In the Midst of Alarms
Part 4 out of 5
you what you deserved. Course of the law, indeed! I'll box your ears
now if you say anything more. Get down off your horse, and have
something to eat yourself. I dare say you need it."
"This is what I call a rescue," whispered Yates to his linked
What is a stern upholder of the law to do when the interferer with
justice is a determined and angry woman accustomed to having her own
way? Stoliker looked helplessly at Hiram, as the supposed head of the
house, but the old man merely shrugged his shoulders, as much as to
say: "You see how it is yourself. I am helpless."
Mrs. Bartlett marched her prisoners through the gate and up to the
"All I ask of you now," said Yates, "is that you will give Renmark and
me seats together at the table. We cannot bear to be separated, even
for an instant."
Having delivered her prisoners to the custody of her daughter, at the
same time admonishing her to get breakfast as quickly as possible, Mrs.
Bartlett went to the gate again. The constable was still on his horse.
Hiram had asked, by way of treating him to a noncontroversial subject,
if this was the colt he had bought from old Brown, on the second
concession, and Stoliker had replied that it was. Hiram was saying he
thought he recognized the horse by his sire when Mrs. Bartlett broke in
"Come, Sam," she said, "no sulking, you know. Slip off the horse and
come in. How's your mother?"
"She's pretty well, thank you," said Sam sheepishly, coming down on his
Kitty Bartlett, her gayety gone and her eyes red, waited on the
prisoners, but absolutely refused to serve Sam Stoliker, on whom she
looked with the utmost contempt, not taking into account the fact that
the poor young man had been merely doing his duty, and doing it well.
"Take off these handcuffs, Sam," said Mrs. Bartlett, "until they have
breakfast, at least."
Stoliker produced a key and unlocked the manacles, slipping them into
"Ah, now!" said Yates, looking at his red wrist, "we can breathe
easier; and I, for one, can eat more."
The professor said nothing. The iron had not only encircled his wrist,
but had entered his soul as well. Although Yates tried to make the
early meal as cheerful as possible, it was rather a gloomy festival.
Stoliker began to feel, poor man, that the paths of duty were
unpopular. Old Hiram could always be depended upon to add somberness
and taciturnity to a wedding feast; the professor, never the liveliest
of companions, sat silent, with clouded brow, and vexed even the
cheerful Mrs. Bartlett by having evidently no appetite. When the
hurried meal was over, Yates, noticing that Miss Kitty had left the
room, sprang up and walked toward the kitchen door. Stoliker was on his
feet in an instant, and made as though to follow him.
"Sit down," said the professor sharply, speaking for the first time.
"He is not going to escape. Don't be afraid. He has done nothing, and
has no fear of punishment. It is always the innocent that you stupid
officials arrest. The woods all around you are full of real Fenians,
but you take excellent care to keep out of their way, and give your
attention to molesting perfectly inoffensive people."
"Good for you, professor!" cried Mrs. Bartlett emphatically. "That's
the truth, if ever it was spoken. But are there Fenians in the woods?"
"Hundreds of them. They came on us in the tent about three o'clock this
morning,--or at least an advance guard did,--and after talking of
shooting us where we stood they marched us to the Fenian camp instead.
Yates got a pass, written by the Fenian general, so that we should not
be troubled again. That is the precious document which this man thinks
is deadly evidence. He never asked us a question, but clapped the
handcuffs on our wrists, while the other fools held pistols to our
"It isn't my place to ask questions," retorted Stoliker doggedly. "You
can tell all this to the colonel or the sheriff; if they let you go,
I'll say nothing against it."
Meanwhile, Yates had made his way into the kitchen, taking the
precaution to shut the door after him. Kitty Bartlett looked quickly
round as the door closed. Before she could speak the young man caught
her by the plump shoulders--a thing which he certainly had no right to
"Miss Kitty Bartlett," he said, "you've been crying."
"I haven't; and if I had, it is nothing to you."
"Oh, I'm not so sure about that. Don't deny it. For whom, were you
crying? The professor?"
"No, nor for you either, although I suppose you have conceit enough to
"_Me_ conceited? Anything but that. Come, now, Kitty, for whom
were you crying? I must know."
"Please let me go, Mr. Yates," said Kitty, with an effort at dignity.
"Dick is my name, Kit."
"Well, mine is not Kit.
"You're quite right. Now that you mention it, I will call you Kitty,
which is much prettier than the abbreviation."
"I did not 'mention it.' Please let me go. Nobody has the right to call
me anything but Miss Bartlett; that is, _you_ haven't, anyhow."
"Well, Kitty, don't you think it is about time to give somebody the
right? Why won't you look up at me, so that I can tell for sure whether
I should have accused you of crying? Look up--Miss Bartlett."
"Please let me go, Mr. Yates. Mother will be here in a minute."
"Mother is a wise and thoughtful woman. We'll risk mother. Besides, I'm
not in the least afraid of her, and I don't believe you are. I think
she is at this moment giving poor Mr. Stoliker a piece of her mind;
otherwise, I imagine, he would have followed me. I saw it in his eye."
"I hate that man," said Kitty inconsequently.
"I like him, because he brought me here, even if I was handcuffed.
Kitty, why don't you look up at me? Are you afraid?"
"What should I be afraid of?" asked Kitty, giving him one swift glance
from her pretty blue eyes. "Not of you, I hope."
"Well, Kitty, I sincerely hope not. Now, Miss Bartlett, do you know why
I came out here?"
"For something more to eat, very likely," said the girl mischievously.
"Oh, I say, that to a man in captivity is both cruel and unkind.
Besides, I had a first-rate breakfast, thank you. No such motive drew
me into the kitchen. But I will tell you. You shall have it from my own
lips. _That_ was the reason!"
He suited the action to the word, and kissed her before she knew what
was about to happen. At least, Yates, with all his experience, thought
he had taken her unawares. Men often make mistakes in little matters of
this kind. Kitty pushed him with apparent indignation from her, but she
did not strike him across the face, as she had done before, when he
merely attempted what he had now accomplished. Perhaps this was because
she had been taken so completely by surprise.
"I shall call my mother," she threatened.
"Oh, no, you won't. Besides, she wouldn't come." Then this frivolous
young man began to sing in a low voice the flippant refrain, "Here's to
the girl that gets a kiss, and runs and tells her mother," ending with
the wish that she should live and die an old maid and never get
another. Kitty should not have smiled, but she did; she should have
rebuked his levity, but she didn't.
"It is about the great and disastrous consequences of living and dying
an old maid that I want to speak to you. I have a plan for the
prevention of such a catastrophe, and I would like to get your approval
Yates had released the girl, partly because she had wrenched herself
away from him, and partly because he heard a movement in the dining
room, and expected the entrance of Stoliker or some of the others. Miss
Kitty stood with her back to the table, her eyes fixed on a spring
flower, which she had unconsciously taken from a vase standing on the
window-ledge. She smoothed the petals this way and that, and seemed so
interested in botanical investigation that Yates wondered whether she
was paying attention to what he was saying or not. What his plan might
have been can only be guessed; for the Fates ordained that they should
be interrupted at this critical moment by the one person on earth who
could make Yates' tongue falter.
The outer door to the kitchen burst open, and Margaret Howard stood on
the threshold, her lovely face aflame with indignation, and her dark
hair down over her shoulders, forming a picture of beauty that fairly
took Yates' breath away. She did not notice him.
"O Kitty," she cried, "those wretches have stolen all our horses! Is
your father here?"
"What wretches?" asked Kitty, ignoring the question, and startled by
the sudden advent of her friend.
"The Fenians. They have taken all the horses that were in the fields,
and your horses as well. So I ran over to tell you."
"Have they taken your own horse, too?"
"No. I always keep Gypsy in the stable. The thieves did not come near
the house. Oh, Mr. Yates! I did not see you." And Margaret's hand, with
the unconscious vanity of a woman, sought her disheveled hair, which
Yates thought too becoming ever to be put in order again.
Margaret reddened as she realized, from Kitty's evident embarrassment,
that she had impulsively broken in upon a conference of two.
"I must tell your father about it," she said hurriedly, and before
Yates could open the door she had done so for herself. Again she was
taken aback to see so many sitting round the table.
There was a moment's silence between the two in the kitchen, but the
spell was broken.
"I--I don't suppose there will be any trouble about getting back the
horses," said Yates hesitatingly. "If you lose them, the Government
will have to pay."
"I presume so," answered Kitty coldly; then: "Excuse me, Mr. Yates; I
mustn't stay here any longer." So saying, she followed Margaret into
the other room.
Yates drew a long breath of relief. All his old difficulties of
preference had arisen when the outer door burst open. He felt that he
had had a narrow escape, and began to wonder if he had really committed
himself. Then the fear swept over him that Margaret might have noticed
her friend's evident confusion, and surmised its cause. He wondered
whether this would help him or hurt him with Margaret, if he finally
made up his mind to favor her with his serious attentions. Still, he
reflected that, after all, they were both country girls, and would no
doubt be only too eager to accept a chance to live in New York. Thus
his mind gradually resumed its normal state of self-confidence; and he
argued that, whatever Margaret's suspicions were, they could not but
make him more precious in her eyes. He knew of instances where the very
danger of losing a man had turned a woman's wavering mind entirely in
the man's favor. When he had reached this point, the door from the
dining room opened, and Stoliker appeared.
"We are waiting for you," said the constable.
"All right. I am ready."
As he entered the room he saw the two girls standing together talking
"I wish I was a constable for twenty-four hours," cried Mrs. Bartlett.
"I would be hunting horse thieves instead of handcuffing innocent men."
