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Title: What Happened to Me
Author: Pickett, La Salle Corbell
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive)



WHAT HAPPENED TO ME

BY
LASALLE CORBELL PICKETT
(MRS. GEN. GEORGE E. PICKETT)

AUTHOR OF
PICKETT AND HIS MEN; LITERARY HEARTHSTONES OF DIXIE; BUGLES OF
GETTYSBURG; HEART OF A SOLDIER; ACROSS MY PATH; "IN DE MIZ" SERIES;
FOLK LORE STORIES, ETC.

[Illustration: Decoration]


NEW YORK
BRENTANO'S
1917


COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY BRENTANO'S


[Illustration: Faithfully Yours,

La Salle Corbell Pickett.

Jan 17 1917]



DEDICATED TO SELMA LEWISOHN


In my garden a lily grew, blossoming in snowy purity, fragrant sweetness
and stately grace. It held the summer in its golden heart and the love
of the angels crowned its radiant petals. It bade me "good-morning" and
the dawn was bright with promise. It waved a caress to me in the soft
winds of the Junetide noon and the day was filled with light and love.
It shone in mystic silver through the moonlight and my night was aglow
with dreams.

Thus a Lily-Soul blooms in the garden of my life to make it glad with
the glory and fragrance of her blossoming. Many hearts are happy because
of the flowers of Love and Hope and Faith which she has planted. Many a
life which in its early dawn held little promise of good has grown into
usefulness and beauty in the brightness that the Lily-Soul has given of
her own loveliness to light the dim pathway.

In cloudy days the whiteness of the Lily-Soul has shone like a star
through my darkness and the sunlight in her golden heart has illumined
the black veil of sorrow.

LA SALLE CORBELL PICKETT.

October 1, 1916.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER                                              PAGE
     I. "OUT OF THE EVERYWHERE"                         1

    II. THE FIRST PRAYER                               12

   III. CHURCH VISITORS                                19

    IV. MY SOLDIER                                     30

     V. A KEEPSAKE FOR THE ANGELS                      42

    VI. AFRICAN ROYALTY                                48

   VII. OUR FIRST CURRENCY                             57

  VIII. YULETIDE                                       64

    IX. GREENBRIER WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS               79

     X. THE BREAKING OF THE STORM                      87

    XI. THE "VIRGINIA"                                 93

   XII. RICHMOND AFTER SEVEN PINES                    103

  XIII. MY WOUNDED SOLDIER                            109

   XIV. THE RED FOX                                   117

    XV. THE SMUGGLED BRIDE                            124

   XVI. BOTTLER, BOTTLER UP                           133

  XVII. ON THE LINES                                  141

 XVIII. THE AMENITIES                                 149

   XIX. THE CLOSING DAYS                              157

    XX. SUSPENSE                                      175

   XXI. "WHOA, LUCY"                                  184

  XXII. GEORGE JUNIOR'S FIRST GREENBACK               191

 XXIII. "SKOOKUM TUM-TUM"                             200

  XXIV. CARPET-BAG, BASKET AND BABY                   207

   XXV. EDWARDS IS BETTER                             221

  XXVI. ONE WOMAN REDEEMED THEM ALL                   227

 XXVII. A FAMILIAR FACE                               237

XXVIII. VISITORS, SHILLING A DOZEN--OUR LEFT-HANDERS  248

  XXIX. BORN WITH EMERALDS--NEMO NOCETUR              261

   XXX. TURKEY ISLAND                                 273

  XXXI. AT THE WHITE HOUSE                            288

 XXXII. UNCLE TOM                                     305

XXXIII. "GOD'S 'TISEMENT"                             314

 XXXIV. CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN                             327

  XXXV. EASTER FLOWERS                                339

 XXXVI. HIS LAST BATTLE                               352



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


Portrait of Author                  _Frontispiece_

                                            FACING
                                              PAGE
Abraham Lincoln                                168

Ulysses S. Grant                               288

"I know dear Father was a great man and knew
most everything, but I didn't know he had
God's eyes and could see everything"           330

"Little Brother, be gentle with the flowers;
they die so soon"                              348

"All Quiet Along the Potomac"                  355

The Angel of Peace                             363



I

"OUT OF THE EVERYWHERE"


There are some events with which we have become so familiar by report
that we can scarcely believe they did not happen within our own
recollection. Thus it is with my advent into earthly existence.

