“Not call to say good-by to Helen,” Katy exclaimed.
“Helen will not care,” was Mark’s reply as he hurried away into the darkness of the night, more welcome in his present state of mind than the gay scene he had left.
And this was all Katy had to carry to Helen, who beat the window pane nervously, fighting back the tears wrung out by her disappointment, for she had expected to see Mark once more, to bless him as a sister might bless a brother, speaking to him words of cheer and bidding him go on to where duty led. But he was not coming and she only saw him from the carriage window, as with proud step and head erect he passed with his regiment through the densely crowded streets, where the wailing cries and the loud hurrahs of the multitude, which no man could number, rent the air and told how terribly in earnest the great city was, and how its heart was with that gallant band, their pet, their pride, sent forth on a mission such as it had never had before. But Mark did not see Helen, and only his mother’s white face as it looked when it said “God bless my boy” was clear before his eyes as he moved on through Broadway and down Cortlandt Street, until the ferryboat received him, and the crowd began to disperse.
There was more than one pillow wet with tears that night as mothers, wives and sisters wept for the loved ones gone, but nowhere were sadder, bitterer tears shed than in the silent chamber where Helen Lennox prayed that God would guard that regiment and bring it back again as full of life and vigor as it had gone away. For them all she prayed, in a general kind of way, but there was one whose image was in her heart, whose name was ever on her lip, breaking the silence of the room, which echoed the name of Mark, who, could he have heard that prayer, would have cast aside the heavy pain, so hard to bear during those first days when his cruel disappointment was fresh and the soldier duty new.
Now that Mark was gone, Mrs. Banker turned intuitively to Helen, finding greater comfort in her quiet sympathy than in the more wordy condolence offered by Juno, who as she heard nothing from the letter, began to lose her fears of detection and even suffer her friends to rally her upon the absence of Mark Ray and the anxiety she must feel on his account. Moments there were, however, when thoughts of the stolen letter brought a pang, while Helen’s face was a continual reproach, and she was glad when toward the first of May her rival left New York for Silverton, where, as the spring and summer work came on, her services were needed.
KATY GOES TO SILVERTON.