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Title: Lucia Rudini - Somewhere in Italy
Author: Trent, Martha
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lucia Rudini - Somewhere in Italy" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



LUCIA RUDINI

Somewhere in Italy

by

MARTHA TRENT

Illustrated by Chas. L. Wrenn



[Illustration: Cover art--Lucia Rudini.]



[Frontispiece: "My pet, see how you frightened
the brave Austrian soldier"]



New York
Barse & Hopkins
Publishers
Copyright, 1918
by
Barse & Hopkins



DEDICATED TO

R. J. U.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

     I  CELLINO
    II  MARIA
   III  BEFORE DAYBREAK
    IV  LOST
     V  IN THE TOOL SHED
    VI  GARIBALDI PERFORMS
   VII  THE BEGGAR
  VIII  THE SURPRISE ATTACK
    IX  THE BRIDGE
     X  GARIBALDI, STRETCHER-BEARER
    XI  THE AMERICAN
   XII  A REUNION
  XIII  AN INTERRUPTED DREAM
   XIV  THE FAIRY GODFATHER
    XV  EXCITING NEWS
   XVI  THE KING
  XVII  GOOD-BY TO CELLINO
 XVIII  IN THE GARDEN
   XIX  BACK TO FIGHT
    XX  AN INTERRUPTED SAIL
   XXI  THE END OF THE STORY



ILLUSTRATIONS


"'My pet, see how you frightened the brave
  Austrian soldier'" . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

"The Soldiers came and chattered and laughed"

"Together they drove the goats before them"

"Lucia and Garibaldi toiled up the hill, each one
  using every bit of their strength"



LUCIA RUDINI


CHAPTER I

CELLINO

Lucia Rudini folded her arms across her gaily-colored bodice, tilted
her dark head to one side and laughed.

"I see you, little lazy bones," she said.  "Wake up!"

A small body curled into a ball in the grass at her feet moved
slightly, and a sleepy voice whimpered, "Oh, Lucia, go away.  I was
having such a nice dream about our soldiers up there, and I was just
killing a whole regiment of Austrians, and now you come and spoil it."

A curly black head appeared above the tops of the flowers, and two
reproachful brown eyes stared up at her.

Lucia laughed again.  "Poor Beppino, some one is always disturbing your
fine dreams, aren't they?  But come now, I have something far better
than dreams for you," she coaxed.

"What?"  Beppi was on his feet in an instant, and the sleepy look
completely disappeared.

"Ha, ha, now you are curious," Lucia teased, "aren't you?  Well, you
shan't see what I have, until you promise to do what I ask."

Beppi's round eyes narrowed, and a cunning expression appeared in their
velvety depth.

"I suppose I am not to tell Nana that you left the house before sunrise
this morning," he said.

Lucia looked at him for a brief moment in startled surprise, then she
replied quickly, "No, that is not it at all.  What harm would it do if
you told Nana?  I am often up before sunrise."

"Yes, but you don't go to the mountains," Beppi interrupted.  "Oh, I
saw you walking smack into the guns.  What were you doing?"  He dropped
his threatening tone, so incongruous with his tiny body, and coaxed
softly, "please tell me, sister mine."

"Silly head!" Lucia was breathing freely again, "there is nothing to
tell.  I heard the guns all night, and they made me restless, so I went
for a walk.  Go and tell Nana if you like, I don't care."

Beppi's small mind returned to the subject at hand.

"Then if it isn't that, what is it you want me to do?" he inquired, and
continued without giving his sister time to reply.  "It's to take care
of them, I suppose," he grumbled, pointing a browned berry-stained
little finger at a herd of goats that were grazing contentedly a little
farther down the slope.

"Yes, that's it, and good care of them too," Lucia replied.  "You are
not to go to sleep again, remember, and be sure and watch Garibaldi, or
she will stray away and get lost."

"And a good riddance too," Beppi commented under his breath.

He did not share in the general admiration for the "Illustrious and
Gentile Señora Garibaldi," the favorite goat of his sister's herd.
Perhaps the vivid recollection of Garibaldi's hard head may have
accounted for his aversion.  Lucia heard his remark and was quick to
defend her pet.

"Aren't you ashamed to speak so?" she exclaimed, "I've a good mind not
to give you the candy after all."

"Oh, Lucia, please, please!" Beppi begged.  "I will take such good care
of them, I promise, and if you like, I will pick the tenderest grass
for old crosspatch," he added grudgingly.

Lucia smiled in triumph, and from the pocket of her dress she pulled
out a small pink paper bag.

"Here you are then," she said; "and I won't be away very long.  I am
just going to see Maria for a few minutes."

Beppi caught the bag as she tossed it, and lingered over the opening of
it.  He wanted to prolong his pleasure as long as possible.  Candy in
war times was a treat and one that the Rudinis seldom indulged in.

As if to echo his thoughts, Lucia called back over her shoulder as she
walked away, "Don't eat them fast, for they are the last you will get
for a long time."

Beppi did not bother to reply, but he acted on the advice, and selected
a big lemon drop that looked hard and everlasting, and set about
sucking it contentedly.

Lucia walked quickly over the grass to a small white-washed cottage a
little distance away.  She approached it from the side and peeked
through one of the tiny windows.  Old Nana Rudini, her grandmother, was
sitting in a low chair beside the table in the low-ceilinged room.  Her
head nodded drowsily, and the white lace that she was making lay
neglected in her lap.  Lucia smiled to herself in satisfaction and
stole gently away from the window.

The Rudinis lived about a mile beyond the north gate of Cellino, an old
Italian town built on the summit of a hill.  Cellino was not
sufficiently important to appear in the guide books, but it boasted of
two possessions above its neighbors,--a beautiful old church opposite
the market place, and a broad stone wall that dated back to the days of
Roman supremacy.  It was still in perfect preservation, and completely
surrounded the town giving it the appearance of a mediaeval fortress,
rather than a twentieth century village.  Two roads led to it, one from
the south through the Porto Romano, and one from the north, up-hill and
from the valley below.  It was up the latter that Lucia walked.  She
was in a hurry and she swung along with a firm, graceful step, her
head, crowned by its heavy dark hair, held high and her shoulders
straight.

The soldier on guard at the gate watched her as she drew nearer.  She
was a pleasing picture in her bright-colored gown against the glaring
sun on the dusty white road.  Roderigo Vicello had only arrived that
morning in Cellino, and Lucia was not the familiar little figure to him
that she was to the other soldiers.  But she was none the less welcome
for that, after the monotony of the day, and Roderigo as she came
nearer straightened up self-consciously and tilted his black patent
leather hat with its rakish cluster of cock feathers a little more to
one side.

"Good day, Señorina," he said smiling, as Lucia paused in the grateful
shadow of the wall to catch her breath.

"Good day to you," she replied good-naturedly.

"You're new, aren't you?  I never saw you before.  Where is Paolo?"

"Paolo and his regiment go up to the front this afternoon," Roderigo
replied.  "We have just come to relieve them for a short time, then we
too will follow."

Lucia nodded.  "You come from the south, don't you?" she inquired,
looking at him with frank admiration; "from near Napoli I should guess
by your speech."

Roderigo laughed.  "You guess right, I do, and now it is my turn to ask
questions.  Where do you come from?"

"Down there about a mile," Lucia pointed, "in the white cottage by the
road."

Roderigo looked at the dark hair and eyes and the gaudily colored dress
before him, and shook his head.

"Now perhaps," he admitted, "but you were born in the south where the
sun really shines and the sky is blue and not a dull gray, or else
where did you come by those eyes and those straight shoulders?"

Lucia looked up at the dazzling sky above her and laughed.

"And I suppose that spot is Napoli," she teased.  "Well, you don't
guess as well as I do, for I was born here and I have lived here all my
life."

"'All my life,'" Roderigo mimicked.  "How very long you make that
sound, Señorina, and yet you look no older than my little sister."

Lucia drew herself up to her full height and did not deign a direct
reply.

"Fourteen years is a long time, Señor," she said gravely, "when you
have many worries."

"But you are too young to have many worries," Roderigo protested; "or I
beg your pardon, perhaps you have some one up there?" he pointed to the
north, where the high peaks of the Alps were visible at no great
distance.

"No, not now," Lucia replied; "for my father was killed a year ago."

Roderigo was silent for a little, then he raised one shoulder in a
characteristic shrug.

"War," he said slowly.  "We all have our turn."

Lucia nodded and returned almost at once to her gay mood.

"But you are still wondering how I got my black hair and eyes up here,"
she laughed.

"Well, I will tell you.  My mother came from your beautiful Napoli, and
Nana, that is my grandmother, says I inherited my foolish love of gay
clothes from her.  Nana does not like gay clothes, but my father always
liked me to wear them."

"Then your mother is dead too?" Roderigo asked respectfully.

"When I was a little girl, and when Beppino was a tiny baby.  Beppi is
my little brother," Lucia explained.

Roderigo's eyes were shining with delight.  There was something in
Lucia's soft tones that filled his homesick heart with joy.  She was so
different from most of the girls from the north, with their strange
high voices and unfriendly manners.  If she wasn't exactly from the
south she was near it.  He wanted to sit down beside her and tell her
all about his home and his family, for he was very young and very
homesick, but Lucia decreed otherwise.

"Now do see what you have done," she scolded suddenly.  "You have kept
me talking here until the sun is well down, and I will have to hurry if
I want to see Maria and return home before Nana misses me.  So much for
gabbing on the high road with some one who should be watching for
suspicious spies instead of asking questions," she finished with a
provoking toss of her head.

Which sentence, considering that she had asked the first questions
herself, was unjust.  Roderigo, however, did not seem to resent the
blame laid upon him.  He did not even offer to contradict, but watched
Lucia until she disappeared around a corner a few streets beyond the
gate, and then he turned resolutely about and scanned the road with
searching determination, as if he really believed that the open,
smiling country about him might be concealing a spy.

When Lucia disappeared around the comer of the narrow street that led
to the market place, she stopped long enough to laugh softly to herself.

"The great silly!  He took all the blame himself instead of boxing my
ears for being impertinent.  A fine soldier he'll make!  If I can scare
him, what will the guns do?" she said aloud, and then with a roguish
gleam of mischief in her eyes she hurried on.

The narrow side streets through which she passed were almost deserted,
but when she reached the market place it was thronged with people.
Every one was out to look at the new troops, and in the little square
the great white umbrellas over the market stalls were surrounded by
soldiers.  Their picturesque uniforms added a gala note to the
commonplace little scene.

Lucia elbowed her way through the jostling, laughing men to a certain
umbrella, a little to one side of the open space left clear before the
church.



CHAPTER II

MARIA

A neatly-dressed, dumpy little woman in a black dress and shawl sat
beneath it, and behind a row of stone crocks beside her was a young
girl several years older than Lucia, who ladled out cupfuls of the milk
that the crocks contained, and gave them, always accompanied by a shy
little smile, to the soldiers in return for their pennies.  She was
Maria Rudini, Lucia's cousin, a pretty, gentle-featured girl with shy,
bewildered eyes.

People often spoke of her quiet loveliness until they saw her younger
cousin.  Then their attention was apt to be diverted, for Maria's
delicate charms seemed pale beside Lucia's southern beauty, and in the
same manner her courage grew less.  Although she was three years older,
Maria never questioned Lucia's authority to lead.

When Lucia's father had died, the kindly heart of Maria's mother had
prompted her to offer her home to his children, but Lucia had declined
the offer.  She said she would undertake the support of old Nana and
Beppi and herself.  There was considerable disapproval over her
decision, but as was generally the case, Lucia had her own way.  Her
method of wage-earning was a simple one.  Her father had owned a herd
of goats and a garden, and the two had provided ample support for the
needs of the family.  At his death Lucia, with characteristic
selection, had given up the garden and kept the goats.

Every morning she milked them and carried the bright pails to town,
where her aunt sold them at her little stall along with cheese and
sausage.  The profits wore not great, but they wore enough.

"Is that the milk I brought in this morning?" Lucia asked incredulously
as she approached the stall.

"No, no, my dear," her aunt replied, shaking her head.  "You brought
scarcely two full pails, and they were gone before you had reached the
gate.  We have had a great day, so many soldiers, it is a shame that
you cannot bring in more, for we could sell it.  Just see, we had to
send to old Paolo's for this, and it is not as rich as yours of course,
for his poor beasts have only the weeds between the cobblestones to
eat."

"That is because he is a lazy old man and won't take the trouble to
lead his herd out on the slopes to graze," Lucia replied.  She put her
hands on her hips and swayed back and forth as she talked.  It was a
little trait she had inherited from her mother, and one of her most
characteristic poses.

"How well you look to-day!" Maria said, smiling.  "I have been wishing
you would come, we are so busy--see, here come a group of soldiers all
together.  Will you help me?"  She held out a dipper with a long
handle, which Lucia accepted critically.

"I don't like charging full price for this milk which is more like
water," she said.

"Nonsense, child, it is business, the soldiers know no difference; it
is only your silly pride," her aunt scolded.  She was a little in awe
of her determined niece, and very often she was provoked at her.

"If you can't bring us more milk, we must do the best we can," she said
meaningly.  "You used to bring us twice this much."

Lucia shrugged her shoulders and tossed her head.  "I can bring no more
than I bring," she said, and turned her attention to the soldiers
before her.

But the explanation did not satisfy her thrifty aunt.  She was no
authority on goats, but she had enough sense to know that the supply of
milk does not dwindle to one-half the usual quantity over night.  Still
she did not voice her suspicions.

Lucia and Maria were busy for the rest of the afternoon.  Lucia's
flowered dress and brilliantly-colored bandana that she wore tied over
her head, were added attractions to Señora Rudini's stall, and the
soldiers from the south came and chattered and laughed.

[Illustration: "The soldiers came and chattered and laughed."]

"What a pity we have no more," Maria said as the last crock was
emptied, and they set about preparing to return home.  "We could go on
selling all night now that Lucia is here."

"Well, it is high time to go home, I am tired," her mother replied
crossly.  "Hurry with what you are doing."

Lucia was busy closing the big umbrella.

"It is late, I will have to hurry, or Beppi will have let all my goats
run away--he and his dreams.  He is a lazy little one, but I can't bear
to scold him," she said.  "He is too little to understand."

Her aunt nodded.  "Let him dream, but if you are not careful, he will
be badly spoiled."

"No fear of that," Lucia replied, "while Nana has a word to say.  She
is always for bringing him up properly, but little good it does.  Now
we are ready, I will help you carry home your things, if you will let
Maria walk with me to the gate," Lucia bargained.

"Oh, she may I suppose, though she should be at home helping me prepare
the dinner.  I suppose you have some secrets between you that an old
grayhead can't hear," she grumbled good-naturedly.

"Oh, yes a fine secret!" Lucia replied laughing, as she picked up the
greatest share of the burden and led the way.

Maria and her mother lived in an old stone house that had once been a
palace.  It was hardly palatial now, but it was very picturesque.  It
housed five families besides the Rudinis, and in spite of the many
lines of wash that floated from its windows, it still retained enough
of its old grandeur to be an interesting spot to the occasional tourist
who visited Cellino.  Maria and her mother were very proud of this
distinction.  It made up somewhat for the loss of their house, which
they had been forced to leave, when six months before Maria's two
brothers had gone off to fight.

The new quarters were not far from the market place and they soon
reached them.  Their rooms were on the ground floor, and Lucia and
Maria made haste to drop what they were carrying and start off again at
a much slower pace for the gate.  The sun was low in the west.  It was
setting in a bank of golden clouds over the little river that ran
parallel with the west wall of the town.  Lucia stopped to look at it.

"Rain to-morrow, I suppose, by the look of those clouds," she said, a
real pucker of concern between her eyes.

"And no wonder," Maria agreed, "with all this banging of guns one would
think it would rain all the time out of pity for so much suffering."

"Now, Maria, don't begin to cry," Lucia protested not unkindly.  "It
will do you no good, and it will only make things look worse than they
really are."

"How can they?" Maria demanded, with more show of resentment than was
usual with her quiet acceptance of things.  "Only this morning I sold
milk to such a sweet boy from the south.  He had great sad, brown eyes
like yours, and he was very young and unhappy.  His father and brother
were both killed, and now he is going."

"But perhaps he won't be killed," Lucia said practically.  "Anyway, he
will get a chance to do a little killing first, and surely that is
enough to satisfy any one, or ought to be."

"Oh, Lucia you are cruel sometimes," Maria protested.  "Who wants to
kill?  Surely not these happy boys, and they don't want to be killed
either.  It is all too terrible to think about, and you are an
unnatural girl to talk as you do.  Why, I don't believe you have cried
once since the war began, even when the poor wounded were brought here,
and we saw their faces all shot away."

Maria's anger rose as she talked, and Lucia listened curiously.  It was
something new for Maria to take her to task.  Her mind flew back over
the past year, and she saw herself with her face buried in the grass
and her hands clenched, and remembered her furious anger and her vows
of vengeance, but she had to admit that her cousin was right; she had
shed no tears.

"We are not made the same way, I guess," she replied ruefully to
Maria's charges.  "I cannot cry, I can only hate."

"But hate won't do any good," Maria protested feebly.

"It will do more than tears," Lucia replied shortly.

They continued their walk in silence, now and then nodding to an
acquaintance or bowing respectfully to the Sisters of Charity who lived
at the big Convent just outside the Porto Romano, and who came to town
to take care of the sick and cheer the broken-hearted.  When they
reached the north gate Lucia stopped.  Roderigo was still on duty, but
this time he did not pause in his brisk walk up and down to chat.  He
never even glanced in the girls' direction.

Maria nodded towards him and whispered excitedly, "That is the boy I
was just now speaking of.  Doesn't he look sad?"

"No, he looks quite cross," Lucia replied in a voice loud enough to be
overheard, and her eyes sparkled with mischief as she added, "I wonder
if he will let me through the gate to get home."

"May I pass, sir, please?  I live a little beyond the wall, but I am
not a spy," she said with mock humility.

Roderigo blushed.  A soldier does not like to be made fun of,
particularly when some one else is present.

"Pass," he said gruffly.

Lucia laughed provokingly.

"Good night, Maria," she said as she kissed her cousin.  "Sweet dreams.
I may not be in very early in the morning, there is so much to do, you
know, but I will bring as much milk as possible," she finished.  Then
without even a glance at Roderigo she walked through the gate and down
the wall.

When she had walked for a little distance she looked back.  Maria and
the soldier were in earnest conversation.  Maria in her timid way was
apologizing for her cousin's rudeness, and Roderigo was beginning to
have doubts of the superiority of Southern beauty over the Northern,
particularly when a gentle spirit was added to the charm of the latter.
Lucia did not know she was the subject of their talk.  She shrugged her
shoulders and turned her thoughts to a more important question that was
puzzling her.  It was, how to slip out of the house the next morning
without disturbing the already suspicious Beppi.



CHAPTER III

BEFORE DAYBREAK

Lucia found Beppi asleep in the grass, curled up in the same position
that he had been in earlier in the day.  One of his little hands had
tight hold of the precious pink bag, and a sticky smile of blissful
content turned up the corners of his full red lips.

Lucia looked at him and shook her head.  There might have been
twenty-seven instead of seven years between them, for there was
something protective in her expression.

"Little lazy bones, asleep again!" she said, shaking him gently.

Beppi stirred, one eye opened, and then with a sudden rush of memory he
sat up and began excitedly: "I just this minute fell asleep, just this
very second, truly, Lucia!  I have watched the goats, oh, so carefully,
and they have not stirred,--see there they are only a little farther
away than when you left.  I only closed my eyes because I thought I
might go on with that nice dream, but I didn't," he finished
sorrowfully.

Lucia laughed.

"Look at the sun," she pointed.  "It is late, you should have driven
the goats home long ago.  But I knew you would go to asleep after you
ate up all the candy, such a naughty little brother that you are.  What
kind of a soldier would you make, I'd like to know, dreaming every few
minutes?  Come along, get up,--we must hurry back to Nana, or she will
be worried."

