The plans were agreed upon at once and the two girls separated, knit together by the same bond in more senses than one, for, while Olympia set out to rescue her brother, she secretly hoped that the search would bring her near some one else; and so, as soon as Kate had gone, she sat down and wrote Vincent of Jack’s disappearance, asking his aid in finding such traces as might be in the rebel lines. She merely alluded to their projected plan, adding, in a postscript, that she would write him as soon as the party approached the outposts. Kate wrote at once to her father, at his Washington address, narrating her visit to the Spragues, telling him of the new hope that had come to her, and beseeching him to lend his whole heart to the distressed mother and sister. He should see her in Washington within a few days, and she counted on his sympathy with her to help to restore the lost son and brother if alive, to co-operate in giving the body honorable burial if he were dead. These letters dispatched, the party waited only to hear from Brodie. He came a day or two later, but he could give them no hope. He had been repelled from all sources of information, insulted in the War Office, and denied access to the President. He was convinced that there were secret influences at work to obscure the true facts in the case of the escaped prisoners, but what the agencies were he could not guess. When Olympia told this to Kate, she was surprised at her look and response.
“I know the influences, I think, and I can discover the agencies. Take comfort. I believe Jack is alive. I promise you that I shall never rest until he is found, alive or dead.”
“O Kate, what an impulsive ally we have gained! I wish Jack could have heard that speech; it would have put power in his arm, as poor Barney used to say.”
Twenty-four hours later the three women were in Washington, Kate remaining with her friends, instead of joining her father at Willard’s.
A GAME OF CHANCE.
It was the end of January, 1862, when Olympia and her mother found themselves in Washington for the second time in quest of the missing soldier. They took lodgings in the same quiet house, not far from Lafayette Square—Kate with them. Kate counted upon her father’s aid, active or passive; but when her messenger returned from Willard’s with word that Mr. Boone had gone from the hotel several days before, she was numb with a dreadful foreboding. He was avoiding her deliberately. She drove at once to the hotel. The clerk summoned to her aid could only inform her that her father had given up his room and had left the hotel late at night. She could get no further clew. She telegraphed at once to Acredale and returned to the Spragues, not daring to breathe her apprehensions. Yes, her father was plainly keeping away from her. He meant to persist in his savage vengeance. What had he learned? Was Jack indeed dead, and