The Deserter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 269 pages of information about The Deserter.
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 in.”

“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?”

XI.

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.”

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The Deserter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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