Newspaper Page Text
^r: Pi few ssmi WBL K31 y. W£&:r?: mm :%£&••• •?%$y r4v*^ W iiv: I PROLOGUE OF THE STORY. Elbert King, a northern soldier left v. for dead on a southern battlefield, re covers consciousness near a farmhouse, .iere he hears Jean Denslow, a beau ti.ul daughter of the south, tell her uc^ro servant, Joe, that soon she must m.irry Lieutenant Calvert Dunn, -whom shj does not love. King learns of a movement to surprise the Federals. Anxious to get aM'ay with the infor mation, ho intercepts the prospective bridegroom, appropriates his uniform and is mistaken for him. Under cover ol his disguise he is married to Jean 1 onslow. Still undetected, he starts o.i horseback with his bride to Dunn's lj jiue. En route she discovers the de ft- option and, furious, gallops off to arn the Confederates. Her horse 1 .ills and breaks its neck, while Jean l.ijures her ankle. Hopelessly she ae n-pts King's proffer of assistance to 1 unn's home. King later reports to te Federal commander, Ilosecrans, ho appoints him lieutenant of a. body -i scouts, including Daniels, head of a lend faction fighting Jem Donald, a ij, onfederate guerrilla chief. The ex iE J).edition leads King to Dunn's home, here he again meets Jean, who leads 1. into a trap. 1-Ie escapes, only to s-'.umble across the body of a slain onfederate officer. Fearful lest he be igmatized with the crime, he volun 1 irily surrenders to Big Jem Donald nd is accused by Calvert Dunn. King made a prisoner in the cellar. He is isited by Jean, who wants protec 1 .on, as all but Judge Dunn, an invalid, have left the house. She releases King ii his word of honor not to- escape. "While watching he has an encounter •with what he thinks is the assassin, nding himself overpowered by Big Jem Donald. The figure of Judge Dunn attracts their attention. They find he has been assassinated. King is suspected. O'Brien, King's aid, arrives •with soldiers, who are surprised by 'alvert Dunn's Confederates. The Federals intrench themselves within the house, where King and O'Brien seek to discover the secret passage through which Donald escaped. They are held up by Jean and are locked in a room, from which they escape with difficulty, disarming and imprisoning Jean. Searching for the hidden pas sage, the fireplace opens, revealing the insane features of a woman, which in stantly disappear. They explore the passage and find Big Donald wounded and carry him out into a hut. Kihg captures Duuii a lid ex-truCus miOrixut tion. King again enters the tunnel to prepare his men for an escape. A I •SI^T i'il ®Y RAMDALL PAtteM COPYRIGHT. 1909, BY A. C. McCLURG & CO. From Battle to Love. I turned to step upon the stair above two shots suddenly rang out In the upper hall, the sharp reports those of a revolver. Jean! It must be Jean! I leaped for ward, the men racing at my heels. She stood, crouching slightly, half way between the stair head and the end of the ball, staring into the black ness of the open fireplace, the revolver yet smoking In her band. "What was It. Miss Denslow? What were yon firing at?" The tenseness of her muscles gave .way, ahd -her slender form swayed tack against the support of my shoal der. one band clasping at my sleeve. "At something there—there: God knows what. It looked like a woman, but such a face—such a facer |gl| "YeSC yes 1 understand. 1 have sefen the same," 1 said hastily. "It was in fear of such an appearance again that 1 gave you the'revolver Yet what is It—a vision of the brain or a reality? I have examined every inch of, that tunnel. I came through It 'alone ten minutes ago fend saw nothing. No one "could enter from the other end or from this without being seen. The mystery puzzles me.'' -",.w*Tbat was up vision, no specter 1 acK •i-zy k. which saw," she Insisted. "See—there is spot of blood on the screen. She came directly toward me out of that hole, creeping on air fours like a wild beast 1 was near the head of the stairs endeavoring to hear what you were saying below. Something made me turn suddenly, and I saw her—saw her eyes, her clawlike fiugers, the flash of a knife in her hand. Oh, it frightened me so I stood there like a 1 STARING INTO THE BLACKNESS OF THE OPEN FIBEPLACE. bird fascinated by a snake, but I had the revolver in my hand and pulled the trigger. See—there is where the first ball went, straight down into the floor! 