The younger nodded, unable as yet to command her voice. “I—I don’t believe he is an Episcopalian; do you?”
“I don’t know. I imagine that might have made even a Methodist swear.”
The puckers began to show about the disapproving mouth, under the contagion of the other’s merriment. “Wasn’t it perfectly ridiculous? But he did play beautifully, and it was so very nice of him to come my first night here. Do you suppose that was Mr. Herndon?”
Naida shook her head doubtfully. “He looked taller, but I could n’t really tell. He ’s gone now, and the water is turned off.”
They lit the lamp once more, discussing the scene just witnessed, while Miss Spencer, standing before the narrow mirror, prepared her hair for the night. Suddenly some object struck the lowered window shade and dropped upon the floor. Naida picked it up.
“A letter,” she announced, “for Miss Phoebe Spencer.”
“For me? What can it be? Why, Naida, it is poetry! Listen:
Sweetest flower from off the Eastern hills,
So lily-like and fair;
Your very presence stirs and thrills
Our buoyant Western air;
The plains grow lovelier in their span,
The skies above more blue,
While the heart of Nature and of man
Beats quick response for you.
“Oh, isn’t that simply beautiful? And it is signed ’Willie’—why, that must be Mr. McNeil.”
“I reckon he copied it out of some book,” said Naida.
“Oh, I know he didn’t. It possesses such a touch of originality. And his eyes, Naida! They have that deep poetical glow!”
The light was finally extinguished; the silvery moonlight streamed across the foot of the bed, and the regular breathing of the girls evidenced slumber.
Many an unexpected event has resulted from the formal, concise orders issued by the War Department. Cupid in the disguise of Mars has thus frequently toyed with the fate of men, sending many a gallant soldier forward, all unsuspecting, into a battle of the heart.
It was no pleasant assignment to duty which greeted First Lieutenant Donald Brant, commanding Troop N, Seventh Cavalry, when that regiment came once more within the environs of civilization, from its summer exercises in the field. Bethune had developed into a somewhat important post, socially as well as from a strictly military standpoint, and numerous indeed were the attractions offered there to any young officer whose duty called him to serve the colors on those bleak Dakota prairies. Brant frowned at the innocent words, reading them over again with gloomy eyes and an exclamation of unmitigated disgust, yet there was no escaping their plain meaning. Trouble was undoubtedly brewing among the Sioux, trouble in which the Cheyennes, and probably others also, were