It was Marta who first saw the speck in the sky. Her outcry and her bound from her seat at the tea-table brought her mother and Colonel Westerling after her onto the lawn, where they became motionless figures, screening their eyes with their hands.
The colonel of the regiment was not a good soldier, and the regiment was at that time very far from being in the high condition which it afterwards attained. Even in that one evening I saw several things which shocked me, for I had a high standard, and it went to my heart to see an ill-arranged camp, an ill-groomed horse, or a slovenly trooper.
A vision rose before Maurice's eyes that impressed him deeply; it was Colonel de Vineuil, who loomed suddenly from out the mist, sitting his horse, erect and motionless, at the intersection of two roads the man appearing of preternatural size, and so pale and rigid that he might have served a sculptor as a study for a statue of despair; the steed shivering in the raw, chill air of morning, his dilated nostrils turned in the direction of the distant firing.
He could not live and continue to endure the feelings which he had suffered while sitting down-stairs at his desk, with the knowledge that Colonel Osborne was closeted with his wife up-stairs. It might be that there was nothing in it. That his wife was innocent he was quite sure.
"All right, Colonel," answered Stilton in that hoarse growl which is apt to mark the old cavalry officer. "Where shall we find you if we want a fresh order?" "I shall be with Colburn, in rear of Gildersleeve. That is our centre. But never mind me; you know what the battle is to be, and you know how to fight it.
Lunch stopped her for awhile, but, thoroughly interested, she carried the book up to her room and immediately began to read again. When she went down to the porch before dinner that evening, she did not say to herself in so many words that maybe the Colonel would notice what she was reading, but it was with the hope that he would that she carried the book with her.
He found Colonel Tourtellotte's garrison composed of eight hundred and ninety men; his reenforcement was one thousand and fifty-four: total for the defense, nineteen hundred and forty-four. The outposts were already engaged, and as soon as daylight came he drew back the men from the village to the ridge on which the redoubts were built.
I gulped and the tears sprang into my eyes; whereupon Terence, in defiance of all military laws, laid his gun against the doorpost and put his arms around me, and I confided my fears. It was at this critical juncture that the door opened and Colonel Clark came out. "What's to do here?" he demanded, gazing at us sternly.
It will do him good, by opening his eyes!" "Very well; let him be ready to-morrow morning. I will let Colonel Miller know of the arrangement." "Jack," exclaimed my father when San Martin had gone, "this is a great honour for you. I don't expect the protector will take any one else, except Guido, who goes with him everywhere.
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