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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about Kincaid's Battery.

“I don’t know, unless it’s because—­well—­isn’t it—­because every lady has a piece of his heart and—­no one wants all of it?”

“Ah! no one?—­when so many?—­”

“Now, Flora, suppose some one did!  What of it, if he can’t, himself, get his whole heart together to give it to any one?” The arguer offered to laugh again, but Flora was sad: 

“You bil-ieve he’s that way—­Hilary Kincaid?”

“There are men that way, Flora.  It’s hard for us women to realize, but it’s true!”

“Ah, but for him!  For him that’s a dreadful!”

“Why, no, dear, I fancy he’s happiest that way.”

“But not best, no!  And there’s another thing—­his uncle!  You know ab-out that, I su’pose?”

“Yes, but he—­come, they’ll be sending—­”

“No,—­no! a moment!  Anna!  Ah, Anna, you are too wise for me!  Anna, do you think”—­the pair stood in the room with the inquirer’s eyes on the floor—­“you think his cousin is like that?”

Anna kissed her temples, one in pity, the other in joy:  “No, dear, he’s not—­Adolphe Irby is not.”

On the way downstairs Flora seized her hands:  “Oh, Anna, like always—­this is just bit-win us?  Ah, yes.  And, oh, I wish you’d try not to bil-ieve that way—­ab-out his cousin!  Me, I hope no!  And yet—­”

“Yet what, love?” (Another panic.)

“Nothing, but—­ah, he’s so ki-ind to my brother!  And his cousin Adolphe,” she whispered as they moved on down, “I don’t know, but I fear perchanze he don’t like his cousin Adolphe—­his cousin Adolphe—­on the outside, same as the General, rough—­’t is a wondrous how his cousin Adolphe is fond of him!”

Poor Anna.  She led the way into the family group actually wheedled into the belief that however she had blundered with her lover, with Flora she had been clever.  And now they heard the only true account of how Captain Beauregard and General Steve had taken Fort Sumter.  At the same time every hearer kept one ear alert toward the great open windows.  Yet nothing came to explain that Kincaid’s detention up-town was his fond cousin’s contriving, and Sumter’s story was at its end when all started at once and then subsided with relief as first the drums and then the bugles sounded—­no alarm, but only, drowsily, “taps,” as if to say to Callender House as well as to the camp, “Go to slee-eep ...  Go to slee-eep ...  Go to bed, go to bed, go to slee-eep ...  Go to slee-eep, go to slee-eep ...  Go to slee-ee-eep.”

[Illustration:  “’Tis good-by, Kincaid’s Battery”]

XXIX

A CASTAWAY ROSE

Gone to sleep the camp except its sentinels, and all Callender House save one soul.  Not Miranda, not the Mandevilles, nor Madame Valcour, nor any domestic.  Flora knew, though it was not Flora.  In her slumbers she knew.

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