"Come along," said the impassive Stoliker, taking the handcuffs from
"If you three men," continued Mrs. Bartlett, "cannot take those two to
camp, or to jail, or anywhere else, without handcuffing them, I'll go
along with you myself and protect you, and see that they don't escape.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Sam Stoliker, if you have any
manhood about you--which I doubt."
"I must do my duty."
The professor rose from his chair. "Mr. Stoliker," he said with
determination, "my friend and myself will go with you quietly. We will
make no attempt to escape, as we have done nothing to make us fear
investigation. But I give you fair warning that if you attempt to put a
handcuff on my wrist again I will smash you."
A cry of terror from one of the girls, at the prospect of a fight,
caused the professor to realize where he was. He turned to them and
said in a contrite voice:
"Oh! I forgot you were here. I sincerely beg your pardon."
Margaret, with blazing eyes, cried:
"Don't beg my pardon, but--smash him."
Then a consciousness of what she had said overcame her, and the excited
girl hid her blushing face on her friend's shoulder, while Kitty
lovingly stroked her dark, tangled hair.
Renmark took a step toward them, and stopped. Yates, with his usual
quickness, came to the rescue, and his cheery voice relieved the
tension of the situation.
"Come, come, Stoliker, don't be an idiot. I do not object in the least
to the handcuffs; and, if you are dying to handcuff somebody, handcuff
me. It hasn't struck your luminous mind that you have not the first
tittle of evidence against my friend, and that, even if I were the
greatest criminal in America, the fact of his being with me is no
crime. The truth is, Stoliker, that I wouldn't be in your shoes for a
good many dollars. You talk a great deal about doing your duty, but you
have exceeded it in the case of the professor. I hope you have no
property; for the professor can, if he likes, make you pay sweetly for
putting the handcuffs on him without a warrant, or even without one jot
of evidence. What is the penalty for false arrest, Hiram?" continued
Yates, suddenly appealing to the old man. "I think it is a thousand
Hiram said gloomily that he didn't know. Stoliker was hit on a tender
spot, for he owned a farm.
"Better apologize to the professor and let us get along. Good-by, all.
Mrs. Bartlett, that breakfast was the very best I ever tasted."
The good woman smiled and shook hands with him.
"Good-by, Mr. Yates; and I hope you will soon come back to have
Stoliker slipped the handcuffs into his pocket again, and mounted his
horse. The girls, from the veranda, watched the procession move up the
dusty road. They were silent, and had even forgotten the exciting event
of the stealing of the horses.
When the two prisoners, with their three captors, came in sight of the
Canadian volunteers, they beheld a scene which was much more military
than the Fenian camp. They were promptly halted and questioned by a
picket before coming to the main body; the sentry knew enough not to
shoot until he had asked for the countersign. Passing the picket, they
came in full view of the Canadian force, the men of which looked very
spick and span in uniforms which seemed painfully new in the clear
light of the fair June morning. The guns, topped by a bristle of
bayonets which glittered as the rising sun shone on them, were stacked
with neat precision here and there. The men were preparing their
breakfast, and a temporary halt had been called for that purpose. The
volunteers were scattered by the side of the road and in the fields.
Renmark recognized the colors of the regiment from his own city, and
noticed that there was with it a company that was strange to him.
Although led to them a prisoner, he felt a glowing pride in the
regiment and their trim appearance--a pride that was both national and
civic. He instinctively held himself more erect as he approached.
"Renmark," said Yates, looking at him with a smile, "you are making a
thoroughly British mistake."
"What do you mean? I haven't spoken."
"No, but I see it in your eye. You are underestimating the enemy. You
think this pretty company is going to walk over that body of unkempt
tramps we saw in the woods this morning."
"I do indeed, if the tramps wait to be walked over--which I very much
"That's just where you make a mistake. Most of these are raw boys, who
know all that can be learned of war on a cricket field. They will be
the worst whipped set of young fellows before night that this part of
the country has ever seen. Wait till they see one of their comrades
fall, with the blood gushing out of a wound in his breast. If they
don't turn and run, then I'm a Dutchman. I've seen raw recruits before.
They should have a company of older men here who have seen service to
steady them. The fellows we saw this morning were sleeping like logs,
in the damp woods, as we stepped over them. They are veterans. What
will be but a mere skirmish to them will seem to these boys the most
awful tragedy that ever happened. Why, many of them look as if they
might be university lads."
"They are," said Renmark, with a pang of anguish.
"Well, I can't see what your stupid government means by sending them
here alone. They should have at least one company of regulars with
"Probably the regulars are on the way."
"Perhaps; but they will have to put in an appearance mighty sudden, or
the fight will be over. If these boys are not in a hurry with their
meal, the Fenians will be upon them before they know it. If there is to
be a fight, it will be before a very few hours--before one hour passes,
you are going to see a miniature Bull Run."
Some of the volunteers crowded around the incomers, eagerly inquiring
for news of the enemy. The Fenians had taken the precaution to cut all
the telegraph wires leading out of Fort Erie, and hence those in
command of the companies did not even know that the enemy had left that
locality. They were now on their way to a point where they were to meet
Colonel Peacocke's force of regulars--a point which they were destined
never to reach. Stoliker sought an officer and delivered up his
prisoners, together with the incriminating paper that Yates had handed
to him. The officer's decision was short and sharp, as military
decisions are generally supposed to be. He ordered the constable to
take both the prisoners and put them in jail at Port Colborne. There
was no time now for an inquiry into the case,--that could come
afterward,--and, so long as the men were safe in jail, everything would
be all right. To this the constable mildly interposed two objections.
In the first place, he said, he was with the volunteers not in his
capacity as constable, but in the position of guide and man who knew
the country. In the second place, there was no jail at Port Colborne.
"Where is the nearest jail?"
"The jail of the county is at Welland, the county town," replied the
"Very well; take them there."
"But I am here as guide," repeated Stoliker. The officer hesitated for
a moment. "You haven't handcuffs with you, I presume?"
"Yes, I have," said Stoliker, producing the implements.
"Well, then, handcuff them together, and I will send one of the company
over to Welland with them. How far is it across country?"
Stoliker told him.
The officer called one of the volunteers, and said to him:
"You are to make your way across country to Welland, and deliver these
men up to the jailer there. They will be handcuffed together, but you
take a revolver with you, and if they give you any trouble, shoot
The volunteer reddened, and drew himself up. "I am not a policeman," he
said. "I am a soldier."
"Very well, then your first duty as a soldier is to obey orders. I
order you to take these men to Welland."
The volunteers had crowded around as this discussion went on, and a
murmur rose among them at the order of the officer. They evidently
sympathized with their comrade's objection to the duties of a
policeman. One of them made his way through the crowd, and cried:
"Hello! this is the professor. This is Mr. Renmark. He's no Fenian."
Two or three more of the university students recognized Renmark, and,
pushing up to him, greeted him warmly. He was evidently a favorite with
his class. Among others young Howard pressed forward.
"It is nonsense," he cried, "talking about sending Professor Renmark to
jail! He is no more a Fenian than Governor-General Monck. We'll all go
bail for the professor."
The officer wavered. "If you know him," he said, "that is a different
matter. But this other man has a letter from the commander of the
Fenians, recommending him to the consideration of all friends of the
Fenian cause. I can't let him go free."
"Are you the chief in command here?" asked Renmark.
"No, I am not."
"Mr. Yates is a friend of mine who is here with me on his vacation. He
is a New York journalist, and has nothing in common with the invaders.
If you insist on sending him to Welland, I must demand that we be taken
before the officer in command. In any case, he and I stand or fall
together. I am exactly as guilty or innocent as he is."
"We can't bother the colonel about every triviality."
"A man's liberty is no triviality. What, in the name of common sense,
are you fighting for but liberty?"
"Thanks, Renmark, thanks," said Yates; "but I don't care to see the
colonel, and I shall welcome Welland jail. I am tired of all this
bother. I came here for rest and quiet, and I am going to have them, if
I have to go to jail for them. I'm coming reluctantly to the belief
that jail's the most comfortable place in Canada, anyhow."
"But this is an outrage," cried the professor indignantly.
"Of course it is," replied Yates wearily; "but the woods are full of
them. There's always outrages going on, especially in so-called free
countries; therefore one more or less won't make much difference. Come,
officer, who's going to take me to Welland? or shall I have to go by
myself? I'm a Fenian from 'way back, and came here especially to
overturn the throne and take it home with me. For Heaven's sake, know
your own mind one way or other, and let us end this conference."
The officer was wroth. He speedily gave the order to Stoliker to
handcuff the prisoner to himself, and deliver him to the jailer at
"But I want assistance," objected Stoliker. "The prisoner is a bigger
man than I am." The volunteers laughed as Stoliker mentioned this self-
"If anyone likes to go with you, he can go. I shall give no orders."
No one volunteered to accompany the constable.
"Take this revolver with you," continued the officer, "and if he
attempts to escape, shoot him. Besides, you know the way to Welland, so
I can't send anybody in your place, even if I wanted to."
"Howard knows the way," persisted Stoliker. That young man spoke up
with great indignation: "Yes, but Howard isn't constable, and Stoliker
is. I'm not going."
Renmark went up to his friend.
"Who's acting foolishly now, Yates?" he said. "Why don't you insist on
seeing the colonel? The chances are ten to one that you would be
"Don't make any mistake. The colonel will very likely be some fussy
individual who magnifies his own importance, and who will send a squad
of volunteers to escort me, and I want to avoid that. These officers
always stick by each, other; they're bound to. I want to go alone with
Stoliker. I have a score to settle with him."
