When the ladies were alone, Mrs. Belding resumed her story of the great transaction. “Why, it will be something to tell about as long as I live,” she said. “You had hardly got upstairs when I heard a noise of fighting outside on the walk and the porch. Then Arthur and Mr. Temple came through that window as if they were shot out of a cannon. The thief who stood by me, the red handkerchief one, did not stop, but burst through the hall into the kitchen and escaped the back way. Then Mr. Temple took another one and positively threw him through the window, while Arthur, with that policeman’s club, knocked the one down whom you saw the German tying up. It was all done in an instant, and I just sat and screamed for my share of the work. Then Arthur came and caught me by the shoulder, and almost shook me, and said, ’Where is Alice?’ Upon my word, I had almost forgotten you. I said you were upstairs, and one of those wretches was there too. He looked as black as a fury, and went up in about three steps. I always thought he had such a sweet temper, but to-night he seemed just to love to fight. Now I think of it, Alice, you hardly spoke to him. You must not let him think we are ungrateful. You must write him a nice note to-morrow.”
Alice laid her head upon her mother’s shoulder, where her wet eyes could not be seen. “Mamma,” she asked, “did he say ‘Where is Alice?’ Did he say nothing but ’Alice’?”
“Now, don’t be silly,” said Mrs. Belding. “Of course he said ‘Alice.’ You wouldn’t expect a man to be Miss Beldinging you at such a time. You are quite too particular.”
“He called me Miss Belding when he came upstairs,” said Alice, still hiding her face.
“And what did you say to him—for saving this house and all our lives?”
The girl’s overwrought nerves gave way. She had only breath enough to say, “I said ‘Good evening, Captain Farnham!’ Wasn’t it too perfectly ridiculous?” and then burst into a flood of mingled laughter and tears, which nothing could check, until she had cried herself quiet upon her mother’s bosom.
THE WHIP OF THE SCYTHIANS.
Farnham and Temple walked hastily back to where they had left Kendall with the rest of the company. They found him standing like a statute just where he had been placed by Farnham. The men were ranged in the shadow of the shrubbery and the ivy-clad angle of the house. The moon shone full on the open stretch of lawn, and outside the gates a black mass on the sidewalk and the street showed that the mob had not left the place. But it seemed sluggish and silent.
“Have they done anything new?” asked Farnham.
“Nothin’, but fire a shot or two—went agin the wall overhead; and once they heaved a lot of rocks, but it was too fur—didn’t git more’n half way. That’s all.”
“We don’t want to stand here looking at each other all night,” said Farnham.