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   Chapter 16 CONSTANCE TRIES TO HELP

Kincaid's Battery By George Washington Cable Characters: 2709

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


One day, in Canal Street, Kincaid met "Smellemout and Ketchem." It was pleasant to talk with men of such tranquil speech. He proposed a glass of wine, but just then they were "strictly temperance." They alluded familiarly to his and Greenleaf's midnight adventure. The two bull-drivers, they said, were still unapprehended.

Dropping to trifles they mentioned a knife, a rather glittering gewgaw, which, as evidence, ought--

"Oh, that one!" said Hilary. "Yes, I have it, mud, glass jewels and all. No," he laughed, "I can keep it quite as safely as you can."

So they passed to a larger matter. "For, really, as to Gibbs and Lafontaine--"

"You can't have them either," interrupted their Captain, setting the words to a tune. Then only less melodiously--"No, sir-ee! Why, gentlemen, they weren't trying to kill the poor devil, he was trying to kill them, tell your Committee of Public Safety. And tell them times are changed. You can take Sam and Maxime, of course, if you can take the whole battery; we're not doing a retail business. By the by--did you know?--'twas Sam's gun broke the city's record, last week, for rapid firing! Funny, isn't it!--Excuse me, I must speak to those ladies."

The ladies, never prettier, were Mrs. Callender and Constance. They were just reentering, from a shop, their open carriage. In amiable reproach they c

alled him a stranger, yet with bewitching resignation accepted and helped out his lame explanations.

"You look--" began Constance--but "careworn" was a risky term and she stopped. He suggested "weather-beaten," and the ladies laughed.

"Yes," they said, "even they were overtasked with patriotic activities, and Anna had almost made herself ill. Nevertheless if he would call he should see her too. Oh, no, not to-day; no, not to-morrow; but--well-- the day after." (Miss Valcour passed so close as to hear the appointment, but her greeting smile failed to draw their attention.) "And oh, then you must tell us all about that fearful adventure in which you saved Lieutenant Greenleaf's life! Ah, we've heard, just heard, in a letter." The horses danced with impatience. "We shall expect you!"

As they drove into Royal Street with Constance rapturously pressing Miranda's hand the latter tried vainly to exchange bows with a third beauty and a second captain, but these were busy meeting each other in bright surprise and espied the carriage only when it had passed.

Might the two not walk together a step or so? With pleasure. They were Flora and Irby. Presently--

"Do you know," she asked, "where your cousin proposes to be day after to-morrow evening--in case you should want to communicate with him?"

He did not. She told him.

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