Not long before the time at which I was expected to arrive in this vale
of thorns and flowers my father's only brother was seriously ill. It
became necessary for my father to accompany him to Philadelphia to
consult an eminent surgeon.

For months it had been definitely settled that I was to be a boy, for
all was grist that came to my father's mill. No shadow of a doubt of my
manhood clouded the family mind. My health had been drunk at the clubs
and in the homes, and especially at the neighborhood functions, the fox
hunts, and the name of Thomas La Salle had already been given me.
"_L'homme propose et Dieu surprend_," and so did I, for, most
unexpectedly, I made my arrival in the middle of the night, the middle
of the week, the middle of the month, almost the middle of the year,
near the middle of the century, and in the middle of a hail-storm.
Confident that I was a boy, the family had all hoped that I would be
considerate enough to postpone my coming at least until my father's
return, but with perverse discourtesy and want of filial regard, I would
not wait. Of course, there was no one ready to receive me.

I have borne the blame for this untimely début, but it was really the
fault of the barn which, in the early part of the evening, had caught
fire and been burned to the ground. The excitement had passed and the
sleep of exhaustion that follows disrupting events had settled over all
when again there was confusion; this time owing to my inconsiderate
haste to present myself. The keys to the stable door could not be found.
There was no time to hunt for them, so the hinges were pried off and
Fannie Kemble, the fleetest and safest horse in the stable, was
hurriedly called from her dreams. My young uncle, afterwards a gallant
Confederate officer, Colonel J. J. Phillips, was routed out and,
barefoot and mounted upon the horse without saddle or bridle, rode post
haste for our family physician, treasuring the grievance to reproach me
with in after years when I would give evidence of a too impetuous
disposition. In my eagerness to fly to the ills I knew not of, I would
not await the arrival of the medical man and, spurning his assistance,
defying them all, made my "ingress into life, naked and bare."

"Why didn't you wait for me, you impertinent little rascal?" inquired
the Doctor. "What's your hurry? You are too enterprising for so young a
lad."

"Lordy, Lordy, Marse Doctor," interposed my mammy tragically, "he ain't
no boy-chile. It's a po' li'l gal-chile."

"A girl? Why! Damn him!" exclaimed the Doctor in astonishment and
dismay. Thus my first greeting upon arriving on the earth was one of
profanely expressed disapproval.

A wail of woe indescribable went up from all around. My poor,
disappointed, heart-broken mother turned her face to the wall.

"Come 'long to yo' mammy, honey. She ain't gwine to 'sert you ef you is
a gal-chile, po' l'il lamb! You can't he'p yo' calamity no mo' dan
we-all kin. Mammy knows hit's terrible. En yo' pa, he gwine cuss eb'y
last nigger on de plantation 'bout hit. I wonder what dey gwine name
you, for Tommy ain't no gal's name. Dey can't call you atter none er yo'
gran'pas now, nuther. I suttinly is sorry, but dar ain't nuttin' so bad
dat hit couldn't be wusser, en you mouter been twins--gal twins! Po'
li'l thing! Den I know you'd hyer ole Bringer bark." (Ole Bringer was
the "ha'nt dog.") "Lordy! Lordy! I wonder who gwine tell yo' pa. I
reckon de Doctor better bre'k hit to him, kase de preacher is gone souf
to cure his th'oat. Dar, dar, honey, mammy's most th'oo. She gwine drap
some warm catnip tea down yo' th'oat now. Dar, dar, go sleepityby!"

