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Shenandoah by Bronson Howard

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_Enter_ CAPTAIN HEARTSEASE, _followed by_ COLONEL ROBERT ELLINGHAM;
_stops at gate._

HEARTSEASE. This way, Colonel Ellingham. [_They enter. As they come
down,_ HEARTSEASE _stops suddenly, looking at_ JENNY; _puts up his
glasses._] Miss Buckthorn!

JENNY. Captain Heartsease!

HEARTSEASE. [_Very quietly and with perfect composure._] I am
thunderstruck. The unexpected sight of you has thrown me into a fever
of excitement.

JENNY. Has it? [_Aside._] If he gets so excited as that in battle, it
must be awful. [_Aloud._] Colonel Ellingham! [_Crossing to him._

ELLINGHAM. Miss Buckthorn! You are visiting my sister? I am what may
be called a visitor--by force--myself.

JENNY. Oh! You're a prisoner!

ELLINGHAM. I ventured too far within the Union lines to-night, and
they have picked me up. But Major Wilson has kindly accepted my
parole, and I shall make the best of it.

JENNY. Is Major Wilson in command of the regiment?

HEARTSEASE. Yes. Colonel West is to join us at this point, during the
evening.

ELLINGHAM. I am very glad you are here, Miss Buckthorn, with Gertrude.

JENNY. Somebody here will be delighted to see you, Colonel.

ELLINGHAM. My sister can hardly be pleased to see me as a prisoner.

JENNY. Not your sister. [_Passing him and crossing to veranda, turns
and beckons to him. She motions with her thumb over her shoulder. He
goes up the steps of the veranda and turns._

ELLINGHAM. What do you mean?

JENNY. I mean this--[_Reaching up her face, he leans down, placing his
ear near her lips._]--somebody else's sister! When she first sees you,
be near enough to catch her.

ELLINGHAM. I understand you! Madeline! [_Exit on veranda._ JENNY _runs
up steps after him, stops and looks back at_ HEARTSEASE _over the
railing._ HEARTSEASE _takes a lace handkerchief from his pocket._

JENNY. I do believe that's my handkerchief. [A GUARD OF SENTRIES
_marches in and across stage in road. The_ CORPORAL _in command orders
halt and a_ SENTRY _to post, then marches_ GUARD _out. The_ SENTRY
_stands with his back to audience, afterwards moving out, appearing
and disappearing during Act._

HEARTSEASE. Miss Buckthorn! I owe you an apology. After I left
your side, the last time we met, I found your handkerchief in my
possession. I assure you, it was an accident.

JENNY. [_Aside, pouting._] I thought he _intended_ to steal it.
[_Aloud._] That was more than a year ago. [_Then brightly._] Do you
always carry it with you?

HEARTSEASE. Always; there. [_Indicating his left breast pocket._

JENNY. Next to his heart!

HEARTSEASE. Shall I return it to you?

JENNY. Oh, if a lace handkerchief can be of any use to you, Captain,
during the hardships of a campaign--you--you may keep that one. You
soldiers have so few comforts--and it's real lace.

HEARTSEASE. Thank you. [_Returning handkerchief to his pocket._] Miss
Buckthorn, your papa is in command of the Nineteenth Army Corps. He
doesn't like me.

JENNY. I know it.

HEARTSEASE. But you are in command of him,

JENNY. Yes; I always have been.

HEARTSEASE. If ever you decide to assume command of any other man,
I--I trust you will give _me_ your orders.

JENNY. [_Aside, starting back._] If that was intended for a proposal,
it's the queerest-shaped one I ever heard of. [_Aloud._] Do you mean,
Captain, that--that you--I must command myself now. [_Shouldering her
parasol._] 'Bout--face! March! [_Turning squarely around, marches up
and out on veranda._

HEARTSEASE. I have been placed on waiting orders. [_Stepping up and
looking after her; then very quietly and without emotion._] I am in an
agony of suspense. The sight of that girl always arouses the strongest
emotions of my nature.

[_Enter_ COLONEL KERCHIVAL WEST, _looking at paper in his hand. The_
SENTINEL, _in road, comes to a salute._]

Colonel West!

KERCHIVAL. Captain!

HEARTSEASE. You have rejoined the regiment sooner than we expected.

KERCHIVAL. [_Looking at paper._] Yes; General Haverill is to meet me
here at seven o'clock. Major Wilson tells me that some of your company
captured Colonel Robert Ellingham, of the Tenth Virginia.

HEARTSEASE. He is here under parole.

KERCHIVAL. And this is the old Ellingham homestead. [_Aside._]
Gertrude herself is here, I suppose; almost a prisoner to me, like
her brother; and my troops surround their home. She must, indeed, feel
that I am her enemy now. Ah, well, war is war. [_Aloud._] By the bye,
Heartsease, a young Lieutenant, Frank Bedloe, has joined our troop?

HEARTSEASE. Yes; an excellent young officer.

KERCHIVAL. I sent for him as I came through the camp. Lieutenant Frank
"Bedloe" is the son of General Haverill.

HEARTSEASE. Indeed! Under an assumed name!

KERCHIVAL. He was supposed to have been killed in New Orleans more
than a year ago; but he was taken prisoner instead. [_Looking left._

HEARTSEASE. He is here.

KERCHIVAL. I should never have known him--with his full beard and
bronzed face. His face was as smooth as a boy's when I last met him in
Charleston.

_Enter_ LIEUTENANT FRANK BEDLOE; _he stops, saluting._

FRANK. You wished me to report to you, Colonel?

KERCHIVAL. You have been assigned to the regiment during my absence.

FRANK. Yes, sir. [KERCHIVAL _moves to him and grasps his hand; looks
into his eyes a moment before speaking._

KERCHIVAL. Frank Haverill.

FRANK. You--you know me, sir?

KERCHIVAL. I saw Mrs. Haverill while I was passing through Washington
on Saturday. She told me that you had escaped from prison in Richmond,
and had re-entered the service. She did not know then that you
had been assigned to my regiment. I received a letter from her, in
Winchester, this morning, informing me of the fact, and asking for my
good offices in your behalf. But here is the letter. [_Taking letter
from wallet and giving it to him._] It is for you rather than for me.
I shall do everything I can for you, my dear fellow.

FRANK. Thank you, sir. [_Opens letter, dropping the envelope upon the
table._] Kind, thoughtful and gentle to my faults, as ever--[_Looking
at the letter._]--and always thinking of my welfare. My poor little
wife, too, is under her protection. Gentlemen, I beg of you not to
reveal my secret to my father.

KERCHIVAL. General Haverill shall know nothing from us, my boy; you
have my word for that.

HEARTSEASE. Nothing.

KERCHIVAL. And he cannot possibly recognize you. What with your full
beard, and thinking as he does, that you are--

FRANK. That I am dead. I am dead to him. It would have been better
if I had died. Nothing but my death--not even that--can wipe out the
disgrace which I brought upon his name.

HEARTSEASE. [_Looking right._] General Haverill has arrived.

_Enter_ GENERAL HAVERILL _with a_ STAFF OFFICER.

FRANK. My father!

HAVERILL. [_Exchanging salutes with the three officers. He turns to
the_ STAFF OFFICER, _giving him a paper and brief instructions in dumb
show. The_ OFFICER _goes out over the incline. Another_ STAFF OFFICER
_enters, salutes and hands him a paper, then stands up stage._]
Ah! The men are ready. [_Looking at the paper. Then to_ KERCHIVAL.]
Colonel! I have a very important matter to arrange with you; there
is not a moment to be lost. I will ask Captain Heartsease to remain.
[FRANK _salutes and starts up stage;_ HAVERILL _looks at him, starting
slightly; raises his hand to detain him._] One moment; your name!

HEARTSEASE. Lieutenant Bedloe, General, of my own troop, and one of
our best officers. [HAVERILL _steps to_ FRANK, _looking into his face
a moment._

HAVERILL. Pardon me! [_Stepping down stage._ FRANK _moves up, stops
and looks back at him._ HAVERILL _stands a moment in thought, covers
his face with one hand, then draws up._] Colonel West! We have a
most dangerous piece of work for a young officer--[FRANK _starts
joyfully._]--to lead a party of men, whom I have already selected. I
cannot order an officer to undertake anything so nearly hopeless; he
must be a volunteer.

FRANK. Oh, sir, General! Let me be their leader.

HAVERILL. I thought you had passed on.

FRANK. Do not refuse me, sir. [HAVERILL _looks at him a moment._
HEARTSEASE _and_ KERCHIVAL _exchange glances._

HAVERILL. You are the man we need, my young friend. You shall go.
Listen! We wish to secure a key to the cipher despatches, which the
enemy are now sending from their signal station on Three Top Mountain.
There is another Confederate Signal Station in the Valley, just beyond
Buckton's Ford. [_Pointing._] Your duty will be this: First, to get
inside the enemy's line; then to follow a path through the woods,
with one of our scouts as your guide; attack the Station suddenly, and
secure their code, if possible. I have this moment received word that
the scout and the men are at the fort, now, awaiting their
leader. Major McCandless, of my staff, will take you to the place.
[_Indicating the_ STAFF OFFICER. FRANK _exchanges salutes with him._]
My young friend! I do not conceal from you the dangerous nature of the
work on which I am sending you. If--if you do not return, I--I will
write, myself, to your friends. [_Taking out note-book._] Have you a
father living?

FRANK. My--father--is--is--he is--

HAVERILL. I understand you. A mother? Or--

KERCHIVAL. I have the address of Lieutenant Bedloe's friends, General.

HAVERILL. I will ask you to give it to me, if necessary. [_Extends his
hand._] Good-bye, my lad. [FRANK _moves to him._ HAVERILL _grasps his
hand, warmly._] Keep a brave heart and come back to us. [FRANK _moves
up stage. Exit_ STAFF OFFICER.

FRANK. He is my father still. [_Exit._

HAVERILL. My dead boy's face! [_Dropping his face into both hands._

HEARTSEASE. [_Apart to_ KERCHIVAL.] He shall not go alone. [_Aloud._]
General! Will you kindly give me leave of absence from the command?

HAVERILL. Leave of absence! To an officer in active service--and in
the presence of the enemy?

KERCHIVAL. [_Taking hand of_ HEARTSEASE. _Apart._] God bless you, old
fellow! Look after the boy.

HAVERILL. A--h--[_With a sudden thought, turns._] I think I understand
you, Captain Heartsease. Yes; you may have leave of absence.

