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Old 01-27-2016, 06:17 PM
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No, my boy, no. I was very angry with you for enlisting, but not for deserting. But I have reason to be angry with somebody else. I have lost my two good legs in defending her, my country, and now they are taking my boy from me. Its a poor reward for long and hard service; but what do they care? They may shoot you, but this I know well, youll die like a brave man to think only, that you are to die by the hands of your own countrymen, and, worst of all, to die in a red coat

Father, I will not die in a red coat I wont put it on.

Thats right, Tom, thats right.

And Ill die like a man, father.

You will, Tom, Im sure.

And now, father, bless me, and take care of my poor mother.

Bless you, Tom, bless you! cried the old man, holding out both his hands towards Tom. When the old man had gone, Tom squeezed my hand and spoke in a low voice:

Jacob, let now the last scene be got over let me see Mary.

In a few moments Mary entered, led by her father. I expected she would faint as before, but she did not, although she was pale as death. She walked up to Tom where he was standing, and sat down on a bench close to him.

I know that all I now say is useless, Tom, but still I must say it I am to blame for all. I have brought you to this awful death. I am your murderer.

No, Mary, I myself am to blame, replied Tom, taking her hand.

It is kind of you to say so, but my eyes are opened now. Forgive me, Tom, please, forgive me, and she fell down upon her knees, holding out her arms to Tom. He, too, fell down on his knees and embraced her. So they remained for a long time until I touched Tom on the shoulder. Mary was almost unconscious, and her father and the Domine carried her to the inn.

Are they all gone? whispered Tom to me.

All, Tom.

Then he sank upon the bench and burst into tears. This lasted some minutes. The poor fellow felt better and dried his eyes.

Jacob, here is my last wish when Im dead, watch over my poor father and mother and Mary. God bless you, Jacob! You have indeed been a faithful friend. And now, Jacob, leave me. I want to be alone.

Tom threw himself into my arms, and then we parted.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:17 PM
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CHAPTER XV

The Last in This Book

I went back to the inn, and sent everybody home in the carriage. As for myself, I decided to remain until the last. I was wildly excited and could not sit quiet. As I walked up and down the room the newspaper caught my eye. I mechanically took it up, and suddenly noticed the name of the ship on board of which I had served together with Tom. Our ship had come home. But what was that now? Yet something whispered to me: Go and see the captain!

After all, said I to myself, Im of no use here, and I may as well go.

I ordered horses, went to Chatham, found-out that the captain was still on board, and took a boat to the frigate. The captain asked me into his cabin at once, and listened to my story attentively.


Faithful, he exclaimed when I had finished, Tom Beazeley has deserted twice, but the punishment of death is too severe, and I dont like it! I can save him, and I will do it. By the law a deserter from two services must be tried by the officers of the first. I shall send a party of sailors, and they will bring him here as a deserter from my ship make yourself easy, Faithful, his life is safe.

I could hardly believe that such good news was true.

There is no time to lose, Sir, I replied, he is to be shot tomorrow, at nine oclock.

He will be on board here tomorrow at nine oclock. The party must be off immediately. I must write a letter to the colonel. Call my clerk.

I ran out and called the clerk. In a few minutes the letter was written, and a party of sailors, with the second lieutenant, went on shore. I ordered carriages for the whole party, and soon we were at Maidstone. The lieutenant and I sat up all night, and at daylight we went to the barracks. The lieutenant handed the letter to the colonel.

The law must be obeyed, the officer said, you may take the prisoner.

The lieutenant called his men, and we all hastened to the prison. When Tom saw the red coats who entered first, he thought that his hour had come.

My lads, he exclaimed, I am ready. The sooner this is over the better.

No, Tom, said I coming forward, I trust for better luck. You must be brought as a deserter to the ship.

Tom looked at me in surprise, and then threw himself into my arms. Then we hurried him away from the barracks. Again I put the whole party into carriages, and we soon arrived at Chatham where we went on board the frigate. Tom was put under arrest at once before the trial.

What will be the result of the trial? I asked the first lieutenant.
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The captain says, nothing, as he was pressed as an apprentice, which is against the law.

On that day I went to London with a light heart. Still I decided not to tell this good news to anyone except Mr. Drummond.

The trial was held three days later. hastened down to Chatham to be present. It was very short. Toms desertion was proved, but he showed his papers and proved that he was pressed before the time of his apprenticeship was up. This was against the law, and the decision was that Tom was free.

I thanked the captain and the officers for their kindness, and left the ship with Tom in a boat which had been ordered for me by the first lieutenant. My heart was full. Tom was silent, but I understood his feelings very well.

