Any least thing now might tip the scale for life or death, and while at the head of the veranda steps she spoke of happiness her distressed thought was of Hilary's madcap audacity, how near at hand he might be even then, under what fearful risk of recognition and capture. She was keenly glad to hear two men complain that the guard about the house and grounds was to-day a new one awkward to the task. Of less weight now it seemed that out on the river the despatch-boat had shifted her berth down-stream and with steam up lay where the first few wheel turns would put her out of sight. Indoors, where there was much official activity, it relieved her to see that neither Hilary's absence nor her coming counted large in the common regard. The brace of big generals were in the library across the hall, busy on some affair much larger than this of "ourn.".