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      For some hour and a half this dictation went on, with interruption when heads of departments brought in reports, or when Keeling had to send for information as to some point in his correspondence. He noticed that on these occasions she sat with her pencil in her hand, so as to be ready to proceed as soon as he began again. Once she{78} corrected him about a date that had occurred previously in a letter, and was right.A GENTLEMAN OF CHIN-KIANG. A GENTLEMAN OF CHIN-KIANG.

      Charlotte resumed. "I have come to you in the common interest, to warn you against that man. I believe he is on his way here to offer his services as a guide. He is fearless, untiring, and knows all this region by heart."Ah, that would not be quite right, would it?{279} said Lord Inverbroom, still unperturbed, if Miss Propert has not cared to speak to you of him.

      "Oh, I never thought of that. How stupid we clever people are! I never thought that being a lover would make you young."

      "Why, everything," Frank answered; "the crow makes ye-caw-go, doesn't it?"

      I wont keep you any longer, Mr Keeling, he{76} said. And any words of thanks on my part are superfluous. May I just tell my committee that an anonymous donor has come forward, and that we can proceed with the work?

      He showed her the way to the drawing-room, where his wife and Alice were standing by the fire.


      Late in the night Gholson came to the union captain's bedside for Miss Harper. Charlotte had sent him; the doctor had left word what to do if a certain patient's wound should re-open, and this had happened. The three had succeeded in stanching it, but Charlotte had prevailed upon Miss Harper to lie down, and the weary lady had, against all her intentions, fallen asleep. I was alone with the wounded captain. He did not really sleep, but under the weight of his narcotics drowsed, muttered, stirred, moaned, and now and then spoke out."Oh, God, it's the end of all things, Gregg.[Pg 171] It's the end of all sane hopes for the human race. If it is true that in the future man has come to this, then the whole of history is a farce and mockery. The universe is no more than a box of conjuring tricks, and man is simply a performing monkey. I tell you, Gregg, this discovery, if it is made known, will blast everything good in existence."


      "Not at all, sir. I'm sorry to seem so; it's not the tip-top of courtesy,--"Another day arose. A courier brought passes for our three or four other wounded to go home as soon as they were fit to travel, and by night they were all gone. At early bedtime came two surgeons of high rank all the way from Johnston's army up in Mississippi. General Austin had asked this favor by telegraph. Harry had been gone thirty-six hours, and Ferry was just asking if he had not yet got back, when the surgeons came in to the room. A pleasantry or two consumed a few moments. Then the surgeon in charge of us told of a symptom or two, to which they responded only "hmm," and began the examination. Miss Harper sent her three nieces away. I lay and listened in the busy stillness. Presently one of the examiners murmured with a certain positiveness to the other, who after a moment's silence replied with conviction; Miss Harper touched our surgeon's arm inquiringly and he looked back in a glad way and nodded. Miss Harper nodded to me; they had located the ball! Now the conversation turned upon men and events of the day, while one of the visitors, with his back to the patient, opened a case of glittering knives. Presently the professional heads came so close together as quite to hide the patient; they spoke once or twice in a manly soothing tone. Miss Harper stroked my temples to keep me down, one of the busy ones spoke again, and lo! the thing was done, there was the ball in the basin. As the men of blood sped through their kind after-work the news flew to and fro; Camille wept,--since she could not hurrah,--Ccile told Charlotte, the heavenly-minded Estelle was confirmed in her faith, Miss Harper's black eyes, after a brief overflow, were keener and kindlier than ever, and as the surgeons spoke the word "done," Ferry asked again if Harry had not got back yet. Pretty soon Harry did arrive, with news of great feats by our cavalry against our old enemy Grierson, in which Austin's brigade had covered themselves with glory, and in which he had had his own share; his hand was swelled as big as his heart. In all the Confederacy no houseful went to sleep that night in sweeter content. I sank into perfect bliss planning a double wedding.


      "I am to know Miss Rothvelt by finding her in a certain place." My honeyed bow implied that her being just now very much out of place was no fault of mine.