1 thought you would hear and come, but the sound of the shot nerved me. and the second time I fired straight at her, and—and—she cried out sharply and seemed to fade into that blackness there like a ghost" We dropped into the hole one by one. I was first to reach the earth floor and stood there holding the lantern high above my bead. 4.UIO IUUUCI iuu- uiicvk/ tvcati lads," I explained briefly. "There are no turns and nothing to fall over. All you've got to do is walk straight an*i follow me." The whiteness of the girl's face was conspicuous. 1 smiled back into her eyes, but met with no response. The dull thud of the feet behind, naturally falling into marching step, awoke muf fled echoes, and 1 flung the light as far ahead as possible down the channel. It was bare, unoccupied. What bad become of that woman? In the darkness I could not see where the wounded man lay, but I managed to touch O'Brien, whispering to him to, take her at Once to Donald. 1 beard a kiss, the-murmur of''low voices con versing. and. with gritted teeth, turn ed back to hasten the movements of the men below. "Up with you. lads—no talking, but come up one at a time." I leaned over, counting as they came up. their forms outlined by the flame of the lantern in the channel. The last one clambered through the opening and found room to stand in the nar row space. The soldier below/ the light on his upturned face, stiff beid the lantern level with his bead. "Shall 1 pnt it out now. sir. and come op?" be questioned. "Yes—they are all here." 1 saw bim turn down the wick and blow (tat tbe flame. In tbe dense blackness below I beard bim set the Hi lantern down and place bis-foot on the first rung of the ladder. Then there was a single sharp cry—start led. agonized—a moan, and the heavy fall of a body. Without a thought 1 leaped through the bole down Into the darkness. 1 struck against a prostrate figure, stumbled slightly, rattling tbe lantern with my foot my extended hand gripped at something,. which gave way, aud I stood groping blindly about without a sound to guide me. 1 knew whit bad happened, and now, the first mad rush over, my heart was in my throat I felt for the lantern with my foot, found It at last, and managed to apply a match to the wick. At the foot of the ladder lay the soldier, a knife thrust In his throat, his bead bent back, his dead eyes staring up at me. In the grip of my fingers was a rag* a strip of red calico, evidently ripped from a dress. That was all. With heart beating rapidly I re traced1 my steps, moving backward, the lantern held before me. Corporal Masterson. with two troopers, was at the foot of the ladder bending over the motionless form. The corporal straightened up. his face white. "Somers is dead, sir." he said, his voice full of horror—"knifed in the throat" "Yes. corporal. It Is a part of the mystery of this house." "Take the body up the ladder," 4 commanded. They went at the grewsome Job re luctantly, yet evidently glad enough to get out of the hole, two of them lift ing from above, with Masterson help ing below. As the corporal's legs dis appeared I mounted close behind, holding the lantern beneath and lay ing hold of the trap before I extin guished the light. It was with a dis tinct feeling of relief that I closed the heavy door and stood upon it "O'Brien!" "Yis, sor." "Everything right here?" "J1st about as ye left it. sor, only the colonel seems to have got part of his senses back, an' the other fellow swore so loud I bucked bim with a bit o' rag. Av ye'll keep still, sor, I think ye'll hear some noise Jist back of the cabin." We were instantly quiet, the men holding their breath to listen. I could distinguish a sound as tbougb of mov ing bodies.