She took his hand and together they drove the goats before them to the
cottage.

[Illustration: "Together they drove the goats before them."]

Nana Rudini was waiting for them at the door.  She was a little,
wrinkled-up, old woman with bright blue eyes and thin gray hair.  She
spoke very seldom and always in a high querulous voice.

"So you're back at last, are you?" she greeted, when the children were
within hearing.  "Supper's been on the stove for too long.  What kept
you?"

"Very busy day, Nana," Lucia spoke in much the same tone she had used
towards Beppi.  "I had to help Aunt and Maria at market.  More troops
have arrived and the streets are crowded."

"Oh, sister, you never told me that!" Beppi said accusingly.  "Where
are they from?"

"The south mostly," Lucia replied, "fine soldiers they are too, if you
can judge by their looks."

"Which you can't," old Nana interrupted shortly.  "Stop your talking
and come in to supper."

"Right away," Lucia promised, and hurried off to shut up her goats in
the small, half-tumbled-down shack at the back of the cottage.

Supper at the Rudinis consisted of boiled spaghetti, black bread and
cheese, with a cup full of milk apiece.  It was not a very tempting
meal, but Lucia was hungry and ate with a hearty appetite.

After the three bowls had been washed and put away in the cupboard, she
helped her grandmother undress, and settled her comfortably in the
green enameled bed with its brass trimmings, that occupied a good part
of the small room.  Lucia's mother had brought it with her from Naples,
and it was the most cherished and admired article of furniture that the
Rudinis owned.

"Are you comfortable, Nana?" Lucia inquired gently, as she smoothed the
fat, hard pillows in an attempt to make a rest for the old gray head.

"Yes, go to bed, child," Nana replied, and without more ado she closed
her eyes and went to sleep.

Lucia climbed up the ladder to the loft, and was soon cuddled down
beside Beppi in a bed of fresh straw.  Though she persisted in her
determination that her grandmother sleep in state in the best bed, she
herself preferred a simple and softer resting place.

"Tell me a story," Beppi demanded; "not about fairies and silly make
believes, but about soldiers."

"But there are no pretty stories about soldiers, Beppino mio," Lucia
protested.

"Who wants pretty stories!" Beppi replied scornfully.  "_I_ don't--tell
me an exciting one about guns and war."

"Very well I'll try, but be still," Lucia gave in, well knowing that
she would not have to go very far.

"Once upon a time," she began, "there was a soldier.  He had very big
eyes, and he came from the south where the sun is very warm and the sky
and the water are very, very blue."

"Was he brave?" Beppi interrupted sleepily.

"Oh, yes, he was very brave," Lucia replied hurriedly, "very brave, and
he loved his country more than anything else in the world."

She waited but Beppi's voice commanded.

"Go on, don't stop."

"Well, one day he was sent to guard a gate of a city, and he walked up
and down before it with his gun on his shoulders, and no one could pass
him unless it was a friend."

She paused again.  Beppi was breathing regularly.

"Old sleepy head!" Lucia whispered, and kissed him tenderly.

The story was not continued and before many minutes she was fast asleep
herself.

It was an hour before sunrise when she awoke.  The air that found its
way into the little attic was damp and chill.  Lucia crept out of bed,
being very careful not to disturb Beppi, and slipped hurriedly into her
clothes.  With her shoes in her hand, she climbed gingerly down the
ladder past her sleeping grandmother and out to the shed.

"Good morning, Garibaldi, how are you this morning?" she said as she
patted the stocky little neck of her pet.

Garibaldi submitted to her caress with a condescension worthy of the
position her name gave her, and the other goats crowded to the open
door, eager to leave their cramped quarters.

"Not yet, my dears," Lucia said softly, "it isn't time.  Here, Esther,
I will milk you first.  You must all be good to-day, and Garibaldi, I
don't want you to go running away if I have to leave you with Beppi,"
she continued.  "You're nothing but goats, of course, but you know
perfectly well that we are at war, and that you are very important, and
must do your part.  Stop it, Miss, none of your pranks, I'm in a
hurry," she chided the refractory Esther for an attempt at playfulness.

"There now, that's enough, I can't carry any more or I would.  Two
pails only half full aren't much, but they help, I guess.  Now if it
won't rain until I get there it will be all right, but I'll cover the
pails to be on the safer side."  She found two covers and fitted them
securely over the pails.  "Now children, good-by.  Be good till I come
back, and don't go making any noise."

She paused long enough to give Garibaldi a farewell pat and then left
the shed closing the door behind her.  She looked up uneasily at the
cottage, but everything seemed to be very still, so she picked up her
pails and started off at as brisk a pace as possible.

She followed the main road that looked unnaturally white and ghostly in
the pale dawn of the early morning.  It was down hill for about a mile,
and traveling was comparatively easy at first, but when the road
reached the bottom of the valley it stopped and seemed to straggle off
into numerous little foot-paths.  The broadest and most traveled
looking path Lucia followed, picking her way carefully for fear of
stumbling and thus losing some of the precious milk.

The path led up the other side of the valley.  It was a steep climb,
and Lucia was tired when she reached the top.  She sat down for a while
to rest before going on the remainder of the way.  The next path that
she took turned abruptly to the right, and led up an even steeper hill
to a tiny plateau above.  From it one could look down on Cellino across
the valley.  When Lucia reached it she put down her pails in the shade
of a big rock and looked about cautiously.

Nothing seemed to stir.  The guns were quiet and nothing in the
peaceful, secluded little spot suggested the close proximity of battle.
The only human touch in sight was a small scrap of paper, held down by
a stone on the flat rock above the pails.

Lucia was not surprised, for she had done the same thing every morning
for a week now.  She unfolded it.  As she expected, she found four
brightly polished copper pennies and the words, "Thanks to the little
milk maid," written in heavy pencil.

Lucia picked up the money and put it into her pocket, then with a
pencil that she had brought especially for the purpose she wrote, "You
are welcome, my friends; good luck!" below the message, and tucked the
paper back under the stone.  Then with another curious look around,
which discovered nothing, she started back, this time running as fleet
and fast as any of her sure-footed little goats.

She reached home before either Nana or Beppino were awake, and hurried
to finish her milking.  When the scant breakfast was over, she was
ready to start for town with her pails.

When she entered the market-place, it was to find a very different
scene from the one of the day before.  The place was thronged with
soldiers, but they were not laughing and jesting; instead, little
groups congregated around the stalls and talked excitedly.  Some of the
old women had covered their faces with their black aprons, and were
rocking back and forth on their chairs in an extremity of woe.

There was an unnatural hush, and men and women alike lowered heir
voices instinctively as they talked.

Lucia had seen the same thing many times before.  She guessed, and
rightly too, that a battle was going on, and that news of some disaster
had reached the little town.  She did not go at once to her aunt's
stall, but left her pails inside the big bronze door of the church, and
slipped quietly inside.  The place was deserted, and the lofty dome was
in dark shadow.  Long rays of pale yellow light from the morning sun
came through the narrow windows and made queer patches on the marble
floor.  In the dim recesses of the little chapels tiny candles
flickered like stars in the dark.

Lucia looked about her to make sure that she was alone, and then walked
quickly to one of the chapels and dropped four shining copper pennies
into the mite box that stood on a little shelf beside the altar.  She
stayed only long enough to say a hasty little prayer, and then hurried
out again into the sunshine.  The clouds of the night before and the
mist of the early morning had disappeared, and the market-place was
bathed in warm golden sunshine.

Lucia picked up her pails and hurried to her aunt's stall.

"Well, you are late," Maria said.  "We thought you had stubbed your toe
and spilled all the milk."

"And only two half-full pails again," Señora Rudini grumbled.  "But no
matter, we can get more from old Paolo.  Have you heard the news?" she
asked abruptly.

"No," Lucia replied indifferently.  "What is it?"

"A big gain by the enemy.  They have taken thousands of our men, and
they say we may be ordered to leave Cellino at any minute."

"Think of it!  They are as near as that!" Maria said excitedly.  "Oh if
we must move, where can we go to?  I am so frightened."

"Nonsense," Lucia spoke shortly.  There was an angry gleam in her big
eyes and her cheeks flushed a dark red.

"Leave Cellino, indeed!  The very idea!  Since when must Italians make
way for Austrians, I'd like to know?"

"But if the enemy are advancing as they say," Maria protested
nervously, "we will either have to leave, or be shelled to death by
those dreadful guns."

"Or be taken prisoners, and a nice thing that would be," her mother
added.  "No, if the order to evacuate comes we must go at once.  There
will be no time to spare.  Other towns have been captured, and there is
only that between us."

She pointed to the zigzag mountain peaks so short a distance beyond the
north gate.  As if to give her words weight, a heavy thunder of guns
rumbled ominously.

Maria shuddered.  "There, that is ever so much nearer.  Oh, I am
frightened,--something dreadful is happening over there just out of
sight."

"Silly! those are our own guns.  Ask any of our soldiers," Lucia said.

"Here comes your guard, the handsome Roderigo Vicello, maybe he can
tell us.  Good morning to you!" she called gayly and beckoned the
soldier to come to them.

"I hope you are well this morning," Roderigo said respectfully, bowing
to Señora Rudini.

"Oh, we are well, but very frightened," Maria replied, trying hard to
imitate her cousin's gaiety.

"Maria thinks that the guns we heard just now are Austrian, and I have
been trying to tell her that they are Italian.  Which of us is right?
You are a soldier and ought to know."

"Our guns, of course.  They have a different sound," Roderigo explained
impressively.

He had never been any nearer to the front than he was at this moment,
but he spoke with the assurance of an old soldier, partly to quiet
Maria's fears, but mostly to still his own nervous forebodings.  It
would never do to let the little black-eyed Lucia see that he was even
a little afraid.

"There, what did I tell you!" Lucia was triumphant.  "I knew, but of
course you would not believe me.  Now perhaps you will tell her that we
will not have to run away at a minute's notice, too?"

She turned to Roderigo, but eager as he was to display his importance
he could not give the assurance she asked.  The little knowledge that
he had, made him think that the evacuation was very likely to occur at
any day.

He covered his fears, however, by replying vaguely: "One can never be
sure.  War is war, and perhaps it may be necessary, as well as safer,
for you to leave for the time being."

Lucia looked at him narrowly.

"What makes you say that?" she demanded.  "Have you heard any of the
officers talking?"

"No, but this morning's news is very bad.  We have our orders to be
ready to start at any moment."

"Oh!"  Maria caught her breath sharply, and her eyes filled with tears
as she looked at Roderigo shyly.

He saw the tears in surprise, and a contented warmth settled around his
heart.  He looked half expectantly at Lucia.  Surely, if this calm, shy
girl of the north would shed a tear for him, she with the warm blood of
the south in her veins would weep.  But Lucia's eyes were dry, and the
only expression he could find in them was envy.  He turned away in
disgust.  He did not admire too much courage in girls, for he was very
young and very sentimental, and he enjoyed being cried over.

A bugle sounded from the other end of the street, and in an instant
everything was in confusion.  The soldiers hurried to answer, and the
people crowded about to see what was going to happen.

Lucia, eager and excited, snatched Maria's hand and pulled her into the
very center of the crowd.  An officer, with the bugler beside him, read
an order from the steps of the town hall, an old gray stone building
that had stood in silent dignity at the end of the square for many
centuries.

The girls were not near enough to hear the order, but they soon found
Roderigo in the excited mass of soldiers, and he explained it to them.

"We are to leave for the front at once," he cried excitedly.  "We have
not a moment to spare.  Tavola has been captured by the enemy, and our
troops are retreating through the Pass."

"The Saints preserve us!" Señora Rudini covered her face with her apron
and cried.  "My sons!  My sons!  Where are they, dead or prisoners?"

"No, no, they are safe," Lucia protested.  "They are with the Army.
Don't worry, when the reënforcements reach them they will go forward
again."

But her aunt refused to be comforted.  Everywhere in the street women
were calling excitedly, and a number of them besieged the officers for
information.

The soldiers hurried to their billets and got together their kits.  The
square buzzed and hummed with excitement and the guns kept up a steady
bass accompaniment.

The bugle sounded a different order every little while.  Some of the
more prudent women went home and began packing their household
treasures, but for the most part every one stayed in the market-place
and argued shrilly.

"Come!" Lucia exclaimed, catching Maria's hand.  "We can watch them
march off from the top of the wall by the gate."

They ran quickly through the side streets, and by taking many turns
they at last reached the broad top of the wall, which they ran along
until they were just above the north gate.

"Here they come!" Maria exclaimed.  "I can hear them."

The paved streets of the town rang with the heavy tramp, tramp of men
marching, and before long they appeared before the gate.  The order to
walk four abreast was given.  The men took their places, and then at a
brisk pace they marched through the old gate, a sea of bobbing black
hats and cock feathers.

The townspeople followed to cheer them excitedly.  Lucia and Maria
leaned dangerously over the edge of the wall in their attempt to
recognize the familiar faces under the hats.

The soldiers looked up and called out gayly at sight of Lucia.  She had
taken off her flowered kerchief and was waving it excitedly.  The wind
caught her dark hair and blew it across her face, and her bright skirts
in the sunshine made a vivid spot of color against the stone wall.  The
men turned often to look back at her as they marched along the wide
road.

Maria did not lift her eyes from the sea of hats beneath her.  She was
waiting for one face to look up.  At last she had her wish.  Roderigo's
place was towards the end of the column; when he walked under the gate
he looked up and smiled.  It was a sad smile, full of regret.

Without exactly meaning to, Maria dropped the flower she was wearing in
her bodice.  Roderigo caught it and tucked it, Neapolitan fashion,
behind his ear, then he blew a kiss to Maria and marched on.

Lucia watched the little scene.  She was half amused and half
contemptuous.  Her little heart under its gay bodice was filled with a
fine hate that left no room for pretty romance.



CHAPTER IV

LOST

When the soldiers had climbed out of sight into the mountains, Maria
walked slowly back to find her mother, and Lucia after a hurried
good-by ran home to tell Nana and Beppino the news.

She was far more worried over the possible order to evacuate than she
would admit.  As their cottage was the farthest north on the road, it
would be the nearest to the Austrian guns.  Personally Lucia scorned
the very idea of the Austrian guns, but she could not help realizing
the danger to Nana and Beppino and Garibaldi.  She was still undecided
what to do when she reached the cottage.

Nana Rudini was standing in the doorway, shading her eyes with her
withered old hand, and staring intently in the direction that the
soldiers had taken.

"Did you see the troops, Nana?" Lucia asked cheerfully.  "They were a
fine lot, eh?  I guess they will be able to stop the enemy from coming
any nearer."

"Nearer?" queried Nana, "what are you saying?"

"We have had bad luck," Lucia explained.  "Tavola has been captured,
and our soldiers are retreating.  In town they say we may have to
evacuate before to-morrow."

The old woman received the news without comment, but a look of despair
came into her usually bright eyes, and for the moment made them tragic.
Long years before, when Austria had crossed the mountains and entered
Cellino, she had been a young girl.  Now in her old age they were to
come again, and there was no reason to hope that this time they would
be less brutal in their triumph than they had been formerly.  The
memory of their brutality was still a vivid one.

"We will leave at once," she said at last, and her decision was so
unexpected, that Lucia gasped in surprise.

"Leave?  But, Nana, where will we go?  What will become of our things?"
she exclaimed.  "Surely we had better wait at least until we are
ordered out."

"No, we will leave at once," Nana replied firmly.  "The order may come
too late, as it did before.  What do those boys who swagger about in
men's places know about the enemy?  There is not one that can remember
them.  But I, old Nana, have known them and their ways, and I say we
must go at once."

Lucia looked at the new light of determination in her grandmother's
eyes, and realized with a shock of surprise that to protest would be
useless.

"Where is Beppi?" she asked.  "I will go and find him."

"With the goats," Nana replied.  "Call him, I will go in and start
packing."

Lucia ran around the house and off to the sunny slope where she had
left Beppi a few hours before.  She saw the flock of goats grazing, and
called, "Beppino mio, where are you?"

No one answered her.  She hurried on, believing him to have fallen
asleep.

"Beppi!" she shouted, "I have something exciting to tell you.  Stop
hiding from me."

She waited, but still no answer came.

In a sudden frenzy of fear she began running aimlessly up and down the
hillside, and looking down into the tall grasses, but there was no sign
of Beppi.  There were no trees or houses in sight, no place that he
could hide behind, nearer than the mountain path at the foot of the
valley.

Lucia looked about her despairingly, then she went over to the goats.
Garibaldi was not there.

"She has strayed away, and Beppi has gone after her," she said aloud in
relief, and returned to the cottage.

Nana nodded when she explained.  She was busy tying up the household
treasures in sheets, and Lucia helped her.

Every few minutes she would go to the door and call, but Beppi did not
reply.  The afternoon wore on slowly and a bank of rain clouds hid the
sun.  Lucia's confidence gave way to her first feeling of terror, and
Nana was growing impatient.

"Where can he be?" Lucia exclaimed.  "I am frightened, he has been gone
so long."

Nana shook her head.  "He was off after the soldiers, I suppose," she
replied.  "He is always disobeying--no good will come to him and his
naughty ways."

Lucia's eyes flashed.

"He is not naughty," she protested angrily, "and he may be lost this
very minute.  Anyway I am going to find him and I am not coming home
until I do.  If you are afraid to stay here go to Maria, she and aunt
will look after you, and when I find Beppi I will meet you there."

Nana Rudini protested excitedly, but Lucia did not wait to hear what
she said.  She ran out of the house and down the road towards the
footpath.  She had no idea of where she was going, but fear lead her
on.  Beppi, her adored little brother, and Garibaldi were lost, and she
was going to find them.

At the end of the road she paused and looked ahead of her.  The sky was
dark with rain-clouds and thunder rumbled in the west, an echo of the
guns.  Lucia took the path that she had taken early that morning, and
as she climbed up the steep ascent she called and shouted.  Her own
voice came back to her from the flat rocks ahead, but there was no
sound of Beppi.

Instead of going on to the little plateau where she left her pails, she
branched off to the left.  It was hard climbing, and after repeated
shouts of "Beppi," she sat down and tried to think.

Big drops of rain were beginning to fall, and with the sun out of sight
the fall air was damp and cold.  She pulled her thin shawl around her
shoulders and shivered.

"If Garibaldi ran away she came up here; she always does," she argued
to herself.  "She loves to climb, and she must have come this way in
the hope of finding grass.  Up above, and a little over to the left,
there is a sort of sheltered spot.  Perhaps--" she did not finish the
thought, but jumped up and started to climb.

She hunted until she discovered a way to find the spot.  It was not
difficult, for she knew every foot of the mountains from long
association.  But Beppi was not to be seen, nor was Garibaldi.  Lucia
stopped, discouraged.  Fear and helplessness were getting the better of
her, and she would most likely have given way to the tears she so
despised had her eye not caught sight of a tuft of fur on the ground.
She seized upon it eagerly.  It was without doubt part of Garibaldi's
shaggy coat.

With a cry of joy she started off up the tiny trail that led higher up
into the rocks.

"Beppi, Beppi!" she called, and stopped.  Still no answer, but she was
not discouraged for the guns were making so much noise that she
realized her voice could not carry any great distance.

The rain was coming down in earnest now, and it was hard to keep from
losing her footing on the slippery rocks.  She stumbled on regardless
of the danger, hoping against hope that she had chosen the right path,
and that each step was bringing her nearer to Beppi.  Between calling
and climbing, she was tired, and she stopped for a moment to catch her
breath.

A sound, faint but unmistakable, reached her.

"Naa, Naa!"

Garibaldi was complaining about the weather, at no very great distance
away from her.

In her relief Lucia laughed excitedly.

"Beppi, Beppi, where are you?" she shouted, and waited eagerly for a
reply, but none came.  She looked puzzled and then Garibaldi answered
her:

"Naa!  Naa!"

