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´╗┐Title: The Border Spy - or, The Beautiful Captive of the Rebel Camp, A Story of the War
Author: Hazeltine, Lieut. Col.
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 "The Border Spy - or, The Beautiful Captive of the Rebel Camp, A Story of the War" ***

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|Transcriber's note:                              |
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|Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.  |
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THE BORDER SPY;

OR,

THE BEAUTIFUL CAPTIVE OF THE REBEL CAMP.

A STORY OF THE WAR.


BY LIEUT. COL. HAZELTINE,
FORMERLY CAPT. COMPANY A, FREMONT'S BODY GUARD.


_NEW-YORK_:
SINCLAIR TOUSEY, PUBLISHERS' AGENT,
No. 121 NASSAU STREET.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1863, by SINCLAIR
TOUSEY, Publisher's Agent, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court
of the United States for the Southern District of New York.



THE BORDER SPY;

OR THE

BEAUTIFUL CAPTIVE OF THE REBEL CAMP.



CHAPTER I.

     _The Rebel General Price--Determination to Fight--The Sleeping
     Indian--Price Suspects him--He is Bound--Surprise--Escape._

     Let those who fear the spray the torrent flings
     Retrace their steps--I'll cross the stream, howe'er
     Its brawlings may disturb me.--_Mrs. Hale._


"By my soul, it shall be done! Yes, safety, honor, fame, fortune, all
require it!"

It was a wild spot. The towering rocks reached to the height of several
hundred feet above the valley below, where rolled the rapid waters of
the Osage. Upon one of these jutting turrets, stood the speaker. His
large form rose above the mountain oaks, standing as he was upon its
most elevated point. But a close observer could not fail to notice that
he was ill at ease. His eyes were restless, and as they wandered from
mountain crag to the valley below, and thence to the far-reaching
prairie in the distance, his frame trembled, and his fingers
convulsively clutched his long iron-gray locks, as they were streaming
in the morning wind.

There was nothing remarkable in his dress, except that at such a time
and place he should have worn an elegant sword, which could be seen
beneath a large, dark cloak, thrown carelessly over his shoulders. In
other respects he was without uniform, or any mark indicating the
military chieftain.

After gazing for some time upon the surrounding country, he again spoke:

"Yes, by heavens, it is a land worth fighting for, and I will--"

The speaker paused, and turning, beheld the approach of the person who
had interrupted his soliloquy. A frown covered his face as he asked:

"What do you want, Johnson?"

The answer came, rough and fiercely.

"Want? revenge!"

"On whom?" asked the first speaker, as he grasped the hilt of his sword.

"Not on you, General Price; so don't fear."

"Fear!" echoed Price, "I fear no man--nothing."

"Then why do you clutch your sword as I approach?"

"Because I believe you are treacherous," replied Price.

"Treacherous! ha! ha! ha! Can I be else, and serve _you_?"

"But are you faithful to me and my cause?"

"_Your_ cause!" echoed Johnson. "Why _I_ thought it was your country's
cause!"

"My country's cause is mine," replied Price. "Again I ask you, are you
faithful to me?"

"Yes!"

"What assurance have I that you will be faithful?"

Johnson bowed his head, and did not reply.

"Answer me," said Price, sternly and suspiciously.

"General Price," replied Johnson, as he raised his head, and fixed his
piercing eyes upon his questioner, "General Price, I am poor. If I were
or had been a servant in heaven, and the commander-in-chief of the
infernal regions had offered me a position on his staff, to escape
servitude, and for promotion's sake, _not knowing him or his service_, I
might have accepted. In doing so, I should have lost heaven, and in no
case could have returned. Thus, as I would have no choice, I probably
should serve faithfully in my new capacity, for policy's sake, even if I
was deceived by the devil's promises. In much this way do I stand toward
you, General Price!"

"I have not deceived you!"

"You have! You have lied to me!"

"Johnson!" yelled Price, as his sword flashed in the morning light, "no
man shall address me thus, and live!"

"Hold, General Price," said Johnson, as he levelled his rifle at his
breast, "you had better spare those who _must_ serve you, as few are
willing!"

"Curse him!" muttered Price. "But for policy's sake I must restrain
myself. He shall act the spy this once--it is necessary--or I would dash
him from this rock into the depths below." "Johnson," he added, speaking
aloud, "you must not speak thus. It is true I have as yet been unable to
fulfil my promises; but consider. We are here facing a powerful army--an
army of fanatics--of devotees--who will fight to the death, while many
of my soldiers are discontented, and if they fight at all, I fear will
do it unsuccessfully. I have no confidence in many of my men. Why is
this, Johnson?"

"I can answer, but for one."

"Then answer for yourself!"

"I will, I have no confidence in you."

"You will serve me, nevertheless?"

"Yes--I am forced to do so!"

"How forced--by whom forced?"

"Not by you, General Price, but by myself."

"Don't you see much to fight for? Look around you. Gaze upon the face of
this beautiful country. Our enemies come to rob us of it. Shall we, like
dogs, submit? No! by the Eternal, I will not!" cried Price, his powerful
frame quivering with emotion.

"I see but little beauty here. Where is it?"

"All around--on every side!"

"I see but one bright spot, and that is--"

Johnson gazed into the valley below. His look was earnest. As he gazed,
the tear-drops started to his eyes, and he bent his head upon his hands,
while his breast heaved convulsively. He was deeply moved.

"Johnson, why are you weeping?" asked Price, as he regarded him with a
look of surprise.

"Am I weeping?" returned Johnson, raising his head.

"Yes; some sad recollection of the past oppresses you!"

"Of the past? Yes, of the past, as well as the present, and of the
future! But tell me what _you_ see here, that you should love this
country so much. It is not from associations?"

"No, only its beauty!"

"Its beauty? I cannot see it! Where is it?"

"Shall I describe what I see?"

"Yes, sir; I am interested to know what _you_ can call beautiful."

"I will. I am standing here, upon a lofty mountain turret. Below is the
Osage. Gaze upon it. Is it not majestical? Yonder it rolls, along the
mountain's base, now leaping, rushing onward, like a giant army charging
a deadly foe, lashing its banks as if it longed to break from its
restraint, and charge the world. And there it strikes the mountain's
side, and for a moment falters. It will turn aside defeated! Will it?
No! It is no coward, and the mountain yields--the mountain falls--the
Osage breaks the barrier, and rushes on. And now, all conscious of its
victory, it pauses for awhile, or gliding gently onward murmurs its own
song of glory. And listen to the strain. How it rises on the air, and is
borne from crag to crag, along the lofty summits to tell that grand
array of its own defeat. Look at that mountain column formed in battle
line. It appears impregnable. But its ranks are broken, and its power
defied. That gap is where the charge was made--that gap tells the
story--its line was broken, and defeat followed. The river was
victorious!"

"Good!" echoed Johnson. "What more do you see?"

"Mountains and hills where we can defy the world. And yonder is my own
camp."

"Yes, your camp, containing seventy thousand true and tried soldiers.
Those who have shared your victories with you. Seventy thousand
soldiers! ha! ha! ha!"

"Johnson, I do not like your sarcasm. Better the enemy should
over-estimate our numbers. It will intimidate them."

"Intimidate! Whom?"

"Why, not only the soldiers of the army, but their generals!"

"Asboth?"

"Yes!"

"Sturgis?"

"Yes!"

"Hunter?"

"Yes!"

"Sigel and Fremont?"

"Yes; even Sigel and Fremont can be intimidated."

"Perhaps--by an earthquake, but not by you, General Price. Asboth is a
soldier, and does not know the meaning of the word fear. Sturgis--you
have met him once--do you wish to meet him again? Hunter--there is
lightning in his eyes; if he does not fight, it will be for want of a
foe. Sigel--do you remember Wilson's Creek?"

"But of Fremont--what of him?"

"He will meet you here, if you dare remain; and his soldiers will come
with him."

"Well, it may be so. Their army is now at Warsaw. They must be detained
for some days yet. They are constructing a bridge at that point across
the Osage, and you will have sufficient time to visit their camps, and
return before they advance. If it should be advisable to move, you can
apprize us in time."

"When shall I start?"

"Now."

"Well, your instructions."

"Johnson, I confess I fear to meet that man Fremont. And yet I hate him
with a bitterness which poisons all my joys. Tell him we number
seventy-five thousand fighting men, well armed and disciplined. That we
are strongly fortified, and for them to advance would be certain death.
Tell him it is a mistake that my soldiers are discontented, but will all
fight to the last. Will you tell him this?"

"I will."

"Your safety may depend upon it, for I _will_ fight if I am compelled to
face him with a single regiment. Last night I held a council with my
officers, and we resolved to make a stand here. To retreat farther will
be to bring shame upon us, and to stamp us as cowards. And I believe
there is not a dozen men in my army who would not die before they would
be branded as cowardly. I rely upon their pride, rather than their
loyalty."

"That must be your appeal. Shall I go now?"

"Yes! Stay, Johnson; return by to-morrow night and tell me Fremont is
dead, and you shall be richly rewarded. Tell me Sigel is also dead, and
you shall have command of the second regiment."

"Sigel and Fremont shall die!"

"You swear it?"

"Yes, I swear they _shall_ die, when--"

The remaining portion of the sentence was inaudible.

"Ugh!"

Startled, Price turned to behold, at the base of the rock upon which he
was standing, an Indian, who was, apparently, fast asleep.

"Do you know that red devil?" asked Price, turning to Johnson.

"Let me see."

Johnson bent over the edge of the rock, and for some time remained
silent. At last he said:

"'Tis Red-wing, as he is called by the people hereabouts; one of the
Osage tribe, I believe. But you will find little good in him, although
he might be made serviceable, if you could keep whiskey from him."

"Red-wing," shouted Price.

"Ugh!"

"You red devil, get up and show your colors, or I will send a bullet
through your head!" exclaimed Johnson.

There was no reply. Johnson raised his rifle, but the Indian had risen,
and fixing a glance of hatred upon Johnson, he said:

"Give Indian whiskey--me fight for you--me kill for you--give Indian
whiskey."

Price leaped from the rock, and motioned them to follow. In a few
moments he reached camp, closely followed by Johnson and the Indian.

The appearance of the rebel camp was somewhat singular.

Around the camp-fires were crowds of listless men and boys, who watched
the approach of their commander with calm indifference. He passed on in
silence, occasionally returning the salute of his officers, but did not
pause until he reached a tent located upon a high bluff, and almost
concealed from view by a thick growth of oaks. Around this tent were
others, less grand in appearance, which were occupied by the leaders of
his army. Stretching for some distance below, was an open field, over
which were scattered rude tents, of a great variety in form and
appearance. Bed blankets, worn and various in their colors, were
stretched across poles, at either end of which was placed a supporting
stake, cut from the surrounding branches. All looked comfortless.

Mingled with these were seen rows of small canvas tents, giving the
encampment more of a warlike aspect. The arms were also varied in their
patterns. Some of them bore the appearance of the regular United States
army rifle, while others were the ordinary hunting rifle or shot gun.
Occasionally were to be seen soldiers in uniform, but in most instances
the rough blue home-spun was worn.

As the Indian passed through the camp, his eyes wandered carelessly over
the scene. When Price reached his tent, an orderly arose to receive him,
and the general said:

"Send a corporal and ten men to my tent."

Then turning to Johnson, he added:

"You are known, and will require no escort beyond our lines. I shall
question this Indian closely, and perhaps use him. Go!"

"Yes, general," replied Johnson, and turning he departed.

By this time a large number of officers had gathered near the tent of
Price, and silently awaited the examination of the Indian, who they
evidently supposed to be a spy from the Union army. Unconscious of their
presence, or at least appearing to be so, the Indian stood with folded
arms before the tent of the rebel general.

In a few moments Price appeared, pausing directly before the Indian.
Their eyes met, and for some time they regarded each other in silence.
At length Price asked:

"What is your name?"

"Me Indian--brave!"

"You are an Indian chief!"

"Me no chief!"

"Do you know me? I am chief here. Look around you--behold my warriors.
They are all brave. They will conquer the enemy. If you will bring your
warriors and fight with me, your hunting grounds will be safe, and your
fathers' graves sacred. If these invading robbers should conquer us, you
will lose your grounds; the graves of your sires will be polluted by
their unholy touch, and you and your people made slaves! Will you fight
with us?"

"Ugh!"

"What do you mean by that?" asked Price.

"Me ask chief."

"What is your name?"

"Red-wing."

"To what tribe do you belong?"

"Osage."

"Red-wing, don't attempt to deceive me. I can read your very thoughts!"

"Cowwewunk!"

"Yes, I know you. You are a spy, and direct from the federal camp. You
pretended sleep as you were lying at the foot of yonder rock, that you
might hear all my conversation and report it. You have heard too much.
Are there any here who have seen this fellow before?" asked Price,
turning to his soldiers.

"I have seen him, and know him," replied one of the men, stepping
forward. "He is called Fall-leaf, and is chief of the Delaware tribe."

The Indian sprang forward, and in an instant had broken through the
crowd which encircled him, and with the speed of a deer, dashed toward
the distant cliffs.

"Fire upon him!" shrieked Price.

A hundred rifles were raised, but the Indian was darting among the tents
in such a manner, that no opportunity for accurate aim could be had.

"Curses on it, he will escape!" yelled Price. "Here Barclay, Rains, all
of you, mount and follow. I must have that red devil, dead or alive. If
he escapes, he will bear important information to Fremont."

Price sprang into his saddle and dashed forward in pursuit. He was soon
followed by a score of others.

"By heavens, they have seized him!" cried Price, as he approached the
outer lines of the camp, where stood the guard tent.

So it was. Just as Fall-leaf reached a narrow defile which led along the
mountain's side and down to the river below, the detail ordered by Price
as a pretended escort, were starting for headquarters. They met the
Indian face to face, and comprehending the state of affairs, the
corporal ordered,

"Seize him!"

A large knife flashed in the sunlight, which the Indian suddenly drew
from concealment, and, as two of the guard sprang forward, it fell with
crushing weight upon the brain of each. A third and a fourth shared the
same fate.

But, at this instant one of the guard levelled a terrible blow at the
head of the Indian, with the but of his musket.

Fall-leaf, staggering back, fell to the earth. Half a dozen bayonets
were instantly pointed at his heart, but, as Price approached the spot
at this moment, he cried:

"Alive! alive! take him alive! I will question him first--then torture
him!"

In an instant the Indian was bound and helpless.

Price, as he rode up, followed by his aids, ordered Fall-leaf to arise.
The Indian was only partially stunned by the blow, and obeying the
summons, he stood erect.

"Now, dog!" said Price, "you shall confess."

"Me no confess!" answered Fall-leaf.

Price stamped his foot from very rage. Turning to the guard he said:

"Throw that hell-hound upon the fire between those burning logs!"

The Indian glanced at the burning mass, and then upon the objects by
which he was surrounded. The guard were about to seize him, when,
turning to Price, he said:

"Me tell all!"

"You will tell me all you know of the federal army, and of your own
plans?" asked Price.

"Yes! Me hate you. Me fight you. You steal pale-face--Alibamo--"

Price started, turning pale as death, as he shrieked:

"Pitch him into the fire this instant!"

The guard seized the Indian, and were about to put the order into
execution, when a man bearing the appearance of a rough mountaineer,
sprang forward.

"Hold on a bit, general!" were his deliberately uttered words.

Then, with the most perfect coolness, he drew his knife and severed the
cords which bound the wrists of Fall-leaf.

"And who are you?" asked Price in surprise.

"Your best friend, of course, general," was the laconic reply.

"I doubt it!"

"Then you believe I lie, do you?"

"Yes!"

"Well, I will not lie then. I am your enemy. The reason I called myself
your friend was, because I intended to give you good advice!"

"Indeed! And what is this good advice?"

"Why, general, that you are too far from the main body of your troops
with so small an escort. You had better return!"

"What do you mean?" asked Price, alarmed.

"I'll show you," was the reply. "Here, boys; come on, quick," he
shouted, turning toward the dense thicket from which he had emerged.

"We are surprised! Fall back!" shrieked Price, as he wheeled his horse.

The guard had not waited for this command, but were already rapidly
retreating toward the main camp, followed by the aids of Price.

The Indian and his rescuer had already mounted a cliff which overlooked
the entire ground, and turning he cried:

"Look how the cowards run! Ha! ha! ha!"

Price heard the words, and the laugh of derision. He commanded a halt,
and exclaimed:

"It was but a ruse! No troops excepting our own are near us. Follow
me--we can yet overtake them. There is but one path leading down the
mountain, and one along the ridge. Take the lower one, Rains, with forty
men. I will take the upper path, and thus we will cut them off."

The order was at once executed, and the different detachments galloped
along each mountain road.

"There they are!" cried Price, as he reached the highest mountain point,
about four miles from his camp. "There is a path to the right of that
ledge, which leads to the valley. Quick--intercept them. They are making
for that spot."

The whole party dashed forward, but were just in time to see the rescuer
of Fall-leaf spring from the rock and commence his rapid descent down
the rugged pathway. A volley was fired after him, but without effect.

"But where is that red-skin?" asked Price. "He is not with that fellow,
and I saw him standing upon that rock but a moment since."

"He may be concealed in some of the crevices in the ledge," replied one
of the party.

Search was instantly made. In a few moments one of the aids cried:

"He is here! surround the rock--he cannot escape!"

Near the summit of the cliff there was a large oak tree, which at one
time had been standing erect, but from lack of soil to secure its roots,
had gradually settled down until its tops were some thirty or forty feet
_below_ its roots. It hung over a frightful precipice of over one
hundred feet. Directly below grew a large tree, whose tops reached
within fifteen or twenty feet of the declined oak's branches.

The Indian finding himself thus surrounded, did not hesitate an instant.
On one side was the precipice--on all other sides, the infuriated
soldiery, thirsting for his blood.

Quick as thought he sprang for the oak. Down its body and branches he
ran, like a squirrel skipping from twig to twig.

"Fire!" shouted Price.

"Our pieces have all been discharged at the other spy. We must load."

"Well, quick--quick, or he will escape. By heavens, look!"

The Indian had reached the extreme branches of the declining oak. He
paused an instant and then sprang for the tree below.

It was a fearful leap. But he succeeded in grasping one of the topmost
branches. His weight bent the frail limb, and before he could grasp
another, it had broken, and his form went whirling through the air. But
his form was checked by striking one of the main limbs, and with an
effort he secured a firmer hold. In an instant he had reached the body
of the tree, and was safe.

As he reached the base of the ledge, he turned and cried:

"Price--me meet you again!"



CHAPTER II.

     _The Meeting--The tale of Wrong and Blood--The Avenger--The
     Oath--The Mountain Maid--The Lover._

     Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyes, and braggart with my
       tongue.
     But gentle heaven, cut short all intermission,
     Front to front bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself,
     Within my sword's length set him; if he 'scape,
     Heaven forgive him too.--_Shakespeare._


When Fall-leaf reached the ground he started for the river, pursuing his
way cautiously, but rapidly. Ever and anon he would pause and listen. It
was evident he was pursued by the party from whom he had just escaped,
but, as he passed along, their shouts were received only by a scornful
curl of his bronze lip.

But he soon found more difficult objects with which to contend. As he
emerged into an open space, he came suddenly upon the party under the
command of Rains. He was not at once discovered. Bending to the earth,
he crept cautiously along, concealing himself as best he could, by the
under brush and tall grass. But he was not long to remain undiscovered.
One of the rebel party, having espied the object of their pursuit,
raised his rifle, and as its report rang through the forest, it was
answered by a sharp cry of the Indian, who sprang into the air, and fell
backward.

In an instant he was surrounded. Upon examination it was found that the
bullet had penetrated his breast, rendering a dangerous, if not fatal
wound, from which the blood was flowing profusely. He was quite
conscious, but unable to move or speak.

"Shall I send a bullet through his brain?" asked one of the rebel band.

"It is unnecessary. That ugly wound in the breast will soon end him. But
stay. His tribe must not know of his death. Throw him into that hole by
yonder rock, then fill it up with stone and dirt."

The form of Fall-leaf was taken from the ground, and cast with violence
into a cavern, or "sink-hole," about twenty feet in depth, large enough
at its bottom to contain the bodies of a dozen men, but, unlike the
majority of such old water-escapes to caverns in the bowels of the
earth, the mouth of this hole was so small that it was quite difficult
for the passage of a single form. As soon as this was done, the party
proceeded to fill the entrance with rock and rubbish.

"It is done. He will trouble us no more!" said Rains.

"He is buried alive!"

"Yes, but no matter. Let us return to camp!"

The rescuer of Fall-leaf, after his escape, pushed rapidly forward to
the river bank. Here he paused for a moment and listened. No sound was
heard. He placed his ear to the ground.

"They are no longer in pursuit, but are returning to camp," he muttered,
after a pause. Then he drew a small whistle from his pocket, and sounded
a shrill note. There was no reply, and he repeated the call. Still there
was no answer.

"Has he been seized by those ruffians? If so, I must return to his
rescue. But, stay. I heard the report of a rifle, and then a sharp cry.
He may have met some of the soldiers, and suffered at their hands. At
all events, it will be useless now for me to go again to camp, as the
guard will be doubly vigilant. I will return to the cabin, and if
Fall-leaf does not appear by nightfall, I will then go in search of him.
Perhaps Johnson will accompany me."

He plunged into the river, and soon reached the other side. Onward he
went, up the mountain, not pausing for a moment, showing himself
perfectly familiar with the locality. At length he emerged into an open
space, near the summit of the ridge he had been traversing, at the
opposite side of which appeared a rude log cabin. He sprang forward with
a smile as his eyes fell upon the dwelling, but as he came nearer the
smile faded, and a look of wonder, or painful anxiety, became fixed upon
his face. At length he paused and exclaimed:

"What means all this? How I tremble! What forebodings flash across my
brain! If harm has come to them, I shall go mad, mad! Oh! my father--my
dear sister, why are you not upon the threshold to welcome my return? No
answer! All is silent there--and all is desolation, too. The creeping
vines are torn away--the flowers choked with weeds--the beauty of the
place departed--_she_ is _not_ there, else it would not be so! And I am
doomed to--I must be satisfied first. Alibamo! Sister! _Alibamo!_" His
voice rang out with startling clearness.

"Who calls! William! Brother!"

"Johnson--my best friend--oh! _you_ are yet living!" cried William, as
he sprang into the arms of Johnson, who had appeared in the cabin door.

"Yes, friend, you are living; but where is my fa---- oh! I fear to
ask--I am a coward, Johnson!"

"You observe a change here, I suppose?" asked Johnson.

"Yes! But tell me _why_ this change? I can bear it now!"

"First let me hear of yourself, William, and then I will answer you.
Where have you been detained so long?"

