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[506] breathless, with bag, basket and umbrella, to meet the approaching train.

Once embarked, I ceased to hear or see them, as only two or three had entered the same car—one of them an officer. Fortunately, as it then seemed to me, I found an acquaintance aboard, returning from New York. We fell into conversation, and as time went on our mutual war experiences became naturally the theme of discourse I told him of the recent encounter I had had with a raiding party of Kilpatrick's men, and received some thrilling incidents of his own in return.

At Salisbury, as the train stopped, a party of half a dozen or more Federal soldiers pressed noisily into the car, and approached my companion.

‘See here!’ the spokesman began; ‘you have been talking too much. You can't abuse us that way, you and her’ (indicating me), ‘and not get paid up for it. Come out here and we'll fix you,’ adding the usual accompaniment of oaths and imprecations.

I saw the face opposite blanch, and knew it was no time for me to shrink. I rose and stood between him and them.

‘I am the person to blame,’ I said, ‘and I will meet the consequences.’

‘We don't fight women,’ one of them said, doggedly.

‘You don't!’ was my indignant response, roused now to the pitch of recklessness. ‘You have conquered the Confederacy by fighting women. If you had met the men alone upon the field, and not skulked into their homes and murdered their wives and children by fire and famine, we would now be free and not subjected to such insults as this. Even now you don't dare to fight man to man, but come, six of you, to fight one, as is your cowardly habit.’

Something and much more to this purpose I hurled at the waiting combatants, and then turned to the officer who had passed silent ‘on the other side.’

‘Do you stand there and see your subordinates committing such outrages, and not exert your authority? Will you allow this sort of thing in your very presence?’

He rose as I spoke and came forward, said a few words in a peremptory voice, and the men went out, muttering and cursing.

The train moved on, but it was long before I recovered calmness. After a while the officer approached with a handful of ripe peaches, stood for a few moments in the aisle by my side, while I gazed steadily out of the window, apparently unconscious of his presence.

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