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The Battle-Ground, ch. II

Ellen Glasgow

        BY the light of the big moon hanging like a lantern in the topmost pine upon a distant mountain, the child sped swiftly along the turnpike.

        It was a still, clear evening, and on the summits of the eastern hills a fringe of ragged firs stood out illuminated against the sky. In the warm June weather the whole land was fragrant from the flower of the wild grape.

        When she had gone but a little way, the noise of wheels reached her suddenly, and she shrank into the shadow beside the wall. A cloud of dust chased toward her as the wheels came steadily on. They were evidently ancient, for they turned with a protesting creak which was heard long before the high, old-fashioned coach they carried swung into view—long indeed before the driver's whip cracked in the air.

        As the coach neared the child, she stepped boldly out into the road—it was only Major Lightfoot, the owner of the next plantation, returning, belated, from the town.

        "W'at you doin' dar, chile?" demanded a stern voice from the box, and, at the words, the Major's head was thrust through the open window, and his long white hair waved in the breeze.