- but was unable to guess at the cause. "What is Itr "Horses, sor. They've got them picketed out there—some reb an' ""me Yankee, no doubt." "Masterson. le^ve two men here to guard that trap' and the prisoners. They will remain until tbey hear the sound of firing iu front of the bouse and then mount and join us. We'll leave horses for them. You take half our force and clear out tbe guard on the kitchen porch—there are six men there. Make it quick action, and as soon as the job is accomplished. fall back here behind tbe cabin. O'Brien, with tw*o of the troopers, attend to any scattered rebs you find along the north side. The rest of us will see to the horse herd, and inside of ten minutes we ought to be in saddle. Don't fire a single shot more thj)n Is necessary." They filed past me one by one, crouching down in the shadows Just outside the door. "Now, O'Brien, select the next three and steal around tbe other side of that negro cabin. As soon as Master son goes forward make a run for those bushes along the.carriage drive. The rest of you fellows come with me." Out of sight, yet not far away, horses were champing at their bits. Some one on the kitchen porch laughed, and a man walked to the well. 1 turned back until 1 saw the crouching figures of the corporal's squad. "Ail right, Masterson," I said, "go In." I saw them rise swiftly to their feet nnd slip" noiselessly along, the protect ing side of (lie cabin, the dull gray of the eastern sky already renderingthings slightly visible, but I waited for noth ing more. We likewise had our work to accomplish. A dozen swift steps brought us to the horse herd, nor did we fire a shot, the single guard being so surprised at our unexpected appear ance ss to fail even in spsgcIs. The horses were tied along a rail fence, completely equipped, exactly as they were captured at the time of first attack, and my little party swung hastily into saddle, gathering up the bridle reins of as many other horses as we could safely lead. As I held my own bunch back a moment, so as to give all the men time to gather more closely in. three shots—two tbe sharp reports of carbines, the third the gruffer note of a musket—sou tided beyond the negro cabins, while In the dim light of tbe dawn 1 caught glimpses of men gathering around the corner of the house. Then more shots began to sputter along tbe north side, two of the swiftly running figures dropping in their tracks, with spits of flame shooting forth from the black shadow of bushes lining the driveway. The surprise was complete, the two squads performing their work thor oughly. Now.''It was our turn. "Forward!" 1 cried, my voice barely audible above the hubbub, of boofs. "tJold them to It. boys!" Tbe others met us at the corner of the bouse, tbe daylight sufficient by now to intake Identity certain: slinging their carbines, tbey grasped the near est reins and sprang up- into tbe sad dles. Tliey could fight now in their own way—with tbe reckV*M dash of the tTooper. We swept down the broid dxHtWay km in two lines. tHe men widening their distances so as to give room for saber Play. Tbe gray dawn already revealed our surroundings clearly—the ash cov ered roadway, the bushes along its edge, the row of trees beyond, a long tobacco shed at tbe left, tbe half open gate almost directly In front. As we whirled recklessly about the corner, every man riding low, every, eye forward, we saw the enemy at the edge of a grove, some kneeling, others standing. It was, merely glimpse, and then they tired—an instant too quick perhaps—the Irregular cracking showing lack of discipline, the cloud of smoke hiding them again from us. I felt my horse leap as If touched two or three in our front rank went down, but there was no halting. My mount caught his stride, and I drove in the spur, yelling the charge, hear ing the thunder of hoofs behind min gled with an exultant cheer from the men. We drove through the rising smoke like a thunderbolt and were on them, our revolvers spitting viciously to right and left, our horses pawing at the fleeing figures and at the clubbed muskets with which they sought to fight us back. We went through them as If they bad been paper some ran for the fields, scrambling over a fence, but the main body, still bunched together, firing as rapidly as they could reload. Dodd cursing In the midst of them, made for tbe shel ter of the grape arbor. The fierceness of our rush carried us through the grove out on (to the turf of the open lawn, tbe men struggling with their horses in an effect to reform. Out from the front door sprang the four troopers left within, running eagerly for