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fore, suspect he does not come from Laclede county, but from General Lyons, confound his soul."
A quick, dark glance was darted at me by the officer. “ You have heard, sir ?”
Though I felt most uncomfortable in my mind, I mustered up enough courage to shrug my shoulders contemptuously.
“I think, sir, I know this man's face, or, at least, some very like it, belonging to the fellows called Levée Rats at St. Louis-I was at college there-and that I am not mistaken is proved by the fact that this man proposed to his patrol to plunder me of all I had before entering the camp, and get rid of me in some way or other."
“I can confirm the last statement, colonel, although I am not disposed to be answerable for this person in any way,” my first companion now said, who had been standing in the shade aside from the fire; and, after a quick glance at the speaker, the officer looked at my accuser with a peculiar expression of disgust. I saw how he despised the wretched fellows employed to regain the so-called Southern rights, and, at the same time, saw that my cause was gained for the moment.
“Have you any answer to make to this charge ?” he asked shortly, as if he repelled every superfluous word; and when Stevens only replied with a furious glance at me, he turned to the nearest officer:
“I see no reason for undue suspicion. Let the man deliver what he has for the general, and then place him in the reserve with the new recruits.” Then he gave me a hasty nod. “If your sentiments are really what you describe them, I thank you for your patriotism; if not, you may be assured that you will have a bullet in your back at the first wrong
He walked to the other side of the fire: I gave my fowls and eggs up, and then, to my great relief, was led to the extreme end of the camp, where, it is true, the fires burned as brightly as elsewhere, but the idle way in which the soldiers lay about revealed novices in the art of war. I fancied I had quite escaped any danger, when suddenly a voice shouted my name, and a young man leaped up from the nearest fire:
" Reuter, old fellow, what has brought the sheep among the goatsand what, by Jingo, is the meaning of the masquerade ? Has the lieutenant secretly bolted from his countrymen to enlist under the right flag ?”
At the first words my heart felt as if it were standing still, but when I heard Stevens's voice a short distance behind me, a perfect horror seized upon me. In the last year I had been engaged in one of the large mercantile firms of St. Louis, where Stevens, who, like most of his sort, probably gained a livelihood as porter on the quay, had often seen me. The young man, though, who had addressed me, had been clerk to a neighbouring firm, knew me well, and had, like myself, on the cessation of all trade, taken up a musket, though I was on the side of the Germans, and he, as an American, on that of his countrymen. My deception must now be revealed, and the former friend had, although involuntarily, handed me over to the rope. I saw his features assume an expression of surprise on noticing my face, which must have turned ashen white, and also heard the officer accompanying me say, in so peculiar a tone that it pierced my heart, " Oh, Jim, so you know the gentleman." But I had only one thought, that behind the nearest fires was freedom, and that scarce two hundred paces from us a sharp forest spur jutted into the plain. At the same time I knew that I must not hesitate a moment in acting, for if I hoped to save myself, it must be effected by surprise, and I should have à run for life. If I were shot down I should still escape the rope. Hence the officer had hardly finished his sentence ere I bounded out of the throng, and ran between the squatting soldiers straight out into the plain.
I flew like a startled deer towards the forest, and for two seconds everything remained quiet behind me. Then, however, they shouted all the more wildly, “A spy! stop the spy!" I distinctly recognised the rough hoarse voice of Stevens. “Stop the spy !" twenty voices repeated after him. At this moment a man suddenly rose before me : it was one of the chain of pickets, but I ran him down ere he could understand the matter: a bullet pinged behind me, a second and a third followed it, but I felt myself unwounded, and fled onward. Had not there been only raw recruits behind me, and mostly unarmed, a worse lot would assuredly have befallen me. Still I felt that the whole camp was alarmed, saw Stevens dogging my heels like a bloodhound, and knew that even the wood would not save me from my pursuers, unless some fortunate accident intervened in my favour. In this way, without daring to take a single back glance, I reached the trees, which at least secured me against further shots, but a sudden disappointment relaxed all my muscles. What I had taken in the moonshine for a wooded spur was only a clump of bushes of small circumference, and I could see the open, bare plateau when I had forced my way through the copse and reached the last trees. A short distance behind me I heard loud yells : every moment's delay must hand me over to my pursuers, but in the midst of all the confusion I thought with marvellous clearness, and I soon made up my mind while continuing my flight at the top of my speed. On the right lay the road along which I had come, and which I must reach again, if I did not wish to get into an utterly unknown country. The bushes must for a while conceal the altered direction of my flight, and even should it be discovered, I had at any rate equally swift feet and just as enduring lungs as any of my enemies. I had not gone a hundred yards, however, when loud shouts behind me announced that I was discovered on the bare, moonlit plain. My road might have been cut off here from the camp, and I took a hurried, timid glance in the direction, but as no trace of new pursuers was visible here, I prepared myself for the long race which must now infallibly ensue, and the possibility which rose before me of being able to escape after all poured perfectly fresh life into my veins.
