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About The Lebanon express. (Lebanon, Linn County, Or.) 1887-1898 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 13, 1896)
ComMCHT, iHt. av Basr Hasts.
CHAPTEB V. )
In another inatant bugles were ringing
through the camp, with the hurrying
man of mounted officers and the tramp
ing of forming men. The house itself
waa almost deserted. Although that
ingle cannon shot had been created to
prove that it was not mere skirmishing
of picket. Brant still did not believe In
any serious attack of the enemy. His
position, as in the previous engagement,
had no strategic importance to them.
They were no doubt only making a feint
against his position to conceal some ad
vance upon the center of Ute army a
mile or two away. Satisfied that he was
in easy supporting distance of the di
vision commander, he extended his lines
along the ridge ready to fall back in
that direction while retarding the ad
vance and masking the movements of
his chief. He gave a few orders neces
sary to the probable abandonment of
the house, and then returned to it. Shot
and shell were already dropping in the
field below. A thin ridge of blue haze
sheathed the line of skirmish fire. A
small conical white cloud, like a burst
ing cotton pod, revealed an opened bat
tery in the willow-fringed meadow. Yet
the pastoral peacefulness of the house
was unchanged. The afternoon sun lay
softly on its deep verandas; the pot
pourri incense of fallen rose leaves
haunted It still.
He entered his room through the
French window in the veranda, whan
the door leading from the passage was
suddenly flung open, and Miss Faulk
ner swept quickly inside, closed the
door behind her and leaned back heav
ily against it panting and breathless.
Clarence was startled, and for a mo
ment shamed. He suddenly realized
that in the excitement he had entirely
forgotten her and the dangers to which
she might be exposed. She had prob
ably heard the firing, her womanly
fears had been awakened ; she had come
to him for protection. But as he turned
toward her with a reassuring smile, he
was shocked to see that her agitation
and pallor were far beyond any physic
al fear. She motioned him desperately
to shut the window by which he had
entered, and said with white lips:
"I must speak with you alone!"
"Certainly. But there is no immedi
ate danger to you even here and I can
soon put you beyond the reach of any
"Harm me! God! if it were only
He stared at her uneasily.
"Listen," she said, gasping, "listen
tome! Then hate, despise me kill me
if you will. For you are betrayed and
ruined cut off and surrounded! It has
been helped on by me, but I swear to
you the blow did not come from my
hand! I would have saved you. God
knows how it happened it was fate!"
In an instant llrant saw its truth in
stinctively and clearly. But with the
revelation came that wonderful calm
ness and perfect self-possession which
never yet had failed him in any emer
gency. With the sound of the increas
the cannonade and its shifting position
made clearer to his ears, the view of
his whole threatened position spread
out like a map before bis eyes, the
swift calculation of the time of his men
could bold the ridge, in his mind even
the hurried estimate of the precious mo
ments he could give to the wretched
womau before him all this he was
keenly alive to as he gravely, even
gently, led her to a chair, and said in a
critical and level voice:
"This is not enough! Speak slowly,
plainly. I must know everything.
How and in whet way have you be
She looked at him imploringly re
aftmred, yet awed by his gentleness.
"You won't believe me! You cannot
believe me! But I do not even know; I
hnve taken and exchanged letters
whose contents I never saw between
the confederates and a spy who comes
to this house but who is far away
by ili'm lime. I did il becmrae I thought
yuu hated and despised me. because I
thought it was my duty to help my
en use,, ltecause you said it was 'war
between us, but I have spied on you. I
"Tl.-n how do you know of this at
tack?" , he said, calmly. , ; ,
She brightened, half timidly, half
hopefully- "There is a window in the
wing of this house thot overlooks the
slopcjicor tliecoofederntelines. There
v, us a signal placed in it not by mo
fcut '.biattflgUlt tlNtWltWf l
Mim fnlkmm md sskklr taaUs sat eloMtf
IM dear ballad JMT.
was there the plot, whatever it vias, vn
imt ripe, and that no attacK wouta ut
mnde on you as long as it was visible.