The sound came from directly over her head, and she climbed up the
steep rock as fast as she could.  Garibaldi was standing at the opening
of a cave.  Lucia ran to her.

"Oh, my pet, I have found you at last.  Where is Beppi?" she cried.
Garibaldi did not exactly reply, but she stepped a little to one side,
and Lucia saw Beppino curled up on a bed of dry leaves sheltered and
snug from the storm, and sleeping quite as contentedly as he did on the
mattress in the attic at home.

Lucia ran to him and shook him.  He opened his eyes, and a dazed look
came into them, then he said:

"Oh, yes, I remember, it began to rain and we were lost, your old
crosspatch Garibaldi and I, so I found this nice little place, and I
was going to pretend that I was a gypsy brigand, but I fell asleep."

Lucia was far too happy to attempt the scolding that she knew Beppi
deserved.  She picked him up in her arms, and hugged and kissed him,
then she encircled Garibaldi's neck and kissed her too.

"My darlings, I thought you were both lost.  What a terrible fright you
have given me!  But we are safe now, and we will wait until sunrise
to-morrow, and then we will go home," she said happily.

"I saw the soldiers go away," Beppi said, pushing her face from him as
she tried to kiss him again, "and they looked so fine with their shiny
hats.  It was while I looked at them that old crosspatch ran away.  I
did have a chase, I can tell you, she had such a big start."

"Are you very hungry, little one?" Lucia asked gently.  "I should have
brought bread with me, but I did not think."

Beppi giggled, and from the pocket of his little tunic he produced the
pink paper bag.

"Two left," he announced as he opened it, "and both long ones.  Here's
yours and here's mine.  Garibaldi's been eating grass all day, so she's
not hungry."

Lucia accepted the candy, and they both had a drink of milk.  Then
Beppi snuggled down in his sister's arms and his eyelids grew heavy.

"Go on with that story," he said, "the one about the soldier at the
gate."

Lucia smiled in the dark and hugged him tight.  The guns were silent,
and only occasional peals of thunder broke the stillness.

"Well, one day," she began, "a very cross girl came to the gate, and
the soldier who was always on the lookout for the stolen princess
stopped her and spoke to her.  But the cross girl was feeling very mean
indeed, and she teased the soldier and made him very unhappy.  But
later on in the afternoon she was ashamed, and so she found the nice
girl who was really the stolen princess, and took her with her to the
gate, and the soldier--"

Lucia broke off and sat up suddenly to listen.  A queer "rat, tat,
tat," detached itself from the other night noises.  Beppi was sound
asleep, and she rolled him gently into the nest of leaves, then she
listened again.  The sound came again.

"Rat, tat, tat."  It was a sharp staccato hammering, muffled by the
wall of rock behind her.

She stood up and crept softly to the mouth of the cave.

The wind and the rain made such a noise that she could hear nothing,
and it was already too dark to distinguish anything but the vaguest
outlines.  She crept back into the shelter, believing that she had just
imagined what she had heard, but she had not taken her place beside
Beppi before she heard it again--a persistent "rat, tat, tat," too
metallic and too regular to be accounted for by a natural cause.

Lucia's mind was alert at once.  She put her ear up against the rock
and listened again.  Muffled sounds too indistinct to recognize came to
her.  Whatever they were, they were not far off, and right in a line
with the back of the cave.

Lucia thought of several explanations, but could accept none of them.
She tried to argue against her fears by saying over and over again that
if it was a sound made by men, those men were surely Italian soldiers,
but her arguments could not still the frightened beating of her heart,
as the voice became more distinct.  She was filled with terror.

Rumors of underground tunnels and mines blowing off whole mountain
tops, that she had heard from the soldiers, came back to her and left
her cold with fear.

Beppi had rolled over beside the goat for warmth, and was sleeping
soundly.  Lucia looked at him and then went once more to the mouth of
the cave.

The cold rain in her face gave her back her courage, and she felt her
way around the cliff and up between the crevices of the two rocks,
until she was on the roof of the cave.  It was flat and the ground
seemed to stretch out level for quite a distance before her.  She
listened for a moment, but the rain beating down made it impossible for
her to distinguish any other sound.

She lay down flat on the wet ground, and crawled forward for a few
feet, then listened again.  At first she heard only the rain and the
wind, but after a little wait there was a muffled bang as if a bomb had
exploded deep down in the earth, and the ground beneath her trembled.

Lucia sprang to her feet and ran terrified back to the cave.  It was
fortunate that she was as sure-footed as her goats, for the way was
steep and slippery, and she did not pause to take care.

Over in the cave, with her hand on Beppi's curly head, she sat down to
think.  Her mind was not capable of arriving at any logical
explanation.  Two thoughts stood out clearly and beyond doubt.  First,
the enemy was doing something of which the Italians were unaware, and
second, the Italians must be warned before it was too late.  That she
must warn them she realized at once, but the way was not easy to
determine.

The mountains were tricky.  From one side they might look deserted, and
yet a whole army could be in hiding just over the other side.  The
giant peaks formed formidable and wellnigh impassable barriers between
one range and the next.  Lucia had seen the troops disappear that
morning, as if the great rocks had opened and devoured them, and she
knew that at this moment they might be within a half a mile of her, but
where to begin to find them she did not know.

The close proximity of the Austrians frightened her, and she was afraid
to go off at random, or even to call.  Throughout the night she tried
to think and plan as she sat up with her back against the rock
listening for the rat, tat, tat, which began again after she returned
to the cave, and continued at regular intervals.

Before dawn the rain stopped and the wind blew the clouds away.  At the
first streak of light Lucia stole softly away from the sleeping Beppi
and Garibaldi, and crept down the tiny path to the plateau below.  Once
there she was on familiar ground and even in the pale light she could
tell her way.

During the night she had decided to go to the rock where she took her
milk in the morning, surely the mysterious hand that left the pennies
for her would be there, and she was determined, to wait for him.

She reached the spot without encountering any difficulties, and sat
down to wait.  The sun rose east of Cellino, and she watched it as it
climbed over the hill and lighted the windows of the church with its
yellow low rays.

All the world looked as if it had just been bathed and freshly clothed
to step out glistening and very clean to greet the day.  The air was
chilly, but so fresh and sweet that Lucia took long grateful breaths of
it.  She was just wondering how long she would have to wait, when a
stone rolled down beside her and hit her foot.  She jumped and turned
around.  A soldier with a broad smile that showed all his fine white
teeth was climbing down towards her.

Lucia put her fingers to her lip to caution silence, and his smile
changed to a look of sudden anxiety.

"What is it?" he demanded.

"Don't make any noise," Lucia warned.  "Listen to me."

She told him all that she had discovered during the night.

"Are you sure of what you say?" the soldier questioned her seriously.

"Oh, yes, sir, I tell you I crawled out and listened.  The sound was
very near."

"Can you show me the place?"

"Yes, yes, I have just come from there, but it is a slippery climb."
Lucia looked at him interrogatively.

The man nodded.  "Never mind that, lead the way."

Lucia did not hesitate, but hurried back along the rocks, choosing the
safest footholds and sometimes leaving her companion far behind.

When she reached the little grassy plateau, she stopped and pointed.
"It is above here, sir."

She started to ascend, and the soldier followed in silence.  When they
reached the cave she pointed to the back wall and said: "Listen there."

The soldier was so tall that he had to stoop down before he could
enter, but he was very careful to be quiet and not disturb the still
sleeping Beppi.

He put his ear to the wall and Lucia watched him excitedly.  By the
expression of his face she knew he was hearing the "rat, tat, tat."

"Can you show me the place where you thought you heard the explosion?"
he whispered.

Lucia nodded and beckoned to him to follow.  In her eagerness she
forgot that he could not climb as nimbly as she could, and she was on
the roof of the cave before he had started to ascend.

It was fortunate that she was, for not ten feet ahead of her, crawling
along the ground, his helmet shining in the sun, was a soldier in the
Austrian uniform.



CHAPTER V

IN THE TOOL SHED

At sight of her he jumped to his feet.

"Halt!" he commanded, unnecessarily, for Lucia was far too frightened
to move.

She was thinking of the soldier whose head would appear at any moment
over the ledge of rock behind, and her one wish was to stop him.

"I won't move, sir!" she cried loudly, "I see you have a big gun and I
am all alone."  She spoke in Italian, but the Austrian seemed to
understand.

"What are you doing prowling around here at this time of day?" he
demanded angrily, speaking to her in her own language.

"Oh, sir, I am lost," Lucia replied, not daring to look below her.  "My
goat wandered away in the storm and I came out to find her, and now I
am very, very far away from home."

She walked towards the man as she spoke.  She was terrified for fear he
would discover the cave below her.

"Where did you sleep?" he demanded.

"Oh, I have not slept, sir.  See my dress it is wet from the rain,
there is no shelter anywhere, and the wind and the rain frightened me
so I did not know where I was, and I was afraid to stay still."

The Austrian eyed her suspiciously.

"Why didn't you go to the soldiers and ask for shelter?" he inquired
harshly.

"The soldiers?"  Lucia's brown eyes opened wide in surprise.  "But
there are no soldiers near here.  They are miles away with the guns.
How could I reach them?  My home is over there," she pointed in the
opposite direction from the cave, "and I think I will go back to it,
now that it is day."

"Oh, no, you won't," the Austrian replied.  "You'll come with me."

"But why, what have I done?" Lucia inquired.

"That's not the point," the soldier replied.  "You're an Italian, and
if I let you go you'll run home and tell all the troops in the town
that I was here.  Oh, no, my little lady, we can't allow that--you're
coming along with me."

His lordly tone and the sneer on his lips infuriated Lucia.  She
thought all danger of his discovering the cave was over, so she replied
angrily.  "And suppose I won't come?  Don't think you can frighten me,
for you can't.  I tell you, I won't go a step with you."

The Austrian was about to reply, when a sound that had been so welcome
only a few hours ago struck terror to Lucia's ears.

"Naa, Naa!"

"What's that?" the soldier jumped nervously.  He was startled and
frightened.  Lucia saw it and her own courage returned.

"My goat," she said as Garibaldi appeared above the rock.

Lucia ran to him.

"My pet, here you are, I have found you at last.  Where have you been?
you are a bad girl.  See how you frightened the brave Austrian soldier."

The sarcasm and scorn in her voice were unmistakable.  The soldier was
indignant.

"Here, that is enough from you.  Come along, I will take you where they
will teach you better manners."

He caught her roughly by the shoulder, and Lucia went with him only too
gladly.  If she could get him well away from the cave, it would be time
enough to think of herself.  She, had no doubt that she would be able
to run away from him later on.

As they walked along the noise underground grew louder.  Every now and
then the man would turn and look at her suspiciously.  He did not speak
to her, however, and they walked for quite a distance in silence.  When
Lucia considered that they had gone far enough she stopped.

"Where are you taking me?" she demanded with spirit.

"Never mind, you come along," the man replied impatiently.  "Time
enough for you to know when we get there."

"But I won't go any further."  Lucia was determined.  "Do you think
that I will be taken prisoner by an Austrian?  Never!"

Her eyes blazed indignantly.  She planned so many times just what she
would do, if she was ever brought face to face with her hated enemy,
that the feeling of helplessness that she felt under the big man's hand
infuriated her.

"Come along, I will not speak again," the Austrian commanded, and once
more Lucia went on, unable to withstand the strength of his arm.

The flat ground ended abruptly, and they had to climb down jagged
rocks.  Lucia thought that her chance of escape had come, but the
Austrian never lessened his hold on her arm.

They had traveled this far without meeting any one.  The only signs of
life had been the mysterious noise underground, and the click of
Garibaldi's sharp hoofs as they hit the stone.

When they reached a certain point the soldier stopped.  "If you make
any noise," he said roughly, "I will have to shoot you."

Lucia opened her mouth to scream, but before the sound came she changed
her mind.  A new and splendid idea had just come to her.  She stopped
holding back and walked obediently beside her guard.  They did not go
very far, before he told her to lie down and crawl, and before she
realized where she was going, she was in a deep trench that ran along
the base of the rock and was completely hidden from sight.

Garibaldi followed them, picking her way daintily, and stopping every
now and then to let out a mournful "Naa!"  The Austrian did not seem to
hear her.  If he did, he paid no attention, but led Lucia hurriedly
along the dark passage.

They had not gone far before a sentry stopped them.  Lucia's guard said
something to him that she could not understand.  The sentry
disappeared, to return in a few minutes with another man.  From the
respectful salutes that he received, Lucia decided he must be a very
high officer.  More talk followed which she could not understand, and
then her guard turned to her.

"Follow me," he directed, and led her out of the passage across a
stretch of open ground, and over to a shed.  Another soldier opened the
door, and before Lucia quite got her breath, she heard the key turn in
a lock and the thud, thud of the men's boots as they marched away.



CHAPTER VI

GARIBALDI PERFORMS

The shed had been hastily put together, and served as a place for picks
and shovels.  There were so many of them, in fact, that Lucia at first
had difficulty in finding a place to stand, but by rearranging them she
cleared a portion of the floor and sat down to think.

The shed was by no means airtight, for the boards had been nailed up so
far apart that not only did the air and light enter between the cracks,
but it was also possible for Lucia to see everything that was going on
about her.

At first it looked as if the soldiers were just hurrying about
aimlessly, but by watching them closely, especially the guard that had
caught her, she saw that they were preparing to leave.

A bugle sounded from a dugout at the end of the passage, and all the
soldiers in sight fell into marching order and waited at attention.
Then the officer who had ordered Lucia shut up in the tool-house, gave
them some orders that she could not understand.

One soldier came over to the shed and unlocked the door.  He beckoned
Lucia to step outside, and as the men filed past the door he handed
each one a pick and shovel.  When they had all received them, and Lucia
expected to return, the Captain spoke to her.  His Italian was so very
bad she pretended not to understand.

"What is your name?" was his first question.

Lucia shook her head.

"Your name?" he persisted.  "Marie, Louise, Josephine?"

"No, Señor," Lucia replied bewildered.

"Well then, what is it?"

"I don't understand."

"Your name?"

"No, Señor."

"Your name?  Have you no sense--stupid!"  The Captain's patience was
fast giving way.

Now to call an Italian stupid is the worst possible insult, and Lucia's
cheeks flushed hotly.  She was very angry, and she determined not to
reply now at any cost.  She shook her head therefore, and a very
stubborn and unpromising light came into her brown eyes.

The Captain looked at her in disgust.

"Well, I suppose your name does not matter anyway," he said gruffly.
"Where do you live?"

Another shake of the small black head, and an expressive shrug.

"You live in Cellino, so why not say so?  Come, no more sulking.  If
you won't answer me of your own free will, you must be made to answer."

"No, Señor," Lucia smiled provokingly.

"No--what in thunder do you mean?"

"No, Señor," there was not a trace of impertinence in her face.

The officer looked at her in despair.

"Do you, or don't you understand what I am saying?" he demanded.

"No, Señor," Lucia reiterated.

"Where is the soldier who found this girl?" the Captain shouted to an
orderly.

Lucia did not understand what he said, but she knew that her captor was
well out of sight with his pick and shovel by now, and in all
probability would not return and give her away, and she was beginning
to enjoy the part of a "stupid."

Just as the Captain turned to continue his questioning, Garibaldi, who
had been grazing about unmolested at a little distance from the shed,
saw Lucia and came bounding over to her.  In her delight at finding her
young mistress she very nearly succeeded in butting over the officer.

Lucia had difficulty in repressing a smile, but she put her arms around
the goat's neck and patted her.

"Does that animal belong to you?"  The Captain demanded, puffing a
little in the effort to retain his balance.

Lucia only smiled and nodded.  Garibaldi kicked up her heels in an
ecstasy of joy and sent the soft mud flying.  The Captain's anger broke
all bounds.

"Take that animal and shoot her," he demanded, but before the soldier
could obey, he withdrew the order.  "Tie her to the tree instead, we
may be able to milk her," he said.

The soldier nodded and advanced towards Garibaldi with ponderous
assurance, but Garibaldi was not going to be tied, she preferred her
freedom.  She was not, however, unwilling to play a friendly game of
tag; it was her favorite sport and she was very proficient in it.  When
the big soldier would come within reach of her, she would lower her
head and duck under his arm, and before the astonished pursuer could
collect his wits and look around, she would be browsing innocently
close by.

This game kept up for a long time.  The men who were in sight dropped
what they were doing and made an admiring circle; even the Captain had
to smile.  Lucia wanted to laugh outright, but she managed to keep her
face set in grave lines.

At last the soldier gave up the chase and retired among the jeers of
his comrades to the side lines.  The Captain saw an opportunity to
amuse his men, and perhaps end their grumbling for the time being.  He
offered a reward to the man that could catch the goat.

First one soldier and then another attempted it, but none of them
succeeded.  After a while the fun of the chase wore off for Garibaldi,
and she became angry.  She had a little trick of butting that had won
her Beppi's dislike, and she used it to the discomfiture of the
Austrian army.

Lucia saw them one after another rub their shins and their knees, for
although Garibaldi did not have horns, her head was very, very hard
indeed, and she was afraid that some one of them might grow angry and
hurt her pet.  She looked at the officer and pointed to the goat.

"I can catch her," she said simply.

"Well, do it then," the Captain replied.

Lucia called softly and made a queer clicking noise.  Garibaldi stopped
butting, and walked soberly over to her.  She smiled good-naturedly at
the men, and tied the rope that one of them handed to her around the
goat's neck.  One of the soldiers pointed to a tree behind the shed,
and she tied the rope securely around it Garibaldi protested mildly,
but she patted her and left her lying contentedly in the mud.

She took time to look hastily about her before returning to the shed.
The tree to which the goat was tied was on the edge of a steep hill
that fell away abruptly from the little clearing.

Lucia looked down it, and could hardly believe her eyes; for there, far
below, was a silver stream glistening in the sunshine, and she realized
with a sense of thankfulness that it could be no other than the little
river that flowed below the west wall of Cellino, and right under the
windows of the Convent.  If she could only get away, it would be an
easier matter to go back that way, than over the dangerous route by
which she had come.  But she was not very eager to return at once, for
the idea that had come to her earlier in the day still tempted her to
wait and listen.

When she returned to the shed the Captain was nowhere in sight, and one
of the soldiers pointed to the open door.  She nodded and walked in,
the key grated in the lock, and she was once more a prisoner.



CHAPTER VII

THE BEGGAR

As the sun rose higher, a quiet settled over the clearing.  The men
talked and smoked, and the Captain read a newspaper at the door of his
dugout.

No one bothered Lucia, and she kept very quiet.  She had had nothing to
eat since the night before and she was very hungry, but she would not
for the world ask her enemies for food.  She was not above accepting
it, however, when a little before noon one of the soldiers brought her
a hard and tasteless biscuit and a cup of water.  She ate greedily, and
then tired out from so much excitement she fell asleep.

She awoke an hour later to a scene of activity.  She could see through
the peek-hole that the Captain was consulting his watch every little
while, and the men were hurrying about excitedly.  They all looked up
at a certain mountain above with suspicious eyes, and Lucia could tell
by the tone of their voices that they were angry about something.

A few minutes later the arrival of a very muddy and tired soldier from
the opposite direction created a diversion.  He saluted the Captain and
handed him a message.  Whatever the message was, it pleased the
Captain, for he brought his fist down on his knee and laughed.  Then he
gave some very long; and to Lucia, unintelligible orders, and the men
lost some of their ugly rebellious look.

He chose two soldiers from the group before him, and motioned them into
his dugout.  Lucia tried to make something out of the strange words
that the other men spoke, but she could not.  They were eagerly
questioning the messenger and giving him food and water.  He was
answering them, and from the expression of their faces his replies were
not cheering.  At last he stood up, shrugged his shoulders and for the
first time noticed Garibaldi.

The other soldiers explained, and Lucia knew they were discussing her
when they pointed to the shed.  The messenger evidently suggested
milking the goat, for after a little laughing and jesting, one of the
men took a pail and approached Garibaldi.