HEARTSEASE. Thank you. [_Salutes._ HAVERILL _and_ KERCHIVAL _salute.
Exit_ HEARTSEASE.

KERCHIVAL. Have you any further orders for me, General?

HAVERILL. I wish you to understand the great importance of the duty
to which I have just assigned this young officer. General Sheridan
started for Washington this noon, by way of Front Royal. Since his
departure, we have had reason to believe that the enemy are about
to move, and we must be able to read their signal despatches, if
possible. [_Sitting._] I have ordered Captain Lockwood, of our own
Signal Corps, to report to you here, with officers and men. [_Takes up
the empty envelope on table, unconsciously, as he speaks, tapping it
on the table._] If Lieutenant Bedloe succeeds in getting the key
to the enemy's cipher, we can signal from this point--[_Pointing
to elevation._]--to our station at Front Royal. Men and horses are
waiting there now, to carry forward a message, if necessary, to
General Sheridan himself. [_He starts suddenly, looking at the
envelope in his hand; reads address. Aside._] "Colonel Kerchival
West"--in my wife's handwriting.

KERCHIVAL. I'll attend to your orders.

HAVERILL. Postmarked at Washington, yesterday. [_Reads._] "Private and
confidential." [_Aloud._] Colonel West! I found a paragraph, to-day,
in a paper published in Richmond, taken from a prisoner. I will read
it to you. [_Takes newspaper slip from his wallet and reads._]

"From the Charleston Mercury. Captain Edward Thornton, of the
Confederate Secret Service, has been assigned to duty in the
Shenandoah Valley. Our gallant Captain still bears upon his face the
mark of his meeting, in 1861, with Lieutenant, now Colonel Kerchival
West, who is also to serve in the Valley, with Sheridan's Army.
Another meeting between these two men would be one of the strange
coincidences of the war, as they were at one time, if not indeed at
present, interested in the same beautiful woman." [_Rises._]

I will ask you to read the last few lines, yourself. [_Hands KERCHIVAL
the slip._

KERCHIVAL. [_Reading._] "The scandal connected with the lovely wife
of a Northern officer, at the opening of the war, was overshadowed,
of course, by the attack on Fort Sumter; but many Charlestonians will
remember it. The lady in defense of whose good name Captain Thornton
fought the duel"--he defending her good name!--"is the wife of General
Haverill, who will be Colonel West's immediate commander." [_He pauses
a moment, then hands back the slip._] General! I struck Mr. Thornton,
after a personal quarrel.

HAVERILL. And the cause of the blow? There is much more in this than
I have ever known of. I need hardly say that I do not accept the
statement of this scandalous paragraph as correct. I will ask you to
tell me the whole story, frankly, as man to man.

KERCHIVAL. [_After a moment's thought._] I will tell
you--all--frankly, General.

_Enter_ SERGEANT BARKET.

BARKET. Colonel West? Adjutant Rollins wishes to report--a
prisoner--just captured.

HAVERILL. We will meet again later, to-night, when the camp is at
rest. We are both soldiers, and have duties before us, at once. For
the present, Colonel, be on the alert; we must watch the enemy.
[_He moves up stage._ BARKET _salutes._ HAVERILL _stops and looks at
envelope in his hands, reading._] "Private and confidential." [_Exit._

KERCHIVAL. Sergeant Barket! Lieutenant Bedloe has crossed the enemy's
line, at Buckton's Ford, with a party of men. I wish you to ride to
the Ford yourself, and remain there, with your horse in readiness and
fresh. As soon as any survivor of the party returns, ride back with
the first news at full speed.

BARKET. Yes, sir. [_Starting._

KERCHIVAL. You say a prisoner has been captured? Is it a spy?

BARKET. Worse--a petticoat.

KERCHIVAL. A female prisoner! [_Dropping into seat._

BARKET. I towld the byes your honour wouldn't thank us fer the
catchin' of her. The worst of it is she's a lady; and what's worse
still, it's a purty one.

KERCHIVAL. Tell Major Wilson, for me, to let her take the oath, and
everything else she wants. The Government of the United States will
send her an apology and a new bonnet.

BARKET. The young lady is to take the oath, is it? She says she'll see
us damned first.

KERCHIVAL. A lady, Barket?

BARKET. Well! she didn't use thim exact words. That's the way I
understand her emphasis. Ivery time she looks at me, I feel like
getting under a boom-proof. She was dashing through the woods on a
gray horse, sur; and we had the divil's own chase. But we came up wid
her, at last, down by the bend in Oak Run. Just at that moment we saw
the figure of a Confederate officer, disappearing among the trays on
the ither side.

KERCHIVAL. A--h!

BARKET. Two of us rayturned wid the girl; and the rist wint after the
officer. Nothing has been heard of thim yet.

KERCHIVAL. Have you found any despatches on the prisoner?

BARKET. Well!--yer honour, I'm a bachelor, meself; and I'm not familar
with the jayography of the sex. We byes are in mortal terror for fear
somebody might order us to go on an exploring expedition.

KERCHIVAL. Tell them to send the prisoner here, Barket, and hurry to
Buckton's Ford yourself, at once.

BARKET. As fast as me horse can carry me, sir, and it's a good one.
[_Exit._

KERCHIVAL. I'd rather deal with half the Confederate Army than with
one woman, but I must question her. They captured her down by the Bend
in Oak Run. [_Taking out map; looks at it._] I see. She had just
met, or was about to meet, a Confederate officer at that point. It
is evident that she was either taking him a despatch or was there to
receive one. Oak Run. [CORPORAL DUNN _and Two_ SOLDIERS _enter, with_
GERTRUDE _as a prisoner. They stop;_ KERCHIVAL _sits studying map._
GERTRUDE _glances at him and marches down with head erect; stops, with
her back to him._

CORPORAL DUNN. The prisoner, Colonel West!

KERCHIVAL. Ah! Very well, Corporal; you can go. [_Rising; he motions
the_ GUARD _to retire._ CORPORAL DUNN _gives the necessary orders and
exit with_ GUARD.] Be seated, madam. [GERTRUDE _draws up, folding
her arms and planting her foot, spitefully._ KERCHIVAL _shrugs his
shoulder. Aside._] I wish they'd capture a tigress for me, or some
other female animal that I know how to manage better than I do a
woman. [_Aloud._] I am very sorry, madam, but, of course, my duty as
a military officer is paramount to all other considerations. You have
been captured within the lines of this army, and under circumstances
which lead me to think that you have important despatches upon your
person. I trust that you will give me whatever you have at once. I
shall be exceedingly sorry if you compel me to adopt the extreme--and
the very disagreeable course--for both of us--of having--you--I--I
hesitate even to use the word, madam--but military law is
absolute--having you--

GERTRUDE. Searched! If you dare, Colonel West! [_Turning to him
suddenly and drawing up to her full height._

KERCHIVAL. Gertrude Ellingham! [_Springs across to her, with his arms
extended._] My dear Gertrude!

GERTRUDE. [_Turning her back upon him._] Not "dear Gertrude" to you,
sir!

KERCHIVAL. Not?--Oh! I forgot.

GERTRUDE. [_Coldly._] I am your prisoner.

KERCHIVAL. Yes. [_Drawing up firmly, with a change of manner._] We
will return to the painful realities of war. I am very sorry that
you have placed yourself in a position like this, and, believe me,
Gertrude--[_With growing tenderness._]--I am still more sorry to be in
such a position myself. [_Resting one hand on her arm, and his other
arm about her waist._

GERTRUDE. [_After looking down at his hands._] You don't like the
position? [_He starts back, drawing up with dignity._] Is that the
paramount duty of a military officer?

KERCHIVAL. You will please hand me whatever despatches or other papers
may be in your possession.

GERTRUDE. [_Looking away._] You will _force_ me, I suppose. I am a
woman; you have the power. Order in the guard! A corporal and two
men--you'd better make it a dozen--I am dangerous! Call the whole
regiment to arms! Beat the long roll! I won't give up, if all the
armies of the United States surround me.

_Enter_ GENERAL BUCKTHORN.

KERCHIVAL. General Buckthorn! [_Saluting._

BUCKTHORN. Colonel West.

GERTRUDE. [_Aside._] Jenny's father! [BUCKTHORN _glances at_ GERTRUDE,
_who still stands looking away. He moves down to_ KERCHIVAL.

BUCKTHORN. [_Apart, gruffly._] I was passing with my staff, and I
was informed that you had captured a woman bearing despatches to the
enemy. Is this the one?

KERCHIVAL. Yes, General.

BUCKTHORN. Ah! [_Turning, looks at her._

GERTRUDE. I wonder if he will recognize me. He hasn't seen me since I
was a little girl. [_Turns toward, him._

BUCKTHORN. [_Turning to_ KERCHIVAL; _punches him in the ribs._] Fine
young woman!--[_Turns and bows to her very gallantly, removing his
hat. She bows deeply in return._] A-h-e-m! [_Suddenly pulling himself
up to a stern, military air; then gruffly to_ KERCHIVAL, _extending
his hand._] Let me see the despatches.

KERCHIVAL. She declines positively to give them up.

BUCKTHORN. Oh! Does she? [_Walks thoughtfully; turns._] My dear young
lady! I trust you will give us no further trouble. Kindly let us have
those despatches.

GERTRUDE. [_Looking away._] I have no despatches, and I would not give
them to you if I had.

BUCKTHORN. What! You defy my authority? Colonel West, I command you!
Search the prisoner! [GERTRUDE _turns suddenly towards_ KERCHIVAL,
_facing him defiantly. He looks across at her aghast. A moment's
pause._

KERCHIVAL. General Buckthorn--I decline to obey that order.

BUCKTHORN. You--you decline to obey my order! [_Moves down to him
fiercely._

KERCHIVAL. [_Apart._] General! It is the woman I love.

BUCKTHORN. [_Apart._] Is it? Damn you, sir! I wouldn't have an officer
in my army corps who would obey me, under such circumstances. I'll
have to look for those despatches myself.

KERCHIVAL. [_Facing him, angrily._] If you dare, General Buckthorn!

BUCKTHORN. [_Apart._] Blast your eyes! I'd kick you out of the army if
you'd _let_ me search her; but it's my military duty to swear at you.
[_To_ GERTRUDE.] Colonel West has sacrificed his life to protect you.

GERTRUDE. His life!

