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Southern ladies' journal. (Little Rock, Ark.) 1886-18??, August 07, 1886, Image 9

Image and text provided by Arkansas State Archives

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90050095/1886-08-07/ed-1/seq-9/

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iHed^ rom last lssue ‘
■ j opportunity Os seeing that
• ,d Xwch I l.a<l heard was likely,
(■ re P 1 ’ t 0 be founded in faCt ’ aS
I l ®"' 'the “captain from some-
a guest at Elm Knoll
Wl a fortnight, during which time
'■X passed without me seeing both
■ j Miss Cleabyrn. and sometimes
Khan once each day. So I came to
■ him by sight as well as I did her.
■Kwasafrank, handsome young fel-
W that I could see—and was obliged
■in; and in his speech, he was pleas-
■ This was shown by his stopping
■vo or three occasions, when riding
■e, to ask me some questions, as I
■ned the gate for him.
■was sure he made these occasions,
■at first disliked him for it; but I
■id not continue to bear ill-will against
■nos such kindly open manners, so
■itnted, and ere he left the neighbor
ed, used to look forward with pleasure
■einghim. This was a sad falling
■iom my previous lofty mood, and so
■my accepting a cigar from him as
■ rode through. In fact, although I
■t no doubt “written myself an ass,”
Ban old friend Dogberry would have
Bd, yet at the worst I was not without
Bne glimmering of sense, which saved
B from making an absolute example of
during the short time in which
■ captain— l did not know his name—
siting at Elm Knoll, the heat and
e °ftny absurd passion had precep
neß' n '°d erate( l» an( l. just then several
■aimstances combined to restore me
' ■ ar 'ght frame of mind.
as W fter *be captain’s departure, Miss
left home on a prolonged visit,
I ■'' l ‘ l1 n °t see b er 5 and at the
■« time I met Patty Carr, who was,
way, quite as pretty as Beatrice
S iß ea^rn ’ although not nearly so haugh-
■ a nd my heart being specially tender
■ DO P e n to impression just then, I sup-
I S l )eedd y thought more of her
■"of the young lady at Elm Knoll.
e l' I s P e:i k of, a good many
e Witd'^ eie * n Vo £ ue ’ or at l east had
le( Out ’ which have quite vanished
j®L’ an d amon 8 these was duelling,
"■t th n ° W en a due l was f° u ght;
1^ at tended bloodless;
■■>lice' ,S ' b rrea ter activity of the
■nred' nCaSe . wbere harm was doue ;
1 Bev yet still,
'■ r '\va ° CCas ’ ona hy happen. A great
’■"nni; Li^ ad Iby a violent quarrel
I 6 °® cers a regiment quar
ancas hh'e, in which a chal-
t t a duel had been' given and
i t was called in the papers of
the day “ The Great Military Scandal,”
and arose in the following manner: A
certain Major Starley had offered a
gross insult to a young lady, on whom,
it appears, he had been forcing his atten
tions for some time; and her only rela
rive, a half-brother, was in the same reg
iment with the Major. The details were
not pleasant, and it was no wonder that
Captain Laurenston challenged the ma
jor ; but the latter declined the challenge
on some professional grounds when
the parties met high words passed.
These commenced,,it appeared, with the
captain ; but each became violent in the
dispute, until at-last the erptain thrashed
his antagonist in the presence of several
officers. This was not. lu make-believe
beating; a “consider-yourself-horse
whipped” affair, but . } a right-down
“ welting,” the major being badly cut
and bruised. This was serious- enough,
anyhow; but what madq it worse was
that the officers. were on duty at the
time ; and by strict letter of military
law the captain would certainly be pun
ished with death, ■ ,
Fie had expected, it seems, that after
so public afid-painfffP 1 humiliation, he
would infallibly receive a challenge from
the injured officer; but it was not so. He
was placed in arrest in the barracks, and
expected to be brought to a court-mar
tial. He heard, however, from some
friendly 'source thatt it was intended to
hand him over to the civil power, when
he would be charged with an assault with
intent to kill.
In those days almost anything was
transportable, and as Major Starley be
longed to one of the most influential
families id the kingdom, there was no
doubt that the captain would be sent to a
convict Settlement. There was also no
doubt that the prosecution would be con
ducted ih the most vindictive spirit and
pushed to the bitterest end.
Terrified at such a prospect, the young
officer escaped froth the barracks by
connivance of the guard, there was rea
son to this was never
completely' proved ; a.t any rate, he got
completely away and disappeared. Im
mediate advantage was taken of this fa
tal although very natural step, and.p, re
ward was at once offered foi hisappie
sion. If he could get out of the country
hevyould be safe, as there was then nd
engagement fpr giving up so
the port was watched, an easier thing to
do when there was not-such a tremend
ous outflow of emigration as now.
' Public, sympathy was, naturally,
strongly in favor of Captain Laurenston,
and against the major, who would be
compelled, itwas generally said, to leave
the service. But this woq|d not save
the captain from being cashiered, nor
from fourteen years’ transportation, as he
was certain to be made an exampie of,,
if only for the purpose of showing that
officers would be protected when they
refused to accept a challenge.
1 had taken an interest in all these de
tails, as my mates had done, and, as
with them, my sympathies were on the
side of Captain Laurenston, yet only as
a stranger, for I had never, to my
knowledge, heard of him before. But
after a while it began to be said that the
captain was the officer who had been a
visitor at Elm Knoll, and was the accept
ed suitor of Miss Cleabyrn.' This gave
me more interest in the affair, and 1
sincerely hoped he might make good his
Miss Beatrice had returned to Elm
Knoll; but she rarely left the house, and
still more rarely rode , out,’ although it
was the hunting season so that I hardly
ever saw her.
1 was on night-duty at the signals;
and when I w £ ent there one evening to
relieve the day man, he told me that
there were -several London detectives
“hanging about the place”—he knew
this from one of the guards who had
formerly been in the police—and so re
cognized them. I naturally asked if the
Company suspected anything wrong
among their people, and my mate said
no, not at all. The detectives of course
would not say anything about their busi
ness ; but the guard suspected that they
were after Captain Laurenston, who was
likely to try to see Miss Cleabyrn betore
leaving England. This appeared feasi
ble enough ; and I was able heartily to
echo that the young fellow might give
his pursuers the slip.
I have'said that my signals and cross
ing were on a branch, of no great traffic ;
so, when the last down passengers’ and
first night goods trains had passed—
they followed each other closely—there
was nothing stirring for several hours.
Traffic through the gates at the level
crossing after dark, there was little or
none,' so my berth was dull and lonely
enough. I dfd not mind this, for I was
fondA)f reading, and on this night—a
stofmy one it was—l was reading a ter
rible ghost story. I laugh at such things
now; but I know right well that they
made me '“creep” then. I dare say
every one knows the sensation, and has
felt it over ghost stories. I was in the
midst of the most terrible part, when I
heard a slight noise, and, lifting up my
eyes, saw at my little window, quite
close to me, that which startled me more
than anv ghostly appearance ever will.
Continued next week.

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