Now, no one had ever milked Garibaldi in all her life but Lucia, and
from the disastrous attempts on the part of the soldiers it was evident
that no one was ever going to, if that very particular animal could
prevent it, and she seemed quite able to, to judge from the results.

Lucia watching through the cracks in the shed laughed softly to
herself.  She was not surprised when, a few minutes later, one of the
men opened the door and told her to come out.

He could not speak Italian and he resorted to the sign language.  Lucia
nodded in understanding.  She might have pretended blank stupidity, but
she wanted some milk herself, and this was a good way to get it.
Besides, she decided that she would do something to make it impossible
for them to lock her up again on her return.

Garibaldi stood quite still as she milked her, and submitted meekly to
her affectionate pats.

The messenger drank greedily from the pail, and when he had finished
there seemed to be nothing else for Lucia to do but return to the shed.
She walked back to the door as slowly as possible, and looked hard at
the lock.  It was just an ordinary padlock and it hung open on the
rusty catch.  She looked quickly at the men behind her.  They were busy
talking, and did not appear to be paying any attention to her.

Very quickly, without seeming to do it, she touched the padlock; it
swung on the catch, and then fell into the mud.  Lucia put her foot
over it and ground it in with her heel.

When the soldier remembered her a few minutes later, and came over to
shut the door, he grumbled at the loss of the lock, but he did not
apparently connect her with its disappearance, nor did he bother much
about looking for it.  He shut the door and walked back to join the
group that still surrounded the messenger.

Lucia sat down again and watched the door of the Captain's dugout.  She
had wondered all day what the smiling Italian soldier and Beppi had
done after she left.  She knew that Beppi could easily find his way
back to the cottage, and in case Nana had already gone, and Lucia knew
that in spite of her threats she would not go off alone, he would go
into the town and some one would take care of him.

As for the soldier, he would hear the rat, tat, tat, and know what it
meant, and return to his comrades for help.  She listened, but there
was no sound of guns near enough to mean a fight close at hand.

The thought puzzled her, but she dismissed it as the Captain and the
two soldiers came out of the dugout.  The men looked cross and sullen,
but the Captain was still smiling.  He walked over to the messenger,
handed him a folded paper, and the man disappeared as mysteriously as
he came.

Lucia did not pay any attention to him, however, for she was interested
in the two soldiers.  They were very busy buckling on their kit bags in
preparation for a departure.  When they were ready, they stood at
attention before the Captain.  After more orders from him, they started
off down the hill just back of the shed.

Lucia guessed that they were going to the river, with a cold feeling
around her heart, she realized that they could go straight to the wall
of Cellino.  She did not stop to consider the many sentries who walked
up and down the walls day and night, or the fact that two enemy
soldiers would hardly walk up and attempt to enter a town in broad
daylight.  She only knew that the river led to Cellino, and that all
she loved most in the world was there.

She was sick with fear.  She looked back at the Captain; he was again
consulting his watch.  The soldiers looked at him and fell to grumbling
again.  After a moment of indecision he called to them.

They stood up and saluted.  He gave a very peremptory order, and in a
few minutes almost all of them had their guns on their shoulders, and
waited his next word.  The Captain himself buckled on his revolver, and
the party started off at a brisk pace through the tunnel.

Lucia watched them go.  In a hazy way she realized that they were going
out in search of the men who had left earlier in the morning.  This was
correct in part, but they were also going to look for another party of
men, the ones who had been responsible for the rat, tat, tat, Lucia had
heard.

The diggers, led by her captor, had been sent out that morning to
relieve their comrades already at work.  When none of them returned the
Captain grew anxious, and was himself leading the searching party.

If Lucia had known, she would have realized that her Italian soldier
was in some way responsible for their absence, and she would have been
delighted.  As it was, she dismissed the Captain with a shrug and
turned her attention to the few soldiers who remained.  They were a
little distance from her, and most of them had their backs to her.

Lucia determined to try to slip out unnoticed.  She waited until they
were all talking at once.  By their angry gestures they appeared to be
discussing something of great importance; none of them even glanced
towards the shed.

Lucia pushed open the door very gently and waited.  No one noticed it,
then she laid down flat and crawled out into the mud; it was slow work,
but in the end it proved the best way, for she reached the tree and
Garibaldi without being discovered.  The shed hid her from sight.  She
hurriedly untied the rope and freed the goat.  It had never entered her
mind to escape and leave her behind.

Garibaldi, free once more, ran down the steep hill her hoofs making no
more than a soft, pad, pad noise in the mud.  Lucia dropped to the
ground again and crawled slowly after her.  Below her, almost at the
river's edge, she could see the two soldiers slipping and stumbling
along.

She wriggled on in the mud until she was well below the crest of the
hill, then she got up and began to run.  She jumped from one rock to
the next, always keeping the two men in sight, but keeping under cover
herself.  The men kept to the bank of the river and moved forward
cautiously.  Lucia kept abreast of them, but stayed high up above their
heads.

It was a long walk, for the river twisted and turned many times before
it reached the walls of Cellino.  But it did not tire Lucia, as it did
the two men.  They walked slower and slower as the afternoon wore on,
stopping every few minutes to rest and talk excitedly.

At a little before sunset the guns grew louder and seemed to be much
nearer.  All day there had been a dull rumble, but now they burst out
into a terrific roar.  Lucia saw the men below her stop and look up.
They stood still for a long time, and then hurried on.  Until now the
road had been deserted, but ahead at the end of a footbridge, just
around a sharp turn, Lucia, from her vantage point, could see another
figure.  The soldiers could not have seen him, but when they reached
the turn of the road they both left the open and took cover in the
rocks above.

Lucia watched narrowly.  They did not stop as she half expected them to
do, but crept on until they were abreast of the man.  He was a beggar
to judge by his shabby clothes, and he was apparently whiling away his
afternoon by staring into the river.

Lucia's first thought was that the Austrians would shoot him.  She
caught her breath sharply when a queer thing happened.  One of the
soldiers picked up a stone and threw it down into the stream.



CHAPTER VIII

THE SURPRISE ATTACK

Without turning his head, the beggar picked up a stone and tossed it
into the river.  He repeated this twice.

Lucia watched, fascinated.  The soldiers left their hiding-place and
came down to the road.  The beggar took something out of the pocket of
his coat, handed it to one of the soldiers, and shuffled off in the
opposite direction.

Lucia waited to see what the soldiers would do.  She expected them to
return, but instead they waited until the beggar was out of sight, and
then hurried across the foot-bridge and plunged hurriedly into the
mountains opposite.

Lucia caught sight of their shining helmets every now and then as they
climbed higher and higher, and finally disappeared.  She was undecided
what to do, but after a little hesitation she determined to follow the
beggar.  Now that the Austrians were out of sight there was no need for
her to avoid the open path, and she hurried to it and ran quickly in
the direction that the man had taken.  She did not know where she was,
or how far she would have to go before she reached Cellino.  She had
seen nothing of the town from the mountains, and she guessed that it
was much farther away than she had at first supposed.

She walked on as fast as she could, keeping a sharp lookout for the
beggar, but he had apparently disappeared, for she could not find him
or any trace of him.

It was late in the afternoon when she reached a part of the river that
was familiar to her, and with a start she realized that she was still a
good three miles from Cellino.  She was very tired and very hungry, but
she sat down to consider the best plan to follow.  She knew nothing of
what had passed between the men at the bridge, but she had sense enough
to realize that whatever it was, it was not for the good of the Italian
forces.

Some one must be warned, and soon, for the speed of the Austrian
soldiers made her feel that the danger was imminent.

"I will go on to town and warn them," she said aloud to Garibaldi,
"that is the best plan, and then I can find something to eat."

She jumped up and started off with renewed energy.  At a little path
that turned to the right she left the river and came out on the broad
road at the foot of a valley.  It was not long after that, when she saw
the little white cottage ahead.  The sight of it gave her courage.
There, at any rate, would be a human being to talk to, and bread to
eat.  She ran the rest of the way, and did not pause until she was in
the little room.

The sight that met her eyes sent a sudden damper over her spirits.
Everything was upside down.  The green bed was stripped of its sheets,
and all the familiar ornaments had gone.  Lucia stood dumbfounded
trying to realize that Nana had really gone.  A feeling of loneliness
and despair made the tears come to her eyes.

She clenched her fists and tried to swallow the lump in her throat, but
without success, the tears came in spite of her and in her
disappointment she threw herself down on the bed and sobbed.  Fear got
the better of her, and in an agony of mind she imagined every possible
harm to Beppi.

But she was not allowed to stay long in that state of mind, for
suddenly the guns broke into a terrible roar.  The air was black with
smoke and the house trembled and rocked under her.

She jumped up and ran to the window.  Great volumes of smoke arose to
the east, and higher geysers of dirt and rock flew up into the air.

"The Austrians!"  Lucia did not stop to think in her fear.  She dashed
out of the house and down the road in the opposite direction from the
town.  Without realizing the personal danger to herself, she ran as
fast as she could.  Fear and the noise of the exploding shells sent her
plunging ahead regardless of direction.

Instinctively she took the path to the right at the foot of the village
and climbed up to the little plateau.  She was directly under the fire
of her own guns, but the noise from both sides was so great that she
did not know it, and she forged ahead, shouting.  In all the tumult she
could not even hear her own voice, but to shout relieved her nerves of
the terrible strain.

When she reached the plateau she climbed on up, choosing the spot
where, earlier in the day, the Italian soldiers had come from, and
slipping and sliding, but always goaded on by fear, and the knowledge
that she must tell some one about the beggar, she kept on her way.

She did not know how long she ran, or when it was that she stumbled,
but suddenly everything was black before her eyes, and the noise of the
guns was blotted out by the awful ringing in her ears.  Then came
oblivion.

When she next realized anything, she was conscious of some one bending
over her and holding a water bottle to her lips.  She drank gratefully
and opened her eyes.  The Italian soldier was beside her, and another
man was lying on the ground near her.

"Give me something to eat," she said, trying to sit up, "or I will go
away again."  Going away was the only way she knew of, to express the
sensation of fainting.

The Italian took something out of his knapsack and gave it to her.
Lucia ate ravenously, and the queer feeling at the pit of her stomach
disappeared.

"How did you escape?" he asked.

The question brought back a sudden wave of memory, and Lucia jumped up
excitedly.

"By the river road--two Austrians and a beggar--they met by the
foot-bridge, over there where the noise comes from; I saw them."  She
recalled the facts jerkily.

"Go on!" the Italian's eyes flashed.

"The beggar gave the Austrians a paper, and they left with it and
climbed up into the mountains across the river.  I could not follow
without being seen, and when I tried to find the beggar he had
disappeared.  The river runs right under the wall."

"Oh, look!"  She stopped abruptly and put her hand over her eyes.

A great cloud of fire followed a terrific report, and from the distance
of the hill it looked as if the whole town of Cellino was in flames.

The Italian snatched a field glass that lay on the ground beside the
wounded man, and put it to his eyes.  Then without a word he dashed
off.  Lucia followed him.  A giant tree grew between two huge rocks a
little further up the mountain, and the Italian climbed up it.

Lucia watched him, and for the first time she noticed that several
wires were strung along and ended high up in its branches.  She heard
the Italian calling some directions, and knew that a telephone must be
hidden somewhere in the tree.  She could make nothing of the orders;
they were mostly numbers, and she waited impatiently until he returned
to her.

"Stay here," he said quickly, "and lie down flat--don't move.  The
Austrians are advancing on the other side of the river, and Cellino
will fall if the bridge is not blown up."

"But who can get to it?" Lucia demanded.

"I can; it is mined.  If I can reach it we may drive them back."

He did not wait to say more.

Lucia watched him impatiently as he stumbled and slid clumsily down the
rough trail below her.  The shells were coming nearer and nearer, and
the air was filled with brilliant fire.

She watched the man every second, afraid to lose track of him.  At the
base of the rock he fell.  She caught her breath and shouted aloud when
he picked himself up and stumbled on.  He reached the road and was just
starting across the little path that led to the river, when a shell
exploded so near him that the smoke hid him completely from view.



CHAPTER IX

THE BRIDGE

It was several minutes before Lucia saw him again; he was lying flat, a
little to one side of the road, and he was very still.  She waited,
hoping against hope to see him move, and fighting against the horrible
thought that filled her mind.

"He is dead," she exclaimed, terrified, "and they are moving; and the
bridge!"

Without another thought she got up and very carefully started down the
descent, her mind concentrated on the bridge.  She did not attempt to
go to the road, but kept to the shelter of the rocks, and a little to
one side of the fire.  The shells were bursting all around her, but she
was above the range of the guns, and comparatively safe.

She hurried as fast as she could, but it was hard to keep the
direction, in all the noise and blinding flames.  She did not dare to
look towards Cellino, or think what that hideous column of smoke might
mean.

At last she reached the river, and the bridge was in sight a little
distance ahead.  It was an old stone bridge, and wide enough for men to
walk four abreast.  At that point the river was very wide and the
bridge was made in three arches.  It looked very substantial, and Lucia
stopped, suddenly terrified by the thought that she did not have the
slightest idea how or where to blow it up.

She looked about her as if for inspiration.  She found it in the moving
line of men just visible far above in the mountains.

The Austrians!  They were advancing, and the sudden realization of it
brought out all her courage and daring, and intensified the hatred in
her heart.

"They shall not cross our bridge," she shouted defiantly, and raced
ahead regardless of the rain of shot and shell.

But when she reached the bridge she stopped again, helpless and
completely baffled.  The wall rose above her high and impregnable.  A
little farther along, the window of the convent seemed to be ablaze
with light.  The church had been struck, and Lucia could feel the heat
of the flames from where she stood.

The North Gate seemed miles away, and she turned to the convent.  She
knew there was a door that gave on to the river bank, and she ran
forward.  She found it and pushed frantically against it.  It was
locked, the only other opening being a window higher up.

Lucia looked at it in despair.  It was her only chance.  The glass had
been smashed by the impact of the bursting shells and lay in broken
bits under her feet.  She could just reach the ledge with her hands,
and the stone felt warm.  The wall was rough and uneven, and after a
struggle she managed to find a foothold and pulled herself up.  The
jagged glass still in the casement cut her hands, but she did not stop
to think about it.  Once inside she ran along the dark corridor and up
the few steps that led to the first floor.  The big iron doors were
open, and she caught her first sight of the town.

The convent was just outside, and on the road that led south a great
stream of people carrying every size of bundles, was hurrying along.
Lucia recognized some of them, but the faces she most longed to see
were not there.

She turned away, for the sight seemed to drain all her courage, and she
longed to run after them, but the memory of that moving mass of
soldiers made her true to her trust, and she hurried through the
convent, calling for aid.

At the farthest door she discovered several of the sisters hurrying
about and trying to clear the big ward filled with wounded soldiers.
They had been brought in that morning, and some of them were very ill
indeed.  The sisters were carrying them out on improvised stretchers.
Those who were able to stand up staggered along as best they could by
themselves.  Lucia saw one boy leaning heavily against the door, and
ran to him.

"Roderigo Vicello!" she exclaimed, when she looked up at him.

Roderigo swayed and would have fallen if she had not supported him.

"I can not go," he said weakly.  "I am too tired, and I want to go.  I
have watched her out of sight, but I am too tired to follow."

Lucia looked at him intently.  It seemed to her impossible that a man,
and a soldier, could bother to think of a girl at such a time.  She
took his arm firmly and shook him.

"Do you know how to blow up a bridge that is mined?" she demanded
excitedly.

"Yes, pull out the pin," Roderigo replied, "if it is a time fuse," he
spoke slowly and painstakingly.

"Pin?" Lucia exclaimed impatiently, "I don't understand, you will have
to come.  Listen, the Austrians are just a little way off across the
river, they must not cross the bridge."

Roderigo was alert at once.  The light came back into his eyes and his
body stiffened.

"What are you saying?" he demanded.  "Do you mean, they are coming from
that side?"

"Yes," Lucia exclaimed, "there is no time to spare; hurry, I will help
you."

She put her strong, young arm about his waist, and by leaning most of
his weight on her shoulder he managed to crawl along.  Lucia was half
crazy with impatience, but she suited her step to his, and helped him
all she could.

At last they reached the lower door.  She opened it hurriedly and the
bridge was in sight, but so were the Austrians.  They were so near that
what had seemed one solid mass now resolved itself into individual
shapes.  To Lucia it seemed as if a great sea of men were rushing down
upon them.

The exertion from the walk made Roderigo sway, and just before they
reached the bridge he fell forward.  Lucia crouched down beside him,
and begged and pulled until he was on the bridge.

"Now where is it?  Tell me what to do," she begged, "see they are
almost here."

With a tremendous effort Roderigo pulled himself to the edge of the
bridge and located the mine.  In a voice that was so weak that Lucia
could hardly hear it he gave the directions.  Lucia obeyed.

"When will it go off?" she demanded.  "Will we have time to get away?"

Roderigo shrugged his shoulders.

"You will," he said.  "Run as fast as you can, I don't know how long it
will take."

Lucia did not wait to argue.  She caught him under his arms and dragged
him back to the convent as fast as she could.

Roderigo had given up all hope, but as they drew nearer to the door of
the convent, the wish to live asserted itself, and he got to his feet
and ran with Lucia.  They did not stop until they were safe on the road
beyond.  The last inhabitant of Cellino was out of sight, and it seemed
as if they were alone.

They waited, Lucia supporting Roderigo's head in her arms.

The explosion came, there was a crash, and then a great shaking of the
earth.  Lucia listened, her eyes flashing.

"Wait here," she said to Roderigo, "I will return at once." She ran
hurriedly back to the convent and down again to the door.

The old bridge was ruined.  Great pieces of it were torn out and had
fallen high on the banks.  The center span was entirely gone, and the
river, broad and impassable, ran smoothly between the jagged ends.

Lucia did not stand long in contemplation of the scene before her.  She
hurried back to the road.  A sister was beside Roderigo, and Lucia went
to her.

"It is not safe back in there," she said, pointing to the convent.  "A
shell may hit it."

The sister nodded.

"It hardly matters," she replied quietly.  "No place is safe.  We will
take him there; he is too ill to be carried far."

Lucia agreed, and between them they carried the unconscious Roderigo
back to the ward and laid him gently on one of the beds.

Sister Francesca turned back the cuffs of her robe and began doing what
she could.  As she worked she talked.

"We were all ordered to leave," she said; "but when we were well along
the road I turned back.  It seemed so cowardly to go when we were most
needed.  The rest thought that by night the Austrians would be in
possession, but I could not believe it."

She was a little woman with a soft voice and big blue eyes, and she
spoke with such gentle assurance that Lucia felt comforted.

"They will not come to-night," she said, "for the bridge is down, and
our troops will surely be able to force them back."

Sister Francesca nodded.

"I hope so.  At any rate, there will be wounded and my place is here."

At the word "wounded," the vivid picture of the smoke-choked valley,
the shell explosion, and the still form of the Italian soldier flashed
before Lucia's mind.

"What am I doing here?" she said impatiently.  "There are wounded now
and perhaps we can save them."

She did not offer any further explanation, but slipped out of the big
room and hurried back to the road once more.

The sun had set and twilight gleamed patchy through the clouds of
smoke.  It was still light enough to see, and Lucia hurried to the
gate.  The first sight that she had of Cellino made her stop and
shudder.  The church was in ruins, and every pane of glass was broken
in the entire village.  In their haste the refugees had thrown their
belongings out of their windows to the street below, and then had gone
off and left them.  Great piles of furniture and broken china littered
the way, and stalls had been tipped over in the market place.

No one stopped Lucia; the town was deserted.  She ran hurriedly across
to the North Gate, afraid of the ghostly shadows and unnatural sights.
At the gate a splendid sight met her eyes.

From the convent she had only seen the Austrians, the wall had cut off
her view of the west.  But now she commanded a view of the whole field,
and to her joy the Italians were advancing as steadily from the west as
the Austrians from the east.  They would meet at the river, and at the
memory of the bridge Lucia threw back her head and laughed.  It was not
a merry laugh, but a grim triumphant one, and it held all the relief
that she felt.

