The Girl at the Halfway House eBook

Emerson Hough
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 250 pages of information about The Girl at the Halfway House.

The forty black horses which made up this regimental band were the pride of the division.  Four deep, forty strong, with arching necks, with fore feet reaching far and drooping softly, each horse of the famous cavalry band passed on out upon the field of Louisburg with such carriage as showed it sensible of its mission.  The reins lay loose upon their necks, but they kept step to the music which they felt.  Forty horses paced slowly forward, keeping step.  Forty trumpeters, each man with his right hand aloft, holding his instrument, his left hand at his side, bearing the cap which he had removed, rode on across the field of Louisburg.  The music was no longer the hymn of triumph.

Softly and sadly, sweetly and soothingly, the trumpets sang a melody of other days, an air long loved in the old-time South.  And Annie Laurie, weeping, heard and listened, and wept the more, and blessed God for her tears!

BOOK II

THE DAY OF THE BUFFALO

CHAPTER IV

BATTERSLEIGH OF THE RILE IRISH

Colonel Henry Battersleigh sat in his tent engaged in the composition of a document which occasioned him concern.  That Colonel Battersleigh should be using his tent as office and residence—­for that such was the fact even the most casual glance must have determined—­was for him a circumstance offering no special or extraordinary features.  His life had been spent under canvas.  Brought up in the profession of arms, so long as fighting and forage were good it had mattered little to him in what clime he found his home.  He had fought with the English in India, carried sabre in the Austrian horse, and on his private account drilled regiments for the Grand Sultan, deep within the interior of a country which knew how to keep its secrets.  When the American civil war began he drifted to the newest scene of activity as metal to a magnet.  Chance sent him with the Union army, and there he found opportunity for a cavalry command.  “A gintleman like Battersleigh of the Rile Irish always rides,” he said, and natural horseman as well as trained cavalryman was Battersleigh, tall, lean, flat-backed, and martial even under his sixty admitted years.  It was his claim that no Sudanese spearsman or waddling assegai-thrower could harm him so long as he was mounted and armed, and he boasted that no horse on earth could unseat him.  Perhaps none ever had—­until he came to the Plains.

For this was on the Plains.  When the bitter tide of war had ebbed, Battersleigh had found himself again without a home.  He drifted with the disintegrating bodies of troops which scattered over the country, and in course of time found himself in the only portion of America which seemed to him congenial.  Indeed, all the population was adrift, all the anchors of established things torn loose.  In the distracted South whole families, detesting the new ways of life

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The Girl at the Halfway House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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