But when now she spoke with him these charms became forgettable as he discovered, or fancied he did, in her self-oblivious eyes, a depth of thought and feeling not in the orbs alone but also in the brows and lids, and between upper and under lashes as he glimpsed them in profile while she turned to Mandeville. And now, unless his own insight misled him, he observed how unlike those eyes, and yet how subtly mated with them, was her mouth; the delicate rising curve of the upper lip, and the floral tenderness with which it so faintly overhung the nether, wherefrom it seemed ever about to part yet parted only when she spoke or smiled.
“A child’s mouth and a woman’s eyes,” he mused.
When her smiles came the mouth remained as young as before, yet suddenly, as truly as the eyes, showed—showed him at least—steadfastness of purpose, while the eyes, where fully half the smile was, still unwittingly revealed their depths of truth.
“Poor Fred!” he pondered as the General and Mandeville entered the carriage and it turned away.
A mile or two from Carrollton down the river and toward the city lay the old unfenced fields where Hilary had agreed with Irby to help him manoeuvre his very new command. Along the inland edge of this plain the railway and the common road still ran side by side, but the river veered a mile off. So Mandeville pointed out to the two ladies as they, he, and the General drove up to the spot with Kincaid and Greenleaf as outriders. The chosen ground was a level stretch of wild turf maybe a thousand yards in breadth, sparsely dotted with shoulder-high acacias. No military body was yet here, and the carriage halted at the first good view point.
Mrs. Callender, the only member of her family who was of Northern birth and rearing, was a small slim woman whose smile came whenever she spoke and whose dainty nose went all to merry wrinkles whenever she smiled. It did so now, in the shelter of her diminutive sunshade opened flat against its jointed handle to fend off the strong afternoon beams, while she explained to Greenleaf—dismounted beside the wheels with Mandeville—that Constance, Anna’s elder sister, would arrive by and by with Flora Valcour. “Connie”, she said, had been left behind in the clutches of the dressmaker!
“Flora,” she continued, crinkling her nose ever so kind-heartedly at Greenleaf, “is Lieutenant Mandeville’s cousin, you know. Didn’t he tell you something back yonder in Carrollton?”
Greenleaf smiled an admission and her happy eyes closed to mere chinks. What had been told was that Constance had yesterday accepted Mandeville.
“Yes,” jovially put in the lucky man, “I have divulge’ him that, and he seem’ almoze as glad as the young lady herseff!”
Even to this the sweet widow’s misplaced wrinkles faintly replied, while Greenleaf asked, “Does the Lieutenant’s good fortune account for the—’clutches of the dressmaker’?”