“But if you are that—?”
“Oh, I am! thank God, I am! But don’t name the name. It’s too fearfully holy. We’re married for an emergency, love, an awful crisis! which hasn’t come to you yet, and may not come at all. When it does, so will I! in that name! and you shall call me by it!”
“Ah, if then you can come! But what do we know?”
“We know in whom we trust, Hilary; must, must, must trust, as we trust and must trust each other.”
Still hanging to his hands she pushed them off at arm’s-length: “Oh, my Hilary, my hero, my love, my life, my commander, go!” And yet she clung. She drew his fingers close down again and covered them with kisses, while twice, thrice, in solemn adoration, he laid his lips upon her heavy hair. Suddenly the two looked up. The omnibuses were here in the grove.
Here too was the old coachman, with the soldier’s horse. The vehicles jogged near and halted. A troop of girls, with Flora, tripped out. And still, in their full view, with Flora closest, the bride’s hands held the bridegroom’s fast. He had neither the strength to pull free nor the wit to understand.
“What is it?” he softly asked, as the staring men waited and the girls about Flora hung back.
“Don’t you know?” murmured Anna. “Don’t you see—the—the difference?”
All at once he saw! Throwing away her hands he caught her head between his big palms. Her arms flew round his neck, her lips went to his, and for three heart-throbs they clung like bee and flower. Then he sprang down the stair, swung into the saddle, and fled after his men.
“VICTORY! I HEARD IT AS PL’—”
The last few days of March and first three or four of April, since the battery boys and the three captains had gone, were as full of frightened and angry questions as the air is of bees around a shaken hive.
So Anna had foreboded, yet it was not so for the causes she had in mind; not one fierce hum asked another where the bazaar’s money was. That earlier bazaar, in the St. Louis Hotel, had taken six weeks to report its results, and now, with everybody distracted by a swarm and buzz of far larger, livelier, hotter queries, the bazaar’s sponsors might report or not, as they chose. Meanwhile, was the city really in dire and shameful jeopardy, or was it as safe as the giddiest boasted? Looking farther away, over across Georgia to Fort Pulaski, so tremendously walled and armed, was the “invader” merely wasting lives, trying to take it? On North Carolina’s coast, where our priceless blockade-runners plied, had Newbern, as so stubbornly rumored, and had Beaufort, already fallen, or had they really not? Had the Virginia not sunk the Monitor and scattered the Northern fleets? Was it not by France, after all (asked the Creoles), but only by Paraguay that the Confederacy had been “reco’nize’”?