The Shadow on
Twins by Edward
King Street is a highway that winds along the crest of the sightly
ridge in the southeast corner of Westchester County, doubling and
curving to conform to the contour of the land, and permitting, in these
swervings from right to left, superb views of the distant waters of the
sound and of the hazy blue hills of Long Island to be obtained. It is a
noble highway, broad--for men, when in colonial days this road was
built, were generous of their land--and finely drooping elms and here
and there a warty oak stand like sentinels upon each side. It serves
not only its original purpose as a means for passing to and fro between
the harbor on the sound and the fertile and romantic valley to the
north, but has also in some places been fixed upon as a boundary; so
that if anyone riding from White Plains to the sea should meet another
driving north, and should, therefore, turn to the right, the other
turning to the left to permit easy passage, one would be upon the very
outermost easterly rim of New York State, while the other would be
skirting the extreme western edge of Connecticut. At one point, some
six miles from the sea, the road makes a majestic sweep from east to
west, revealing a glorious panorama of sea as far east as the bluffs
that hem in Huntington Bay, and to the west until the waters appear to
be brought to an abrupt halt by the gloomy Fort Schuyler; while a
far-reaching view of the dissolute rocks of Connecticut gives contrast
to the scene. Back from this point, and concealed from the highway by a
scrubby piece of woodland, stand the melancholy ruins of a house set in
the middle of a dreary and deserted field. So fragile and decayed with
age and neglect does it appear that the wonder is that even the
gentlest breeze had not long ago leveled it. Yet it has resisted
tempests and solitude for more than a hundred years, and when it at
last succumbs it will be with sudden dissipation into natural elements.
It seems now like the skull and skeleton of something once alive. Great
gaping holes, which brown and ragged shingles fringe like shaggy
eyebrows, were once windows, and a yawning, cavernous space below,
defined by moldering beams and scantling, articulated with bent and
rusty nails, tells where once hung a heavy oaken door, now fallen upon
the stone steps that show no signs of age except a cloak of greenish
The wind seems always to be moaning about this remnant, and at night
the screech of the owls awakens echoes of a century, for it is more
than a hundred years since any sound was heard within these walls,
except the mysterious tickings and rumblings with which the forces of
nature destroy what man has made and then neglected, or the fearless
twittering or screech of birds that occupy when men desert. But why so
sightly and pleasing a spot as this must once have been, and might be,
too, again, should have been deserted as though plague-stricken none
are now left to tell. Was it the subtle influences that, like another
atmosphere, were ever present with the Fancher boys and led them to
their irresistible fate? If this be the real though perhaps the
unconscious reason, may it not be true that even in lands where
superstition is believed to be conquered, and facts alone command,
there remain mysterious and unacknowledged tributes in human nature to
the powers which the astrologers and necromancers of the Orient
worship? It is certain that none ever occupied the place after the
Fancher boys had quitted it, and after reading this tradition of their
lives one may judge for himself whether reasons are good for thinking
that in the olden times people believed there rested an evil spell upon
When the earth was shadowed and palled in that great eclipse in the
year 1733, terror seized the people, for nature seemed reversed, and a
stifling calm came over all things, so that the beasts in the field
gave frightened cries, and the dogs bayed, and the fowls, even at
midday, sought their perches. For people were not prepared as now, to
the accuracy of a science, to witness this awful proof of the
stupendous powers and laws of the Almighty.
Just at that hour there had gathered in the Fancher homestead
neighbors, kindly bent on ministering to one in the most sacred of all
necessities. And when the midday shadow began to permeate the
atmosphere, and to grow deeper and denser, and the ghastly light
revealed the other and unusual sights without, the neighbors sat
crouched before the great fire in the living room, close together, and
speaking only in hoarse whispers, casting half-averted glances from the
window into the weird light beyond. But one, a motherly matron, was in
the inner room, whence once she appeared with gloomy countenance,
saying, "It were better that it were dead, for this will blight its
And the neighbors asked in whispers, not for the child but for the
mother, and the matron replied, "She does not know that the sun was
darkened when the baby came to us."
