Not known of his keepers by that name, though as the famous Major Kincaid of Kincaid’s Battery (the latter at Mobile with new guns), all July and August he had been of those who looked down from such windows; looked down often and long, yet never descried one rippling fold of one gossamer flounce of a single specimen of those far-compassionated “ladies of New Orleans,” one of whom, all that same time, was Anna Callender. No proved spy, she, no incarcerated prisoner, yet the most gravely warned, though gentlest, suspect in all the recalcitrant city.
Neither in those sixty days had Anna seen him. The blue sentries let no one pass in sight of that sort of windows. “Permit?” She had not sought it, Some one in gold lace called her “blamed lucky” to enjoy the ordinary permissions accorded Tom, Dick, and Harry. Indeed Tom, Dick, and Harry were freer than she. By reason of hints caught from her in wanderings of her mind on the boat, in dreams of a great service to be done for Dixie, the one spot where she most yearned to go and to be was forbidden her, and not yet had she been allowed to rest her hungry eyes on Callender House. Worse than idle, therefore, perilous for both of them and for any dream of great service, would it have been even to name the name of Hilary Kincaid.
What torture the double ban, the two interlocked privations! Yonder a city, little sister of New Orleans, still mutely hoping to be saved, here Hilary alive again, though Anna still unwitting whether she should love and live or doubt and die. Yet what would they say when they should meet? How could either explain? Surely, we think, love would have found a way; but while beyond each other’s sight and hearing, no way could Hilary, at least, descry.
To him it seemed impossible to speak to her—even to Fred Greenleaf had Fred been there!—without betraying another maiden, one who had sealed his lips forever by confessing a heart which had as much—had more right to love than he to live. True, Anna, above all, had right to live, to love, to know; but in simplest honor to commonest manhood, in simplest manhood’s honor to all womankind, to Flora, to Anna herself, this knowledge should come from any other human tongue rather than from his. From Anna he needed no explanation. That most mysteriously she should twice have defaulted as keeper of sacred treasure; that she stood long accused, by those who would most gladly have scouted the charge, of leanings to another suitor, a suitor in the blue, and of sympathies, nay, services, treasonous to the ragged standards of the gray; that he had himself found her in the enemy’s lines, carried there by her own steps, and accepting captivity without a murmur, ah, what were such light-as-air trials of true love’s faith while she was still Anna Callender, that Anna from whom one breath saying, “I am true,” would outweigh all a world could show or surmise in accusation?