It was the saddest and most cruel April of the five. It had held out an almost unbelievable joy and had then struck out in fury at those whose hands were outstretched.
At the end of Chapter 12, Jethro is inconsolable over the death of the president. The end of the war was supposed to bring relief and happiness, but instead it brought only deeper grief. To make the people of the country endure five years of war and then offer only the briefest respite before hitting them with another tragedy was more than Jethro could be, and it seemed the cruelest irony imaginable. The book ends on a darker, sadder note than one might have expected, with the death of Lincoln overshadowing what life was spared during the war.