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v THE WOMAN'S PART AT sunrise on the morning of the batt1e Betty and Virginia, from the whitewashed porch of a little railway inn near Manassas, watched the Governor 's regiment as it marched down the single street and into the red clay road. Through the first faint sunshine, growing deeper as the sun rose gloriously above the hills, there sounded a peculiar freshness in the martial music as it triumphantly floated back across the fields. To Betty it almost seemed that the drums were laughing as they went to battle; and when the gay air at last faded in the distance, the silence closed about her with a strangeness she had never felt before - as if the absence of sound was grown melancholy, like the absente of light. She shut her eyes and brought back the long gray line passing across the sunbeams: the tanned eager faces, the waving flags, the rapid, a1most impatient tread of the men as they swung onward. A laugh had run along the column as it went by her and she had smiled in quick sympathy with some foolish jest. It was all so natural to her, the gayety and the ardour and the invincible dash of the young army - it was all so like the spirit of Dan and so dear to her because of the likeness. 327 The Battle-Ground Somewhere - not far away, she knew - he also was stepping briskly across the first sun rays, and her heart followed him even while sne smiled down upon the regiment before her. It was as if her soul were suddenly freed from her bodily presence, and in a kind of dual consciousness she seemed to be standing upon the little whitewashed porch and walking onward beside Dan at the same moment. The wonder of it glowed in her rapt face, and Virginia, turning to put some trivial question, was startled by the passion of her look. " Have - have you seen - some one, Betty?" she whispered. The charm was snapped and Betty fell back into time and place. "Oh, yes, I have seen - some one," her voice thrilled as she spoke. "I saw him as clearly as I see you; he was all in sunshine and there was a flag close above his head. He looked up and smiled at me. Yes, I saw him! I saw him! " " It was Dan," said Virginia - not as a question, but in a wondering assent. "Why, Betty, I thought you had forgotten Dan - papa thought so, too." " Forgotten!" exclaimed Betty scornfully. She fell away from the crowd and Virginia followed her. The two stood leaning against the whitewashed wall in the dust that still rose from the street. " So you thought I had forgotten him," said Betty again. She raised her hand to her bosom and crushed the lace upon her dress. "Well, you were wrong," she added quietly. Virginia looked at her and smiled. "I am almost glad," she answered in her sweet girlish voice. "I The Woman's Part don't like to have Dan forgotten even if - if he ought to be." "I didn't love him because he ought to be loved," said Betty. "I loved him because I couldn't help it - because he was himself and I was myself , I suppose. I was born to love him, and to stop loving him I should have to be born again. I don't care what he does - I don't care what he is even - I would rather love him than - than be a queen." She held her hands tightly together. "I would be his servant if he would let me," she went on. "I would work for him like a slave - but he won't let me. And yet he does love me just the same - just the same." "He does - he does," admitted Virginia softly. She had never seen Betty like this before, and she felt that her sister had become suddenly very strange and very sacred. Her hands were outstretched to comfort, but Betty turned gently away from her and went up the narrow staircase to the bare little room where the girls slept together. Alone within the four white walls she moved breathlessly to and fro like a woodland creature that has been entrapped. At the moment she was telling herself that she wanted to keep onward with the army; then her courage would have fluttered upward like the flags. It was not the sound of the...


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