By and by the matron came into the great room bearing a burden in
her pillowed arms and, having lifted the blanket of soft wool, she
permitted her friends to peer at the little child.
"Is it--does it live?" one asked.
"Pity it, for it does. It is a boy, and he will be dark, and fierce,
and who knows what; for do you suppose that such a thing as that which
happened to the sun will not prevail over one who at that moment came
And the infant even then opened his eyes upon them, and they saw
that, though so long as women remembered there had been none of the
Fanchers, or the maternal Brushes, whose eyes were not the gentlest
blue, yet this one stretched apart lids that revealed eyes that were
surely dark and promised, when puerility had gone, to be the deepest
black; and even the little tufts of hair were dark, and some of the
matrons were sure that their penetrating eyes detected a swarthy
undercolor beneath the smooth skin of the cheek.
"He does not cry," said one.
"No, but his fists are doubled," said another.
"They always are: that signifies nothing," said the matron. "Aye,
but not clenched and firm with resistance like his." "If he would cry,
I would like it," continued the first.
"I doubt if he ever sheds a tear," said the matron who bore him upon
And then the father came and looked for many moments upon his first
born, and at length he said, "His name shall be Daniel."
Then, when the shadow on the earth had gone and the women were about
to go, there came again a moment when the motherly matron looked from
the inner room for an instant, and though she did not speak not a woman
there failed to read her thoughts, so fine is women's intuition at such
times, and they gathered about the fire again speaking with hushed
voices and looking upon each other with anxious glances. And just as
the sun was setting behind White Plains hills the matron came again,
bearing another burden gently, and, as she lifted the tip of the
covering to let them see, she said, "'Twas when the sun was shining
brightly this one came to us, and he will be fair and gentle and
comely, but the shadow of his brother's birth will be upon him all his
The women, when they saw this infant, said that his eyes were
Fancher eyes--that is to say were very blue; and his hair, which was
like a little ray of sunlight, was fair, like his mother's and all her
When the father had looked upon this one he said, "He shall be
Of course so unusual was all this that there was much conversation
about it, far and near, and the little Fancher twins were observed
above all children thereabout, for there was no small curiosity to note
what the effect might be upon them of the strange and unnatural event
that happened at their birth. As they grew older the people all agreed
that rather than Daniel and David their names might better have been
Esau and Jacob, for Daniel was dark, like some of the Indians that
lived near by, and his head was shaggy with thick black hair. He was
fierce, and imperious, and promised to become a mighty hunter or else a
warrior, for he talked of war and bloodshed, and before he was ten
years old had led his brother far away in search of Indians to conquer.
But David was gentle. He loved the farm and the cattle. But he cared
for no other mates, because he was content with Daniel. So the twin
brothers grew, David dependent upon and yielding to his swarthy brother
like a vine to the tree it embraces. They slept together, and they ate
together, and learned their letters and did their sums from the same
book, so that what one knew the other knew, and though so different as
to seem to have sprung from distinct races, yet they had but one mind
between them, and that was Daniel's, and all the people said, "The
shadow of the brother is upon David and will be always till it puts out
Once their father said as he looked out in the morning upon his
farm, "'Twill storm, I fear, before the night. The wind comes from the
southeast. Mayhap 'twill bring rain."
And Daniel contradicted, saying, "Not southeast, but southwest."
"You are wrong, my son."
"Not wrong. I am never wrong. I would not have spoken if I was
wrong. Ask David. He will tell you."
"David will say as you have said. You are two bodies and one mind, I
"We are one mind because we say and think the truth."
The father smiled when he heard the imperious little son say this,
and then went away; and when he had gone, David said, "Daniel, we will
prevail upon our father that he is wrong and we are right."