But, splendid as the sight before her was, she did not stay long to
look at it.  Below, somewhere in the valley, the Italian soldier of the
shining white teeth and the pennies was lying wounded, or dead, and
nothing could make Lucia stop until she found him.

The heavy artillery fire had let up a little, and the shells were not
quite so many.

Lucia started to run.  She had made up her mind earlier in the day that
if she moved fast enough she would escape being hurt.  She
unconsciously blamed the slowness of the Italian soldier for his
injury.  She passed her cottage half-way down the hill.  It was still
standing, but a shell had dropped on the little goat-shed and blown it
to pieces.  One of the uprights and the door, which was made of stout
branches lashed together with cord, still stood.  The door flapped
drearily and added to the desolation of the scene.

Lucia did not stop to investigate the damage, but hurried ahead.  She
was afraid the light would fade before she reached the wounded soldier.

At the end of the road in the bottom of the valley she was just between
both sides, the shells dropped all about her and she stood still,
bewildered and frightened.

The high mountains on either side made sounding boards for the noise,
and the roar of the guns seemed to double in volume.

"Lie down!"

A voice almost under her foot made her jump, and she saw the Italian
soldier.  She did as he commanded, and he pulled her towards him.

He was very weak, and when he moved one leg dragged behind him.  He
tried to crawl with Lucia into the shell hole close by.  She saw what
he was doing and did her best to help.  When they finally rolled down
into the shell hole, the man groaned.

Lucia could feel that his forehead was wet with great drops of
perspiration.  She found his water bottle and gave him a drink.

"What's happened?" he asked, speaking close to her ear.

Lucia told him as much as she knew.

"Then the bridge has gone?"  There was hope in his voice.

"Gone for good.  They can never cross it, and our men are just over
there."

"How can I get you back?" she asked.  "The convent is so far away."

The soldier shook his head.  "You can't.  We are caught here between
the two fires, it would be certain death to move.  What made you come
back?"

"To find you," Lucia replied.  "I could not come sooner, there was so
much to do.  I even forgot you, but when I remembered, I ran all the
way and now I am helpless."

"Don't give up," the Italian replied.  "You must have courage for both
of us, for I am useless.  My leg has been badly injured by a piece of
shell, and I cannot even crawl."

"Then there is nothing to do but wait for the light," Lucia was
trembling all over.  "Oh, what a long day it has been!"

"But the dawn will come soon," the soldier tried to cheer her, "and
then perhaps the stretcher-bearers will find us.  If they do not--"

"If they do not, I will find a way to take you to the convent," Lucia
replied with sudden spirit, and with the same determination that had
resulted in her blowing up the bridge, she added to herself:

"He shall not die!"



CHAPTER X

GARIBALDI, STRETCHER-BEARER

The long night set in, and the soldier, wearied from his long wait,
dropped to sleep in spite of the noise.  Lucia's tired little body
rested, but her eyes never relaxed their watch in the darkness.

The fire kept up steadily, and at irregular intervals a star-shell
would illuminate the high mountains.  Towards midnight there was an
extra loud explosion, and once more the terrifying flames seemed to
encircle Cellino.

Lucia wondered dully what had been struck.  The church was gone, and
she supposed this was the town hall.  It looked too near, as far as she
could judge, for the convent.

Her ears were becoming accustomed to the sound, and she thought the
fire from both sides was being concentrated towards the south.  The
shells near them lessened, and at last stopped.  Before dawn the
Italian stirred, and called out in his sleep.

Lucia spoke to him, but he did not answer; he was so exhausted that he
was soon unconscious again.

Lucia watched the east, and tried to imagine Beppi safe and sound in a
town far away from this terrible din, but she could be sure of nothing.
She remembered Roderigo's words, 'She is safe,' and knew that he must
have meant Maria.  Surely Beppi and Nana were with her and Aunt Rudini;
it could not be otherwise.

With a guilty start she remembered Garibaldi.  Where was she, and what
had become of her in all the terrors of yesterday?  Lucia could not
remember having noticed her after she left the footbridge.  Was she
safe in the mountains, or lying dead in a shell hole?

"My Garibaldi, poor little one, she would not understand, and she will
think I neglected her."

Tears of pity and weariness stung Lucia's cheeks.  The thought of her
little goat, suffering and neglected, seemed to be more than she could
bear.  She buried her head in her arm and cried softly.  The tears were
a relief to her, and long after she had stopped sobbing they trickled
down her cheeks.

She fell into a light doze now that her watch was so nearly ended, and
did not waken until the east was streaked with gray.  She might not
have awakened then, had it not been for a cold, wet nose burrowing in
her neck, and a plaintive, "Naa, Naa!"

She sat up suddenly to discover Garibaldi, covered with mud from her
ears to her tail, looking very woe-begone, standing beside her.
Regardless of the mud Lucia threw her arms around her pet, and for once
in her life the little goat seemed to return her caress.

When Lucia lifted her head there was a smile on her lips, and the old
light of determination shone in her eyes.  She got to her knees slowly
and looked about her.  The guns were booming back and forth, but their
position seemed to be changed.  The Austrian guns still sounded from
across the river, but their range was much farther south.

Lucia looked towards the west.  None of the guns that were there the
night before could be heard.  With a throb of joy she realized that the
booming now came from the town.

"Had the Italians crept up and into Cellino during the night?"  The
very idea was so exciting that she could not rest until she made sure.

She stood up and walked over to the road.  The gate had an odd
appearance in the half light.  She walked up the hill a little way,
rubbing her eyes as she went.  Something behind the wall seemed to
appear suddenly, emit a puff of smoke, and then disappear.

Lucia had never seen a big gun in her life, and she did not know that
one was hidden securely in the cover of the wall near the ruins of the
church, for so quietly had the great monster arrived, and so stealthily
had the soldiers worked, that its sudden appearance seemed almost a
miracle.

Lucia put it down as one, and offered her prayer of thankfulness from
the middle of the muddy road.  Then the work at hand took the place of
her surprise, and she ran back to her wounded soldier and roused him
gently.  He opened his eyes; they were bright with fever, and he tossed
restlessly.

Lucia tried to move him, but could not.  He was very big, and she could
not pull him as she had the slender Roderigo.

As she stopped to consider, the walls of Cellino suddenly seemed to let
loose a fury of smoke and flame.  Nothing that had happened during the
day before equalled it.  The big guns boomed and the smaller ones sent
out sharp, cracking noises that were even more terrifying.

Poor Lucia dropped to her face again, and Garibaldi cowered beside her.

Nothing seemed to happen.  The shells did not fall near them as she had
expected, and after her first fright had passed, she got to her feet
again.

Tugging at the soldier was useless, and an idea was forming in her
mind.  She ran as fast as she could up the hill to the cottage, calling
Garibaldi to follow.

At the shed she stopped and looked at the door.  It was light, and she
soon tore it away from its support.  Then she went into the cottage and
came back with a rope.  She made a loop and put it over the goat's
head.  Then with two long pieces she contrived a harness and hitched
the door to it.  One end dragged on the ground, and the other was about
a foot above it.  The rope was crossed on the goat's back and tied
firmly to the long ends of the door that did duty as shafts.  Garibaldi
was too disheartened to protest, and Lucia had little trouble in
leading her down the hill.

The soldier was delirious when she reached him, but he was so weak that
it was an easy matter to roll him on to the improvised stretcher.

Lucia took hold of one shaft, and with Garibaldi pulling too, they
started off.

It was a long and weary climb, but at last they reached the cottage.

The terrible jolting had been agony for the soldier.  He regained
consciousness on the way, and from time to time a groan escaped him.
But when he was in the house he did his best to smile, and crawled onto
the mattress that Lucia had pulled to the floor.

She made haste to take off his knapsack, and under his direction she
dressed the ugly wound in his thigh.  Her fingers, only used to rough
work, moved clumsily, but she managed to make him a little more
comfortable.  He smiled up at her bravely.

"Poor little one, you are tired.  Go and eat," he whispered.  And
Lucia, after she saw his head sink back on the pillow, found a stale
loaf of black bread and began to munch it slowly.

The soldier pointed to his knapsack and told her to eat whatever she
found in it.

"There should be some of my emergency rations left," he said faintly.

Lucia found some dried beef and offered it to him, but he shook his
head and asked for a drink of water.  She gave it to him, but his eyes
closed and his head fell back as he drank.  She ate all the beef and a
cake of chocolate that she found; and then went to the door to look out.

Cellino was enveloped in smoke and she could not see the gate.  The
guns were barking, and little spurts of white smoke seemed to punctuate
each separate fire.  Away to the east the enemy's guns were still
booming.

Lucia realized that a hard battle was under way, and that it would be
useless to try to get help until there was a lull.  She returned to the
room and looked down at the soldier.  He was moaning softly, and his
eyes looked up at her beseechingly.



CHAPTER XI

THE AMERICAN

"Are you suffering very much?" she asked softly.

The man nodded, his eyes closed, and a queer pallor came over his face.
Lucia was suddenly terrified.  She felt very helpless in this battle
with death, but her determination never left her.

She ran to the door.  Poor Garibaldi was still standing hitched to the
stretcher.  Lucia went to her and led her back to the door of the
cottage.  She looked half-fearfully, half-angrily at the town above her.

"He shall not die!" she said between her teeth, and went back into the
house.

The transfer from the bed to the stretcher was very difficult to
manage, for the poor soldier was beyond helping himself.  But Lucia
succeeded without hurting him too much, and once more the strange trio
started out on their climb.

They were in no great danger, for only an occasional shell burst near
them.  The fighting was going on below the east wall.  Lucia and
Garibaldi toiled up the hill, each one using every bit of their
strength.

[Illustration: "Lucia and Garibaldi toiled up the hill, each one using
every bit of their strength."]

The soldier was limp and lifeless, his head rolled with every bump.  He
looked like one dead, but Lucia refused even to consider such a
possibility.  She urged Garibaldi on and tugged with determined
persistence.

They were just below the wall when Lucia stopped to rest.  The little
goat was staggering from the exertion, and she was out of breath.  She
looked at the gate, it was only a little way off, but it seemed miles,
and she wondered if she could go on.

She looked up at the wall.  A man dressed in a uniform unlike the
Italian soldiers was looking down at her.  Lucia called to him just as
he jumped to the ground.  She held her breath expecting to see him
hurt, but he landed on his feet and ran to her.

"For the love of Pete, what have you got there?" he asked in a language
that Lucia did not understand.

She looked up at him bewildered.

"I do not understand what you say, but the soldier is very sick.
Please help me carry him to the convent," she said hurriedly.

"Hum, well you may be right," the big man laughed, "but I guess what
you want is help."

He leaned over the wounded Italian.

"Pretty far gone, but there's hope.  Steady now, I've got you."  He
lifted the man gently in his arms and carried him on his back.

Lucia watched him with admiration shining in her eyes.  She followed
with the goat through the gate.

Once in the town she could hardly believe her eyes.  Soldiers seemed to
be everywhere, shouting and calling from one to the other.  She saw the
little guns that were making all the sharp, clicking noises, and she
knew that just below, and on the other side of the river, the Austrians
were fighting desperately.

They passed many wounded as they hurried along, and to each one the big
man would call out cheerily.  Lucia wished she could understand what he
said, or even what language he spoke.  It was not German, of course,
and she did not think it was French.

"Perhaps he was a tourist?" she asked him shyly, but he shook his head.

"I don't get you, I'm sorry.  I'm an American, you see."

"Oh, Americano!"  Lucia clapped her hands delightedly.  "I am glad, I
thought so, American is the name of the tourists, just as I guessed,"
she replied.  "I have heard of Americans and I have seen some in the
summer, but they were not like you."

She looked up in his face and smiled.

The American did not understand a word of her Italian, but he saw the
smile, and answered it with a good-natured grin.

"You're a funny kid," he said.  "I wish I could find out what you are
talking about, and where you got ahold of that queer rig and the goat."

They had reached the other gate by now, and they hurried through it and
to the convent.

Several of the sisters had returned, and there were doctors and nurses
all busy in the long room where, the night before, Lucia had left
Roderigo and Sister Francesca.

The American laid the soldier down on one of the beds, and hurried to
one of the doctors.

"Saw this youngster dragging this man on a sort of stretcher hitched to
a goat," he said.  "He's pretty bad.  Better look at him."

The doctor nodded.  Lucia stood beside her soldier and waited.  She was
almost afraid of what the doctor would say.  He leaned over him and
began taking off his muddy uniform, while the American helped.  When he
had examined the wound, he hurried over to a table and came back with a
queer looking instrument.  To Lucia it looked like a small bottle
attached to a very long needle.

"Don't, don't, you are cruel!" she protested, as he pushed it slowly
into the soldier.  She put out her hand angrily, but the American
pulled her back.

"It's all right," he said soothingly.  "It's to make him well."

Lucia shook her head, and the doctor turned to her.  He spoke excellent
Italian.

"It is to save his life, child, and it doesn't hurt him, I promise you.
Now tell me, where did you find him?"

Lucia explained hurriedly.  The story, as it came from her excited
lips, sounded like some wild, distorted dream.  The doctor called to
Sister Francesca.

"Is this child telling me the truth?" he asked wonderingly.

"As far as I know," she said; "and that boy in the third cot blew up
the bridge.  I know she went out to find the wounded."

The doctor did not reply at once.  He was hunting for the soldier's
identification tag.  When he found it, he read it and whistled.

"Captain Riccardi!" he exclaimed.  "By Jove, we can't let him die."

It could not be said that the doctor redoubled his efforts, for he was
working his best then, but he added perhaps a little more interest to
his work.

The American helped him, and Lucia, at a word from Sister Francesca,
hurried to her and helped her with what she was doing.  It was not
until many hours later that she stopped working, for more wounded were
being brought in every few minutes by the other stretcher-bearers, and
there was much to do.  But at last there was a lull, and Lucia ran
through the long corridor and down to the door.

She opened it a crack and looked out.  Before her, stretched along the
banks of the river, were countless Austrian soldiers, staggering and
fighting in a wild attempt to run away from the guns in the wall that
mowed them down pitilessly.  The officers tried to drive them on, but
the men were too terrified, they could not advance under such steady
fire.  A little farther on, there was the beginning of a rude bridge.
The enemy had evidently tried to build it during the night, but had
been forced to abandon it after the Italians reached their new position.

As Lucia watched, the men seemed to form in some sort of order, and
retreat back into the hills.  Their guns stopped suddenly, and only the
Italian fire continued.

It was a horrible scene, and in spite of the splendid knowledge that an
undisputed victory was theirs, Lucia turned away and closed the door
behind her.  She ran up to the big door and out on the road.

There were signs of the battle all about her in the big shell holes in
the road, and in the ruins still smoking inside the walls, but there
was no such sight as she had just witnessed, and she took a deep breath
of the warm fresh air.



CHAPTER XII

A REUNION

She shaded her eyes and looked down the road.

Garibaldi, freed from her harness, was lying down in the sunshine, and
as Lucia watched her she saw a familiar figure running towards her.
She saw it stop and pat the goat.  With a cry of joy she recognized
Maria, bedraggled and muddy, but without doubt Maria.  She ran forward
to meet her.

"Maria, where have you come from?" she called as the older girl threw
herself into her out-stretched arms and began to cry.

"Oh, from miles and miles away!  I have been running since late last
night," she sobbed.

"But what has happened?  Beppi, Nana, are they safe?" Lucia demanded.

"Yes, yes, they are all safe with mother," Maria replied.

"Then why did you come back?" Lucia persisted.

"Oh, I could not bear it!"  Maria tried to stifle her sobs.  "All
yesterday, as we ran away from the guns, I kept thinking--back there,
there is work and I am running away.  I knew that you were here, and I
thought you were killed.  Nana was half crazy with fear and we could
get nothing out of her."

"But Beppi, he is safe, and aunt is taking care of him?" Lucia insisted.

"Oh, he is safe, of course, and so excited over his adventure, but he
was crying for you last night, and we had hard work to comfort him."

Maria paused, and Lucia looked into her eyes.  There was a question
there and she knew that her cousin did not give voice to it.  She put
her arm around her and led her back towards the convent.

"Come," she said, smiling with something of her old mischievousness.
"There is much to be done, and I will take you to Sister Francesca.
She will tell you where to begin."

Maria followed her.

Lucia went back to the ward and did not stop until she stood beside
Roderigo's bed.  He was asleep, but his brows were drawn together in a
worried frown.  Lucia put her finger on her lip and turned to her
cousin and pointed.  Maria looked; a glad light came into her eyes, and
without a sound she fell on her knees beside the bed.

Lucia left her and went over to Sister Francesca.  She was awfully
tired, and her arms were numb, but she did not dare stop for fear she
would not be able to begin again.

"What can I do?" she asked.

Sister Francesca pointed to two empty buckets.  "Go out to the well and
fill those.  We need more water badly," she said, without looking up.

Lucia picked up the pails and walked to the end of the room, through a
little side door and into a cloister.  In the center of it was an old
well that she worked by turning an iron wheel.

Lucia drew the water and poured it into her pails, and started back
with them.  It had been all her tired arm could do to lift the empty
ones, but now each step made sharp pains go up to her shoulders.  She
staggered along with them, fighting hard against the dizziness in her
head, but when she was half-way down the ward everything began to swim
before her.  She swayed, lost her balance, and would have fallen had
not a strong arm caught her.  The pails fell to the floor, the water
splashing over the tops.

Through the singing in her ears she heard an angry voice.

"Poor youngster, whoever sent her out for water?  Seems to me she's
earned a rest.  Here, sister, help me, will you?"

Then Maria's soft voice came to her.

"Lucia dear, don't look like that!" she cried excitedly.  "Here, senor,
put her on the bed, so."

She felt herself being lifted ever so gently, and then the soothing
comfort of a mattress and a pillow stole over her and she fell sound
asleep.

She did not wake up until late in the afternoon.  The sun was setting
and the long ward was in deep shadow.  She opened her eyes for a minute
and then closed them again.  She was too blissfully comfortable to make
any effort.

She was conscious first of all of a strange quiet.  The guns seemed to
have very nearly stopped, there was only a faint rumble in the
distance, and an occasional sputter from the guns near by.

The enemy had retreated beyond, far into the hills, and for the time
being Cellino was safe.  Lucia guessed as much and smiled to herself.

People tiptoed about the room near her, and she could hear their voices
indistinctly.  She did not try to hear what they said, she was too
tired to think.  She snuggled closer in the soft pillows and sighed
contentedly, but before long a voice near her separated itself from the
rest, and she heard:

"We will go to my beautiful Napoli, you and I, and I will show you the
water, blue as the sky, and we will be very happy, and by and by you
will forget this terrible war, as a baby forgets a bad dream."

Lucia opened one eye and moved her head so that she could see the
speaker.  He was Roderigo, of course, and he was holding Maria's hand
and talking very earnestly.

Lucia eavesdropped shamelessly.  She was curious to hear what her
cousin would say.

"But surely you will not fight again!" Maria's voice was pleading.
"You are so sick, they will not send you back again."

"But I must go back, my wound is not a bad one and I will be well in no
time, and I must go back.  Think how foolish it would be, if I was to
say, 'Oh, yes, I fought for two days in the great war.'  You would be
ashamed of me, and that little cousin of yours, Lucia, she would think
me a fine soldier."

Lucia laughed aloud and the voices stopped.

Maria's cheeks flushed and she jumped up.

"Are you awake, dear?" she asked hurriedly, "then I will go and tell
Sister Francesca and the Doctor."

She hurried off.  Lucia sat up and looked at Roderigo.  She was a sorry
sight in her muddy clothes, and her hair fell about her shoulders.

"You are a fine soldier, Roderigo Vicello," she said impulsively, "and
I would say so if you had only fought for one day, for I know how brave
you are.  But you are right to want to go back."

