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[64]

“Do you desire to pray?” they asked.

“ No,” was his reply again. “I am ready to die, and don't fear death.”

“ Have you nothing to say?” they asked, astonished at his coolness.

“ Yes,” he replied, “I have something to say that may interest you.”

“Out with it then,” said one.

He then told them very coolly that they were United States soldiers, acting in the discharge of their duties, and that they, as citizens, had no right to interrupt them; that the general under whose orders they (the scouts) were acting would retaliate promptly if a hair of their heads were injured, and their sons in the Confederate army might be the men on whom the retaliation would fall. He told them farther, that he and Gray belonged to different regiments, and that if they were hung, their regiments, which were sure to come thither, would burn every dollar's worth of property they possessed, and hang every man concerned in the transaction. “If,” he continued, “you are prepared to abide these consequences, I am.”

The ringleaders now withdrew for a short time, for consultation, leaving the two scouts under a guard. After a little they returned, took them back to Talbot's house, and untied them, and Mrs. Talbot gave them a bountiful breakfast. Talbot himself was a villain; he had attempted the preceding night to murder them, after giving his pledge that not a hair of their heads should be touched, and had only failed because his gun would not go off. He and Chamberlain now promised to take them to Edgefield, and as they had

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