"If he will not believe our word he will believe nothing." "Then he
"We will make a weathercock."
"It shall not be a cock, David."
"No, it shall not. What, then, shall it be?"
"It shall be a warrior."
"It shall. Can we make one?"
"You shall make the head and arms, for you have skill with the
knife, and I will make the body and legs. Then we will join the parts,
and if you make the arms with broad swords at the end, then the wind
will strike them, and they will point the way it comes from. Our father
shall not think we babble when we contradict him."
So the lads went to the shed, and by noon had constructed a
marvelous image that they called a warrior, and its arms were elongated
into broad swords shaped from tough hemlock shingles, and when one arm
was lifted high above its head the other pointed rigidly to the earth,
and if there was a breeze the arms were to gyrate with bewildering
"A warrior should have color, Daniel," said David, when they looked
upon the image.
"He should have a red coat," replied Daniel.
"And his breeches?"
"They should be white, and he should have a fierce beard and a stern
So they thus decorated the image and set it up on the ridge piece of
the shed, and when their father saw it its arms and sword were whirling
away in a southwest breeze, and it was staring fiercely, though with
irregularly marked eyes, away upon the horizon where the Long Island
hills touch the sky. And there the warrior stayed, long after the storm
had begun, and until the arms had become wounded in battling with the
winds until one night it tottered and fell beneath a vigorous blast and
lay unburied on the ground until the worms finished it. Daniel said,
when his father saw it: "When you look upon it remember that David and
I will not be disputed."
The neighbors heard this story of the warrior, and they said, "The
shadow is upon the lads. Who can tell what yet may happen?"
When Daniel had come into possession of his strength, his fame as a
strong man spread far and near, and they said that he had felled an ox
with a blow, and had captured two robbers from the town below and held
them with a grip of steel, each by an arm; and no one said yes or no to
him until his desire was first ascertained. But David they loved
because of his gentleness, and respected because of his skill with
tools, and he was of such kindly disposition that he had but to surmise
a desire of any of the neighbors when he would try to gratify it. So
that when it was their desire that Daniel should do some act or lend
some help, the wish was made known to David and Daniel was then
overcome. For as they grew older so they seemed more and more closely
to be united in common impulses and purposes, though the people
asserted that the shadow was more and more potent, and that David's
heart and mind were surely being absorbed, and that before many years
he would simply be the shadow of his brother.
There lived in the town of Bedford, some miles distant, Miss Persia
Rowland, and it was said of her that, fair as all other maids were,
there was none like her, and she knew it, and was pleased thereat, and
that she coveted not only admiration but the acknowledgment of it,
whereby many a stalwart young fellow had favored her wish to his
One day Miss Persia summoned one who obeyed her always, and said to
him, "There is to be the great assembly of the year on St. Valentine's
eve, and the sleighing is fine."
"That will be well, mistress. But whether the sleighing was fine or
not the young fellows from miles around would come." "No doubt. The
winter is dull."
"Aye, but not that, and you know well, mistress, why they come, and
why, if you were not there, they would quickly depart"
"But it tires me to see the same faces, with their staring, yearning
eyes. There's no spunk to them. I hear of one below who, they say,
never even so much as lets his eyes rest on a maid; not from abashment,
but because he cares not for them at all, being in love with his own
shadow--that is, his twin brother. It would please me to set my eyes
upon such a man."
"Ah, be never saw you, mistress, for if he had, the brother would be
"Have you seen him?"
"And what looks he like? Is he strong and fierce, and does he scowl,
and does he permit himself a beard?"
"He is all these things, and all men seem to fear him but the
brother, and he says nothing to the women."
"If you wish to please me, as so often you assert you do, you will
see that this strange being and his brother are present at the
assembly. The sleighing will be fine, I said."
