It was very late that night when Katy crept up to bed, and Helen, who was not asleep, knew by the face on which the lamplight fell, as Katy sat for a moment in thoughtful mood, looking out into the darkness, that Morris had not sued in vain. Aunt Betsy knew it, too, next morning, by the same look on Katy’s face, when she came downstairs, but this did not prevent her saying, abruptly, as Katy stood by the sink:
“Be you two engaged?”
“We are,” was Katy’s frank reply, which brought back all Aunt Betsy’s visions of roasted fowls and frosted cake, and maybe a dance in the kitchen, to say nothing of the feather bed which she had not dared to offer Katy Cameron, but which she thought would come in play for “Miss Dr. Grant.”
Many of the captives were coming home. Prison after prison had given up its starving, vermin-eaten inmates, while all along the Northern lines loving hearts were waiting, and friendly hands outstretched to welcome them back to “God’s land,” as the poor, suffering creatures termed the soil over which waved the Stars and Stripes, for which they had fought so bravely. Wistfully, thousands of eyes ran over the long columns of names of those returned, each eye seeking for its own, and growing dim with tears as it failed to find it, or lighting up with untold joy when it was found.
“Lieutenant Robert Reynolds” and “Thomas Tubbs,” Helen read among the list of those just arrived at Annapolis, but “Captain Mark Ray” was not there, and with a sickening feeling of disappointment she passed the paper to her mother-in-law, and hastened away, to weep and pray that what she so greatly feared might not come upon her.
It was after Katy’s betrothal, and she was in New York, happy to hear news from Mark, and perhaps to see him ere long, for, as nearly as she could trace him from reports of others, he was last at Andersonville. But there was no mention made of him, no sign by which she could tell whether he still lived, or had long since been relieved from suffering.
Early the next day she heard that Mattie Tubbs had received a telegram from Tom, who would soon be at home, while later in the day Bell Cameron came around to say that Bob was living, but had lost his right arm, and was otherwise badly crippled. It never occurred to Helen to ask if this would make a difference. She only kissed Bell fondly, rejoicing at her good fortune, and then sent her back to the home where there were hot discussions regarding the propriety of receiving into the family a maimed and crippled member.