"Yes, I am right," Roderigo replied.  He stretched out his hand and
Lucia slipped hers into it.

"We have been comrades, you and I," he said, "and we understand why."

Lucia nodded gravely.  She felt suddenly very proud.

The Doctor came back a minute later with Maria.

"Well, are you rested enough to be moved?" he asked, smiling.

"Oh, yes I am quite all right," Lucia assured him.

"Well, I wouldn't brag too much," the Doctor laughed.  "You'll find you
are pretty shaky.  Sister Francesca has a little room fixed for you and
some clean clothes; how does that sound?"

Lucia smiled in reply, and the American came over at the Doctor's call.

"Think you can manage to carry the little lady, Lathrop?" he asked.

"Guess so."

Lucia felt the strong arms lift her, as if she weighed no more than a
feather.  He carried her down the ward and up a flight of stairs.
Sister Francesca was waiting for them at the door of the little room.
It had been one of the sister's cells.  With her help Lucia was soon in
a coarse white nightgown and tucked in between clean sheets.

The Doctor came in to see her a little later.

"How is my soldier of the pennies?" she asked, and then as she realized
he would not understand she added, "the one I brought up the hill."

"Oh, Captain Riccardi, he's still very ill, but he is going to pull
through all right."

Lucia smiled.

"Oh, I am glad," she said.  "I was so afraid, he looked so queer."

"Well, don't worry any more," the Doctor replied, "and now what do you
want?"

Lucia sighed contentedly.

"Something to eat, if you please," she said shyly, "I am very hungry."



CHAPTER XIII

AN INTERRUPTED DREAM

A week passed, a week of lazy luxury between cool linen sheets for
Lucia, and she enjoyed her rest to its fullest extent.  Every one in
the convent, which was now a hospital, and running smoothly with
capable American nurses, made a great fuss over her, and she had so
much care that sometimes she was just the least bit bored.  When the
week was over, and she was feeling herself again, she grew restless and
clamored to get up.  Even the sheets, and the delicious things she had
to eat, could not keep her contented.  At last the Doctor said she
might go out for a few hours into the sunshine, and the whole hospital
hummed with the news.

Maria, in a white apron and cap, helped her dress, and went with her
down the stone steps and out into the convent garden.

The first thing that met her eye was Garibaldi, clean and lazy, lying
contentedly in the sun.  She came over and seemed delighted to see her
mistress once more.

"But you are so clean, my pet!" Lucia exclaimed.  "And your coat looks
as if it had been brushed," she added, wonderingly.

Maria laughed.

"It was.  The big American, Señor Lathrop, makes so much fuss over her,
you would think she was a fine horse."

"What about Señor Lathrop?" a laughing voice demanded.  "Oh, drat this
language, I keep forgetting."  He stopped and then said very slowly in
Italian: "Good morning, how are you this morning?"

"Oh, I am very well, and you," Lucia replied, "you have been very good
to take such care of Garibaldi."

"Garibaldi?  I don't understand," Lathrop replied.

Lucia pointed to the goat and said slowly.  "That is her name."

"Name!  The goat's name Garibaldi!" Lathrop exclaimed, and added in
English, "Well I'll be darned!"

"Not just Garibaldi," Lucia corrected him.  "Her name is 'The
Illustrious and Gentile Señora Guiseppe Garibaldi,' but we call her
Garibaldi for short."

Lathrop understood enough of her reply to catch the name.  He threw
back his head and laughed uproariously.

"All that for a goat!  No wonder she was a good sport with a name like
that to live up to!"

He stood for a long time looking at the poor, shaggy animal before him,
then he laughed again and went into the convent.

"He is a funny man," Lucia said wonderingly.  "Why should he laugh
because of Garibaldi's name?"

"Oh, he meant no disrespect," Maria reasoned.  "Americans all laugh at
everything.  The nurses are the same, they are always laughing.  If
anything goes wrong and I want to stamp my foot, they laugh."

Lucia was somewhat mollified.  "What is the news?" she demanded, "I
have been up there in my little room for so long, no one would tell me
anything.  Sister Francesca would smile and say, 'Everything is for the
best, dear child,' when I asked for news of the front, and I was
ashamed to ask again, but you tell me."

"Oh, there is nothing but good news," Maria replied.  "We are gaining
everywhere.  The night after the battle, some of our soldiers built a
bridge over the river and crossed, and when the Austrians rallied for a
counter-charge they were ready for them and took them by surprise."

Maria paused, and her eyes filled with tears.  "And only think, Lucia,
if you had not destroyed the bridge and warned the Captain of the
beggar man, we might have been taken by surprise, and Cellino would be
an Austrian village.  Oh, I tell you the ward rings with your praise.
The men talk of nothing else."

"Nonsense, I did not do it alone.  How about your Roderigo?  He is the
one who deserves the praise.  But tell me, how is my soldier of the
pennies?  I am never sure that the Doctor tells me truly how he is."

"Why do you call him 'your soldier of the pennies'?" Maria asked.  "His
name is Captain Riccardi, and he is very brave.  Every one knows about
him, and some of the boys say he is the bravest man in the Italian
army."

"Perhaps he is," Lucia laughed, "but he is my soldier of the pennies,
just the same, that's the name I love him by."

"But I don't understand," Maria protested, "did you know him before?"

"Yes and no," Lucia teased.  "I did not know his name, or what he
looked like, but I knew there was a soldier of the pennies somewhere."

"But tell me," Maria begged.  "I am so curious."

Lucia laughed.  "Very well, it is a queer thing.  Listen.  Do you
remember how for a few days about a week before this battle, I only
brought two pails of milk to your stall in the morning?"

Maria nodded.

"Well, the rest of the milk went to Captain Riccardi, but I did not
know it.  You see, one day Garibaldi ran away and went far up into the
hills.  I think the guns frightened her, and of course I went after
her.  I found her on a little plateau quite far up, and because I was
tired I sat down to rest, keeping tight hold of her, you may be sure.
I was dreaming and thinking, and oh, a long way off, when suddenly I
heard a voice above me.  I looked up; my, but I was frightened, I can
tell you, but I could see no one.  The voice said: 'Little goat herder,
will you give me a drink of milk?'"

Lucia stopped.

"Go on!" Maria exclaimed.  "What did you do?"

"I am ashamed to say," Lucia replied, "I was so frightened that I ran
back down the mountain as if the evil spirit were after me, and I did
not stop until I was safe at home.  Then I began to think.  Of course,
at first I had thought only of an Austrian, but when I stopped to
think, I knew that Austrians don't speak such Italian--low and very
soft this was, as my mother used to speak, and your Roderigo.  Well,
then of course, I wanted to die of shame; I had run away from one of
the soldiers.  I thought about it all night, and I could not sleep.
Just before dawn I got up very softly and went down to the shed.  I
filled two pails half-full and carried them up to the same place.

"I could not see or hear any one, but I left them, and that afternoon I
went back to see if it had been taken away.  There were the empty
pails, and beside them a strip of paper with four pennies wrapped up
inside.

"After that, I took the milk up every day to the plateau, but I never
saw or heard the soldier again.  Sometimes he would write me a little
note and say 'thank you,' to me, but always there was the money.  So
that is why I called him my soldier of the pennies; do you see?"

"Oh, yes, how splendid!" Maria was delighted.  "And to think it was
Captain Riccardi all the time.  No wonder now that he talks sometimes
in his sleep of the little goat-herder and her flowered dress.  He was
an observer, Roderigo told me.  That is a very important thing to be,
and he was hidden high up in a tree.  That is why you did not see him."

Lucia thought of the telephone.

"I know now, of course, for I saw him climb up it and talk over the
wire to the soldiers miles away," she exclaimed.  "But how could I
think to look in a tree for a soldier?" she laughed.

A bell tinkled, and Maria sprang up.

"I must go, it is my time to be on duty," she said, smoothing her apron
and settling her cap importantly, "I will come back when I can."

Lucia looked envious.  "Do not be long," she called after her.

She settled back with a sigh, and the little goat came over to have her
neck patted.  Lucia stroked it lovingly.

"Garibaldi," she said aloud, "we are in a dream, you and I, and soon we
will both wake up and find ourselves back in the white cottage with
Nana scolding because we are late for supper.  And we'll be sorry too,
won't we?  For that will mean that the beautiful sheets and the soft
pillow will vanish the way they do in the fairy tales, and this lovely
garden will go too."

"But what if there were another one to take its place?" a voice
inquired from the doorway.



CHAPTER XIV

THE FAIRY GODFATHER

Lucia turned and looked up quickly.  She was startled and not a little
embarrassed at having her confidence overheard.

Through the door that led from the ward the American was pushing a bed
on wheels.  Lucia had seen that same bed many times before.  It had
belonged to the old Mother Superior of the convent, and many a bright
morning she had seen it out in the garden as she sat at her desk in the
schoolroom above.

She looked at the white pillow half expecting to see the old wrinkled
face of Mother Cecelia, but instead Captain Riccardi looked up at her
and smiled.

"See, I've found you at last," he said, as Lathrop pushed the bed
beside Lucia's chair.  "I was beginning to think that you were just a
dream child, and that I had imagined about the milk."

Lucia laughed gayly.

"No, Captain, that was not a dream, or I hope it wasn't, for if the
milk was not real then I dreamed about the pennies, and the sick
soldiers never got them."

"Sick soldiers!  Did you give away the money?"

"Oh yes, sir, how could I keep it?  I did not know you were a Captain,
I thought--"

"You thought I was just a poor soldier, eh?"

"Well, yes, if you will excuse me for saying so, I did, but anyway I
would not have kept the money."

"Why not?"

"How can you ask?  Why because, to accept pay for something--and such a
little thing as a pail of milk--"

"Two pails."

"No, just one, they were only half-full, but no matter.  I wanted to
give away the milk, not sell it, and so I put the pennies in the box at
church."

"And all the time I thought you were perhaps buying pretty ribbons with
it."

Captain Riccardi shook his head.  "But I might have known better."

"Ribbons!"  Lucia scorned the idea.  "What do I need with such
foolishness, with a war going on just under my nose!  I had other
things to think about, I can tell you, and other ways to spend my
pennies."

The Captain looked at her gravely.  Then he took her hand and patted it
gently.

"You are a brave and true little Italian," he said, "and I can never
hope to pay you for what you have done.  You will have to look for your
reward in your own heart.  It ought to be a very happy and contented
heart, I should think."

Lucia's cheeks flushed with pride.

"Oh, it is, Captain Riccardi," she said, "it is indeed, and I am quite
content.  If you heard what I said just now about the dream, you must
not think that I don't want to go back to the cottage--I do, and I want
so much to see my Beppino and Nana again--only--"

"Tell me about that 'only' Lucia," the Captain said gently.  "That is
what I want to hear, and then perhaps I will have something to tell
you."

"Oh, it is nothing but silliness," Lucia protested, "how can it matter?"

"Never mind, tell me," the Captain insisted.

"But you will laugh.  What do big men know of fairy stories!"

"Lots, sometimes--I believe in fairies."

Lucia looked into the smiling eyes incredulously, "You, a soldier!"

"Of course, haven't I told you that I thought you were a fairy when I
first saw you, and by the Saints, I did too.  Do you know, I first
discovered you way down in the valley.  You were with your goats.  I
looked at you through my glass, and your pretty flowered dress, and the
kerchief you wore over your hair, made me think of the little girls at
home."

"Ah, then you come from the south, too?" Lucia laughed.  "I knew it."

"How do you?" the Captain demanded.

Lucia shook her head sadly.

"No, my mother came from Napoli.  When I was a little girl she used to
tell me all about the sunshine and the flowers, and the blue water in
the bay, and old grandfather Vesuvius always frowning and puffing in
the distance.  Oh, I tell you I feel sometimes as if I had been there,
but, of course, that is silly," she broke off, laughing, "for I have
never been away from Cellino."

"Would you like to go away to the south and live there?" Captain
Riccardi asked slowly.

"Oh, yes, of course.  I dream sometimes that I am a princess and that a
wicked fairy has turned me into a goat-herder and forced me to live
here where it is so very cold sometimes, and then I wish hard for a
good fairy to come and set me free, and take me on a magic carpet away
to a garden full of flowers.  There," she smiled shyly, "that is what I
was thinking of out loud when you came a minute ago."

The Captain did not laugh, except with his eyes.  His voice was very
grave as he asked.

"Wouldn't a prince or a fairy godfather do just as well?"

"Oh, yes, even better," Lucia replied seriously.

"Well then, what would you say if I told you that I am a fairy
godfather, and that I can spirit you to a garden even nicer than this,
where it is always summer?"

"I would surely say you were telling me fairy tales," Lucia replied
frankly.

The Captain laughed delightedly.

"But I'm not, Lucia," he said seriously.  "I'm telling you the truth.
Down in the south I have a big house set in the very heart of a
beautiful garden, and I live there all by myself."

"Oh!"  Lucia's big eyes were full of genuine sympathy.

"A long time ago, I used to have a little sister like you, but she
died, and since then I have been ever and ever so lonely.  How would
you like to come and be my sister?  I'd take awfully good care of you,
and Garibaldi."

For an instant Lucia's eyes danced with happiness, but it was only for
an instant, then her face fell.

"Oh, I would like that Captain, so very much," she said, "but I could
not leave Beppino and Nana."

Captain Riccardi looked at her in silence for a moment, then he said
slowly, "Of course, you couldn't.  I forgot them for the moment.  But
of course I meant to include them in the invitation.  I am very fond of
Beppino already.  We had quite a chat that day in the cave."

"Oh, but you don't mean it!" Lucia jumped up excitedly.  "To live with
you and Nana and Beppi and Garibaldi in a garden,--oh! but of course,
it is not so, and I shall presently wake up."

"Wake up in the little white cottage and milk the goats and trudge to
town with the heavy pails?" the Captain said.

Lucia nodded soberly.

"Not it I can help it, you won't," he added with decision.  "You'll
never do another stroke of hard work again."

"But are there no goats in your garden to milk, and no work to do?"
Lucia looked bewildered.

"Yes, but there's a lot of people to do it,--so many in fact, that all
you will have to do is to pick flowers and tell Beppi and me fairy
stories.  Will you come?"

"Oh!"  Lucia stamped her foot.  "If this is only a dream!" she
exclaimed half angrily, "I shall surely die of misery when I wake up."

"It's no dream, little sister, it's true, and it won't be long before
you realize it.  This leg is going to take a long time in healing, but
as soon as it is better we will go home, then when I am well enough to
go back to fight, you will stay in the garden and keep it looking
beautiful for me until I return."

For a full moment Lucia stared into the Captain's eyes, while the
wonderful truth dawned on her, then her emotion being far beyond words,
she threw her arms around him and kissed him heartily.



CHAPTER XV

EXCITING NEWS

"Lucia, Lucia, such exciting news, come here at once!"  Maria ran up
the stairs excitedly.

Lucia, who was busy helping Sister Francesca put away the clean sheets,
dropped what she was doing and ran down the corridor.

"What is it!" she demanded.  "Have the Austrians surrendered?"

"No," Maria stopped, breathless from her haste, "that is, not yet,
though Roderigo says--"

"Oh, oh, oh!" Lucia protested.  "Don't start on what Roderigo says, or
we will never learn the news."

Maria pouted.  "For that I have a good mind not to tell you," she
threatened.

"Then I shall go downstairs myself and find out," Lucia replied, not
one whit disturbed.

"Then I may as well tell you," Maria laughed, "for the ward hums with
it.  The King is coming--think of it--he is coming to Cellino
to-morrow, and he is to go through the hospital and see all the
wounded.  Only fancy, our King!"

"Who told you?"  Lucia's eyes flashed excitedly.  Her loyal little
Italian heart beat with eager anticipation.

"Do you suppose I can see him?" she demanded, "but of course, I must,
even if I have to hide under the Captain's bed.  He is sure to stop and
speak to my Captain," she added with pride.

"Oh, Roderigo says that he always stops and speaks to all the wounded
and shakes their hands, and is very kind and so sorry always when they
are badly hurt.  Roderigo says he has talked to soldiers who have won
decorations, and the King himself pins them on--just think of it!"

Lucia gave a profound sigh.

"If he ever spoke to me," she said solemnly, "I would die of joy."

It was several days after Lucia and the Captain had talked in the
garden, and Lucia was beginning to grow accustomed to the wonderful
idea.  Her dreams were coming true at last, and she had to admit to
herself that she always believed that they would.  Captain Riccardi was
truly a fairy godfather in her eyes, and she proved her gratitude for
his kindness in a hundred little ways a day.  It never seemed to enter
her mind that all he was offering, wonderful as it was, could not pay
her for her courage in saving his life.

She insisted upon laying all the credit on his shoulders, and with a
smile and a shrug the Captain accepted the double share, and determined
in his big heart to be worthy of it.

When Lucia and Maria went down to the ward a little later, the patients
were indeed humming with the news.  Every face wore a smile of keen
joy, and the nurses hurried about to be sure everything was in perfect
order.

Lucia was well enough now to go wherever she pleased, and after she had
talked for a few minutes with Captain Riccardi, and made sure that
Maria had not exaggerated, she went out of the convent with the
intention of going into town.  Some of the refugees had returned, but
so far there had been no news of Señora Rudini, Nana, or Beppi, and she
was growing anxious.

As she walked down the broad steps, she saw Lathrop coming towards her.
Lucia was particularly fond of the big American, and she smiled as she
saw him.

"Hello!" he greeted.

Lucia returned the salutation.

"Do you know that the King is coming?" she demanded.

Lathrop understood the word King, and as the town was talking of
nothing else he guessed what she meant.

"Yes," he replied in Italian, "nice--glad--you."

Lucia laughed.

"Oh, but you are so funny.  How I wish you could speak so that I could
understand you!" she said.

Lathrop shook his head.  "There she goes again, I didn't get even one
word this time."

He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a letter.

"See," he said, pointing to it.

Lucia nodded.  Lathrop scratched his head.

"You--in--letter," he said painstakingly, "Girl, American."

"Oh, you have put me in your letter?  How nice!" Lucia said.  "What did
you say?"

"I get you, but I'm blest if I can tell you, and it's a shame, too.
You're such a little winner, you and your Mrs. Garibaldi, that I'd like
to be able to tell you so.  But I guess it's hopeless."

All of which Lucia listened to politely, but without the first idea of
its meaning.

She nodded towards the gate and they walked towards it together.
Lathrop mailed his letter, and they stopped to look at the ruins.
Lucia questioned some soldiers who were clearing the streets as best
they could.

The town hall, at the end of the market-place, was still standing, and
to-day it was draped in Italian flags.  It looked older and more
dignified than ever, amid the ruins, and the flag floated bravely in
the crisp fall breeze.  Lucia and Lathrop stopped to look at it.
Lucia's eyes sparkled and she threw an impulsive kiss towards it.
Lathrop saluted respectfully.

As they turned to go back they noticed a crowd of soldiers and some of
the townspeople gathered about the gate.

"What can the matter be?" Lucia exclaimed, hurrying forward.  "Perhaps
it is the King."

They ran to the gate and questioned some of the soldiers.

"More refugees returning," one of them explained.  "See there's a whole
line of them, it is a good sight, and a good time that they have
chosen.  Now we will not look so like a deserted place when the King
comes."

"Oh, perhaps some of them can give me news of Beppino," Lucia
exclaimed, forcing her way through the crowd.

Almost the first person she saw as she ran down the road was Maria's
mother.  She was walking along beside several other women, and with a
start Lucia realized that she looked thin and wan.

"Aunt Rudini!" she called excitedly, "you are back at last.  Oh, Maria
will be so glad!"

Señora Rudini looked up, fear and hope in her eyes.

"Maria!" she exclaimed, "where is she?"

"At the convent.  She is helping to nurse the soldiers," Lucia replied.

"Oh, and I thought she was dead or a prisoner.  She lay down beside me
one night, and the next morning she was gone; I have been terrified."
The old woman was wringing her hands.

"But she is safe, go and see," Lucia protested, "I have just left her."

