spontaneously rendered. She took Lydia's hand and kissed her.
"We'll come out of it all right, dear," she said. "All of us. You and Stewart and Floyd and I. Next year you'll be eating your Thanksgiving dinner with us, and we'll be eating our Christmas dinner with you. See if we are n't."
Lydia followed her to the door, reluctant to have this spirit of courage and cheerful confidence depart. It occurred to her that perhaps she had timorously made too little of an effort, and that perhaps in her dread of pushing Stewart down she might, neglect the obvious duty of keeping him afloat. She would try if she might not touch him gently without sending him to the bottom.
Floyd dined that evening with Marion and her family, and afterwards started with her in his carriage to the theatre. As they drove, she questioned him about the expedition that was to go up the river that evening. It was all in readiness, he informed her; the steamboat and two barges were in fact leaving at about that time and would reach the works a little after ten o'clock. Marion asked where the watchmen were to sleep and how they were to live, and he explained that the barges had been roofed over and fitted up inside with bunks and that mattresses and bedding were also being transported for use in one of the buildings; arrangements could be made to quarter the men there very comfortably. Then he laughed.
"I don't expect they'll have to endure a siege," he said. "My opinion is that within a few days our men will come flocking in to work.—You're the only person—except Gregg and the agent—that I've told a word of all this to; not even the other superintendents know anything definite about it yet. I don't know, of course, what leakage there may be through the watchmen themselves, but I hope not much; they were all of them cautioned about the necessity of strict silence—and I guess in their business they understand it."