To this part of her statement Mrs. Clancy stoutly adhered; but the officers believed Kate.
One other thing she told. Kate had declared he wore a heavy patch on his right cheek and temple. Yes, Mrs. Clancy remembered it. Some scoundrels had sought to rob him in Denver. He had to fight for life and money both, and his share of the honors of the fray was a deep and clean cut extending across the cheek-bone and up above the right ear.
As these family revelations were told throughout the garrison and comment of every kind was made thereon, there is reason for the belief that Mrs. Buxton found no difficulty in filling her letters with particulars of deep interest to her readers, who by this time had carried out the programme indicated by Captain Rayner. Mid-June had come; the ladies, apparently benefited by the sea-voyage, had landed in New York and were speedily driven to their old quarters at the Westminster; and while the captain went to head-quarters of the department to report his arrival on leave and get his letters, a card was sent up to Miss Travers which she read with cheeks that slightly paled:
“He is here, Kate.”
“Nellie, you—you won’t throw him over, after all he has done and borne for you?”
“I shall keep my promise,” was the answer.
“And so she’s really going to marry Mr. Van Antwerp”, said Mrs. Buxton to Mrs. Waldron a few days later in the month of sunshine and roses.
“I did not think it possible when she left,” was the reply. “Why do you say so now?”
“Oh, Mrs. Rayner writes that the captain had to go to Washington on some important family matters, and that she and Nellie were at the sea-shore again, and Mr. Van Antwerp was with them from morning till night. He looked so worn and haggard, she said, that Nellie could not but take pity on him. Heavens! think of having five hundred thousand dollars sighing its life away for you!—especially when he’s handsome. Mrs. Rayner made me promise to send it right back, because he would never give her one before, but she sent his picture. It’s splendid. Wait, and I’ll show you.” And Mrs. Buxton darted into the house.