From this moment I only know that I reached my former road, and followed it as if held by magnetic force, at a pace which soon made me feel as if my chest were bursting; common sense should have urged me to gain the wood lying on the side, but an irresistible impulse drove me onwards towards the camp of my German comrades; at the same time I fancied that I could not be at all far from the point at which the wood rejoined the road, and would offer me a covering without the necessity of a flank movement, but I already began to feel that I must stop to draw fresh breath, and my eyes, over which a thick mist was beginning to
settle, could nowhere discover the bushes. Just as I was thinking of taking a compulsory short rest, the breeze bore a sound down to my ear which aroused a feeling of desperation in me-the sound of galloping horsemen. My pursuers had given up following me on foot, but knew only too well that with horses they must catch me up in the open. Perhaps I should still have been able to reach the wood had my strength been fresh; but I was utterly exhausted, and for a moment asked myself whether it would not be best to let myself be trampled under foot by the approaching horses, and thus escape all the torture which would await me from the moment of capture up to that of hanging.
At this moment something gleamed in the distance ahead of me; my eye turned in the direction mechanically, but soon became fixed on a well-known object--some two hundred yards from me stood the house with its enclosures, which had attracted my attention on my outward journey—the house of my countryman Werner, who was now probably one of my most eager pursuers, but for all that my sole hope, if I would not surrender unresistingly to the foes whose approach became with each minute more audible. The orchard was densely foliaged, but it must be the first place searched, so soon as I disappeared from the sight of my pursuers, hence I rejected the choice of this hiding-place. All at once I noticed the open window, almost concealed by creepers, which seemed to me like a sanctuary. According to appearance, it opened from a passage or some unused room; the piazza, on which it looked out, could be easily scaled, and in the house itself they were least likely to seek me.
So soon as I reached the first fence I clambered over it in order to conceal myself as far as possible. I reached the house, slipped between the fruit-trees, and a glance told me that the window was still open. At the same time, however, the loud shout of one of my pursuers sounded so close to me in the road that I scarce hoped to have time to climb up the piazza, but an answer from a distance showed me that my pursuers were in doubt as to the road they should follow. Once again a little strength returned to my muscles, which enabled me to reach one of the short columns of the piazza, but when I had forced my way through the narrow orifice offered by the window, I felt that my senses were leaving me, and, unable to keep up, I fell on my knees.
But a clear, powerful, girlish voice suddenly aroused me from my semiinsensibility.
“ Who's there?" I heard; "answer quickly, or I fire.”
Now I saw for the first time by the moonbeams that I had entered a room in the background of which a white form was sitting up in bed, and pointing a revolver at me with the utmost determination.
“For Heaven's sake, miss, if you do not wish to let a man be mur. dered in cold blood, silence,” I exclaimed; at this moment only thinking of my own.pressing danger. “I have fallen among the Secessionists; they take me for a spy, and if you give me up I shall be a dead man in half an hour.”
Her weapon sank before my breathless speech and worn appearance, and I saw, though as through a veil, her large eyes sharply fixed on me. “ Who are you? But tell the truth at all hazards," she said, in a suppressed voice, which, however, lost none of its peculiar infection.
June-VOL. CXXVIII. NO. DX.
I had no reason for concealing anything that was already known in the rebel camp; but I revelled in the thought of surrendering unconditionally to this girl, who, under the pressure of circumstances, did not seem to notice her peculiar situation with a young man.
“I am a Federal officer," I replied, without any hesitation. “I know that an inhabitant of this house has joined General Lyons; but if there be human blood in your veins, as I conjecture, I know that you will not surrender a worn-out German fugitive to his foes and a disgraceful
I had uttered the last words hurriedly, for I heard hasty footsteps cracking the dry branches in the orchard I had just left. I had scarce ended, when a man began speaking outside, and I recognised Stevens's peculiar organ.