Thus early in my career my mammy comforted me, as the old mammies always
comforted us "white chilluns."

Several days later my father returned and hurried to my mother. After
blessing and kissing her he said proudly:

"Now, little mother, papa wants to see his little man. Where is he?"

In those days the nearest telegraph station was a long distance from our
plantation home and there had been no opportunity of informing my father
of the misfortune that had befallen the family.

A burst of tears answered him.

"My God! My wife! My boy is not--not dead!"

"Oh, my darling, it's worse than that!"

"Worse! He is not deformed!"

"I can't tell you! I--I couldn't help it."

"_Where_ is he?"

"In there," pointing to the room that had been arranged for a nursery.

Mammy Charity, who had been eaves-dropping, was almost knocked over as
my father suddenly opened the door upon her and excitedly cried:

"Let me see my boy, mammy!"

"Marse Dae, please, suh, fergib us all, but--de boy is a gal."

I opened my eyes which, alas! were crossed, to give and receive a
blessing.

"A cross-eyed girl!" he exclaimed. "How did it happen?"

"I dunno, Marse Dae, how de po' boy happened to be a gal. I 'clare it
wuz none of we-all's doin's, but I reckon de reason she's cross-eyed is
her bein' born lak she was in de middle of de week a lookin' bofe ways
for Sunday."

Thus was I blessed by physician, mother and father. In a few weeks the
eyes uncrossed of themselves, but they are still looking both ways for
Sunday--which never comes.

Three weeks later, when my grandmother made her second visit to me, her
first grandchild, finding that I had developed into a very colic-y, and
consequently, fretful child, a disturber of sleep and peace, she offered
to take me back home with her, a proposition which was eagerly
accepted. The "settin'-aig-basket" was sent for and I was comfortably
and cosily placed in it and put into the foot of her rockaway. Pery, the
driver, was cautioned to be "keerful of de ruts en de jolts; not to go
to sleep nor to step 'pon dat chile, en don't you drap her out; ef you
do she'll ha'nt you as long as you lib."

It was a beautiful day in June. The air was laden with perfume and song.
Not that I knew it at the time--cuddled up in my
"settin'-aig-basket"--but I have credible information on the subject,
furnished later, with all the rest of the details of that most
important, though unconscious, period of my earthly career. Every little
while my grandmother would peep into the basket to see that all was
well. Everybody we met stopped to ask after the "new-born baby" and,
being informed of its presence in the "settin'-aig-basket," requested to
make its acquaintance _sans ceremonie_, Pery taking advantage of the
introduction to hop out of the rockaway and gather great green
honeysuckles and honeysuckle blossoms, which he put into the basket
until it looked as if filled with honeysuckles and their blooms, that
being the best tribute he could offer to the little new "missis."

At Sandy Bottom, the dismal grave of many a trusting heart, where the
frog croaks his never-ceasing croon, Uncle Frenigike came out from
"Free-nigger-town" to borrow "a chew of terbacker" and beg a "ninepence
to buy de ole man a plug." Recognizing the "settin'-aig-basket" he said:

"Lordy, Mistis, can't you give de ole man a settin' of dem aigs.
We-all's ole domernicker is jest gwine to settin'."

Being informed of the contents of the basket, he asked to be allowed to
see "de li'l gal baby."

"Lord, Lord! Jes' look at dem li'l fis'es," he exclaimed. "Dey's bofe
shet up jest as tight ez wax. Dat chile sho' gwine to be one stingy
white woman when she grows up ef you-all don't scrouge dem dar li'l
fis'es open en put sumpn 'twixt 'em."

