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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 420 pages of information about The Iron Game.
that the truth of it at once, struck the most prejudiced reader, who had no cause to continue in his prepossession.  After the publication in the Warchester paper scores who had sided with the Boone faction either called or wrote to confess their error.  Even the Acredale Monitor, a weekly sheet notoriously in the interest of Boone, felt constrained to copy parts of the account and publish with it a shambling retraction of previous criticism, based on imperfect knowledge, that it had printed concerning Sergeant Sprague.  “Death,” it declared, “has obliterated all feeling that existed against our young townsman, whose conduct, though open to grievous doubt in the early part of his military career has been amply atoned for in the intrepid enterprise in which he seems to have lost his life.”

CHAPTER XXIX.

A WOMAN’S REASON.

The still, small voice that makes itself a force in the heart, which the poets call our mentor and the moralists conscience, had been painfully garrulous in Kate Boone’s breast since the angry parting with Jack at Rosedale.  At first, in the wild grief of Wesley’s death, she had hugged hatred of Jack to her heart as a sublime revenge for the murder.  But with the hot partisanship allayed in the long weeks of reflection preceding the rumor of Jack’s own death, she began dimly to admit of palliation in her lover’s fatal act.  Her father, the Boone faction, all who had access to her, held the shooting to be a craftily planned murder, calculated to bring advantage to the assassin.  To check the sacrilegious love she felt in her heart, she too had been forced to believe, to admit the worst.  But when the image of Jack came to her mind, as it did day and night, it was as the gay, frank, chivalrous Hotspur, as unlike a murderer as Golgotha to Hesperides.  She had never dared to confide to her father that vows had been exchanged between, them—­that they were, in fact, affianced lovers.  He, never suspecting, talked with her day after day of the signal vengeance in store for the miscreant; how he had enlisted the aid of the most powerful in Washington; how he had instructed the emissaries sent to Richmond to effect Wesley’s release, to direct all their energies to entrapping the murderer into the ranks of the escaping prisoners.

She had often been startled by her father’s far-seeing, malignantly planned vengeances, and, now that the rumor of Jack’s death began to settle into belief, she was appalled by a sudden sense of complicity in a murderous plot.  Not that she believed her father capable of murder or its procuration, but, knowing his potency with the authorities, she saw that there were many ways in which Jack might be sacrificed in the natural course of military duties.  She had heard things of the sort discussed—­how inconvenient men had been sent into pitfalls and never heard of again.

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