Antoinette divined his thoughts and sprang toward him. She tore his hands from his face and kissed him passionately, and begged him to kiss and embrace her once more.
Belton shook his head sadly and cried: “Unworthy, unworthy.”
Antoinette now burst forth into weeping.
The boy said: “Papa, why don’t you kiss Mama?”
Hearing the boy’s voice, Belton raised his eyes, and seeing his image, which Antoinette had brought into the world, he grasped her in his arms and covered her face with kisses; and there was joy enough in those two souls to almost excite envy in the bosom of angels.
Belton was now recalled to life. He again loved the world. The cup of his joy was full. He was proud of his beautiful, noble wife, proud of his promising son. For days he was lost in contemplation of his new found happiness. But at last, a frightful picture arose before him. He remembered that he was doomed to die, and the day of his death came galloping on at a rapid pace. Thus a deep river of sadness went flowing on through his happy Elysian fields.
But he remained unshaken in his resolve. He had now learned to put duty to country above everything else. Then, too, he looked upon his boy and he felt that his son would fill his place in the world. But Antoinette was so happy that he could not have the heart to tell her of his fate. She was a girl again. She chatted and laughed and played as though her heart was full of love. In her happiness she freely forgave the world for all the wrongs that it had perpetrated upon her.
At length the day drew near for Belton to go to Waco. He took a tender leave of his loved ones. It was so tender that Antoinette was troubled, and pressed him hard for an answer as to when he was to return or send for them. He begged her to be assured of his love and know that he would not stay away one second longer than was necessary. Thus assured, she let him go, after kissing him more than a hundred times.
Belton turned his back on this home of happiness and love, to walk into the embrace of death. He arrived in Waco in due time, and the morning of his execution came.
In one part of the campus there was a high knoll surrounded on all sides by trees. This knoll had been selected as the spot for the execution.
In the early morn while the grass yet glittered with pearls of water, and as the birds began to chirp, Belton was led forth to die. Little did those birds know that they were chirping the funeral march of the world’s noblest hero. Little did they dream that they were chanting his requiem.
The sun had not yet risen but had reddened the east with his signal of approach. Belton was stationed upon the knoll, his face toward the coming dawn. With his hands folded calmly across his bosom, he stood gazing over the heads of the executioners, at the rosy east.