“Yes, my dear. Now, listen carefully. Here is a letter which Major Anderson wants delivered to a gentleman who will start for Washington to-morrow. If anyone from this fort should be seen visiting that gentleman he would not be allowed to leave Charleston as he plans. If your father, even, should call upon him it would create suspicion. So I am going to ask you to carry this letter to the address written on the envelope, and you must give it into his own hands to-night. Not even your own father will know that you have this letter; so if he should be questioned or watched he will be able to deny knowing of its existence. Are you willing to undertake it?”
“Yes! Yes!” promised Sylvia. “I will carry it safely. The gentleman shall have the letter to-night,” and she reached out her hand to take it.
But Mrs. Carleton shook her head. “No, my dear, I will pin it safely inside your dress. It would not do for you to be seen leaving the fort with a letter in your hand.”
SYLVIA CARRIES A MESSAGE
Mrs. Fulton did not seem surprised to hear of Sylvia’s dismissal from Miss Patten’s school because of her failure to salute the palmetto flag. She did not say very much of the occurrence that afternoon, when Sylvia returned from the fort, for she wanted Sylvia to think as pleasantly as possible of her pretty teacher. But she was surprised that Sylvia herself did not have more to say about the affair.
But Sylvia’s own thoughts were so filled by the mysterious letter which was pinned inside her dress, with wondering how she could safely deliver it without the knowledge of anyone, that she hardly thought of school. For the time she had even forgotten Estralla.
“What do you say to becoming a teacher yourself, Sylvia dear?” her mother asked, as they sat together in the big sunny room which overlooked the harbor.
“When I grow up?” asked Sylvia.
Mrs. Fulton smiled. Sylvia “grown up” seemed a long way in the future.
“No—that is too far away,” she answered. “I was thinking that perhaps you would like to teach Estralla to read and write. You could begin to-morrow, if you wished.”
“Yes, indeed! Mother, you think of everything,” declared Sylvia. “Why, that will be better than going to school!”
“But we must not let your own studies be neglected,” her mother reminded her, “so after you have given Estralla a morning lesson each day you and I will study together and keep up with Grace and Flora. By the way, Flora was here just before you and your father reached home; she was very sorry not to see you, and I have asked Flora and Grace to come to supper to-morrow night.”