“ Either the earth has swallowed him up, or he has climbed through that window—there is no hole here to hide him.”
“ We shall soon know how matters are," another voice said; "two men here to watch the window and back part of the house, two to keep the door, and we will fetch the fox out of his earth, if he is in it."
Two minutes later heavy blows were dealt the house door, and the girl raised her arm with a gentle movement. “In there, sir," she cried, pointing to a small side door; “lie down on the ground, cover yourself with anything you may fiud, and do not stir till I myself fetch you out of your hiding-place.”
I did not wait for the order to be repeated ; certain that she had the best wish to save me, I opened the door of the closet, which seemed to be the lady's wardrobe. I stumbled against a large chest, behind which the sloping roof formed a cavity: into this I crept, and might consider myself safe if no search was made in my hiding-place. But I was hardly on the ground, ere I heard my pursuers on the ground floor eagerly talking with a man, who had evidently opened the house door to them, and soon after the heavy footsteps of several persons were audible on the stairs. They stopped before the door of the girl's bedroom, and there was a deep silence. Then came a cautious tapping, and some one said, “ Maggy, Maggy !"
“What is it, father-what means the noise in the house?” the girl asked, in perfect calmness.
“Maggy, you must open the door for a few minutes; a German spy is said to have sought shelter in your room, and the gentlemen, who are following him, insist on searching."
“ Father, I am in bed, but for the last hour awake, and know there is no one in my room except myself. Tell them that, and they will not think of extending their search to a young lady's bedroom."
A loud murmuring reached my ears, and then the father said, more decidedly than before :
“It is of no use, Maggy; we are living in war times; throw some. thing over you quickly, and be assured that all possible gentleness will be shown you."
"A minute's patience, then, if it must be,” cried Maggy; and I heard her foot gently.touch the floor. Soon after, the door-bolt was drawn back, but at the same time she cried, “Two seconds and then you can enter."
She hurried to my hiding-place, leaving the door of it wide open, and a sked, in a whisper, “ Where are you?"
“Here," I replied. And the next instant she was seated on the chest, completely concealing the hole where I lay with her petticoats ; at the same time, however, the room door was burst open, and I could notice a bright jet of light.
"Maggy ?” exclaimed the father, who was probably looking round for her in vain.
“I am here, father, but cannot show myself in this state, and expect he gentle treatment promised me; indeed, this appears to me a mode of behaviour quite unusual with gentlemen." .
There was no reply to this, and I could only conjecture, from the sounds and oaths that reached my ear, that my pursuers were seeking me. My position had now become so fearfully uncomfortable that I often felt a cramp run through all my limbs, and yet the narrow space allowed of no change. While the attention of the searchers was confined to the bedroom, I was just going to attempt a half turn, when the rough voice of Stevens was audible close to the door of the closet, and almost robbed me of breath.
“Here is another room, and the lady must consent to a search. The fellow was good-looking enough to produce all sorts of thoughts.”
“Stop, sir,” Maggy cried, in a peculiarly changed voice, and at the same time I heard the cock of a revolver twang. “I granted, gentlemen, admission to my bedroom, and any one who comes too near me here, where there is scarce room enough for myself, I will shoot down as a ruffian. If my father cannot defend his daughter's honour from insult, I will try to do so myself.”
“Maggy, no one will do you any harm," was the old man's answer; “ but it is war now, and I will not have it said that I offered any obstacle to my house being searched.”
“Very well, father. Now ask yourself whether it is possible for any one to be hidden here. I said that I could not let myself be seen in this state; and Americans who forget the most common respect for their own ladies, deserve no other treatment than loafers.”
“Enough of this. After all, our suspicions are too superficial to torture this brave girl any longer," said the same voice which had before ordered the guard in the house. “You believe, on your honour, sir, that this man's supposition is based on a mistake ?”
“I was convinced of it from the beginning, for I know my daughter," the old man replied; “still, in the present times, I did not like to offer the slightest opposition.”
“And have you no idea of a hiding-place in the vicinity where the fugitive may be?”
"I do not see, sir, why he may not have laid himself in the shadow of a fence, or in the tall grass on the skirt of the forest. If he altered his course here, anything is more likely than that he should have entered a house where he does not know a soul.”
A short pause ensued, in which I heard my own heart beat.
“ It certainly seems that we have delayed here unnecessarily,” the first voice said. “Pardon us, miss, but circumstances compel us to many an unusual step.”