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A Woman's Way

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The hoproom at Fort MoKibben was gay with flags; the floor was like a burnished mirror; nearly all the married offioers were tbere with their wives and daughters, and of conrse not a bachelor was missing; the gold lace on the nnifornas glittered in the blaze of many lights; women who in the daytime were nieraly ordinary moríais had taken on with their evening gowns an air of spirituelle beauty ; a waltz had just ended, and the danoers were collected in groups, talking and laughiug ; the cornetist of the band was playing a eolol when Captain and Mrs. Kingsley came into the room. The cornetisfc caught his breath and 3ost a note, but no one notioed. The talking aud laughing ceased. Bvery one knew that Mrs. Kingsley was the most beautiful womau in the army, but no one had ever seen her as beautiful as she was that nigbt. She was very tall, with a full yet slender figure of surpassing grace. Her faair and eyes were dark. Her skin was creamy white, with a real rose tinge iu her cheeks. She wore a black gown, and her shouldors gleamed above the chiffon that draped the bodice. The simile is haokneyed, but her eyes ■were indeed as bright as the diamonds ín her hair. A great red rose burned over toer heart, and as she stuod in the doorway beside her husband she made a piciure that could not be ignored. Every one looked at her, but she looked at Captain Howard only, who was standing alone, and who, after gazing at her a moment as if spellbound, went toward her. Her eyes were solemn, her mouth nnsmiling, as she gave him her hand. "Well, Howard," said Captain Kingsley oordially, laying his haud on Captain Howard's sboulder. They had been roonumates at West Point and firm iriends from tbat time on. "How are you, Rob?" said Captain Howard constrainedly. "Why, what's the matter?" said Captain Kingsley. "You look as solemn as n owl." "I feel just as I look," said Captain Howard. "Mrs. Kingsley, may I have the next dance?" "I hope it isn't the thonght of dancing with me that depresses you," Mrs. Kingsley said, making an effort to speak lightly. "I ueed not answer that," said Captain Howard. The musio began, and Mrs. Kingsley Dodded and smiled to her husband as she danced away with Captain Howard. For a few mornents neither spoke. Then his arm grew tense around her, trat he did not draw her closer. "Great beavens! This is terrible!" Mts. Kiugsley whispered. "I wonder if you can imagine how like a traitor I feel?" said Captain Howard. "I am devoted to Rob, yet ihëre I am, trying to steal his wife. " "But yon cannot feel as mnoh like a traitor as I do, for after all his goodnesa to me - his anfailing love- I want to fee stolen." He stopped dancing and offered her tis arm. They went out on to the porcu. At the farther end of it he turnea toward her, and she stepped back from iiim a little wav. "This cannot go on forever, " he said. "Do you really love me?" she asked. "You know it." "And do you know how I love you?" "Yes." For a moment ene looked into bis yes, then she beid out her hands to hia. "No," he said firmly, taking them, lint holding her away from him, "I still have some sense of honor. If Rob were not my friend, it would be different, but as it is you must eitber go away with me and be mine altogether or you must stay here and be only bis. " "But if I go away with you it will break Bob's heart. " "I can break his heart without compunction, but I cannot kiss his wife out faere in the dark and then go back iuto the hoproom and speak to him as a trusted friend." She looked at hiin scrutinizingly. " What a curious thing a man is," ehe said. "My sense of honor wonld be atisfied if I could keep him from knowing, for I would bate to hurt his feelings. " "Tben I am afraid that 70U have 110 sense of honor, " he said smiling. "Yes, I have," she said, without the lightest resentmeut in her voioe. "I wouldn't do any thing if he were away, ■but when he is here to take care of me nnd to defend hia own honor 1 really don't think tbat it is very wrong for me to do anything I can without his onding out." "What a ourious thing a woman ia," be said mockiugly, but leniently. ''However, it is easy for a man to overlook a great many weaknesses and shortoomings in the woman he loves. " "And when a woman lovea man he overlooks notbing, " said Mrs. Kingsley. "It would grieve me to death if you were willing to deceive Rob. I am happy in my love for you beeanae 1 believe that if I did run away with you you would be as true to me as ron are to him. ' ' "And will you go with me?" " Won't you kiss me unless I do?" "No, " he answered, lookiug at her Bteadily. She thougbt for a momeut. "Then - I will go," she said. "Alioe," 6aid Captain Kingsley's voice close beside her, "Iuniutentionally overheard what you eaid. I was bringing your wrap to you." He laid the cape about her shoulders as he spoke. "Come home with me. Howard, meet me in the morning, half au hour before reveille, at the target range. " He aeemed to speak mechanioally. There was no feeliug in his voice, no expressioa of pain or of anger on his face. Captain Howard bent his head in silent agreement, and Captain and Mrs. Kingsley walked slowly homeward side by side. The dawn was glimmering in the east, the birds twittered in a desultory fashion, the dew was heavy on the trodden grass, when Captain Kingsley and Captain Howard met on the target range. "Yon brought your pistol?" said Captain Khigsley. "No, " said Captain Howard. "That is just like you, " Baid Captain Kingsley. "I suspected that you would aot bring one, so 1 brought two. " He handed one to Captain Howard as he 8poke. "I don't want it, Rob," said Captain Howard, taking it reluctantly. "How oan I raise it against you? You have done me no injury." Captain Kingsley walked five paces away from Captain Howard. "Are you ready?" he said, turning toward bim. "Yes." "Then count three and flre. " The two shots raiig out Kimultaneonsly. Neither man was touohed. "Whydid you do that?" said Captain Kingsley, frowning. "Why did you?" said Captain Howard. "I gave you a chance to revenga yourself . ' ' " What good would revenge do me?" aaid Captain Kingsley. "I think that my only wish is to put myself out of her way. Do you mean to shoot me or do you not?" "I do not," said Captain Howard. "You leave me no alternative. I must do it myself, " said Captain Kingsley. And he did. He was buried with military honors in the post cemetery. The papers announoed that while he and his friend, Captain Howard, were shooting at a mark hia pistol had gone off ly and killed bim. The evening after the funeral Mra. Kingsley was sittiug in her drawing room when Captain Howard came in. "Alice,"'he naid, "dreadful as thia bas been I cannot regret it, for it gives you to me." She looked at him, bnt blankly as if ehe did not see. "What is the matter?" ha said. "Don't you love me any more?" "Iiove you? Yes, but that has nothing to do with it, " she answered. " What do you mean?" "I mean that I am going away tomorrow. ' ' "And when may I come?" "You? Why, uever." "Aren't you going to marry me?" "You don't suppose that Icould marry you after this? When Rob was alive and at home, I -would have done auything - anything- but, as I have told you before, if he had been away I ■would have bebaved in a most exemplary manner. Now that he oan never come back - now that I am left alone to uphold the honor of his name, do yon dream tbat I would marry you of all people? My sense of honor forbids it." She smiled wanly, but there was


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