"Now, don't do anything rash. You've done nothing so far; but if you
assault an officer of the law, that will be a different matter."
"Satan reproving sin. Who prevented you from hitting Stoliker a short
"Well, I was wrong then. You are wrong now."
"See here, Renny," whispered Yates; "you get back to the tent, and see
that everything's all right. I'll be with you in an hour or so. Don't
look so frightened. I wont hurt Stoliker. But I want to see this fight,
and I won't get there if the colonel sends an escort. I'm going to use
Stoliker as a shield when the bullets begin flying."
The bugles sounded for the troops to fall in, and Stoliker very
reluctantly attached one clasp of the handcuff around his own left
wrist, while he snapped the other on the right wrist of Yates, who
embarrassed him with kindly assistance. The two manacled men
disappeared down the road, while the volunteers rapidly fell in to
continue their morning's march.
Young Howard beckoned to the professor from his place in the ranks. "I
say, professor, how did you happen to be down this way?"
"I have been camping out here for a week or more with Yates, who is an
old schoolfellow of mine."
"What a shame to have him led off in that way! But he seemed to rather
like the idea. Jolly fellow, I should say. How I wish I had known you
were in this neighborhood. My folks live near here. They would only
have been too glad to be of assistance to you."
"They have been of assistance to me, and exceedingly kind as well."
"What? You know them? All of them? Have you met Margaret?"
"Yes," said the professor slowly, but his glance fell as it encountered
the eager eyes of the youth. It was evident that Margaret was the
"Fall back, there!" cried the officer to Renmark.
"May I march along with them? or can you give me a gun, and let me take
"No," said the officer with some hauteur; "this is no place for
civilians." Again the professor smiled as he reflected that the whole
company, as far as martial experience went, were merely civilians
dressed in uniform; but he became grave again when he remembered Yates'
ominous prediction regarding them.
"I say, Mr. Renmark," cried young Howard, as the company moved off, "if
you see any of them, don't tell them I'm here--especially Margaret. It
might make them uneasy. I'll get when this is over, and drop in on
The boy spoke with the hopeful confidence of youth, and had evidently
no premonition of how his appointment would be kept. Renmark left the
road, and struck across country in the direction of the tent.
Meanwhile, two men were tramping steadily along the dusty road toward
Welland: the captor moody and silent, the prisoner talkative and
entertaining--indeed, Yates' conversation often went beyond
entertainment, and became, at times, instructive. He discussed the
affairs of both countries, showed a way out of all political
difficulties, gave reasons for the practical use of common sense in
every emergency, passed opinions on the methods of agriculture adopted
in various parts of the country, told stories of the war, gave
instances of men in captivity murdering those who were in charge of
them, deduced from these anecdotes the foolishness of resisting lawful
authority lawfully exercised, and, in general, showed that he was a man
who respected power and the exercise thereof. Suddenly branching to
more practical matters, he exclaimed:
"Say, Stoliker, how many taverns are there between here and Welland?"
Stoliker had never counted them.
"Well, that's encouraging, anyhow. If there are so many that it
requires an effort of the memory to enumerate them, we will likely have
something to drink before long."
"I never drink while on duty," said Stoliker curtly.
"Oh, well, don't apologize for it. Every man has his failings. I'll be
only too happy to give you some instructions. I have acquired the
useful practice of being able to drink both on and off duty. Anything
can be done, Stoliker, if you give your mind to it. I don't believe in
the word 'can't,' either with or without the, mark of elision."
Stoliker did not answer, and Yates yawned wearily.
"I wish you would hire a rig, constable. I'm tired of walking. I've
been on my feet ever since three this morning."
"I have no authority to hire a buggy."
"But what do you do when a prisoner refuses to move?"
"I make, him move," said Stoliker shortly.
"Ah, I see. That's a good plan, and saves bills at the livery stable."
They came to a tempting bank by the roadside, when Yates cried:
"Let's sit down and have a rest. I'm done out. The sun is hot, and the
road dusty. You can let me have half an hour: the day's young, yet."
"I'll let you have fifteen minutes."
They sat down together. "I wish a team would come along," said Yates
with a sigh.
"No chance of a team, with most of the horses in the neighborhood
stolen, and the troops on the roads."
"That's so," assented Yates sleepily.
He was evidently tired out, for his chin dropped on his breast, and his
eyes closed. His breathing came soft and regular, and his body leaned
toward the constable, who sat bolt upright. Yate's left arm fell across
the knees of Stoliker, and he leaned more and more heavily against him.
The constable did not know whether he was shamming or not, but he took
no risks. He kept his grasp firm on the butt of the revolver. Yet, he
reflected, Yates could surely not meditate an attempt on his weapon,
for he had, a few minutes before, told him a story about a prisoner who
escaped in exactly that way. Stoliker was suspicious of the good
intentions of the man he had in charge; he was altogether too polite
and good-natured; and, besides, the constable dumbly felt that the
prisoner was a much cleverer man than he.
"Here, sit up," he said gruffly. "I'm not paid to carry you, you know."
"What's that? What's that? What's that?" cried Yates rapidly, blinking
his eyes and straightening up. "Oh, it's only you, Stoliker. I thought
it was my friend Renmark. Have I been asleep?"
"Either that or pretending--I don't know which, and I don't care."
"Oh! I must have been pretending," answered Yates drowsily; "I can't
have dropped asleep. How long have we been here?"
"About five minutes."
"All right." And Yates' head began to droop again.
This time the constable felt no doubt about it. No man could imitate
sleep so well. Several times Yates nearly fell forward, and each time
saved himself, with the usual luck of a sleeper or a drunkard.
Nevertheless, Stoliker never took his hand from his revolver. Suddenly,
with a greater lurch than usual, Yates pitched head first down the
bank, carrying the constable with him. The steel band of the handcuff
nipped the wrist of Stoliker, who, with an oath and a cry of pain,
instinctively grasped the links between with his right hand, to save
his wrist. Like a cat, Yates was upon him, showing marvelous agility
for a man who had just tumbled in a heap. The next instant he held
aloft the revolver, crying triumphantly:
"How's that, umpire? Out, I expect."
The constable, with set teeth, still rubbed his wounded wrist,
realizing the helplessness of a struggle.
"Now, Stoliker," said Yates, pointing the pistol at him, "what have you
to say before I fire?"
"Nothing," answered the constable, "except that you will be hanged at
Welland, instead of staying a few days in jail."
Yates laughed. "That's not bad, Stoliker; and I really believe there's
some grit in you, if you _are_ a man-catcher. Still, you were not
in very much danger, as perhaps you knew. Now, if you should want this
pistol again, just watch where it alights." And Yates, taking the
weapon by the muzzle, tossed it as far as he could into the field.
Stoliker watched its flight intently, then, putting his hand into his
pocket, he took out some small object and flung it as nearly as he
could to the spot where the revolver fell.
"Is that how you mark the place?" asked Yates; "or is it some spell
that will enable you to find the pistol?"
"Neither," answered the constable quietly. "It is the key of the
handcuffs. The duplicate is at Welland."
Yates whistled a prolonged note, and looked with admiration at the
little man. He saw the hopelessness of the situation. If he attempted
to search for the key in the long grass, the chances were ten to one
that Stoliker would stumble on the pistol before Yates found the key,
in which case the reporter would be once more at the mercy of the law.
"Stoliker, you're evidently fonder of my company than I am of yours.
That wasn't a bad strategic move on your part, but it may cause you
some personal inconvenience before I get these handcuffs filed off. I'm
not going to Welland this trip, as you may be disappointed to learn. I
have gone with you as far as I intend to. You will now come with me."
"I shall not move," replied the constable firmly.
"Very well, stay there," said Yates, twisting his hand abound so as to
grasp the chain that joined the cuffs. Getting a firm grip, he walked
up the road, down which they had tramped a few minutes before. Stoliker
set his teeth and tried to hold his ground, but was forced to follow.
Nothing was said by either until several hundred yards were thus
traversed. Then Yates stopped.
"Having now demonstrated to you the fact that you must accompany me, I
hope you will show yourself a sensible man, Stoliker, and come with me
quietly. It will be less exhausting for both of us, and all the same in
the end. You can do nothing until you get help. I am going to see the
fight, which I feel sure will be a brief one, so I don't want to lose
any more time in getting back. In order to avoid meeting people, and
having me explain to them that you are my prisoner, I propose we go
through the fields."
One difference between a fool and a wise man is that the wise man
always accepts the inevitable. The constable was wise. The two crossed
the rail fence into the fields, and walked along peaceably together--
Stoliker silent, as usual, with the grim confidence of a man who is
certain of ultimate success, who has the nation behind him, with all
its machinery working in his favor; Yates talkative, argumentative, and
instructive by turns, occasionally breaking forth into song when the
unresponsiveness of the other rendered conversation difficult.
"Stoliker, how supremely lovely and quiet and restful are the silent,
scented, spreading fields! How soothing to a spirit tired of the city's
din is this solitude, broken only by the singing of the birds and the
drowsy droning of the bee, erroneously termed 'bumble'! The green
fields, the shady trees, the sweet freshness of the summer air,
untainted by city smoke, and over all the eternal serenity of the blue
unclouded sky--how can human spite and human passion exist in such a
paradise? Does it all not make you feel as if you were an innocent
child again, with motives pure and conscience white?"
If Stoliker felt like an innocent child, he did not look it. With
clouded brow he eagerly scanned the empty fields, hoping for help. But,
although the constable made no reply, there was an answer that
electrified Yates, and put all thought of the beauty of the country out
of his mind. The dull report of a musket, far in front of them,
suddenly broke the silence, followed by several scattering shots, and
then the roar of a volley. This was sharply answered by the ring of
rifles to the right. With an oath, Yates broke into a run.