Suiting the action to the word, he worked his own black forefinger
within my little soft baby clasp, then suddenly but gently withdrawing
it asked:

"Ain't she got nare rabbit foot, Mistis? She ain't! De-Lord-sakes-alive!
Po' li'l misfortunate thing--agwine on fo' weeks ole en ain't never had
a rabbit's foot! Well, she shan't be widout one no longer. No, dat she
shan't. She shall have a rabbit's foot dis ve'y minute. Yas'm, I got a
fresh one in my snake-skin bag I kilt wid my two-time (double-barrel)
gun last Chuesday jest 'fo' sundown en jest ez hit wuz gwine
lipperty-clip, lipperty-clip, 'cross de briahs over Liza-Malindy's
grave. Liza-Malindy, you know, was my fifth wife. I wish hit had been
runnin' 'cross one er de men-folkses' graves en dat I had kilt hit of a
Friday night 'stead of a Chuesday. Den co'se, dar'd a been a heap mo'
luck in hit. But hit's de best I kin do now for de po' li'l thing en
hit's a heap better dan havin' no rabbit's foots at all."

Running his hand down into his breeches pocket he pulled out his
rattlesnake-skin bag, filled with charms against "hoodoos en cunjers,"
and selected from the gruesomeness a blood-stained rabbit's foot and,
lifting my little clenched fingers one by one, he closed them around it.
Thus, perhaps, he saved me from that most loathsome fault, "stinginess,"
and insured for me, even though the talisman was of a "Chuesday's"
killing, sprinting over a woman's instead of a man's briar-grown home,
at least a minimum amount of good luck.

But for the superstitious and fascinating tales, silken-woven by the
tongue of fancy, and the awesome shadows cast by authenticated
tragedies, Sandy Bottom, where I met my sable godfather, Frenigike, and
received my first security against ill luck, would have been nothing but
an insignificant little valley in the wildwood, crossed by a quiet
looking stream. In its dread death-bed, by the side of priests and
Indians, fair-haired maidens and dark-eyed savages, sleep the wife and
children and servants of an English nobleman. The infant child, because
of its appealing helplessness, alone was saved, while the great strong
horses and the coach with its freight of human lives, gold and silver
and jewels, were swallowed by the treacherous quicksand.

This tragedy occurred in the year 1799, when Sir Henry Clinton formed
the plan of humbling the pride and destroying the resources of Virginia.
He sent a powerful fleet to Hampton Roads and landed a force under
General Mathews to advance and perfect this project. General Mathews
took possession of Norfolk and Portsmouth and the surrounding country,
burning Suffolk and committing depredations everywhere. The family of an
English nobleman, frightened by the devastation, fled for safety to a
point on the Nansemond where a part of the English fleet was lying in
waiting. Passing Sandy Bottom the driver stopped to water his horses. He
was urging them farther up stream where the water was deeper and
clearer, when a runaway negro named Isaac sprang from the bank,
shrieking out a warning of the terrible quicksand. His warning being
disregarded, he snatched the sleeping baby from the nurse's arms,
saying:

"Dis po' li'l chile can't he'p itse'f en I gwine to sabe it anyhow fum
bein' gulched down dat quicksandy debil's th'oat, ef de yuthers won't be
sabed."

Before the last echo had followed the negro's words--before the
frightened child could catch breath for another shriek--carriage,
horses, driver, footmen, maids, children and mistress were all sucked in
by the dark water. A few bubbles here and there were the only sign of
its treachery. The horrified riders had followed so close that the dash
of their horses' feet splashed the water simultaneously on the screaming
child and over the swirling waves which marked the fatal spot of its
mother's doom.

As a reward for his warning and for saving the life of the child, Isaac,
the negro, was given his liberty and a home--the first of his race ever
_set free_ in Virginia--and was thereafter impressively distinguished by
the (to those of his own color) opprobrious epithet of
"Free-Negro-Isaac." This name was soon jargoned into Frenigike, and
afterward, through culture and prosperity, into Freeling, the present
family name of the descendants of Frenigike. The old place near Sandy
Bottom is still called Free-Nigger-Town.