So it happened that the young man, being greatly desirous of doing
whatever might make this woman smile even for an instant upon him, with
caution approached David, and at last won his promise that he and
Daniel would attend the assembly. But when David and his brother talked
about it, Daniel said, "You have said we would go; therefore we will.
But why do they chatter so of this young woman? Is she unlike others?
Have they not all eyes that they cast on young men, David, and do they
not all pucker their lips that their smiles may seem more pleasing?
Fools they be who are bewitched thereby; but you have said we will go,
and we do what we say, David."
So, as the young men and women were engaged in the courtly minuet in
the great assembly room, there came among them the Fancher twins. They
stood side by side in the further end of the room, where the light from
the great burning logs revealed them clearly. They were of an even
height and tall, but one was muscular and strongly built and his face
seemed in the dim light more swarthy than it really was, and his thick
black hair stood in shaggy masses, as nature had arranged it, and
without the rigid dressing of the time. The other was slight and fair
as a maid, and there was a smile upon his face, for the bright faces
and the gay dresses and the dance and the twinkling of candles pleased
Miss Persia had seen them enter, and though with demure and graceful
manner she seemed occupied with the evolutions of the dance, yet she
saw them all the while. When the cotillion was ended she summoned her
adorer and said, "The dark one, that is he. Why do you permit them to
stand there? Will his brother be his partner in the next set? He must
not. Why do you not bring him to me?"
And so the youth, in stiff peruke and silken stockings and satin
breeches, went to Daniel, and bowing, said, "'Tis dull for you, I
"If so we can go as we came."
"But not until you have been presented?"
"We came to see, not to be seen."
"He wishes to present you, Daniel," said his twin brother David.
"Well, he may do it."
But the youth with some embarrassment perceived that Daniel had no
thought of moving when David were by, and he thought how often had he
heard it said, "The fair one is the other's shadow." But he led them
both to the high-backed chair wherein the fair Persia sat; and though
Daniel stood before her staring grimly at her without abashment, and
David, with becoming humility, bowed low before her beauty, yet she
took no heed of the fair one but spoke to the dark one only.
"We have heard of you, but we have never seen you here before," she
said. "Why is it?"
"Because it has not been our wish," Daniel replied with grave
"But it should have been. Such men as you do wrong yourself and
others by living as hermits." She perceived that by bold self-assertion
and fearlessness of manner she could alone interest this man. "Come
with me," she added. "Your arm, if you would be considerate. 'Tis a
strong arm, I perceive. No wonder they tell us of your feats of
strength. I wish to hear you talk and it is pleasanter to stroll about.
Here, let me present your brother to a fair young woman. For once, sir,
give me the preference, and permit him to entertain Miss Nancy
And before he knew it the fierce Daniel was promenading with the
beauty on his arm, while David--Daniel for once forgot him.
"It is a delight for us to see a strong man here," she said. "A
woman might almost lose her faith in men, did not such as you appear
once in a while."
"My strength is my own, and David's. What is it to you?" he
"What to me? The pleasure of novelty. They say there is a war
brooding, and troops have fought already on Bunker Hill. It is that to
me that gives me and all women sense of safety, for I now know that
there are men fearless and brave, and quick to fight an enemy, and we
shall, therefore, be safe. Ali! why was I a woman?"
"You talk of strength. It is weak to bemoan your fate."
"Would you not bemoan too had you been born without arms?" "If you
were a man what would you do?"
"Be strong and glory in it. If there were war, I would command an
army, as you might, and if there were peace, I would compel the homage
and affection of every fair maid."
"To command an army is well; to woo and will is pastime for puerile
"So little do you know and realize the power of strength. The
greatest victories that a man can win are those which enable him to woo
and wed whichever of all the maids he ever saw that he desires. If she
be proud, he can subdue her pride, and that is a greater feat than
winning a battle; and if she be vain, he can humble her vanity, and if
she be selfish, he can make her forget herself, and if she be well
favored above all other maids, he can be conscious that, if he wed, the
beauty is for him, and that is a conquest of all other men."
