时间：<2020-07-11 15:57:16 作者：L7鬼姐姐鬼故事j9X 浏览量：9777
As we noiselessly fell into line, counting off in a whisper and rubbing from ourselves and our tortured horses the flies we were forbidden to slap, I noticed rising from close under that farther levee and some two miles upstream, a small cloud of dust coming rapidly down the hidden levee road. It seemed to be raised entirely by one or two vehicles. Behind us our own main shore was wholly concealed by this mass of cottonwoods on the sands between it and the stream, on a spit of which we stood ambushed. On the water, a hundred and fifty yards or so from the jungle, pointed obliquely across the vast current, was a large skiff with six men in it. Four were rowing with all their power, a fifth sat in the bow and the other in the stern. Quinn, in the saddle, watched through his glass the cottonwoods from which the skiff had emerged at the bottom of a sheltered bay. Now he shifted his gaze to the little whirl of dust across the river, and now he turned to smile at Jim, but his eye lighted on me instead. I risked a knowing look and motioned with my lips, "Just in time!""Tell her I tried to keep my promise to her."
NED FERRY's a-comin' down de la--ane!""What do you think,--Camille?""Has he a taste for fiction?" I asked, with a depreciative smirk.
"Stand aside, madam.""They say," responded the captain, "that in this handy little world there are always a few to whom policy is the best honesty; is that the few who will come?""Yes, they're fighting, now, on the edge of town," we said, "but our boys will keep them there." Our host and hostess moaned their unbelief. "However," added Harry, "I'll go tell the old man to hitch up the little mules and--"
It was only then that I observed that Charlotte was armed. But the fact made her seem only the more a true woman, since I knew that only for her honor or his life would she ever take deadly aim. Her weapon was the slender revolver she had carried ever since the day which had made her Charlotte Oliver, the thing without which she never could have reached this hour of blissful extremity.
"We've got a letter for you from her!" exclaimed Camille.
"I have sent some picked men to catch him if they can," said Ferry, and the racked sufferer lifted a hand in approval. Camille came to her aunt and whispered "Mr. Gholson with two doctors." The wounded captive heard her."Don't you know? Oh, I remember, you were asleep when Quinn told us. Well, sir,"--he tried to speak calmly but he had to speak somehow or explode--"it was soldiers' pay--for Dick Taylor's army, over in the Trans-Mississippi; a million and a half dollars!" He was as proud to tell the news as he would have been to own the money.
A familiar friendship lighted every countenance but mine as this second pair turned and rode with us, the lieutenant in front on Sergeant Jim Longley's right, and the two privates with me between them behind. For some minutes the sergeant, in under-tone, made report to his young superior. Then in a small clearing he turned abruptly into a neighborhood road, and at his word my two companions pricked after him westward. I closed up beside the lieutenant; he praised the weather, and soon our talk was fluent though broken, as we moved sometimes at a trot and often faster. In stolen moments I scanned him with the jealousy of my youth. Five feet, ten; humph! I was five, nine and a thirty-second. In weight he looked to be just what I always had in mind in those prayers without words with which I mounted every pair of commissary scales I came to. The play of his form as our smooth-gaited horses sped through the flecking shades was worth watching for its stanch and supple grace. Alike below the saddle and above it he was as light as a leaf and as firm as a lance. I had long yearned to own a pair of shoulders not too square for beauty nor too sloping for strength, and lo, here they were, not mine, but his. No matter; the slender mustache he sported he was welcome to, I had shaved off nearly as good a one; wished now I hadn't. As once or twice he lifted his képi to the warm breeze I took new despair from the soft locks of darkest chestnut that lay on his head in manly order, ready enough to curl but waiving the privilege.I hesitated, but a single flash of authority from his eye was enough and I had passed half-way to the door, when, through the window over the front veranda, I saw a small body of horsemen trotting up through the grove. The dusk of the room hid me, but there was no mistaking them. "Too late, Captain," I said, "they've got us."
I had expected to see again, and to feel, as well, the starry charms of Coralie Rothvelt; but what I confronted was far different. The charms were here, unquenched by this stare of daylight, but from them shone a lustre of womanliness wholly new. It seemed to grow on even when a tricksy gleam shot through it as she replied, "Yes, our acquaintance dates from Gallatin.""Good-morning, Smith, who is your prisoner?""No, I do not like him. Do you?"
"Oh, Quinn's turn will come.""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.
The flap fell again and my panic was turned into a joy qualified only by a reduced esteem for my general as a judge of character.LXI WHILE DESTINY MOVED ON