That much I knew, that much the spy
had to tell me, for we both had to
guard that room in turns. I wanted to
keeD this dreadful thing off until-un-
til." her voice trembled "until," she
added hurriedly, seeing his calm eyes
were reading her very soul, "until I
went away, and for that purpose 1 witn-
held some of the letters that were given
me. But this morning, while -1 was
away from the house, I looked back and
suw that the signal was no longer mere.
Some one had changed it I run back,
but I was too late, God help me, as you
The truth flashed upon Brant It
was his own hand that had precipitated
the attack! But a larger truth came
to him now, like a dazzling inspiration.
If he had thus precipitated the attack
before it was ripe, there was a chance
that it was imperfect, and there was
still hope. But there was no trace of
this visible In his face, as h fixed his
eyes calmly on hers, although his
pulses were halting in expectancy as he
"Then the spy had suspected you,
nnd changed it."
"0, no!" ehe said, eagerly, "for the
py was with me and was frightened,
mi. We both ran back together you
'"member she was stopped by the pa
id!" 8he checked herself suddenly,
..ut too late. Her cheeks biased, her
Lead sank with the foolish disclosure
into which her eagerness had betrayed
But Brant appeared not to notice it,
lie was, in fact, puzzling his brain to
conceive what information the stupid
mulatto woman could have obtained
here. His strength, his position was in
went to the enemy there was nothing
io gain from him. She must have been,
1 ike the trembling, eager woman before
him, a mere tool of others.
"Did this woman live here?" he said,
"No," she said. "She lived with the
Manlvs. but had friends whom she
visited at your general's headquarters,
With difficulty Brant suppressed
start. It was clear to him now. The
information had been obtained at the
division headquarters and passed
through his camp as being nearest the
confederate lines. But what was the
information, and what movement bail
he precipitated? It was clear that this
woman did not know. He looked at
her keenly. A sudden explosion shook
the house, a drift of smoke passed the
window a shell had burst in the gar
She.had been gazing at him despair
ingly, wistfully, but she did not blanch
An idea too possession of him. He
approached her and took her cold hand,
A half smile parted her pale lips.
"You have courage you have devo
tion," he said, gravely. "I believeyou
regret the step yon have taken. If you
cou Id undo ivhat vou have done, even at
icril to yourself, dare you do it?"
"Yes," she said, breathlessly.
"You are known to the enemy. If
am surrounded you could pass through
the confederate lines unquestioned."
"Yes," she said, eagerly.
"A note from mc would pass you
again through the pickets of our head.
quarters. But you would bear a note
to the general that noeyes but his must
sec.' It would not implicate you or
yours itwould be only a word of warn
ing." "And you," she said, quickly, "would
be saved! They would come to your
assistance! You would not then be
ne smiled gently. "Perhaps who
He sat down and wrote hurriedly.
"This," he said, handing her a slip of
niiper, "is a pass. You will use it be
yond your own lines. This note," he
1,'oiitinued, handing her a sealed envel
ope, "is for the general. No one else
must see it, or know of it not even
vour lover should you meet him!"
"My lover!" she said, indignantly,
with a flash of her old savagery, "what
do you mean ? I have no lover! "
Brant glanced at her flushed face.
"I thought," he said, quietly, "that
there was some one you cared for in
yonder lines some one you wrote to;
it would have been an excuse"
He stopped as her face paled again,
and her hands dropped heavily at her
side. "Good God! you thought that,
too. You thought that I would sacri
fice you for another man?"
"Pardon me," said Brant, quickly,
"I was foolish. But whether your
lover is a man or a cause, you have
shown a woman's devotion. And in re
pairing your fault you are showing
more than a woman s courage now.
To his surprise the color bad again
mounted to her pretty cheeks, and even
a Hash of mischief shone in her blue
eyes. "It would have been 'an excuse'
-yes to save a man, surely. Well, I
will go. I am ready."
"One moment," be said, gravely. "Al
though this pass and an escort insures
vour safe conduct, there is an engage
ment and some danger. Are you still
,-cady to face it?"
-"I am," -she said, proudly, turning
buck braid of her feller hair. Yet
. moment she hesitated. Then she said,
ii a lower voice: "Are you as ready to
"In either case," be said, -touched by
uw manner "and. Cud apeed, ywu."
