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suspicious and tyrannical. If it was to be like
this they would give up the house to us,
fixings and all, and go right away to their
married daughter at Penaquoddy.

Rabenstein interrupted them by drawing
his six-shooter. "I don't mean no harm,"
he said, "old folks, but if that nigger of
yours keeps loafing about behind my chair
with that hatchet of his, I'll put a bullet
in him sure as there's scales on an
alligator; verstehen, sie?"

That night we went to bed by no means
reassured. We remained for an hour talking,
for the harvest moon was glowing like
a yellow lamp over the corn-fields, and the
windows had no blinds. We discussed our
danger, and resolved, if surprised, to die
fighting; for with Rabenstein lame, and
myself still worse, escape on foot was
impossible. "And if the time does come, I'll
just keep my last barrel for that old skunk
below," said Rabenstein.

My sleep was first, and about four o'clock
I awoke and took my place in an old
beehive chair by the window, near my bed,
and opposite the locked cupboard which
had already roused my comrade's

"Sapperment," he said, drowsily, as he
turned in between the sheets, "wie heiss
ist es, vas is dis for thoonder, verstehen
sie?" and in a minute or two after his pipe
dropped from his mouth on the floor, and
he fell asleep murmuring his favourite
lamentation, "Wo sind die tapfre

There was thunder in the air, and the
night was oppressively hot, the sky
black, sullen, and starless. I opened the
window and listened; no sound but a
distant, uneasy muttering. It must have
been near daybreak that, overcome with
fatigue and the thunder heat, I fell asleep.
My dreams were unpleasant. I dreamt
the floor suddenly broke into a blaze under
my feet, and that through the flames I saw
the rifles of a whole rebel regiment pointed
at us, while the old farmer sniggered in a
corner at our discomfiture. I awoke once,
and thought I heard the sound of hoofs,
and fancied some of the Reb cavalry had
already got upon our track. Then I dreamt
that the old couple had poisoned us, and as
we lay writhing and helpless in the agonies
of death they came to our bedside, and
with hideous faces, distorted by malice and
revenge, taunted us with being so easily

The sharp, clear report of a pistol awoke
me. In a moment I had seized my sword
and roused Rabenstein. My first thought
was that the old man had murdered the
young German as he slept, and that the
next barrel was to seal my fate. But I
was mistaken; the shot, I felt, directly I
was quite awake, must have been fired
through the open window at one of us.

It was light enough to see everything in
the room, and as we stared at each other,
uncertain from whence an assailant might
spring upon us, Rabenstein, with a ghostly
look of fixed horror that seemed to turn
his face into stone, pointed to the
cupboard door. Yes, there from beneath it
was creeping out a winding stream of
thick crimson blood, which, in a moment,
widened over the floor almost to our very

"Some one has been murdered there," I
said, and I flew at the door, and tried to
break it open with my heavy cavalry sabre.
There was a crash within as of some one
falling, but no reply to our cries. Rabenstein,
always more hot and excitable than
myself, solved the question in a prompt
way. Placing his revolver to the keyhole,
he blew the door open with a single shot.

In a moment we dragged down the planks
and beheld, not a man weltering in his blood,
but a great broken bottle of preserved
red currants, which, newly corked, had
fermented with the heat, and had exploded
in the alarming manner I have described.
The flowing red juice under the door might
have alarmed persons with less reason to
be suspicious than ourselves.

"Vas ist dis for a voonder?" said
Rabenstein, still unconvinced, and poking
among the bottle of preserves with the
point of his sword.

We got rarely laughed at when we told
the story the next morning to the old
farmer and his wife, and from that time
till the day we left, about three weeks
afterwards, to join our regiment, we lived
in great harmony with the old couple,
whom we found, the moment our suspicions
were dispelled, and we could see facts by
the clear light of common sense, to be the
most harmless people in the world.



WHEN John Miles reached home on Saturday
afternoon, he found that a poor woman
in a distant part of the parish lay dying,
and had sent more than once to ask for
him. 'Liza was much put out at her master's