"They're at it!" he cried, "and all on account of your confounded
obstinacy I shall miss the whole show. The Fenians have opened fire,
and the Canadians have not been long in replying."
The din of the firing now became incessant. The veteran in Yates was
aroused. He, was like an old war horse who again feels the intoxicating
smell of battle smoke. The lunacy of gunpower shone in his gleaming
"Come on, you loitering idiot!" he cried to the constable, who had
difficulty in keeping pace with him; "come on, or, by the gods! I'll
break your wrist across a fence rail and tear this brutal iron from
The savage face of the prisoner was transformed with the passion of
war, and, for the first time that day, Stoliker quailed before the
insane glare of his eyes. But if he was afraid, he did not show his
fear to Yates.
"Come on, _you!_" he shouted, springing ahead, and giving a twist
to the handcuffs well known to those who have to deal with refractory
criminals. "I am as eager to see the fight as you are."
The sharp pain brought Yates to his senses again. He laughed, and said:
"That's the ticket, I'm with you. Perhaps you would not be in such a
hurry if you knew that I am going into the thick the fight, and intend
to use you as a shield from the bullets."
"That's all right," answered the little constable, panting. "Two sides
are firing. I'll shield you on one side, and you'll have to shield me
on the other."
Again Yates laughed, and they ran silently together. Avoiding the
houses, they came out at the Ridge Road. The smoke rolled up above the
trees, showing where the battle was going on some distance beyond.
Yates made the constable cross the fence and the road, and take to the
fields again, bringing him around behind Bartlett's house and barn. No
one was visible near the house except Kitty Bartlett, who stood at the
back watching, with pale and anxious face, the rolling smoke, now and
then covering her ears with her hands as the sound of an extra loud
volley assailed them. Stoliker lifted up his voice and shouted for
"If you do that again," cried Yates, clutching him by the throat, "I'll
But he did not need to do it again. The girl heard the cry, turned with
a frightened look, and was about to fly into the house when she
recognized the two. Then she came toward them. Yates took his hand away
from the constable's throat.
"Where is your father or your brother?" demanded the constable.
"I don't know."
"Where is your mother?"
"She is over with Mrs. Howard, who is ill."
"Are you all alone?"
"Then I command you, in the name of the Queen, to give no assistance to
this prisoner, but to do as I tell you."
"And I command you, in the name of the President," cried Yates, "to
keep your mouth shut, and not to address a lady like that. Kitty," he
continued in a milder tone, "could you tell me where to get a file, so,
that I may cut these wrist ornaments? Don't you get it. You are to do
nothing. Just indicate where the file is. The law mustn't have any hold
on you, as it seems to have on me."
"Why don't you make him unlock them?" asked Kitty.
"Because the villain threw away the key in the fields."
"He couldn't have done that."
The constable caught his breath.
"But he did. I saw him."
"And I saw him unlock them at breakfast. The key was on the end of his
watch chain. He hasn't thrown that away."
She made a move to take out his watch chain but Yates stopped her.
"Don't touch him. I'm playing a lone hand here." He jerked out the
chain, and the real key dangled from it.
"Well, Stoliker," he said, "I don't know which to admire most--your
cleverness and pluck, my stupidity, or Miss Bartlett's acuteness of
observation. Can we get into the barn, Kitty?"
"Yes; but you mustn't hurt him."
"No fear. I think too much of him. Don't you come in. I'll be out in a
moment, like the medium from a spiritualistic dark cabinet."
Entering the barn, Yates forced the constable up, against the square
oaken post which was part of the framework of the building, and which
formed one side of the perpendicular ladder that led to the top of the
"Now, Stoliker," he, said solemnly, "you realize, of course, that I
don't want to hurt you yet you also realize that I _must_ hurt you
if you attempt any tricks. I can't take any risks, please remember
that; and recollect that, by the time you are free again, I shall be in
the State of New York. So don't compel me to smash your head against
this post." He, with some trouble, unlocked the clasp on his own wrist;
then, drawing Stoliker's right hand around the post, he snapped the
same clasp on the constable's hitherto free wrist. The unfortunate man,
with his cheek against the oak, was in the comical position of lovingly
embracing the post.
"I'll get you a chair from the kitchen, so that you will be more
comfortable--unless, like Samson, you can pull down the supports. Then
I must bid you good-by."
Yates went out to the girl, who was waiting for him.
"I want to borrow a kitchen chair, Kitty," he said, "so that poor
Stoliker will get a rest."
They walked toward the house. Yates noticed that the firing had ceased,
except a desultory shot here and there across the country.
"I shall have to retreat over the border as quickly as I can," he
continued. "This country is getting too hot for me."
"You are much safer here," said the girl, with downcast eyes. "A man
has brought the news that the United States gunboats are sailing up and
down the river, making prisoners of all who attempt to cross from this
"You don't say! Well, I might have known that. Then what am I to do
with Stoliker? I can't keep him tied up here. Yet the moment he gets
loose I'm done for."
"Perhaps mother could persuade him not to do anything more. Shall I go
"I don't think it would be any use. Stoliker's a stubborn animal. He
has suffered too much at my hands to be in a forgiving mood. We'll
bring him a chair anyhow, and see the effect of kindness on him."
When the chair was placed at Stoliker's disposal, he sat down upon it,
still hugging the post with an enforced fervency that, in spite of the
solemnity of the occasion, nearly made Kitty laugh, and lit up her eyes
with the mischievousness that had always delighted Yates.
"How long am I to be kept here?" asked the constable.
"Oh, not long," answered Yates cheerily; "not a moment longer than is
necessary. I'll telegraph when I'm safe in New York State; so you won't
be here more than a day or two."
This assurance did not appear to bring much comfort to Stoliker.
"Look here," he said; "I guess I know as well as the next man when I'm
beaten. I have been thinking all this over. I am under the sheriff's
orders, and not under the orders of that officer. I don't believe
you've done anything, anyhow, or you wouldn't have acted quite the way
you did. If the sheriff had sent me, it would have been different. As
it is, if you unlock those cuffs, I'll give you my word I'll do nothing
more unless I'm ordered to. Like as not they've forgotten all about you
by this time; and there's nothing on record, anyhow."
"Do you mean it? Will you act square?"
"Certainly I'll act square. I don't suppose you doubt that. I didn't
ask any favors before, and I did what I could to hold you."
"Enough said," cried Yates. "I'll risk it."
Stoliker stretched his arms wearily above his head when he was
"I wonder," he said, now that Kitty was gone, "if there is anything to
eat in the house?"
"Shake!" cried Yates, holding out his hand to him. "Another great and
mutual sentiment unites us, Stoliker. Let us go and see."
The man who wanted to see the fight did not see it, and the man who did
not want to see it saw it. Yates arrived on the field of conflict when
all was over; Renmark found the battle raging around him before he
realized that things had reached a crisis.
When Yates reached the tent, he found it empty and torn by bullets. The
fortunes of war had smashed the jar, and the fragments were strewn
before the entrance, probably by some disappointed man who had tried to
sample the contents and had found nothing.
"Hang it all!" said Yates to himself, "I wonder what the five
assistants that the _Argus_ sent me have done with themselves? If
they are with the Fenians, beating a retreat, or, worse, if they are
captured by the Canadians, they won't be able to get an account of this
scrimmage through to the paper. Now, this is evidently the biggest item
of the year--it's international, by George! It may involve England and
the United States in a war, if both sides are not extra mild and
cautious. I can't run the chance of the paper being left in the lurch.
Let me think a minute. Is it my tip to follow the Canadians or the
Fenians? I wonder is which is running the faster? My men are evidently
with the Fenians, if they were on the ground at all. If I go after the
Irish Republic, I shall run the risk of duplicating things; but if I
follow the Canadians, they may put me under arrest. Then we have more
Fenian sympathizers among our readers than Canadians, so the account
from the invasion side of the fence will be the more popular. Yet a
Canadian version would be a good thing, if I were sure the rest of the
boys got in their work, and the chances are that the other papers won't
have any reporters among the Canucks. Heavens! What is a man to do?
I'll toss up for it. Heads, the Fenians."
He spun the coin in the air, and caught it. "Heads it is! The Fenians
are my victims. I'm camping on their trail, anyhow. Besides, it's safer
than following the Canadians, even though Stoliker has got my pass."
Tired as he was, he stepped briskly through the forest. The scent of a
big item was in his nostrils, and it stimulated him like champagne.
What was temporary loss of sleep compared to the joy of defeating the
A blind man might have followed the trail of the retreating army. They
had thrown away, as they passed through the woods, every article that
impeded their progress. Once he came on a man lying with his face in
the dead leaves. He turned him over.
"His troubles are past, poor devil," said Yates, as he pushed on.
"Halt! Throw up your hands!" came a cry from in front of him.
Yates saw no one, but he promptly threw up his hands, being an
"What's the trouble?" he shouted. "I'm retreating, too."
"Then retreat five steps farther. I'll count the steps. One."
Yates strode one step forward, and then saw that a man behind a tree
was covering him with a gun. The next step revealed a second captor,
with a huge upraised hammer, like a Hercules with his club. Both men
had blackened faces, and resembled thoroughly disreputable fiends of
the forest. Seated on the ground, in a semicircle, were half a dozen
dejected prisoners. The man with the gun swore fearfully, but his
comrade with the hammer was silent.
