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A Hero of the Pen by E. Werner

Frederic marched forward on the designated way


"What

an infernal night this is! This blue-eyed German has brought us all three into mortal danger! But Jane is right, I ought not to go out--it is better for them to arrange this among themselves. She must find him in the park. He can be nowhere else."

CHAPTER XXVI.

A Mortal Agony.

The broad, forest-like park of the castle of S. lay bathed in the clearest moonlight and enveloped in the deepest silence, interrupted only now and then by the heavy tread of the patrols, who at the captain's order were pacing up and down. They had finished their round through the principal avenue, without encountering any suspicious person, and had now separated according to the orders given them, to explore the adjoining thickets and pathways. Frederic took the left, the other two the right, and they were to meet again on the terrace.

Slowly, his musket in hand, Frederic marched forward on the designated way. He needed not to hasten; there was plenty of time; nor to step lightly, a thing always exceedingly difficult for him; he had as before stated, met nothing suspicious on his round. Frederic was not fitted for any service demanding great intelligence, but he perfectly understood and would conscientiously execute the command to keep his eyes and ears open, to hold the strictest

watch possible over all around, and at the slightest disturbance, hasten back to the castle to give the alarm. This responsible service had one great advantage for Frederic; it demanded his strictest attention, and left him no time for unavailing regrets over his master's absence, or troubled apprehensions as to his fate.

He had gone over a part of his beat, and was now close by the statue of Flora, which reared its white, moon-lighted form in the midst of a broad, grassy expanse. It had been particularly impressed upon him not to pass the shell-covered grotto near by without throwing a sharp glance within. Just as he reached the statue, he paused, and placed his hand on the lock of his musket. But he lowered the weapon even before a cry of alarm had broken from his lips. A long, white dress, beneath a dark travelling cloak, had betrayed a woman's form looming up behind the shrubbery; and as the figure now stepped out into the full moonlight, he recognized Miss Forest.

Frederic's earlier suspicion began to rise stronger than ever; he still clung obstinately to the idea that the strangers were spies, and that the "American Miss" was the most dangerous of the three. Her being a woman was nothing in her favor; no man could excel her in cleverness, and this strange, solitary meeting, gave new ground for Frederic's suspicion.

"What are you doing here in the park, Miss Forest?" he asked mistrustfully. "You should be more on your guard. Our password must be unknown to you, and if it had not been for your dress, I should have shot you."

Jane paid no heed to the warning; she stepped still nearer, and stood close before him. "Is it you, Frederic? Thank God that I have at least, found _you_!" she said.

Frederic was little inclined to echo this "thank God!" in the ardor of his military duty, he might have repelled her roughly, but remembrance of the words of his master fettered his tongue, and made every harsh tone impossible.

"Go back, Miss!" he said. "You must not remain here, and I cannot allow you to wander around in this way."


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