"I cannot answer until you have told me of my father and my sister. Are
they alive?"

"I hope so!"

"You _hope_ so! Oh! Johnson, my heart will burst with this suspense.
Think for a moment. I have been a prisoner now nearly three months. At
the battle of Wilson's Creek I was taken by the enemy, having been left
wounded upon the field. I suffered--oh! how terribly! I suffered from
bodily pain--from hunger--my heart wrung by the taunts and insults
heaped upon me by the wretches who held me in their power. I often felt
death would be a great relief, but _hope_--the bright star of hope rose
high above the dark cloud which surrounded me, and I lived on. What was
that hope, Johnson? It was of home! Father! Sister! I dreamed of
liberty, even in my dungeon's depths--and on the grimmy walls I traced
the flowers and vines my sister reared. The night winds whistled
through my casements, and I heard my sister's voice--her song so sweet
and thrilling. If dreaming thus, I woke to sadness, my father's voice
would speak to me, bidding me be firm and hope. At last the news reached
me, even in my cell at Springfield, that Fremont was coming. My wounds
were healed, and I resolved to escape. Oh! how I longed for freedom. And
why? First, that I might once more clasp my father and my sister in my
arms, and then join Fremont. I watched for opportunity, and soon it
came. I escaped at night, by the assistance of Fall-leaf, an Indian
chief. I started at once for home. I was crossing the mountain this
morning, when suddenly I came upon the outposts of Price. I saw my
deliverer a prisoner, and bound. I did not hesitate, and by a stratagem,
released him. The trick was discovered and we were pursued. I became
separated from Fall-leaf. I should have returned in search of him, but I
could not. In the distance I could see my home, never before so loved. I
felt that dear ones were waiting my approach, and I hastened onward. And
now, with burning brain and bursting heart I ask, are they yet living,
and you reply you 'hope so!'"

"Come in, William, I will tell you all," answered Johnson.

"All! Oh! that word has a terrible sound. I cannot go in if _they_ are
not here! Each familiar article would only be a dart piercing my heart.
Here I will listen where there is air to breathe."

He seated himself upon a log before the door, and dropping his face in
his hands, he said:

"Go on!"

"William, it will require all your fortitude to listen to the narrative,
for it is a tale of blood!"

"Go on!" replied William, without raising his head.

"I will. After the fall and defeat of the brave General Lyon, at
Wilson's Creek, and the consequent retreat of the Union army, our
position here was by no means an enviable one. It was well known that we
were originally from the East. We were called 'abolitionists,' and this
was enough. Other families were equally persecuted, and we resolved to
leave the country. A party of Unionists, consisting of all our immediate
neighbors, assembled here to make arrangements for leaving on a stated
day. We were seated around this very spot, unconscious of danger,
conversing upon our present trials and future hopes. We numbered twenty
souls, thirteen of whom were women and children. On a sudden a party of
rebel ruffians dashed upon us from the surrounding woods. Escape was
impossible, and but one of our party was armed. We sat quietly awaiting
their approach, thinking this the best course to pursue, as we could not
believe unarmed men would be murdered in cold blood, even by those
wretches. But we were wofully in error. Their captain, one Robert
Branch, rode to the side of Walter Leeman, and clove his skull. I sprang
to my feet--so did our comrades. But the conflict was of short duration.
Seven unarmed men could not cope long with forty mounted assassins. I
saw--your father--fall--"

A groan was the only response from William. He did not raise his head.

"I seized the rifle of my fallen friend, and for a moment used it with
terrible effect. I saw three villains fall under the blows I gave, but
this could not last. I was stricken down, but not until I had heard the
barbarous captain cry out, 'Spare that maiden beauty--she must be mine!'
I could not save her--I fainted!"

"Oh! sister--Alibamo!" sobbed William.

"I must have remained unconscious for some hours, as it was dark when I
awoke. I could scarcely move, either from loss of blood, or the terrible
excitement and exertion I had undergone. I remained quiet until
daylight, with the exception of several times calling the names of my
friends. But I received no answer. And no wonder. Oh! what a sight met
my eyes in the morning. I almost wished it had never come. Even the
bright sun must have sickened as it gazed on such a sight."

"Was my father dead?" asked William.

"I could not find his body, although I searched for it everywhere. It is
my belief that he was only wounded and then carried off, a prisoner.
Five of my friends lay dead and cold by my side. Myself and your father
made up the seven men who were present when the fight began. My wife was
bleeding at my feet. She was not dead--but only survived long enough to
gently press my hand, and _look_ her last farewell. She could not speak.
I had but an indistinct recollection of her having thrown herself before
me, and the blow levelled at my life was received by her. Oh! God, why
was I saved to life--but not to live? For I cannot live without her! I
had only been stunned by the blow."

"And my sister?" asked William.

"She, too, must have been taken captive!"

"Then, by heavens, we have much to live for!" cried William, starting to
his feet.

"Much to live for? Yes--our country--our hopes--revenge! Oh! William,
could you have seen that sight, _you_ would feel as I now feel. Could
you have felt the burning fires that seared my heart as I lifted the
dying form of her I loved so truly, in my arms, and vainly begged her
not to leave me yet, you would feel as I now feel. Could you have heard
the cry of agony wrung from my wretched breast when I knew I no longer
had a wife, you would feel as I do now. Oh! William, it is
terrible--terrible!"

"What course did you pursue?" asked William.

"I consigned our loved ones to the grave, disguised myself, staining my
skin with walnut bark, and then started forth for vengeance!"

"And what have you accomplished?"

"But little as yet. I have not met _the_ man. I could have killed, but
if discovered, or even suspected, it would prevent the carrying out of
my plans. Price has employed me as a spy, and thus I have access through
his lines. My plans are first, to find your father and your sister. I am
almost certain she is with the rebel army, and that I heard her sweet
voice, last night, singing a mournful song."

"Oh! if she lives--but let us go. I will enter the lines of the rebel
army this very night. I _will_ go, and if my sister is there, she shall
be saved, or I will perish with her!"

"I am waiting only for to-morrow night. At that time Price will suppose
I have just returned from Warsaw. Then I will go with you!" replied
Johnson.

"I shall go to-night!" answered William. "But I shall enter the camp by
stealth, crawl from tent to tent, listen to all conversations, and
perhaps in this manner may get important information, both for our
friends, and of my father and sister."

"It is a desperate hazard, William!"

"I am resolved!"

"I shall go with you!" replied Johnson.

"No, or at least, not within the camp. If you were seen before the
expected time, it would create suspicion. You will conceal yourself
before you reach the outer pickets. But I must find Fall-leaf. I will go
to the point where I heard the rifle report. He may be wounded--perhaps
dead."

Night was fast approaching as the friends took their course down the
mountain, and toward the rebel camp. The fires could be distinctly seen,
and the shrill notes of the fife, and the rattle of the drum, echoed
across the mountain, and from hill to hill. As they reached the river,
William exclaimed:

"It is nine o'clock. They are beating the tattoo in camp. In an hour all
will be quiet. But let us now search for Fall-leaf. The moon is shining
brightly, which will favor our search!"

The friends sprang into a small skiff which Johnson drew from its
concealment in a clump of under brush, and in a moment were upon the
opposite bank. Without further words, William led the way, and soon
arrived on the spot where Fall-leaf had been wounded. He examined the
ground carefully, and at last exclaimed:

"Here are traces of blood, and the grass is trodden down, plainly
showing that a great struggle has occurred, or that a large party have
passed over this place."

"Let us trace the path. Here it runs, up this slope, toward this rock.
And look! here the earth has been disturbed. Do you not remember there
was a cave here? And its mouth or entrance is filled with rock and
earth, which has been newly thrown there. Fall-leaf has been killed, and
buried here!"

"Why buried? These rebels are not in the habit of burying those whom
they murder. Why should they bury Fall-leaf?"

"Because he is of a powerful tribe, and his death, if known, would make
eternal enemies of all the Delawares."

"He was their friend, was he not?"

"No! He met Fremont at Tipton. He had formerly been his friend, having
often met him on the plains between this and the Rocky Mountains. His
whole tribe is deeply attached to the general, and will do all in their
power to assist him. And if the Delawares should learn of his death, I
believe that tribe alone would almost annihilate Price and his army."

The work of removing the stone and earth which obstructed the entrance
of the cave, now began.

They toiled on in silence. At length the last obstacle was removed, and
William called:

"Fall-leaf! Fall-leaf!"

There was no answer.

"He is dead, or not here!" said Johnson.

"He must be here else why has this cave been filled, and so recently. I
will descend and ascertain."

William sprang into the cave. He had nothing with which to strike a
light, but in a moment he said:

"There are _two_ bodies here. I will pass them out, and by the moonlight
we can examine their features."

William lifted the bodies toward the entrance, and as he did so he said:

"One of them has been here a long time, as the decomposition indicates.
Lay them on the ground, Johnson, and I will search farther!"

After a moment's pause, Johnson asked:

"Do you find anything else?"

"No--nothing!"

"Then come out."

William left the cave, and as he did so, Johnson grasped him by the arm,
and asked:

"Will you be calm!"

"Yes--yes!" replied William. "But what do you mean?"

"Will you think _only_ of revenge?"

"Of revenge! What do you mean?"

"Look there!" cried Johnson, pointing to one of the bodies which had
been taken from the cave.

"My father!" shrieked William, as he glanced at the corpse.

"Yes, your father! But, pray be firm--be calm."

"I am calm--very calm!" sobbed William, as he sank beside the inanimate
clay.

"The Indian is recovering, William," said Johnson.

This was indeed the case. In spite of his long confinement in the cave,
and the suffering endured from his wound, Fall-leaf had recovered
sufficiently to speak. He had partially raised himself from the ground,
and was resting his head upon his elbow.

But William was too deeply affected to observe this, or to notice the
words spoken by Johnson.

At last he arose from his prostrate position beside his father's corpse,
and for a moment gazed wildly around him. He pressed his hands to his
temples, as if endeavoring to collect his scattered thoughts. His eyes
fell upon the Indian, and then were raised to Johnson.

"I remember all now!" he said. "I hoped it was a dream--but it is a
dread reality--but not all--not all!"

"William! You know me?"

Johnson gazed upon him with earnestness.

"You think I am mad, Johnson! But I am not. Hark! Great heavens!
Listen!"

Johnson shook his head.

"Here, Johnson--here! kneel with me--here, beside my father's clay!
_That_ voice tells me I have work to do!"

"What voice, William?"

"A thousand voices calling for vengeance. But, kneel with me now, and
swear by the God of truth and justice--swear by my wrongs, your wrongs,
our country's wrongs--swear by your murdered wife, to join me in
pursuing these fiends in human form, until they are swept from the
earth!"

"I swear!" cried Johnson, as he knelt beside his friend.

"Me--me next!" answered Fall-leaf. He made an effort to get upon his
feet, but fell back.

"That voice again?" cried William, starting up, and listening.

"I hear nothing!" answered Johnson.

"But I do! It is a sound soft and plaintive. It echoes along the
mountain, and I know its melody. It is the voice of Alibamo."

For a moment all were silent and listened eagerly to catch the distant
sound, but it was so low and indistinct that nothing definite could be
made of it.

"It is only the murmur of the river, William," said Johnson.

"To me it is the murmur of an angel, and I will trace its source.
Johnson, you must remove Fall-leaf to our cabin. His wound is painful,
and needs attention. Bury my father first, and then perform this duty. I
will meet you to-morrow night."

Without further words, William darted from the spot, and commenced his
course up the mountain toward the camp of Price. Now and then he paused
to listen, but all was silent, save the murmur of the breeze among the
oaks, and the rippling of the rills.

"Am I dreaming?" he at last exclaimed. "No--no! there is her voice
again! Sister!"

William paused, listening intently.

Upon the clear, moonlight air, rang out a voice, sweeter than angels'
echoes. But the words; they spoke of love--of willing captivity--of
future joys mingled with hope. Of her brother-her father-_and her
lover_--"HARRY!"

"Is it possible _she_ has loved a rebel! O God! is my cup of bitterness
not yet full? But I will steal closer, and listen!"

In a short time he reached a rock, upon which, in the clear moonlight,
could be seen, two forms. The one a female, pure and lovely as the
moon's own rays; the other, a delicate youth, of about twenty years of
age, yet bearing the impress of a noble soldier. Alibamo spoke:

"Are you not required in camp, dear Harry?"

"Yes, love--but here, also!"

"You would not sacrifice your duty for love?"

"My first duty is here--with one I love so wildly. And you love me, do
you not, Alibamo?"

"Oh! Harry--I cannot tell you how dearly!"

"Then you are not _my_ sister!" shrieked William, who had heard these
words.

"Halt! Who comes there?"

These words were spoken by one of the sentinels of the picket. In an
instant, William had darted from the spot. The sentinel fired upon him
without effect. He was soon out of danger, and then paused irresolute.
At length he said:

"It will be useless to return to night. That gun has aroused the camp,
and they are beating the long roll. But, why should I wish to return. My
sister loves a rebel. No! what is that? Why, he--her lover is waving the
Stars and Stripes from yonder rock. He knows I see him--and
hark!--she--my sister--is singing--The Star-Spangled Banner. Surely this
is all a dream."



CHAPTER III.

     _The General--His Quarters--The Delay--The Expedition--The
     Instructions--The Departure_.

     We should have else desired your good advice
     (Which still hath been both grave and prosperous)
     In this day's council; but we'll take to-morrow,
     Is't far you ride?--_Shakespeare._


The Union army, or rather a portion of it, was encamped at Warsaw,
waiting for the completion of the Osage river bridge, which was being
built by the soldiers, at that point. The division under the command of
acting Major-General Sigel, had succeeded, after an extraordinary
effort, in reaching the west side of the river, but it was impossible to
convey the heavy trains which accompanied the army across, without
something more than the small scow, which was termed a ferry-boat, and
plying between Warsaw and the opposite shore.

The divisions under the command of McKinstry, Hunter, and Pope, had not
yet arrived. Therefore the troops occupying Warsaw and its vicinity,
numbered only about ten or twelve thousand. Under the incessant toil of
the soldiers, who labored day and night, it was expected that the bridge
would be complete by the time the rear divisions of the army arrived.

As a matter of prudence, it was deemed necessary to keep the rebel hosts
in ignorance with regard to the situation of our forces. It was not
expected that they would advance upon us, although many expressed a
desire that it should be so, believing that Price would never meet our
entire army, and that farther pursuit of that general was altogether
fruitless. This opinion, however, was not general, and the more
experienced officers were of the opinion that a few days would bring a
great and decisive battle, but had perfect confidence in our complete
success. They felt, that if the rebel leader possessed one particle of
_pride_, he _must_ make a stand, after the oft-repeated oaths that he
had taken, to meet and overwhelm the federal troops.

Spies were reporting each day, that Price had sworn to meet, and give us
battle; but the opinion among this class seemed to be, that he would
fall back to the Arkansas line, and make a junction with Texan troops,
said to be on the march toward Missouri. Many reports were circulated
with regard to the strength of the rebel army, some saying it numbered
over seventy thousand, while others declared there were not over thirty
thousand armed men connected with it.

But the general commanding the Union forces, placing little reliance
upon the statement of those spies, whom he believed could be bought
upon either side by the highest bidder, determined to send known and
trusty men into the very camp of Price. The delay of the army would
afford sufficient time for doing so. It soon became known throughout
camp that the general wished the services of some two or three daring
spirits, for a dangerous enterprise, although _what_ the nature of this
enterprise might be, was not known, or whether the officers required
were to take soldiers with them or go alone.

The headquarters of our army were situated on the hill at the upper and
east side of Warsaw. The tent of General Fremont, which was of the
Sibley pattern, modest and unassuming in its appearance, stood in the
edge of an oak grove, near the house of the rebel judge Brown. In no way
was it distinguishable from others which surrounded it, except that
before the door, there was a single soldier of the body-guard, with
drawn sword, acting as sentinel. Adjoining the general's tent were
others of the same pattern, which were occupied by his staff. On the
slope above, and almost concealed from view among the trees, was the
encampment of the sharpshooters and the Benton cadets.

The reader will follow me along the main road, and passing headquarters
some twenty rods, will see, on a parallel with the street, a line of
tents, which were the staff officers' of the cadets. Just before
reaching these we will turn a little to the left, and proceed for a
short distance down a narrow lane. At the extreme right of the cadets'
camp, stands a tent, of precisely the same appearance as those
surrounding it, the entire regiment occupying the kind known as the
Fremont tent. Let us enter.

It is occupied at this time by four men, who, by their uniforms, are at
once recognized as officers. Two of these officers display the rank of
captain, by their shoulder-straps, the other two that of first
lieutenant. The dark blue and bullion of one of these lieutenants
indicate a staff officer. He is the regimental adjutant.

"William Nettleton!" called one of the officers.

"Here, captain," was the ready response.

"Bring more coffee!"

"Yes, captain."

And away started the person addressed as Nettleton.

It will be necessary to give a brief description of this personage, as
he is to play a conspicuous part in the following events. He was in
height, about six feet. His neck was very long, his hair nearly
white--not from age, but naturally so; his brows and eyelashes of the
same color, his eyes were of a light green, his mouth large and gaping,
his teeth extending like a battering ram, his form very lank and lean,
his legs immensely long and thin, and very knock-kneed, and his
feet--oh! ye gods,--such feet. They were about the shape of his own
knapsack, and almost as large, and his legs seemed to join the feet
exactly in the middle, extending as far to the rear as front. And when
he walked, one would almost fancy that at every step he would fall to
pieces. In fact, he looked unlike man or animal, and at first sight he
might have been taken for a deformed idiot. But whoever supposed him as
such, on a very short acquaintance would discover their mistake. He had
been detached from his company as the captain's servant, was very much
attached to him, and delighted in being called the "captain's body
guard."

In a moment his voice was heard exclaiming:

"Here, ye darn lazy skunks, you; what for did you let this fire go out?
Captain wants some more coffee, and now it's all cold, darn ye."

A burst of laughter followed this, as the adjutant remarked:

"Captain, you have a jewel in that fellow."

"Yes, but a rough one."

"A decided character, I wish you would transfer him to me."

"Not for his weight in gold. I have adopted him," replied the captain.

"I will wager my commission, he will fight!"

"I intend to try him!"

"In what way?"

"I will tell you presently. But, let us talk of other matters now. You
heard what the colonel said?"

"Ye darn lazy skunks you!"

"William's voice again!" replied the adjutant, laughing, which was
joined in by the four officers present.

"Perhaps William's address to his squad _might_ apply to us, for we have
done very little lately. But, the colonel tells me that Fremont wants
some one to--"

"Go to the devil!" again shouted William. He was, of course, addressing
himself to the cook and boys who surrounded him, and who were always
teazing the fellow, and of course took all he said or did in good part.

"William is apt in answers, if replying to us, captain. At all events,
_that_ reply was more apropos than the first," said the adjutant.

"To go on some important service. I expect," continued the captain, "it
is to visit the camp of Price as a spy. There has nothing been said
about the men going with us, or with the officer who may volunteer to
go, and of course the general would not expect an officer of the cadets
to take men from other regiments, and ours are all engaged in building
the bridge."

"Have you received any definite order?"

"Yes, and I at once sent for you all. The order includes our names, and
we are to report to the general at four o'clock. It is now two."

"Anything to relieve this present monotony. I for one am tired of it. I
came to Missouri to fight, and not to run. True, we are running _after_
Price, but that does not satisfy me. I confess that I am ambitious, and
I want to do something that will bring my name prominently before the
world; and I want--"

"Coffee, sir," said William, entering the tent.

"Go on, adjutant William, place the coffee upon the table. You were
saying that you want--"

"Whiskey, sir," again repeated William, as he handed a bottle toward his
captain, which he had taken from the mess-chest.

"William, be quiet; don't speak again," said the captain.

"I won't, captain, but I heard the adjutant say he wanted something, and
I thought of course it was the black bottle."

"Silence, Nettleton."

"I will, captain. Shall I make it hot?"

"Nettleton, will you shut your mouth?"

"I can't, captain, my teeth are too long."

"Go after some wood for my fire, William. Take your squad with you."

"Yes, captain."

In a moment Nettleton was heard calling:

"Here, ye darn lazy skunks you, captain wants some wood. Come, be quick,
or I will have you all in the guard-house."

"Now, adjutant, what were you going to say?"

"Merely, that I want my parents, my relatives, to feel that I have done
something that they may be proud of me!"

"Adjutant, that is a natural impulse of the human heart. But this is not
your only motive?" The captain fixed a piercing look upon him. He bent
his head for a moment and was silent. At that instant the band struck up
the Star-Spangled Banner.

"No!" cried the adjutant, springing to his feet. "That is _not_ my only
motive. I thought _you_ knew me better. It is true I love my father and
my mother, my brothers and sisters, and it would gratify my pride if I
could return home after this war is over, an acknowledged hero; but, I
love my country, and while I enjoy the self-satisfaction derived from
great deeds, I desire my country should derive all the benefits. It may
be passion with me--this love of country--but I trust it is principle.
My fathers fought, and I should hate myself if I had so far degenerated
as to fight from selfish motives, or _fear_ to fight. From youth I have
dreamed of battle-fields, and glory for myself, never thinking it would
be in this, our own America, that my first battle would be fought. But
it is so, and my manhood views differ somewhat from those of childhood.
Now I long for the battle-field, and my country's glory!"

"I have no doubt of your loyalty, Harry," replied the captain. "Neither
do I doubt your love for your friends and your country. But you have
just returned from the camp of Price, and, if I mistake not, you love
that camp."

Harry did not reply. The two other officers gazed upon the adjutant with
a look of surprise, and then turning to the captain, one of them said:

"Love for the camp of Price!"

"Oh don't be alarmed, gentlemen. You know the good book tells us that
where the treasure is, there the heart will be."

"These are strange words; however, explain."

"Why, can you not guess?"

"Relatives there!"

"No! that is, not at present. How soon a relative _may_ be there is
quite another thing."

"Come--come, captain, explain."

"Why, look at Harry's face; you can find the explanation there. What but
love, and love for the _softer_ sex, ever made a man like Harry grow
pale and melancholy. You have not heard him sing 'Noble Republic'
recently, have you? You know the free bird never sings when its mate has
been caught and caged."

"_Caught_ and _caged_! Why then if Harry really does love, it is not a
rebel beauty?"

"I will answer that," cried Harry. "No, she is not a rebel beauty, but
is, and ever has been a true Union girl. I call her girl, for she is so
innocent, so artless, so beautiful, and yet she possesses firmness and
resolution I never could have expected in one so young. I met her years
ago in New York. She was then a little child, but I loved her even then.
When I visited the camp of the rebels last week, what was my surprise to
meet her. I learned her history, and I found she was detained as a
prisoner. But it is growing late. In ten minutes we must meet the
general. I will explain all this at some future time."