We slept that night in my house; in the morning I dressed Tom in some of my clothes, and we got into the boat.

Now, Tom, said I, dont show yourself while I prepare them. Where shall we go first?

Oh! to my mother, replied he.

We passed by Stapletons house, and Toms eyes filled with tears as he looked at the shore. Poor fellow! He was so eager to see his dear girl, but his first duty was to his parents.

We soon arrived at the spot near old Toms house. The old man was not at his work, and all was quiet. I landed and went to the house, opened the door and found them both sitting by the fire in silence.

Good morning to you both, said I, how are you, Mrs. Beazeley?

Ah! dear me! replied the old woman, wiping her tears.

Sit down, Jacob, sit down, said old Tom, we can talk of him now.

Yes, now that hes in heaven, poor fellow! added the old woman.

Tell me, Jacob, said old Tom in a trembling voice, did you see the last of him? Tell me all about it. How did he look? How did he behave? And Jacob, where is he buried?

Yes, yes, said Mrs. Beazeley, crying, tell me where is the body of my poor child?

It isnt easy for you to talk about him, I said.

No, no, we want to talk about him: it will do us good, replied she, we have talked about him all the time since we left him.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:18 PM
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And we shall talk about him till we sink into our graves, said old Tom, and it wont be long. Ive nothing to wish for now, and Ill never sing again, thats certain. We shant last long. As for me, continued the old man, looking down at his wooden legs with a sad smile, I may well say that Ive two feet in the grave already. But come, Jacob, tell us about him.

I will, I replied, and my dear Mrs. Beazeley, you must prepare yourself for different news that what you expect. Tom is not yet shot.

Not dead! cried the old woman.

Not yet, Jacob! exclaimed old Tom, seizing me by the arm.

He lives, and I hope that he shall live.

Mrs. Beazeley jumped from her chair and seized me by the other arm.

I see I see by your face! Yes, Jacob, he is saved and we shall have our Tom again.

You are right, Mrs. Beazeley. Tom will soon be here.

The old couple sank down on their knees beside me. I left them and made a sign from the door to Tom. In a moment he was in their arms. I helped him to put his mother into her chair, and then went out and left them alone. I remained about an hour outside, and then returned.

You must now part with Tom for a little while, said I, there are others whom he has to make happy besides yourselves.

Quite true, replied old Tom, go, my lad, and make her happy. We mustnt forget others.

Tom embraced his mother, and followed me to the boat. When we arrived at Stapletons house I said to Tom:

You had better stay1 in the boat. I will either come or send for you.

I walked to Marys house and entered. She was in her room dressed in black. When I entered she was looking out on the river; she turned her head and, seeing me, rose to meet me.

Have you come to tell me that you cannot forgive me, Jacob?

No, no, Mary. Ive come to comfort you.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:18 PM
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It is impossible. The punishment is too much for me. To think that I have killed the man who loved me so

You have not killed him, Mary.

Yes, my heart tells me that I have. And I dont wish to live. I am sure that in a few short months I shall lie by his side.

I hope you will have your wish, Mary, very soon, but not in death.

Good heavens! What do you mean, Jacob?

Tom was not shot, after all. They have freed him.

Freed! cried Mary wildly.

Yes, freed, Mary and in a few minutes he will be in your arms.

Mary sank on a chair, almost unconscious. Tom, who had followed me and remained near the house, had heard Marys voice and could not wait any longer. He rushed into the room and caught her in his arms. I left them together, and went to find old Stapleton. He took the news much more quietly, and continued to smoke his pipe as I was telling him my story. On taking leave of Stapleton, I sent a letter to the Domine, and hastened to the Drummonds and told the happy results of my mornings work to Sarah and her mother.

Dear Sarah, I said to her, I have worked for other peoples happiness and I have seen you very little during this month. Mustnt I be rewarded?

You must, indeed, Jacob, said Mrs. Drummond, and I am sure that Sarah thinks so too. But let her say it herself.

I say it, mamma; but what is this reward?

That you must allow your father and mother to fix an early day for our marriage, and also allow Tom and Mary to be married on the same day.

Mamma, havent I always been a dutiful daughter?

Yes, my love, you have.

Then I shall do as I am told by my parents, Jacob.

That evening the day was fixed, and soon we were married.

Tom and Mary were married on the same day. There was nothing to cloud our happiness. Tom stayed in the house of his parents, and Mary, happy and even more beautiful than ever, made an excellent loving wife to him. As for Sarah, I hardly need say the same; she was my friend from childhood, she is now all that a man could hope and wish for. We have been happily married for years now, and already have a large family.

Reader, good-bye!
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