Past this spot of gruesome history I was borne in the unconsciousness
of infancy through the little village of Chuckatuck and beyond until the
carriage drew up at my grandmother's door and Uncle Charles, her
foreman, came out with the little negroes running after him to welcome
us.



II

THE FIRST PRAYER


Still cuddled among the honeysuckles in the basket I was carefully
lifted from the carriage.

"Please, Marm, Mistis, lemme carry de settin'-aig-basket in to Mammy
Dilsey," pleaded Pery, the driver, who had taken great pride in giving
me my first ride and covering me over with his cherished honeysuckle
blossoms.

"Mammy's gwine to be so s'prised she'll want to knock me down. En I's
gwine to look solemn en mousterious en hand her de basket en say,
''Tain't no use er yo' settin' dese yer aigs, Mammy Dilsey, for dey's
already done en hatched out!' I know now jes' what she's gwine answer
back. She gwine say, 'Don't you come hyer wid none o' yo' projickin',
you pizen-fryin'-size-limb-er-Satan, you. Ef you does I'll smack you
slab-sided into de middle of next winter!' Den I gwine say, 'Well, look
for yo'se'f, Mammy Dilsey.'"

My grandmother, who not only liked to humor her servants but enjoyed
the anticipated surprise he was going to give Mammy Dilsey, granted
Pery's request and I was carried in and put upon Mammy's bed and the
rehearsed conversation followed. Mammy Dilsey would have been more
vigorous in her denunciation of that "fryin'-size" with his "lyin' en
projickin'" if her eyes had not at that moment rested on my grandmother,
to whom she appealed to "help her to save dat lyin'-limb-of-a-nigger fum
perditionment."

"Look for yourself, Mammy Dilsey, before condemning Pery to perdition,"
suggested my grandmother.

Mammy looked and seeing only my leafy and blossoming cover, ejaculated
scornfully:

"Aigs? Dey's honeysuckles en flowers. Dat nigga's tryin' to fool me!"

In lifting my honeysuckle blanket she pulled out my sugar rag. This loss
combined with the cessation of the soothing motion of the rockaway
caused me to make my presence and my grievances known by wail after
wail, verifying Pery's truthfulness as to something having hatched out.

"Land sakes!" cried Mammy Dilsey. "Fo' God!--Fo' God! Well, you-all sho'
ought to be ridic'lous at yo'se'fs--a humblementin' a po' li'l he'pless
baby en insecatin' her lak dis! Did you-all have no pillows nor no laps
to fotch de po' li'l lamb home 'pon widout puttin' her in a
settin'-aig-basket? How you-all know dat some misforchunement ain't
gwine to come 'count er projickin' wid her lak dat? De chile mout crow,
or she mout cackle, or she mout take her arms for wings en flop 'em, or
she mout peck, or eat wu'ms, or walk wid her toes stuck in'ards. She
eben mout have fedders. De Lord's ways is mousterious. He don't do
nuttin' out of de reg'lar Hisse'f, en you-all is done sumpn not only out
of de reg'lar but onnatural, a puttin' a baby in a settin'-aig-basket.
De po' li'l thing cries, too, lak 'twas starved to deaf. I s'pose Miss
Lizzie didn't have no milk en maybe dat was de reason you fotch it long
back wid you so dat Sis Sereny could nuss her; her twinzes bein' most de
same age."

At this moment the door opened and Aunt Serena, who had already been
notified of her coming duties, appeared, carrying on each arm a baby as
black as the ace of spades. Without a word she laid both the babies down
on Mammy Dilsey's bed and, taking me in her loving, motherly arms, set
my table, and I, half starved, ravenously showed my appreciation and
enjoyed my first meal at the expense of my little foster sisters, who
had just been awakened by my screams.

The news of my strange arrival had spread and the whole plantation
assembled to see their "young missis," crowding around in reverential
admiration, while I went off into a peaceful sleep, smiling anon in that
sleep, as the warm-hearted loyal negroes, from the oldest to the
youngest, leaned over to look at and bless me, "old missus'es" first
grandchild.

