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Corporal Cameron by Ralph Connor

Part 9 out of 9

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"Got to see these prisoners safe first," said Cameron, swaying on
his feet.

"Come in, you idiot!" cried the doctor.

"Go in, Cameron," said Constable Scott. "I'll take care of 'em all
right," he added, drawing his gun.

"No," said Cameron, still with his hand on goatee Bill's collar.
"I'll see them safe first," saying which he swayed drunkenly about
and, but for Bill's support, would have fallen.

"Go on!" said Bill good-naturedly. "Don't mind me. I'm good now."

"Come!" said the doctor, supporting him into the tent.

"Forward!" commanded Constable Scott, and marched his prisoners
before him up the hill.

The wound on Cameron's head was a ghastly affair, full six inches
long, and went to the bone.

"Rather ugly," said the doctor, feeling round the wound. "Nurse!"
he called. "Nurse!" The little nurse came running in. "Some
water and a sponge!"

There was a cry behind her--low, long, pitiful.

"Oh, what is this?" With a swift movement Nurse Haley was beside
the doctor's bed. Cameron, who had been lying with his eyes closed
and was ghastly white from loss of blood, opened his eyes and
smiled up into the face above him.

"I feel fine--now," he said and closed his eyes again.

"Let me do that," said Nurse Haley with a kind of jealous
fierceness, taking the sponge and basin from the little nurse.

Examination revealed nothing more serious, however, than a deep
scalp wound and a slight concussion.

"He will be fit enough in a couple of days," said the doctor when
the wound was dressed.

Then, pale and haggard as if with long watching, Nurse Haley went
to her room there to fight out her lonely fight while Cameron

The day passed in quiet, the little nurse on guard, and the doctor
looking in every half hour upon his patient. As evening fell
Cameron woke and demanded Nurse Haley. The doctor felt his pulse.

"Send her in!" he said and left the tent.

The rays of the sun setting far down the Pass shone through the
walls and filled the tent with a soft radiance. Into this radiance
she came, her face pale as of one who has come through conflict,
and serene as of one who has conquered, pale and strong and alight,
not with the radiance of the setting sun, but with light of a soul
that has made the ancient sacrifice of self-effacing love.

"You want me?" she said, her voice low and sweet, but for all her
brave serenity tremulous.

"Yes," said Cameron, holding out his arms. "I want you; I want
YOU, Mandy."

"Oh," cried the girl, while her hands fluttered to her heart,
"don't ask me to go through it again. I am so weak." She stood
like a frightened bird poised for flight.

"Come," he said, "I want you."

"You want me? You said you wanted to take care of me," she breathed.

"I was a fool, Mandy; a conceited fool! Now I know what I want--I
want--just YOU. Come." Again he lifted his arms.

"Oh, it cannot be," she breathed as if to herself. "Are you sure--
sure? I could not bear it if you were not sure."

"Come, dear love," he cried, "with all my heart and soul and body I
want you--I want only YOU."

For a single moment longer she stood, her soul searching his
through her wonderful eyes. Then with a little sigh she sank into
his arms.

"Oh, my darling," she whispered, wreathing her strong young arms
around his neck and laying her cheek close to his, "my darling, I
thought I had given you up, but how could I have done it?"

At the hospital door the doctor was on guard. A massive figure
loomed in the doorway.

"Hello, Superintendent Strong, what on earth are you doing out of

"Where is he?" said the Superintendent abruptly.


"Corporal Cameron."

"CORPORAL Cameron? Constable Cameron is--"

"Corporal Cameron, I said. I have just had Constable Scott's
report and felt I must see him at once."

"Come in, Superintendent! Sit down! I shall enquire if he is
resting. Nurse! Nurse! Enquire if Corporal Cameron can be seen."

The little nurse tip-toed into the doctor's tent, lifted the
curtain, took one glance and drew swiftly back. This is what her
eyes looked upon. A girl's form kneeling by the bed, golden hair
mingling with black upon the pillow, two strong arms holding her
close and hers wreathed in answering embrace.

"Mr. Cameron I am afraid," she reported, "cannot be seen. He is--I
think--he is--engaged."

"Ah!" said the doctor.

"Well," said the Superintendent, "just tell Corporal Cameron for me
that I am particularly well pleased with his bearing to-day, and
that I hope he will be very soon fit for duty."

"Certainly, Superintendent. Now let me help you up the hill."

"Never mind, here's the Sergeant. Good evening! Very fine thing!
Very fine thing indeed! I see rapid promotion in his profession
for that young man."

"Inspector, eh?" said the doctor.

"Yes, Sir, I should without hesitation recommend him and should be
only too pleased to have him as Inspector in my command."

It was not, however, as Inspector that Corporal Cameron served
under the gallant Superintendent, but in another equally honourable
capacity did they ride away together one bright April morning a few
weeks later, on duty for their Queen and country. But that is
another story.

"That message ought to be delivered, nurse," said the doctor

"But not at once," replied the nurse.

"It is important," urged the doctor.

"Yes, but--there are other things."

"Ah! Other things?"

"Yes, equally--pressing," said the nurse with an undeniably joyous
laugh. The doctor looked at her a moment.

"Ah, nurse," he said in a shocked tone, "how often have I deprecated
your tendency to--"

"I don't care one bit!" laughed the nurse saucily.

"The message ought to be delivered," insisted the doctor firmly as
he moved toward the tent door.

"Well, deliver it then. But wait!" The little nurse ran in before
him and called "Nu-u-u-r-s-e Ha-l-ey!"

"All right!" called Cameron from the inside. "Come in!"

"Go on then," said the little nurse to the doctor, "you wanted to."

"A message from the Superintendent," said the doctor, lifting the
curtain and passing in.

"Don't move, Mandy," said Cameron. "Never mind him."

"No, don't, I beg," said the doctor, ignoring what he saw. "A
message, an urgent message for--Corporal Cameron!"

"CORPORAL Cameron?" echoed Nurse Haley.

"He distinctly said and repeated it--Corporal Cameron. And the
Corporal is to report for duty as speedily as possible."

"He can't go," said Mandy, standing up very straight with a light
in her eyes that the doctor had not seen since that tragic night
nearly two years before.

"Can't, eh?" said the doctor. "But the Superintendent says
Corporal Cameron is--"

"Corporal Cameron can't go!"


"Yes, I forbid it."

"The Corporal is--?"

"Yes," she said proudly, "the Corporal is mine."

"Then," said the doctor emphatically, "of all the lucky chaps it
has been my fortune to meet, by all the gods the luckiest of them
is this same Corporal Cameron!"

And Cameron, drawing down to him again the girl standing so
straight and proud beside him, looked up at his friend and said:

"Yes, old chap, the luckiest man in all the world is that same
Corporal Cameron."

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