.- . j.a- :,l.u.m,.
Ho ex tended hi haad and loft a
lliriit pressure on her cM fingers. But
they slipped quickly from hie grasp,
and sl turned away vMh a, heightened
He stepped to the door. One or two :.
alds-oVcamp, withheld by hii order .
igaiust Intrusion, were waiting eagerly
with reports. The horse of a mounted
field officer was pawing the garden
turf. The officers stared at the young
Take Miss Faulkner with a flag to
some safe point of the enemy's line.
She is a non-combatant of their own,
nd will receive their protection."
He liad scarcely exchanged a dozen
words with the aide-de-camp before
the field officer hurriedly entered.
Taking Brant aside he said quickly:
Pardon me, general, but there is a
strong feeling among the men that this
attack is the result of some informa
tion obtained by the enemy. The wom
an you have just given a safeguard to
is ssapeeted, and the men are indig
"The more reason why she should be
conveyed beyond any consequences of
their folly, major, said Brant, frigid I y,
"and I look to you for her safe convoy.
There is nothing In this attack to show
that the enemy has received any in
formation regarding us. But I would
suggest that it would he better to see
that my orders are carried out regard
ing the slaves and men combatants who
are passing our lines from division
headquarters, where valuable informa
tion may be obtained, than in the sur
veillance of a testy and outspoken girl."
An angrr flush covered the major s
cheek as he saluted and fell back, and
Brant turned to the aid-de-camp. The
news was grave. A column of the ene
my had moved against the ridge; it was
no longer possible to bold it; and the
brigade was cut off from its communi
cation with the division headquarters,
although as yet no combined movement
was made against it Brant's secret
fears that it was an intended impact
ngsinst the center were confirmed.
Would his communications to the di
vision conrmender pass through the at
tacking column in time?
One thing puzzled him. Aa yet the
enemy, after facing his line, had shown
no disposition, even with their over
whelming force, to turn aside to cover
him. He could easily have fallen bock
when it was possible to hold the ridge
no longer, without pursuit. His Hank
and rear were not threatened, as they
might have been by a division of so
large an attacking column, and bis re
treat was still secure 1 It was this fact
that seemed to show a failure or imper
fection in the enemy s plan. It was pos
sible thst his precipitation of the attack
by the changed signal had been the
cause of it. Doubtless some provision
had been made to attack him in flank
and rear, but in (he unexpected hurry
of the outset it had to lie abandoned. He
could still save himself, as his officers
knew, but his conviction, that he might
yet be able to support his division com
mander by holding his position dogged
ly, but coolly awaiting hisopportunity
was strong. More than that, it was his
temperament and instinct.
Harrowing them in flank and rear,
contesting the ground inch by inch, and
holding his own against the artillery
sent to dislodge him, or the, cavalry
that curled around to ride through his
open ranks, he saw his files melt away
before this steady current without
Yet all along that fateful ridge, now
obscured and confused with thin cross
ing smoke drifts from file firiDg, like
partly rubbed out slate pencil marks,
or else, when cleared of those drifts,
jienetratiug only sn indistinguishable
map of zig-zag lines of straggling wag
ons and horses, unintelligible to any
eye but his, the singular maguetiBm of
the chief was felt everywhere. Whether
it was shown in the quick closing In of
resistance to some sharper onset of the
enemy or the more dogged stand of in-
uction under fire, bis power was al
ways dominant. A word or two of
comprehensive direction, sent through
an aid-de-camp, or the sudden relief of
his dark, watchful, composed face, up
lifted above a line of bayonets, never
failed in their magic. Like all born
leaders, he seemed, in these emergen
cies, to hold a charmed life, infecting his
followers with a like disbelief in death.
Men dropped to right and left of him
with serene assurance in their ghastly
faces or a cry of life and confidence in
their last gasp. Stragglers fell in and
closed up under his passing glance; a
hopeless inextricable wranglearound an
overturned caisson, at a turn of the
road, resolved itself into an orderly,
quiet, deliberate clearing away of the
impediment, before tbeslgnlficantwalt
ing of that dark, silent horseman.