"Come," said the marksman, "you blank scoundrel, and take a seat with
your fellow-scoundrels. If you attempt to run, blank blank you, I'll
fill you full of buckshot!"
"Oh, I'm not going to run, Sandy," cried Yates, recognizing him. "Why
should I? I've always enjoyed your company, and Macdonald's. How are
you, Mac? Is this a little private raid of your own? For which side are
you fighting? And I say, Sandy, what's the weight of that old-fashioned
bar of iron you have in your hands? I'd like to decide a bet. Let me
heft it, as you said in the shop."
"Oh, it's you, is it?" said Sandy in a disappointed tone, lowering his
gun. "I thought we had raked in another of them. The old man and I want
to make it an even dozen."
"Well, I don't think you'll capture any more. I saw nobody as I came
through the woods. What are you going to do with this crowd?"
"Brain 'em," said Macdonald laconically, speaking for the first time.
Then he added reluctantly: "If any of 'em tries to escape."
The prisoners were all evidently too tired and despondent to make any
attempt at regaining their liberty. Sandy winked over Macdonald's
shoulder at Yates, and by a slight side movement of his head he seemed
to indicate that he would like to have some private conversation with
the newspaper man.
"I'm not your prisoner, am I?" asked Yates.
"No," said Macdonald. "You may go if you like, but not in the direction
the Fenians have gone."
"I guess I won't need to go any farther, if you will give me permission
to interview your prisoners. I merely want to get some points about the
"That's all right," said the blacksmith, "as long as you don't try to
help them. If you do, I warn you there will be trouble."
Yates followed Sandy into the depths of the forest, out of hearing of
the others, leaving Macdonald and his sledge-hammer on guard.
When at a safe distance, Sandy stopped and rested his arms on his gun,
in a pathfinder attitude.
"Say," he began anxiously, "you haven't got some powder and shot on you
by any chance?"
"Not an ounce. Haven't you any ammunition?"
"No, and haven't had all through the fight. You see, we left the shop
in such a hurry we never thought about powder and ball. As soon as a
man on horseback came by shouting that there was a fight on, the old
man he grabbed his sledge, and I took this gun that had been left at
the shop for repairs, and off we started. I'm not sure that it would
shoot if I had ammunition, but I'd like to try. I've scared some of
them Fee-neens nigh to death with it, but I was always afraid one of
them would pull a real gun on me, and then I don't know just what I'd
Sandy sighed, and added, with the air of a man who saw his mistake, but
was somewhat loath to acknowledge it: "Next battle there is you won't
find me in it with a lame gun and no powder. I'd sooner have the old
man's sledge. It don't miss fire." His eye brightened as he thought of
Macdonald. "Say," he continued, with a jerk of his head back over his
shoulder, "the boss is on the warpath in great style, aint he?"
"He is," said Yates, "but, for that matter, so are you. You can swear
nearly as well as Macdonald himself. When did you take to it?"
"Oh, well, you see," said Sandy apologetically, "it don't come as
natural to me as chewing, but, then, somebody's got to swear. The old
man's converted, you know."
"Ah, hasn't he backslid yet?"
"No, he hasn't. I was afraid this scrimmage was going to do for him,
but it didn't; and now I think that if somebody near by does a little
cussing,--not that anyone can cuss like the boss,--he'll pull through.
I think he'll stick this time. You'd ought to have seen him wading into
them d--d Fee-neens, swinging his sledge, and singing 'Onward,
Christian soldiers.' Then, with me to chip in a cuss word now and again
when things got hot, he pulled through the day without ripping an oath.
I tell you, it was a sight. He bowled 'em over like nine-pins. You
ought to 'a' been there."
"Yes," Said Yates regretfully. "I missed it, all on account of that
accursed Stoliker. Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk, but
I'll tell you one thing, Sandy: although I have no ammunition, I'll let
you know what I have got. I have, in my pocket, one of the best plugs
of tobacco that you ever put your teeth into."
Sandy's eyes glittered. "Bless you!" was all he could say, as he bit
off a corner of the offered plug.
"You see, Sandy, there are compensations in this life, after all; I
thought you were out."
"I haven't had a bite all day. That's the trouble with leaving in a
"Well, you may keep that plug, with my regards. Now, I want to get back
and interview those fellows. There's no time to be lost."
When they reached the group, Macdonald said:
"Here's a man says he knows you, Mr. Yates. He claims he is a reporter,
and that you will vouch for him."
Yates strode forward, and looked anxiously at the prisoners, hoping,
yet fearing, to find one of his own men there. He was a selfish man,
and wanted the glory of the day to be all his own. He soon recognized
one of the prisoners as Jimmy Hawkins of the staff of a rival daily,
the New York _Blade_. This was even worse than he had anticipated.
"Hello, Jimmy!" he said, "how did you get here?"
"I was raked in by that adjective fool with the unwashed face."
"Whose a--fool?" cried Macdonald in wrath, and grasping his hammer. He
boggled slightly as he came to the "adjective," but got over it safely.
It was evidently a close call, but Sandy sprang to the rescue, and
cursed Hawkins until even the prisoners turned pale at the torrent of
profanity. Macdonald looked with sad approbation at his pupil, not
knowing that he was under the stimulus of newly acquired tobacco,
wondering how he had attained such proficiency in malediction; for,
like all true artists, he was quite unconscious of his own merit in
"Tell this hammer wielder that I'm no anvil. Tell him that I'm a
newspaper man, and didn't come here to fight. He says that if you
guarantee that I'm no Fenian he'll let me go."
Yates sat down on a fallen log, with a frown on his brow. He liked to
do a favor to a fellow-creature when the act did not inconvenience
himself, but he never forgot the fact that business was business.
"I can't conscientiously tell him that, Jimmy," said Yates soothingly.
"How am I to know you are not a Fenian?"
"Bosh!" cried Hawkins angrily. "Conscientiously? A lot you think of
conscience when there is an item to be had."
"We none of us live up to our better nature, Jimmy," continued Yates
feelingly. "We can but do our best, which is not much. For reasons that
you might fail to understand, I do not wish to run the risk of telling
a lie. You appreciate my hesitation, don't you, Mr. Macdonald? You
would not advise me to assert a thing I was not sure of, would you?"
"Certainly not," said the blacksmith earnestly.
"You want to keep me here because you are afraid of me," cried the
indignant _Blade_ man. "You know very well I'm not a Fenian."
"Excuse me, Jimmy, but I know nothing of the kind. I even suspect
myself of Fenian leanings. How, then, can I be sure of you?"
"What's your game?" asked Hawkins more calmly, for he realized that he
himself would not be slow to take advantage of a rival's dilemma.
"My game is to get a neat little account of this historical episode
sent over the wires to the _Argus_. You see, Jimmy, this is my
busy day. When the task is over, I will devote myself to your service,
and will save you from being hanged, if I can; although I shall do so
without prejudice, as the lawyers say, for I have always held that that
will be the ultimate end of all the _Blade_ staff.
"Look here, Yates; play fair. Don't run in any conscientious guff on a
prisoner. You see, I have known you these many years."
"Yes, and little have you profited by a noble example. It is your
knowledge of me that makes me wonder at your expecting me to let you
out of your hole without due consideration."
"Are you willing to make a bargain?
"Always--when the balance of trade is on my side."
"Well, if you give me a fair start, I'll give you some exclusive
information that you can't get otherwise."
"What is it?"
"Oh, I wasn't born yesterday, Dick."
"That is interesting information, Jimmy, but I knew it before. Haven't
you something more attractive to offer?"
"Yes, I have. I have the whole account of the expedition and the fight
written out, all ready to send, if I could get my clutches on a
telegraph wire. I'll hand it over to you, and allow you to read it, if
you will get me out of this hole, as you call it. I'll give you
permission to use the information in any way you choose, if you will
extricate me, and all I ask is a fair start in the race for a telegraph
Yates pondered over the proposition for some moments.
"I'll tell you what I'll do, Jimmy," he finally said. "I'll buy that
account from you, and give you more money than the _Blade_ will.
And when I get back to New York I'll place you on the staff of the
_Argus_ at a higher salary than the _Blade_ gives you--taking
your own word for the amount."
"What! And leave my paper in the lurch? Not likely."
"Your paper is going to be left in the lurch, anyhow."
"Perhaps. But it won't be sold by me. I'll burn my copy before I will
let you have a glimpse of it. That don't need to interfere with your
making me an offer of a better position when we get back to New York;
but while my paper depends on me, I won't go back on it."
"Just as you please, Jimmy. Perhaps I would do the same myself. I
always was weak where the interests of the _Argus_ were concerned.
You haven't any blank paper you could lend me, Jimmy?"
"I have, but I won't lend it."
Yates took out his pencil, and pulled down his cuff.
"Now, Mac," he said, "tell me all you saw of this fight."
The blacksmith talked, and Yates listened, putting now and then a mark
on his cuff. Sandy spoke occasionally, but it was mostly to tell of
sledge-hammer feats or to corroborate something the boss said. One
after another Yates interviewed the prisoners, and gathered together
all the materials for that excellent full-page account "by an
eyewitness" that afterward appeared in the columns of the _Argus_.
He had a wonderful memory, and simply jotted down figures with which he
did not care to burden his mind. Hawkins laughed derisively now and
then at the facts they were giving Yates, but the _Argus_ man
said nothing, merely setting down in shorthand some notes of the
information Hawkins sneered at, which Yates considered was more than
likely accurate and important. When he had got all he wanted, he rose.
"Shall I send you help, Mac?" he asked.
"No," said the smith; "I think I'll take these fellows to the shop, and
hold them there till called for. You can't vouch for Hawkins, then, Mr.