As she said this she looked up at him, bending her graceful neck
that she might obtain full view of his stern face and compel him
thereby to look upon her. And when he had perceived her face and the
beauty of it he did not speak, but led her to the remote corner of the
great room, and then, unloosing his arm, turned so that he might stand
squarely before her. He looked at her steadily for a moment, she not
quailing. She asked at length, "What is it? Why do you look so fiercely
"Because you spoke as you did, and I perceive now what woman's
beauty is. Have you not more strength than I?" "I? I stronger than
"Yes, you think you are. I think you may be, but you are subtle. Is
that one form of strength? Is there one of the men here, or whom you
ever saw, who would not with joy obey you? And if that be so, is that
not due to the very strength you just now complimented in men?"
"There may be some, who knows? I can be as frank as you. There is
one who would not."
"I don't know whether I would not, for you mean me."
"Yes, and you don't know? Well, I'll try you. I have a powerful but
vicious colt; no man dares approach him. I think you would dare. Will
you come tomorrow and break it for me?"
"I will come with my brother."
"Then you dare not come alone."
He looked half angrily upon her a moment, and then said, "I will
"Now go and fetch your brother to me. He stands there now alone,
looking with great eyes at you. Is there some intangible bond between
"My brother is myself and I am he."
"Then bring him quickly, and leave us for a while, that I may
perceive how Daniel acts in David's person, as I have already by your
strange admission seen how David appears in Daniel's person."
"You are a strange woman," said he, looking almost fiercely upon her
with his eyes black as the ornament of jet she wore, and reflecting
brighter light. But he brought David, and then stepped aside and
watched that supple, slender figure as, on David's arm, she walked, as
the swan sails, without apparent volition; and he saw how white and
graceful her neck was, as it was revealed above the soft lace about it,
and how like a crown her dark hair was gathered upon her head,
twinkling like stars in winter's night with the jewels set there; and
he could hear the whistle of her silks as she once passed close by him,
looking up with serious face at him, and he perceived that her feet in
slippers white and supple did now and then peep from her skirt like
little chicks that thrust and withdrew their heads from their mother's
"What is my strength and determination beside this power?" he
thought. "I could crush, but this supple thing can compel."
While she was walking with David, Miss Persia had said, "Who would
surmise that you and he were brothers?"
"Why not?" asked David.
"Have you never surveyed yourselves side by side in the mirror?" she
"Why should we do that? I think the mirror belies, for no reflection
would put out of my mind the conviction that I am like him and he like
me. We cannot see ourselves."
"But your brother is so fierce and gloomy and imperious." "Ah, that
is but the other side of myself."
"And you, shall I say it? They say you are gentle and kindly and
"Ah, but that is the other side of him."
"Being the complement of each other, together you make a man," she
He laughed, and she continued, "But you cannot live always thus.
There is a better complement even than a brother." "Tell me what you
think it is."
"A fair maid: and there will come the realization of this to you.
But you are most unneighborly. We have never seen you before. Come and
be better friends. Come for I want to talk with you more. Will
"We will come."
"Not together. You would embarrass me. I should not know to which I
spoke. Come you the day after tomorrow and pay me a little visit at my
home. My father would be glad to know you," and she looked up,
pleadingly with an arch smile, and not serious and demure as she had
when she obtained Daniel's promise to come. So he promised her.
On their way home in the still hour before dawn the twins were
silent for a long time perhaps because Daniel drove furiously. At
length Daniel said:
"She is not like other women, David."
"She is not, Daniel."
"She hath a luminous eye."
"And a cheek like the pink shell in our best room, Daniel." "And her
smile, it pleases, for it hath meaning, David." "Yes, it pleases, but
more her serious face."
"Even more that, and there is great power in her supple motion."
"So I surmise."
The next afternoon Daniel mounted his horse and went flying along
the King Street to Bedford and when he returned he limped as though
lamed, but he said nothing.