"Lord! Lord! Is dat we-alls li'l missis?" asked Uncle Charles, taking
off his hat, pulling his forelock and scraping his foot as reverentially
to me as if I had been a little princess. "Is dat Miss Lizzie's chile?
Niggers, you-all hyer dat? Take off your hats en bow en cutchy, ebby
last one er you, for dis is yo' Miss Lizzie's chile en mistisses'
gran'chile, de young missis dat de Lord is done en sont down to earth
for us to take a intrus' in, to work for, en to teach manners to, en to
send to school. Come along now, let us all kneel down en 'semble
ourse'fs in praher en concentrate our li'l missis to de bressed Lord;
all 'cept'n' Sis Sereny; she's holdin' de li'l missis, so she kin set.

"Oh, Lord, de Father of de fatherless, dat letteth not a sparrow fall to
de groun' widout Dy knowledge en counts de very hairs upon dar heads;
disremember dis Dy he'pless chile, who has been fotch to us dis day
th'oo trials en triberlations in a settin'-aig-basket. I beseech De, oh
Lord, to watch over her, clothe her in raiment en vestures en feed her
on manna en lead her li'l foots into de straight en narrer paths to de
glory of Dy righteousness. Harken up her voice to sing Dy praises en
lift up her han's to do Dy wu'k en keep her in Dy holy keepin'. Oh,
Lord, bress dis our li'l baby for de sake of Dy own en Miss Mary's li'l
baby, li'l Marse Jesus, amen."

"Git up fum off yo' knees now, niggers, en go 'long en tend to yo'
business. You-all got dem dar cows to git up en milk, en de hogs is to
be fed, en de hawsses to be curried, en you, Sis Sereny, you better wrop
de baby up now en carry her along to de Gre't House, en Sis Dilsey, you
better look after things. Ole-Granny-Aggie, you better git to bed."

The cradle was brought down from the garret and emptied of its loyal
little toys. It had belonged to the twin-brother of the uncle who took
the midnight ride to help me across the dark waters. While it was being
arranged for my occupancy a cry of dismay went up from Ole-Granny-Aggie,
who had disobeyed Uncle Charles and followed me in.

"Don't put dat chile in dat cradle! What you thinkin' 'bout? Marse
Jasper's twin done en die in dat cradle, en all de rabbits' foots in de
worl' ain't gwine charm away de ha'nts en keep off de ebil eye ef you
puts her in dat cradle to sleep. Put dem dar li'l toys all back ag'in en
tek de cradle back to de garret en pull outn de trunnel bed. De cat's
been a tryin' to steal hit for hern, en cats does p'int de way. You sho'
is tryin' to see how much triberlation en bad luck you kin fotch down
'pon dis chile's haid, fotchin' her home of a Friday in de small of de
moon in a settin'-aig-basket, mekin' her drink her first drink fum a
stranger's cup in a stranger's house wid undrinkin' strangers a lookin'
on while she unbeknown to it all is a drinkin'. I's glad I flung de
dish-water on de dog--a howlin' jest as Uncle Charles was a prayin', en
you-all know what a howlin' dog means."

The superstitions were heeded, the little toys were all lovingly
replaced in the cradle and returned to the garret and I was put to sleep
in the little trundle bed where my grandfather and great-grandfather and
mother and uncles and aunts had slept when the cradle and crib had grown
too small and they were not yet old enough for a tester-bed.

Aunt Serena was moved from the "quarters" and ensconced in one of the
garret rooms of the "Gre't House." She was provided with a supply of
new clothing, which delighted her, and was placed upon a special diet,
which she resented, preferring her bacon and greens, "pot-liquor" and
"corn-meal-dumplin's" to the daintier food prescribed.

