Every officer of the camp called that evening, to say graceful things, Kincaid last. As he was leaving he wanted to come to the same old point, but she would not let him. Oh! how could she, a scant six hours after such a bid from herself? He ought to have seen she couldn’t—and wouldn’t! But he never saw anything—of that sort. Ladies’ man indeed! He couldn’t read a girl’s mind even when she wanted it read. He went away looking so haggard—and yet so tender—and still so determined—she could not sleep for hours. Nevertheless—
“I can’t help his looks, Con, he’s got to wait! I owe that to all womanhood! He’s got to practise to me what he preaches to his men. Why, Connie, if I’m willing to wait, why shouldn’t he be? Why—?”
Next day, dining with Doctor Sevier, said the Doctor, “That chap’s working himself to death, Anna,” and gave his fair guest such a stern white look that she had to answer flippantly.
She and Hilary were paired at table and talked of Flora, he telling how good a friend to her Flora was. The topic was easier, between them, than at any other time since the loss of the gold. Always before, she had felt him thinking of that loss and trying to guess something about her; but now she did not, for on Sunday, in the cathedral, Flora had told her at last, ever so gratefully and circumstantially, that she had repaid the Captain everything! yes, the same day on which she had first told Anna of the loss; and there was nothing now left to do but for her to reimburse Anna the moment she could.
Hilary spoke of Adolphe’s devotion to Flora—hoped he would win. Told with great amusement how really well his cousin had done with her government claim—sold it to his Uncle Brodnax! And Flora—how picturesque everything she did!—had put—? yes, they both knew the secret—had put the proceeds into one of those beautiful towboats that were being fitted up as privateers! Hilary laughed with delight. Yes, it was for that sort of thing the boys were so fond of her. But when Anna avowed a frank envy he laughed with a peculiar tenderness that thrilled both him and her, and murmured:
“The dove might as well envy the mocking-bird.”
“If I were a dove I certainly should,” she said.
“Well, you are, and you shouldn’t!” said he.
All of which Flora caught; if not the words, so truly the spirit that the words were no matter.
“Just as we were starting home,” soliloquized, that night, our diary, “the newsboys came crying all around, that General Beauregard had opened fire on Fort Sumter, and the war has begun. Poor Constance! it’s little she’ll sleep to-night.”
SWIFT GOING, DOWN STREAM