"You once had a horse you cared a great deal for, didn't you?" his friend remarked, casually.
"Oh, don't speak about it," answered Erik, in a voice that shook with emotion; "I loved Lady Clare as I never loved any creature in this world--except my father, of course," he added, reflectively.
But what was the matter with the old lumber nag? At the sound of the name Lady Clare she pricked up her ears, and lifted her head with a pathetic attempt at alertness. With a low, insinuating neighing she rubbed her nose against the lieutenant's cheek. He had let his hand glide over her long, thin neck, when quite suddenly his fingers slid into a deep scar in the withers.
"My God!" he cried, while the tears started to his eyes, "am I awake, or am I dreaming?"
"What in the world is the matter?" inquired his comrade, anxiously.
"It is Lady Clare! By the heavens, it is Lady Clare!"
"That old ramshackle of a lumber nag whose every rib you can count through her skin is your beautiful thoroughbred?" ejaculated his friend, incredulously. "Come now, don't be a goose."
"I'll tell you of it some other time," said Erik, quietly; "but there's not a shadow of a doubt that this is Lady Clare."