Yet under tbis imperturbable mask
he was keenly conscious of everything;
in that apparent concentration there
was ( sharpening of all his senses and
his impressibility; he saw the first
trace of doubt or alarm in the face of
a subaltern to whom he was giving an
order; the first touch of sluggishness
in a reforming line; the more sig
nificant clumsiness of a I iv I ng evolution
that he knew was clogged by the dead
bodies of comrades; the ominous si
lence of a breastwork; the awful inertia
of some rigidly kneeling flics beyond,
which still kept their form but never
would move again; the melting away
of skirmish points; the sudden pap',
here and there; the sickening incurv
ing of what a moment before had been
a straight line all these he saw in
all their fatal significance. But even
at this moment, coming upon a hasty
barricade of overset commissary wag
ons, he stopped to glance at a famllicr
figure he bad sees but an iiour ago,
who now seemed to be commanding
a group of collected stragglers nnd
camp followers. ' Mounted oh a wheel;
with a revolver in each hand and n
bowie knife between his ucth the
atrical even in this paroxysm of un
doubted courageglared Jiai Hooker!
Lvm.lhlMv of the field on his shou:
that desnerat momeu?
A himlel calling a vivid plctii.
lf ctor HoOKW. personntins: t:i.
..lmnter of "Ked Dick" In "HoBiilir
r,i. vr" u he had sen
. ' , California theater five yer."
It wanted atlll an hour of the am'--ueas
that would probably close the Mr-.-ol
that day. Could he hold out, kcepii f
his offensive position so long? A lumr,
counoll with his officers showed b!ni
that the weakness of their position had
nlresdy Infected them. They reminded
him that his line of retreat wns st II
open that In the course of the night
the enemy, although still pr;sr,'ng to
wards the division center, nrg'.it yet
turn nnd outflank hltn-or that the1'
stmngoly dclnyed supports might con
up before morning. Brant s gum:
however, remained fixed on the roui
column still pursuing its wny nlor
the ridge. It struck him sudden!
however, that the steady current h
stopped, spread out along the ovest t.
both sides and was now at rigut ungu
with Its previous course. There ha
been a check! The next moment tli
thunder of guns along the whole hori
zon and the rising cloud of smoke re
veulcd a line of battle. The divisio;
center was engaged. The opportiinit
lie had longed for bad come tne tier
iemte chance to throw himself oi
their rear and cut hin way throng'
the division but it hsd come too Int;
lie looked at his shattered
scarce n regiment remained, l'v- n
deuiunstrutlon the ottne1; v-iu.u
gainst the enemy' anncrlov mm.. .
Nothing clearly wns left to Him m
but to reuiain where he wns w'.th
suiiortinir distance, and iiwnit the i-
sue of the fight beyond. t!e wns pu
ting up his glass when the dull 1"
uf cannon iu the extreme iveKU'i n i..
ot the horizon attracted his nttiu.u
By the mil! gleaming sky li- could r
, long gray line stealing up iron: t
alley from thcdistnnt rcarof ih. !" 5
quarters to join theiunineoliit:'!!. T'i
were Ue mis3iug support! V s n. :
leuped! He held the key pi the
now. The one imperfect detail , i
enemy b plan was lie ore mm. j n. . .
iiorts coining 'later from the west lu
seen only the second sipnnl I ruu I
window when Miss I anlUner liiui i
placed the vase and had avoided I
position. .It was impossible to In:.,
the eftectof thin blunder! If (he yum.
girl who had thus Baved him ha
reached the division commander wit.
his message in time, he inifilll be fore
warned, and even profit by It. disown
position would be less precarious, ns
the enemy already engaged in front
would be unable to recover their posi
tion in the rear, r.ud correct the blun
der. The bulk of their column had al
ready streamed past him. If defeated
there was always the danger that it
might be rolled back upon him but
be conjectured that the division com
mander would attempt to prevent the
junction of the supports with the main
column by breaking between them,
crowding them from the ridge and join
ing him. As the last stragglers of the
rear guard swept by Brant's bugles
were already recalling the skirmishers.
He redoubled bis pickets, and resolved
to watch and wait,
, (To be continued.)
The Exphess would like some bay
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Fare, good on tbis train only, from
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