"Ah! here comes Nettleton. I want him," said the captain.

Nettleton entered the tent.

"William, tell me which you prefer: to serve in the ranks, or to act as
my body-guard?"

"Why, captain, I want to remain just as I am. Why? You don't want to
have me superceded, do you?"

"Oh! no; but why do you object to being in the ranks?"

"I can't turn round quick enough!"

"Why?"

"My feet are too big?"

"I am afraid, William, that you are a coward!"

"I don't think I am, captain!"

"If you were to meet the enemy in battle, would you run?"

"Which way?"

"Why, _from_ the enemy."

"I suspect I should, captain!"

"Why, William, you said you were not a coward!"

"Well, I say so again!"

"Then why would you run _from_ the enemy?"

"Why, _I must follow my captain of course_!"

"Good, Nettleton, good," shouted the listeners. "You are matched this
time, captain." And all joined in the laugh.

"Well, William, I expect I shall go to-night, where there is some
danger. Will you go with me?"

"Yes, captain."

"Think again, William. We may both be killed?"

"Oh! well, if we are only _both_ killed, I can serve you still?"

"Serve me! In what way?"

"By bringing _coal for your fire_, instead of wood!"

"Come--come, William, no more of this levity. If you will go, or wish to
go, you can do so. Saddle White Surry for yourself. Give my brown horse
to Swasey's nigger! prepare my horse, and be ready in half an hour.
Come, gentlemen, it is time to report to the general."

The four officers left the tent, and proceeded to the headquarters of
the commanding officer. They were duly announced by the guard.

They entered the tent. The general was seated at a small table, busy
with his papers. But he rose instantly, and in a cordial manner, invited
them to a seat.

"We report for orders, general," said the captain.

"Then you have resolved to undertake this task?" answered the general in
an inquiring manner.

"Yes, although ignorant of its nature, we have resolved to attempt
anything that may benefit our army and our cause. You have only to give
your commands, to have them faithfully executed, if it is possible to do
so!"

"I have no commands to give. That which I ask is a mere request, which
you are at liberty to decline if you wish. Here are the directions. You,
Captain Hayward, will act as you think best, so far as details are
concerned, and will take command. If, however, after reading the
directions contained in that envelope, you wish to decline the service,
let me hear of it soon as convenient."

"You have our answer now. Good evening, general."

"Good evening, gentlemen."

The officers at once left the tent, and proceeded to that of the
captain.

"Be seated," said Captain Hayward, as he opened the envelope. He glanced
over its contents, and turning to his companions he said:

"We must disguise ourselves. It is as I suspected--we are to go to the
camp of Price. I have in my possession one of the secesh uniforms, which
formerly belonged to an officer. I shall wear it. You will dress in the
plain homespun worn by the rebel soldiers."

"Where are we to procure them?"

"They will be sent to my tent in a few moments. The general has provided
them. William Nettleton!"

"Yes, captain."

"Are our horses ready?"

"Yes, captain."

"Tell my cook to prepare rations for three days for six men. Take care
that they are properly placed in our haversacks--then bring the horses
around to my tent-door. Stay, here is a suit of clothing I wish you to
put on, and wherever we go, understand you belong in Springfield, and
have just left the hospital there. After we pass our lines, you know you
are a rebel, so lay aside that rifle, and take the shot gun I gave you.
'Swasey's nigger' will not be armed at all. Go."

In a few moments the officers had changed their uniforms for the rougher
dress. Their horses were brought up, and they at once took their leave
of camp, followed by the negro and William Nettleton.



CHAPTER IV.

     _The Journey--The Cowardly Negro--Nettleton's Method--Meeting the
     Rebels--He will fight--Powder discovered--The Arrival._

     The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
     Where got'st thou that goose look?--_Shakespeare._


The party rode rapidly to the river, and were soon upon the opposite
shore. Turning to the east, they passed along a narrow road which wound
its course along the river's bank. For fifteen or twenty miles the
horsemen did not pause, and not a word was spoken. At last Captain
Hayward ordered a halt, and the party dismounted. The horses were
secured to the surrounding trees, and Nettleton and the negro left to
guard them.

"Come with me, comrades," said Hayward, as he took his course toward the
river's bank.

In a moment they were seated by the side of the rapid Osage, entirely
concealed by the thick growth of underbrush by which they were
surrounded.

"It is better that our servants should not hear our conversation,"
remarked Hayward. "And now, gentlemen, we must lay our plans. I wish
every one to speak freely. You know our object, of course."

"I know its nature; but perhaps you can give us details we are not
acquainted with," answered Lieut. Elsler.

"They are merely the instructions previously given, with a trifling
difference. We are to reach the camp of Price by noon to-morrow, or
to-day, as I see it is after twelve o'clock," replied Hayward. "When we
arrive within a mile of the outer pickets, we must conceal our horses,
and leave the darkey to watch them. I shall walk boldly into the camp,
and report myself to Price as an officer and messenger just arrived from
McIntosh's command. Our colonel was in the same regiment with him, the
10th regulars, before this war broke out, and has given me an exact
description of his person and peculiarities. To throw Price off his
guard, and to prevent his questioning me too closely, I shall repeat
some of the peculiar expressions of Mac, which, of course, Price will at
once recognise, and that, together with my secesh uniform, will settle
matters. I am to tell some story which will induce him to make a stand
here, or to advance upon us at Warsaw; or, at least, to give us battle
at Springfield. I shall tell Price that it is the advice of McIntosh to
meet Fremont on the Osage, if possible, and say that the reason of this
advice is, that Mac is in communication with one Marshall, an officer
high in rank in the federal army, and that Marshall tells him the exact
position of our forces. Of course our numbers are to be greatly
underrated. The federals, I shall say, profess to have thirty-five
thousand men, _all_ anxious to fight, when in reality they have not more
than twenty thousand, poorly armed, and mostly arrant cowards, who will
run at the first discharge of the confederate guns. I shall tell Price
that Mac has perfect confidence in the information received through his
friend, and sent me forward at once to communicate with him. You must
all remain concealed until I come to you. I shall remain in his camp
until evening, get such information as I can with regard to his actual
strength, and what he intends doing, and when the countersign for the
night is given out, I shall manage to procure it, and then return to
you. Our further plans we can then arrange."

"But, if there should already be some of the officers from McIntosh's
department, present, and should declare you did not belong there!"

"It is not at all probable. Mac has not received any information at
all."

"But you know Price has sent spies into our camp, and if any of them
should be present and recognise you?"

"I must take the chances. If I do not return to you by eleven o'clock,
you will know that I have been arrested."

"If ye are arrested we will go in and lick the nasty chaw-tobacker
skunks, and get you out," said Nettleton, who had approached just in
time to hear the last sentence.

"William, I told you to remain with the horses, did I not?"

"I know you did, captain, but you see I had to come and report myself
under arrest."

"What have you been doing, William?"

"I've killed the nigger!"

"Not Swasey's nigger?"

"Yes, I have!"

"Why did you do that?"

"Why, captain, ye see the black sneak got skeered and turned almost
white, and shivered like a poodle when he's going to ketch a licking.
And sez I to him, you dog or rascal, what are you skeered about? And
when he tried to speak his teeth rattled so that I thought it was a
wagon coming over the mountain. Then he jumped on one of the horses and
sez 'I'm g'wan back!' So I just tapped him on the head with the but of
my gun, and I'll be blasted if the critter didn't get right off the
horse and lay down without my telling him to do it. But, I didn't want
to kill the black skin; I didn't think his pate was so soft. Niggers
generally ain't."

"What was the fellow frightened about?"

"I don't know, captain, except it was the dark!"

The officers exchanged glances, and Hayward said in an under tone:

"It was just as I should have expected Nettleton to act!" Then turning
to William he said:

"Go back to the horses, and don't kill any one else to-night!"

"I won't, captain, unless they are enemies or cowards," replied William,
as he turned to depart.

"I would trust that fellow with my life," said Hayward, gazing after
Nettleton.

"But you were saying, captain, if you did not return by eleven o'clock,
we should know you were arrested. What shall we do in that case?"

"You can do nothing. Return to camp and leave me to my fate. However, I
apprehend no such danger. But, Harry, you spoke of a beauty whom you
love, and who is a prisoner. Have you anything to request? Perhaps we
can serve you in this matter."

"Yes, Harry, we will try," replied Elsler; "but will you not give us the
remaining portion of your adventure?"

"Have I time?" asked the adjutant, turning to the captain.

"Oh! yes, _true_ love affairs are usually short but sweet. I presume it
will not take you very long to speak of bright eyes, ruby lips, flowing
tresses, and soft whispers--sighs, and all that kind of nonsense. Go
on."

"Captain, I know _you_ think lightly of love, but wait until you have
seen Alibamo. You will love her, too. She is a being to love--beautiful
as morning--gentle as a summer evening's breeze."

"Exactly, and so on indefinitely. Young ladies are always all this, and
more, in young lovers' estimation. But give us _facts_, Harry. She is a
prisoner, and that interests me. Perhaps I can see her to-day, and give
her some message from you, which will give her hopes of liberty."

"I have very little to say, but much to do. While I was with the
scouting party some days since, I went to the camp of the rebels. I did
not seek admittance within their lines, but from a commanding point I
saw their whole army, although I could not form any correct estimate of
their strength. As I was returning I met Alibamo, in company with a
squad of soldiers who are acting as her guard. She recognized me at
once, and was about to spring forward, when I raised my finger to my
lips, in token of silence. She understood me. She knew I was not a rebel
but the soldiers supposing me, from my rough, homespun clothing, to be
one of their own friends, did not notice me, or observe the sign of
recognition and silence which passed between myself and the lady. I
spoke to the soldiers: 'Hold on a moment,' I said, 'if I am not greatly
mistaken, I have met this beauty before in New Orleans.' As I spoke
these words, I fixed my eyes upon her. I tried to look hatred. She
understood me, and replied that she had met me before. 'And I loved
you,' I said, 'but that love was of no avail. You left me. I determined
to follow you, for revenge, but I did not know where you were. And now I
meet you near my own camp. And you are a prisoner! Am I not revenged?'

"The soldiers heard every word I had spoken, and understood me just as I
spoke. She then replied to me thus:

"'It is true we have met before, and you told me of your love. I turned
from you, I scarcely knew why, but you were mistaken if you thought I
did not love you. That I left the place where we first met was
unavoidable. And because I left thus, you wish to revenge me! Well, you
have your revenge. My father and my brother, most likely, have been
murdered by rebels such as you. I am in the hands of a ruffian. I cannot
escape--I meet you, and you taunt me! Well, you _are_ revenged!'

"Thus she briefly told me her story. I asked her if she could love me
yet, and she replied she could. I pointed to a certain rock, and told
her that, as soon as my duties would permit, I would meet her there. Of
course I could not permit her to escape, and unless she would promise to
remain, and become one of us, I could do nothing for her. One of the
guard said she could not meet me there alone, as Branch would not allow
it, but she might be permitted to _walk_ if she chose to do so, in the
evening, accompanied by the present guard. I thanked them, said I would
let Alibamo know when I could come, and if they would keep the matter a
secret, I would pay them well for it. I could afford to do that, as my
father was rich. Believing me a rebel, they readily consented.

"Of course, you know my plans now, captain. Arrange all your affairs,
and then communicate with Alibamo for me. Tell her to meet me at eleven
o'clock at the place appointed. There will be a guard of twelve,
captain. What say you?"

"We will rescue her!"

"Can we do it?"

"Nettleton _alone_ could do it! Why do you ask, can _we_?"

"It is an individual hazard!"

"Your cause is ours, Harry. But come, it is time to continue our
journey. It will be daylight before we reach our destination."

As they approached the spot where the horses were tied, they saw the
negro standing erect, and Nettleton giving him advice which was as
follows:

"Now look a here, 'Swasey's nigger,' you are a mean feller any how, and
ain't much account no way. But, don't go and make a sneak of yourself by
being such a milksop of a coward. Cos why? You see, I hit you on the
head, and I thought you was killed. I didn't care much, no way, kase
you're such a mean soldier, any way. But just behave yourself, and don't
be a sneak any more, and I'll let ye live; but if you show the white
feather, as captain calls it, you will find out that the captain's
body-guard don't have any turn-tails about _him_; no, sir, Mr. Darkey!"

"I won't be coward no more, Massa Nettleton. Golly, don't I wish dis
chile was brabe like you. But, ye see, Massa Nettleton, when dis chile
gets in de woods, and de rebels are aroun', it makes his har stan' on
end."

"Well, don't you do it no more, or I make _you_ stand on end!"

"William Nettleton," called the captain.

"Yes, sir! want the horses?"

"Yes, William."

As the party mounted, and prepared to depart, Captain Hayward said:

"Why, William, you informed me that you had killed that gentleman of
color. I see he is alive, and apparently unhurt."

"Why ye see, captain, his skull is so thick, it ain't so easily cracked.
But, if you'll only just examine his skull, you'll find a lump there big
enough for a breastwork."

"Do you think it has improved his condition?"

"I guess it knocked some of the fear out of his woolly top-piece, and if
I have occasion to hit him again, I bet it will knock it all out."

"George, what are you afraid of?" asked Hayward, speaking to the negro.

"I'se most afeerd of Cap'n Nettleton, massa," replied the negro, as he
opened his mouth and grinned.

"Did he hurt you very much?"

"Considerable much, massa cap'n. Golly, I thought the gun crack de
skull, sure."

"But you are not afraid of the rebels, are you, George?"

"Not when I'se good way off!"

"Captain," said the adjutant, "we shall have trouble with this fellow.
Had we not better send him back?"

"Perhaps it would be the best course."

"Oh! massa cap'n, don't send dis chile back alone. De rebels catch him,
sure. And den, O Lord golly, dey whip me to strings, _sure_!"

"So they would. The best thing you can do is to keep quiet. We shall
conceal our horses when we arrive within a few miles of the camp, and
you must remain with them. If you do so, you will be safe, but if you
attempt to return alone, you will be caught and whipped to death."

"Oh! golly! massa, dis chile will do just what massa cap'n tell him. But
is ye gwan to lebe dis chile all stark, staring, breving alone?"

"All alone, George, and your only safety will be in keeping perfectly
quiet so that you will not be discovered."

"Can't Massa Nettleton stay?"

"William," said Hayward, "give that fellow a lecture."

"Yes, captain. Look a here, you disgrace of your country," said
Nettleton, as he rode up to the side of the negro, "look a here; if I
hear you open your mouth again, I'll cram the muzzle of my gun down your
throat, and then shoot it off. Lord wouldn't there be a splutterin of
nigger!"

"I'se dumb, Cap'n Nettleton."

"Well, talk no more. Come, comrades, double quick."

Captain Hayward struck his horse and dashed forward, followed by the
entire party.

It was about two o'clock in the morning, as they were riding rapidly
along, when Nettleton rode up to the side of Captain Hayward and said:

"Captain, don't you see them sneaks ahead?"

The captain looked toward the spot indicated and replied:

"_Stumps_, you mean, William."

"No, golly massa, dem's no stumps; dem's hooman beins. Dar, don't you
hear dat horse whinner?"

"Halt!" said Hayward. "Look to your pistols--have your swords
ready--there are about twenty of them. They see us, and are awaiting our
approach. It is too late to conceal ourselves. Forward!"

The party moved onward at a slackened pace. When they had arrived within
forty yards of the horsemen, Captain Hayward said:

"Halt here a moment. I will ride forward."

In an instant he had reached them. He rode up carelessly and fearlessly.

"Halt!" cried the leader, addressing Hayward.

"To what purpose, sir?" demanded Hayward.

"For examination!" was the response.

"The moon is shining brightly. You can easily examine my face and
uniform. But perhaps you prefer to examine these?" said Hayward, drawing
his revolver with one hand and his sword with the other.

"Precisely!" was the reply, "unless _you_ pass examination first."

"Well, sir, as I don't intend to submit myself to any such process, we
will commence with these at once. Forward, boys!" shouted Hayward,
turning to his own party, "_here are a set of d----d home guards_!"

Hayward was well satisfied that the party was no other than a portion of
Price's army, and his rough allusion to the "home guards" was intended
to impress them with the fact that he and his party were also of the
rebel army. The ruse succeeded. As the remainder of Hayward's party were
approaching, with drawn swords, the officer in command of the other
squad, said:

"Don't trouble them. I think we are all cut from the same piece of
cloth."

"Then you are _not_ what I suppose?" asked Hayward.

"We are of the confederate army, and have just come from camp."

"Indeed! then you need not fear us!" said Hayward, laughing. "That is,
if you will give a good account of yourselves. Halt, boys, don't
annihilate them."

The leader of the twenty joined in the laugh, as he saw the remaining
five approach.

"Oh! Lord! massa," said the negro as he approached, "don't--don't--if
dem's home guards we will be--"

Somehow in turning, just at that instant the gun which Nettleton
carried, came in violent contact with the darkey's nose, which checked
his further utterance.

"Yes, ye dam skunk, you maybe mighty glad them ain't home guards. If
they was, you'd catch Jerusalem, I tell ye what, ye black rascal!"

The darkey did not appear to comprehend, but dared not speak.

"Whither bound, boys?" asked Hayward.

"Well," replied the leader, "we are going to scout around the federal
camp a little, to find out what we can. I suppose we can get in, as we
shall go separately, and if surprised, we shall pass as home guards. I
fancy no difficulty, as you mistook us for such."

"Still, you must be very careful. These Yankees are very sharp, I am
informed," replied Hayward.

"Well, if we are attacked we must do our best, of course. But we may not
go as far as Warsaw. Our principal object is, to get some kegs of
powder, which are buried on the Osage, just above--let me see."

The officer took a card from his pocket and read aloud:

"_Just above Rapid creek, on the west bank, near a large oak tree, which
is marked C. S. A._"

"Powder! good! We are in need of it," answered Hayward. "By the by, I am
out of powder--so are our entire party. Have you any to spare?"

"Oh! yes, here is a flask."

Hayward reached for his second pistol, and then looking up with
surprise, he said:

"Why, I lost one of my weapons. Ah! I remember where we stopped, _about
two miles back_, in the brush, by the river's side. Elsler, you have not
ridden as far to-day as I have; won't you ride back and get it for me.
You probably will find it on the ground where I was sitting. We will
ride slow, so that you can easily overtake us."

"With pleasure, captain," replied Elsler, as he turned his horse, and
rode rapidly away.

"I would go with you, captain," said Hayward, "were it not that I have
important information to impart to General Price. By the by, captain, is
my friend Branch with you now?"

"Yes--but you must have been absent some time not to be aware of his
presence."

"Oh! I have not been with the general since the Lexington affair. I just
came up from McIntosh's command. But why would I be particularly aware
of his presence. Has Branch got himself into trouble?"

"Yes--he's caught a tartar!"

"Will a duel be the result?" asked Hayward, with apparent solicitude.

"Oh! he's already shot!"

"Injured badly?"

"O! no, that is, not mortally. He was only shot, as Mercutio says, 'with
a white wench's black eye.' That's all."

"I don't exactly understand you," replied Hayward, feigning ignorance.

"Why, you see, Branch took a young gal prisoner, and has kept her in
camp some time. At first he was harsh and done just about as he
pleased--that is, he said about what he pleased. But he never couldn't
come near the gal. She struck him once with a dagger when he tried to
kiss her, and nearly killed him. During the time he was sick he fell in
love in real earnest with the gal, and now she does anything she
pleases, _except_ leave. That she can't do, as Branch has detailed a
guard to watch her, and although they are just as much in love with her
as Branch is, they dare not let her escape."

"Indeed! She must be a fascinating creature. Is she in camp now?"

"Oh, yes; she has a tent to herself."

"What is her name?"

"I believe they call her Alibamo."

"She is a Spanish beauty, then?"

"That is her Christian name. But I believe she _is_ of Spanish origin."

"I must see this beauty," said Hayward, laughing.

"You had better look out for your heart."

"Oh! no danger. I am not susceptible. Here is a young gentleman who is,
however. How is it, Harry, do you think _you_ will love this--this--what
is her name?"

"Alibamo."

"Alibamo! Yes--soft--musical--poetical. Will you love Alibamo, Harry?"

"Very likely, captain," replied the adjutant.

"Well, we must proceed. Good-by, captain. I hope you will secure the
powder!"

The parties now separated, Captain Hayward and his friends riding
leisurely forward, until the others were no longer to be seen.

"I guess he'll git that powder over the left," said Nettleton, grinning
a smile that reminded one of a large hole in the mountain.

"Search for your revolver, captain. _Perhaps_ you have not lost it at
all."

"I brought but _one_, and that is here. But never mind."

In the course of a few hours, the captain rode into a thick cluster of
oaks, followed by his friends.

The horses were secured in a position where they were entirely concealed
from view. The negro was instructed to watch them, and the others were
to remain quiet until the return of Captain Hayward, provided he should
return by twelve o'clock the following night. If not, they were to act
as they thought best.



CHAPTER V.

     _Hayward in Camp--The Spies--The Maiden Alibamo--The Interview with
     Price--The Perilous Situation._

     Columbia's sons! the heavens above us
       Sent angels of glory, who brought down our stars!
         With part of heaven's blue
           Which they gave Washington,
         And through him to you,
           When first you begun
       To form our proud standard. Then lacking the bars,
     Columbia's daughters exclaimed, "Those who love us
     Must add to that portion with streams of their blood,
     Binding it to the blue and the stars, though a flood
     Be required."

     _Colonel Weeks._


It was about ten o'clock in the morning when Captain Hayward left his
friends, and proceeded toward the camp of General Price, which was about
four miles from the spot where the horses had been secured and the party
concealed. Several of the picket guard were passed, who came at once to
the shoulder arms and salute, as Hayward approached. He soon reached the
guard-house. Here the inspection was a trifle more critical, although
the captain passed within the lines without the slightest difficulty. He
walked along as one familiar with the place, his eyes surveying each
surrounding object at a single glance, and seeking, among the better
class of tents, one which, by the rebel flag, he could recognize as
headquarters. But he could not readily find the general's tent,
concealed, as it was, among the trees. Soon, however, he met one of the
rebels, wearing the shoulder-straps of captain, and his sash worn in the
manner indicating an "officer of the day." Hayward saluted, and asked:

"Will you take me to the general's tent?"

"You are a stranger here?" asked the officer.

"Yes."

"You come from below?"

"From below Springfield--from McIntosh."

"Anything important?"

"Yes, but it is for the general's ear first. If _he_ chooses to
communicate with you, very well; but I shall not!"