BUCKTHORN. I shall have him shot for insubordination to his commander,
immediately. [_Gives_ KERCHIVAL _a huge wink, and turns._

GERTRUDE. Oh, sir! General! I have told you the truth. I have no
despatches. Believe me, sir, I haven't so much as a piece of paper
about me, except--

BUCKTHORN. Except? [_Turning sharply._

GERTRUDE. Only a letter. Here it is. [_Taking letter from the bosom of
her dress._] Upon my soul, it is all I have. Truly it is.

BUCKTHORN. [_Taking letter._] Colonel West, you're reprieved. [_Winks
at_ KERCHIVAL, _who turns away, laughing._ BUCKTHORN _reads letter._]
"Washington"--Ho!--ho! From within our own lines!--"Colonel Kerchival
West--"

KERCHIVAL. Eh?

GERTRUDE. Please, General!--Don't read it aloud.

BUCKTHORN. Very well! I won't.

KERCHIVAL. [_Aside._] I wonder what it has to do with me?

BUCKTHORN. [_Reading. Aside._] "If Kerchival West had heard you say,
as I did--m--m----that you loved him with your whole heart--" [_He
glances up at_ GERTRUDE, _who drops her head coyly._] This is a
very important military document. [_Turns to last page._] "Signed,
Constance Haverill." [_Turns to front page._] "My dear Gertrude!" Is
this Miss Gertrude Ellingham?

GERTRUDE. Yes, General.

BUCKTHORN. I sent my daughter, Jenny, to your house, with an escort,
this morning.

GERTRUDE. She is here.

BUCKTHORN. [_Tapping her under the chin._] You're an arrant little
Rebel, my dear; but I like you immensely. [_Draws up suddenly,
with an_ "Ahem!" _Turns to_ KERCHIVAL.] Colonel West, I leave this
dangerous young woman in your charge. [KERCHIVAL _approaches._] If
she disobeys you in any way, or attempts to escape--read that letter!
[_Giving him the letter._

GERTRUDE. Oh! General!

BUCKTHORN. But not till then.

KERCHIVAL. [_Tenderly, taking her hand_.] My--prisoner!

GERTRUDE. [_Aside_.] I could scratch my own eyes out--or his,
either--rather than have him read that letter.

_Enter_ CORPORAL DUNN, _with_ GUARD _of four soldiers and_ CAPTAIN
EDWARD THORNTON _as a prisoner_.

KERCHIVAL. Edward Thornton!

GERTRUDE. They have taken him also! He has the despatch!

CORPORAL DUNN. The Confederate Officer, Colonel, who was pursued by
our troops at Oak Run, after they captured the young lady.

BUCKTHORN. The little witch has been communicating with the enemy!

KERCHIVAL. [_To_ GERTRUDE.] You will give me your parole of honour
until we next meet?

GERTRUDE. Yes. [_Aside_.] That letter! I _am_ his prisoner. [_She
walks up the steps and looks back at_ THORNTON. _Exit_.

KERCHIVAL. [_To_ BUCKTHORN.] We will probably find the despatches we
have been looking for now, General.

BUCKTHORN. Prisoner! You will hand us what papers you may have.

THORNTON. I will hand you nothing.

BUCKTHORN. Colonel! [KERCHIVAL _motions to_ THORNTON, _who looks at
him sullenly_.

KERCHIVAL. Corporal Dunn!--search the prisoner. [DUNN _steps to_
THORNTON, _taking him by the shoulder and turning him rather roughly_.
THORNTON'S _back to the audience._ DUNN _throws open his coat, takes
paper from his breast, hands it to_ KERCHIVAL, _who gives it to_
BUCKTHORN.] Proceed with the search. [DUNN _continues the search_.
BUCKTHORN _drops upon seat, lights a match, looks at the paper._

BUCKTHORN. [_Reading_.] "General Rosser will rejoin General Early with
all the cavalry in his command, at----" This is important. [_Continues
to read with matches. The_ CORPORAL _hands a packet to_ KERCHIVAL. _He
removes the covering_.

KERCHIVAL. [_Starting_.] A portrait of Mrs. Haverill! [_He touches_
CORPORAL DUNN _on the shoulder quickly and motions him to retire._
DUNN _falls back to the_ GUARD. KERCHIVAL _speaks apart to_ THORNTON,
_who has turned front_.] How did this portrait come into your
possession?

THORNTON. That is my affair, not yours!

BUCKTHORN. Anything else, Colonel?

KERCHIVAL. [_Placing the miniature in his pocket._] Nothing!

THORNTON. [_Apart, over_ KERCHIVAL'S _shoulder._] A time will come,
perhaps, when I can avenge the insult of this search, and also this
scar. [_Pointing to a scar on his face._] Your aim was better than
mine in Charleston, but we shall meet again; give me back that
picture.

KERCHIVAL. Corporal! Take your prisoner!

THORNTON. Ah! [_Viciously springing at_ KERCHIVAL; CORPORAL DUNN
_springs forward, seizes_ THORNTON, _throws him back to the_ GUARD
_and stands with his carbine levelled at_ THORNTON; _looks at_
KERCHIVAL, _who quietly motions him out._ CORPORAL DUNN _gives the
orders to the men and marches out with_ THORNTON.

BUCKTHORN. Ah! [_Still reading with matches._] Colonel! [_Rising._]
The enemy has a new movement on foot, and General Sheridan has left
the army! Listen! [_Reads from despatches with matches._] "Watch for a
signal from Three Top Mountain to-night."

KERCHIVAL. We hope to be able to read that signal ourselves.

BUCKTHORN. Yes, I know. Be on your guard. I will speak with General
Haverill, and then ride over to General Wright's headquarters. Keep us
informed.

KERCHIVAL. I will, General. [_Saluting._ BUCKTHORN _salutes and
exit._] "Watch for a signal from Three Top Mountain to-night."
[_Looking up at mountain._] We shall be helpless to read it unless
Lieutenant Bedloe is successful. I only hope the poor boy is not lying
dead, already, in those dark woods beyond the Ford. [_Looking off;
turns down stage, taking the miniature from his pocket._] How
came Edward Thornton to have this portrait of Mrs. Haverill in his
possession? [GERTRUDE _runs in on veranda._

GERTRUDE. Oh, Colonel West! He's here! [_Looks back._] They are coming
this way with him.

KERCHIVAL. Him! Who?

GERTRUDE. Jack.

KERCHIVAL. Jack!

GERTRUDE. My own horse!

KERCHIVAL. Ah, I remember! He and I were acquainted in Charleston.

GERTRUDE. Two troopers are passing through the camp with him.

KERCHIVAL. He is not in your possession?

GERTRUDE. He was captured at the battle of Fair Oaks, but I recognized
him the moment I saw him; and I am sure he knew me, too, when I
went up to him. He whinnied and looked so happy. You are in command
here--[_Running down._]--you will compel them to give him up to me?

KERCHIVAL. If he is in my command, your pet shall be returned to you.
I'll give one of my own horses to the Government as a substitute, if
necessary.

GERTRUDE. Oh, thank you, my dear Kerchival! [_Going to him; he takes
her hand, looking into her eyes._] I--I could almost--

KERCHIVAL. Can you almost confess, at last, Gertrude, that you--love
me? [_Tenderly; she draws back, hanging her head, but leaving her hand
in his._] Have I been wrong? I felt that that confession was hovering
on your tongue when we were separated in Charleston. Have I seen that
confession in your eyes since we met again to-day--even among the
angry flashes which they have shot out at me? During all this terrible
war--in the camp and the trench--in the battle--I have dreamed of a
meeting like this. You are still silent? [_Her hand is still in his.
She is looking down. A smile steals over her face, and she raises her
eyes to his, taking his hand in both her own._

GERTRUDE. Kerchival! I--[_Enter_ BENSON. _She looks around over her
shoulder._ KERCHIVAL _looks up stage. A_ TROOPER, _leading the large
black horse of Act I, now caparisoned in military saddle, bridle, &c.,
follows_ BENSON _across; another_ TROOPER _follows._] Jack! [_She runs
up stage, meeting horse._ KERCHIVAL _turns._

KERCHIVAL. Confound Jack! That infernal horse was always in my way!

GERTRUDE. [_With her arm about her horse's neck._] My darling old
fellow! Is he not beautiful, Kerchival? They have taken good care of
him. How soft his coat is!

KERCHIVAL. Benson, explain this!

BENSON. I was instructed to show this horse and his leader through the
lines, sir.

KERCHIVAL. What are your orders, my man? [_Moving up, the_ TROOPER
_hands him a paper. He moves a few steps down, reading it._

GERTRUDE. You are to be mine again, Jack, mine! [_Resting her cheek
against the horse's head and patting it._] The Colonel has promised it
to me.

KERCHIVAL. Ah! [_With a start, as he reads the paper._ GERTRUDE
_raises her head and looks at him._] This is General Sheridan's horse,
on his way to Winchester, for the use of the General when he returns
from Washington.

GERTRUDE. General Sheridan's horse? He is mine!

KERCHIVAL. I have no authority to detain him. He must go on.

GERTRUDE. I have hold of Jack's bridle, and you may order your men to
take out their sabres and cut my hand off.

KERCHIVAL. [_Approaches her and gently takes her hand as it holds
the bridle._] I would rather have my own hand cut off, Gertrude,
than bring tears to your eyes, but there is no alternative! [GERTRUDE
_releases the bridle and turns front, brushing her eyes, her hand
still held in his, his back to the audience. He returns order, and
motions_ TROOPERS _out; they move out with horse._ GERTRUDE _starts
after the horse;_ KERCHIVAL _turns quickly to check her._] You
forget--that--you are my prisoner.

GERTRUDE. I _will_ go!

KERCHIVAL. General Buckthorn left me special instructions--[_Taking
out wallet and letter._]--in case you declined to obey my orders--

GERTRUDE. Oh, Colonel! Please don't read that letter. [_She stands
near him, dropping her head. He glances up at her from the letter. She
glances up at him and drops her eyes again._] I will obey you.

KERCHIVAL. [_Aside._] What the deuce can there be in that letter?

GERTRUDE. Colonel West! Your men made me a prisoner this afternoon;
to-night you have robbed me, by your own orders, of--of--Jack is only
a pet, but I love him; and my brother is also a captive in your hands.
When we separated in Charleston you said that we were enemies. What is
there lacking to make those words true to-day? You _are_ my enemy!
A few moments ago you asked me to make a confession to you. You
can judge for yourself whether it is likely to be a confession
of--love--or of hatred!

KERCHIVAL. Hatred!

GERTRUDE. [_Facing him._] Listen to my confession, sir! From the
bottom of my heart--

KERCHIVAL. Stop!