"You are lamed, Daniel," said David.
"Yes, a colt kicked me but I mastered him."
On the next day David mounted the horse and away he went, Daniel
paying no heed to his departure. When he came back he said nothing.
"Are you going supperless to bed?" asked his twin brother.
"I have eaten supper with friends," said David quietly.
Then until the winter frosts were yielding to the summer sun Daniel
and David ate and slept and worked together, but in silence, and almost
every day one or the other went hurrying off toward the north, but
One day after David had gone, Daniel an hour later followed. He
drove straight to the door of Esquire Rowland's mansion, and without
ceremony, entered, passing to the best room. There he saw David sitting
beside the fair Persia, who had not heard Daniel enter.
He stood on the threshold for a moment Then he said, "David, I sat
there yesterday and should tomorrow. Is it to be our curse that we have
no mind except in common? Come, my brother; I say come."
He did not speak to Persia but turned abruptly and quitted the
house; and David, without one word, arose and followed him.
The girl sat there like one bewildered, speechless; and when at
length her wits came she perceived that the brothers were far down the
"Oh were there but one, and that one the dark one," she said, as she
stood peering through the little windowpanes and watching until the
twins had passed out of sight.
Not a word did Daniel or David speak until they reached their home.
Then Daniel said:
"David, in this, as in all things wise, we are agreed. You love the
maid, as I love her. If you hated her, I should hate her. But though we
may be one, we are to the world as two. We love her, and must be
content with that."
"That is true, Daniel. She cannot cut the bond that binds us."
"I love you as myself, David, and you me, for we are indeed in all
but body one. Therefore we must see her no more. And, as in men
contrary customs part them this way and that, so one of us may be
overcome by our passion, and visit the girl again. If so, whichever
does shall go to the other and confess, and say, 'What shall I do? What
will you do with me?' And what the other says, that will be done."
"There is reason and purpose in this pledge, Daniel, and we will
"David, if it is you who comes to me I shall say what I hope you
will say to me if I fail."
"And that is to end my life?"
"That is what it is."
One day some weeks later Daniel came to David and led him to the
glen that even to this day may be seen beyond the old house.
"David, I am a poor weakling. I have seen her again yesterday. You
know our pledge," and here Daniel drew from his pocket a pistol.
David looked upon his brother with an agonizing glance, while Daniel
stood before him grim and fierce, and very dark. His hand was upon the
"I can't, I can't, Daniel," David said.
"You can, for if I were in your place I could and would command you
to keep your pledge and do as I bid. There is no escape, but here," and
he held up the weapon.
"No, I cannot bid you do it, though 'twas our pledge," said David,
and put his hands to his eyes and shuddered.
"You are a babe," said Daniel, with contempt.
"But, Daniel, there is another thing that can be done. The war has
come. Washington is below. You shall enlist, and be a soldier. Perhaps
you will become a great commander, as you once felt sure you
"You tell me to enlist, I will do it." And that night Daniel quitted
his home and within three days was with Washington at Harlem.
Some months later the army was gathering near the natural
fortification at White Plains, preparing there to resist the oncoming
of the soldiers of King George. It was a time when men were gloomy, but
determined, for the shadow of battle was upon them, and their courage
was greater than their hopes. One morning the sentry on the extreme
left wing that was encamped in the outskirts of the town of Bedford
brought in a sad and sullen man. They said to the officer in command
that he was a deserter whom they had captured that night.
"Who are you?" asked the officer.
"I am known as David Fancher"
"You heard the accusation?"
"It is the truth. Do as you please with me. But let me say this
thing--'twas not from cowardice I went away."
"If not, what then?"
"That is my affair."
"You know the penalty unless there be good excuse?" he was
"I know the penalty. Perhaps I am glad of it. Who knows?"
