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Peace Manoeuvres by Richard Harding Davis
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By Richard Harding Davis

The scout stood where three roads cut three green tunnels in the pine
woods, and met at his feet. Above his head an aged sign-post pointed
impartially to East Carver, South Carver, and Carver Centre, and left
the choice to him.

The scout scowled and bit nervously at his gauntlet. The choice was
difficult, and there was no one with whom he could take counsel. The
three sun-shot roads lay empty, and the other scouts, who, with him,
had left the main column at sunrise, he had ordered back. They were to
report that on the right flank, so far, at least, as Middleboro, there
was no sign of the enemy. What lay beyond, it now was his duty to
discover. The three empty roads spread before him like a picture
puzzle, smiling at his predicament. Whichever one he followed left two
unguarded. Should he creep upon for choice Carver Centre, the enemy,
masked by a mile of fir trees, might advance from Carver or South
Carver, and obviously he could not follow three roads at the same time.
He considered the better strategy would be to wait where he was,
where the three roads met, and allow the enemy himself to disclose his
position. To the scout this course was most distasteful. He assured
himself that this was so because, while it were the safer course, it
wasted time and lacked initiative. But in his heart he knew that was not
the reason, and to his heart his head answered that when one's country
is at war, when fields and fire-sides are trampled by the iron heels
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