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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Flower of the Chapdelaines.

And here came Hardy across the gravel-bar, in the saddle.  I aimed at him:  “Stand, sir!  Stand!”

He hauled in and lifted the horn.  Euonymus had heaved the dog from his feet.  The horn rang, and with a howl of terror the brute writhed free, leaped into the river and swam toward his master.  I sprang on my horse and took the deep water:  “Wait, boy!  Wait!”

It was hard getting ashore.  When I reached the spot of grass I found only the front half of the runaway’s hickory shirt, in bloody rags.  I spurred to a gap in the bushes, and there, face down, lay Euonymus, insensible.  I knelt and turned the slender form; and then I whipped off my coat and laid it over the still, black bosom.  For Euonymus was a girl.

XVII

Her eyelids quivered, opened.  For a moment the orbs were vacant, but as she drew a deep breath she saw me.  Her shapely hand sought her throat-button, and finding my coat instead she turned once more to the sod, moaning, “Brother!  Mingo!”

“Is he Robelia?” I asked.  “Come, we’ll find him.”

Clutching my coat to her breast, she staggered up.  I helped her put the coat on and sprang into the saddle.  “Now mount behind me,” I said, reaching for her hand; but with an anguished look: 

“Whah Mingo?” she asked.  “Is dey kotch Mingo?”

“No, not yet.  Your hand—­now spring!”

She landed firmly and we sped into the woods.

My merely wounding Dandy was fortunate.  It kept Hardy from following me hotfooted or rousing the neighborhood.  I dare say he wanted no one but himself to have the joy of killing me.

At a “store” and telegraph-station I let my charge down into a wild plum-patch, bought a hickory shirt, left my half-dead beast, telegraphed my livery-stable client where to find him, and so avoided the complication of being a horse-thief.  Then I recovered Euonymus and about ten that night the five of us met on the bank of a creek.  Near its farther shore, on a lonely railroad siding, we found a waiting freight-train and stole into one of its empty cars; and when at close of the next day hunger drove us out our pursuers were beating the bush a hundred miles behind.

Fed from a negro-cabin and guided by the stars, we fled all of another night afoot, and on the following day lost Mingo.  At broad noon, with an overseer and his gang close by in a corn-field, the seductions of a melon-patch overcame him and he howled away his freedom in the jaws of a bear-trap.  His father and mother wept dumb tears and laid their faces to the ground in prayer.  Euonymus was frantic.  With all her superior sanity, she would not have left the region could she have persuaded us to go on without her.

Well!  Day by day we lay in the brush, and night after night fled on.  I could tell much about the sweet, droll piety of my three fellow runaways, and the humble generosity of their hearts.  No ancient Israelite ever looked forward to the coming of a political Messiah with more pious confidence than they to a day when their whole dark race should be free and enjoy every right that any other race enjoys.

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