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HOME > Classical Novels > The Blue Balloon > CHAPTER XVII.WHAT CAME OF IT ALL.
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 When we found him, he was lying completely covered by the body of the elder boy, and if we had not come up when we did, he must have been suffocated1. The sergeant2 of the firing party, a rough brute3, who was captured, and who explained the matter to us and pointed4 out the boys, said, with tears in his eyes, that he had never seen such a piece of heroism5. Ephraim had evidently caught sight of some of our men in the wood, and knew that in a moment or two the fight must begin. At the same time he believed that the movement would be too late to stop the fire of the platoon, and even as the word was upon the sergeant’s lips, flung himself in front of Lucius, deliberately6 offering his own life to save that of his friend. As a matter of fact, all his wounds are from our men and in the back; but for all that, they are as glorious as any received in front by our brave fellows to-day.’  
‘“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” It was splendid!’
The full, earnest voice stirred a faint memory in Luce’s dull brain. He looked wearily up into the kind face bent7 anxiously over him. ‘My General!’ he murmured, and closed his eyes again.
Stonewall Jackson laid his hand caressingly8 upon the fair, curly head.
‘Poor fellow!’ he said. ‘Will he pull through, doctor, do you think?’
‘Oh yes; I trust so,’ replied the surgeon. ‘His ankle is badly shattered, and he will limp for the rest of his days; but I think we shall be able to save the foot.’
‘And Ephraim?’ asked the General.
The mournful sigh smote9 heavily on Luce’s ear. He was still drowsy10 and stupid from the combined effect of shock and the chloroform which had been administered to him before the ball had been extracted from his leg; but at the sound of that dreary11 monosyllable his senses quickened, he opened his eyes again, and looked vacantly round.
For an instant the unfamiliar12 surroundings of the field hospital confused him; but in a flash full consciousness returned, the whole of the terrible scene in which he had lately borne a part rose before him, and with a shriek13 he struggled up on his mattress14, supporting himself upon his hands.
‘Ephraim! Ephraim!’ he wailed15. ‘Where are you? You are not dead. You can’t be dead. Oh, and you died for me!’
Then, as his eyes fell upon something stretched beside him, very calm and still, he writhed16 round, regardl............
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