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George’s V.C.
by [?]

“A visitor to see you,” said the nurse, coming in and waking Private Smithlord up.

“Can’t you say I’m out?” said Smithlord, expecting it was another foreign decoration and wondering what language he would have to speak this time.

“It’s an English Colonel,” said the nurse.

Smithlord saluted and begged the nurse to show him up at once. In another minute Colonel Blowhard had entered.

“I want to thank you,” said the Colonel, “for so gallantly rescuing an old friend of mine–Major Murgatroyd, belonging to the Nth Battalion Blankshires, but now attached to the Qth.”

Smithlord could hardly repress a start. In the excitement of the moment he had not recognized the features of the man he had saved. It was his old rival.

“It is curious,” went on the Colonel, “that in features you resemble another old friend of mine, Lord Smith.”

“My name is Smithlord, sir.”

“Ah! Any relation?”

“None,” said Smithlord, crossing his thumbs under the bedclothes.

“Do you mind ringing the bell?” he went on, feeling that at all costs he must turn the conversation. “I think it is time for my medicine.”

In answer to the Colonel’s ring a nurse appeared.

“Nurse Brown has just gone out,” she said. “Can I do anything for you?”

“Good Heavens! Rosamund!” cried the Colonel.

“Yes, father, it is I,” she replied simply. “I have come to France to find the man I love.”

“Murgatroyd?” said the Colonel. “But this gallant fellow was the man who–By the way, let me introduce you. Private Smithlord, my daughter, Rosamund.”

The two looked at each other face to face. The intuition and ready wit of the woman pierced the disguise which had baffled the soldier.

“Father,” she cried, “it’s not Smithlord, it’s Lord Smith. George!”

“Rosamund!” cried George. We cannot keep the secret any longer from our readers; it was Lord Smith.

“Tut, tut, sir, what is this?” said the Colonel. “I turned you out of the Regiment three weeks ago. What the deuce,” he said, for, like all military men, he was addicted to strong language–“what the deuce does this mean?”

“I was innocent, sir.”

“Father, he was innocent.”

“He was innocent,” said a hollow voice from the next bed.

In amazement they all looked at the officer lying there.

“Rosamund,” he cried, “am I so greatly changed?”

The Colonel handed him his pocket mirror.

“Yes,” sighed the Major, “I understand. But I am Major Murgatroyd.”

“Major Murgatroyd!” they all cried.

“This gallant fellow here, whom I now know to be Lord Smith, saved my life; I cannot let him suffer any longer. It was I who hid the secret document in his pocket. I did it for love of you, Rosamund.” He held out his hand. “Say you forgive me, my dear Lord Smith.”

Lord Smith shook his hand warmly.

But little more remains to tell. A month later our hero was back in England. Fortunately the Quartermaster had kept his buttons; and in a very short time he was back in the dear old uniform, and the wedding of Second-Lieutenant Lord Smith to Rosamund Blowhard was one of the events of the season.

And what of Major Murgatroyd? He has learnt his lesson; and as commandant of a rest camp on the French coast he is the soul of geniality to all who meet him.