"Oh! your pardon, sir. You will find the general's tent to the right, on
the hill yonder, just in the edge of the woods. He is now examining a
spy--an Indian!"

Hayward saluted the officer, and passed on toward the spot indicated. He
had proceeded but a short distance, when he saw an Indian dart from
among the trees, and run as if for life. Several shots were instantly
fired after him, but without effect. It was but an instant before
several horsemen appeared, and dashed after him at a furious speed. They
passed Hayward, and were soon out of sight.

Hayward passed on, and soon reached the general's tent. He was informed
by an orderly in attendance that Price had just left in pursuit of the
Indian spy who had just escaped, and might be absent some time.

"These red devils are slippery as eels," said the orderly, "and I doubt
if they can overtake him."

"Well, I am in no particular hurry," replied Hayward. "I come from
McIntosh with messages for the general, and I will await his return
here."

"Then you are a stranger in our camp?"

"Yes, I have just arrived!"

"Well, sit down. Take a cigar--and here is some excellent brandy. Help
yourself."

"You appear to be well provided for," said Hayward, lighting a cigar.

"Better with drink than anything else. But I can offer you something to
eat, such as it is."

"Thank you, orderly; but I was well supplied at a farm-house this
morning. However, I will drink with you. Fill, and we will drink to the
general, and success to our cause!"

"I will drink that in a pint bumper," said the orderly, as he drained
his glass.

"That is excellent," said Hayward.

"Take another."

"I don't care if I do!"

"Still another!"

"I don't care if I do!" replied Hayward again, in a singular tone.

"Oh! you have been with McIntosh, sure," said the Orderly, who made
himself very familiar with his new acquaintance. He had evidently been
already very familiar with the brandy, and was getting very drunk. "I
should know you had drank with Mac many a time. That is always his
reply, and we use it all over the camp--Don't care if I do," and the
orderly drained his glass again. Hayward pretended to drink.

"What news do you bring from Mac?" asked the orderly.

"I expect it is advice to retreat!"

"Oh! he need not have sent us that advice!"

"Why, I thought General Price had determined to make a stand here!"

"So did I. But he won't now. Mum's the word, you know, if I tell you!"

"Oh! yes, mum!" answered Hayward in a confidential tone.

"Well, you see, the general sent out spies several days ago, and he
thought they were taken, or had played him false, because they didn't
come back. But they did come this morning while the general was absent,
and brought these papers. The general was so busy examining the Indian,
that he did not see them, and I forgot to tell him they were here."

"What do the papers contain?"

"A plan of the federal camp--the names and description of all the
principal officers, even General Fremont, and their entire force in
round numbers--their guns--kind of rifle which the infantry use, and, in
fact, all the particulars, even to where they post their pickets."

"Orderly, do you think we can successfully contend with their army?"

"I _know_ we cannot! They have more fighting men than we, and are much
better armed."

"What shall you do, orderly, if Price does make up his mind to fight?"

"You won't betray me?"

"Not if you tell me in confidence."

"Well, then, before the fight begins, _I_ shall run like the devil, and
get out of the way. Those d----d abolitionists don't take me prisoner,
if I can help it!"

"Then you are convinced Price would be whipped?"

"I _know_ it!"

"I am of your opinion, orderly. But Price has determined to fight. He
has great confidence in his position here, and thinks that he can whip
twice his number. Let mo look at those papers!"

The orderly passed the papers to Hayward.

"Now, let me tell you, orderly, _I_ think it is all folly for Price to
meet the federal army, even if he has a strong position. You know they
have sixty--some say eighty thousand men, and four hundred big guns--and
yet Price thinks he can successfully meet--What do I see! Why, this
paper states that the federal forces only number thirty or thirty-five
thousand, and that they have less than two hundred guns! Oh! this is a
mistake. Those men who brought this information, I will swear, are Union
spies, and are deceiving General Price, merely to get him to fight. Now,
I _know_ the federals have more men than represented here, and if Price
has determined to meet them with their sixty thousand what will he do if
led to believe there are only thirty thousand? Why, he would advance at
once and lead us all to death."

"What shall we do?" asked the orderly, evidently alarmed.

"Why, Price _must not see these papers_!"

"How can it be prevented?"

"Let me keep them!"

"But the spies are down at their tent, and as soon as the general comes,
they will return and tell him all."

"How many are there?"

"Only two!"

"They must not be permitted to deceive the general, and lead us all to
certain destruction. Have them arrested at once, and put them in the
outer guard-house--stay, and to prevent their communicating this false
information to the men--as it would soon reach Price--have them gagged!"

"I will!" replied the orderly. He left the tent, and soon returned,
saying:

"They seemed somewhat surprised when I told them they were found out.
But they are properly attended to."

"I do not think that our general's position here is as strong as he
thinks it to be. Have you a drawing of his defences?"

"Oh! yes," replied the orderly. "Here is one I drew for my own
gratification."

"I will examine it at my leisure," remarked Hayward, as he glanced over
the paper, and then placed it in his pocket. "But, now be very careful
and make no mention of this matter to Price. What is that?"

"That singing?"

"Yes--that is an extraordinary voice, and is that of a female!"

"Oh! yes--that is a captive bird. But, if you will walk in that
direction, I will introduce you to Captain Branch, and perhaps you can
get an opportunity to converse with her."

Captain Hayward and the orderly left the tent, and proceeded in the
direction from which the sound emanated. At last Hayward paused and
said:

"By heaven, that will never do; she is singing the Star-spangled
Banner!"

"Oh! she _will_ do just what she pleases, in spite of any of us. You had
better not say anything to her against that song, or you will get more
of her tongue than will be agreeable to your feelings."

They paused before the tent, around which were lounging a number of
officers. The orderly introduced Hayward to Captain Branch, and said:

"The gentleman is somewhat curious to see your beauty."

"He shall be gratified. Walk in, sir!"

Both Branch and Hayward entered the tent, and many of the officers
crowded around to witness the introduction.

"Alibamo--darling--allow me to present you to a friend--an officer in
our army."

"_Present_ me anywhere, and to any one, and I will rejoice, if they will
only take their presence out of my sight," replied the maiden. Then
turning to Hayward she said:

"Pardon me, sir. I did not intend to be rude to you!"

"I have nothing to pardon, sweet lady," replied Hayward kindly. "Speak
plainly. I admire candor, and never wish to constrain the speech of any
one--more especially a lady, and one so beautiful!"

And beautiful she was, indeed. Her form was almost fairy-like. Her
golden tresses fell upon a neck of spotless purity--her cheeks so clear
that you could almost see the soul shine through them, leaving its tinge
of beauty; and those eyes looked as if they opened first in heaven, and
caught their brightness from a seraph's gaze, as flowers are fairest
where the sunbeams fall. But, when she turned that gaze upon you, one
could not fail to discover an expression of determination and firmness
which could scarcely be expected in one so gentle in appearance.

"You are inclined to flatter," she answered, with a smile. "But if you
are so willing others should express their sentiments without restraint,
I may hope you were not offended because I was singing a favorite song
of mine when you entered my tent."

"Not at all, dear lady. I should be pleased to listen to it again."

"Would you? Then you shall be gratified!"

And Alibamo, seizing her guitar, began the song. As she proceeded, an
almost deathly silence was maintained by those around.

What was the meaning of this silence--this apparent thoughtfulness? Why
did not the rebel hordes _compel_ this female to cease her song of
treason to them! Ah! the good old times, when their fathers and our own
were fighting side by side, in freedom's holy name, and under the Union
banner's folds, came freshly to the mind and heart of each, and caused
them to long for just such times again, and for the glorious prosperity
which was enjoyed by our country, while that "Star-spangled Banner"
waved free and glorious. They thought of streams of blood--blood which
had, and must still flow, mingled with tears--hot, burning mother's
tears.

Perhaps, too, they were thinking of their own homes, prosperous and
happy, till traitors arose, and striking down the standard which waved
over them, planted in its place a treacherous emblem, reeking with the
pollution of a bad cause.

Or, perhaps they were meditating a return to the dear old flag, but
feared to do so. Fear that they might not, like the prodigal, be
received with open arms, and fear that, in the outset, they would be
overpowered and dealt with as mutineers.

Oh! come back, deluded, mistaken sons of freedom's soil! Come back, ye
whose fathers shed their blood to consecrate our land to liberty, for
ever! Let your base and calculating political leaders deceive you no
more! Be no longer tools for their use and to be only used for their
aggrandizement! Come back to the country that loved you and has so long
given you its protection! Come, acknowledge your wrong--seek protection
under our starry flag, and fight for it. You shall receive its
protection, and be once more ranked as the sons of Columbia.

As she ceased singing, she turned to Hayward and said:

"Do you not admire the song?"

"I admire the singer, lady, but you must excuse me if I do not speak
with regard to the sentiment, before you."

"You admire candor. Why not express your sentiments before me? You
_look_ like a gentleman, and I love occasionally to meet a gentleman,
even in the rebel ranks."

"No doubt our views are different, lady. But I trust we will not be
enemies nevertheless."

"We may not be personal enemies here. But if you will change that
uniform you wear, for that of a Union officer, I will promise that we
will be friends."

"I could not consistently do so at present, lady!"

"Why not?"

"When my country is in danger, do I not share it? Thus to take this off,
would be to endanger myself and my country's cause."

Alibamo gazed at Hayward a moment, but it was met with a look of
indifference.

"Yes, you are in danger. You belong to the so-called Southern
confederacy, and you, with it, are in danger of destruction. Why not
come back to the Union--the glorious _old_ confederacy. Why not come
back and fight for the cause _your_ fathers died to win. Why not fight
under the glorious stars and stripes. See _I_ wear them as an apron,
even here in this rebel camp. And I tore up a confederate flag to make
this. The glorious stars and stripes--oh! how I love them. Our fathers
gave them to us pure and spotless, their stars glittering brightly, and
their stripes waving free. If they _must_ be stained, it will be by the
blood of our fathers' sons who are fighting to replace them on every
spot where they _have_ waved, but by traitorous hands been stricken
down. And they will be placed there. They will yet wave over your home
and mine!"

"Lady, you will pardon me, but I cannot longer listen to you. If I do
not act as I _think_ is right, it will be something new for _Harry
Hinton_."

Alibamo started. She trembled violently, but recovering her
self-possession, she said:

"Mr. _Harry Hinton_, I could not accuse you of dishonor. Forgive me if I
have wounded your feelings by being rude. And to show you my esteem for
you--that is so far as I can feel esteem for my country's enemy--you may
kiss my cheek at parting!"

The gallant captain stepped forward, and taking the lady by the hand,
the kiss echoed throughout the tent. But a _very_ close observer would
have noticed that Hayward kissed the lady _on, or very near_, the ear!

"Adieu! I trust to see you again!" said Alibamo, as Hayward left the
tent.

"You are fortunate," remarked the orderly, as he proceeded toward the
tent of Price.

"In what particular?" asked Hayward.

"In winning that lady's heart."

"Do you think I have?"

"It is very evident she is smitten with you. Ah! here is the general."

Hayward entered the tent of Price. The general merely looked up, but did
not speak.

"I come to you from McIntosh, with information," said Hayward, as he
saluted the general.

"Then you are welcome. Be seated, will you drink?"

"I don't care if I do?" answered Hayward, laughing.

"That sounds natural," said Price. "But how is my friend Mac?"

"Well, but very impatient."

"Why is this?"

"I would speak with you alone," said Hayward, glancing toward the
orderly, who, without waiting further notice, left the tent.

"We are alone," said the general.

"The message sent is merely a verbal one, and perhaps of no very great
importance, as you may have heard it from your own scouts. But, it is
this. McIntosh is in constant communication with an officer of the
federal army. He is informed through him, that their strength is greatly
over estimated by our forces; that their available forces, if compelled
to give battle at once, will be less than twenty thousand, and his
advice is to meet the enemy at once."

"I cannot meet even twenty thousand!" said Price, despondingly.

"Not in this stronghold?"

"Not even here, as I _must_ count the chances of defeat. Should the
enemy advance upon us, they will attack us from the rear, thus cutting
off communication, and in case of defeat, our situation would not be a
pleasant one."

"Of course you will not meet them, unless certain of success. Mac knows
the position and strength of the enemy, but was not so fully informed
with regard to your situation. He says, if you think retreat advisable,
he will meet you at Springfield."

"Are you to return?" asked Price.

"That is as you may direct, general."

"You will return to-morrow, and tell Mac to join me at Cassville. I am
not able to get reliable information from Warsaw, and my camp has been
filled with the federal spies for the past three days. Two have just
escaped this morning. I know that the bridge at Warsaw is nearly
completed, and that the enemy will move in a few days. I shall march
to-morrow."

"It will take five or six days to reach Cassville. Shall I tell Mac to
meet you immediately on your arrival?"

"Tell him to camp near Wilson's creek, and await orders. If the army of
the federals advance as they have done, that is, only one division
several days' march ahead, I shall attack them at Springfield. I was a
fool that I did not meet them at Warsaw, when they were thus situated."

"Fremont will be in the advance, I suppose?"

"Yes, with his famous body-guard, and the division under Sigel, in all
about eight thousand. I long to meet Sigel again, and that famous
body-guard."

"I believe the friend of Mac is an officer in a battalion also acting as
the body-guard of Fremont."

"What battalion is that?" asked Price.

"I believe they are called the Benton cadets."

"Ah! yes. I am expecting a messenger here every moment, with the
description of all the officers attached to Fremont, and among them is a
captain belonging to the cadets, whom I am anxious to meet."

"What is his name?" asked Hayward.

"His name is _Harry Hayward_! senior captain of the battalion."

"Why do you wish to meet him more than any other officer?"

"Because I met him once face to face, and he taunted me!"

"Did he know you, general?"

"No, he did not dream who I was."

"Where did you meet him?"

"It was at a farm-house, beyond Warsaw. I was there in disguise. This
captain rode up and asked for a cup of water, and as I was standing at
the well, I gave it to him. I asked the strength of the army, and he
replied that they were much stronger than there was any occasion for. I
asked him if he thought Price would not fight, and he replied that the
rebel army might possibly be induced to meet us if they had a decent
general, but with such a d--d cowardly old fool as Price for their
leader, we should never catch them."

"Would you know him again if you should meet him?" asked Hayward, with
apparent indifference.

"I do not think that I should. He had been riding during the whole of
that day, and was so completely covered with dust that his features were
not visible. But when one of my men returns, he will have his exact
description. I instructed him to be particular about this officer."

"How did you ascertain who he was, at the time you met him?"

"While I was conversing with him, the adjutant rode up and handed him a
letter. He opened it and threw the envelope on the ground. I picked it
up, and thus learned who he was."

The remaining portion of the time, until nine o'clock in the evening,
was passed in ordinary conversation. Hayward did not care to show
himself about camp. He well knew that the guard-house held two
prisoners, bound and gagged by his order, and accused of being spies
from the federals, who were in reality rebel spies, and true to their
cause. He knew they had both, or at least one of them, seen him, and
would recognize him at once. He had his own description in his pocket,
written by one of them, which had by the merest chance been prevented
from falling into the hands of Price. However, time passed on, and
nothing like suspicion was manifested, that Hayward was not just what he
represented himself. Nine o'clock came. The countersign was out, which
the general readily gave to Hayward. Tattoo had scarcely ceased
sounding, when a sergeant appeared at the tent-entrance and said:

"General, one of the prisoners accused of being a spy, wishes to see
you. He says his information is of vast importance."

"I know of no person charged with being a spy whom we have as prisoner!
But it is possible some of the morning prowlers have been caught."

"He says he came direct from Warsaw where you had sent him."

"Strange!" said Price, musing. "Tell him I will be at the guard-house in
an hour. Stay. Bring him to my tent at ten o'clock."

The sergeant departed.

"Will you excuse me a moment?" said Price, turning to Hayward. "I have
letters to write."

"Certainly!" said Hayward as he left the tent.

Hayward walked leisurely along, until he reached the outer guard-house.
He was here challenged and giving the countersign, passed out. He
proceeded rapidly to the place where his friends awaited him, and found
them all ready for orders, and for action.



CHAPTER VI.

     _The Escape--The Pursuit--The Capture._

     Charge--charge, boys, for "God and for liberty!" See!
       Their traitorous banner is hurled to the ground.
     And up go our colors, the "Flag of the Free,"
       While our bands strike "Columbia," oh! glorious sound.

     _Col. Weeks._


"Darn my buttons if the captain ain't got back all safe!" shouted
Nettleton, as he fairly danced with delight.

"Yes, all safe," replied Hayward "But how have you passed the day,
Adjutant Hinton?"

"Not at all pleasantly!" replied the adjutant. "We have had serious
anxiety on your account, and I suppose we came very near being
discovered!"

"Indeed! Why so?"

"You had been absent just long enough to reach camp, when we heard the
firing of guns. In a short time a party of horsemen rode past at a
furious rate, cursing and speaking of a spy. We feared you had been
discovered, were making your escape, and that they were in pursuit."

"What did you do?"

"Of course I advised our friends to remain quiet. I thought if we were
to appear and fight, you would reach us in some way, or give us some
signal. But it was very difficult to restrain Nettleton. He determined
to rush upon the pursuers, and once had his gun raised to fire upon
them, but I prevented him from doing so."

"I am very much obliged to you for your good feeling, and admire your
courage. But, you must not be rash. If you had fired a gun, it would
have brought certain destruction upon us all."

"Well, captain, you see I wouldn't have done it, but I was feared that
black rascal there would expose us all. The curse began to _cry_ just as
soon as he heerd the guns shootin', and when they let off that volley up
at that rock there, the darned sneak's bones rattled so, I was sure they
would hear them."

"But, how have you succeeded, captain?" asked the adjutant.

"Oh! admirably. That party you saw was led by Price himself. He was in
pursuit of an Indian. He left camp just as I arrived at his tent, and
this gave me just the opportunity I desired. There was no person at the
general's tent but an orderly, who became very familiar and
communicative. He gave me the exact plan of their encampment, but it
will be of little use, as Price takes up his line of march for Cassville
to-morrow. But the most important document I possess is the plan of our
own camp, containing not only my own description, but I suppose that of
yours, and of all the generals, and other principal officers in our
army."

"How did you get possession of this document?"

"It was brought to the tent of Price by his spies while he was absent. I
learned from the orderly that the general did not know the existence of
the paper, or that his spies had returned. So I worked upon the fears of
the orderly, got possession of the paper, and his promise not to let
Price know anything about it, and then ordered the men who brought it to
be put in the guard-house and gagged. Of course I accused them of
playing false to Price, and of being in reality Union spies."

"Of course the trick will be discovered!"

"Oh! certainly--and I suppose it is by this time, as one of the
prisoners sent for Price, and he was to meet him at ten o'clock. For a
short time they will be puzzled. The question will be asked the orderly,
what he did with the papers, and he will answer that he gave them to me.
But, when Price learns that it was me who ordered his spies under
arrest, and gagged so that they could not speak, that I have the papers,
that my story to him and the orderly did not agree, and that I am
nowhere to be found, he will sea at once that he has been terribly sold,
and know that I was a spy. If he describes my person, I will be at once
recognized by one of the men whom I had placed under arrest, as the very
man Price longed to get in his grasp!"

"Why, what does Price know of you?" asked the adjutant.

"Do you remember our second day's march from Tipton, that about four
o'clock in the afternoon, I was stopping at a log-house, near a well, at
the right of the road, and that while the person who appeared to be
master of the house was helping me to a cup of water, you rode up and
gave me a letter?"

"Yes, I remember it perfectly well, and that you remarked the letter was
from Mamie."

"Exactly. And do you recollect the words I used about Price, to the man
who gave me the water?"

"I remember they were not very complimentary."

"Well, the man who handed me that cup of water was Price himself!"

"The devil! And did he not recognize you to-day?"

"No, for he spoke of Captain Hayward, and remarked that he had an
account to settle with him, and had sent for his description, which he
expected every moment. I had it in my pocket at the time, and those who
took it were under arrest by my order. They would have recognized me in
an instant if they had seen me. The reason that Price did not recognize
me was, that when he saw me at the well, I was almost black with dust,
and I took pains to-day to change the tone of my voice as much as
possible."

"It was a terrible risk!"

"By gracious, captain, if you ain't a trump," said Nettleton, as he
opened wide his green eyes.

"But they have discovered all by this time, and we have not a moment to
lose. It is eleven o'clock now, and you are expected at yonder rock!"

"You have seen Alibamo?"

"Yes, and kissed her!"

"She knew you, then?"

"No--she didn't--I told her before a large crowd that I was Harry
Hinton. She understood me, and said I might kiss her. I did so--_on the
ear!_"

"And whispered at the same time. Thank you, my best friend."

"Well, don't stop for thanks now. That rock is outside the picket guard,
but she will be attended by ten or twelve soldiers. Go to her at once. I
will see our horses placed in a position where we can easily mount. The
negro shall ride behind Nettleton, and Alibamo shall have White Surry."

"We must fight, of course."

"I think it will not be necessary--that is, only you and I!"

"What do you mean, captain?"

"Why, her guard have all seen you, and by your own story, they think you
a lover, although not altogether a favored one. I have met the beauty
to-day--they have all seen me. They saw me kiss her, and think, that for
a short acquaintance, I am a remarkably favored lover. You are a
private, and I am an officer, and in that particular, of course, have
the advantage. I will come upon you, after you have conversed a few
moments, and take the lady under my protection. Her guard will be much
more likely to permit me to walk with the lady alone than you, as I am
an officer in favor with the general. Once near our horses, we have
nothing to fear, and none of her guard are mounted. Now go Harry. If we
must fight, all right."

As Adjutant Hinton started for the rock, Captain Hayward directed that
the horses be brought into the main pathway. It was done, and all was in
readiness.

As Harry reached the rock, Alibamo sprang forward to receive him.

"Let your action be constrained--do not embrace me--and speak low, dear
Alibamo. The reason for this, you will discover presently."

"I know you have good cause for this request, my own Harry, but I must
tell you how I love you!" replied Alibamo, as she bowed her head upon
the breast of her lover. "But I have been here an hour--and I sang, in
the hope you would hear my voice."

Some words of tenderness passed between the lovers, when Alibamo cried:

"What is that?"

It was at this moment that the brother of Alibamo, as narrated in the
second chapter, creeping near the rock, had overheard her words, and had
cried, "Then you are not my sister!"

"It is my brother! my own brother's voice. He has been near--has heard
all!" shrieked Alibamo. Then checking herself, she said, in a low tone:
"He thinks you a rebel, Harry! He forswears me! How can I undeceive
him?"

"The guard has fired upon him. The camp is aroused--they are beating the
long-roll. It is a desperate hazard now!"

"But my brother?"