GERTRUDE. I will not stop!

KERCHIVAL. I command you.

GERTRUDE. Indeed! [_He throws open the wallet in his hand and raises
the letter._] Ah! [_She turns away; turns again, as if to speak. He
half opens the letter. She stamps her foot and walks up steps of the
veranda. Here she turns again._] I tell you, I--[_He opens the letter.
She turns, and exits with spiteful step._

KERCHIVAL. I wonder if that document orders me to cut her head off!
[_Returning it to wallet and pocket._] Was ever lover in such a
position? I am obliged to cross the woman I love at every step.

_Enter_ CORPORAL DUNN, _very hurriedly._

CORPORAL DUNN. A message from Adjutant Rollins, sir! The prisoner,
Captain Thornton, dashed away from the special guard which was placed
over him, and he has escaped. He had a knife concealed, and two of the
guard are badly wounded. Adjutant Rollins thinks the prisoner is still
within the lines of the camp--in one of the houses or the stables.

KERCHIVAL. Tell Major Wilson to place the remainder of the guard under
arrest, and to take every possible means to recapture the prisoner.
[CORPORAL DUNN _salutes, and exits._] So! Thornton has jumped his
guard, and he is armed. I wonder if he is trying to get away, or to
find me. From what I know of the man, he doesn't much care which he
succeeds in doing. That scar which I gave him in Charleston is deeper
in his heart than it is in his face. [_A signal light suddenly appears
on Three Top Mountain. The "Call."_] Ah!--the enemy's signal! [_Enter_
CAPTAIN LOCKWOOD, _followed by_ LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS.] Captain
Lockwood! You are here! Are your Signalmen with you?

LOCKWOOD. Yes, Colonel; and one of my Lieutenants.

[_The_ LIEUTENANT _is looking up at signal with glass._ CAPTAIN
LOCKWOOD _does the same._ HAVERILL _enters, followed by two_ STAFF
OFFICERS.

HAVERILL. [_As he enters._] Can you make anything of it, Captain?

LOCKWOOD. Nothing, General! Our services are quite useless unless
Lieutenant Bedloe returns with the key to their signals.

HAVERILL. A--h! [_Coming down stage._] We shall fail. It is time he
had returned, if successful.

SENTINEL. [_Without._] Halt! Who goes there? [KERCHIVAL _runs
up stage, and half way up incline, looking off._] Halt! [_A shot
without._

BARKET. [_Without._] Och!--Ye murtherin spalpeen!

KERCHIVAL. Sentinel! Let him pass; it is Sergeant Barket.

SENTINEL. [_Without._] Pass on.

KERCHIVAL. He didn't give the countersign. News from Lieutenant
Bedloe, General!

BARKET. [_Hurrying in, up slope._] Colonel Wist, our brave byes wiped
out the enemy, and here's the papers.

KERCHIVAL. [_Taking papers.--Then to_ LOCKWOOD.] Is that the key?

LOCKWOOD. Yes. Lieutenant! [LIEUTENANT _hurries up to elevation,
looking through his glass._ LOCKWOOD _opens book._

HAVERILL. What of Lieutenant Bedloe, Sergeant?

BARKET. Sayreously wounded, and in the hands of the inimy!

HAVERILL. [_Sighing._] A--h.

BARKET. [_Coming down stone steps._] It is reported that Captain
Heartsease was shot dead at his side.

KERCHIVAL. Heartsease dead!

LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS. [_Reading signals._]
Twelve--Twenty-two--Eleven.

BARKET. Begorra! I forgot the Sintinil entirely, but he didn't forget
me. [_Holding his left arm._

HAVERILL. Colonel West! We must make every possible sacrifice for the
immediate exchange of Lieutenant Bedloe, if he is still living. It is
due to him. Colonel Robert Ellingham is a prisoner in this camp; offer
him his own exchange for young Bedloe.

KERCHIVAL. He will accept, of course. I will ride to the front with
him myself, General, and show him through the lines.

HAVERILL. At once! [KERCHIVAL _crosses front and exit on veranda._
HAVERILL _crosses._] Can you follow the despatch, Captain?

LOCKWOOD. Perfectly; everything is here

HAVERILL. Well!

LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS. Eleven--Twenty-two--One--Twelve.

LOCKWOOD. [_From book._] "General Longstreet is coming with--"

HAVERILL. Longstreet!

LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS. One--Twenty-one.

LOCKWOOD. "With eighteen thousand men."

LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS. Two--Eleven--Twenty-two.

LOCKWOOD. "Sheridan is away!"

HAVERILL. They have discovered his absence!

LIEUTENANT OF SIGNAL CORPS. Two--Twenty-two--Eleven--One--Twelve--One.

LOCKWOOD. "We will crush the Union Army before he can return."

HAVERILL. Signal that despatch from here to our Station at Front
Royal. [_Pointing._] Tell them to send it after General Sheridan--and
ride for their lives. [LOCKWOOD _hurries out._] Major Burton! We will
ride to General Wright's headquarters at once--our horses! [_Noise of
a struggle without._

BARKET. [_Looking._] What the devil is the row out there? [_Exit. Also
one of the_ STAFF OFFICERS.

HAVERILL. [_Looking off._] What is this? Colonel West wounded!

_Enter_ KERCHIVAL WEST, _his coat thrown open, with_ ELLINGHAM, BARKET
_assisting._

ELLINGHAM. Steady, Kerchival, old boy! You should have let us carry
you.

KERCHIVAL. Nonsense, old fellow! It's a mere touch with the point of
the knife. I--I'm faint--with the loss of a little blood--that's all.
Bob!--I--[_Reels suddenly and is caught by_ ELLINGHAM _as he sinks to
the ground, insensible._

ELLINGHAM. Kerchival! [_Kneeling at his side._

HAVERILL. Go for the surgeon! [_To_ STAFF OFFICER, _who goes out
quickly on veranda._] How did this happen? [_Enter_ CORPORAL DUNN
_and_ GUARD, _with_ THORNTON. _He is in his shirt sleeves and
disheveled, his arms folded. They march down._] Captain Thornton!

ELLINGHAM. We were leaving the house together; a hunted animal
sprang suddenly across our path, like a panther. [_Looking over his
shoulder._] There it stands. Kerchival!--my brother!

CORPORAL DUNN. We had just brought this prisoner to bay, but I'm
afraid we were too late.

HAVERILL. This is assassination, sir, not war. If you have killed
him--

THORNTON. Do what you like with me; we need waste no words. I had an
old account to settle, and I have paid my debt.

ELLINGHAM. General Haverill! I took these from his breast when he
first fell. [_Handing up wallet and miniature to_ HAVERILL. HAVERILL
_starts as he looks at the miniature._ THORNTON _watches him._

HAVERILL. [_Aside._] My wife's portrait!

THORNTON. If I have killed him--your honour will be buried in the same
grave.

HAVERILL. Her picture on his breast! She gave it to him--not to
my son! [_Dropping into seat._ CAPTAIN LOCKWOOD _enters with a_
SIGNALMAN, _who has a burning torch on a long pole; he hurries up
the elevation._ CAPTAIN LOCKWOOD _stands below, facing him. Almost
simultaneously with the entrance of the_ SIGNALMAN, GERTRUDE _runs in
on veranda._

GERTRUDE. They are calling for a surgeon! Who is it? Brother!--you are
safe,--ah! [_Uttering a scream, as she sees_ KERCHIVAL, _and falling
on her knees at his side._] Kerchival! Forget those last bitter words
I said to you. Can't you hear my confession? I do love you. Can't you
hear me? I love you! [_The_ SIGNALMAN _is swinging the torch as the
curtain descends,_ LOCKWOOD _looking right._

CURTAIN.

ACT III.

SCENE. _Same. It is now bright daylight, with sunshine flecking the
foreground and bathing the distant valley and mountains._

DISCOVERED. JENNY, _on low stone post, looking left. As the curtain
rises, she imitates Trumpet Signal No._ 19 _on her closed fists._

JENNY. What a magnificent line! [_Looking._] Guides-posts! Every man
and every horse is eager for the next command. There comes the flag!
[_Trumpet Signal without, No._ 30.] To the standard! [_As the signal
begins._] The regiment is going to the front. Oh! I do wish I could
go with it. I always do, the moment I hear the trumpets. Boots and
saddles! [_Imitates No._ 16.] Mount! [_Imitates No._ 37.] I wish I was
in command of the regiment. It was born in me. [_Trumpet Signal No._
48, _without._] Fours right! There they go! Look at those horses'
ears! [_Trumpet Signal No._ 39, _without._] Forward. [_Military band
heard without--"The Battle Cry of Freedom"_ JENNY _takes attitude of
holding bridle and trotting._] Rappity--plap--plap--plap, etc. [_She
imitates the motions of a soldier on horseback, stepping down to rock
at side of post; thence to ground and about stage, with the various
curvettings of a spirited horse. Chorus of soldiers without, with the
band. The music becomes more and more distant._ JENNY _gradually stops
as the music is dying away, and stands, listening. As it dies entirely
away, she suddenly starts to an enthusiastic attitude._] Ah! If I were
only a man! The enemy! On Third Battalion, left, front, into line,
march! Draw sabres! Charge! [_Imitates Trumpet Signal No._ 44. _As
she finishes, she rises to her full height, with both arms raised,
and trembling with enthusiasm._] Ah! [_She suddenly drops her arms and
changes to an attitude and expression of disappointment--pouting._]
And the first time Old Margery took me to papa, in her arms, she had
to tell him I was a girl. Papa was as much disgusted as I was. But
he'd never admit it; he says I'm as good a soldier as any of 'em--just
as I am.

_Enter_ BARKET _on veranda, his arm in a sling._

BARKET. [_On veranda_] Miss Jenny!

JENNY. Barket! The regiment has marched away to the front, and we
girls are left here, with just you and a corporal's guard to look
after us.

BARKET. I've been watching the byes mesilf. [_Coming down._] If a
little milithary sugar-plum like you, Miss Jenny, objects to not goin'
wid' 'em, what do you think of an ould piece of hard tack like me? I
can't join the regiment till I've taken you and Miss Madeline back to
Winchester, by your father's orders. But it isn't the first time I've
escorted you, Miss Jenny. Many a time, when you was a baby, on the
Plains, I commanded a special guard to accompany ye's from one fort to
anither, and we gave the command in a whisper, so as not to wake ye's
up.

JENNY. I told you to tell papa that I'd let him know when Madeline and
I were ready to go.

