The last few days of March and first three or four of April, since the battery boys and the three captains had gone, were as full of frightened and angry questions as the air is of bees around a shaken hive.
"But think of that from me, Fred! who one year ago--you know how I talked--about Steve, for instance. Shame!--how reckless war's made us. Here we are, by millions, in a perpetual crash of victory and calamity, and yet--take me for an example--in spite of me my one devouring anxiety--that wakes me up in the night and gives me dreams in the day--is how to get her before this next battle get's me. Yes, the instant I'm ordered I go, and if I'm not ordered soon I go anyhow. I wouldn't have my boys"--etc."Happy thought," laughed Flora, letting go, "but a very poor guess."
"One more word," he said. "You're sick of the drill-ground. Well, the man that's spoiling for a fight and yet has no belly for drill--he--oh, he belongs to the cavalry by birth! We love these guns. We're mighty dogg--we're extremely proud of them. Through thick and thin, through fire and carnage and agony, remembering where we got them, we propose to keep them; and some proud day, when the trouble's all over, say two years hence, and those of us who are spared come home, we propose to come with these same guns unstained by the touch of a foe's hand, a virgin battery still. Well, only two things can win that: infernal fighting and perpetual toil. So, as you love honor and your country's cause, wait. Wait in self-respectful patience. Wait and work, and you shall be at the front--the foremost front!--the very first day and hour my best licks can get you there. That's all."Why did the carriage halt at a Gravier Street crossing obliquely opposite the upper front corner of the St. Charles Hotel? Why did all the hotel's gold-braided guests and loungers so quietly press out against its upper balustrades? Why, under its arches, and between balcony posts along the curbstones clear down to Canal Street, was the pathetically idle crowd lining up so silently? From that point why, now, did the faint breeze begin to waft a low roar of drums of such grave unmartial sort? And why, gradually up the sidewalks' edges in the hot sun, did every one so solemnly uncover? Small Victorine stood up to see.
Again it was February. The flag of Louisiana whose lone star and red and yellow stripes still hovered benignly over the Ionic marble porch of the city hall, was a year old. A new general, young and active, was in command of all the city's forces, which again on the great Twenty-second paraded. Feebly, however; see letters to Irby and Mandeville under Brodnax in Tennessee, or to Kincaid's Battery and its commander in Virginia. For a third time the regimental standards were of a new sort. They were the battle-flag now. Its need had been learned at Manassas; eleven stars on St. Andrew's Cross, a field blood red, and the cross spanning all the field!"I've come not just to get your promise, Anna Callender, but to muster you in; to marry you."Anna Callender. In the midst of the gay skirmish and while she yielded Greenleaf her chief attention, Hilary observed her anew.
"You must say? What must you say?"
"They ought," replied the soldier, and his low voice thrilled like a sounding-board, "to love the women--out of every fibre of their being."
"Almost! Surely when that despatch-boat fires!" In a few rapid words Hilary told the scheme of Anna's flight, at the same time setting the screen aside so as to show the hole in the wall nearly closed, humming his tune and ringing the trowel on the brickwork.
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"Oh, you lie!"
"I promise," she breathed. "What is it?"详情
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