tbe riderless animals, while the two guards from the negro cabin came spurring madly around the cor ner of the house, anxious to Join their comrades. Half formed, tbe men spurring their frenzied horses into some semblance of line. We swept down upon tbe fleeing guerrillas, seek ing to overtake them before they could attain shelter. It was'a helter skelter race, the bang of musketry punctuated by the sharp revolver re ports and tbe shouts and yells of the combatants. We reached the rear runners, riding them down remorse lessly, but our horses swerved at the arbor entrance, two plunging forward, throwing their riders, the others de bouching sharply to the left, the troop ers sawing at tbe reins in vain effort at control. It was fully daylight now, every surrounding object clear to the eye, and my little squad circled about. In stinctively forming themselves for another charge. 1 swept them with my eyes, debating whether to try an advance on horseback or to dismount and endeavor on foot to dislodge tbe enemy. Suddenly O'Brien swept his hand to the east, and I perceived a party of horsejnen emerging from the woods, breaking into a sharp trot tbe instant they attained the open ground. The movement was plain enough— Thellen bad arrived, already under stood the situation and was pushing bis force forward to strike us in the rear. "Close up. men! By fours into line! Ride for tbe gate and the road beyond. Corporal, take the lead, and I will cover the rear. Don't spare your horses." Every man knew, realized fully, the peril threatening us. Dodd's gang bad not yet perceived the advance of re enforcements and were holding their fire, expecting us to charge. Instead, we wheeled to the right and rode straight at tbe open gate. Behind us, but not yet within shooting distance, we could already hear the pounding of tbe boofs of Tbeilen's column as tbey spurred forward in pursuit. A few muskets barked from the grape arbor. Some fellow lying hidden in a corner of the fence let drive, sending the corporal headlong. Then we were outside on tbe hard packed road, the men riding recklessly, bent low over tbeir pommels, urging their horses to the utmost. 1 must have been fifty feet to the rear and. trusting to my horse, half turned about In the saddle so as to watch our pursuers. 1 never knew what hap pened. whether tbe animal stumbled or fell from a wound, but everything blotted out in an instant as I came crashing down to earth. My last mem ory waft of seeing Tbeilen's horsemen crowding through the gate, a hundred yards away, yelling and shaking tbeir guns. 1 was in an Invalid's chair when I came back to consciousness, lying as though upon a bed. yet fully dressed. Some way as my hands groped about, telling me this, for everything was speckled before my eyes, 1 thought of Judge Dunn and of tbe chair in which be sat when 1 last saw bim. 1 felt a dull ache extending'through both body end bead, and slowly tbe disfiguring mist cleared from before my eyes, and 1 began distinguishing objects. Tbe room was large and square, having four long windows, three of the cur tains being drawn, the fourth suffi ciently raised to permit a gleam of sunshine to extend partly across the rich carpet of dark green. The situation puzzled me' My cap tors Would not show much mercy, for we had certainly cost tbera dearly, and I could not Imagine Calvert Dunn or Dodd bringing me Into such com forts bile quarters as these. Either oth er influence bad prevailed or else Fed eral reinforcements had arrived in tbe nick of time and driven the guer illas from tbe field. This was tbe most reasonable supposition, for by I was. beginning to guess where I #as—this must be the front cham be|| of tbe Dunn house. I bad ex llf§|d if in the dark, yet felt convinced I moved my limbs, testing them, fearing 1 must be hurt more seriously than was apparent to account for. all this care, yet discovered them equal to every requirement. 1 was partly upon my feet, with band grasping tbe arm of the chair because of a slight sensation of dizziness, when the door was pushed silently back and a womau took a single step within, in stautly pausing, her eyes upon me. It was a face I had seen but once before, yet instantly recognised—tbe rather weak face of Lucille Dunn. Its onl,v elaim to beauty the large dark eyes My sudden return to life and activity must have greatly surprised her, for she stood staring at me in speechless bewilderment then, before 1 could move, she slipped back Into the hall and disappeared. 