BARKET. I tould him that I'd as soon move a train of army mules.

JENNY. I suppose we must start for home again to-day?

BARKET. Yes, Miss Jenny, in charge of an ould Sargeant wid his arm in
a sling and a couple of convalescent throopers. This department of the
United States Army will move to the rear in half an hour.

JENNY. Madeline and I only came yesterday morning.

BARKET. Whin your father got ye's a pass to the front, we all thought
the fightin' in the Shenandoey Valley was over. It looks now as if
it was just beginning. This is no place for women, now. Miss Gertrude
Ellingham ought to go wid us, but she won't.

JENNY. Barket! Captain Heartsease left the regiment yesterday, and
he hasn't rejoined it; he isn't with them, now, at the head of his
company. Where is he?

BARKET. I can't say where he is, Miss Jenny. [_Aside._] Lyin' unburied
in the woods, where he was shot, I'm afraid.

JENNY. When Captain Heartsease does rejoin the regiment, Barket,
please say to him for me, that--that I--I may have some orders for
him, when we next meet. [_Exit on veranda._

BARKET. Whin they nixt mate. They tell us there is no such thing as
marriage in Hiven. If Miss Jenny and Captain Heartsease mate there,
they'll invint somethin' that's mighty like it. While I was lyin'
wounded in General Buckthorn's house at Washington, last summer, and
ould Margery was taking care of me, Margery tould me, confidentially,
that they was in love wid aitch ither; and I think she was about
right. I've often seen Captain Heartsease take a sly look at a little
lace handkerchief, just before we wint into battle. [_Looks off._]
Here's General Buckthorn himself. He and I must make it as aisy as we
can for Miss Jenny's poor heart.

_Enter_ GENERAL BUCKTHORN.

BUCKTHORN. Sergeant Barket! You haven't started with those girls yet?

BARKET. They're to go in half an hour, sir.

BUCKTHORN. Be sure they do go. Is General Haverill here?

BARKET. Yes, sir; in the house with some of his staff, and the
Surgeon.

BUCKTHORN. Ah! The Surgeon. How is Colonel West, this morning, after
the wound he received last night?

BARKET. He says, himself, that he's as well as iver he was; but the
Colonel and Surgeon don't agray on that subject. The dochter says he
mustn't lave his room for a month. The knife wint dape; and there's
somethin' wrong inside of him. But the Colonel, bein' on the outside
himsilf, can't see it. He's as cross as a bear, baycause they wouldn't
let him go to the front this morning, at the head of his regiment. I
happened to raymark that the Chaplain was prayin' for his raycovery.
The Colonel said he'd court-martial him if he didn't stop that--quick;
there's more important things for the Chaplain to pray for in his
official capacity. Just at that moment the trumpets sounded, "Boots
and Saddles." I had to dodge one of his boots, and the Surgeon had a
narrow escape from the ither one. It was lucky for us both his saddle
wasn't in the room.

BUCKTHORN. That looks encouraging. I think Kerchival will get on.

BARKET. Might I say a word to you, sur, about Miss Jenny?

BUCKTHORN. Certainly, Barket. You and old Margery and myself have been
a sort of triangular mother, so to speak, to the little girl--since
her own poor mother left her to our care, when she was only a baby,
in the old fort on the Plains. [_At his side and unconsciously resting
his arm over_ BARKET'S _shoulder, familiarly. Suddenly draws up._]
Ahem! [_Then gruffly._] What is it? Proceed.

BARKET. Her mother's bosom would have been the softest place for her
poor little head to rest upon, now, sur.

BUCKTHORN. [_Touching his eyes._] Well!

BARKET. Ould Margery tould me in Washington that Miss Jenny and
Captain Heartsease were in love wid aitch ither.

BUCKTHORN. [_Starting._] In love!

BARKET. I approved of the match.

BUCKTHORN. What the devil! [BARKET _salutes quickly and starts up
stage and out._ BUCKTHORN _moves up after him; stops at post._ BARKET
_stops in road._

BARKET. So did ould Margery.

BUCKTHORN. March! [_Angrily._ BARKET _salutes suddenly, and exits._]
Heartsease! That young jackanapes! A mere fop; he'll never make a
soldier. My girl in love with--bah! I don't believe it; she's too good
a soldier, herself.

[_Enter_ HAVERILL, _on veranda._]

Ah, Haverill!

HAVERILL. General Buckthorn! Have you heard anything of General
Sheridan since I sent that despatch to him last evening?

BUCKTHORN. He received it at midnight and sent back word that he
considers it a ruse of the enemy. General Wright agrees with him. The
reconnaissance yesterday showed no hostile force, on our right, and
Crook reports that Early is retreating up the Valley. But General
Sheridan may, perhaps, give up his journey to Washington, and he has
ordered some changes in our line, to be executed this afternoon at
four o'clock. I rode over to give you your instructions in person. You
may order General McCuen to go into camp on the right of Meadow Brook,
with the second division. [HAVERILL _is writing in his note-book._

_Enter_ JENNY, _on veranda._

JENNY. Oh, papa! I'm so glad you've come. I've got something to say to
you. [_Running down and jumping into his arms, kissing him. He turns
with her, and sets her down, squarely on her feet and straight before
him._

BUCKTHORN. And I've got something to say to you--about Captain
Heartsease.

JENNY. Oh! That's just what I wanted to talk about.

BUCKTHORN. Fall in! Front face! [_She jumps into military position,
turning towards him._] What's this I hear from Sergeant Barket? He
says you've been falling in love.

JENNY. I have. [_Saluting._

BUCKTHORN. Young woman! Listen to my orders. Fallout! [_Turns sharply
and marches to_ HAVERILL.] Order the Third Brigade of Cavalry, under
Colonel Lowell, to occupy the left of the pike.

JENNY. Papa! [_Running to him and seizing the tail of his coat._]
Papa, dear!

BUCKTHORN. Close in Colonel Powell on the extreme left--[_Slapping his
coat-tails out of_ JENNY'S _hands, without looking around._]--and hold
Custer on the second line, at Old Forge Road. That is all at present.
[_Turns to_ JENNY.] Good-bye, my darling! [_Kisses her._] Remember
your orders! You little pet! [_Chuckling, as he taps her chin; draws
up suddenly; turns to_ HAVERILL.] General! I bid you good-day.

HAVERILL. Good-day, General Buckthorn. [_They salute with great
dignity._ BUCKTHORN _starts up stage;_ JENNY _springs after him,
seizing his coat-tails._

JENNY. But I want to talk with you, papa; I can't fall out. I--I
haven't finished yet. [_Etc., clinging to his coat, as_ BUCKTHORN
_marches out rapidly, in road,--holding back with all her might._

HAVERILL. It may have been a ruse of the enemy, but I hope that
General Sheridan has turned back from Washington. [_Looking at his
note-book._] We are to make changes in our line at four o'clock this
afternoon. [_Returns book to pocket and stands in thought._] The
Surgeon tells me that Kerchival West will get on well enough if he
remains quiet; otherwise not. He shall not die by the hand of a
common assassin; he has no right to die like that. My wife gave my own
picture of herself to him--not to my son--and she looked so like an
angel when she took it from my hand! They were both false to me, and
they have been true to each other. I will save his life for myself.

_Enter_ GERTRUDE, _on veranda._

GERTRUDE. General Haverill! [_Anxiously, coming down._] Colonel West
persists in disobeying the injunctions of the Surgeon. He is preparing
to join his regiment at the front. Give him your orders to remain
here. Compel him to be prudent!

HAVERILL. [_Quickly._] The honour of death at the front is not in
reserve for him.

GERTRUDE. Eh? What did you say, General?

HAVERILL. Gertrude! I wish to speak to you, as your father's old
friend; and I was once your guardian. Your father was my senior
officer in the Mexican War. Without his care I should have been left
dead in a foreign land. He, himself, afterwards fell fighting for the
old flag.

GERTRUDE. The old flag. [_Aside._] My father died for it, and
he--[_Looking left._]--is suffering for it--the old flag!

HAVERILL. I can now return the kindness your father did to me, by
protecting his daughter from something that may be worse than death.

GERTRUDE. What do you mean?

HAVERILL. Last night I saw you kneeling at the side of Kerchival West;
you spoke to him with all the tender passion of a Southern woman. You
said you loved him. But you spoke into ears that could not hear you.
Has he ever heard those words from your lips? Have you ever confessed
your love to him before?

GERTRUDE. Never. Why do you ask?

HAVERILL. Do not repeat those words. Keep your heart to yourself, my
girl.

GERTRUDE. General! Why do you say this to me? And at such a
moment--when his life--

HAVERILL. His life! [_Turning sharply._] It belongs to me!

GERTRUDE. Oh!

KERCHIVAL. Sergeant! [_Without. He steps in front road, looking
back._] See that my horse is ready at once. General! [_Saluting._] Are
there any orders for my regiment, beyond those given to Major Wilson,
in my absence, this morning? I am about to ride on after the troops
and re-assume my command.

HAVERILL. [_Quietly._] It is my wish, Colonel, that you remain here
under the care of the Surgeon.

KERCHIVAL. My wound is a mere trifle. This may be a critical moment in
the campaign, and I cannot rest here. I must be with my own men.

HAVERILL. [_Quietly._] I beg to repeat the wish I have already
expressed. [KERCHIVAL _walks to him, and speaks apart, almost under
his breath, but very earnest in tone._

KERCHIVAL. I have had no opportunity, yet, to explain certain matters,
as you requested me to do yesterday; but whatever there may be
between us, you are now interfering with my duty and my privilege as a
soldier; and it is my right to be at the head of my regiment.

HAVERILL. [_Quietly._] It is my positive order that you do not
reassume your command.

KERCHIVAL. General Haverill, I protest against this--

HAVERILL. [_Quietly._] You are under arrest, sir.

KERCHIVAL. Arrest!

GERTRUDE. Ah! [KERCHIVAL _unclasps his belt and offers his sword to_
HAVERILL.

HAVERILL. [_Quietly._] Keep your sword; I have no desire to humiliate
you; but hold yourself subject to further orders from me. [KERCHIVAL
_goes up veranda._

KERCHIVAL. My regiment at the front!--and I under arrest! [_Exit._

HAVERILL. Gertrude! If your heart refuses to be silent--if you feel
that you must confess your love to that man--first tell him what I
have said to you, and refer him to me for an explanation. [_Exit into
road._

GERTRUDE. What can he mean? He would save me from something worse
than death, he said. "His life--it belongs to me!" What can he mean?
Kerchival told me that he loved me--it seems many years since that
morning in Charleston--and when we met again, yesterday, he said that
he had never ceased to love me. I will not believe that he has told
me a falsehood. I have given him my love, my whole soul and my faith.
[_Drawing up to her full height._] My perfect faith!

