Katy would not insist and so went alone with Wilford to the entertainment given to a few young men who seemed as heroes then, when the full meaning of that word had not been exemplified, as it has been since in the life so cheerfully laid down and the heart’s blood poured so freely, by the tens of thousands who have won a martyr’s and a hero’s name. Curiously, eagerly Mark Ray scanned each new arrival, feeling his lips grow white and his pulses faint when he at last caught sight of Wilford’s tall figure, and looked for what might be beside it. But only Katy was there. Helen had not come, and with a feeling of chill despair Mark listened while Katy explained to Mrs. Grandon that her sister had fully intended coming in the morning, but had suddenly changed her mind and begged to be excused.
“I am sorry,” Sybil said, “and so I am sure is Mr. Ray,” turning lightly to Mark, whose white face froze the gay laugh on her lips and made her try to shield him from observation until he had time to recover himself and appear as usual.
How Mark blessed Sybil Grandon for that kindness, and how wildly the blood throbbed through his veins as he thought “She would not come. She does not care. I have deceived myself in hoping that she did, and now welcome war, welcome anything which shall help me to forget.”
Mark was very wretched, and his wretchedness showed itself upon his face, making more than one rally him for what they termed fear, while they tried to reassure him that to the Seventh there could be no danger after Baltimore was safely passed. This was more than Mark could bear, and at an early hour he left the house, bidding Katy good-by in the hall, and telling her he probably should not see her again, as he would not have time to call.