Page images
PDF
EPUB

dering the odium of practically censuring the Administration of which he was so recently a member. For that was what his letter amounted to; he knew it and they knew it. Verily, it is not strange that some who would have shrunk from the duty should call him “rash” for doing what he did. They did not know the man. It was enough for him that it was duty, that it was right. He never had other standard than that.

So the army came home, his Rough-Riders with it, ragged, sore, famished, enfeebled, with yawning gaps in its ranks, but saved; they to tell of his courage and unwearying patience; how in the fight he was always where the bullets flew thickest, until he seemed to them to have a charmed life; how, when it was over, as they lay out in the jungle and in the trenches at night, they found him always there, never tiring of looking after his men, of seeing that the wounded were cared for and the well were fed; ready to follow him through thick and thin wherever he led, but unwilling to loaf in camp or to do police duty when the country was no longer in need of them to fight; he to be hailed by his grateful fellow-citizens with the call to

step up higher.” Once more the right had prevailed, and the counsel of expediency been shamed. Roosevelt's Rough-Riders had written their name in history.

They were the finest fellows, and they were dead game. It was the privilege of a lifetime to have commanded such a regiment. It was a hard campaign, but they were beautiful days, and we won.

We were lying in the grass at his tent, under the starry August sky. Taps had been sounded long since.

The Colonel's eye wandered thoughtfully down the long line of white tents in which the lights were dying out one by one. From a darker line in front, where a thousand horses were tethered, quietly munching their supper, came an occasional low whinnying. That and the washing of the surf on the distant beach were the only sounds that broke the stillness of the night. A bright meteor shot athwart the sky, leaving a shining trail, and fell far out beyond the lighthouse. We watched it in silence. I know what my thoughts were. He knew his own.

Oh, well!” he said, with a half-sigh, and arose, so all things pass away. But they were beautiful days.

I knocked the ashes from my cigar, and we went in.

IX

RULING BY THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

« PreviousContinue »