“Not I,” said the stranger, pressing her hand, as he gave the reins into her fingers; “as for the cape, keep it until we meet again, and—farewell!”
But Miss Moppet threw her arms around his neck as he bent over the gray pony and secured the cape more tightly around her small shoulders.
“I haven’t half thanked you,” she said, “but I will do so properly some day, when you come to Wolcott Manor. Farewell,” and waving her little hand in adieu, the horses moved away, and were presently lost to sight in the underbrush.
“Egad!” said the stranger, gazing after thorn, as he picked up his coat and started for the spot where he had left his hat. “What a marvelous country it is! The soldiers are uncouth farmer lads, yet they fight and die like heroes, and the country maids have the speech and air of court ladies. Geoffrey Yorke, you have wandered far afield; I would you had time and chance to meet that lovely rebel again!” and with a deep-drawn sigh he plunged farther into the woods.
BULLETS FOE DEFENSE
“Oh, Betty, Betty,” cried Miss Moppet, as the pair gained the more frequented road and cantered briskly on their homeward way, “what an adventure we have had! Aunt Euphemia will no doubt bestow a sound rating on me, for, alas!”—with a doleful glance downward—“see the draggled condition of my habit.”
“Never mind your habit, Moppet,” said Betty. “Thank Heaven instead that you are not lying stiff and cold at the bottom of the pond. You can never know the agony I suffered when I saw you fall; I should have plunged in after you in another second.”
“Dearest Betty,” said the child, looking lovingly at her, “I know you can swim, but you never could have held me up as that stranger did. Oh!” with sudden recollection, “we did not ask his name! Did you forget?”
“No,” said Betty, “but when I told him ours and he did not give his name in return, I thought perhaps he did not care to be known, and of course forbore to press him.”
“How handsome he was,” said Moppet; “did you see his hair? And how tightly it curled, wet as it was? And his eyes—surely you noted his eyes, Betty?”
“Yes,” replied Betty, blushing with remembrance of the parting glance the hazel eyes had bestowed upon her; “he is a personable fellow enough.”
“Far handsomer than Josiah Huntington,” said Moppet mischievously, “or even Francis Plunkett.”
“What does a little maid like you know of looks?” said Betty reprovingly, “and what would Aunt Euphemia say to such comments, I wonder?”
“You’ll never tell tales of me,” said Moppet, with the easy confidence of a spoiled child. “Do you think he was a soldier—perhaps an officer from Fort Trumbull, like the one Oliver brought home last April?”
“Very likely,” said Betty. “Are you cold, Moppet? I am so afraid you may suffer; stop talking so fast and muffle yourself more closely in the cape. We must be hastening home,” and giving her horse the whip, they rode rapidly down hill.