"Good Heavens, no! I look on him as the most dangerous of the lot.
These half-educated criminals, who have no conscientious scruples,
always seem to me a greater menace to society than their more ignorant
co-conspirators. Well, good-by, Jimmy. I think you'll enjoy life down
at Mac's shop. It's the best place I've struck since I've been in the
district. Give my love to all the boys, when they come to gaze at you.
I'll make careful inquiries into your opinions, and as soon as I am
convinced that you can be set free with safety to the community I'll
drop in on you and do all I can. Meanwhile, so long."
Yates' one desire now was to reach a telegraph office, and write his
article as it was being clicked off on the machine. He had his fears
about the speed of a country operator, but he dared not risk trying to
get through to Buffalo in the then excited state of the country. He
quickly made up his mind to go to the Bartlett place, borrow a horse,
if the Fenians had not permanently made off with them all, and ride as
rapidly as he could for the nearest telegraph office. He soon reached
the edge of the woods, and made his way across the fields to the house.
He found young Bartlett at the barn.
"Any news of the horses yet?" was the first question he asked.
"No," said young Bartlett gloomily; "guess they've rode away with
"Well, I must get a horse from somewhere to ride to the telegraph
office. Where is the likeliest place to find one?"
"I don't know where you can get one, unless you steal the telegraph
boy's nag; it's in the stable now, having a feed."
"What telegraph boy?"
"Oh, didn't you see him? He went out to the tent to look for you, and I
thought he had found you."
"No, I haven't been at the tent for ever so long. Perhaps he has some
news for me. I'm going to the house to write, so send him in as soon as
he gets back. Be sure you don't let him get away before I see him."
"I'll lock the stable," said young Bartlett, "and then he won't get the
horse, at any rate."
Yates found Kitty in the kitchen, and he looked so flurried that the
girl cried anxiously:
"Are they after you again, Mr. Yates?"
"No, Kitty; I'm after them. Say, I want all the blank paper you have in
the house. Anything will do, so long as it will hold a lead-pencil
"A copy book--such as the children use in school?"
"Just the thing."
In less than a minute the energetic girl had all the materials, he
required ready for him in the front room. Yates threw off his coat, and
went to work as if he were in his own den in the _Argus_ building.
"This is a--of a vacation," he muttered to himself, as he drove his
pencil at lightning speed over the surface of the paper. He took no
note of the time until he had finished; then he roused himself and
sprang to his feet.
"What in thunder has become of that telegraph boy?" he cried. "Well, it
doesn't matter; I'll take the horse without his permission."
He gathered up his sheets, and rushed for the kitchen. He was somewhat
surprised to see the boy sitting there, gorging himself with the good
things which that kitchen always afforded.
"Hello, youngster! how long have you been here?"
"I wouldn't let him go in to disturb you while you were writing," said
Kitty, the boy's mouth being too full to permit of a reply.
"Ah, that was right. Now, sonny, gulp that down and come in here; I
want to talk to you for a minute."
The boy followed him into the front room.
"Well, my son, I want to borrow your horse for the rest of the day."
"You can't have it," said the boy promptly.
"Can't have it? I must have it. Why, I'll take it. You don't imagine
you can stop me, do you?"
The boy drew himself up, and folded his arms across his breast.
"What do you want with the horse, Mr. Yates?" he asked.
"I want to get to the nearest telegraph office. I'll pay you well for
"And what am I here for?"
"Why, to eat, of course. They'll feed you high while you wait."
"Canadian telegraph office?"
"It's no good, Mr. Yates. Them Canadians couldn't telegraph all you've
written in two weeks. I know 'em," said the boy with infinite scorn.
"Besides, the Government has got hold of all the wires, and you can't
get a private message through till it gets over its fright."
"By George!" cried Yates, taken aback, "I hadn't thought of that. Are
you sure, boy?"
"Then what's to be done? I must get through to Buffalo."
"You can't. United States troops won't let you. They're stopping
everybody--except me," he added, drawing himself up, as if he were the
one individual who stood in with the United States Government.
"Can you get this dispatch through?"
"You bet! That's why I came back. I knew, as soon as I looked at you,
that you would write two or three columns of telegraph; and your paper
said 'Spare no expense,' you remember. So says I to myself: 'I'll help
Mr. Yates to spare no expense. I'll get fifty dollars from that young
man, seeing I'm the only person who can get across in time.'"
"You were mighty sure of it, weren't you?"
"You just bet I was. Now, the horse is fed and ready, I'm fed and
ready, and we're losing valuable time waiting for that fifty dollars."
"Suppose you meet another newspaper man who wants to get his dispatch
through to another paper, what will you do?"
"Charge him the same as I do you. If I meet two other newspaper men,
that will be one hundred and fifty dollars; but if you want to make
sure that I won't meet any more newspaper men, let us call it one
hundred dollars, and I'll take the risk of the odd fifty for the ready
cash; then if I meet a dozen newspaper men, I'll tell them I'm a
telegraph boy on a vacation."
"Quite so. I think you will be able to take care of yourself in a cold
and callous world. Now, look here, young man; I'll trust you if you'll
trust me. I'm not a traveling mint, you know. Besides, I pay by
results. If you don't get this dispatch through, you don't get
anything. I'll give you an order for a hundred dollars, and as soon as
I get to Buffalo I'll pay you the cash. I'll have to draw on the
_Argus_ when I get to Buffalo; if my article has appeared, you get
your cash; if it hasn't, you're out. See?"
"Yes, I see. It won't do, Mr. Yates."
"Why won't it do?"
"Because I say it won't. This is a cash transaction. Money down, or you
don't get the goods. I'll get it through all right, but if I just miss,
I'm not going to lose the money."
"Very well, I'll take it to the Canadian telegraph office."
"All right, Mr. Yates. I'm disappointed in you. I thought you were some
good. You aint got no sense, but I wish you luck. When I was at your
tent, there was a man with a hammer taking a lot of men out of the
woods. When one of them sees my uniform, he sings out he'd give me
twenty-five dollars to take his stuff. I said I'd see him later, and I
will. Good-by, Mr. Yates."
"Hold on, there! You're a young villain. You'll end in state's prison
yet, but here's your money. Now, you ride like a house a-fire."
After watching the departing boy until he was out of sight Yates, with
a feeling of relief, started back to the tent. He was worried about the
interview the boy had had with Hawkins, and he wondered, now that it
was too late, whether, after all, he had not Hawkins' manuscript in his
pocket. He wished he had searched him. That trouble, however, did not
prevent him from sleeping like the dead the moment he lay down in the
The result of the struggle was similar in effect to an American railway
accident of the first class. One officer and five privates were killed
on the Canadian side, one man was missing, and many were wounded. The
number of the Fenians killed will probably never be known. Several were
buried on the field of battle, others were taken back by O'Neill's
brigade when they retreated.
Although the engagement ended as Yates had predicted, yet he was wrong
in his estimate of the Canadians. Volunteers are invariably underrated
by men of experience in military matters. The boys fought well, even
when they saw their ensign fall dead before them. If the affair had
been left entirely in their hands, the result might have been
different--as was shown afterward, when the volunteers, unimpeded by
regulars, quickly put down a much more formidable rising in the
Northwest. But in the present case they were hampered by their
dependence on the British troops, whose commander moved them with all
the ponderous slowness of real war, and approached O'Neill as if he had
been approaching Napoleon. He thus managed to get in a day after the
fair on every occasion, being too late for the fight at Ridgeway, and
too late to capture any considerable number of the flying Fenians at
Fort Erie. The campaign, on the Canadian side, was magnificently
planned and wretchedly carried out. The volunteers and regulars were to
meet at a point close to where the fight took place, but the British
commander delayed two hours in starting, which fact the Canadian
colonel did not learn until too late. These blunders culminated in a
ghastly mistake on the field. The Canadian colonel ordered his men to
charge across an open field, and attack the Fenian force in the woods--
a brilliant but foolish move. To the command the volunteers gallantly
responded, but against stupidity the gods are powerless. In the field
they were appalled to hear the order given to form square and receive
cavalry. Even the schoolboys knew the Fenians could have no cavalry.
Having formed their square, the Canadians found themselves the helpless
targets of the Fenians in the woods. If O'Neill's forces had shot with
reasonable precision, they must have cut the volunteers to pieces. The
latter were victorious, if they had only known it; but, in this
hopeless square, panic seized them, and it was every man for himself;
at the same time, the Fenians were also retreating as fast as they
could. This farce is known as the battle of Ridgeway, and would have
been comical had it not been that death hovered over it. The comedy,
without the tragedy, was enacted a day or two before at a bloodless
skirmish which took place near a hamlet called Waterloo, which affray
is dignified in Canadian annals as the second battle of that name.
When the Canadian forces retreated, Renmark, who had watched the
contest with all the helpless anxiety of a noncombatant, sharing the
danger, but having no influence upon the result, followed them, making
a wide detour to avoid the chance shots which were still flying. He
expected to come up with the volunteers on the road, but was not
successful. Through various miscalculations he did not succeed in
finding them until toward evening. At first they told him that young
Howard was with the company, and unhurt, but further inquiry soon
disclosed the fact that he had not been seen since the fight. He was
not among those who were killed or wounded, and it was nightfall before
Renmark realized that opposite his name on the roll would be placed the
ominous word "missing." Renmark remembered that the boy had said he
would visit his home if he got leave; but no leave had been asked for.
At last Renmark was convinced that young Howard was either badly
wounded or dead. The possibility of his desertion the professor did not
consider for a moment, although he admitted to himself that it was hard
to tell what panic of fear might come over a boy who, for the first
time in his life, found bullets flying about his ears.