They led him away, and as he stood sullenly before the officers of
the court-martial and admitted his guilt and would say no word in
extenuation. They pronounced his sentence--to be shot at sunrise the
In the evening David sent a communication to the officer, saying
that if it were not too late he would like to speak to one of the
soldiers who were detailed to execute him, and the officer said, "Let
his wish be granted."
So it happened that in the darkness of the night a soldier was
brought to the guardhouse and admitted. He stood by the door, for he
could not see within, but he said: "Who is it that has sent for me and
"It is I, Daniel."
"That is David's voice."
"Yes, Daniel. Daniel, do you remember how you used, with the musket
at fifty paces, to send a ball unerringly through a bit of wood no
larger than my hand?"
"That I remember."
"Remember that tomorrow when you see my hand."
"Do not speak in riddles, David."
"You remember the pledge we gave and that you promised that if I
came to you and said 'Daniel, I have seen her again,' that you would do
what I asked in recompense?"
"I remember that you would not keep your pledge with me." "But you
said you would had you been in my place. Daniel, I have seen her
'I knew you would, and so must I if I live. 'Tis a common
"Daniel, when I am led out tomorrow, and you stand facing me,
promise me that you will mark well the spot where my hand is placed.
'Twill be over my heart."
"Is that in pursuance of our pledge?"
"Then I will do it. But wait: there is military order about this.
The file will be selected."
"It is selected, and you are one."
"How know you that?"
"Because it was inevitable. No one told me, but I knew it." "Then I
will do as you say," and he turned to go away. "Wait, Daniel. What
happens to one will happen to both." "I know that. We cannot escape
"Daniel, in my hand will be a tress of hair."
"She gave it to you. Give me my part at once. No, keep it. What
matters whether your hand or mine hold it?"
"When you enlisted I had to follow and though I could not find your
regiment yet I knew we should be brought together." "I knew that."
"We were in camp near Bedford, and, by chance, she strayed with some
mates near us. She saw me first, and pleaded with me to return with
her. Though I was on guard I could not resist, and I went. They found
me and brought me here, and tomorrow morning the mystery of it all, of
our lives, will be cut short."
"It is better so, David. I am glad."
"You loved her, Daniel?"
"Better than I loved myself, and therefore better than I loved
"And so, of course, it was with me. And I told her in my frenzy that
"As I had the day I came and demanded the fulfillment of your
"She said that were we one she could have smiled on us. She could
not marry both."
"Those were her words to me. We could not escape our fate, Daniel.
Together we came into the world, and under mysterious beclouding of
"Together we shall go out, David. And if such a thing is possible
let us hope that there may be reunion complete, if so be it happens
men's spirits live after them.
"Sit here by me, Daniel for a while. You are not unhappy for I am
"No, David, we are content."
They sat there side by side for many moments, until at last the
guard came and took the brother of the condemned away.
In the morning they led David out into the meadow beyond the
encampment, and there followed a line of soldiers, at the head of which
marched a swarthy and stern man whom not one of all that company knew
to be the brother of that man who, with bared head, was kneeling,
proudly and unflinchingly, some twenty paces away. He had asked that he
might give the signal, and the request had been granted, and he told
them that he would be ready when he passed his hand on his heart.
The file of soldiers stood before him with leveled muskets awaiting
the word, and David looked upon Daniel for a moment--and the soldiers
said he smiled--and then he placed his hand upon his heart.
There was a quick report. The swarthy soldier had fired before the
word, and then the volley of the others was delivered, but David
Fancher had fallen prone before their bullets reached him.
Then the soldiers saw a strange thing. The swarthy companion,
unmindful of regulation, went forward to the dead man and seemed to be
leaning over him, and then lay prostrate beside him; and when the
soldiers went there they found that two were dead instead of one.
Though soldiers are accustomed to things that startle, this was such
a mystery that much inquiry was made. At last one came and looked upon
the faces of the dead.
"Those are the Faucher brothers. Twins," he said.