Her little twins, my foster sisters, Mary-Frances and Arabella, were
placed in the care of the "orphan tenders," Mammy Dilsey and
Ole-Granny-Aggie, the latter claiming to be more than a hundred years
old. A cow was set aside for the especial use of the twins, who soon
learned that the tinkle of the cow-bells meant for them a banquet of
rich warm milk.

For awhile they were brought up twice a day to the "Gre't House" to see
"dar Mammy" and sometimes were permitted to partake of the crumbs that
fell from the "rich baby's table," which crumbs they soon disdainfully
refused, showing their preference for the libations of "Spotty Sookey,"
that being the name of their barnyard cow.



III

CHURCH VISITORS


My grandmother's old colonial home, Holiday's Point, so-called because
of the many holidays that my grandfather had been accustomed to give his
servants, was on the Nansemond River, in Nansemond County.

The county came into existence in 1639, being first called Upper
Norfolk. Its name was soon changed to Nansemum, spelled by Captain John
Smith "Nansemond." The Dismal Swamp extends along its edge. Its
county-seat is Suffolk, the burning of which I, as a child, have often
heard described by Ole-Granny-Aggie, an eye-witness, while we would
listen with bated breath, hair on end and nerves aquiver.

"No, chillun," she would say, "jedgment day ain't agwine to be no mo'
tur'ble to 'sperience dan de burnin' of we-all's county-town by dem
furrin Britishers was, en de niggers en de white folks ain't agwine to
be no skeerder den, needer."

Then she would describe in her picturesque lingo the firing of the
barrels of tar, pitch and turpentine which had been brought from the
Dismal Swamp and placed upon the wharf awaiting shipping. The flames
carried by a strong wind caught the grass of the dry marshes and spread
to the town and the surrounding country and, as Granny-Aggie said, "de
ma'shes en de river for miles looked and soun' lak one gre't
blazin'-kindle-lighted sheet er steadified thunder and lightnin'--de
magazines a 'splodin'--de timbers a cracklin'--de barrels of tar, pitch
en turkentine a bustin' en splungin' out dar fire--de sparks a flyin' en
a lippin' lak de whole fundament had busted wide open en all de stars in
de Heabens was a drappin' out, en ev'ybody runnin' lipperty-clip lak dey
thunk de Debil was a movin' de Bad Place down to Nansemon'."

Thus my infancy was surrounded by historic tales and the more ancient
traditions that had descended from father to son through generations of
dusky retainers.

I was the idol of my dear grandmother and her household and many
friends. My playmates were the children of the surrounding
plantations--the old homes inherited from colonial days. I had never
known any other way of living and experienced a shock of surprise on
learning that a little new acquaintance did not reside in the home of
her ancestors. I asked my grandmother if that little girl was
respectable.

"Of course," she replied. "She is a very nice little girl. What makes
you ask?"

"Because her pa and ma rent their home. She told me so herself. She
can't be respectable."

My grandmother explained to me that though it was pleasant and desirable
to live in the house of our fathers, the absence of that comfort did not
necessarily place a person "beyond the pale." But I felt at that time
that it was grandmother's charity that caused her to set forth that
view, for I thought that people who did not live in their own houses
could not be respectable.

Two members of my grandmother's household were "nominated" as "church
visitors," Mrs. Mary Hutchins, who was deaf, and whose husband, a sea
captain, had been lost in a wreck, and Miss Sophia Wilson who, through a
vicious parrot, had lost her sight on the eve of her marriage and had,
in consequence, been deserted by her fiancé.

There were poorhouses in those days but no homes for aged women and the
members of the church took care of their homeless co-workers. As Mrs.
Hutchins and Miss Sophia belonged to the old Glebe Church, they were
invited as honored guests by fellow-members. Some years earlier the
Episcopal Church had become almost extinct in Virginia and the
membership was still very small, so that the visits were correspondingly
extended. As my grandmother's home was especially pleasant the guests
prolonged their stay indefinitely, suddenly falling too ill to be moved
if there was any suggestion of their going elsewhere.

