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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XXIII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XXIII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Elma&#8217;s Aftermath</h2> <p>After General Dru had given orders for the care of the wounded and the disposition of the prisoners, he dismissed his staff and went quietly out into the starlight. He walked among the dead and wounded and saw that everything possible was being done to alleviate suffering. Feeling weary he sat for a moment upon a dismembered gun.</p> <p>As he looked over the field of carnage and saw what havoc the day had made, he thought of the Selwyns and the Thors, whose selfishness and greed were responsible for it all, and he knew that they and their kind would have to meet an awful charge before the judgment seat of God. Within touch of him lay a boy of not more than seventeen, with his white face turned towards the stars. One arm was shattered and a piece of shell had torn a great red wound in the side of his chest. Dru thought him dead, but he saw him move and open his eyes. He removed a coat from a soldier that lay dead beside him and pillowed the boy&#8217;s head upon it, and gave him some water and a little brandy.</p> <p>&#8220;I am all in, Captain,&#8221; said he, &#8220;but I would like a message sent home.&#8221; He saw that Dru was an officer but he had no idea who he was. &#8220;I only enlisted last week. I live in Pennsylvania--not far from here.&#8221; Then more faintly--&#8220;My mother tried to persuade me to remain at home, but I wanted to do my share, so here I am--as you find me. Tell her--tell her,&#8221; but the message never came--for he was dead.</p> <p>After he had covered the pain-racked, ghastly face, Dru sat in silent meditation, and thought of the shame of it, the pity of it all. Somewhere amongst that human wreckage he knew Gloria was doing what she could to comfort the wounded and those that were in the agony of death.</p> <p>She had joined the Red Cross Corps of the insurgent army at the beginning of hostilities, but Dru had had only occasional glimpses of her. He was wondering now, in what part of that black and bloody field she was. His was the strong hand that had torn into fragments these helpless creatures; hers was the gentle hand that was softening the horror, the misery of it all. Dru knew there were those who felt that the result would never be worth the cost and that he, too, would come in for a measurable share of their censure. But deep and lasting as his sympathy was for those who had been brought into this maelstrom of war, yet, pessimism found no lodgment within him, rather was his great soul illuminated with the thought that with splendid heroism they had died in order that others might live the better. Twice before had the great republic been baptized in blood and each time the result had changed the thought and destiny of man. And so would it be now, only to greater purpose. Never again would the Selwyns and the Thors be able to fetter the people.</p> <p>Free and unrestrained by barriers erected by the powerful, for selfish purposes, there would now lie open to them a glorious and contented future. He had it in his thoughts to do the work well now that it had been begun, and to permit no misplaced sentiment to deter him. He knew that in order to do what he had in mind, he would have to reckon with the habits and traditions of centuries, but, seeing clearly the task before him he must needs become an iconoclast and accept the consequences. For two days and nights he had been without sleep and under a physical and mental strain that would have meant disaster to any, save Philip Dru. But now he began to feel the need of rest and sleep, so he walked slowly back to his tent.</p> <p>After giving orders that he was not to be disturbed, he threw himself as he was upon his camp bed, and, oblivious of the fact that the news of his momentous victory had circled the globe and that his name was upon the lips of half the world, he fell into a dreamless, restful sleep.</p>
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