“Cheer up, Sprague; it’s all a mistake.” It was the voice of the lawyer.
At this Jack started, his eyes gleaming wildly. “Ah, I thought so. I knew I could never have been disgraced like this in earnest. They have discovered the wrong done me?”
“No, no; not exactly that, Jack, but we shall show them the mistake, I make no doubt.”
“Why am I dishonored? Of what am I accused? Why am I here?” Jack cried, shivering under the revulsion from despair to hope, and from hope back to horror.
“You are dishonored, my poor young friend, because a court-martial has found you guilty of murder, desertion, and treason against the articles of war, and you are here because you are sentenced to be shot one week from Friday, in the center of a hollow square, seated on your own coffin.”
FATHER ABRAHAM’S JOKE.
In her own mind, as the train rolled toward Acredale from Washington, Kate was enjoying in anticipation the victory she had to announce to her father. He had written her regularly from Warchester, where he was engaged in an important suit. She had written more frequently than he, but she had made no allusion to the happy ending of her troubles. It was partly dread that the knowledge of Jack’s restoration might bring on more active hostility, as well as a whimsical feminine caprice to spring the great event upon him when all danger was over. She watched Dick and Rosa in the seat near her, for they, too, were of the advance guard to Acredale, where, when Olympia had arranged the house, Vincent and Jack were to come for final restoration to health. When the party arrived at the little Acredale Station there was a great crowd gathered.
A company of the Caribees was just setting out for the front. Some of the old members recognized Dick, and then straightway went up a cheer that brought all the corner loiterers to the spot to learn the goings on. It was in consequence rather a triumphal procession that followed the carriage to the Sprague gateway, and even followed up the sanded road to the broad piazza. Rosa remained with Olympia, while Kate carried Dick off to commit him to the aunts waiting on the porch to welcome the prodigal. Kate had telegraphed her coming, and her father was at the door to meet her. He was plainly relieved and delighted to have her with him again, for he held her long and close in his arms. “Then all’s forgiven; we’re friends again,” she said, laughing and crying together.