The Bishop’s great, sympathetic soul went out to the poor fellow, and though he had rather spend the next two miles of Ben Butler’s slow journey to church in thinking over his sermon, he never failed, as he termed it, “to pick up charity even on the road-side,” and it was pretty to see how the old man would turn loose his crude histrionic talent to amuse the slubber. He knew, too, that Bud was foolish about horses, and that Ben Butler was his model!
This version has it that on the morning the two Harpes burnt Stegall’s house, they arose and asked Mrs. Stegall to prepare breakfast for them. She consented to do so, explaining that since her child was not well and she had no one to nurse it the meal would necessarily be somewhat long in preparation. The men then suggested that she place the baby in the cradle and let them rock it. This she did. “After Mrs. Stegall had prepared their breakfast and the ruthless and savage murderers had partaken of her hospitality, she went to the cradle to see if the child was asleep, expressing some astonishment (as Micajah Harpe acknowledged when he was afterward taken) that her child should remain quiet for so great a length of time.... She beheld her tender, harmless, and helpless infant lying breathless, with its throat cut from ear to ear.... But the relentless monsters stayed not their bloody hands for the tears and heart-broken wailings of a bereaved mother. They instantly dispatched her, with the same instrument (a butcher knife) with which they
“We might shout our heads off,” he said, “and he’d never answer; if he’s really trying to scare us. That’s part of his lovable nature. There’s just one way to track him, in double time. Lad!”
Listening he presently decided in his own mind that the ferocious cries of the assailants seemed somewhat subdued. This might spring from the fact that so many had already gone down under that merciless spraying process. It was also possible that those who were left had become disheartened, and were by degrees giving it up.
“Well, as yet they’re not so sure they can hold the advanced line. They fully expect to be attacked between now and morning, when there’ll be some more terrible work going on; only this time it must be up to the Turks to do the attacking.”
He paused a moment, but no one made any comment—unless Turner's slight nod of the head could be regarded as an invitation for him to continue.
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