“I came—purposely. I hoped to find you, Mr. Hayne. You—you remember that I had something to tell you. It was about Clancy. You ought to see him. I’m sure you ought, for he must know—he or Mrs. Clancy—something about your—your trouble; and I’ve just this minute heard that they—that he’s going away to-morrow; and you must find him to-night, Mr. Hayne: indeed you must.”
Who can paint her as she stood there, blushing, pleading, eager, frightened, yet determined? Who can picture the wild emotion in his heart, reflected in his face? He stepped quickly to her side with the light leaping to his eyes, his hands extended as though to grasp hers; but it was Waldron that spoke first:
“Where is he going?—how?”
“Oh, with us, major. We go to-morrow, and they go with us. My sister has some reason—I cannot fathom it. She wants them away from here, and Clancy’s discharge came to-day. He must see him first,” she said, indicating Mr. Hayne by the nod of her pretty head. “They say Clancy has run off and got away from his wife. He doesn’t want to be discharged. They cannot find him now; but perhaps Mr. Hayne can.—Mr. Hayne, try to. You—you must.”
“Indeed we must, Hayne, and quick about it,” said the major. “Now is our chance, I verily believe. Let us get the doctor first; then little Kate will best know where to look for Clancy. Come, man, get your overcoat.” And he hastened to the hall.
Hayne followed as though in a dream, reached the threshold, turned, looked back, made one quick step toward Miss Travers with outstretched hand, then checked himself as suddenly. His yearning eyes seemed fastened on her burning face, his lips quivered with the intensity of his emotion. She raised her eyes and gave him one quick look, half entreaty, half command; he seemed ineffectually struggling to speak,—to thank her. One moment of irresolution, then, without a word of any kind, he sprang to the door. She carried his parting glance in her heart of hearts all night long. There was no mistaking what it told.
The morning report of the following day showed some items under the head of “Alterations” that involved several of the soldier characters of this story. Ex-Sergeant Clancy had been dropped from the column of present “on daily duty” and taken up on that of absent without leave. Lieutenant Hayne was also reported absent. Dr. Pease and Lieutenant Billings drove into the garrison from town just before the cavalry trumpets were sounding first call for guard-mounting, and the adjutant sent one of the musicians to give his compliments to Mr. Royce and ask him to mount the guard for him, as he had just returned and had important business with the colonel. The doctor and the adjutant together went into the colonel’s quarters, and for the first time on record the commanding officer was not at the desk in his office when the shoulder-straps began to gather for the matinee.