“The court having found the prisoner private Frank Halloway guilty of the third charge preferred against him, which is hi direct violation of a standing order of the garrison, entailing capital punishment, do hereby sentence him, the said prisoner, private Frank Halloway, to be shot to death at such time and place as the officer commanding may deem fit to appoint.”
Although the utmost order pervaded the ranks, every breath had been suspended, every ear stretched during the reading of the sentence; and now that it came arrayed in terror and in blood, every glance was turned in pity on its unhappy victim. But Halloway heard it with the ears of one who has made up his mind to suffer; and the faint half smile that played upon his lip spoke more in scorn than in sorrow. Colonel de Haldimar pursued:—
“The court having found it imperatively incumbent on them to award the punishment of death to the prisoner, private Frank Halloway, at the same time gladly avail themselves of their privilege by strongly recommending him to mercy. The court cannot, in justice to the character of the prisoner, refrain from expressing their unanimous conviction, that notwithstanding the mysterious circumstances which have led to his confinement and trial, he is entirely innocent of the treachery ascribed to him. The court have founded this conviction on the excellent character, both on duty and in the field, hitherto borne by the prisoner,—his well-known attachment to the officer with whose abduction be stands charged,—and the manly, open, and (as the court are satisfied) correct history given of his former life. It is, moreover, the impression of the court, that, as stated by the prisoner, his guilt on the third charge has been the result only of his attachment for Captain de Haldimar. And for this, and the reasons above assigned, do they strongly recommend the prisoner to mercy.”
Captain and President.
Sentence approved and confirmed.
Charles de Haldimar,
While these concluding remarks of the court were being read, the prisoner manifested the deepest emotion. If a smile of scorn had previously played upon his lip, it was because he fancied the court, before whom he had sought to vindicate his fame, had judged him with a severity not inferior to his colonel’s; but now that, in the presence of his companions, he heard the flattering attestation of his services, coupled even as it was with the sentence that condemned him to die, tears of gratitude and pleasure rose despite of himself to his eyes; and it required all his self-command to enable him to abstain from giving expression to his feelings towards those who had so generously interpreted the motives of his dereliction from duty. But when the melancholy and startling fact of the approval and confirmation of the sentence met his ear, without the slightest allusion to that mercy which had been so urgently recommended, he again overcame his weakness, and exhibited his wonted air of calm and unconcern.