Bewildered by the rapidity with which such a succession of terrifying events had taken place, Jane sank dazedly into a chair, trying her best to collect her thoughts, as she looked about on the recent scene of battle. All of the German plotters had been overcome and captured.
There, dead on the floor, lay the arch conspirator, old Otto Hoff, his clammy face still twisted into a savage expression of malignant, defiant hate.
And there, too, a martyr to the country's cause, lay Thomas Dean. A sob of pity rose in Jane's throat as she thought of him, and the great tears rolled unchecked down her cheeks. He was so young, so brave, so fine.
Why must Death have come to him when there was yet so much he might have done? With his talent and education, with his wonderful spirit of self-sacrifice, he might have gone far and high. Regretfully, she recalled that he had loved her, and with kind pity in her heart she reproached herself for not having been able to return to this fine, clean, American youth the affection she had inspired in him.
Thomas Dean, she told herself, was the type of man she should have loved, a man of her own people, with her own ideals, a man of her country, her flag, and yet-There on the floor, not a dozen feet away from her, shameful circlets of steel girdling both his wrists and his ankles, lay the one man for whom she knew now she cared the most in all the world, the man she had just betrayed into Chief Fleck's hands.
Bitterly she reproached herself for not having tried to induce Frederic to escape. In mental anguish she pictured him--the man she loved--standing in the prisoner's dock in some courtroom, branded as a spy, as a leader of spies, charged with an attempt to slaughter the inhabitants--the women and children--of a sleeping, unprotected city.
With growing horror it came to her that in all probability she herself would be called on to testify against him. It might even be her evidence that would result in his being led out before a firing squad and put to an ignominious death.
She dared not even look in his direction now. What must he be thinking about her? He had known that she loved him. In despair and doubt she wondered whether he could understand that she, too, had been influenced to perform her soul-wracking task by a sense of honor, of duty to her country equally as potent as that which had impelled him to participate in this terrible plan to destroy New York. Why had she not informed him that his plans were known to the United States Government's agents?