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pressed men and sent terror to the rene- The sergeant started down the hill. “I'll gades. “To the commissary!” the voice be damned,” he gasped. "He's got more commanded. “To the commissary- nerve and grit than the other fellow. march!” And at the door of the com- What'll happen when they get together?" missary they gathered and drove out the Down by the big rock lay a still figure pillagers within and put out the fire kin- clad in the uniform of a second lieutendled beneath the door, and cleared the ant. The sergeant paused a minute and camp of the last ambitious brave left to touched his arm. There was no response, tell the tale of one of the bloodiest nights and the hole behind the ear told the known on the frontier.
tale. When it was all over, the lieutenant They carried him back to camp and gave orders for the care of the wounded the next day they buried him. The deand recovery of the missing. The ser- serter had come in. geant turned to confer and started back In the morning they looked curiously in blank amazement. “I'll be
at the face of the lieutenant in command, “Remember your work, sir,” came the and they were silent, for it was not the orders cool and steady.. “Send ten men face of the man whom they had put in down to the meadow, bring the men into the guardhouse. They forgot that he had the barracks for treatment."
been clad in the bedraggled uniform of “See here," broke out the bewildered a private soldier, and they forgot that sergeant. “Weren't you in the guard- it was not ne who had carried the papers. house an hour ago ?”
When the belated soul of a man awakens. "If I was, it's none of your business. I under pressure of a desperate moment am Lieutenant Bates, in command of this and he comes to himself, papers are a garrison by order of General Holland. secondary matter. Lieutenant John W. Find that deserter and put him in the Bates, U. S. A., was in command of the guard house."
A LATE FULFILLMENT
BY MAUDE HEATH BLANK
NASTASIA FRISBEE had asked no questions, having learned in
sat on the back a long married life to let sleeping dogs
one of the most respected and influential brook, shaded by drooping willows, and men in the little town of Gilson, a membeyond the brook rose a large rock, across ber of the Methodist Church, of which the smooth face of which was painted in her husband was a deacon; a grandmother staring white letters, “Perry's Pleasant and a sensible, God-fearing woman; and Pills Prevent Pain.” On the roof of the yet, if she had been asked suddenly any barn, nearer the house, was a sign painted time in the past forty-two years what she in letters that covered the surface, "Cur- wished for above everything else, she ena Cures All Diseases of the Stomach, would have answered promptly, "a garLiver, and Blood."
net ring." These two disfiguring advertisements When she was little Anastasia Gates, had spoiled the landscape for Anastasia. the youngest of ten children, city boarders Her beauty-loving soul revolted at the were taken one summer at her home to eke desecration, and more than one dispute, out the precarious living of a New Engthat verged dangerously near to the quar- land farmer. Their small homestead of ten reling line, had arisen between herself and acres was about three parts stones, which husband on the subject. But the advertis- were laboriously gathered up each spring ing agent paid for the privilege a sum from the apparently inexhaustible supply, that seemed extravagant to Jabez Frisbee, and piled up to be carted off, or built into and his thrifty mind could not conceive fences. The crops that could be coaxed the senseless idea of losing ready money, from the inhospitable land during the so easily obtained, for a mere notion. So short season barely sufficed to feed and the farm continued to bear the stigma that clothe John Gates' healthy family, so that artistic natures deplore through the city people who were willing to pay five length and breadth of the land; Anastasia dollars a week to look at the view and continued to refer at appropriate seasons, eat what the family had, without extra in tones of contempt, to "the barn that “fixins,” were looked upon as a direct the Curena folks hired,” and Jabez con- intervention of Providence in the form of tinued to take the money every spring for harmless lunatics. space that would not otherwise bring in It was on the finger of one of these exa cent.
otic ladies that little Anastasia first saw a This condition of affairs had obtained
garnet ring, the desire for which possessed for years, but recently Anastasia had her thereafter unceasingly. Her fancy been unaccountably silent on the subject. never wavered. No other ring seemed deIn fact, the day before when the advertis- sirable to her. Afterwards, when she saw ing man had come to make his annual diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, payment, she had not only refrained from it was still for a garnet that her heart objecting to the transaction, but had ac- cried. tually asked the stranger to stay to din- On one red letter day, when it rained ner. Jabez wondered, but like a wise man so that they staved indoors, the lady had
called Anastasia to her room, and let her Sometimes she dreamed of finding anhelp arrange her bureau drawers and other ring, far more beautiful than the boxes, and seeing the longing in the child's real one, and set with with one large flasheyes, had allowed her to wear the won- ing garnet, but just before she could put derful ring for an hour. Clasped tightly it on her finger she always awoke. between two tiny fingers, to keep it from As she grew up into a
pretty, redslipping off, Anastasia, for that brief per- cheeked, blue-eyed girl, and went occaiod, tasted absolute happiness. She never sionally to parties, the young men of the forgot it. At any time in the following neighborhood began to pay her attention, forty years she could close her eyes and and the summer that she was eighteen see again the rich red of Miss Lacy's gar- Jabez Frisbee, the oldest son of one of net ring.
the most prosperous farmers of the county, The next Sunday, when she went to asked her to be his wife. Partly because Sunday school a new song was sung, the she liked him, but more because young refrain of which was, “Oh, who will help girls were expected to marry as soon as a us to garner in the sheaves," etc., but to suitable offer came, she said yes, and Anastasia, as the children sang, it said, preparations for an early wedding were “Oh, who will help us to a garnet ring,” begun. and for years she believed those were All the girls she knew who were enthe words she heard.
gaged had engagement rings, and AnasOnce she found a ring in the road as tasia had no doubt that Jabez would give she went home from school-a gold ring her one. She only hoped, almost fiercely, set with three small garnets, but before that it would be a garnet but would have the glory of holding it had fully envel- thought it unmaidenly to even hint at the oped her soul, a woman came hurrying kind she wanted. Jabez brought the ring out of a nearby house and saw her. She the first time he came to see her after the snatched the ring from the child, as if engagement. It was a plain gold band. she thought she were a thief, and left An- He was a prudent young man, and conastasia wondering if she would actually sidered it just as well, besides being a savhave kept the ring if she could without ing, to make the betrothal token serve looking for the owner. She had been too also as a wedding ring. Anastasia said well schooled not to know that her soul nothing, and after they were married she was lost if such yielding to temptation gave up planning for a garnet ring. It was possible, and it worried her for weeks. was so hopeless.