"Quick--give me your apron--I will wave it--he may see its colors--and
sing--sing, Alibamo--sing the Star-spangled Banner!"

Harry seized the apron, and commenced waving it, and Alibamo began to
sing.

"Silence!" cried Hayward, who came up at that moment. "Silence that
traitorous song. And give me that ensign of abolitionism. For shame,
young man. Love has made you blind. Don't you see that the lady's apron
which you are waving is a federal flag? It may be very romantic to meet
young ladies at midnight on a moonlit-rock, and whisper love-tales; but
_you_, sir, must not wave such things as this, merely to conciliate
angry brothers. Now, go to camp, sir, and if I catch you at such tricks
again, I shall order your arrest. I will take charge of the lady."

"Here are her guard sir," said Harry, in a subdued tone.

"Ah! yes. Are you mounted, boys?"

"No, captain."

"Then get within the lines as soon as possible. The federal army are
advancing, and are within a few miles of us, and their scouts are but a
short distance from this point. I have a horse, and will make my servant
dismount and give the lady his horse!"

"All right, captain," replied the sergeant in command of the squad He
had seen Hayward that day several times, and had no doubt he was just
what he appeared.

Hayward had brought his own horse and that rode by Nettleton, within a
few feet of the spot where he was then standing. The adjutant had
already disappeared, as the captain handed the lady into the saddle and
mounted his own horse. As he turned into the main road, a mounted
orderly from the camp rode up to the squad and asked:

"Have you seen that fellow who was around camp to-day and pretended to
be from McIntosh--the one that kissed Alibamo?"

"Yes, there he is, just--why he is going _from_ the camp instead of
toward it!"

"It is Captain Harry Hayward, of the federal army, and a spy. Fire upon
him!"

A discharge of musketry rang through the woods, but the captain and his
charge were too well covered by the trees and the darkness to be injured
by it.

Captain Hayward heard the question, and striking his horse with the
spur, he dashed forward at a rapid rate, followed by the whole party.

"The story I told the guard of the advancing army," said Hayward, "will
prevent an immediate pursuit. But Price will know it is not true, and in
an hour we shall be hotly followed. We must make the best of our time!"

The company did not pause for more than five hours, as it was daylight
when the first halt was made. They had scarcely dismounted when the
echoes of horses' feet were heard in the distance.

"We are pursued, but we must press forward. Those sounds cannot be more
than a mile in the rear. They must have ridden very rapidly. But we will
escape them without difficulty. We cannot be more than ten miles from
our outposts, and they will not dare pursue us much farther." They had
scarcely prepared to set off again, when Nettleton said:

"There come the skunks that went after the powder!"

It was true. In the opposite direction came the party of twenty. Behind,
they were followed by they knew not how large a force, and before,
twenty rebels were approaching. Whether they could be so easily misled
this time, was a matter of considerable doubt.

"Quick--ride for the wood, Miss Alibamo. You may save yourself--we must
fight. Stay! They see you. It will be too late; besides, we met this
party once before, and they may not interrupt us at all. That which I
fear most is, that they will detain us so long in conversation that the
rear party will overtake us. But we must venture."

"They will know me, captain," said Alibamo.

"If a fight is inevitable, Alibamo, do you start for the river. White
Surry can swim--he is accustomed to it. Plunge in--give him a loose
rein, and he will bear you safely to the opposite shore. Then ride
rapidly for camp. They are upon us."

"Well, captain, the army is moving, is it not?" asked Hayward.

"What army?" was the sullen question.

"Why, _our_ army moves to-day--or at least the general so informed me;
but I speak of the federal army. The general received information last
night that Fremont would cross the river to-day at four o'clock. And I
was sent to ascertain if this was so!"

"Indeed! And do you usually take women with you when you act as spies?"

"Not usually. But I thought _my wife_ could gain admittance to the camp
much more easily than a man!"

"Your wife. Bah! Very likely the general would let her go, when he knows
she passes half her time singing the Star-spangled Banner, and wears the
federal flag as an apron! She would betray us all, and never return."

"Look you, sir!" said Hayward sternly, "I don't intend to hold any
argument with you, and I will not listen to any insults or insinuations.
I married Alibamo last evening. She was an old friend, and will
hereafter adhere Strictly to my cause and adopt my principles. You see,
she no longer wears the flag as an apron!"

"I see it!"

"And when approaching the federal camp, do you suppose she would take it
off, unless it was of her own accord?"

"I don't know. But I _do_ want to know about that powder. When we got
there, we found the powder gone, and a squad ready to receive us. We had
to swim the river to get away, and, as it was, two of our own party were
killed. Hello! There comes another party, headed by Branch. It may be
all right, but d----n me if I don't hold you till they come up, because
I believe you are nothing more nor less than abolition spies, and that
the man you sent back after your revolver, went direct to Fremont and
informed about the powder!"

He had scarcely finished these words, when Nettleton's gun came crashing
on his head, and the brains flew in every direction. He fell from his
horse, dead. The attack now commenced in earnest, but it had been so
sudden on the part of the attacking party, that eleven of the rebels bit
the dust before the party had sufficiently recovered from surprise to
make any effective defence.

"Quick, Alibamo; to the river--save yourself--they are upon us!" shouted
Hayward.

The first attacking party had been entirely scattered by the lightning
blows dealt by the little Union band, but, as they saw the approach of
at least fifty other horsemen, they rallied for another charge. The
horses of Hayward and his party were worn and jaded--so were those of
his pursuers, while those of the fallen foe were fresh.

"Spring into the saddles of those fresh horses--ride for your
lives--quick!"

It was accomplished in an instant. The approaching party were now only a
few yards from the devoted band, when a shot was fired, and with a groan
Captain Hayward fell to the ground. In an instant, Adjutant Hinton was
by his side.

"Captain--O God!--captain-speak!" he cried. "Are you hurt?"

"Here--these papers--take them--go--go--save yourself!"

"Never--never!" he cried. "Come on, ye fiends--I will sell my life
dearly--I will die with my captain!"

"No--no! Alibamo--save her--those papers--go, I command--I am mortally
hurt--save yourselves--you cannot benefit me!"

"You may live!"

"Then go, and return to _rescue me_--oh!" And Hayward spoke no more.

"Or to avenge your death!" cried Hinton, as he sprang into his saddle
and darted from the spot, amid a shower of bullets, bearing the papers
with him.

In an instant Hayward was surrounded, but they could not overtake the
flying party, who had the advantage of fresh horses.



CHAPTER VII.

     _The Brother--The War Scout--The Union Camp--The Trail._

     Find them--bring them back--then ask for millions.

     _Old Play._


When William Margrave, the brother of Alibamo, had been discovered, and
fired upon by the guard, after having seen his sister, and heard her
voice, he knew that his assistance would be of no avail. He at once
started for the cabin where were his friends Johnson and Fall-leaf, but
not until he had seen Alibamo mount her horse, and, with her friend,
dash forward from the camp. He saw the soldiers as they fired after the
retreating form of his sister and her friend, and also saw that they
were unhurt.

"It is a rescue; still, I cannot understand it--I cannot conceive how
she came to meet friends from the Union army, or how they became aware
of her presence in the rebel camp."

He pursued his course to the river, and crossing, soon reached the
cabin. As he entered, Johnson rose to receive him.

"Your return is sudden. What has happened?" he asked.

"All for the best!"

"Explain."

"It _was_ my sister's voice that I heard I saw her--I spoke to her."

"Could you not save her?"

"I would have done so, or died by her side. But she had other friends
with her. I saw her with two men, one of them disguised as a rebel
officer. Or, at least, so I suppose, for he led her to a horse, helped
her to mount, and rode rapidly away, while the guard who had just come
up, fired after them. She is on her way to the Union camp, and will
reach it in a short time, if nothing happens."

"Are you sure those who rescued her were Union soldiers?"

"I can only judge by what I saw."

"What do you intend doing?"

"How is Fall-leaf?" asked Margrave.

"Me well--well!" answered the Indian.

"Why, how is this? I thought Fall-leaf was badly wounded."

"No! his wounds are slight. That in his breast or side, is merely a
flesh-wound. The shot struck a rib, and glanced off. A second shot
struck him near the temple, and stunned him. But he is not seriously
injured."

"Can he walk?"

"Me walk--well!" replied Fall-leaf, as he arose and strode across the
room.

"Then we must go at once to the federal camp. Can you walk so far,
Fall-leaf?"

"Me go down--horse--there!"

"He has a horse concealed among the trees, but a short distance down the
river, and on this side," replied Johnson.

"Have you never entertained any suspicion that my sister was with
Price?"

"Oh, yes. But Price has never placed any confidence in me, and never,
except at this last visit, have I been permitted to enter, or leave
camp, without the presence of a guard."

"Well, let us be off. We must keep on this side of the river to avoid
scouts."

The party walked down to the bank of the Osage, and striking a narrow
path, took their course toward Warsaw. The Indian secured his horse, and
mounting, rode by the side of his friends.

It was late in the afternoon when they reached the Union camp. The first
thing Margrave did upon his arrival was to acquaint the general with all
the particulars, and requested to be shown those officers or soldiers
who had that day returned from the rebel camp, in the hope of finding
his sister. He was directed to Adjutant Hinton, and with a beating heart
he sought his presence. He found the adjutant in deep grief, but he
arose to receive him.

"Why, you are the officer whom I saw standing upon the rock with my
sister," said Margrave.

"Then you are the brother of Alibamo?"

"I am."

"Do you know where she is?"

"Where she is?" echoed Margrave, with surprise. "Why, I came here to
learn where she is!"

"Ah! yes. Well, my friend, I am deeply distressed with regard to your
sister. She should have been here before this."

"Why, did she not leave with you?"

"She started with myself and friends, but we were met by overwhelming
numbers about ten miles from this place, and a terrible fight ensued.
Our captain was killed, or very badly wounded, and our party scattered.
I saw Alibamo riding for the river, intending to swim her horse across
it. The captain fell, and I turned to rescue him. He was nearly gone,
but told me to save myself and Alibamo. That name acted like a magic,
and, coward that I was, I left my captain, and sought her. But, I could
not find her--neither any of my friends. I returned to camp alone! Oh!
my God, if I had only remained, and died with them!"

George, the negro, now entered the tent. His countenance was the very
index of terror.

"George, are they alive?" almost shrieked the adjutant.

"Oh! yes--yes--Gor a mighty, massa adjutump--day's fifty ob em!"

The adjutant saw the negro was too much frightened to give any correct
account, and he tried to reassure him.

"You are safe now. Nothing can harm you here."

"Sartin shuah ob dat, massa adjutump?"

"Sure, George. But now tell me what you know of our friends."

"Oh! golly massa adjutump, dis chile neber was so skeered. Dar was
fifty."

"Where is Captain Hayward!"

"Killed--dead--shuah pop--oh! golly!"

"Where is Captain Young?"

"He's here, massa adjutump."

Captain Young entered the tent.

"You are alive; but where are our friends?" asked the adjutant.

"I know not, I lost sight of them, and supposed them all killed but
myself."

"George, where is Nettleton?"

"I dun know. De las time dis chile see Cap'n Nettletum he jump his hos
in the riber after de gal, O Lord!"

"What became of the lady, George?"

"Oh! golly! massa adjutump, she's safe wid de rebels!"

"What do you mean?"

"Why, ye see, massa adjutump, when dis chile see de cap'n fall down
dead, he was so skeered he tumble rite off his horse. So I creep into de
bushes, and just as de gal she got to de riber, a big black debil he
cotch hold on her an say, 'Ha! ha! now I got hold on you, my booty,' and
den he tuck her off an dis chile didn't see her no more."

"She is again in the hands of the rebels, and we must again rescue her,
even if it costs a thousand lives. Oh! wretch--wretch that I am--I have
murdered my captain, and have not saved her!"

"Please don't, massa adjutump!"

"Don't what?"

"Why, don't take dis chile wid you any more. He get killed, shuah."

"Don't be alarmed. I don't want you."

"Me go see--me follow," said the Indian.

"Go where?"

"After pale-face!"

"How can you ascertain which way they have taken her?"

The Indian made the motion of creeping on the ground. Then he stamped it
with his foot, and pointed to the mark. Johnson said:

"He means he will go to the river where Alibamo was seized, take the
measure of the horse's shoe, from its impression in the sand, and follow
the trail. We will go with him--that is myself and Alibamo's brother."

"_I_ must go. But stay. Nettleton has not yet returned, I have great
confidence in that fellow. He may bring us intelligence."

"You had better remain here in the event of his return," said Margrave.
"We will follow the trail, and when we have gained the information we
require, we will let you know, and you may be able to assist us."

"We are to march to-morrow for Springfield. Price moves to-day for
Cassville, and if Alibamo is again in the hands of that wretch, Branch,
she will probably be removed to that place. But go, and success attend
you."

The two friends, together with Fall-leaf, left the camp, and proceeded
in the direction of the place where the skirmish occurred. In the course
of two hours they reached the spot. Several of the dead still were upon
the field, unburied, but no sign of any human being was visible,
excepting these. The Indian sought for traces upon the river's bank, and
discovering a spot where an evident struggle had taken place--where
_two_ horses had been turned around, and had proceeded on their way
_from_ the river at a much slower pace than _toward_ it, judging from
the length of the steps. These tracks were closely followed, and it was
observed that they soon merged into others, and could no longer be
distinguished. The course of the entire squadron of cavalry was _toward_
the camp of Price, and it was decided, that the reason the first
discovered marks of the horse's shoe could no longer be seen was, that
they were in the lead, and those which followed obliterated the
impression. And it was reasonable to suppose that Branch and Alibamo
would ride at the head of the column.

The friends followed the trail until it turned to the left, and took
its direction across the mountain. Upon the other side it was lost to
view in the main road, among the thousand tracks which appeared in the
mud. But they had seen sufficient to satisfy them that not only this
squad, but the entire army under Price were on their retreat. They
determined to follow on, and, if possible, to rescue Alibamo, and if
this could not be done, to get exact information as to where she was
kept, and then to return for assistance.



CHAPTER VIII.

     _The Prisoners--Brutality--The Attendant--The Letter--Discovery._

     What bloody man is that? He can report
     As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
     The newest state.--_Shakespeare._


As Branch saw the prostrate form of Hayward upon the ground, he cried:

"By heavens, it is the very man we want--it is Captain Hayward!"

"Ride over his body--trample him into the earth!" shouted one of the
infuriated soldiers.

"No! no!" shrieked Branch. "If he yet lives he must be reserved for
torture! It is our general's command. Let no one dare to disobey it. Ah!
the fiends befriend me! There is Alibamo, and her horse has fallen!"

This was indeed true. In her haste as she dashed down the steep toward
the river, the horse of Alibamo had missed his footing, and fallen,
throwing its fair rider violently to the ground. It was but an instant
before he was again upon his feet, but before Alibamo could regain her
seat, her persecutor had seized her.

"Ah! my fair beauty," he cried, "I have you once more in my grasp. And
now revenge will be a thousand times sweeter. Look there!" he cried, as
he dragged the helpless girl forward. "Look upon your would-be rescuer!
It is a glorious spectacle, is it not?"

"Dead! dead!" sobbed the maiden.

"Ah! you weep for him, do you? No doubt you love him very dearly! But he
is _not_ dead, and I would not have him dead for millions! It was a game
well played, and worthy of your lover, the gallant Captain Hayward. But
he did not win the game. _I_ held the trump card, and I will show him
how I won, and _why_ I won, when he recovers!"

"What would you do?"

"What would I do? _You_ shall see. First I will let him return to
consciousness, and then I'll tear him limb from limb--hack him to
pieces--tear out that heart you love so much, and give it to you still
beating with life, and dripping with his blood. You shall wear it ever
before you, and it will be a reminder of my generosity!"

"Oh! fiend! fiend!" groaned Alibamo.

"Oh! yes! You have called me fiend a hundred times, and now you shall
learn that I am one, indeed. Shout, boys! shout! We are victorious!
Dance--dance--hold your revels over that form! But do not harm it more
now. I would have him _all_ to myself. And I'll pray that he may have a
thousand lives!"

The rebels readily obeyed the command of Branch, and commenced their
howlings.

"Hark to that music, Alibamo. It is our notes of victory. Do you not
love those sounds?"

"They become only such as you. The most barbarous savage would scorn to
exult thus over a single fallen foe!" said Alibamo, her eyes flashing
with indignation.

"Oh! taunt! I love to hear it. It makes my hatred for your captain
deeper. And for every word of insult you have spoken, or do speak to me,
I'll revenge myself on him. And you shall see it all. See, he moves--he
opens his eyes! Let him gaze around."

"Harry! Harry!" called Hayward in a faint voice.

"Oh! my beauty, he does not speak your name first! But perhaps he hopes
for assistance. He shall have it soon!"

"Mamie--Mamie--sister--closer to my heart. I'm cold--co----" The sound
died upon his lips.

"And hark, yours is not the second name he speaks. He has a sister whom
he loves. And I will have _her_ too! _She_ shall be in my power--oh! I
will wring his heart. Oh! I cannot speak my exultant joy. My very heart
is burning within me as I see before me this glorious prospect for
revenge."

"You are foiled in that, villain that you are. His sister is far beyond
your reach, in the bosom of her Northern home."

"But I'll find her--I'll have her in my power merely to torture him if
it costs ma millions. Don't let him die. Tear open his vest--see where
he is wounded, and wash it with liquor--it will prolong his life."

Some of the soldiers did as they were bid.

"There is a letter. Give it me. Ah! by the Eternal! 'tis signed, '_your
loving sister, Mamie!_' And here is the name of her home. Now, Alibamo,
what say you? Is she not in my power? And not only she, but all his
family shall suffer. I hate the tribe. You said I could not find her.
I'll write to-night and tell her that her brother is wounded and wishes
her presence at once. She will come, and she shall see me torture him!"

"What benefit or gratification will that afford you, Branch?" asked
Alibamo.

"Why, this is a tender epistle. This Hayward loves his sister, and if
she is gazing upon his pangs, it will be doubly keen to him, knowing she
sees it. He will feel all her sufferings and his own. Ah! Hayward speaks
again!"

"Alibamo! Alibamo!"

"Stop his mouth--tear his tongue out. He shall not speak your name."

Branch struck the fallen man across his face with his heavy iron
scabbard. The blood spirted from his mouth and nostrils, but he moved
not. As the soldiers applied the fluid to his wounds, Hayward showed
evidence of pain, but did not speak.

"The ball has passed directly under the right arm, and must have entered
the lungs. He will not live," said one of the soldiers.

"He shall live!" cried Branch. "He _must_ live. Tie him on one of the
horses and let us be off."

This order was obeyed promptly. It seemed as if the fiend which urged on
the actions of that bad man, had, from very shame, left his breast, and
he silently took the lead, and with Alibamo by his side, the squadron
set off at a rapid rate.

For many miles they kept on their course toward the camp of the rebels.
At length they turned their direction across the mountain. As they
ascended to the summit, Alibamo asked:

"Whither are you going, Branch?"

"Look yonder. Don't you see the army moving. It is our army. We are
going to Springfield."

"You are retreating like cowards as you are!" replied Alibamo, with a
sneer.

The only reply from Branch was a blow upon the head of the senseless
captain.

"Thus will I revenge every word of insult you speak to me!"

"You will revenge but little more, for he is nearly gone. But you are
mistaken if you deem him my lover. I never saw him until to-day."

"I do not believe you," replied Branch.

"Did you not hear him speak the name of Harry Hinton?"

"I did."

"Harry is the one I love. Captain Hayward spoke that name that I might
recognize him as a friend. Harry was with the captain, and has escaped,
and wo to you, Branch, when he returns!"

"Bah! Think you that I can be frightened from my purpose? No! Besides, I
do not believe one word you have said. Has Hayward spoken recently?"
asked Branch.

"Yes, several times. But he is evidently suffering great pain from
riding in this manner, and he faints in an instant after the return of
his reason," replied one of the soldiers.

"O Branch! in mercy do not torture this poor man in this manner," said
Alibamo, imploringly.

"We will overtake an ambulance in an hour, and then I will transfer him
to one of them."

"May I be permitted to attend upon him?" asked Alibamo.

"Would it be a great gratification to you?"

"Oh! yes; very great!"

"Then you shan't. Now speak of him no more."

In a short time an ambulance was overtaken, and Branch said:

"Place Hayward in that ambulance. If he is carried on horseback, he will
die, and I shall lose my revenge!"

"Let me handle the _darn skunk_!" said one of the party, as he advanced
through the crowd. "I'm used to handlin' just such darned skunks as he
is!"

"Be careful!" said Branch, as this peculiar looking object lifted
Hayward from the horse.

"Oh! guess there's no occasion to be too careful. Such dam skunks as him
ain't so easy killed."

Hayward was placed in the ambulance.

"Who will volunteer to remain with him?" asked Branch.

No one replied.

"Will you?" asked Branch, turning to the person who had volunteered to
assist Hayward from his horse.

"Well, yes--that is if nobody else won't. But I don't like such work
very much."

"And let six mounted guard march behind. I will go forward and report to
the general. Here, Peters, take charge of Alibamo until I return."

Matters thus arranged, Branch rode forward. The army proceeded but a few
miles farther. In a short time after the halt, Branch returned and
riding up to the ambulance, he asked of the attendant:

"How is the captain?"

"He is asleep, and seems to breathe much easier, the darn skunk!"

"Has he spoken at all?"

"No; I did not wake him!"

"Take him around to the tent of the general," said Branch, addressing
the driver.

"Ay, ay, sir!"

"Shall I go along?" asked the attendant.

"Yes, you may attend upon him for the present. Treat him well, as I wish
him to recover."

"Oh! I'm a kind o' doctor, and I'll do the best I can by him," was the
reply.

In a short time Hayward was brought to the tent of Price.

"Is he conscious?" asked the general.

"No!"

"Place him in that vacant tent, and let a surgeon attend him. It is
highly important that he should live. Have you searched him for papers?"

"Not yet!"

"Let him be searched, and bring me whatever you find!" said Price.

The search was made, but nothing of the character desired by Price was
found upon his person.

Hayward was removed to the tent indicated by Price. A surgeon was soon
in attendance, and after dressing his wounds, announced that with the
proper attention, Hayward would recover.

"If he becomes thoroughly conscious before morning, and is able to
converse, let me know it. I wish to question him," said Price, as he
left the wounded captain in charge of the guard.

As Price was entering his tent, an orderly presented him with a letter.
The general tore it open, and glanced over its contents. He said:

"The lady asks the privilege of attending upon the wounded captain. Let
her do so, but give instructions that if Hayward returns to
consciousness, not one word is to pass between him and the lady, except
in presence of the guard. And to prevent any conversation which may be
understood by themselves, and not by the guard, let every word spoken by
them be noted. Place four sentinels outside the tent, and one will
remain within."

