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written by "Harte, Bret, 1836-1902"
...o me! Then hate, despise me—kill me if you will. For you are betrayed and ruined—cut off and surrounded! It has been helped on by me, but I swear to you the blow did not come from MY hand. I would have saved you. God only knows how it happened—it was Fate!" In an instant Brant saw the whole truth instinctively and clearly. But with the revelation came the usual calmness and perfect self-possession which never yet had failed him in any emergency. With the sound of the increasing cannonade and its shifting position made clearer to his ears, the view of his whole threatened position spread out like a map before his eyes, the swift calculation of the time his men could hold the ridge in his mind—even a hurried estimate of the precious moments he could give to the wretched woman before him—he even then, gravely and gently, led her to a chair and said in a calm voice,— "That is not enough! Speak slowly, plainly. I must know everything. How and in what way have you betrayed me?" She looked at him imploringly—reassured, yet awed by his gentleness. "You won't believe me; you cannot believe me! for I do not even know. I have taken and exchanged letters—whose contents I never saw—between the Confederates and a spy who comes to this house, but who is far away by this time. I did it because I thought you hated and despised me because I thought it was my duty to help my cause—because you said it was 'war' between us—but I never spied on you. I swear it." "Then how do you know of this attack?" he said calmly. She brightened, half timidly, half hopefully. "There is a window in the wing of this house that overlooks the slope near the Confederate lines. There was a signal placed in it—not by me—but I know it meant that as long as it was there the plot, whatever it was, was not ripe, and that no attack would be made on you as long as it was visible. Th...

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