“Your obedient servant,
Jessie Forrester’s hour had come. The revenge so ardently longed-for since the hour her mother had invoked the curse of heaven upon this man, was here. What though his boy did perish, by an ignominous death. A more worthless cumberer of the earth did not exist. Ah! that cold, sneering voice on the winter’s eve so long ago; her mother’s tears! As he had sown so should he reap, and her hands would help to gather in the harvest. Through him they had been exiled all these years from the home that was their birthright. The husband of her early womanhood might have been spared if only they could have nursed him back to health under the cool shade of those grand old trees instead of languishing in the hot city. Help this man? This incarnation of cruel selfishness? Not she;—his boy should suffer the extreme penalty of the law. How could she lift a voice to save him! “His boy?” Ah, through her tender mother’s heart there darted a pain all unwonted. Her own noble, gifted boy—her all—what if untoward fate should have in store for him some doom of shame—him, her idol and her pride.
She sat buried in thought till suddenly starting up she consulted a time table, then rang hurriedly for her maid. She was ready in thirty minutes, and summoning her young son, was soon enroute for the capital. Arriving at ten o’clock she called a carriage and sped away to new northwest quarter of the city. By midnight she had seen both representatives and thoroughly enlisted their services. She gave no reason for her intercession, nor was it necessary. It was enough that she deemed it a case for intervention. Next morning the two statesmen had an interview with the President, and by the hardest, for the mass of evidence against young Garrett was overwhelming, got a stay of proceedings till the case could be further investigated.
Well-nigh exhausted from the mental and bodily strain, Jessie arrived at her home unfit for anything but rest. Then she answered her enemy’s letter. Did she reproach him with his life-long injustice? Did she demand the old home in exchange for the service she had rendered? Or at least the privilege of buying it? She merely wrote;—
“I have been to Washington and secured a reprieve pending further sifting of evidence.”
Ben Garrett was saved and the close view of the gallows sobered him at last. He married the daughter of a Texas ranchman and Jessie heard of him no more.
* * * * *