As she grew older, she saw the futility A year after their marriage, she and of asking her hardworking father for any- Jabez moved to California, and they prosthing not absolutely necessary, and it oc- pered well. Jabez bought a small farm, curred to her that if she picked berries which was clear of debt; he built a neat and sold them she could buy a ring for five room cottage, with a wide back piazza, herself. So she spent three days of the and he had all the machinery that he connext holiday week picking strawberries in sidered necessary to carry on the place. He the hilly pasture land, under the fervent was a "good provider." His wife had all June sun, and sold them from house to she needed, according to his judgment, house. She earned a dollar and a quarter and if he had known of her secret longaltogether. When she brought the money ing he would have said without hesitation home her mother advised her to buy the that it was “all folderol.” material for a best woolen dress for her- Jabez was a good man. His greatest self, and told her she was a good child to fault was a little “nearness" in money try to help her parents. Anastasia said matters, and as he firmly believed economy nothing of her secret ambition. She did to be one of the cardinal virtues, it was as she was told, and only cried herself not likely that he would ever correct himto sleep two or three nights. In August, 'self of that characteristic. His idea of when the blueberries ripened, she went un- comfort was to buy what was actually complainingly with the older children to necessary, and put as much money as pospick enough, if possible, to buy her school sible in the bank every year. To leave a shoes.
good bank account when he died was only
place on a woman of her age, and of his
second in his wishes to an abundant en- husband. In his way he was a kind man, trance into heaven, and it might be said but, although few had ever suspected the that it was second only on Sunday.
fact, Anastasia was extremely sensitive to When Anastasia's first baby came, and
blame or ridicule, and the dread of his she was so very i!l that Jabez feared she
saying that such arnaments were out of would die and leave him alone with the
froze her little one, in her weakness and partial de- ridiculing her to the children,
them lirium she told him faintly that she could resolutions before she could carry get well if she only had a garnet ring. He out. supposed that she did not know what she Anastasia had been a “woman of her was saying, but as the doctor said she age" ever since her first baby was born, so must not be fretted, he brought her a gar- she could not tell just what number of net ring from the store and slipped it on years was most reprehensible, but it was her finger. She looked at it, sighed bliss- safe to fear that she had reached it.
At fully and slept. She recovered fast, but as one time she wanted a pink wrapper, but soon as she was able to sit up she saw that Jabez said he should think a woman of the ring was of the cheapest pinchbeck, her age would look better in brown or grey with a glass setting. When she was able and his wife never spoke of pink to him to go out again she dug a little hole in again. the back yard and buried it-she could The first vear after they went to Calinot have told why.
fornia Anastasia was miserably homesick. The years went on. Two other children She wanted her own people, the old familwere born to them, but one lived only a iar surroundings. The fact that Jabez
The first boy and his sister grew was making money faster than he coud up and were married. Elizabeth, a pretty have done in New England made no difgirl, who looked as her mother did when ference in her loneliness. The hill vineshe was young, had for her engagement yards never, she was convinced, could look ring a very small diamond, and when as beautiful to her as a field of clover, and John became engaged to Drusilla Hicks he the long, dry summer, with gave her an emerald with pearls. Their shower, and the equally long rainy winmother said nothing as to her views on ter, were separate and unforgivable ofjewelry, and it would not have occurred fenses in her eyes. Long after she had beto either of the children that she could come a good Californian and thought with wear any other ornament than the plain pity of the victims of sunstroke and freezgold band, now growing a little thin. ing “back home," she remembered Jabez's
But today, as she sat getting the peas scornful remark that he should think a ready to cook, she wore on the third fin- “woman of her age” was too old to cry ger of her right hand a heavy gold ring, like a baby just because she was homerather ornate, and set with a large, well- sick. cut garnet. She had had it for more than She remembered with painful distincta week, and had worn it whenever she ness little slights and reproaches-not was alone. She had tried to tell Jabez vindictively, but simply because she was about it, and to show it to him. Each powerless to forget. Once, when the first day her courage failed her, and she de- baby was about a year old, she and Jabez termined to tell him that night. Each went to a small party given by one of the night she concluded that morning would neighbors. Old-fashioned games were be a more favorable time. She had played, and Anastasia joined in "hunting planned various ways of telling him. At the slipper," and was enjoying it with all one time she thought she would wear the her cheerful soul until she suddenly saw ring until he noticed it, and then ex- her husband frowning at her. As they plain. At another she planned to tell him went home he said he was surprised to see first, and then show it to him. Several a woman of her age acting so foolish. Her times she almost began to speak of it, but face grew hot for years afterwards whena queer little chill would creep over her ever she thought of the occurrence, and her tongue felt stiff.
Quite likely Jabez Frisbee had never It was not that she was afraid of her had the remotest idea of the system of re