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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesBefore The Dawn: A Story Of The Fall Of Richmond - Chapter 31. The Coin Of Gold
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Before The Dawn: A Story Of The Fall Of Richmond - Chapter 31. The Coin Of Gold Post by :lingstar Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph A. Altsheler Date :May 2012 Read :1233

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Before The Dawn: A Story Of The Fall Of Richmond - Chapter 31. The Coin Of Gold

CHAPTER XXXI. THE COIN OF GOLD

Prescott had been at home some months. Johnston's army, too, had surrendered. Everywhere the soldiers of the South, seeing that further resistance would be criminal, laid down their arms. A mighty war, waged for four years with unparalleled tenacity and strewn all the way with tremendous battles, ceased with astonishing quickness.

The people of Richmond were already planning the rebuilding of the city; the youthful were looking forward with hope to the future, and not the least sanguine among them were a little group gathered as of old in the newspaper office of Winthrop. They had been discussing their own purposes.

"I shall stay in Richmond and continue the publication of my newspaper," said Winthrop.

"And I shall bring my wandering journal here, give it a permanent home and be your deadly rival," said Raymond.

"Good!" said Winthrop, and they shook hands on the bargain.

General Wood said nothing about his own happiness, which he considered assured, because he was to be married to Helen Harley the following month. But some one spoke presently of the Secretary.

"Gone to England!" said Raymond briefly.

Raymond mentioned a little later a piece of gossip that was being circulated quietly in Richmond. A million dollars in gold left in the Confederate treasury had disappeared mysteriously; whether it had been moved before the flight of the Government or at that time nobody knew. As there was no Confederate Government now, it consequently had no owner, and nobody took the trouble to look for it.

Prescott was in London a few years later, where he found it necessary to do some business with the great banking firm of Sefton & Calder, known throughout two continents as a model of business ability and integrity. The senior partner greeted him with warmth and insisted on taking him home to dinner, where he met Mrs. Sefton, a blond woman of wit and beauty about whom a man had once sought to force a quarrel upon him. She was very cordial to him, asking him many questions concerning people in Richmond and showing great familiarity with the old town. Prescott thought that on the whole both Mr. Sefton and his wife had married well.

But all this, on that day in Winthrop's office, was in the future, and after an hour's talk he walked alone up the street. The world was fair, life seemed all before him, and he turned his course to the new home of Helen Harley. She had grieved for her brother awhile, but now she was happy in her coming marriage. Lucia and Miss Grayson were with her, helping to prepare for the day, and making a home there, too, until they could have one of their own.

Prescott had noticed his mother's increasing love for Lucia, but between Lucia and himself there was still some constraint; why, he did not know, but it troubled him.

He knocked at the Harley home and Helen herself answered the door.

"Can I see Miss Catherwood?" he asked.

"She is in the next room," she replied. "She does not know that you are here, but I think you can go in unannounced."

She opened the second door for him at once and he entered. Lucia was standing by the window and there was a faint smile on her face, but the smile was sad. She was looking at something in her hand and Prescott's eyes caught a yellow gleam.

His step had been so light that Lucia did not hear him. He came nearer and she looked up. Then her hands closed quickly over the yellow gleam.

"What have you there?" asked Prescott, suddenly growing brave.

"Something that belongs to you."

"Let me see it."

She opened her hand and a gold double eagle lay in the palm.

"It is the last that you left on Miss Grayson's doorstep," she said, "and I am going to give it back to you."

"I will take it," he said, "on one condition."

"What is that?"

"That you come with it."

She flushed a rosy red.

"Won't you come, Lucia?" he said. "Life is not life without you."

"Yes," she said softly, "I will come."


(THE END)
Joseph A. Altsheler's Novel: Before the Dawn: A Story of the Fall of Richmond

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