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HAVERILL. My own words, yes--but--
EDITH. "His name must take its place, forever, in the roll of names which his countrymen honour."
HAVERILL. Lieutenant Bedloe!
MRS. HAVERILL. Haverill! You did not know?
EDITH. You did not receive mother's letter?--after his death?
HAVERILL. My son! [_Sinking upon chair or ottoman._] I left him alone in his grave, unknown; but my tears fell for him then, as they do now.
He died before I reached him.
EDITH. Father! [_Laying her hand gently on his shoulder._] You shall see Frank's face again. His little son is lying asleep upstairs; and when he wakes up, Frank's own eyes will look into yours. I have just received his last message. I will read it to you. [_Note-book.
Reads._] "Tell our little son how his father died, not how he lived.
And tell her who filled my own mother's place so lovingly." [_She looks at_ MRS. HAVERILL, _moves to her and hides her face in her bosom._] My mother!
MRS. HAVERILL. Edith--my child! Frank loved us both.
EDITH. [_Reading._] "Father's portrait of her, which she gave to me in Charleston--[HAVERILL _starts._]--helped me to be a better man."
HAVERILL. [_Rising to his feet._] Constance!
EDITH. [_Reading._] "It was taken from me in Richmond, and it is in the possession of Captain Edward Thornton."
HAVERILL. One moment! Stop! Let me think! [EDITH _looks at him; retires up stage._] Thornton was a prisoner--and to Kerchival West. A despatch had been found upon him--he was searched! [_He moves to her and takes both her hands in his own, bowing his head over them._] My head is bowed in shame.
MRS. HAVERILL. Speak to me, John, as you used to speak! Tell me you still love me!
HAVERILL. The--the words will come--but they are--choking me--now.
[_Presses her hand to his lips._
MRS. HAVERILL. We will think no more of the past, except of what was bright in it. Frank's memory, and our own love, will be with us always.
_Enter_ BUCKTHORN, _followed by_ HEARTSEASE.
BUCKTHORN. Haverill! You are back from the war, too. It begins to look like peace in earnest.
HAVERILL. Yes. Peace and home. [_Shaking hands with him._ MRS.
HAVERILL _joins_ EDITH.
BARKET. Gineral! [BUCKTHORN _moves to him._ HAVERILL _joins_ MRS.
HAVERILL _and_ EDITH. BARKET _speaks apart, twisting one side of his face._] I kissed her!
BUCKTHORN. Have you sent for a surgeon?
BARKET. I felt as if the inimy had surprised us agin, and Sheridan was sixty miles away.
HAVERILL. This is old Sergeant Barket. [BARKET _salutes._] You were the last man of us all that saw Colonel West.
BARKET. Just afther the battle of Sayder Creek began--whin Colonel Wist rode to the front to mate his retreating rigiment--the byes formed in line, at sight of him, to raysist the victorious inimy. It was just at the brow of a hill--about there, sur--[_Pointing with his cane._] and--here! [_He takes tray from table and sets it on the carpet. Lays the slices of bread in a row._] That be the rigiment.
[_All interested._ MADELINE _and_ ELLINGHAM _enter, and look on._ BARKET _arranges the two cups and saucers in a row._] That be the inimy's batthery, sur. [_Enter_ MARGERY. _She goes to the table; then looks around, sharply, at_ BARKET.
MARGERY. Ye ould Hibernian dhrone! What are yez doin' wid the china on the floor? You'll break it all!
BUCKTHORN. Ah--Margery! Barket is telling us where he last saw Colonel Kerchival West.
MARGERY. The young Colonel! The tay-cups and saucers be's the inimy's batthery? Yez may smash 'em, if ye loike!
BUCKTHORN. Go on, Barket. [JENNY _and_ HEARTSEASE _have entered as_ BARKET _proceeds; the whole party lean forward, intensely interested._ GERTRUDE _enters in hall, looks in, beckons out left._ KERCHIVAL _follows. They move up stage, back of the rest and unseen, listening._
BARKET. Just as the rigiment was rayformed in line, and Colonel Wist was out in front--widout any coat or hat, and wid only a shtick in his hand--we heard cheers in the rear. Gineral Sheridan was coming! One word to the men--and we swept over the batthery like a whirlwind!
[_Slashing his cane through the cups and saucers._
BARKET. The attack on the lift flank was checked. But when we shtopped to take breath, Colonel Wist wasn't wid us. [GERTRUDE _turns lovingly to_ KERCHIVAL. _He places his arm about her._] Heaven knows where he is now. Afther the battle was over, poor Miss Gertrude wint off by hersilf into the wilderness to find him.
KERCHIVAL. My wife! You saved my life, at last! [_Embracing her._
BARKET. They'll niver come together in this world. I saw Miss Gertrude, myself, ride away into the woods and disappear behind a school-house on the battle-field, over there.
GERTRUDE. No, Barket--[_All start and look._]--it was the little church; we were married there this morning!