Maria's mother needed no urging, she ran as fast as her stiff joints
would allow towards the hospital.  But she had not gone very far when
she returned.

"I am a selfish old woman," she said, "thinking first of myself, when
of course you want news of Nana.  Well, look yonder in that farm wagon."

Lucia did not wait to hear more.  She darted off and met the wagon
before it reached the turn in the road.

"Beppi!  Nana!" she called.

The man who was driving stopped, and Nana slid down from the straw,
right into Lucia's waiting arms.  She was so glad to see her, that she
could only babble foolishly.  All during her long journey, and her stay
in strange villages, she had thought of nothing but Lucia in the hands
of the enemy, and she was nearly crazy with relief and joy to find her
safe again.

At last Lucia quieted her.  "Where is Beppino?" she asked, "surely he
is with you?"

Something in the straw of the wagon moved, and the old driver pointed
his whip at a mop of black hair, and laughed.

Beppi was asleep of course.  Lucia's strong young arms lifted his
little body out, and hugged and kissed him.  Beppi woke up, and at
sight of her he shouted with joy.

It was a happy and excited family that walked through the town and down
to the little white cottage.

Lucia had so much to say, and Nana would not listen nor believe all the
wonderful things she tried to tell her, but at last, from lack of
breath, she stopped exclaiming and crying, and Lucia pushed her gently
onto the green bed, took Beppi on her lap, and began the recital of her
wonderful news in earnest.



CHAPTER XVI

THE KING

"The King!  The King!"

"Viva!  Viva!"  A great cry rose within the walls of Cellino, and
swelled to a mighty cheer, as a gray automobile drove slowly through
the Porto Romano, and stopped in the market-place opposite the town
hall.

The soldiers who had so bravely defended the town were lined up ready
for inspection, and as the King lifted his hand to salute the colors, a
silence, as profound and as moving as the cheer had been, fell over the
crowd.

Lucia, with Beppi held tightly by the hand, was on the edge of the
crowd.  She trembled with excitement as she looked at the greatest, and
best-loved man in all Italy.

"See!" she whispered excitedly to Beppi, "that is the King--our King!
Look at him well, for we may never be lucky enough to see him again in
our whole lives."

Beppi's big eyes were round with wonder.  He looked.  His gaze fastened
on the shining sword.  Then the memory that he might some day be a
General returned to him, and he drew himself up very straight.  As the
King passed on his inspection, his little hand went up in a smart
salute.

His Majesty stopped, smiled, and returned the salute gravely.

Beppi waited until he had walked on, then he buried his face in Lucia's
skirts, and wept from sheer joy.

Lucia's pride knew no bounds.  Her heart was beating wildly, but she
stood very still until the King went into the town hall, then she
picked Beppi up in her arms and ran excitedly across the town and out
to the convent.

"We can see him again, darling, so stand very still," she said.  "He is
coming to see the soldiers."

They watched the gate eagerly, and before long the gray car came
through it very slowly.  A crowd of people surrounded it, cheering and
throwing flowers.  The King smiled and bowed to them all.  Lucia's eyes
never left his face.  Suddenly she saw him lean forward excitedly as
the big car stopped.  Beppi tugged at her skirts.

"Look at Garibaldi, she is blocking the way."

Lucia looked, and to her horror she saw her pet standing in the middle
of the road, her four hoofs planted firmly in the mud, and her head
lowered.

"Oh, the wretch," Lucia exclaimed, darting forward.  "Come here at
once!" she called.

Garibaldi looked around and obediently trotted off.  The car started,
and the King waved especially to Lucia as he passed, but even so great
an honor could not compensate her.  She was mortified to tears that her
goat should have been guilty of _lese majeste_.

No entreaties on Beppi's part could make her stay to wait for the
King's return.  She left him with a soldier, and went around the corner
of the convent, followed by the disgraced Garibaldi.

She sat down on a bench and sighed.

"Of course you're only a goat," she said scornfully, "but I did think
you had more sense than to do anything as terrible as that.  Do you
know who that was that you made to stop?  That was the King, do you
hear?"

Garibaldi walked away indifferently.

"Oh, I am disgusted with you forever," Lucia exclaimed with a shrug of
disdain.  "You will stay here until he goes away again, and then I
shall take you home and tie you up."

Garibaldi paid no attention to the threat.  Perhaps she knew how empty
it would prove to be.

"Lucia, Lucia, my child, where are you?"  Sister Francesca's voice
trembled as she called.

"Here I am, sister," Lucia jumped up.  "Do you want me?"

"Oh, my dear, I have looked everywhere for you.  Come with me at once."

Lucia followed, wondering at the expression in the nun's usually placid
face.  But Sister Francesca did not stop to give any explanations.  She
led the way hurriedly back to the front door, of the convent, and up
the steps through the ward of smiling men, and only stopped when she
reached the door of Captain Riccardi's private room.

"Go in, my dear," she said, giving Lucia a little push.  "The Captain
wants to speak to you."

Lucia opened the door and found herself face to face with the King.

She was too astonished, and far too thrilled to speak.  She must have
shown some of her feeling in her eyes, for the Captain, who was in bed,
laughed.

"Here she is, Your Majesty," he said.

The King stepped forward and put his hand on her shoulder.

"So you are the brave little girl whom I must thank for saving Captain
Riccardi's life, and for blowing up the bridge?"

Lucia was still tongue-tied.  She swallowed hard and tried to stop her
heart from beating so fast.

"Yes, yes, sir--Your Majesty," she said at last.  "I and Garibaldi."

"Garibaldi?"  The King could not restrain a smile.

"The goat, sir," the Captain explained.

"Oh, I see, and what did you say his name was?"

"Garibaldi's a her, Your Majesty, and so she had to be Señora
Garibaldi."

Lucia was fast forgetting her embarrassment.

"'The Illustrious and Gentile Señora Guiseppi Garibaldi,' that's her
real name, but of course, it's too long for every day."

"Yes, I should suppose so, particularly if you were in a hurry," the
King laughed softly.

"Was that Señora Garibaldi that we came nearly running over?" he asked.

"Oh yes, it was, but please, Your Majesty, don't be angry with her.
You see, she really didn't know you were the King."

"Angry, why I should say not.  Before I leave, yon must introduce me to
her, I couldn't leave without seeing such a really important person."

Lucia clapped her hands delightedly.

"Oh, she will be so proud!" she exclaimed.

The King turned to the officer who stood beside him and nodded, then he
shook Captain Riccardi's hand.  "I congratulate you on the addition to
your household," he said, smiling.  "Come with me, Lucia," he
continued, "I have something for you, and I want to give it to you
where all the soldiers can see."

Lucia followed in a dream.  She stood very still at the end of the
ward, and watched the men salute as the King stood before them.

She did not hear what he said to them, for her head was swimming, but
she saw him turn to her, and her heart missed a beat as he pinned a
medal on her faded bodice.

"In appreciation of your courage and loyalty," the King said, and
Lucia's eyes looked into his for a brief, but never-to-be-forgotten
moment.



CHAPTER XVII

GOOD-BY TO CELLINO

It was over a month before Captain Riccardi was well enough to be
moved, but at last the beautiful day for the departure for the south
came.

"Do you really mean we are going?" Beppi demanded.

"Of course we are, darling," Lucia replied, laughing.  She was so
excited that she could hardly wait to dress Beppi and Nana with the
patience that such an undertaking required.  Nana had a new dress, Aunt
Rudini made it with Maria's help, and though it was too somber for
Lucia's color loving eyes, it was a new dress and she fastened it on
Nana's bent shoulders with a glow of pride.

"There now!" she exclaimed when it was on and Nana's stringy gray hair
had been reduced to some sort of order.

"Turn around and let me see you."

Nana turned.  She was in a flutter of excitement, although she would
not have admitted it for the world.

"Don't waste any more time over an old woman," she said, sharply.  "I
am tidy and that is enough."

"You are more than tidy, Nana, you look beautiful," Lucia exclaimed.
"Now do sit still and don't do anything."

"There's nothing to be done that has not already been done," Nana
replied as she sat on the edge of the green bed and folded her hands on
her lap.  Lucia nodded in satisfaction and turned her attention to
Beppi.

He had a new suit too, and the broad sailor collar on it was
embroidered with emblems and stars.

Beppi was delighted, and Lucia helped him on with it as he danced and
hopped, first on one foot and then to the other.

"I'm a sailor," he announced, "a real sailor!  See the bands on my arm."

"Fickle one," Lucia protested as she tied the flaring red tie, with
loving fingers, "I thought you were going to be a soldier like our
Captain."

Beppi thrust his small hands in his trouser pockets.

"I am when I grow up," he replied seriously, "but I can be a sailor in
the meantime, can't I?"

"Yes, of course," Lucia agreed, "and now put on your shoes, dear, it
must be late, and it would never do to keep the Captain waiting."

"Go and dress yourself then," Nana said, "and don't make yourself look
too gay, it is not seemly."

Lucia tossed her head and laughed.

"Ah, but I will, my new bodice is so beautiful; all bright flowers, and
my skirt is blue--I know the Captain will like it--and we are going to
the South where all the girls wear bright colors--I expect my dress
will look very somber."

Nana did not reply, she grumbled a little to herself, and Lucia pulled
out the drawer of the dresser and very carefully took out her new
possessions.  She put them on slowly as if to prolong the pleasure.

"When she was ready she looked at as much of herself as she could see
in the small mirror, and smiled happily.

"I look very nice, I think," she said frankly.

"Then we are ready," Nana exclaimed, getting up, "we had better start
up the hill."

"Yes, do let's go," Beppi insisted, "I know we are going to be late."

"Oh, but we have plenty of time," Lucia replied.  "Go along both of
you, I will follow with Garibaldi."

"Such foolishness," Nana grumbled, "to take a goat in a train; there
are many goats in the South.  Why don't you wait until you get there
and leave Garibaldi to Maria with the rest?"

Lucia looked at her grandmother in consternation, but she did not stop
to argue with her.  She left the house and went to the shed; repaired
now enough to make a shelter to keep out the rain.

Garibaldi was firmly tied to one of the posts.

"Come, my pet," Lucia whispered, "we are going away and I have a ribbon
for your neck, see?"

"Now come," she coaxed, "we must go up to the convent, that nice
American Mr. Lathrop is going to put you in a box.  You won't like it,
poor dear, but it's the only way they let goats travel."

Garibaldi seemed to understand something of the importance of the
occasion, for she walked along beside her little mistress with lowered
head.

Lucia waited until Nana and Beppi had disappeared through the gate
before she started.  She knew there was plenty of time and she wanted
to be alone.

She stood in the doorway of the cottage and looked at the poor, tumbled
little room.  She felt suddenly very forlorn and lonely.

"Good-by, little room," she said softly, "I will never, never forget
you.  It isn't as if you were going very far away from me for we have
given you to Maria, she and Roderigo will take good care of you, and
some day perhaps I will come back for a tiny visit," she said.

A plaintive "Naa" from Garibaldi made her turn.  As she left the room
her eyes lingered on the green bed.

Captain Riccardi was sitting up, fully dressed, and waiting for them in
the garden of the convent.

At sight of Lucia his eyes danced with fun.

"Well, little sister of mine, how are you?" he greeted.

"Oh, I am so excited, Señor," Lucia replied.  "Is it nearly time to go?"

"No, not for a couple of hours," the Captain laughed.

"Are we really going in an automobile?" Beppi demanded, "like the one
the King came in?"

"Yes, just like that, and then we go in a train for a long time," the
Captain explained.

"Do we _sleep_ in the train?"  Beppi's eyes were as round as saucers.

"No," the Captain shook his head, "we sleep in a lovely house that
belongs to a friend of mine in Rome."

Beppi tried to be polite but Captain Riccardi saw the disappointment in
his eyes, and patted his small head.

"Are you sorry?" he laughed.

"Oh, no, he is not," Lucia contradicted hastily, "he will like sleeping
in Rome, won't you, my pet?"

Beppi hung his head.  "I will like it," he admitted, "but it will not
be as exciting as sleeping on a train."

"No, of course it won't, but it will be lots more comfortable, and you
see I have to think of that," the Captain explained, "but I promise you
some day we will sleep in a train, and on a boat, or any old place you
like, how's that?"

"I will tell you afterwards," Beppi replied noncommittally.

"I must go and find Maria," Lucia said, "I have not told her half the
things I want to.  She won't take proper care of my goats, I know, but
no matter, I will do my best to tell her what to do."

She went into the convent.  Maria was busy in the ward, but at Lucia's
beckon she left what she was doing and went to her.

"Come over by Roderigo's bed," Lucia said, "we have only a little time
to talk before we leave."

"Oh, but you must be excited!" Maria exclaimed.

"Look at her eyes," Roderigo laughed, "of course she is."

"Well, and why not," Lucia demanded, "wouldn't you be?"  Roderigo
shivered.

"If I were going this day, back to Napoli, I would die from joy," he
said.

"Nonsense, that's what Lucia said about the King's speaking to her,"
Maria reminded, "but she's still alive, and the King not only spoke to
her but kissed her too."

"Do you know," Lucia said quietly, "sometimes I think perhaps I am dead
and this is Heaven."

"Heaven!" Roderigo laughed, "never, it is much too cold, see the sick
yellow sun up there."  He pointed to the window, "in Heaven the sun is
hot and the sky is blue, just as you will find it to-morrow.  Oh, but I
envy you.  What wouldn't I give--"  He hesitated and looked at Maria,
"No, I would not go if I could; I am happy here."

Maria's smile rewarded him.

"But surely after the war," Lucia said, "you will both come to Napoli
to live."

"Perhaps," Roderigo assented, "after the war."

They were silent for a moment, aware for the first time of what the
coming separation would mean.  Then Roderigo exclaimed gayly,

"But how solemn we are!  We must laugh.  I tell you, Lucia, when you
see my old grandfather Vesuvius you must give him my best respects, for
mind if you are not respectful to him he may do you some harm."

"Oh, I will be very careful," Lucia laughed, "but I will never call
that cross old, smoking mountain my grandfather, I can promise you
that."

"Haven't you some friends that Lucia could see?" Maria inquired, "or
could she perhaps take a message to your family."

"No."  Roderigo shook his head, "she will not be near them, but
perhaps--"  He turned to Lucia, "if you are ever walking along the
shore below Captain Riccardi's place, you may meet a soldier, an old
man with a scar on his face; if you do, he is my uncle Enrico."

"But what does he do on the beach?" Maria inquired.

"Oh, he watches to see that no one rows out to the boats in the bay
without a passport, there are plenty of men who would like to leave
without permission," Roderigo explained, "My uncle is there to keep
them safe in Italy."

"Are they Austrians?" Lucia inquired.

Roderigo winked.

"They are Italian citizens on the face of things," he replied, "but in
their hearts--"  An expressive gesture finished the sentence.

Just as Maria was about to ask another question Beppi ran into the ward.

"Lucia, Lucia, come quickly, the American is packing Garibaldi up in a
box, and you are missing all the fun."

Lucia jumped up.

"Oh I must go and help," she exclaimed, "I will see you again for
good-by."

She followed Beppi to the garden and found Lathrop nailing on the top
to a big wooden crate.  From between the slats Garibaldi looked out
reproachfully.

Lucia petted and consoled her until it was time to go.

Garibaldi left first in a wagon; she was going all the way by train.
Lucia had many misgivings but she watched the wagon out of sight with a
smile.

Her thoughts were soon diverted by the arrival of a big automobile.
Captain Riccardi was helped in by the doctor and Lathrop, and after
repeated good-bys Lucia took her place beside him.

The car started off slowly, they were going to take the train at a
point several miles south.

Lucia watched the walls of Cellino grow dim against their background of
bare mountains.  It was her first departure, and it marked a new period
in her life.



CHAPTER XVIII

IN THE GARDEN

"How does my little sister like her new home?"

Captain Riccardi was sitting in a comfortable chair in the warmth and
sunshine of his garden.  He looked very much stronger than on his
departure from Cellino.  A month under the southern sky had done much
to make him well again, and as he sat looking at Lucia he was turning
over in his mind the possibility of returning to the front.  Lucia was
picking flowers near him, she had a basket over her arm and a big pair
of scissors.

Her cheeks, that had been so pale, were flushed and round, and an
expression of happy contentment took the place of the excited sparkle
in her eyes.

She dropped down on the ground beside the Captain as he spoke, and
looked up at him.

"That is the very first time you have asked me that," she said, "and we
have been here for a long time.  You know I think it is very, very
wonderful, what could be more beautiful than this garden, but I am
getting lazy, the sun is so warm and there is so little to do."  She
looked puzzled.

"That's quite as it should be," the Captain replied, "you are too young
to work."

"Oh, that is what you always say," Lucia protested, "I am too young and
Nana is too old, and Beppi--"

"Beppi is too lazy," the Captain laughed, "he is always asleep under
the flower bushes, but tell me," he continued gravely, "are you ever
homesick?"

"Homesick."  Lucia considered for a moment, "For Maria, yes, but for
Cellino, no.  I like to think of it, but I want always to live here."

"Good," the Captain smiled, "then you won't mind my going away?"

"Back to fight?" Lucia inquired.

The Captain nodded.  "My wound is healed and I am well enough; they
need all the men they can get up there, you know."

"I know," Lucia looked very unhappy, "what terrible times there have
been since we came here; everything has gone wrong.  Why I wonder, our
soldiers are as brave as ever.  What has made us lose so much lately?"

A baffled look stole over the Captain's face and he shook his head
sorrowfully.

"No one knows, my dear," he said, "we have suffered terrible losses,
every plan that we make is known to the enemy."

"Do you remember the beggar you saw on the road the day you followed
the two Austrian soldiers?"

Lucia nodded.

"Well, there are many men like that in Italy, some are disguised as
beggars and some as just working men, but they are everywhere, and
through them our plans are given to the enemy."

"But surely the police could arrest them," Lucia protested, "they must
all be Austrians or Germans."

"They are, of course, but they have lived here among us for so long
that it is hard to tell them from ourselves; they speak, act and look
as we do."

"But they think as our enemies," Lucia added, "I understand.  What very
bad men they must be, just to think that but for them we might have won
this horrible war by now."

"Perhaps," the Captain agreed, "but if they are here and we can't find
them out then we must win the war in spite of them, and that is why I
am going back."

"When?" Lucia asked.  She was suddenly very unhappy for the memory of
the attack was still vivid, and she dreaded to think of her newly found
godfather's returning to the dangers and hardships of the front, but
she was too brave and too wise to say so.  She kept a stiff upper lip
and her eyes were dry as they discussed the plans.

"I think I will leave in a day or two now that my mind is made up," the
Captain said, "it will take me quite awhile to return to my Company,
and I may have to wait in Rome for orders, so the sooner I am off the
better."

"Yes, I suppose so," Lucia replied slowly.  "Oh, but how we will miss
you, I cannot bear to think," she added impulsively.

"Then you must write to me often," the Captain laughed, "I get so few
letters and I will treasure them.  I will want to know just how you and
Beppi and Nana spend each day, and what tricks Garibaldi is up to."

"I shall tell you everything," Lucia promised, eagerly, "every tiny
little thing, and you will write back?"

"Yes, as often as I can," the Captain promised.  He got up from his
chair and started to walk toward the house.  When he was halfway up the
path Beppi dashed through the garden gate and ran to him.

"Oh, but I have had a fine morning," he declared, "you will never guess
where I have been."

"You do look excited," the Captain smiled, "it must have been a very
nice place, tell us about it."

"Then come back and sit down," Beppi insisted, taking his hand.  The
Captain returned to his chair and Beppi perched on the arm of it.

"Now begin," Lucia said, "we are listening."

"Well," Beppi took a long breath.  "This afternoon I was tired of
playing in the garden and I went out into the road.  Nana was sound
asleep and did not hear me, and when I had walked a little ways I met
two boys; one of them was bigger than me and the other one was littler.
We said hello, and one of them asked me my name, and I told him, and
then the big one said he guessed I couldn't fight--"  Beppi stopped and
turned two accusing eyes at Lucia, "that was because I had on these old
stockings.  I told you, sister, that I'd be laughed at unless I went
barefoot, same as always."