JENNY _runs in from road, and up the slope. She looks down the hill,
then enters._

JENNY. A flag of truce, Gertrude. And a party of Confederate soldiers,
with an escort, coming up the hill. They are carrying someone; he is
wounded.

_Enter up the slope, a_ LIEUTENANT OF INFANTRY _with an escort
of Union soldiers, their arms at right shoulder, and a party of
Confederate soldiers bearing a rustic stretcher._ LIEUTENANT FRANK
BEDLOE _lies on the stretcher._ MAJOR HARDWICK, _a Confederate
Surgeon, walks at his side._ MADELINE _appears at veranda, watching
them._ GERTRUDE _stands with her back to audience. The_ LIEUTENANT
_gives orders in a low tone, and the front escort moves to right, in
road. The Confederate bearers and the_ SURGEON _pass through the gate.
The rear escort moves to left, in road, under_ LIEUTENANT'S _orders.
The bearers halt, front; on a sign from the_ SURGEON, _they leave the
stretcher on the ground, stepping back._

MAJOR HARDWICK. Is General Haverill here?

GERTRUDE. Yes; what can we do, sir?

MADELINE. The General is just about mounting with his staff, to ride
away. Shall I go for him, sir?

MAJOR. Say to him, please, that Colonel Robert Ellingham, of the Tenth
Virginia, sends his respects and sympathy. He instructed me to bring
this young officer to this point, in exchange for himself, as agreed
upon between them last evening. [_Exit_ MADELINE.

JENNY. Is he unconscious or sleeping, sir?

MAJOR. Hovering between life and death. I thought he would bear the
removal better. He is waking. Here, my lad! [_Placing his canteen to
the lips of_ FRANK, _who moves, reviving._] We have reached the end of
our journey.

FRANK. My father!

MAJOR. He is thinking of his home. [FRANK _rises on one arm, assisted
by the_ SURGEON.

FRANK. I have obeyed General Haverill's orders, and I have a report to
make.

GERTRUDE. We have already sent for him. [_Stepping to him._] He will
be here in a moment.

FRANK. [_Looking into her face, brightly._] Is not
this--Miss--Gertrude Ellingham?

GERTRUDE. You know me? You have seen me before?

FRANK. Long ago! Long ago! You know the wife of General Haverill?

GERTRUDE. I have no dearer friend in the world.

FRANK. She will give a message for me to the dearest friend _I_ have
in the world. My little wife! I must not waste even the moment we are
waiting. Doctor! My note-book! [_Trying to get it from his coat. The_
SURGEON _takes it out. A torn and blood-stained lace handkerchief also
falls out._ GERTRUDE _kneels at his side._] Ah! I--I--have a message
from another--[_Holding up handkerchief._]--from Captain Heartsease.
[JENNY _makes a quick start towards him._] He lay at my side in the
hospital, when they brought me away; he had only strength enough to
put this in my hand, and he spoke a woman's name; but I--I--forgot
what it is. The red spots upon it are the only message he sent.
[GERTRUDE _takes the handkerchief and looks back at_ JENNY, _extending
her hand._ JENNY _moves to her, takes the handkerchief and turns back,
looking down on it. She drops her face into her hands and goes out
sobbing._

_Enter_ MADELINE _on veranda._

MADELINE. General Haverill is coming. I was just in time. He was
already on his horse.

FRANK. Ah! He is coming. [_Then suddenly._] Write! Write! [GERTRUDE
_writes in the note-book as he dictates._] "To--my wife--Edith:--Tell
our little son, when he is old enough to know--how his father died;
not how he lived. And tell her who filled my own mother's place so
lovingly--she is your mother, too--that my father's portrait of her,
which she gave to me in Charleston, helped me to be a better man!"
And--oh! I must not forget this--"It was taken away from me while I
was a prisoner in Richmond, and it is in the possession of Captain
Henry Thornton, of the Confederate Secret Service. But her face is
still beside your own in my heart. My best--warmest, last--love--to
you, darling." I will sign it. [GERTRUDE _holds the book, and he signs
it, then sinks back very quietly, supported by the_ SURGEON. GERTRUDE
_rises and walks right._

MADELINE. General Haverill is here. [_The_ SURGEON _lays the fold of
the blanket over_ FRANK'S _face and rises._

GERTRUDE. Doctor!

MAJOR. He is dead. [MADELINE, _on veranda, turns and looks left. The_
LIEUTENANT _orders the guard,_ "Present Arms". _Enter_ HAVERILL, _on
veranda. He salutes the guard as he passes. The_ LIEUTENANT _orders,_
"Carry Arms." HAVERILL _comes down._

HAVERILL. I am too late?

MAJOR. I'm sorry, General. His one eager thought as we came was to
reach here in time to see you. [HAVERILL _moves to the bier, looks
down at it, then folds back the blanket from the face. He starts
slightly as he first sees it._

HAVERILL. Brave boy! I hoped once to have a son like you. I shall
be in your father's place, to-day, at your grave. [_He replaces the
blanket and steps back._] We will carry him to his comrades in the
front. He shall have a soldier's burial, in sight of the mountain-top
beneath which he sacrificed his young life; that shall be his
monument.

MAJOR. Pardon me, General. We Virginians are your enemies, but you
cannot honour this young soldier more than we do. Will you allow my
men the privilege of carrying him to his grave? [HAVERILL _inclines
his head. The_ SURGEON _motions to the Confederate soldiers, who step
to the bier and raise it gently._

HAVERILL. Lieutenant! [_The_ LIEUTENANT _orders the guard,_ "Left
Face." _The Confederate bearers move through the gate, preceded by_
LIEUTENANT HARDWICK. HAVERILL _draws his sword, reverses it, and moves
up behind the bier with bowed head. The_ LIEUTENANT _orders_ "Forward
March," _and the cortege disappears. While the girls are still
watching it, the heavy sound of distant artillery is heard, with
booming reverberations among the hills and in the Valley._

MADELINE. What is that sound, Gertrude?

GERTRUDE. Listen! [_Another and more prolonged distant sound, with
long reverberations._

MADELINE. Again! Gertrude! [GERTRUDE _raises her hand to command
silence; listens. Distant cannon again._

GERTRUDE. It is the opening of a battle.

MADELINE. Ah! [_Running down stage. The sounds again. Prolonged
rumble._

GERTRUDE. How often have I heard that sound. [_Coming down._] This is
war, Madeline! You are face to face with it now.

MADELINE. And Robert is there! He may be in the thickest of the
danger--at this very moment.

GERTRUDE. Yes. Let our prayers go up for him; mine do, with all a
sister's heart. [KERCHIVAL _enters on veranda, without coat or vest,
his sash about his waist, looking back as he comes in._] Kerchival!

KERCHIVAL. Go on! Go on! Keep the battle to yourselves. I'm out of it.
[_The distant cannon and reverberations rising in volume. Prolonged
and distant rumble._

MADELINE. I pray for Robert Ellingham--and for the _cause_ in which he
risks his life! [KERCHIVAL _looks at her, suddenly; also_ GERTRUDE.]
Heaven forgive me if I am wrong, but I am praying for the enemies
of my country. His people are my people, his enemies are my enemies.
Heaven defend him and his, in this awful hour.

KERCHIVAL. Madeline! My sister!

MADELINE. Oh, Kerchival! [_Turning and dropping her face on his
breast._] I cannot help it--I cannot help it!

KERCHIVAL. My poor girl! Every woman's heart, the world over, belongs
not to any country or any flag, but to her husband--and her lover.
Pray for the man you love, sister--it would be treason not to.
[_Passes her before him to left. Looks across to_ GERTRUDE.] Am I
right? [GERTRUDE _drops her head._ MADELINE _moves up veranda and
out._] Is what I have said to Madeline true?

GERTRUDE. Yes! [_Looks up._] Kerchival!

KERCHIVAL. Gertrude! [_Hurries across to her, clasps her in his arms.
He suddenly staggers and brings his hand to his breast._

GERTRUDE. Your wound! [_Supporting him as he reels and sinks into
seat._

KERCHIVAL. Wound! I have no wound! You do love me! [_Seizing her
hand._

GERTRUDE. Let me call the Surgeon, Kerchival.

KERCHIVAL. You can be of more service to me than he can. [_Detaining
her. Very heavy sounds of the battle; she starts, listening._] Never
mind that! It's only a battle. You love me!

GERTRUDE. Be quiet, Kerchival, dear. I do love you. I told you so,
when you lay bleeding here, last night. But you could not hear me.
[_At his side, resting her arm about him, stroking his head._] I said
that same thing--to--to--another, more than three years ago. It is
in that letter that General Buckthorn gave you. [KERCHIVAL _starts._]
No--no--you must be very quiet, or I will not say another word. If you
obey me, I will repeat that part of the letter, every word; I know
it by heart, for I read it a dozen times. The letter is from Mrs.
Haverill.

KERCHIVAL. [_Quietly._] Go on.

GERTRUDE. "I have kept your secret, my darling, but I was sorely
tempted to betray the confidence you reposed in me at Charleston.
If Kerchival West--[_She retires backward from him as she
proceeds._]--had heard you say, as I did, when your face was hidden in
my bosom, that night, that you loved him with your whole heart--"

KERCHIVAL. Ah! [_Starting to his feet. He sinks back. She springs to
support him._

GERTRUDE. I will go for help.

KERCHIVAL. Do not leave me at such a moment as this. You have brought
me a new life. [_Bringing her to her knees before him and looking down
at her._] Heaven is just opening before me. [_His hands drops suddenly
and his head falls back. Battle._

GERTRUDE. Ah! Kerchival! You are dying! [_Musketry. A sudden sharp
burst of musketry, mingled with the roar of artillery near by._
KERCHIVAL _starts, seizing_ GERTRUDE'S _arm and holding her away,
still on her knees. He looks eagerly._

KERCHIVAL. The enemy is close upon us!

BARKET _runs in, up the slope._

BARKET. Colonel Wist! The devils have sprung out of the ground.
They're pouring over our lift flank like Noah's own flood. The Union
Army has started back for Winchester, on its way to the North Pole;
our own regiment, Colonel, is coming over the hill in full retrate.