1 had advanced half ^in—i 1 CAME CRASHING DOWN TO EARTH. across the room when Jean came In quietly, closed the door behind ber and faced me, her lips firmly Bet, Sbe smiled slightly, a welcome relief to the fixed sternness of ber lips. "He would have liked greatly to re main as your guard, but was persuad ed to convey the prisoners and'wound ed to the Confederate camp. 1 imag ine he may return when that duty has been completed^ There seems to be some hatred between Lieutenant Dunn and Lieutenant Elng." "Entirety upon the part of the for mer, although, I confess, not wholly without cause. The exigencies of war have compelled me to handle Lieuten ant Dunn somewhat roughly on two occasions, yet that should be excusa able between fighting men. There may be other reasons." "What, may I asltV" 1 met ber questioning eyes fairly, convinced that a certain amount of boldness would not be amiss an,d eager to learn the real .nature of .ber feel-, tags. 4Jg "Principally Miss Jean Denslow.*'' "Oh. Indeed!" very prettily simulat ing surprise. "And what possible inter: est can you both bare in that young lady?" "You ask seriously?" "Most assuredly. Wbb- could be more deeply interested than IV" "Then 1 will answer ftankl^, IM mistake not. you were at one time en gaged to Lieutenant Dunn.' "Very true." And are now.matrled toJlJen tenant l&tii." .*' 'TT* K? ber eyes upon nftue. "I had m^t anticipated so rapid a re covery," she said. "You were still un conscious when I left a very few mo ments ago." =V,: "You have been my nurse?" "Lucille and I together perhaps 1 may call myself the head nurse." "Am I a prisoner, Miss Denslow?" "You are not. Colonel Donald and 1 are not entirely ungrateful. You have been left here wounded and in our care, but at liberty to depart whenever you are able and desire to do so. We do not care to feel under obligations to you personally." Vr.v.--w.V'-:' "You speak very coldly." "As I have ample reason to. If .Lieutenant Elbert King will be seated I will explain the situation more In de tail." I sank' back into tbe chair, Instantly aware that she knew me now, that the moment 1 had dreaded so loop- hod ar rived. There was a certainty in her tone that convinced me any denial' would be useless. "First I will explain briefly your pres ent position," she began, "so that henceforth there can be no misunder standing between us. During the re treat of your men-r-the majority of whom got safely away—your horse was shot and you were thrown upon your head and rendered unconscious. That occurred soon after daylight this morning, and you have remained In that condition until a few moments ago. It is now late in tbe afternoon. The mounted men followed your troop ers, skirmishing with them as far as the ridge road, but some of those on foot, finding you still alive, brought you back here. Through the authority of Colonel Donald you have been left here practically unguarded. We have no desire to be outdone In courtesy by a Yankee." "Colonel Donald, then, baa recovered? Does he remain here?" "He has regained sufficient strength to resume command. Mils chief lieu tenant was killed during tbe action, and he felt obliged to accompany bis men for the present." "And Lieutenant Dunn?" She leaned back ber cheek flushed, evidently for self control. "Are you not mistaken? \|t, posed my husband to bel* *1" ot Reynolds* battery.** ._ I leaned toward ber acraaa tbe arm. endeavoring to.eeeinto tiM of ber eyes., but she veiled* tbea b9*% hind lowered lashes. 1 "-v"^ "He was Sergeant Ring'Vt tbe of your marriage* yet I think no doubt as to who be Is now." "1 have not had a great deal at nny^-xa time," Rhe said, looking at me dlrectl^^\jS "although I could not be mre. The night of that unfortunate occurreBC#^^-I you seemed to regret my predicamcn^v.