The time for the departure of the Fourth Artillery had come. The night before was thick and foggy. At one o’clock, a shot on the ramparts called out the guard and roused the sleeping garrison. The new sentry, Private Grey, had challenged a dusky figure creeping on the glacis, and, receiving no answer, had fired. The guard sent out presently returned, bearing a lifeless figure in their arms. The new sentry’s zeal, joined with an ex-frontiersman’s aim, was fatal.
They laid the helpless, ragged form before the guard-house door, and then saw for the first time that it was the Princess. Presently she opened her eyes. They fell upon the agonized face of her innocent slayer, but haply without intelligence or reproach.
“Georgy!” she whispered.
“All’s same now. Me get plenty well soon. Me make no more fuss. Me go to Reservation.”
Then she stopped, a tremor ran through her limbs, and she lay still. She had gone to the Reservation. Not that devised by the wisdom of man, but that one set apart from the foundation of the world for the wisest as well as the meanest of His creatures.
THE ILIAD OF SANDY BAR.
Before nine o’clock it was pretty well known all along the river that the two partners of the “Amity Claim” had quarrelled and separated at daybreak. At that time the attention of their nearest neighbor had been attracted by the sounds of altercations and two consecutive pistol-shots. Running out, he had seen, dimly, in the gray mist that rose from the river, the tall form of Scott, one of the partners, descending the hill toward the canyon; a moment later, York, the other partner, had appeared from the cabin, and walked in an opposite direction toward the river, passing within a few feet of the curious watcher. Later it was discovered that a serious Chinaman, cutting wood before the cabin, had witnessed part of the quarrel. But John was stolid, indifferent, and reticent. “Me choppee wood, me no fightee,” was his serene response to all anxious queries. “But what did they say, John?” John did not sabe. Colonel Starbottle deftly ran over the various popular epithets which a generous public sentiment might accept as reasonable provocation for an assault. But John did not recognize them. “And this yer’s the cattle,” said the Colonel, with some severity, “that some thinks oughter be allowed to testify ag’in’ a White Man! Git—you heathen!”
Still the quarrel remained inexplicable. That two men, whose amiability and grave tact had earned for them the title of “The Peacemakers,” in a community not greatly given to the passive virtues,—that these men, singularly devoted to each other, should suddenly and violently quarrel, might well excite the curiosity of the camp. A few of the more inquisitive visited the late scene of conflict, now deserted by its former occupants. There was no trace of disorder or confusion in the neat cabin.