"Your orders shall be strictly carried out, general."

"If he again escape, those guarding him shall answer for it with their
lives."

"I will answer for his safety with mine," replied the orderly, as he
departed.

He proceeded at once to the tent of Alibamo, and informed her that she
was at liberty to attend upon Hayward for the present, but that every
word spoken between them was to be reported. Branch was with her, and
when he heard this, he tore his hair from very rage.

"This general is too soft-hearted!" muttered Branch to himself. "But
come, Alibamo, I will go with you to Hayward's tent!"

"I prefer to go without you, sir!" was the reply.

"No doubt--and for that very reason I am going with you!"

They soon reached the tent, and Alibamo seated herself beside the
wounded man. Branch took his seat opposite.

"Do you intend to remain here?" asked Alibamo.

"I am not welcome, I suppose?" replied Branch with sarcasm.

"I would prefer the tent should be filled with serpents?"

Branch frowned terribly, and bit his lips, but did not reply.

"Why don't you strike this senseless man, and thus revenge that honest,
truthful answer?" asked Alibamo.

"If you speak thus again, I will do so!"

"Not while I am here. Soldier, hand me that knife!" But before she had
finished the sentence, she had snatched the knife alluded to, from the
belt of the attendant.

"You know, Branch, I used a weapon of this sort to some purpose, once,
and if you dare approach me, or this helpless officer, I will drive it
to your heart."

"Recover your knife!" cried Branch, who was now fairly foaming with
rage, to the attendant.

"Just you hand over that tool, you darn skunk, you!" said the soldier,
as he arose, and advanced toward Alibamo.

"Stand back, sir. Stand back. I do not wish to harm you, soldier, but if
you attempt to take this weapon from me, you will feel its point."

"Captain," said the soldier, "there ain't no use in trying to make
_women_ mind you. They're darn skunks any way--better let 'em alone."

"Hayward is awake!" said Branch. "Speak to him--see if he will reply."

"Captain, do you know me?" asked Alibamo.

A faint smile overspread the captain's face, but he did not reply.

"Can you not speak? Oh! let me hear your voice once more! Say at least,
that you forgive me--for I have brought all this upon you!" Alibamo bent
over the wounded man, weeping as if her heart would break. Hayward
closed his eyes, and did not reply.

"What the devil are _you_ blubbering about?" growled Branch addressing
himself to the attendant soldier.

"Cos I'm a darn skunk," sobbed the attendant, scarcely able to speak.

"My good friend, do you sympathize with this noble captain?"

"Yes--yes--ma'am," sobbed the soldier. "I don't believe he's half so
much of a darn skunk as some other folks!"

"There, don't weep," said Alibamo, in a soothing manner, as she laid her
hand gently upon his arm. "I am glad to meet one good heart here!"

"Don't--don't, Miss Alibamo. There's something inside of me that's
swelling up, and if you talk that way, I know it will burst, and I shall
bellow like a bull. Oh! I wish I wasn't such a darn skunk! But I ain't
no account, no way, so don't call me a good heart, cos nobody ever said
that to me afore, only cap---- only you, and I ain't nothing but a
cowardly skunk!"

"Why have you so much sympathy for your enemy?" asked Branch.

"Because I don't think it's fair to strike a man when he's down!"

"I'll tell you, Branch," said Alibamo, "why he has so much sympathy for
the captain--a feeling you cannot understand. God has given him a noble
heart, and he can feel for the unfortunate, even though it be an enemy."

"Did you ever see Hayward before!" asked Branch of the soldier, eying
him sharply.

"I seed him in the fight. Lord didn't he make his sword fly. More than a
dozen sojers lay down when he hit 'em. It made my hair stand up, I tell
you. By thunder, _wasn't_ he brave! I'll bet if there had been six just
like him, he'd licked our crowd. If he is a dam skunk of a federal, he
is a trump card it'll do to go a big pile on."

"Give me--water!" said Hayward, in a feeble voice, opening his eyes.

"Quick, some water," said Alibamo. She placed the cup to his lips, and
he drank.

"I have been dreaming!" said Hayward. "Oh! it was sweet!"

"Of what did you dream?" asked Alibamo.

"Of home--Mamie--Mamie!"

"He is conscious. His answer was direct," said Branch.

"Do you know me, captain?" asked Alibamo.

"Yes--where is Harry?"

"He is not here!"

"I want him--I feel sick! Call him. William Nettleton!" called Hayward,
in a low tone.

"Here, captain!----Won't--won't I do just as well? I'll do anything I
can for you," said the attendant, springing forward. Had the rebel
officer been less absorbed in the prisoner's state he must surely have
observed the agitation of the attendant.

"Do you know where you are?" asked Branch of Hayward.

The captain had closed his eyes, but upon hearing the voice of Branch,
he opened them, and looked upon the speaker--a look so full of scorn and
disgust as to betray the lion heart still beating in his breast.

"Why is that man in my tent?" he asked. "Take him away--his presence is
hateful to me."

"It will be before I am through with you. What is that?"

"One of the sentinels in the rear of this tent has discharged his
piece!"

"Some of your friends are after us, very likely, Alibamo. I will call
upon them, perhaps I shall be able to bring you company." Branch left
the tent, hurriedly and not without trepidation.

A gleam of light lit up the face of the attendant. He became at once
uneasy. Then he sprang suddenly to the ground, exclaiming, but not
loudly:

"There was a hand there. It held a bit of paper!"

Alibamo sprang forward, and seized the paper which was lying on the
ground. She held it to the light, and then exclaimed aloud, as if
unconscious of what she said:

"It is my brother's writing--friends are near!" Then, as if suddenly
recollecting herself, she turned to the attendant and said:

"Oh! do not betray me, I beg--I implore!"

"I ain't no such darn skunk. Let me tell you something."

The attendant spoke in a whisper. Alibamo started, clasped his hand,
kissed it convulsively. "Dear, good fellow!" she said through her tears.

"There--oh! don't--O Christopher!--I shall have to blubber, and then all
will be up with us!" cried the fellow, as he twisted and hopped around
the tent like one suffering pain.



CHAPTER IX.

     _The Friends--The Proposal--The Rejection--The Fate._

     'Tis sweet to die for one's country!--_Old Maxim._


The alarm caused by the firing of the gun had entirely subsided, as
nothing was discovered. Upon questioning the guard, he stated that he
was suddenly seized, and thrown violently to the ground. But, before he
could recover his surprise and fire, the form had disappeared among the
trees. Some believed that spies were lurking about camp, while others
attributed the alarm entirely to the imagination or fear of the guard.

The morning dawned, bright and beautiful. Hayward had entirely returned
to consciousness; but was unable to converse, and appeared to notice
nothing which transpired around him. He did not even speak to, or
recognize, his fair attendant, Alibamo. At times his words were of
home--his friends were called upon--and then he would remain silent.

The army took up its line of march. Hayward was transported as before,
and at each night was kindly cared for by Alibamo and the other
attendant, who still were permitted to remain with him. At last they
reached the grand prairie, west of Springfield, and encamped for the
night.

"Is Captain Hayward sufficiently recovered to converse?" asked Price of
Branch.

"Oh! yes; he is rapidly recovering. His wound is not so serious as at
first supposed. It is true he is quite weak from loss of blood, but
still strong enough to be dangerous. It is my advice that he be removed
from the main army, as his friends will spare no trouble to rescue him.
We are to have a battle very soon, I suppose, and we may lose him, even
if not defeated, as the body-guard will dash to the point where he is
held, and attempt his rescue; and you know, general, we might almost as
well attempt to meet lightning as that fanatical set of cut-throats.
They are, I am told, the choicest men out of a hundred thousand, and
fight for the mere love of the fun."

"Where can we remove Hayward, that he will be secure until he entirely
recovers?"

"From this point to Springfield, and thence through Arkansas to
Memphis."

"But he is a spy, and must hang!" replied Price.

"Such ought to be his fate, I confess. But policy dictates otherwise. He
is much beloved by the army, and their revenge would be terrible."

"Do you _fear_ their revenge, Captain Branch?"

"Not for myself, general, but for those of our army who might be taken
prisoners. The federals would hang a thousand of our friends in
retaliation. Besides, he is worth much more as an exchange than as a
corpse."

"Your argument is logical, Captain Branch; but Hayward insulted me
grossly, at one time, and my heart burns for revenge."

"True, but you can scarcely revenge yourself on such a man. Torture him,
and his lip curls as if in very scorn of pain. Threaten him with death,
and his proud eye flashes as he replies, 'My country will remember me!'
Taunt him--spit upon him--and he does not notice it, except by a haughty
air which seems to say, 'I despise you, and take nothing as an insult
from those I loathe!'"

"Is there no way to humble him?" asked Price.

"No way! His proud spirit cannot be broken!"

"I will see! I shall visit him in a few moments, and if he accedes to my
wishes, very well; if not, he shall be thrown into the dungeon, and
there left to rot and die. As you say, sudden death would have no
terrors to such a soul, but the damp and darkness of a prison cell will
curb that proud spirit. Let me finish this dispatch, and then we will
visit him."

Captain Hayward was sitting in his tent, his head bowed upon his hands,
apparently buried in deep thought.

"Alibamo," said Hayward, raising his head, "what think you will be my
fate?"

"I hope for a rescue!" replied the maiden.

"You are of a hopeful nature, my sweet girl, and I thank you for your
words of encouragement. Thank! That is a poor word, Alibamo, for
kindness such as yours. You have watched with me constantly, and, like a
bright angel, have ministered to my wants. Your presence has cheered me
in my sad hours, when pain and suffering had unmanned me. And I love
you, Alibamo, almost as much as I love my own darling sister."

"Your sister!" repeated Alibamo, with evident pain. "Yes--I know you
love her, for you have often spoken of her in your delirium."

"Have you received any word from our friends?"

"Not one word since that mysterious hand extended to me those words of
hope the first night after your capture."

"Nettleton," said Hayward, addressing his attendant, "have you heard me
spoken of among the soldiers?"

"Yes, captain, the darn skunks talk about you considerable."

"'What do they say?"

"Why, I heerd some on em say it was a darn shame that a bold feller
like you should be----"

"Hung up like a dog! Why don't you finish the sentence?"

"Well, that's just what they did say. But I heerd one what ain't very
far from you now, say, he'd be d----d if Captain Hayward should die any
such way, and when he had waited till the last minute, if no help came,
he would put a bullet right through your heart, and save you from the
darn rope, anyway!"

"Brave boy! You have a noble heart," said Hayward, grasping his hand.

"No I hain't. Don't say so, captain, cos when you do, I can't keep these
dam water-drops out of my eyes, cos I'm a darn skunk anyway, and ain't
worth any such words from you."

"Nettleton, how have you managed to remain with me so long without being
suspected?"

"O Lord! I'm such a darn skunk nobody would ever think of suspecting me!
They think I don't know any more than a half-grown calf. And I spose I
don't!"

"How did you get with me at all?"

"Why, after the fight was over I stood right still, and nobody noticed
me, except one feller who said, 'Git out of my way, greeney.' And so I
followed on after the rest of 'em, and managed to keep with you ever
since. And if I can only do you some good, I shall think I ain't quite
such a darn skunk after all."

"Nettleton, I wish you would not use that expression quite so often."

"What expression, captain?"

"Why, darn skunk!"

"Well I won't, captain, only I know that I am a darn skunk, any way."

"Captain," said Alibamo, "you spoke of your sister. Is she far from
here?"

"Not far--merely in Ohio."

"If by chance you are rescued and removed to the Union camp, do you not
wish her sent for?"

"No--not for the world!"

"She _would_ come if sent for, would she not?"

"Yes, if she _lived_ to get here. But, do not think of such a thing. I
shall never see her. But when I am dead, let her know it, but not _how_
I died. To know that I _am_ dead will break her heart."

Alibamo sobbed audibly.

"Why are you weeping, Alibamo."

"I was thinking of your sister?"

"I wish I could cease thinking of her, now that death is staring me in
the face. I do not fear to die, but I do fear to let her know that she
no longer has a brother. O Alibamo! if you could see her once, you would
not wonder that I love her! Why, she would hang upon my neck, and listen
to each word, as if her life depended on her hearing every sound. And
when I parted with her for the wars, it seemed as if her soul left with
me. She did not weep, but clung to me, while her little form trembled
like the lily torn by the tempest's blast. And her last words were,
'Heaven _must_ return to me my brother!'"

"And if earth should not, heaven _will_!" sobbed Alibamo.

"Well, I will talk no more of death. The grave looks cold and cheerless,
and I shudder as I approach it in this manner. Nettleton, I shall give
you some instructions which I know you will see faithfully carried out!"

"You may depend upon it, captain. But you ain't dead yet, and--"

"Major-General Sterling Price," was announced by an orderly.

Price entered the tent.

"Good evening, Captain Hayward. I am glad to see you so far recovered. I
trust you will soon be able to receive and wear your sword again!" These
words were spoken by Price in a tone of extreme kindness. Hayward looked
up surprised, and replied:

"I do not comprehend you, general!"

"That is because you deem me your enemy!"

"And are you not so? If I remember rightly, when we met at your camp on
the Osage, you expressed a desire to get Captain Hayward in your power.
You have him, now."

"I did not know the man then. He was my enemy, but I can scarcely be an
enemy to so brave a man. It is true I have much cause. You came to my
camp in disguise, you deceived my orderly and obtained possession of
important papers, you placed my scouts in the guard-house for your own
safety; you visited and conversed with my officers, gaining all the
intelligence you desired; you assisted a prisoner to escape, and meeting
a party of my scouts you killed six with your own hand before you were
shot down yourself. The papers which were on your person could not be
found, and therefore they must have been sent by you to your general.
All this was done with a boldness that wins my admiration, but still its
punishment is death."

"Which I expect to receive at your hands," replied Hayward, coldly.

"Your life _may_ be spared!" said Price.

"Not a great boon," replied Hayward.

"Do you not wish to live for your sister's sake?" asked Branch.

Hayward started, and a tremor ran through his frame. But in an instant
he recovered his self-possession, and said:

"I was conversing with General Price--not you, sir."

Branch bit his lips, but did not speak.

"Well, Captain Hayward, I must speak plainly, and I know you prefer I
should do so. It is a pity such a man as you should die, and by the
rope. I would much prefer to have met you on the battle-field, but it is
too late now. The sentence of your crime is death, and but one thing can
save you."

"You need not trouble yourself to name that one thing," said Hayward.

"I see, you understand me. But, the proposition I was about to make was
not intended to insult you. _I_ honestly believe that I am right, while
_you_ believe that _you_ are. Both of us have sense and judgment. One of
us _must_ be _wrong_. I believe I have thoroughly examined this matter,
and I can but feel that if you would do the same, impartially and
without prejudice, you would feel as I do. Understand, our interests at
the South are different from yours at the North. We do _not_ wish to
interfere with _your_ government or your interests. We only ask a
government of our own, and that you should not interfere with _our_
interests. We do not march our armies into _your_ territories, and we
feel that you have no right to march into _ours_. It will not damage the
great North to permit the Southern States to form a government of their
own, one that will correspond with their interests; and, so long as we
could derive great benefit from it, why should you object? The North is
prosperous, because its government is in accordance with its interests
and institutions. The South is _not_ prosperous, because the North,
governing the whole, has forced upon us a government antagonistic to our
interests and institutions. Why not give us a chance for ourselves? But
you will not; and so we are compelled to strike for our rights."

"If you truly feel as you speak, you are an honest enemy, at least. You
may tell me what the proposition is which you wish to make."

"You are a brave man, and I would like your services and influence in
our army and cause. I do not wish you to act against your feelings or
principles; but, I heartily wish you could view our cause as I view it,
and come with us. You shall have command of a regiment--perhaps of a
brigade!"

"General Price," replied Hayward in a mild tone, "I thank you for the
delicate manner in which you have made this proposition. I cannot deem
it an insult, as your manner is that of a man who makes an offer,
sincerely and in good faith, not as a bribe. But I cannot view this
matter as you do, and consequently cannot accept your offer or entertain
it for a moment. My country, my whole country, right or wrong, is my
motto. There is but one flag, and that is the Stars and Stripes, for
me."

"I regret it, as I really _do not_ wish to see so brave a man die so
young!"

"A truce to compliments, General Price. I have done that which I deemed
my duty. If you have a duty to perform, and the performance of it calls
for my blood, don't let 'my bravery' influence you!"

"Will you give your parole of honor never to take up arms against us
again, if I release you?" asked Price.

"No, sir!" was the firm but mild reply.

"You are proud, Captain Hayward!"

"That is not to the purpose, General Price. I shall do nothing,
excepting to escape if I can. I ask but one favor of you."

"What is that favor?"

"That you will tell me what is to be my fate!"

"I will do so. To-morrow you start for Springfield under a strong guard.
The next day you will be sent forward on your way to Memphis, through
Arkansas. At Memphis you will be imprisoned, and detained for the
present. There will be little hope of exchange, however, as you are a
spy, and must eventually suffer death."

"Why am I not at once executed?"

"Because the federal forces hold some of our prisoners, on whom they
would retaliate."

"Will I be permitted to communicate with my friends or send them word
where I have been taken?"

"That cannot be permitted," answered Price.

"Under whose charge am I to be sent?" asked Hayward.

"Under that of Captain Branch as far as Springfield. From there it is
left to the captain to make further arrangements."

Hayward had started to his feet, and his eyes met those of Branch. There
was lightning in that gaze, but it was met with equal sternness.

"Do you object to Captain Branch?" asked Price.

"Yes. I object to anyone who is so great a coward as to strike a
wounded, senseless man, merely to revenge himself upon a woman!"

"What do you mean?" asked Price.

"I will tell you. This woman prisoner hates Branch, and I do not wonder.
She taunts him, and what woman of spirit would not? He would strike her,
if he dare, and because he dare not, he took the noble method of
revenge, by striking me in the face with his sword-scabbard, when I was
senseless and tied on my horse. He thought _she_ would suffer, because I
did--the base, cowardly cur."

"Of this I knew nothing. Is it true, Captain Branch?" asked Price.

"It is _not_ true, but false as hell, and Hayward knows it is false?"
replied Branch, in a rage.

"Well, with this I have nothing to do. Good night, Captain Hayward. If
you should make up your mind to accept my terms, let me hear from you."

Price left the tent with Branch.

"Let us sleep, friends, and prepare for to-morrow. God knows what it
will bring for us. But still, let us hope. I am glad we go to
Springfield."



CHAPTER X.

     _The Departure--The Meeting--The Sister--The Breaking Hearts._

     This is the heaviest blow of all.--_Bulwer._


The morning dawned, and still Captain Hayward slept. Alibamo was seated
by his side, gazing intently upon him. Nettleton was standing in the
entrance of the tent. The reveille was beating, and all without gave
evidence of preparation to continue the march. As the maiden gazed upon
Hayward, she said in saddened tones:

"Would to God I knew the fate hanging over this poor man, or that,
whatever it is, I might be permitted to share it with him. But, I fear
we shall be separated to-day. That villain Branch will show no mercy
when he is under no restraint. Nettleton!"

"Here, Miss Alibamo."

"Have you discovered nothing--no signs of friends?"

"Nothing, but I will not give up yet. We may expect aid at Springfield."

"I fear all is lost. Branch will not permit the captain to remain long
in Springfield, as I am told the Union army is advancing. He will be
hurried off South, and I suppose we shall be separated to-day. Very
likely neither of us will be permitted to go with him."

"You will, miss."

"How do you know this?"

"I'll tell you. Last night I crept close to the tent of Branch and
listened. I heard him giving directions to some one he was about to send
forward. I heard him say you were to go with him, and that your room
would be in the hotel at Springfield which is now used as the rebel
hospital. And the captain is to be imprisoned in the cellar of the same
building."

"Are you to go with us?"

"I shall go, but as soon as I find out what is to be done, I shall go
somewhere else."

"You don't intend to leave the captain?"

"Yes, I do!"

"What! Forsake him now!"

"Who the devil said anything about forsaking him? There's a good deal of
difference between leaving and forsaking, I take it."

"I know you will act for the best, my good fellow!"

"Strike tents!" echoed through the camp from without.

"Had we not better wake the captain, Miss Alibamo? It may be the only
chance he will get to say anything."

"He is moving--he wakes!"

Captain Hayward opened his eyes, and gazed around. His face while
sleeping had worn a smile, but it had faded.

"Good morning, dear friends," said Hayward. "You have been watching with
me all night, I fear."

"We have slept, however--that is, I have slept," answered Alibamo.

"I fear but little. You must not do this, Alibamo; you will sink under
the fatigues you impose upon yourself. You will require all your
strength. And have you slept, Nettleton?"

"Do you think I'd be such a darn skunk as to sleep when I might be doing
something? No, I ain't quite so mean as that."

"What have you been doing?"

"Making up my mind--that's all."

"And I have been dreaming, Alibamo. Oh! It was a heavenly vision!"

"What were you dreaming, captain?"

"I was standing upon the margin of the lake near my own dear home. Far
out on the waters I heard a sound, low and musical as angels'
whisperings. I could not catch the words; still its melody enchanted me,
and filled my soul with rapture. Nearer and nearer it approached, and
louder and louder became those strains, until the mingling of ten
thousand angel voices seemed to make the very waters dance with
rapturous delight. My brain grew dizzy, and I sank upon the ground. I
raised my eyes, and gazing through the mist, tinted with rainbow hues
reflected from the rays of the golden sunset, I saw a thousand fairy
forms gliding from point to point, and trilling forth their lays. And on
the brow of each I saw emblazoned forth the magic word of _Liberty_! The
sight revived me, and springing up, I cried: 'Who are those lovely
beings who come forth with my country's jewel glittering on their brow?'
A voice replied: 'They are Columbia's daughters--their fetters have been
broken--they are free again!' 'Let me embrace them--they are my
sisters!' I cried, but at that moment I was seized by an iron hand, and
borne from the spot. So rapidly was I whirled along that my senses fled.
When I returned to consciousness, I found myself enveloped in a dismal
cloud, while at my feet a thousand hissing serpents, which resembled
lightning, coiled around, but could not harm me. I heard the dreadful
thunders, as they burst over me, but still I feared not. I raised my
eyes, and as a cloud rolled by it revealed to my astonished gaze the
form of a man standing upon the very edge of a dark cloud, while below
him was a precipice, millions of feet. My blood was chilled within me
lest he should fall. I heard his cursings, and I saw him reaching
forward. I looked farther, and upon another cloud I saw _my_ sister
standing. She was clothed in white, and on her brow a golden wreath was
shining. The clouds were rolling fast together, and he, that fiend-like
form upon the other side, was reaching forward, and exulting in the
thought how soon he would have her in his grasp, and hurl her down that
awful chasm. My brain was reeling, and my heart bursting within me as I
gazed upon this scene. I tried to speak, but terror held me dumb. She
was almost in his grasp, when my sister raised a dagger, I heard a voice
exclaim, 'Hold fast that steel!' I looked, and emblazoned on its
polished blade, read the word _virtue_! The villain saw it, and sprang
back with a cry of terror. I saw the cloud on which he stood turning to
blood, while that upon the other side was tinged with glorious beauty.
The thunder rent the dismal pall, and breaking it in pieces, I saw the
villain hurled into the depths below, while hideous fiends held their
orgies around him. And then commenced the strains I heard upon the lake.
My sister joined the chorus, and gazing on me, smiled. Columbia's
daughters came and bore that loved one to my heart, and as I clasped her
close, I woke, suffocating with excessive joy!"

