The Deserter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 269 pages of information about The Deserter.
low crime, he hid his face and turned from all. Now the time had come to reopen the case.  He well knew that a revulsion of feeling had set in which nothing but his own stubbornness held in check.  He knew that he had friends and sympathizers among officers high in rank.  He had only a few days before heard from Major Waldron’s lips a strong intimation that it was his duty to “come out of his shell” and reassert himself.  “You must remember this, Hayne,” said he:  “you had been only two years in service when tried by court-martial.  You were an utter stranger to every member of that court.  There was nothing but the evidence to go upon, and that was all against you.  The court was made up of officers from other regiments, and was at least impartial.  The evidence was almost all from your own, and was presumably well founded.  You would call no witnesses for defence.  You made your almost defiant statement; refused counsel; refused advice; and what could the court do but convict and sentence?  Had I been a member of the court I would have voted just as was done by the court; and yet I believe you now an utterly innocent man.”

So, apparently, did the colonel regard him.  So, too, did several of the officers of the cavalry.  So, too, would most of the youngsters of his own regiment if he would only give them half a chance.  In any event, the score was wiped out now; he could afford to take a wife if a woman learned to love him, and what wealth of tenderness and devotion was he not ready to lavish on one who would!  But he would offer no one a tarnished name.  First and foremost he must now stand up and fight that calumny,—­“come out of his shell,” as Waldron had said, and give people a chance to see what manner of man he was.  God helping him, he would, and that without delay.

XIV.

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.”  Mrs. Rayner, ill in mind and body, had yielded to her lord’s entreaties and determined to start eastward with her sister without delay.  Packing was already begun.  Miss Travers had promised herself that she would within thirty-six hours put Mr. Hayne in possession of certain facts or theories which in her opinion bore strongly upon the “clearing up” of the case against him; Mr. Hayne had determined that he would see Major Waldron on the coming day and begin active efforts towards the restoration of his social rights; the doctor had about decided on a new project for inducing Clancy to unbosom himself of what he knew; Captain Rayner—­tired of the long struggle—­was almost ready to welcome anything which should establish his subaltern’s innocence, and was on the point of asking for six months’ leave just as soon as he had arranged for Clancy’s final discharge from service:  he had reasons for staying at the post until that Hibernian household was fairly and squarely removed; and Mrs. Clancy’s plan was to take Mike to the distant East, “where she had frinds.”  There were other schemes and projects, no doubt, but these mainly concerned our leading characters, and one and all they were put to the right-about by the events of the following day.

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The Deserter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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