With a heavy heart Renmark turned back and made his way to the fatal
field. He found nothing on the Canadian side. Going over to the woods,
he came across several bodies lying where they fell; but they were all
those of strangers. Even in the darkness he would have had no
difficulty in recognizing the volunteer uniform which he knew so well.
He walked down to the Howard homestead, hoping, yet fearing, to hear
the boy's voice--the voice of a deserter. Everything was silent about
the house, although a light shone through an upper window, and also
through one below. He paused at the gate, not knowing what to do. It
was evident the boy was not here, yet how to find the father or
brother, without alarming Margaret or her mother, puzzled him. As he
stood there the door opened, and he recognized Mrs. Bartlett and
Margaret standing in the light. He moved away from the gate, and heard
the older woman say: "Oh, she will be all right in the morning, now
that she has fallen into a nice sleep. I wouldn't disturb her to-night,
if I were you. It is nothing but nervousness and fright at that
horrible firing. It's all over now, thank God. Good-night, Margaret."
The good woman came through the gate, and then ran, with all the speed
of sixteen, toward her own home. Margaret stood in the doorway,
listening to the retreating footsteps. She was pale and anxious, but
Renmark thought he had never seen anyone so lovely; and he was startled
to find that he had a most un-professor-like longing to take her in his
arms and comfort her. Instead of bringing her consolation, he feared it
would be his fate to add to her anxiety; and it was not until he saw
she was about to close the door that he found courage to speak.
"Margaret," he said.
The girl had never heard her name pronounced in that tone before, and
the cadence of it went direct to her heart, frightening her with an
unknown joy. She seemed unable to move or respond, and stood there,
with wide eyes and suspended breath, gazing into the darkness. Renmark
stepped into the light, and she saw his face was haggard with fatigue
"Margaret," he said again, "I want to speak with you a moment. Where is
"He has gone with Mr. Bartlett to see if he can find the horses. There
is something wrong," she continued, stepping down beside him. "I can
see it in your face. What is it?"
"Is your father in the house?"
"Yes, but he is worried about mother. Tell me what it is. It is better
to tell me."
"Don't keep me in suspense like this," cried the girl in a low but
intense voice. "You have said too much or too little. Has anything
happened to Henry?"
"No. It is about Arthur I wanted to speak. You will not be alarmed?"
"I _am_ alarmed. Tell, me quickly." And the girl in her excitement
laid her hands imploringly on his.
"Arthur joined the volunteers in Toronto some time ago. Did you know
"He never told me. I understand--I think so, but I hope not. He was in
the battle today. Is he--has he been--hurt?"
"I don't know. I'm afraid so," said Renmark hurriedly, now that the
truth had to come out; he realized, by the nervous tightening of the
girl's unconscious grasp, how clumsily he was telling it. "He was with
the volunteers this morning. He is not with them now. They don't know
where he is. No one saw him hurt, but it is feared he was, and that he
has been left behind. I have been all over the ground."
"But I could not find him. I came here hoping to find him."
"Take me to where the volunteers were," she sobbed. "I know what has
happened. Come quickly."
"Will you not put something on your head?"
"No, no. Come at once." Then, pausing, she said: "Shall we need a
"No; it is light enough when we get out from the shadow of the house."
Margaret ran along the road so swiftly that Renmark had some trouble in
keeping pace with her. She turned at the side road, and sped up the
gentle ascent to the spot where the volunteers had crossed it.
"Here is the place," said Renmark.
"He could not have been hit in the field," she cried breathlessly, "for
then he might have reached the house at the corner without climbing a
fence. If he was badly hurt, he would have been here. Did you search
"Every bit of it. He is not here."
"Then it must have happened after he crossed the road and the second
fence. Did you see the battle?"
"Did the Fenians cross the field after the volunteers?"
"No; they did not leave the woods."
"Then, if he was struck, it could not have been far from the other side
of the second fence. He would be the last to retreat; and that is why
the others did not see him," said the girl, with confident pride in her
They crossed the first fence; the road, and the second fence, the girl
walking ahead for a few paces. She stopped, and leaned for a moment
against a tree. "It must have been about here," she said in a voice
hardly audible. "Have you searched on this side?"
"Yes, for half a mile farther into the fields and woods."
"No, no, not there; but down along the fence. He knew every inch of
this ground. If he were wounded here, he would at once try to reach our
house. Search down along the fence. I--I cannot go."
Renmark walked along the fence, peering into the dark corners made by
the zigzag of the rails; and he knew, without looking back, that
Margaret, with feminine inconsistency, was following him. Suddenly she
darted past him, and flung herself down in the long grass, wailing out
a cry that cut Renmark like a knife.
The boy lay with his face in the grass, and his outstretched hand
grasping the lower rail of the fence. He had dragged himself this far,
and reached, an insurmountable obstacle.
Renmark drew the weeping girl gently away, and rapidly ran his hand
over the prostrate lad. He quickly opened his tunic, and a thrill of
joy passed over him as he felt the faint beating of the heart.
"He is alive!" he cried. "He will get well, Margaret." A statement
somewhat premature to make on so hasty an examination.
He rose, expecting a look of gratitude from the girl he loved. He was
amazed to see her eyes almost luminous in the darkness, blazing with
"When did you know he was with the volunteers?"
"This morning--early," said the professor, taken aback.
"Why didn't you tell me ?"
"He asked me not to do so."
"He is a mere boy. You are a man, and ought to have a man's sense. You
had no right to mind what a boy said. It was my right to know, and your
duty to tell me. Through your negligence and stupidity my brother has
lain here all day--perhaps dying," she added with a break in her angry
"If you had known--I didn't know anything was wrong until I saw the
volunteers. I have not lost a moment since."
"I should have known he was missing, without going to the volunteers."
Renmark was so amazed at the unjust accusation, from a girl whom he had
made the mistake of believing to be without a temper of her own, that
he knew not what to say. He was, however, to have one more example of
"Why do you stand there doing nothing, now that I have found him?" she
It was on his tongue to say: "I stand here because you stand there
unjustly quarreling with me," but he did not say it. Renmark was not a
ready man, yet he did, for once, the right thing.
"Margaret," he said sternly, "throw down that fence."
This curt command, delivered in his most schoolmastery manner, was
instantly obeyed. Such a task may seem a formidable one to set to a
young woman, but it is a feat easily accomplished in some parts of
America. A rail fence lends itself readily to demolition. Margaret
tossed a rail to the right, one to the left, and to the right again,
until an open gap took the place of that part of the fence. The
professor examined the young soldier in the meantime, and found his leg
had been broken by a musket ball. He raised him up tenderly in his
arms, and was pleased to hear a groan escape his lips. He walked
through the open gap and along the road toward the house, bearing the
unconscious form of his pupil. Margaret silently kept close to his
side, her fingers every now and then unconsciously caressing the damp,
curly locks of her brother.
"We shall have to get a doctor?" Her assertion was half an inquiry.
"We must not disturb anyone in the house. It is better that I should
tell you what to do now, so that we need not talk when we reach there."
"We cannot help disturbing someone."
"I do not think it will be necessary. If you will stay with Arthur, I
will go for the doctor, and no one need know."
"I will go for the doctor."
"You do not know the way. It is five or six miles. I will ride Gypsy,
and will soon be back."
"But there are prowlers and stragglers all along the roads. It is not
safe for you to go alone."
"It is perfectly safe. No horse that the stragglers have stolen can
overtake Gypsy. Now, don't say anything more. It is best that I should
go. I will run on ahead, and enter the house quietly. I will take the
lamp to the room at the side, where the window opens to the floor.
Carry him around there. I will be waiting for you at the gate, and will
show you the way."
With that the girl was off, and Renmark carried his burden alone. She
was waiting for him at the gate, and silently led the way round the
house, to where the door-window opened upon the bit of lawn under an
apple tree. The light streamed out upon the grass. He placed the boy
gently upon the dainty bed. It needed no second glance to tell Renmark
whose room he was in. It was decorated with those pretty little
knickknacks so dear to the heart of a girl in a snuggery she can call
"It is not likely you will be disturbed here," she whispered, "until I
come back. I will tap at the window when I come with the doctor."
"Don't you think it would be better and safer for me to go? I don't
like the thought of your going alone."
"No, no. Please do just what I tell you. You do not know the way. I
shall be very much quicker. If Arthur should--should--wake, he will
know you, and will not be alarmed, as he might be if you were a
Margaret was gone before he could say anything more, and Renmark sat
down, devoutly hoping no one would rap at the door of the room while he
Margaret spoke caressingly to her horse, when she opened the stable
door, and Gypsy replied with that affectionate, low guttural whinny
which the Scotch graphically term "nickering." She patted the little
animal; and if Gypsy was surprised at being saddled and bridled at that
hour of the night, no protest was made, the horse merely rubbing its
nose lovingly up and down Margaret's sleeve as she buckled the
different straps. There was evidently a good understanding between the
"No, Gyp," she whispered, "I have nothing for you to-night--nothing but
hard work and quick work. Now, you mustn't make a noise till we get
past the house."
On her wrist she slipped the loop of a riding whip, which she always
carried, but never used. Gyp had never felt the indignity of the lash,
and was always willing to do what was required merely for a word.
Margaret opened the big gate before she saddled her horse, and there
was therefore no delay in getting out upon the main road, although the
passing of the house was an anxious moment. She feared that if her
father heard the steps or the neighing of the horse he might come out
to investigate. Halfway between her own home and Bartlett's house she
sprang lightly into the saddle.