"Never mind about that," the Captain interposed, laughing, "tell us the
rest."

"Well, I told him I could, and we did, of course, and I won," he
continued proudly, "and after that we were friends, and they asked me
if I'd ever been to the shore, and I said; not right to it, so they
took me.  We went down a hill and pretty soon we were right by the
ocean, and the waves were coming in all frothy white on the blue water,
and I took off my shoes and stockings--"

"Oh, Beppi," Lucia protested.

"Yes, I did," Beppi repeated, "I certainly did and we had a fine time,
I can tell you, and here comes the exciting part.  While we were on the
beach a soldier came along; he was walking on the wall and he had a big
gun.  The two boys ran to him and I went with them.  He asked me my
name and where I lived, and I told him, and he said he had a nephew in
the war, and one of the boys asked him how Roderigo Vicello was, and
when I heard that name I just shouted, 'Why I know him,' and then I
told them all about the bridge and the King giving Roderigo a medal,
and everything.  They were all glad, I can tell you, and I guess these
boys won't say I can't fight again in a hurry," he added triumphantly.

"Oh, that is exciting news!" Lucia exclaimed, "Roderigo told me he had
an uncle here.  Did he have a big scar on his face, Beppino?"

"Yes," Beppi replied eagerly, "he got it in the Tripoli war.  He is a
very brave man, I think, but he says he'd rather fight than guard the
shore, but of course he has to do as he's told, because he's a soldier."

"And I suppose that means you don't have to do what you're told until
you're one," the Captain laughed, "what will Nana say when she hears
you ran away?"

"Who's going to tell her?" Beppi inquired, "Lucia won't, and I don't
think you will," he added with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

"No, I suppose I won't after that," the Captain replied, laughing,
"that is if you will promise to be very good and mind Lucia while I am
away."

"Away?" Beppi queried, "where are you going?"

"Back to fight," the Captain replied, "and perhaps I shall be gone for
a long, long time, and of course, while I am gone I shall expect you to
take care of your sister."

"Oh, Lucia can take care of herself," Beppi laughed, "she always has,
and of Nana and me, too, but I'll be good if you say so, only can't I
go down to the shore once in a while?"

"Of course, darling," Lucia answered for the Captain, "but you must
tell Nana where you are going."

"No, I will tell you I think," Beppi said gravely.

The Captain got up and he walked beside him to the house.  There was a
chance that the bright sword might be taken from its chamois case, and
Beppi never missed a chance of seeing it if he could help it.

Lucia, left alone in the garden, looked out over the low wall to the
west.  The bay of Naples stretched out blue and glistening in the last
rays of the sun, and the gray of the old house took on a soft pink tint.

"It is a fairy palace, I believe."  Lucia buried her face in her basket
and whispered to the flowers.

"I wonder if it will disappear when my fairy godfather goes away, or if
it will stay and be ours to keep for him until he comes back, for he
must come back, he must, he must, he must," she finished almost angrily.



CHAPTER XIX

BACK TO FIGHT

A big gray car, very like the one that had come to Cellino, drove up
before the door of the Riccardi villa two days later.

The Captain, once his mind was made up, did not waste any time in
carrying out his plans.  He was eager to rejoin his comrades in the
north, but when the time came to leave he was very sorry to say good-by
to Lucia.  She had found a warm and secure spot in his big heart, and
he knew he would miss her gay chatter and the laughing expression of
her eyes.

All the household were on the steps to say good-by, even Nana had been
prevailed upon to leave her seat in the garden by the well, and her
lace bobbins, long enough to see him off.

Beppi danced about excitedly.  "Oh, please hurry up and end the old
war," he cried impatiently, "and come back, we will be so lonely
without you.  I promise to be very, very good."

"That's right, and when I come home I shall bring you all the souvenirs
I promised; an Austrian helmet and a piece of shell," the Captain
replied.

"And your sword, don't forget that," Beppi reminded him.

"Oh no, of course I won't forget that," the Captain swung Beppi high in
the air above his head and kissed him, then he turned to Lucia.

"I will be good too," she promised, laughing.

"Of course you will, but you must be happy too, that is the most
important of all," the Captain said seriously.  "Be sure and pick all
the flowers in the garden and stay out in the sunshine all day."

"And may I take the flowers to the hospital?" Lucia asked, "we have so
many in the house, and the sick soldiers would love them so."

"Yes, do what you like with them," the Captain replied, "but be
careful, don't do anything dangerous, you are such a spunky little
fire-brand, that I can't help worrying."

"Oh, but you mustn't, I will be so very careful.  Besides there is
nothing to do down here, it is not like Cellino."

"Well, you can't always be sure," the Captain said, his eyes twinkling,
"if there was any danger you'd be sure to be in the heart of it."

"No, I will close my eyes tight," Lucia promised, "and walk in the
other direction, that is, unless it was something very, very important."

"I thought so.  Well, I guess you'll be safe here, safer than you've
ever been before, anyway," the Captain said, "and now good-by."

He kissed her low, broad forehead, very gently.

"Good-by, fairy godfather, come back soon."  Lucia tried not to let her
voice tremble.

The Captain got into the car hurriedly.  He waved to the group on the
steps until he was out of sight.

Lucia went back into the house, but the spacious rooms and high
ceilings only added to her unhappiness.  She almost longed for the
comfort of the tiny old cottage and the familiar sight of the green bed.

She wandered about listlessly; she was quite alone.  Nana had gone back
to her lace making, and Beppi was in the garden.  The old man and his
wife--the Captain's faithful servants--were in the kitchen.

In the library Lucia stopped before the rows of books and tried to read
their titles.  But she gave it up and looked at the pictures, that
amused her for a little while, for she thought they were beautiful, but
she did not understand them.  She could not give anything her undivided
attention for her thoughts were on the way with the Captain, and she
was fighting against the unhappiness that threatened to overpower her.

"Surely he will come back," she said, to a copy of Andrea del Sarto's
St. John that hung above the mantel.  "This cruel war has taken my real
father; it cannot take my godfather too."  She gave herself a little
shake, "It is that I am lonely that I think such sad thoughts, I will
go out to the garden and pick flowers for the soldiers."

Accordingly she found her basket and scissors and spent the rest of the
afternoon in the garden.  When her basket was piled high she put on her
hat very carefully, regarding it from every angle of the Florentin
mirror.  It was the first hat she had ever owned and she was very proud
of it.

When it was tilted to her satisfaction she took up the basket and went
out by the garden gate.

The hospital was a little over a mile away.  Lucia had visited it with
Captain Riccardi.  It had formerly been a private villa and its
terraced gardens went down to the water's edge.

Lucia knew the way and she loitered along, enjoying the newness of the
scenes about her.  Everything and everybody were so different, the
fishermen with their bright sashes and Roman striped stocking caps, the
old women and the young girls in their bright dresses, with great gold
loops hanging from their ears.  Even the sound of their voices was
different as they called out greetings to one another.

Lucia decided that the very first thing she would do when the Captain
came home would be to ask him for a pair of gold earrings.

So occupied was she with her thoughts that she reached the gate to the
hospital before she realized it.  She lifted the heavy knocker; an old
man opened the door.

"This is not visiting day, little one," he said, as he looked down at
Lucia.

"Oh, I am not visiting," she replied, "I brought these few flowers for
the sick soldiers; will you take them?"

"Indeed I will."  The old man held out his hand.  "Do you want the
basket back again?"

"Oh, no, there's no hurry for that, I will get it the next time I
come," Lucia replied.  "I mean to bring flowers every day or two for
the soldiers."

"That is very kind of you," the old man smiled, "I'll take these right
up."

Lucia nodded and turned to go back along the road.  The sun was setting
over the water, and below the bay beckoned invitingly.  She looked and
decided to go home that way.

She took a path that led to the water's edge.  It was steep, for that
part of the coast rose high above the water.  She was tired when she
reached the bottom and sat down to rest on the low stone wall.

The soft lapping of the water made her drowsy, and she slipped to the
sand, leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes.

There was not a sound but the soothing voice of nature, the ripple of
the water, the sighing of the wind and the occasional cry of a sea bird.

All the sounds together seemed to rock Lucia in a sort of lullaby, and
it was not many minutes before she was asleep.

When she awoke it was quite dark and she was conscious of a difference
in the voice of the water.  A heavy regular splash, splash, grew nearer
and nearer as she listened.  If she had been accustomed to living near
the water she would have recognized it as the rhythmic stroke of oars,
but she did not, and it was not until a shape loomed up in the dusk a
little farther down the beach that she realized it was a boat.

She got up and walked towards it.  If it was a fisherman's boat she
wanted to see it, even if it meant being late to supper.

But it was not a fisherman's boat, it was a light, high-sided row boat
and the man in it stood up and pushed forward on his stout oars.

He made a landing on the sand before Lucia reached him, and he jumped
out hurriedly.

Whatever his business was it occupied all his thoughts, for he did not
look to right or left but ran straight to the wall.  Another figure
came out of the shadows to meet him.  They spoke in whispers, but Lucia
was near enough to hear what they said.

She listened out of curiosity for it struck her as being rather strange
that a man dressed in beautiful dark clothes, with a hat such as she
had seen the men in Rome wear, should be out on the beach whispering in
the shadow of the wall to a boatman.

When she had listened she was even more surprised.

"It's all right, I've fixed it, you can get aboard her at midnight."
The boatman's voice was husky and very mysterious.

"Be sure and be here on time," the man replied, "this spot is safe,
wait until the guard has passed and then land.  If there is any danger,
whistle."

The boatman nodded.  "It's a risky business," he objected.

"You will be well paid for it," the man answered sharply.  "Now go."

Lucia watched him disappear into the dusk and waited until the boatman
had rowed out of sight.  Then she straightened her hat and started for
home, thinking very hard as she hurried along.



CHAPTER XX

AN INTERRUPTED SAIL

When Lucia reached the road above she ran as fast as she could.  She
had been so startled at what she had heard that her thoughts were
confused.  But as she hurried along her mind cleared.

"Perhaps they are all right, and the man is just going for a row," she
said to herself.  But the memory of the boatman's words returned to her.

"It's a risky business."

She did her best to attach no importance to it, but back in her brain
was the firm conviction that the man with the hat was one of the
Austrians that Roderigo had spoken of.  "An Italian citizen on the face
of things, but in their hearts--" Lucia instinctively mimicked
Roderigo's gesture.  She knew too, that argue though she might, she
would interfere.

When she reached the garden she heard Beppi crying and saw a light in
his window above.  Beppi did not cry very often and by the sound she
thought he was in pain.

She hurried into the house and ran upstairs.  Nana met her at the door
of Beppi's room; she was wringing her hands.

"So you are back," she cried, "well, praise the Saints for that, I
thought I should lose you both on the same day."

"'Lose us,' what are you talking about?" Lucia demanded, pushing past
her to the bed.

"Beppino mio, what has happened?" she asked, though there was little
need to question for a deep cut in Beppi's cheek, from which the blood
spurted freely, was answer enough.

"My face, Lucia, it hurts me so, make it stop bleeding," Beppi pleaded,
"I fell on a big rock in the garden."

"Caro mio, how long ago?" Lucia asked excitedly, "here quick, Nana, get
me some hot water, I will wash it as I saw Sister Veronica wash the
soldiers.  There, there, darling, it will soon be better."

With trembling fingers Nana and the old servant, Amelie, brought a
basin and a towel, and Lucia bathed the wound.  It was a deep cut and
poor Beppi winced as the water touched it.

After a little the blood stopped and Lucia bound up his head in soft
white cloths.

"Stay by me," Beppi begged, "don't go way downstairs, I am afraid."

"Poor angel," Amelie cried, "he won't be left alone; old Amelie will
bring up the little sister's dinner and she can eat by his bedside,"
and she hurried off, crooning to herself as she went to the kitchen
below.

Nana, now that she knew that Beppi was not going to die, started
scolding him for not looking where he was going, but Lucia sent her
downstairs.

"He is too tired to listen to-night, Nana, and anyway he will be
careful.  Do go away and rest a little, you must be tired."

When Nana had left, Lucia returned to the bed and sat down.  She did
not have any idea what time it was, and she knew that it would be
impossible to leave Beppi until he was quiet.  She hardly touched the
tempting tray that Amelie brought her, and her voice trembled as she
asked what time it was.

"Ten minutes after seven," Amelie told her after she had carefully
consulted the big hall clock.

"Oh!"  Lucia was surprised and relieved.  She thought she must have
slept for hours, but now she realized that in reality she had only
dozed for a few minutes.

She took Beppi's hand and set about putting him to sleep.  It was a
difficult task.  She told him story after story, but at the end of each
his eyes were bright and his demand for another one as insistent as
ever.

Lucia kept time by the chimes of the clock, and at ten she turned out
the light.

"I am coming to bed beside you," she explained as Beppi protested, "I
think the light will hurt your head."  She took off her dress and
slipped on her nightgown.  Beppi snuggled contentedly into her arm, and
she went on with her stories.

"Sing to me," he asked at last, sleepily, "your song," and Lucia began
very softly to sing.

  "O'er sea the silver star brightly is glowing,
  Rocked now the billows are.
  Soft winds are blowing,
  Come to my bark with me.
  Come sail across the sea.
  Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia."


Beppi's even breathing rewarded her efforts.  She slipped her arm from
under his head and stole softly out of the room just as the clock
chimed eleven.  She put on her dress hurriedly.

The house was very still as she crept downstairs and out into the
garden.  The stars were out and it was an easy matter to find her way.
She ran until she reached the path that led to the shore, then she
moved very cautiously.  She hoped to reach the guard, tell him what she
had heard, and then go home, but when she reached the beach she
realized that she was too late.

There was no guard in sight, but her ears detected the splash of oars,
and she knew that the boatman was coming.  She crouched down beside the
wall and waited.  She watched him pull his boat up on shore and then
walk swiftly off in the opposite direction from her.

She did not know what to do, and she was frightened--badly frightened.
The broad shining water on one side and the hill on the other seemed to
hem her in, and she felt lost.  It was not like the mountains of
Cellino, where she knew every path.

She crouched down by the wall and waited.  Another figure joined the
boatman, and they stood still, a little farther up the beach.  Lucia
knew it was the man she had seen that afternoon, and she knew too that
in a very few seconds they would turn around and come back to the boat.

With a courage born of fear she jumped up and before she quite realized
what she was doing she was tugging at the boat.

It was not very high up on the beach for the boatman had left it so
that it would be easily shoved off.  Fortunately the tide was going
out.  Lucia's arms were strong and she pushed with a will.  The boat
found the water and drifted silently away.

Her feet were wet, but she did not realize it.  She crept back to the
beach and flattened herself against the wall.  The men returned.  They
too kept in the shadow of the wall.  It was not until they were almost
brushing against Lucia that the boatman noticed that his boat was gone.

"The Saints preserve us!" he exclaimed.  "It has been spirited away.  I
knew I should be punished for doing such a black deed."

"Spirits, nonsense!" the man spoke angrily.  "It is your own stupid
carelessness, you did not pull it up on shore far enough.  You
rattlebrain idiot, I've a good mind to kill you for this.  See, there
is your boat out there--empty--go and get it.  Do you hear?"

"But how?" the boatman wrung his hands desperately.  "I do not know how
to swim.  I will die.  Santa Lucia, Saint of sailormen, spare me," he
screamed as the man lifted his heavy cane to strike him.

"Don't you dare strike that man!" Lucia exclaimed, "he did pull his
boat up on shore, but I pushed it off.  I heard you this afternoon, and
I knew you wanted to go away to that big ship out there, and perhaps
sail to Austria.  I know what you are, you two-faced man.  You speak,
you laugh, you scold in Italian, and all the time your black heart is
Austrian."

"You shall not go away from here.  I, Lucia Rudini, tell you, you shall
not!"

"Santa Lucia!  A miracle!"  The boatman trembled with fear, but the man
was not so superstitious.  He caught Lucia's arm and shook her roughly.

"You did it, you little fiend, well, you shall get what you deserve for
your meddling."  He motioned to the frightened boatman.  "Get me a
rope, I'll make a gag of my handkerchief; hurry man, if you are found
you will be shot."

"But I dare not, I dare not, she is the spirit of Santa Lucia.  She
came when I called.  The Saints have mercy!"

With a growl of disgust the man turned from him and caught both of
Lucia's wrists in his firm clasp.  Then he lifted his cane.

"She must not tell until we are well away," he said, and brought the
cane down heavily.  It was his intention to stun Lucia, but he had
miscalculated when he expected her to stand still and receive the blow.

She dodged to the right and began kicking and struggling.  The boatman
wrung his hands and screamed for help.

It was not many minutes before the guard, attracted by the noise, came
running towards them.  The man's back was towards him, but Lucia saw
him and stopped struggling.

The man raised his cane again but this time he stopped, because the
muzzle of a gun was pressing him between the shoulder blades.

Lucia turned to the guard and explained hurriedly.  In the starlight
she could see that he had a long scar across his face, and she felt
very secure.

"I know your nephew, Roderigo," she ended, "he helped me blow up the
bridge in Cellino."

The soldier nodded.

"I know about that, Señorina," he said respectfully, "and the rest of
your fine deeds.  You were born for the work it seems.  Move an inch
and off comes your head," he turned furiously on the man who had tried
to edge away.  Then he continued in the soft, courteous tones he had
been using.  "I hope some day you will do me the honor of telling me of
the attack yourself," he said.  "It is sometimes very lonely here while
I am on guard."

His gentle tone, and above all the flattering respect he showed, gave
Lucia back her courage.

"Of course I will come," she said, "just as soon as my little brother
is better.  He fell and cut his head, and, and--well, I guess I'd
better be going back, he may awaken and be frightened.  Good night."

"Good night, Señorina," the soldier replied, "I am proud to have seen
you."

"Now then,--" his voice became harsh again as he turned to his
prisoners, "go along, one wink of your eyelid in the wrong direction
and I will shoot."

He marched them off quickly, and Lucia, because the affair seemed
finished, started for home.



CHAPTER XXI

THE END OF THE STORY

"Tell me a story," Beppi demanded when she was lying beside him once
more, "I'm all awake again and my face hurts."

"What shall it be about?" Lucia asked, stroking his hair.  She was
still trembling from the reaction of her adventure, and Beppi's warm
little body snuggled close in her arms was comforting.

"Go on with the story about the soldier and the bad girl that teased
him, and the good girl that was the fairy princess."

"Very well, but shut your eyes.  Let me see," Lucia began, "the soldier
went off to the war, and when he came back he was wounded and the good
girl took care of him, and they decided to be married and live happily
ever after.  And the bad girl when she saw the poor soldier wounded was
sorry she had teased him, and she never did it again.  And because she
was good all kinds of nice things happened to her.  She found her fairy
godfather, and he had a magic carpet, and first thing you know she was
in the middle of a beautiful garden with her little--"

"Oh, bother, I knew that wasn't a real story," Beppi protested.  "It's
just about Roderigo and Maria and the Captain and you.  And oh, Lucia,
how silly you are, you called yourself the bad girl when really you're
the goodest in the whole world."

"Am I, Beppino mio?" Lucia laughed.  "I don't think so."

"Well, I say you are," Beppi replied, drowsily, "and the Captain thinks
so too, so--"  He dropped off to sleep.

"I wonder if he would say so if he had seen me to-night," Lucia mused,
"I had to do it, it was the only way, but oh, dear, I do hope I don't
ever hear any more wicked men again."  She yawned and looked towards
the window.  The first gray light of dawn streaked the sky.

"I guess I'll stay in the garden with Beppi and Nana and Garibaldi, and
wait for my fairy god-father's return," she said as she closed her eyes.

As if to echo her words a faint "naa," came up from the stable yard
below.  Garibaldi was agreeing with her mistress.





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