KERCHIVAL. My own regiment! [_Starting up._] Get my horse, Barket.
[_Turns._] Gertrude, my life! [_Embraces_ GERTRUDE.

BARKET. Your horse, is it? I'm wid ye! There's a row at Finnegan's
ball, and we're in it. [_Springs to road, and out._

KERCHIVAL. [_Turns away. Stops._] I am under arrest. [_Retreat.
Fugitives begin to straggle across stage._

GERTRUDE. You must not go, Kerchival; it will kill you.

KERCHIVAL. Arrest be damned! [_Starts up stage, raises his arms above
his head with clenched fist, rising to full height._] Stand out of my
way, you cowards! [_They cower away from him as he rushes out among
them. The stream of fugitives passing across stage swells in volume._
GERTRUDE _runs through them and up to the elevation, turning._

GERTRUDE. Men! Are you soldiers? Turn back! There is a leader for you!
Turn back! Fight for your flag--and mine!--the flag my father died
for! Turn back! [_She looks out and turns front._] He has been marked
for death already, and I--I can only pray. [_Dropping to her knees._

_The stream of fugitives continues, now over the elevation also. Rough
and torn uniforms, bandaged arms and legs; some limping and supported
by others, some dragging their muskets after them, others without
muskets, others using them as crutches. Variety of uniforms, cavalry,
infantry, etc.; flags draggled on the ground, the rattle of near
musketry and roar of cannon continue; two or three wounded fugitives
drop down beside the hedge._ BENSON _staggers in and drops upon rock
or stump near post. Artillerists, rough, torn and wounded, drag and
force a field-piece across._ CORPORAL DUNN, _wounded, staggers to the
top of elevation. There is a lull in the sounds of the battle. Distant
cheers are heard without._

CORPORAL DUNN. Listen, fellows! Stop! Listen! Sheridan! General
Sheridan is coming! [_Cheers from those on stage._ GERTRUDE _rises
quickly. The wounded soldiers rise, looking over hedge. All on stage
stop, looking eagerly. The cheers without come nearer, with shouts of_
"Sheridan! Sheridan!"] The horse is down; he is worn out.

GERTRUDE. No! He is up again! He is on my Jack! Now, for your life,
Jack, and for me! You've never failed me yet. [_The cheers without now
swell to full volume and are taken up by those on the stage. The horse
sweeps by with_ GENERAL SHERIDAN.] Jack! Jack!! Jack!!! [_Waving her
arms as he passes. She throws up her arms and falls backward, caught
by_ DUNN. _The stream of men is reversed and surges across stage
to road and on elevation, with shouts, throwing up hats, etc. The
field-piece is forced up the slope with a few bold, rough movements;
the artillerists are loading it, and the stream of returning fugitives
is still surging by in the road as the curtain falls._

CURTAIN.

ACT IV.

SCENE. _Residence of_ GENERAL BUCKTHORN, _in Washington. Interior.
Fireplace slanting upward. Small alcove. Opening to hall, with
staircase beyond, and also entrance from out left. Door up stage. A
wide opening, with portieres to apartment. Upright piano down stage.
Armchair and low stool before fireplace. Small table for tea, etc.
Ottoman. Other chairs, ottomans, etc., to taste._

TIME. _Afternoon._

DISCOVERED. MRS. HAVERILL, _in armchair, resting her face upon her
hand, and looking into the fire._ EDITH _is on a low stool at her
side, sewing a child's garment._

EDITH. It seems hardly possible that the war is over, and that General
Lee has really surrendered. [_Fife and drum, without._] There is
music in the streets nearly all the time, now, and everybody looks so
cheerful and bright. [_Distant fife and drums heard playing "Johnnie
Comes Marching Home."_ EDITH _springs up and runs up to window,
looking out._] More troops returning! The old tattered battle-flag
is waving in the wind, and people are running after them so merrily.
[_Music stops._] Every day, now, seems like a holiday. [_Coming
down._] The war is over. All the women ought to feel very happy,
whose--whose husbands are--coming back to them.

MRS. HAVERILL. Yes, Edith; those women whose--husbands are coming back
to them. [_Still looking into fire._

EDITH. Oh! [_Dropping upon the stool, her head upon the arm of the
chair._

MRS. HAVERILL. [_Resting her arm over her._] My poor little darling!
_Your_ husband will not come back.

EDITH. Frank's last message has never reached me.

MRS. HAVERILL. No; but you have one sweet thought always with you.
Madeline West heard part of it, as Gertrude wrote it down. His last
thought was a loving one, of you.

EDITH. Madeline says that he was thinking of you, too. He knew that
you were taking such loving care of his little one, and of me. You
have always done that, since you first came back from Charleston, and
found me alone in New York.

MRS. HAVERILL. I found a dear, sweet little daughter. [_Stroking her
head._] Heaven sent you, darling! You have been a blessing to me. I
hardly know how I should have got through the past few months at all
without you at my side.

EDITH. What is your own trouble, dear? I have found you in tears
so often; and since last October, after the battle of Cedar Creek,
you--you have never shown me a letter from--from my--Frank's father.
General Haverill arrived in Washington yesterday, but has not been
here yet. Is it because I am here? He has never seen me, and I feel
that he has never forgiven Frank for marrying me.

MRS. HAVERILL. Nonsense, my child; he did think the marriage was
imprudent, but he told me to do everything I could for you. If General
Haverill has not been to see either of us, since his arrival in
Washington, it is nothing that you need to worry your dear little head
about. How are you getting on with your son's wardrobe?

EDITH. Oh! Splendidly! Frankie isn't a baby any longer; he's a man,
now, and he has to wear a man's clothes. [_Holding up a little pair of
trousers, with maternal pride._] He's rather young to be dressed like
a man, but I want Frank to grow up as soon as possible. I long to
have him old enough to understand me when I repeat to him the words
in which General Haverill told the whole world how his father died!
[_Rising._] And yet, even in his official report to the Government, he
only honoured him as Lieutenant Bedloe. He has never forgiven his son
for the disgrace he brought upon his name.

MRS. HAVERILL. I know him so well--[_Rising._]--the unyielding pride,
that conquers even the deep tenderness of his nature. He can be
silent, though his own heart is breaking. [_Aside._] He can be silent,
too, though _my_ heart is breaking. [_Dropping her face in her hand._

EDITH. _Mother!_ [_Putting her arm about her._

_Enter_ JANNETTE.

JANNETTE. A letter for you, Madam.

MRS. HAVERILL. [_Taking note. Aside._] He has answered me. [_Opens and
reads; inclines her head to_ JANNETTE, _who goes out to hall. Aloud._]
General Haverill will be here this afternoon, Edith. [_Exit up the
stairs._

EDITH. There is something that she cannot confide to me, or to anyone.
General Haverill returned to Washington yesterday, and he has not been
here yet. He will be here to-day. I always tremble when I think of
meeting him.

GENERAL BUCKTHORN _appears in hall._

BUCKTHORN. Come right in; this way, Barket. Ah, Edith!

BARKET. [_Entering._] As I was saying, sur--just after the battle of
Sayder Creek began--

BUCKTHORN. [_To_ EDITH.] More good news! The war is, indeed, over,
now!

BARKET. Whin Colonel Wist rode to the front to mate his raytrating
rigiment--

BUCKTHORN. General Johnson has surrendered his army, also; and that,
of course, does end the war.

EDITH. I'm very glad that all the fighting is over.

BUCKTHORN. So am I; but my occupation, and old Barket's, too, is gone.
Always at work on new clothes for our little soldier?

EDITH. He's growing so, I can hardly make them fast enough for him.
But this is the time for his afternoon nap. I must go now, to see if
he is sleeping soundly.

BUCKTHORN. Our dear little mother! [_Tapping her chin._] I always
claim the privilege of my white hair, you know. [_She, puts up her
lips; he kisses her. She goes out._] The sweetest young widow I ever
saw! [BARKET _coughs._ BUCKTHORN _turns sharply;_ BARKET _salutes._]
Well! What the devil are you thinking about now?

BARKET. The ould time, sur. Yer honour used to claim the same
privilege for brown hair.

BUCKTHORN. You old rascal! What a memory you have! You were telling me
for the hundredth time about the battle of Cedar Creek; go on. I can
never hear it often enough. Kerchival West was a favourite of mine,
poor fellow!

BARKET. Just afther the battle of Sayder Creek began, when the Colonel
rode to the front to mate his raytrating rigiment--

BUCKTHORN. I'll tell Old Margery to bring in tea for both of us,
Barket.

BARKET. For both of us, sur?

BUCKTHORN. Yes; and later in the evening we'll have something else,
together. This is a great day for all of us. I'm not your commander
to-day, but your old comrade in arms--[_Laying his arm over_ BARKET'S
_shoulder._]--and I'm glad I don't have to pull myself up now every
time I forget my dignity. Ah! you and I will be laid away before long,
but we'll be together again in the next world, won't we, Barket?

BARKET. Wid yer honour's permission. [_Saluting._

BUCKTHORN. Ha--ha--ha! [_Laughing._] If we do meet there I'm certain
you'll salute me as your superior officer. There's old Margery, now.
[_Looking to door. Calls._] Margery! Tea for two!

MARGERY. [_Without._] The tay be waiting for ye, sur; and it be
boilin' over wid impatience.

BUCKTHORN. Bring up a chair, Barket. [_Sitting in arm-chair._

BARKET. [_Having placed table and drawing up a chair._] Do you know,
Gineral, I don't fale quite aisy in my moind. I'm not quite sure that
Margery will let us take our tay together. [_Sits down, doubtfully._

BUCKTHORN. I hadn't thought of that. I--[_Glancing right._]--I
hope she will, Barket. But, of course, if she won't--she's been
commander-in-chief of my household ever since Jenny was a baby.

BARKET. At Fort Duncan, in Texas.

BUCKTHORN. You and Old Margery never got along very well in those
days; but I thought you had made it all up; she nursed you through
your wound, last summer, and after the battle of Cedar Creek, also.

BARKET. Yis, sur, bliss her kind heart, she's been like a wife to me;
and that's the trouble. A man's wife is such an angel when he's ill
that he dreads to get well; good health is a misfortune to him. Auld
Margery and I have had anither misunderstanding.