"Now, then, Gyp!"
No second word was required. Away they sped down the road toward the
east, the mild June air coming sweet and cool and fresh from the
distant lake, laden with the odors of the woods and the fields. The
stillness was intense, broken only by the plaintive cry of the
whippoorwill, America's one-phrased nightingale, or the still more
weird and eerie note of a distant loon.
The houses along the road seemed deserted; no lights were shown
anywhere. The wildest rumors were abroad concerning the slaughter of
the day; and the population, scattered as it was, appeared to have
retired into its shell. A spell of silence and darkness was over the
land, and the rapid hoof beats of the horse sounded with startling
distinctness on the harder portions of the road, emphasized by
intervals of complete stillness, when the fetlocks sank in the sand and
progress was more difficult for the plucky little animal. The only
thrill of fear that Margaret felt on her night journey was when she
entered the dark arch of an avenue of old forest trees that bordered
the road, like a great, gloomy cathedral aisle, in the shadow of which
anything might be hidden. Once the horse, with a jump of fear, started
sideways and plunged ahead: Margaret caught her breath as she saw, or
fancied she saw, several men stretched on the roadside, asleep or dead.
Once in the open again she breathed more freely, and if it had not been
for the jump of the horse, she would have accused her imagination of
playing her a trick. Just as she had completely reassured herself a
shadow moved from the fence to the middle of the road, and a sharp
The little horse, as if it knew the meaning of the word, planted its
two front hoofs together, and slid along the ground for a moment,
coming so quickly to a standstill that it was with some difficulty
Margaret kept her seat. She saw in front of her a man holding a gun,
evidently ready to fire if she attempted to disobey his command.
"Who are you, and where are you going?" he demanded.
"Oh, please let me pass!" pleaded Margaret with a tremor of fear in her
voice. "I am going for a doctor--for my brother; he is badly wounded,
and will perhaps die if I am delayed."
The man laughed.
"Oho!" he cried, coming closer; "a woman, is it? and a young one, too,
or I'm a heathen. Now, miss or missus, you get down. I'll have to
investigate this. The brother business won't work with an old soldier.
It's your lover you're riding for at this time of the night, or I'm no
judge of the sex. Just slip down, my lady, and see if you don't like me
better than him; remember that all cats are black in the dark. Get
down, I tell you."
"If you are a soldier, you will let me go. My brother is badly wounded.
I must get to the doctor."
"There's no 'must' with a bayonet in front of you. If he has been
wounded, there's plenty of better men killed to-day. Come down, my
Margaret gathered up the bridle rein, but, even in the darkness, the
man saw her intention.
"You can't escape, my pretty. If you try it, you'll not be hurt, but
I'll kill your horse. If you move, I'll put a bullet through him."
"Kill my horse?" breathed Margaret in horror, a fear coming over her
that she had not felt at the thought of danger to herself.
"Yes, missy," said the man, approaching nearer, and laying his hand on
Gypsy's bridle. "But there will be no need of that. Besides, it would
make too much noise, and might bring us company, which would be
inconvenient. So come down quietly, like the nice little girl you are."
"If you will let me go and tell the doctor, I will come back here and
be your prisoner."
The man laughed again in low, tantalizing tones. This was a good joke.
"Oh, no, sweetheart. I wasn't born so recently as all that. A girl in
the hand is worth a dozen a mile up the road. Now, come off that horse,
or I'll take you off. This is war time, and I'm not going to waste any
more pretty talk on you."
The man, who, she now saw, was hatless, leered up at her, and something
in his sinister eyes made the girl quail. She had been so quiet that he
apparently was not prepared for any sudden movement. Her right hand,
hanging down at her side, had grasped the short riding whip, and, with
a swiftness that gave him no chance to ward off the blow, she struck
him one stinging, blinding cut across the eyes, and then brought down
the lash on the flank of her horse, drawing the animal round with her
left over her enemy. With a wild snort of astonishment, the horse
sprang forward, bringing man and gun down to the ground with a clatter
that woke the echoes; then, with an indignant toss of the head, Gyp
sped along the road like the wind. It was the first time he had ever
felt the cut of a whip, and the blow was not forgiven. Margaret,
fearing further obstruction on the road, turned her horse's head toward
the rail fence, and went over it like a bird. In the field, where fast
going in the dark had dangers, Margaret tried to slacken the pace, but
the little horse would not have it so. He shook his head angrily
whenever he thought of the indignity of that blow, while Margaret
leaned over and tried to explain and beg pardon for her offense. The
second fence was crossed with a clean-cut leap, and only once in the
next field did the horse stumble, but quickly recovered and went on at
the same breakneck gait. The next fence, gallantly vaulted over,
brought them to the side road, half a mile up which stood the doctor's
house. Margaret saw the futility of attempting a reconciliation until
the goal was won. There, with difficulty, the horse was stopped, and
the girl struck the panes of the upper window, through which a light
shone, with her riding whip. The window was raised, and the situation
speedily explained to the physician.
"I will be with you in a moment," he said.
Then Margaret slid from the saddle, and put her arms around the neck of
the trembling horse. Gypsy would have nothing to do with her, and
sniffed the air with offended dignity.
"It _was_ a shame, Gyp," she cried, almost tearfully, stroking the
glossy neck of her resentful friend; "it was, it was, and I know it;
but what was I to do, Gyp? You were the only protector I had, and you
_did_ bowl him over beautifully; no other horse could have done it
so well. It's wicked, but I do hope you hurt him, just because I had to
Gypsy was still wrathful, and indicated by a toss of the head that the
wheedling of a woman did not make up for a blow. It was the insult more
than the pain; and from her--there was the sting of it.
"I know--I know just how you feel, Gypsy dear; and I don't blame you
for being angry. I might have spoken to you, of course, but there was
no time to think, and it was really him I was striking. That's why it
came down so hard. If I had said a word, he would have got out of the
way, coward that he was, and then would have shot you--_you_,
Gypsy! Think of it!"
If a man can be molded in any shape that pleases a clever woman, how
can a horse expect to be exempt from her influence. Gypsy showed signs
of melting, whinnying softly and forgivingly.
"And it will never happen again, Gypsy--never, never. As soon as we are
safe home again I will burn that whip. You little pet, I knew you
Gypsy's head rested on Margaret's shoulder, and we must draw a veil
over the reconciliation. Some things are too sacred for a mere man to
meddle with. The friends were friends once more, and on the altar of
friendship the unoffending whip was doubtless offered as a burning
When the doctor came out, Margaret explained the danger of the road,
and proposed that they should return by the longer and northern way--
the Concession, as it was called.
They met no one on the silent road, and soon they saw the light in the
The doctor and the girl left their horses tied some distance from the
house, and walked together to the window with the stealthy steps of a
pair of housebreakers. Margaret listened breathlessly at the closed
window, and thought she heard the low murmur of conversation. She
tapped lightly on the pane, and the professor threw back the door-
"We were getting very anxious about you," he whispered.
"Hello, Peggy!" said the boy, with a wan smile, raising his head
slightly from the pillow and dropping it back again.
Margaret stooped over and kissed him.
My poor boy! what a fright you have given me!"
"Ah, Margery, think what a fright I got myself. I thought I was going
to die within sight of the house."
The doctor gently pushed Margaret from the room. Renmark waited until
the examination was over, and then went out to find her.
She sprang forward to meet him.
"It is all right," he said. "There is nothing to fear. He has been
exhausted by loss of blood, but a few days' quiet will set that right.
Then all you will have to contend against will be his impatience at
being kept to his room, which may be necessary for some weeks."
"Oh, I am so glad! and--and I am so much obliged to you, Mr. Renmark!"
"I have done nothing--except make blunders," replied the professor with
a bitterness that surprised and hurt her.
"How can you say that? You have done everything. We owe his life to
Renmark said nothing for a moment. Her unjust accusation in the earlier
part of the night had deeply pained him, and he hoped for some hint of
disclaimer from her. Belonging to the stupider sex, he did not realize
that the words were spoken in a state of intense excitement and fear,
that another woman would probably have expressed her condition of mind
by fainting instead of talking, and that the whole episode had left
absolutely no trace on the recollection of Margaret. At last Renmark
"I must be getting back to the tent, if it still exists. I think I had
an appointment there with Yates some twelve hours ago, but up to this
moment I had forgotten it. Good-night."
Margaret stood for a few moments alone, and wondered what she had done
to offend him. He stumbled along the dark road, not heeding much the
direction he took, but automatically going the nearest way to the tent.
Fatigue and the want of sleep were heavy upon him, and his feet were as
lead. Although dazed, he was conscious of a dull ache where his heart
was supposed to be, and he vaguely hoped he had not made a fool of
himself. He entered the tent, and was startled by the voice of Yates:
"Hello! hello! Is that you, Stoliker?"
"No; it is Renmark. Are you asleep?"
"I guess I have been. Hunger is the one sensation of the moment. Have
you provided anything to eat within the last twenty-four hours?"
"There's a bag full of potatoes here, I believe. I haven't been near
the tent since early morning."
"All right; only don't expect a recommendation from me as cook. I'm not
yet hungry enough for raw potatoes. What time has it got to be?"
"I'm sure I don't know."
"Seems as if I had been asleep for weeks. I'm the latest edition of Rip
Van Winkle, and expect to find my mustache gray in the morning. I was
dreaming sweetly of Stoliker when you fell over the bunk."
"What have you done with him?"
"I'm not wide enough awake to remember. I _think_ I killed him,
but wouldn't be sure. So many of my good resolutions go wrong that very
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