So, as to that item, in all the wild-eyed city shaking with its ague of anxieties only Anna was troubled when day after day no detective came back with the old mud-caked dagger and now both were away on some quite alien matter, no one could say where. She alone was troubled, for she alone knew it was the bazaar’s proceeds which had disappeared. Of what avail to tell even Miranda, Connie, or Flora if they must not tell others? It would only bind three more souls on the rack. “Vanished with the dagger!” That would be all they could gasp, first amazed, then scandalized, at a scheme of safe-keeping so fantastically reckless; reckless and fantastical as her so-called marriage. Yes, they would be as scandalized as they would have been charmed had the scheme prospered. And then they would blame not her but Hilary. Blame him in idle fear of a calamity that was not going to befall!
She might have told that sternest, kindest, wisest of friends, Doctor Sevier. As the family’s trustee he might yet have to be told. But on that night of fantastical recklessness he had been away, himself at Corinth to show them there how to have vastly better hospitals, and to prescribe for his old friend Beauregard. He had got back but yesterday. Or she might have told the gray detective, just to make him more careful, as Hilary, by letter, suggested. In part she had told him, through Flora; told him that to save that old curio she would risk her life. Surely, knowing that, he would safeguard it, in whatever hands, and return it the moment he could. Who ever heard of a detective not returning a thing the moment he could? Not Flora, not yet Madame, they said. To be sure, thought Anna, those professional masters of delay, the photographers, might be more jewel-wise than trustworthy, but what photographer could ever be so insane as to rob a detective? So, rather ashamed of one small solicitude in this day of great ones, she urged her committees for final reports—which never came—and felt very wisely in writing her hero for his consent to things, and to assure him that at the worst her own part of the family estate would make everything good, the only harrowing question being how to keep Miranda and Connie from sharing the loss.