^ and expressed a desire to make my^ burden as light as possible. Would it^sfi not bare been best wheti yoo. eaip*§||| here to have Informed me aa to yonri t|p Identity?" .. '"l "Yes, if the relationship :betweea'^^fMf had been the same." "Had been the same! What do yon. mean?" I took a deep breath, mustering tty courage to face whatever fkto aritfit have in store. ". iS "This, Miss Jean," I said grtTily, my voice trembling In stft* of every 3L, effort to hold it firm. ~**8ince than"'tsYdP have learned to lore yon*' For a moment her Intense surprise' robbed ber of all power of round throat swelling, one ed upon ber heart. So stlU"*as e*ity» thing I could bear a bird singing with out and the rustle of Wind tbroQCH leaves. "You hare learned toioV#/|ine--«»f4 she faltered at last Incredulously. "1 did not expect to hear yon say tbat, Lieutenant King." mM.j "Yet iwvo mis.tfc" cause It is the truth, and it ti tin* la WM it not, that, the truth shotMd bo known 3$ between us1" £J§| Her bead drooped upon her ber arm supported by the Bhe remained silent, her slight font trembling perceptibly. "Do you blame me for what tbat night?" She uplifted her eyes qulcl&y, look* tag frankly into my fkc4i "You perhaps did the most natural thing, although I sincerely wl^ih it Iwd never occurred. No, 1 do not" blame you I—I have never felt "in that way toward you. It is strange, Is It sotf straightening np and now looking me again frankly In the ey&.. "There Is certainly every reason why I should feel otherwise. I bare nb sympathy with your cause all I love is connected with the south and I am a thorough rebel.- Seeking to serve your flag y^f did me as grievous an injury as a man could do a woman. At first 1 was angry, indignant, could ba?e killed you and felt my anger Just, it can never understand'the change that came over me, for when we parted that night We urero friends. I have. never been think of you since as ab enemy." "You have thought ol me, then?' "Could I' do otherwise? Sergeant King certainly wrought havoc enough to make immediate forgetfiilneas im possible. Then Lieutehant King ap peared—the artllleryman changed into a cavalry officer—but lb voice arid manner continually reminding 'me the former. I did not know you were the same, but suspected' It, I wanted to avoid you.- yet that was Impossible, and I have been' compelled to aMept your help, to trust and confide In you Not only am personally Indebted to you, but you have served others who are near and dear to me. I hid al most forgotten you were a Xankee except for the constant reminder of your uniform. 1 even felt that we were destined to friendship. In spite of all the barriers between us, btie now—now you have spoiled every thing." at f. "I? How?" "By your avowal—your expression of feeling toward me. 7ou must have spoken those words |n Jest, and yet, they are not easily forgotten." 5 "In jestl" and I arose to my feet, indignant that she should even gest such a possibility. "Miss low, you do not mean that surely sincerity can be felt Perhaps I not to have spoken thus It may be you have no right to listen. But 1 In sist I have said no more than the truth. I realize now that from thp moment of first seeing you while %dh*)», versing with the old negro In the Shed on your father's plantation, I was un^ nsuaily latefeated la yoo. ifirst impression might, Indeed, have passed away had we not again been thrown together upon terms of peculiar Inti macy. A certain tie was cwtracted between us which caused me to think of you even whlie we were absent from each other. 1 could .not remain indifferent under such circumstances could you?" She hesitated, drawing slightly back, yet her honesty compelled a frank avowal. "No. I—I could not be entirely In- -•$ different" "Human nature would prevent,*' weut on. encouraged, by even tbls slight admission. "But our relation*: ship was not destined to end ev§n there. Some strange fate seemed to draw together. My duty led me bere, to meet you again under peculiar circumstances, and In the midst «f peril compelling you f» trust me. believe now. Miss Denslow^ tbat th*,| Seeds of love were In my'heart fMip the moment of our'first meetttg. Jtyt the intimacy of tbe past few |t^9fs^ has brought tbe blossom. Legally* am your husband," and 1 csah&v$qtr# bear telling you that tny btirt le also. aitliough feel to say,tbfet*or to. foreejritfssff/ you and an$ther.'