BUCKTHORN. I'll do the best I can for both of us, Barket. You were
telling me about the battle of--

BARKET. Just afther the battle of Sayder Creek began, whin Colonel
Wist rode to the front to mate his raytrating rigiment--

_Enter_ OLD MARGERY, _tray, tea, &c. She stops abruptly, looking at_
BARKET. _He squirms in his chair._ BUCKTHORN _rises and stands with
his back to the mantel._ OLD MARGERY _moves to the table, arranges
things on it, glances at_ BARKET, _then at_ BUCKTHORN, _who looks up
at ceiling, rubbing his chin, &c._ OLD MARGERY _takes up one of the
cups, with saucer._

OLD MARGERY. I misunderstood yer order, sur. I see there's no one here
but yerself. [_Going right._

BUCKTHORN. Ah, Margery! [_She stops._] Barket tells me that there has
been a slight misunderstanding between you and him.

OLD MARGERY. Day before yisterday, the ould Hibernian dhrone had the
kitchen upside down, to show anither old milithary vagabone loike
himself how the battle of Sayder Creek was fought. He knocked the
crame pitcher into the basket of clane clothes, and overturned some
raspberry jam and the flat-irons into a pan of fresh eggs. There _has_
been a misunderstanding betwane us.

BUCKTHORN. I see there has. I suppose Barket was showing his friend
how Colonel Kerchival West rode forward to meet his regiment, when he
was already wounded dangerously.

OLD MARGERY. Bliss the poor, dear young man! He and I was always good
frinds, though he was somethin' of a devil in the kitchen himself,
whin he got there. [_Wiping her eye with one corner of her apron._]
And bliss the young Southern lady that was in love wid him, too.
[_Changing the cup and wiping the other eye with the corner of her
apron._] Nothing was iver heard of ayther of thim after that battle
was over, to this very day.

BUCKTHORN. Barket was at Kerchival's side when he rode to the front.
[OLD MARGERY _hesitates a moment, then moves to the table, sets down
the cup and marches out._ BUCKTHORN _sits in the arm-chair again,
pouring tea._] I could always find some way to get Old Margery to do
what I wanted her to do.

BARKET. You're a great man, Ginerel; we'd niver have conquered the
South widout such men.

BUCKTHORN. Now go on, Barket; you were interrupted.

BARKET. Just afther the battle of Sayder Creek began, whin--

_Enter_ JANNETTE _with card, which she hands to_ BUCKTHORN.

BUCKTHORN. [_Reading card._] Robert Ellingham! [_Rises._] I will go to
him. [_To_ JANNETTE.] Go upstairs and tell Madeline to come down.

JANNETTE. Yes, sir. [_Going._

BUCKTHORN. And, Jannette, simply say there is a caller; don't tell her
who is here. [_Exit_ JANNETTE _upstairs._ BUCKTHORN _follows her
out to hall._] Ellingham! My dear fellow! [_Extending his hand and
disappearing._

BARKET. Colonel Ellingham and Miss Madeline--lovers! That's the kind
o' volunteers the country nades now!

_Enter_ BUCKTHORN _and_ ELLINGHAM.

BUCKTHORN. [_As he enters._] We've been fighting four years to keep
you out of Washington, Colonel, but we are delighted to see you within
the lines, now.

ELLINGHAM. I am glad, indeed, General, to have so warm a welcome. But
can you tell me anything about my sister, Gertrude?

BUCKTHORN. About your sister? Why, can't you tell us? And have you
heard nothing of Kerchival West on your side of the line?

ELLINGHAM. All I can tell you is this: As soon as possible after our
surrender at Appomattox, I made my way to the Shenandoah Valley. Our
home there is utterly deserted. I have hurried down to Washington in
the hopes that I might learn something of you. There is no human being
about the old homestead; it is like a haunted house--empty, and dark,
and solitary. You do not even know where Gertrude is?

BUCKTHORN. We only know that Kerchival was not found among the dead of
his own regiment at Cedar Creek, though he fell among them during
the fight. The three girls searched the field for him, but he was
not there. As darkness came on, and they were returning to the house,
Gertrude suddenly seized the bridle of a stray horse, sprang upon its
back and rode away to the South, into the woods at the foot of Three
Top Mountain. The other two girls watched for her in vain. She did not
return, and we have heard nothing from her since.

ELLINGHAM. Poor girl! I understand what was in her thoughts, and she
was right. We captured fourteen hundred prisoners that day, although
we were defeated, and Kerchival must have been among them. Gertrude
rode away, alone, in the darkness, to find him. I shall return to the
South at once and learn where she now is.

JANNETTE _has re-entered, down the stairs._

JANNETTE. Miss Madeline will be down in a moment. [_Exit in hall._

BARKET. [_Aside._] That name wint through his chist like a rifle ball.

BUCKTHORN. Will you step into the drawing-room, Colonel? I will see
Madeline myself, first. She does not even know that you are living.

ELLINGHAM. I hardly dared asked for her. [_Passing; turns._] Is she
well?

BUCKTHORN. Yes; and happy--or soon will be.

ELLINGHAM. Peace, at last! [_Exit to apartment._ BUCKTHORN _closes
portieres._

BUCKTHORN. I ought to prepare Madeline a little, Barket; you must help
me.

BARKET. Yis, sur, I will.

_Enter_ MADELINE _down the stairs._

MADELINE. Uncle! Jannette said you wished to see me; there is a
visitor here. Who is it?

BARKET. Colonel Robert Ellingham.

MADELINE. Ah! [_Staggering._

BUCKTHORN. [_Supporting her._] You infernal idiot! I'll put you in the
guard-house!

BARKET. You wanted me to help ye, Gineral.

MADELINE. Robert is alive--and here? [_Rising from his arms, she moves
to the portieres, holds them aside, peeping in; gives a joyful start,
tosses aside the portieres and runs through._

BUCKTHORN. Barket! There's nothing but that curtain between us and
Heaven.

BARKET. I don't like stayin' out o' Hivin, myself, sur. Gineral! I'll
kiss Ould Margery--if I die for it! [_Exit._

BUCKTHORN. Kiss Old Margery! I'll give him a soldier's funeral.
[_Enter_ JENNY _from hall, demurely._] Ah! Jenny, my dear! I have news
for you. Colonel Robert Ellingham is in the drawing-room.

JENNY. Oh! I am delighted. [_Starting._

BUCKTHORN. A-h-e-m!

JENNY. Oh!--exactly. I see. I have some news for _you,_ papa. Captain
Heartsease has arrived in Washington.

BUCKTHORN. Oh! My dear! I have often confessed to you how utterly
mistaken I was about that young man. He is a soldier--as good a
soldier as you are. I'll ask him to the house.

JENNY. [_Demurely._] He is here now.

BUCKTHORN. Now?

JENNY. He's been here an hour; in the library.

BUCKTHORN. Why! Barket and I were in the library fifteen minutes ago.

JENNY. Yes, sir. We were in the bay-window; the curtains were closed.

BUCKTHORN. Oh! exactly; I see. You may tell him he has my full
consent.

JENNY. He hasn't asked for it.

BUCKTHORN. Hasn't he? And you've been in the bay-window an hour? Well,
my darling--I was considered one of the best Indian fighters in the
old army, but it took me four years to propose to your mother. I'll go
and see the Captain. [_Exit to hall._

JENNY. I wonder if it will take Captain Heartsease four years to
propose to me. Before he left Washington, nearly two years ago, he
told everybody in the circle of my acquaintance, except me, that he
was in love with me. I'll be an old lady in caps before our engagement
commences. Poor, dear mother! The idea of a girl's waiting four years
for a chance to say "Yes." It's been on the tip of my tongue so often,
I'm afraid it'll pop out, at last, before he pops the question.

_Enter_ BUCKTHORN _and_ HEARTSEASE _from hall._

BUCKTHORN. Walk right in, Captain; this is the family room. You must
make yourself quite at home here.

HEARTSEASE. Thank you. [_Walking down._

BUCKTHORN. My dear! [_Apart to_ JENNY.] The very first thing he said
to me, after our greeting, was that he loved my daughter.

JENNY. Now he's told my father!

BUCKTHORN. He's on fire!

JENNY. Is he? [_Looking at_ HEARTSEASE, _who stands quietly stroking
his mustache._] Why doesn't he tell _me?_

BUCKTHORN. You may have to help him a little; your mother assisted
me. [_Turning up stage._] When you and Jenny finish your chat,
Captain--[_Lighting a cigar at the mantel._]--you must join me in the
smoking-room.

HEARTSEASE. I shall be delighted. By the way, General--I have been in
such a fever of excitement since I arrived at this house--

JENNY. [_Aside._] Fever? Chills!

HEARTSEASE. That I forgot it entirely. I have omitted a very important
and a very sad commission. I have brought with me the note-book of
Lieutenant Frank Bedloe--otherwise Haverill--in which Miss Gertrude
Ellingham wrote down his last message to his young wife.

JENNY. Have you seen Gertrude?

BUCKTHORN. [_Taking book._] How did this note-book come into your
possession?

HEARTSEASE. Miss Ellingham visited the prison in North Carolina where
I was detained. She was going from hospital to hospital, from prison
to prison, and from burial-place to burial-place, to find Colonel
Kerchival West, if living--or some record of his death.

BUCKTHORN. Another Evangeline! Searching for her lover through the
wilderness of this great war!

HEARTSEASE. I was about to be exchanged at the time, and she requested
me to bring this to her friends in Washington. She had not intended to
carry it away with her. I was not exchanged, as we then expected, but
I afterwards escaped from prison to General Sherman's army.

BUCKTHORN. I will carry this long-delayed message to the widowed young
mother. [_Exit._

JENNY. I remember so well, when poor Lieutenant Haverill took out the
note-book and asked Gertrude to write for him. He--he brought me a
message at the same time. [_Their eyes meet. He puts up his glasses.
She turns away, touching her eyes._

HEARTSEASE. I--I remember the circumstances you probably allude to;
that is--when he left my side--I--I gave him my--I mean your--lace
handkerchief.

JENNY. It is sacred to me!

HEARTSEASE. Y-e-s--I would say--is it?

JENNY. [_Wiping her eyes._] It was stained with the life-blood of a
hero!

HEARTSEASE. I must apologize to you for its condition. I hadn't any
chance to have it washed and ironed.

JENNY. [_Looking around at him, suddenly; then, aside._] What could
any girl do with a lover like that? [_Turning up stage._

HEARTSEASE. [_Aside._] She seems to remember that incident so
tenderly! My blood boils!

JENNY. Didn't you long to see your--your friends at home--when you
were in prison, Captain?

HEARTSEASE. Yes--especially--I longed especially, Miss Buckthorn, to
see--

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