“Yes; that was quite like him,” said the Ambassador. “He served his country with a passionate devotion. He hated America—he distrusted the whole democratic idea. It was that which pointed his anger against you—that you should have chosen to live here.”
“Then when I saw him at Geneva—that last interview—he told me that Karl’s statement had been stolen, and he had his spies abroad looking for the thieves. He was very bitter against me. It was only a few hours before he was killed, as a part of the Winkelried conspiracy. He had given his life for Austria. He told me never to see him again—never to claim my own name until I had done something for Austria. And I went to Vienna and knelt in the crowd at his funeral, and no one knew me, and it hurt me, oh, it hurt me to know that he had grieved for me; that he had wanted a son to carry on his own work, while I had grown away from the whole idea of such labor as his. And now—”
He faltered, his hoarse voice broke with stress of feeling, and his pallor deepened.
“It was not my fault—it was really not my fault! I did the best I could, and, by God, I’ve got them in the room there where they can’t do any harm!—and Dick Claiborne, you are the finest fellow in the world, and the squarest and bravest, and I want to take your hand before I go to sleep; for I’m sick—yes, I’m sick—and sleepy—and you’d better haul down that flag over the door—it’s treason, I tell you!—and if you see Shirley, tell her I’m John Armitage—tell her I’m John Armitage, John Arm—”
The room and its figures rushed before his eyes, and as he tried to stand erect his knees crumpled under him, and before they could reach him he sank to the floor with a moan. As they crowded about he stirred slightly, sighed deeply, and lay perfectly still.
To-morrow? ’Tis not ours to know
That we again shall see the flowers.
To-morrow is the gods’—but, oh!
To day is ours.
—C.E. Merrill, Jr.
Claiborne called Oscar through the soft dusk of the April evening. The phalanx of stars marched augustly across the heavens. Claiborne lifted his face gratefully to the cool night breeze, for he was worn with the stress and anxiety of the day, and there remained much to do. The bungalow had been speedily transformed into a hospital. One nurse, borrowed from a convalescent patient at the Springs, was to be reinforced by another summoned by wire from Washington. The Ambassador’s demand to be allowed to remove Armitage to his own house at the Springs had been promptly rejected by the surgeon. A fever had hold of John Armitage, who was ill enough without the wound in his shoulder, and the surgeon moved his traps to the bungalow and took charge of the case. Oscar had brought Claiborne’s bag, and all was now in readiness for the night.