was generally the last thing to close along Prairie
Avenue. There was not a glimmer of light about
the quarters of the trader or the surgeon’s
beyond. One or two faint gleams stole through
the blinds at the big hospital, and told of the night-watch
by some fevered bedside. He passed on around
the fence and took a path that led to the target-ranges
north of the post and back of officers’ row,
thinking deeply all the while; and finally, re-entering
the garrison by the west gate, he came down along
the hard gravelled walk that passed in circular sweeps
the offices and the big house of the colonel commanding
and then bore straight away in front of the entire
line. All was darkness and quiet. He passed
in succession the houses of the field-officers of
the cavalry, looked longingly at the darkened front
of Major Waldron’s cottage, where he had lived
so sweet an hour before the setting of the last sun,
then went on again and paused surprised in front of
Captain Rayner’s. A bright light was still
burning in the front room on the second floor.
Was she, too, awake and thinking of that interview?
He looked wistfully at the lace curtains that shrouded
the interior, and then the clank of a cavalry sabre
sounded in his ears, and a tall officer came springily
across the road.
“Who the devil’s that?” was the
blunt military greeting.
“Mr. Hayne,” was the quiet reply.
“What? Mr. Hayne? Oh! Beg your
pardon, man,—couldn’t imagine who
it was mooning around out here after midnight.”
“I don’t wonder,” answered Hayne.
“I am rather given to late hours, and after
reading a long time I often take a stroll before turning
“Ah, yes: I see. Well, won’t
you drop in and chat awhile? I’m officer
of the day, and have to owl to-night.”
“Thanks, no, not this time; I must go to bed.
Good-night, Mr. Blake.”
“Good-night to you, Mr. Hayne,” said Blake,
then stood gazing perplexedly after him. “Now,
my fine fellow,” was his dissatisfied query,
“what on earth do you mean by prowling around
Rayner’s at this hour of the night?”
It was very generally known throughout Fort Warrener
by ten o’clock on the following morning that
Mr. Hayne had returned to duty and was one of the
first officers to appear at the matinee.
Once more the colonel had risen from his chair, taken
him by the hand, and welcomed him. This time
he expressed the hope that nothing would now occur
to prevent their seeing him daily.
“Won’t you come in to the club-room?”
asked Captain Gregg, afterwards. “We will
be pleased to have you.”