendezvous. They paused,
and stood expectant.
There was a silence.
Finally the chest of the doomed sol
dier began to heave with a strained
motion. It increased in violence until
it was as if an animal was within and
was kicking and tumbling furiously to
This spectacle of gradual strangula
tion made the youth writhe, and once.,
as his friend rolled his eyes, he saw
something in them tht made him sink
wailing to the ground. He raised his
voice in a last supreme call:
"Jim! Jim! Jim!"
The tall soldier opened his lips and
spoke. made a gesture. "Leave
me bedon't tech meleave me be"
There was another silence, while he
Suddenly his form stiffened and
straightened. Then it was shaken \j
a prolonged -ague. He stared into
space. To the two watchers there was.
a curious and profound dignity in the*
firm lines of his awful face.
He was invaded by a creeping strange
ness that slowly enveloped him. For a
moment the tremor of his legs caused
him to dance a sort of hideous horn
pipe. His arms beat wildly about bis
head in expression of imp-like enthu
His tall figure stretched itself to its
full height. There wasa slight rending
sound. Then it began to swing for
ward, slow and straight, in the manner
of a falling tree. A swift muscular
contortion made the left shoulder strike
the ground first.
The body seemed to bounce a little
way from the earth. "God," said the
The youth had watched spell-bound,
this ceremony at the place of meeting.
His face had been twisted into an ex
pression of every agony he had
imagined for his friend.
He now sprang to his feet and, going
closer, gazed upon the paste-like face.
The mouth was open and the teeth
showed in a laugh.
As the flap of the blue jacket fel_
away from the body he could see that
the side looked as if it had been chewed
The youth turned, with sudden, livid
rage, ton ard the battlefield. He shook
his fist. He seemed about to deliver
The red sun was pasted in the sky
like a fierce wafer.
The tattered man stood musing
"Well, he was reg'lar jim-dandy for
nerve, wan't he," said he finally in a
little awe-struck voice. A reg'lar jim
dandy." 'He thoughtfully poked one
of the docile hands with his foot. I
wonner where he got 'is stren'th from?
I never seen a man do like that before.
It was a funny thing Well, be was
a reg'lar jim-dandy."
The youth desired to screech out his
grief. He was stabbed But his
tongue lay dead in the tomb of his
mouth. He threw himself again upon
the ground and began to brood.
The tattered man stood musing.
"Look a here, pardner," he said,
after a time He regarded the corpse
as he spoke. "He's up an' gone, aint
'e, an' we might as well begin t* look
out ferol' number one."
The youth, awakened by the tat
tered soldier's tone, looked quickly up.
He saw that he was swinging uncer
tainly on his legs and that his face had
turned to a shade of blue
"Good Lord," he cried, in fear, "you
ain't going tonot you too."
The tattered man waved his hand.
"Nary die," he said. "All I want is
some pea-soup an' a good bed. Some
pea-soup," he repeated dreamfully.
The youth arose from the ground.
"I wonder where he came from. I left
him over there!" He pointed. "And
now I find 'im here. And he was com
ing from over there, too." He indi
cated a new direction. They both
turned toward the body as if to in
"Well," at length spoke the tattered
man, "there ain't no use in our stayin*
here an' tryin' t' ask him anything."
The youth nodded an assent, wearily.
They both turned to gaze for a moment
at the corpse.
The youth murmured something.
"Well, he was a jim-dandy, wan't
'e?'' said the tattered man as if in re
They turned their backs upon it and
started away. For a time, they stole
softly, treading with their toes. It re
mained laughing there in the grass.
"I'm commencin' t' feel pretty bad,"
said the tattered man suddenly break
ing one of his little silences. "I'm
commencin't' feel pretty damn bad."
The youth groaned. "Oh, Lord."
Was he to be the witness of another
But his companion waved his hand
reassuringly. "Oh, I'm not goin't' die
As they plodded on the tattered sol
dier continued to talk. "Besides, if I
died, I wouldn't die th' way that feller