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ETCHING: PRO MEMORIA Edit

By Maidie E. Babnitz Edit

Written lot Short Stories 1893.

The eternal prairies stretching away — beyond the ken of time and space, and out of the barren flatness a naked, purple mountain rising abruptly, as if to say: "With God all things are possible,"

This, and in the shadow of this great rock in the weary land, a handful of low stone and adobe buildings, constituting a one-company Arizonian post.

They stood together in the early morning, he and she, where the earth was coolest by the mountain; their hands were interclasped, but there was no need of speech between them; they read each other's thoughts. He was making a tremendous effort to appear composed in the presence of his men, she was strangely calm.

The fifty bronzed soldiers drawn up stiffly, with arms reversed, in regulation fashion, had, moved by a common impulse, uncovered their heads and relapsed into more than disciplined silence.

As the flag was lifted from the tiny casket the wailing funeral dirge ceased, and a voice, purer, gentler, bore on the refrain so tenderly that the words of the burial service fell without pain, even on the ears of mourning.

"Thy will be done." The voice grew tremulous, faltered and stopped, and the men finished their work of filling up the grave in silence, rolling a boulder above it to mark the Spot,

Then the terrible, merciless sun came out in the land of the Lachalatos, withering every intimation of green life, and converting the hard alkaline soil into a furnace.

The prairie dogs went back to their holes, the men to the barracks, and over the waste a bugle for guard mounting sounded sweet, and wild, and clear — and the duties of the day had commenced.

The commanding officer and his wife walked back to their quarters, where she busied herself collecting and locking away in a drawer numerous dainty garments, a broken doll and a woolly lamb that had outlived their usefulness.

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