"O captain! _that_ dream should make you happy--very happy. It fills
_my_ heart with joy!"

"Why so, Alibamo?"

"Because your troubles will end in the same manner. I feel sure they
will."

"It cannot be!"

"And why not?"

"Because my sister was prominent in my vision, she can be in no manner
connected with me here!"

"She may hear of your misfortune and visit you here."

"God forbid. No! she has no means of hearing from me. And, if she had, I
would rather die a thousand deaths than have that angel sister gaze upon
my sufferings. It would add to them a thousand fold, and that would
drive me mad."

"Are you ready to depart?" asked Branch, who entered the tent at that
moment.

"Quite ready. Am I to walk?" asked Hayward.

"No, you are to ride. Do you prefer a horse or a carriage?"

"It matters very little, as the distance is not far," answered Hayward.

"Then I will send a horse around to your tent. I intend also to grant
you a great favor!"

"I shall decline any favors at your hands!" replied Hayward.

"You did not hear what that favor is to be!"

"Well, sir!"

"I intend to permit Alibamo to accompany you as far as Springfield. But
to-morrow you are to take your last farewell of her. I have my plans for
both you and her arranged."

Branch left the tent. In a few moments horses were brought, and Hayward,
with some difficulty gained the saddle. Nettleton helped Alibamo into
her seat. By this time Branch came up in company with some twenty
horsemen, who were to act as the guard, and the party prepared to
depart.

"Is not this young man to accompany us? He has attended to the captain's
wounds, and appears familiar with the business. He is a poor, foolish
fellow, and will be of little service as a soldier!" said Alibamo,
pointing to Nettleton.

"Yes, he can go, if he will walk!" replied Branch.

"Will you go?" asked Alibamo.

"Well, I don't care much about it one way or t'other. But if _you_ want
me to go with _you_ very much, I will, Miss Alibamo," replied Nettleton.

The party set off, and Nettleton trudged along after them, with his
usual rickety and unsteady motion, whistling as he proceeded.

They had proceeded about two miles from camp upon the Springfield road,
when Branch ordered a halt.

"Where are those hand-cuffs?" he asked.

"Here, sir!" replied one of the soldiers.

"Place them on his hands. No! not that way. Chain his hands behind him!
But wait. I will reserve them for future use. Leave his hands free."

Hayward spoke not. In the course of three or four hours they reached
Springfield, and halted in front of the hotel building which had been
used as a rebel hospital since the battle at Wilson's creek.

"Dismount!" said Branch, in a voice of excitement, mingled with hatred.

Hayward obeyed.

"Is Davis here?" asked Branch.

"Here, sir!" replied a soldier, stepping forward.

"Has the person I wrote for arrived?"

"Yes, she is in a room above!" was the reply.

"O my God!" groaned Alibamo.

"Take that woman away," said Branch, pointing toward Alibamo. Then he
added, as she was being led away,

"You shall see your captain to-morrow. And I will show you an amusing
sight. You know _it is Friday_, hangman's day." Then turning to Hayward,
he added:

"Now will I bend your proud heart. I will show you a pretty sight,
presently, _and to-morrow, at three o'clock, we will have a grand review
in the fair ground_! Come, follow me."

Hayward turned to speak with Nettleton, who had been standing beside him
but a moment before, but he had disappeared.

"Why do you delay?" asked Branch.

"Because it pleases me to do so," replied Hayward.

"Bring a set of chains. Put them on his ankles!" The order was obeyed.

"Drag him along!"

"I will follow you, sir," replied Hayward.

He soon reached the main hall of the building, and, as Hayward followed
his captor, the chains clanked heavily upon the floor, and echoed dimly
throughout the building.

"You shall behold a friend now, and you will think better of my
generosity!" said Branch, as he threw open a side-door. Hayward entered.

A wild scream rang through the room, and a lovely female sprang forward,
into the arms of Hayward.

"_My brother! O my brother!_" were the only words spoken, and she became
unconscious.

"Mamie--Mamie--Great God! why are you here? Mamie--sister, look
up--speak to me--speak, or I shall die--Mamie--O God! she is
dead--dead!"

And Hayward sank to the floor, still holding his sister to his heart,
and burst into tears.

"Ah! ha! ha! ha! Humbled at last!" cried Branch, as he left the room.



CHAPTER XI.

     _The War Scout--The Discovery._

     Softly--softly as the creeping panther.--_De Soto._


We left Fall-leaf, Margrave, and Johnson, as they were following the
party who had recaptured Hayward and Alibamo. As they descended the
mountain, the rear of the rebel army were in sight. At night-fall it
halted, and upon the broad prairie, near an oak grove, the camp was soon
formed.

"Can you distinguish the rebel general's headquarters?" asked Margrave.

"I was trying to do so," replied Johnson, and his eyes wandered from
point to point.

"Do you remember the style of his tent?"

"Perfectly. It is of the pattern known as the _wall-tent_, but of large
size. And near it should be about a dozen others of the same
description. There it is!"

"Those in the centre--near the grove?"

"Yes--don't you see the rebel ensign waving over it?"

"Very distinctly now. But I do not believe Alibamo, or the captain, will
be placed near headquarters. They are the prisoners of that fellow,
Branch."

"What shall we do, Johnson?" asked Margrave.

"We must enter their lines to-night, and ascertain where our friends
are, and listen to the conversation of the officers, and, if possible,
learn what is to be their fate," replied Johnson.

"And we must remember that Captain Hayward is not to be forgotten. He is
not dead, or he would have been left on the other side of the mountain,
and the drops of blood which we frequently saw along the line of march,
is evidence that some wounded person or persons are with the rebels.
This brave captain risked his life for my sister, and I shall risk my
life a thousand times for him."

"We must first creep near the sentinels, and when the nine o'clock
relief is marched out, we can listen, and gain possession of the
countersign. This will be of some assistance to us in case of
challenge."

"No--no! White brother stay here! Indian go--creep--softly!" said
Fall-leaf.

"No, my brother, you are suffering too severely with your wounds. We
cannot permit you to do this, while we remain inactive."

"Look out for the pickets. There is one of their fires," said Margrave,
as they approached the oak grove. The party verged their course, and, in
a few moments, were within a hundred yards of the camp, concealed almost
entirely by the thick wood through which they were passing. Here they
paused.

"The darkness favors us!" remarked Margrave. "The moon which was shining
so brightly last night, is now entirely obscured by thick clouds. We
must wait until after tattoo, and then enter the camp in different
directions."

"No--me alone!" replied Fall-leaf. "You--you--me, go--_all_ get kill--no
help Alibamo! Me go now! _I_ get kill--_you_ go. You get kill, _you_ go.
I no get kill, come back. I no come back, _you_ go!"

"The Indian means to express himself to the effect, that it is more safe
for one to go alone, and if he should get killed or taken, another could
go the next night, and another the next? or, that, if two of us should
be killed, the third could return and procure more assistance for
Alibamo, when he had learned their final destination. We will let the
Indian go first. I will write a few words upon a bit of paper, and he
may get an opportunity to give it to my sister."

The drums had beat the tattoo, and the relief had passed its rounds. The
party listened attentively, but failed to get the countersign, which was
given in a whisper. The camp became quiet, and the lights were mostly
extinguished.

"Me go now! softly--softly," said the Indian.

"Fall-leaf, give this paper to my sister if you can get an opportunity.
If you are discovered, and compelled to fly, we will all meet at yonder
rock."

The Indian, without replying, took the bit of paper, and started for the
camp. Softly as the creeping panther he worked his way along. He passed
the outer row of tents unperceived, and was now fairly within the rebel
camp. With cat-like stealth he crept along from tent to tent, listening
at each, but not a sound was heard save the deep breathing of the
sleepers within. At length the Indian reached a wide avenue, which ran
along before a better class of tents than those he had previously
passed, and from which were streaming lights. He listened, and could
plainly distinguish voices within, but there appeared here a difficulty.
Directly in front of the one he wished to reach, a sentinel was
stationed, and, if he attempted to cross the broad avenue at that point,
it could not fail to attract the watchful guardian's attention.

Just at that moment two forms emerged from the tent, and came directly
toward him. It was but the work of an instant for the Indian to conceal
himself in the long prairie grass, which fortunately had not been
entirely trodden down at this point. He was passed unobserved, and he
distinctly heard the name of "Hayward" spoken. He watched, and saw them
enter a tent, some twenty rods from that from which they had emerged.

The Indian crept cautiously along. About half-way between the two tents
to which his attention had been thus especially drawn, he found the
lights extinguished, and he succeeded in crossing the avenue unobserved.
He was now in the rear of what he supposed to be the general commanding
and his staff officers' quarters. He soon came near the tent into which
he had seen the two persons enter, and bending his ear to the ground, he
distinctly heard the voices of those within, but could not distinguish
the words spoken. He drew nearer, but saw that a guard was stationed on
every side, and that it would be impossible to approach nearer without
being discovered. He could now hear the voices plainly, and was not long
in discovering that both Alibamo and the captain were confined there.
Some stratagem must be resorted to, in order to attract the attention of
the guard in another direction. The Indian had already torn up the long
prairie-grass, and wrapped it around him in such a manner that he would
not easily be seen, so nearly did he resemble the earth around him. He
remained perfectly quiet for a moment, as if deeply thinking. At length
he commenced a search upon the ground around him. He raised a stone
about the size of a large apple, and hurled it toward the woods, in the
rear of the last row of tents. It struck against the tree-tops and then
fell to the ground, making considerable noise. The guard instantly
turned his attention in that direction. He listened, but hearing nothing
more, he started with cautious steps toward the wood, his gun at a
ready. The Indian at once took advantage of his absence from his post,
and darted unseen, close behind the tent. He prostrated himself upon the
ground, and drawing the grass around him, and the tent-flap partially
over his form, he was safe from detection so long as he did not move.
The guard discovering nothing, returned to his post, but the Indian
remained quiet, listening to all the conversation within. He became
convinced that Nettleton was a friend, and finally attracted his
attention, he being seated back of the couch upon which Hayward was
lying, and very near Fall-leaf. The Indian waved the paper in his hand,
and then let it fall upon the ground. In an instant he sprang to his
feet, and dashing the guard to the ground, darted for the woods. He
leaped the fence just as the sentinel fired upon him, but the ball
whistled by without harming Fall-leaf.

He made all haste to join his friends whom he found awaiting him. It was
decided to make no further attempts to enter camp, but they determined
to follow on, hoping the prisoners might be left at some point under a
small guard, which could be attacked and overcome.

On the morning the squad under the command of Branch left the main
army, our friends were well satisfied that their destination was
Springfield, and Johnson determined to hasten back to the Union army,
and try to procure assistance. Margrave and Fall-leaf followed on, and
saw his sister Alibamo and Captain Hayward, enter the rebel hospital. As
both were well known in Springfield, Margrave having escaped from that
place but a short time previous, assisted by the Indian, their situation
was by no means an enviable one. But they mingled with the loungers, and
soon learned that a _hanging_ was to come off the next day at three
o'clock. The great event was to take place in the Fair-Ground.



CHAPTER XII.

     _Hanging Day--The Friends--The Plot--The Attack._

     There is no pang in thy sharp wedge of steel, After that
     parting.--_Pythias._


For some hours, Hayward and his sister were permitted to remain alone.
Night was fast approaching. Nothing was heard without, but the coarse
laugh and jests of the soldiers. As Hayward held his sister in his arms,
he murmured:

"Would to God she could ever remain unconscious, or die to-night. I feel
that a fate far worse than death awaits her, when I am gone, and
to-morrow will surely be the fatal day. Oh, may God in his mercy protect
this darling one!"

"Have I been dreaming?" she sobbed, as she returned to consciousness,
and opened her eyes. "I saw my brother in chains, and I heard their
dreadful clankings upon the floor."

Her eyes met those of her brother, and with a shudder, she buried her
face in his breast, as if she would shut out some terrible vision.

"Mamie--darling sister, don't you know me?" asked Hayward.

"Oh! yes," she cried, starting up. "It is my brother. He is with me, and
I am safe and happy. O brother, I met such rude men here, I cannot
remain. Let us go at once." She started toward the door.

"Come back, sister, I wish to talk with you, and I wish you to listen
calmly."

"Calmly! What do you mean by that word? Ah! those chains! I have not
been dreaming! It is a terrible reality. What means this, brother?"

"Come here, Mamie, come close to my heart, and let me talk with you."

She obeyed, but as Hayward placed his arms around her, she said:

"Oh! that iron is so cold--it chills my heart. Let me remove those
chains, brother."

"No, sister. Let them alone, and listen to me!"

"First answer _me_! Are these men your friends?"

Hayward could not reply. His feelings almost overcame him, and he did
not wish his sister to discover any emotion on his part.

"You are silent. These men are _not_ your friends, and you are a
prisoner! Oh! my heart will break!" and she sobbed convulsively.

"Don't weep so, dear sister. Don't weep."

"I cannot help it. Oh! let me weep--let me rest upon your heart,
brother, and weep my life away! It will be sweet to die here!"

"You must _not_ die, Mamie, but live for me. I hope to-morrow I shall be
free. I have friends who will not forsake me!"

"And you are a prisoner!" she sobbed.

"Yes, but try and compose yourself. I have much to say to you!"

"Yes, I will be calm--I will listen, for I feel that a terrible fate
hangs over you, my brother. Oh! I am glad that I am here. I'll weep no
more, but I will comfort you. There, do not look so pale, your little
sister is with you, and will share your fate, whatever it may be."

Hayward bowed his head, while a convulsive tremor shook his frame.

"Come, I'll weep no more--I'll comfort you. Think, brother, it can only
be death, and your spirit will scarcely have taken its flight to that
better world, ere mine will meet you there. Oh! we shall not long be
separated."

"Mamie, we will talk no more of death. I do not believe such will be my
fate. I have already been informed that friends are at work. I shall be
rescued from this place, and if I am not, my sentence is not immediate
death. So weep no more, but listen. How came you here, Mamie?"

"I received a letter telling me that my brother had been wounded in
battle, and that you wished me to come direct to Springfield. I saw by
the papers that the Union army were marching for this place, and I
supposed you were with them, and that I should arrive here about the
same time you did. I did not hesitate a moment, but came forward
according to my directions to Rolla. I was there met by two men who
brought me to this place."

"Ah! I see it all now. That villain Branch must have taken your letter
from my pocket while I was insensible, and thus learning your address,
sent for you!"

"But to what end, brother? He is not your friend or you would not call
him villain!"

"I cannot tell, dear sister. But let me enjoin on you to be firm
whatever may occur. Even though you see me march upon the scaffold, be
firm, and hope. Remember what you said; it will _only_ be death! If my
enemies wish to torture me, the more keenly feel, the more they will
exult. Hark! Some one approaches. We shall not long remain in ignorance.
Remember, darling, let not a word or even a tear betray more than
ordinary emotion."

The door was thrown open, and Branch entered. Hayward seated himself
upon a rude box and Mamie knelt by his side.

"How is your wound, captain?" asked Branch.

"It troubles me very little, sir!" was the reply.

"I do not believe you. You say that to spare your sister pain. You are
suffering, and you know it!" growled Branch.

Hayward frowned, but did not speak. His sister crept close to his
breast.

"Do you know the federal army are within two days march of this place?"
continued Branch.

"I did not know it!" answered Hayward.

"Don't you wish they would come upon us to-night? We have only
twenty-two hundred men here, and they with forty thousand _might_ defeat
us, and rescue you and your lovely sister."

Hayward made no reply.

"Oh! I will open your mouth presently. You saw the Fair-Ground as we
passed? You won't speak? Well, I will. If you could only look inside the
high board enclosure, you might discover a platform, surrounding a large
tree. From one of the limbs a rope is hanging. It is for your neck. You
are to die to-morrow at three o'clock."

Hayward did not move a muscle, but Mamie, with a groan of agony, half
suppressed, threw her arms around her brother's neck, and clung the
closer.

"It will be interesting to die thus, noble captain, knowing that your
friends are but a few miles distant. And those lovely arms which now
encircle you, will not wish to clasp your neck when you are cold in
death. They shall be removed to mine!"

Mamie had started to her feet, and staggering forward, she knelt before
the wretch, and sobbed:

"Oh! spare my brother!"

"Mamie!" shrieked Hayward. "Up!"

The maiden started, and sprang into her brother's arms again.

"Forgive a moment of weakness, my brother!" she said, as she caressed
him.

"Miss Hayward," said Branch, "Your brother's life may be saved. General
Price offered him a pardon, if he would accept a commission in our army.
Persuade him to accept it."

Miss Hayward glanced at her brother, and then turning to Branch, she
replied:

"And become companion with such as you?"

"Is not that preferable to death?"

"I'll answer you no more!" said Mamie, turning to her brother.

"Well, I will leave you to pleasant reflections. To-morrow at one
o'clock you will leave this place, and have the pleasure of a cart ride
as far as the gallows. Your sister may remain with you to-night, and
enjoy the ride with you to-morrow. After that I shall take charge of
her."

Branch left the room.

"It is all over now, brother!"

Miss Hayward could no longer restrain her feelings, but sinking down,
groaned in agony of soul. The tears burst forth, and long and bitterly
she wept. She could not be consoled. Her brother assured her that he
felt confident he would be rescued, if his friends were at that time so
short a distance from him. And they might be much nearer. But she could
not be comforted. At times her sobs became almost shrieks, and then they
would cease, as if from very exhaustion. It seemed as if her very heart
was made of tears. Nature could bear but little more. At last she sank
into a fitful slumber, resting upon her brother's bosom. Ever and anon
she would start, a wild cry would break from her lips, and she would
cling with all the power of madness about his neck, and beg him not to
leave her. Her starts, her sobs, her groans, her screams, were terrible,
and thus the night wore slowly on mid dark and gloom. Hayward slept not.
Occasionally he pressed his lips to his sister's forehead, which now was
icy cold, now burning with a feverish heat. Sometimes her breath would
appear entirely to have stopped, and then her brother, in a voice of
agony, would call Upon her name; but a sob or groan would tell him she
yet lived. Toward morning she grew more quiet, and her repose seemed
sweet, and undisturbed by frightful dreams. At length she started up and
cried "They are coming! See, brother!"

"Who are coming, dear sister?" asked Hayward.

"Oh! I have been dreaming, but it was sweet. Are you here, brother? It
is so dark I cannot see you!"

"Yes, Mamie, I am here. But, what have you been dreaming?"

"Where are we, brother? Oh! I remember that bad man. I saw him in my
dream. He was hurled to destruction from a terrible precipice. He was
standing upon a cloud, dark and massive, but the thunders broke it, and
he fell!"

"Go on!" cried Hayward.

"I saw you, brother. You were standing on a golden cloud, just by his
side. The lightnings flashed around your head, but did not harm you. And
when I called you, ten thousand fairy forms appeared, and bore you to my
arms. And then I saw all your friends advancing, and they smiled upon
you."

"And that dream has given you hope, has it not?"

"Yes, it has, dear brother!"

"It is very strange!" said Hayward.

"That I should dream thus, brother?"

"No, but that last night I had the very same dream!"

"O brother, God is good!"

Hayward told her the particulars of his own dream.

"I shall hope to the last!" replied Miss Hayward, evidently cheered by
the vision.

The morning dawned. Hayward looked pale and haggard. The chains had
galled him, and he was faint and weak. This he endeavored to hide from
his sister, but she observed it, and tried to cheer him with consoling
words.

At length some coarse food was brought, and placed just within the door.
But it remained untouched. As the day advanced, Hayward said:

"Mamie, what will you do in case of the worst?"

"If you die, do you mean, brother?"

"Yes, darling!"

"Don't trouble yourself as to what I will do _after_ you are dead, for
if this must be so, I shall go with you."

The door was thrown open and Branch entered.

"It is twelve o'clock," he said. "Make ready!"

"We _are_ ready, sir!" answered Hayward.

"It is a pity you should die, Hayward. I tell you what I will do. Let
me marry that lovely sister of yours, and I will set you free!"

"Dog!" echoed Hayward.

"What do you say, Miss Hayward?"

"I repeat my brother's word most heartily!" replied Mamie.

"Oh! you scornful little devil, you are a copy of your brother. But you
will both repent your words. What ho! guards!"

Four of the guard entered the room.

"Take them along," said Branch.

"We will walk," replied Hayward. As he led his sister from the room he
said:

"Think of our dreams!"

Hayward walked erect, almost carrying, rather than leading his sister.
When he reached the street he said:

"Branch, my sister will not be able to endure this scene. Let her remain
here!"

"No, no," begged Mamie, "let me go with you, brother--I will be very
calm--see I can walk alone." But that pale face and trembling form
seemed little calculated to undergo the terrible scenes which must
follow.

Alibamo was already seated in a rough cart which stood before the door.
Hayward assisted his sister into it, and then entered himself, but stood
erect, while the females were provided with seats. As they were driven
onward, Branch rode by their side upon his horse. A crowd were following
after them, and taunts and jeers were heard on every side.

"Oh! that I had a sword within my grasp, and was free from these
shackles for a moment, I would teach those curs civility," cried
Hayward.

"Oh! it won't matter to you long," said Branch.

The procession had proceeded about a mile from Springfield on the road
running west. They were ascending the hill, upon the summit of which was
a thick wood, when Hayward said:

"Do you see those lines of infantry just within that grove. They are
rebel soldiers; it is the guard _necessary_ at the execution of _one_
man! Branch, don't you fear that these two half-fainting women will
rescue me?"

"They might do it--they are the only ones who can!" replied Branch.

The cart had passed the wood through a line of soldiers formed on either
side, and reaching the Fair-Ground, it was driven within the enclosure,
and halted near the scaffold. Miss Hayward had been hopeful until this
moment, but her feelings gave way, and throwing her arms around her
brother, she cried:

"Oh! is there no way in which you can escape this terrible fate?"

