The Search (Chapter 6, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 6

They were almost meeting now and Cameron's eyes were straight ahead staring hard at the big green shape of the theatre a quarter of a mile away. His face under its usual control showed no sign of the tumult in his heart, which flamed with a sudden despair against a fate that had placed him in such a desperate situation. If there were a just power who controlled the affairs of men, how could it let such things happen to one who had always tried to live up upright life? It seemed for that instant as if all the unfairness and injustice of his own hard life had culminated in that one moment when he would have to do or not do and bear the consequences.

Then suddenly out from the barracks close at hand with brisk step and noble bearing came Captain La Rue, swinging down the walk into the road straight between the two men and stopped short in front of Cameron with a light of real welcome in his eyes, as he lifted his hand to answer the salute which the relieved Cameron instantly flashed at him.

In that second Lieutenant Wainwright flung past them with a curt salute to the higher officer and a glare at the corporal which the latter seemed not to see. It was so simultaneous with Cameron's salute of La Rue that nobody on earth could say that the salute had not included the lieutenant, yet both the lieutenant and the corporal knew that it had not; and Wainwright's brow was dark with intention as he turned sharply up the walk to the barracks which the captain had just left.

"I was just coming in search of you, Cameron," said the captain with a twinkle in his eyes, and his voice was clearly distinct to Wainwright as he loitered in the barracks doorway to listen, "I went down to Washington yesterday and put in the strongest plea I knew how for your transfer. I hope it will go through all right. There is no one else out for the job and you are just the man for the place. It will be a great comfort to have you with me."

A few more words and the busy man moved on eluding Cameron's earnest thanks and leaving him to pursue his course to the Y.M.C.A. hut with a sense of soothing and comfort. It never occurred to either of them that their brief conversation had been overheard, and would not have disturbed them if it had.

Lieutenant Wainwright lingered on the steps of the barracks with a growing curiosity and satisfaction. The enemy were playing right into his hands: both the enemy--for he hated Captain La Rue as sin always hates the light.

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