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    Chapter 15

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    Chapter 15
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    CHAPTER XV - GENERAL ALISON TO MRS. DRAKE, THE COLONEL'S WIFE

    To return, now, to where I was, and tell you the rest. We shall
    never know how she came to be there; there is no way to account for
    it. She was always watching for black and shiny and spirited
    horses - watching, hoping, despairing, hoping again; always giving
    chase and sounding her call, upon the meagrest chance of a
    response, and breaking her heart over the disappointment; always
    inquiring, always interested in sales-stables and horse
    accumulations in general. How she got there must remain a mystery.

    At the point which I had reached in a preceding paragraph of this
    account, the situation was as follows: two horses lay dying; the
    bull had scattered his persecutors for the moment, and stood
    raging, panting, pawing the dust in clouds over his back, when the
    man that had been wounded returned to the ring on a remount, a poor
    blindfolded wreck that yet had something ironically military about
    his bearing - and the next moment the bull had ripped him open and
    his bowls were dragging upon the ground: and the bull was charging
    his swarm of pests again. Then came pealing through the air a
    bugle-call that froze my blood - "IT IS I, SOLDIER - COME!" I
    turned; Cathy was flying down through the massed people; she
    cleared the parapet at a bound, and sped towards that riderless
    horse, who staggered forward towards the remembered sound; but his
    strength failed, and he fell at her feet, she lavishing kisses upon
    him and sobbing, the house rising with one impulse, and white with
    horror! Before help could reach her the bull was back again -

    She was never conscious again in life. We bore her home, all
    mangled and drenched in blood, and knelt by her and listened to her
    broken and wandering words, and prayed for her passing spirit, and
    there was no comfort - nor ever will be, I think. But she was
    happy, for she was far away under another sky, and comrading again
    with her Rangers, and her animal friends, and the soldiers. Their
    names fell softly and caressingly from her lips, one by one, with
    pauses between. She was not in pain, but lay with closed eyes,
    vacantly murmuring, as one who dreams. Sometimes she smiled,
    saying nothing; sometimes she smiled when she uttered a name - such
    as Shekels, or BB, or Potter. Sometimes she was at her fort,
    issuing commands; sometimes she was careering over the plain at the
    head of her men; sometimes she was training her horse; once she
    said, reprovingly, "You are giving me the wrong foot; give me the
    left - don't you know it is good-bye?"

    After this, she lay silent some time; the end was near. By-and-by
    she murmured, "Tired . . . sleepy . . . take Cathy, mamma." Then,
    "Kiss me, Soldier." For a little time, she lay so still that we
    were doubtful if she breathed. Then she put out her hand and began
    to feel gropingly about; then said, "I cannot find it; blow
    'taps.'" It was the end.
    Chapter 15
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