"Yes," said Branch. "Accept my terms."

"Dog, still!" replied Hayward, his eyes flashing with indignation.

"Hayward, I will save you, if possible," said Alibamo. "Branch, you say
you love me. Release Captain Hayward, and I will become your wife."

"Alibamo!" shrieked Hayward, "unsay those words or I will give you my
dying curse! Would you kill _your_ brother? He loves you as dearly as I
love _my_ sister. If I thought, Alibamo, that you would marry that vile
wretch, with these chains I would dash your brains out!"

"Drag him upon the scaffold!" shouted Branch.

"Farewell, Mamie--farewell!"

Hayward clasped his sister, but was torn from her, and dragged upon the
scaffold, where his chains were removed.

"She has fainted--thank God!" said Hayward, as they placed the fatal
noose about his neck.

"_The Body-guard! The Body-guard!_"

"What shouts are those?" yelled Branch.

At that moment a horseman dashed up, and cried:

"_The Body-guard are upon us!_"

"Quick!" yelled Branch. "String him up!"

"No, I be d----d if you do, you darn skunks!" cried Nettleton, as he
sprang from among the thick branches of the tree, after having severed
the rope.

"Spring, captain, for your life," cried Nettleton.

Hayward sprang from the scaffolding. At that moment there was an
explosion just beneath it, which threw the masses in every direction,
and caused such a dense smoke, that the soldiers surrounding the
scaffold could not distinguish the rescuer, and consequently could not
fire.

"Alibamo's brother and the Indian were under the scaffold and laid that
plot, captain," said Nettleton. "But here comes Adjutant Harry Hinton!"

The adjutant dashed forward, and seeing the captain alive, he fairly
yelled with delight He embraced his friend, and then remounting, cried:

"But come, boys, we have work to do," and off he dashed at a rapid rate.

"Come, Nettleton, I must seek my sister," said Hayward, as he started to
the point where he had last seen her. He met the brother of Alibamo, and
having been informed by Nettleton who he was, Hayward inquired:

"Where are our sisters?"

"I cannot tell, Captain Hayward. The ground became deserted in a moment
after it was known the guard were coming. I suppose Fall-leaf, one of
our friends, has removed them to a place of safety, away from the fight
They will be found when the fate of the battle is decided."



CHAPTER XIII.

     _Charge of the Body-guard._

     Advance your standards, draw your willing swords. For me, the
     ransom of my bold attempt Shall be this cold corpse on the earth's
     cold face; But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt The least of you
     shall share his part thereof. Sound drums and trumpets, boldly and
     cheerfully; God and St. George, Richmond and
     victory.--_Shakespeare._


The Union army, having completed the bridge at Warsaw, had commenced
their march toward Springfield. They had arrived at a point fifty miles
from that place, when they were informed that a body of rebels still
occupied that town. The Body-guard, under the command of the gallant
Major Charles Zagonyi, were at once sent forward to disperse the rebel
band. It was reported that their number did not exceed four or five
hundred. That of the Body-guard was one hundred and sixty.

On Thursday evening this enthusiastic squadron of Union troops started
upon their march of fifty miles. Onward they rode, all the long night.
The morning dawned, and they paused a few moments to refresh themselves
and their wearied horses, which had nobly borne their riders forward
toward that scene of deadly strife. While they were reposing, a horseman
rode up and asked for Adjutant Hinton. The adjutant sprang forward at
once, as he recognized in Johnson, one of the party who had visited him
at Warsaw and then left in search of Alibamo and Captain Hayward.

"Have you any tidings of our friends?" asked Hinton, in an excited
manner.

"Yes; they are now at Springfield. Captain Hayward is recovering, and
Alibamo is with him. Fall-leaf and the brother of Alibamo are lurking
near them, and will render all the assistance in their power. But I hope
you will not delay long, as a moment may make a world of difference."

Hinton spoke a few words in a low tone to the major, who instantly
sprang into his saddle, and commanded an advance.

Onward they dashed. They were just turning a sharp bend in the road,
when they came suddenly upon a small party of mounted rebels, who were
robbing the house of a Unionist. One of their number discovered the
approaching guard, and shouted:

"Here come the d----d Dutch!"

The rebels sprang into their saddles, and an exciting chase begun. But
the horses of the Body-guard, worn and jaded, could not overtake those
of the rebels, which were fresh. The pursuit was kept up, however, for
the next ten miles when Springfield was reached. Here Zagonyi commanded
a halt. He was informed that the rebels were in line, and that their
numbers were _eighteen hundred_ infantry, and _four hundred_ cavalry.
They held their position on the hill, just within the edge of a thick
wood, about one mile west of the city, and near the Fair-Ground.

"Is Adjutant Hinton here?" asked this informant.

"Here," replied Hinton.

"I have a word for you, from William Nettleton!" He whispered a few
words to the adjutant, who started, looked at his watch, and replied:

"It is half past two. For God's sake, major, let us on."

"Friends, soldiers!" said the major, addressing those around him, "we
are here, in front of the enemy. Their numbers are sufficiently great to
overwhelm us--almost _fourteen_ to _one_. But we, soldiers, have been
taunted with the name of 'gold-laced body-guard,' 'feather-bed
soldiers,' 'kid-gloved gentry,' and such like degrading epithets. I will
not _command_ you to face such terrible odds, but _I_ wish to go, and if
you will go with me, I will lead you. If any are sick, let them remain
behind; if any one fears, let him also remain. Who will go with me?"

"_I_ shall go, if I do so alone!" cried the adjutant.

The words were scarcely uttered, when the shout went up:

"We all will go--none of us are sick or worn out!"

"Then forward!" cried Zagonyi, as he drove his spurs into his horse.

They rode rapidly along to the west of the city, and came dashing down
the road which passed the Fair-Ground. It was the party who had been
pursued by the guard, who had ridden up and given the alarm just at the
fatal moment, and had thus saved the life of Hayward, by striking terror
to the hearts of his murderous enemies.

The Body-guard came thundering on. They were compelled to charge through
a narrow lane or road, on each side of which there was a dense oak wood.
It was an excellent position for the formation of infantry lines, as it
would be impossible for cavalry to advance among the trees. And besides
this a rail fence flanked this road on either side, just at the edge of
the grove. The rebel lines of infantry were formed on each side of this
lane, about ten feet back from the fence. The trees afforded them
protection, and as the guard charged through, a murderous fire was
poured upon them. But, nothing daunted, they dashed onward. Their
purpose was to gain the open field, which declined gradually toward the
city, and was situated east of the road. In this field their principal
lines of infantry and cavalry were formed. They had scarcely passed the
wood when another obstacle to their rapid advance presented itself. A
large wagon was placed directly across their path. The horses shied
suddenly in passing this obstruction, and some of their riders were
violently thrown; but with an extraordinary effort, they succeeded in
regaining their seats. Finally a halt was made, and several of the
daring spirits sprang from their horses, and commenced the work of
tearing down the fence in order that the squadron might ride into the
open field, and there form for a charge upon the rebel ranks.

During the whole of this time, the rebels were pouring forth a deadly
fire upon the little band, and many of our gallant guard had bit the
dust, while the wounded were to be seen on every side.

But, riding into the open field, the guard were formed into line at the
base of the hill, near the small stream which is the head of Wilson's
creek. On the right of the guard, and about one hundred yards distant,
just at the edge of a large corn-field, were stationed four hundred of
the rebel cavalry. At the brow of the hill, directly in front, and near
the edge of the wood, was the line of rebel infantry, numbering eighteen
hundred, all their available force having been brought to that point.

The eyes of Zagonyi glanced rapidly over this scene. Some thirty of his
bold guard had already been stricken down, either killed or wounded. It
was enough to appal the stoutest heart. But the major did not
flinch--his followers were firm and confident.

"We can spare thirty men to charge their cavalry," said Zagonyi;
"lieutenant, will you lead them?"

The officer addressed replied.

"Give me the men--_thirty is sufficient_!"

The men were soon detailed, merely changing front by breaking from the
right of the line.

"Forward--trot--_gallop_!" The lieutenant had placed himself at the head
of his little band, and with drawn sabres, and a wild shout, they rushed
upon the foe. The rebel ranks were broken in an instant; the blows from
the terrible weapons of the guard fell not in vain.

"No further help will be required in that quarter," shouted Zagonyi.
"Now comes _our_ work. Draw sabres--forward--gallop--_charge_!"

A shout rang out upon the air: "_For Fremont and the Union!_" And on
they went thundering up the hill. As they approached within a few yards
of the rebel line, a terrible fire was poured upon them, but they
faltered not. Some of the horses leaped wildly into the air, and then
fell to earth dead, but their riders pressed forward.

The rebel ranks could not resist the thunder of this charge. In less
than five minutes their lines were completely broken, and the terrified
rebels were flying in every direction. Some took refuge in the woods,
and fired from behind the trees, while now and then a squad would for a
moment make a stand, but it would be quickly dispersed. In half an hour,
all firing upon the battle-field had ceased. The rebels were entirely
scattered, and were flying for their lives. Some had taken refuge in the
city, and concealed themselves in the surrounding buildings.

Now commenced the charge through Springfield. Up and down the streets
rode the guard, charging upon all squads of armed rebels, or pursuing
them to the threshold of their own doors. Terror seized upon them all,
and soon the Body-guard were masters, not only of the field, but of the
city itself.

Then commenced the task of gathering together the Union dead and
wounded. Seventeen bodies were found lifeless, and removed to the lower
room of the new court-house, then used as the Union hospital, while some
fifty were found seriously or slightly wounded, or announced as missing.
Thus ended one of the most brilliant charges history has ever recorded.



CHAPTER XIV.

     _The Conclusion_

     I have no words--my voice is in my sword.
     Thou bloodier villain than terms can give thee out.

     _Shakespeare._


After finding themselves so thoroughly vanquished at every hand, the
panic-stricken rebels fled in every direction, with the utmost
precipitation. Their infantry fled into the thick adjoining woods, and
thus made their way to the wide spreading prairie beyond, while their
cavalry, taking advantage of a moment when the Body-guard were most
busily engaged with the infantry lines, sped across an adjoining field,
and were soon beyond the reach of danger.

It was in consequence of the general confusion which ensued, that many
of the most guilty and cowardly were enabled to effect their escape.
This was especially the case with Branch.

At the moment of the explosion under the gallows, he determined not to
fight, but to effect his escape with his victims. He urged forward the
frightened cattle attached to the cart which contained Alibamo and the
inanimate form of Miss Hayward. He proceeded to the western side of the
enclosure, and tearing away the high board fence, emerged into the
street. Here he beheld the battle raging in the distance, but was too
far from the scene to anticipate any particular danger. He opened the
fence opposite the place from that which he had left the Fair-Ground,
and, driving into a thick wood beyond, soon struck a narrow path, just
large enough to admit the passage of the cart. Now for the first time he
turned to Alibamo, and said:

"What think you now, my fair one? Is Captain Branch foiled so easily?"

Alibamo did not reply. She held the insensible form of Miss Hayward in
her arms, and was striving in every possible way to restore her to
consciousness. At length she said:

"Branch, will you not pass me some water from that stream?"

"Will you have it in my cap? It is the only thing in which I can convey
it to you!" replied Branch.

"No!" answered Alibamo. "Let us pause for a moment, and you can assist
me in removing this dying maiden to the side of the stream. Perhaps the
water, dripping cool and fresh upon her forehead will bring her back to
consciousness."

"I shall not pause," replied Branch, as he reached the maiden his cap,
which he had filled with water.

"You are a vile coward!" replied Alibamo. At this moment her eyes caught
the glimpse of something moving among the thick brush near her. Alibamo
gazed eagerly forward, as if endeavoring to satisfy herself, and then
raising her voice so as to be distinctly heard by any person who might
happen to be within several rods of her, she said:

"It is true that you are _alone_, Branch. Here are only two women to
oppose you, and one of them is entirely helpless! And yet you fear!"

These words were scarcely spoken, when there was a rustling among the
brush, and a dark form appeared.

"No, I am _not_ alone," replied Branch. "Look!"

At that instant six of the frightened horsemen, who were riding for
their lives, came flashing up, and, reaching the cart, they halted. The
dark form which had so suddenly appeared, had as suddenly vanished. It
had been distinctly seen by Alibamo, although not by Branch.

As the party rode up, one of them said:

"Why, Branch, what are you doing with these beauties? And one of them
unconscious, too."

"Taking them to a place of safety," was the crusty reply.

"You had better take them back to Springfield. The federals will not
harm females."

"No--no! that is not my purpose. They are relatives of Union officers,
and I intend to keep them as hostages for the safety of our friends."

"Where do you purpose taking them!"

"To the dwelling of Captain Rogers, on the edge of the prairie, just
west of the Wilson's creek battle-ground."

Another slight noise was heard among the underbrush, and Alibamo made a
significant motion to some person, or to some imaginary object, and then
all was silent.

Miss Hayward had partially recovered under the cooling effects of the
water with which Alibamo had been bathing her brow. She opened her eyes,
and then, with a shudder, closed them again. At length she said in a
feeble tone:

"O brother! press me closer to your heart; I am cold--very cold!"

"Miss Hayward, your brother yet lives, and will be with you soon!"
whispered Alibamo, as she bent over the fast recovering maiden.

"Oh! yes, my brother must live--he does live!" cried Mamie, starting up.

"Who is your brother?" asked one of the party.

Miss Hayward gazed upon the questioner, but turning away, she hid her
face in the bosom of Alibamo and wept.

"I will answer for her!" replied Alibamo. "He is an officer in the Union
army. He was taken prisoner while endeavoring to rescue me, who also
have been kept as a _hostage_ by that villain, Branch. It was the
intention of Gen. Price to release or exchange this young lady's
brother, but, he, to gratify his own fiend-like propensities, was about
to disobey the express orders of the general, and hang young Hayward."

A groan broke from Miss Hayward, but Alibamo quickly replied:

"Don't fear, darling, the Body-guard came just in time to rescue him,
and he will soon be with us!"

"Are you _sure_ of that?" asked one of the party.

"I _know_ it will be so. There will be large parties sent in every
direction, and you will be surely overtaken!" answered Alibamo.

"Let us forward, then," replied one of the rebels, his cheeks blenching
with fear.

"Stay one moment," answered another. "Branch," he continued, "you have
the reputation of a bad man. I shall not permit you to keep these
ladies, if I can prevent it. Let me accompany them back to Springfield,
and restore them to the arms of their friends!"

"Indeed!" replied Branch with bitterness. "You are very kind, and I have
no doubt the ladies will thank you. But I do not understand exactly
_how_ you are going to prevent me from doing as I please. Pray be good
enough to explain."

"I will! Men, you are enemies to the federal soldiers only, not innocent
women. Seize that cowardly captain, and I will return with the ladies,
and restore them to their friends. It will benefit all those of our
friends who----"

A ball, fired from the pistol of Branch, went crashing through the brain
of the speaker, and he rolled from his horse a corpse.

"You see how far his interference has benefited him," said Branch,
pointing to the dead body. "Are there any more who wish to share his
fate?"

The party were silent. They were now ascending the sharp hill, or range
of hills, which skirts the creek upon the north. Turning to the right,
he proceeded onward, but observing he was not followed, he asked:

"Why do you halt?"

"Because we go in another direction."

"I command you to follow me," yelled Branch.

"We do not recognize your authority."

"You shall see it here," replied the infuriated captain, as he drew
forth his revolver.

In an instant the five horsemen had leveled their rifles at his breast,
and one of them said:

"Go your way, sir, and we will not molest you. Be careful how you
interfere with us."

"Do as you please, cowards," replied Branch. He started on his way,
while the horsemen proceeded down the hill at a rapid rate.

Alibamo bent forward, and whispered words to Mamie, which seemed to be
those of hope, as the countenance of the latter brightened very much.
Then, starting to her feet, while her frame quivered with excitement,
she cried:

"I knew it would be so! Look there, Miss Hayward! Look there!"

"What do you mean?" yelled Branch.

"That you are foiled at last, fiend of darkness, that you are."


Let us return to Springfield.

The excitement endured by Hayward, together with the pain he suffered
from the constant irritation of his wounds, and his loss of blood, were
more than he could bear, and he sank to the earth, although he still
retained his consciousness. Nettleton remained by his side, although
Hayward urged him to join his brothers in the unequal contest.

"There ain't no occasion to do that!" said the brave fellow. "Them
Body-guard will whip them darn skunks in less than three minutes, and
besides some on 'em might come around you, and I calculate if they do,
to make them smell brimstone."

The fight was over. Nettleton and William Margrave assisted Captain
Hayward to the city, and secured a room for him in one of the houses
occupied by a Union family. In a short time both Johnson and Adjutant
Hinton joined him. The Indian was absent.

"Have you received any intelligence of my sister?" asked Hayward, in a
trembling voice.

"Not yet, but Fall-leaf is absent, and I feel satisfied that he is with
or near both your sister and mine," replied Margrave. "He will return
with them very soon, I believe."

"Did you see or hear anything of Branch?" asked Hayward.

"After the smoke from the explosion had cleared away, I went in search
of the ladies, but they had disappeared. The cart had been removed, and
my opinion is that Branch has driven off with our sisters. He cannot
advance very rapidly with his ox-team, and, if Fall-leaf is on his
track, he will return and inform us as soon as he has ascertained the
direction they have taken."

"Have the horses saddled, and at the door. If possible get fresh ones,"
said Hayward. "I shall follow my sister."

"You cannot do it, captain, you are too ill!"

"Who talks of being ill, at such a time as this? My sister is in the
hands of that ruffian Branch, and yours too, Margrave! _I_ should go
forward if I was dying!"

At this moment Fall-leaf rushed into the room, and cried:

"Follow--come!"

"Come--no questions," cried Hayward.

In an instant Hayward, Hinton, Johnson, Nettleton, Margrave, and the
Indian, were in their saddles, and darted off at their utmost speed, on
the road toward the famous Wilson's creek battle-ground. The Indian took
the lead.

They ascended the sharp hill which borders Wilson's creek, and when on
its summit, could plainly see all the surrounding objects in the valley
below. After a moment's inspection they turned to the right, and struck
off through a narrow path which ran along the mountain ridge. They had
proceeded about two miles, when the Indian paused and said:

"Hark!"

The party listened attentively, and distinctly heard the sound of the
rumbling cart.

"Quick! Forward!" cried Hayward, as he dashed onward. In a few moments
they came in sight of the cart, and there, sure enough, were seated the
sister of Hayward and the maiden, Alibamo.

A cry of joy broke from the lips of Margrave. It was heard by Branch.
The villain for a moment was confused, but it was no time for delay. He
seized Miss Hayward in his arms, and, springing from the cart, ran along
with her as easily as if she had been an infant.

Alibamo sprang into her brother's arms, with a cry of rapture, but he
only paused a moment. Branch ran directly toward a narrow pathway, which
was the only passage to the valley below, and which wound down the steep
by the side of a sharp, rocky ledge. Beneath this ledge was a frightful
chasm, at the bottom of which were a hundred sharp rocks, which had been
broken off the height, and fallen into the depths below.

"Ah! I will triumph yet!" cried Branch, as he reached the ledge, and was
about to spring down the narrow pathway. But, Fall-leaf confronted him,
and Branch sprang back.

"Ah! the rock--the precipice!" he cried, and darting for the ledge he
stood upon its very verge.

As Hayward and his friends approached, Branch raised the helpless maiden
high over his head, and leaning forward he cried:

"If you advance another step, Hayward, or permit any of your party to do
so, I will hurl your sister into the depths below, and thus dash her to
pieces!"

Hayward was within a few feet of Branch, but he stopped instantly.

"What is to be done?" asked Hinton, as he shuddered at the scene before
him.

"I will tell _you_ what is to be done, Hayward," cried Branch. "I hold
_you_ in my power, and I shall dictate my own terms."

"What are they?" asked Hayward.

"Let the entire party, excepting yourself withdraw some distance to the
rear, and then swear by your honor that I shall not be molested, and
shall be permitted to go as I please, and I will restore your sister. If
you do not, she shall perish, even if I go with her!"

The villain, who supposed his proposition would be readily accepted, had
been partially thrown off his guard. With a cry of

"Brother!" Mamie sprang suddenly to the ground. In doing so, she had
collected all her strength, and, as she sprang, the concussion had
thrown Branch backward, and he was falling over the ledge. He caught a
small sapling in his fall, and there the villain hung, suspended over
this dreadful gulf, only by the frail twig. He turned upward an
imploring glance, but did not speak. He gazed below, and a thrill of
terror shook his frame.

"Your hour has come!" cried Hayward, as he approached the edge of the
cliff.

"No! no! me--me!" cried the Indian, stepping forward.

"Oh! save me!" groaned Branch.

"Pray," said Hayward, as he saw the tomahawk of the Indian raised high
in the air.

"Save me--save--" Branch spoke no more.

The tomahawk had descended and severed the frail twig, to which Branch
was clinging. A yell of terror rose upon the air, as Branch went
whirling down, and then a dull, heavy thump was heard and all was still.

Hayward pressed his lips upon his sister's forehead, and murmured,

"The dream, darling--the dream!"

"O brother," she sobbed, "I cannot speak--I am so happy!"

Margrave had not been idle. He had taken a full share of embraces, and
had handed Alibamo over to Adjutant Hinton, who appeared rather to
relish that luxury, himself. Johnson was a silent spectator, but
Nettleton was dancing with perfect ecstacy, as he exclaimed:

"Well, I'm about the happiest darn skunk that ever did live!"

"Fall-leaf, have you nothing to say?" asked Hayward.

"Me kill--ugh!" he pointed toward the rocks below, and seemed perfectly
satisfied.

"Bad man--_much_ bad!" and he strode away up the path.

Night was fast approaching, and the happily united friends set out for
Springfield, which they reached in safety.

Captain Hayward recovered from his wounds, and is still engaged in
fighting his country's battles, while his lovely sister is happy in her
home upon the lake.

Adjutant Hinton is in the same regiment with Hayward, while
Alibamo--_not_ Alibamo Margrave, but Alibamo _Hinton_, is adorning her
husband's elegant home in New York, where she is its light and joy. She
only awaits the return of Harry to render her perfectly happy.

Nettleton thinks he is becoming less of a "skunk" every day, but still
insists on remaining with Haywood, as his "body-guard." Fall-leaf still
serves the army.

AU REVOIR.



ADVERTISEMENT


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THE PRISONER OF THE MILL; OR, CAPTAIN HAYWARD'S "BODY GUARD."

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+No. 3.--THE HERMIT OF THE COLORADO HILLS: A Romance of the Pampas.+ By
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