What joy of planning! The grove should be ruddy with pine-knot flares perched high, and be full of luminous tents stocked with stuffs for sale at the most patriotic prices by Zingaras, Fatimas, and Scheherazades. All the walks of the garden would be canopied with bunting and gemmed with candles blinking like the fireflies round that bower of roses by Bendermere’s stream. The verandas would be enclosed in canvas and be rich in wares, textiles, and works of art. Armed sentries from that splendid command, the Crescent Regiment, would be everywhere in the paved and latticed basement (gorged with wealth), and throughout the first and second floors. The centrepiece in the arrangement of the double drawing-rooms would be a great field-piece, one of Hilary’s casting, on its carriage, bright as gold, and flanked with stacks of muskets. The leading item in the hall would be an allegorical painting—by a famous Creole artist of nearly sixty years earlier—Louisiana Refusing to Enter the Union. Glass cases borrowed of merchants, milliners and apothecaries would receive the carefully classified smaller gifts of rare value, and a committee of goldsmiths, art critics, and auctioneers, would set their prices. If one of those torrential hurricanes—however, there came none.
How much, now, could they hope to clear? Well, the women of Alabama, to build a gun-boat, had raised two hundred thousand dollars, and—
“They will ’ave to raise mo’,” twittered Madame Valcour, “if New Orleans fall’.”
“She will not fall,” remarked Anna from the chair, and there was great applause, as great as lace mitts could make.
Speaking of that smaller stronghold, Flora had a capital suggestion: Let this enterprise be named “for the common defence.” Then, in the barely conceivable event of the city’s fall, should the proceeds still be in women’s hands—and it might be best to keep them so—let them go to the defence of Mobile!
Another idea—Miranda’s and Victorine’s—quite as gladly accepted, and they two elected to carry it out—was, to compile, from everybody’s letters, a history of the battery, to be sold at the bazaar. The large price per copy which that work commanded was small compared with what it would bring now.
THUNDER-CLOUD AND SUNBURST
Could they have known half the toil, care, and trial the preparation of this Bazaar was to cost their friends, apologized the Callenders as it neared completion, they would never have dared propose it.
But the smiling reply was Spartan: “Oh! what are such trifles when we think how our own fathers, husbands, and brothers have suffered—even in victory!” The “Sisters” were still living on last summer’s glory, and only by such indirections alluded to defeats.