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THE LAW OF HEMLOCK MOUNTAIN CHAPTER I HE officer whose collar ornaments were the winged staff and serpents of the medical branch, held what was left of the deck in his right hand and moistened the tip of his thumb against the tip of his tongue. "ReEnforcements, major " he inquired with a glance to the man at his left, and the poker face of the gentleman so addressed remained impervious to expression as the answer was given back: "No, I'll stand by what I've got here." If the utterance hung on a quarter second of in- decision it was a circumstance that went unnoted, save possibly by a young man with the single bars of a lieutenant on his shoulder straps-and Spurrier gave no flicker of recognition of what had escaped the others. Between the whitewashed walls of the room where the little group of officers sat at cards the Philippine night breeze stirred faintly with a fevered breath that scarcely disturbed the jalousies. The pile of poker chips had grown to a bulkiness and value out of just proportion to the means of army officers below field rank-and except for the battalion.