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      "I give you my word I don't know!" called I as the distance grew between us. "And I give you my word I don't care!" he crowed back as we galloped apart. His speech was two or three words longer, but they are inappropriate at the end of a chapter, and I expurgate.

      It was a mistaken kindness, from our point of view, but it had the merit that it kept us busy. In two days the post-quartermaster's affairs and supplies were reduced to perfect order for the first time in their history. For two days more we ran a construction train and with a swarm of conscripts repaired two or three miles of road-bed and some trestle-work in a swamp; and at every respite in our strenuous activities we discoursed of the girls we'd left behind us; their minds, their manners, their features, figures, tastes and talents, and their walk and talk. So came the end of the week, and while the sun was still above the trees we went on down, inspecting the road beyond our repairs, on our own hand-car to Brookhaven. With heads bare, jackets in our laps, and muddy boots dangling over the car's front edge, and with six big negroes at the levers behind us, we watched the miles glide under our wheels and grow fewer and fewer between us and the shrine of our hearts. "Sing, Dick," said Ferry, and we chanted together, as we had done at every sunset these three days, "O my love is like a red, red rose." We could not have done it had we known that yonder glorious sun was setting forever upon the fortunes of our Southern Confederacy. It was the fourth of July; Lee was in full retreat from Gettysburg, Vicksburg was gone, Port Hudson was doomed, and all that was left for us now was to die hard. "We're going to get married, mamma, mamma;

      "You have found me out and I must pay you. It is no question of honour, I am bound to do so to save my face. But meanwhile I must find another victim."

      "How was that?" Frank asked.

      "Superstitious nonsense," snorted Allingham. And he continued to snort at intervals while Mrs. Masters hastily collected cups and plates, and retreated with dignity to the kitchen.

      "What do you think of the letter, sir?" Prout asked.


      "Begone!" she cried. "Go, before I do you mischief. See, I help you on with your coat. Now go, and don't let me see that ugly yellow face of yours for a fortnight."


      Now we marched, and when we had gone a mile or so Ned Ferry turned aside, taking with him only Sergeant Jim, Kendall, another private, and me. We went at an alert walk single-file for the better part of an hour and stopped at length in a narrow untilled "deadening." Beyond it at our left a faint redness shone just above the tree-tops. At our right, in the northwest, a similar glow was ruddier, the heavens being darker there except when once or twice they paled with silent lightnings. Sergeant Jim went forward alone and on foot, and presently was back again, whispering to Ferry and remounting.


      "I am a doctor," said Allingham, rather taken back, "a medical man. If you are hurt at all"