Mrs. Hutchins, or "Miss Mary," as we called her, could not hear, but she
read the movements of the lips, a circumstance of which Miss Sophia
would perversely take advantage by turning away as she spoke, whereupon
her friend would thus reproach her:

"Turn your head this way, Sophia Wilson! You don't want me to hear what
you are talking about. Begrudging me a little news and I interested in
everything, and the Lord knows I haven't a bit of curiosity."

"How do you know what the Lord knows, Mary Hutchins? If you knew half
what He knows you wouldn't make so many mistakes. No curiosity, indeed!
You're chock full of it. You'd bore a gimlet hole through the earth to
see what was on the other side."

"You wouldn't know what was on the other side if there was a tunnel
through and somebody shouting it with a fog-horn, and you're so stingy
you wouldn't tell me if you did know. Not that it makes any difference;
you're not likely to known anything on any side of the earth."

"Humph," was the indignant retort, "if I don't know things why should
you be so anxious to see me talk so you could find them out."

"Miss Mary" was saved from the embarrassment of a reply by the timely
arrival of my grandmother, who could always apply oil to the waters when
they were especially troubled.

A part of my youthful education consisted of the thrilling stories
related to me by the captain's faithful relict, whose memory cherished
the tales of "moving 'scapes by land and sea" told her in early days by
the sailor. Thus I met the man-eaters of the South Seas, shuddered at
the gruesome trophies that adorned the persons and huts of the
head-hunters of Borneo, beheld the sea-serpent in the rippling waves of
the river that flowed below the edge of my grandmother's lawn, and heard
many a story of storm and wreck in which the departed sea-captain had
performed wonders of skill and bravery.

"Well, Mary Hutchins!" exclaimed Miss Sophia in stern disapproval when I
would be lost in rapt attention to these thrilling tales. "What do you
mean by putting such notions into that innocent child's head? What do
you suppose she will come to when she grows up? A lunatic asylum? Come
out of one yourself most likely or you wouldn't get such crazy ideas.
Just fancy people wearing other people's heads and hanging them on the
wall when they can pick up beautiful shell necklaces right off their own
beach and can get wax flowers to put around their houses that look
natural and won't ever fade! And as for sea-serpents, you know there
never were any."

"Now, Sophia Wilson," Mrs. Hutchins would answer, "the Bible tells us
that there are more things in heaven and earth than philosophy ever
dreamt of, and we know it's true, and if philosophy can't even dream of
the things in heaven and earth, how in the name of common sense are you
going to know what's in the waters under the earth? And doesn't it stand
to reason that those who go down into the great deep know more about
what's in the sea-waves than you do who would be afraid of the wave of a
clothes-line on a wash-day?"

In romantic moments Mrs. Hutchins would tell me of the green-haired,
flame-eyed, melodious-voiced mermaids that lie in wait to lure unwary
seamen to destruction on the rocks, from which danger her sailor had
been delivered by the memory of her. Unfortunately, Miss Sophia chanced
to be present at one of these sentimental reminiscences.

"You never did have green hair, Mary Hutchins, not even at your
prettiest, and that wouldn't be much, and as for flaming eyes, you
couldn't scorch a potato, not if your dinner depended on it, and if you
ever did sing it must have been worse than a flock of jaybirds. Talk
about that old Greek who moved trees when he played! I should think your
singing would be enough to make all the woodpiles in Virginia run away.
The more you educate that child, Mary Hutchins, the less she knows. The
Lord gave her more learning to begin with than she'll ever get from you,
and if you go on telling her such trash she'll forget all she ever did
know. I heard you yesterday telling her about the ghosts of the children
of Israel that keep on crossing the Red Sea. Now I want you to know,
Mary Hutchins, that when those Jews crossed the Red Sea once they were
on the other side for good and they don't go on walking through that
water as if the Lord had nothing to do but take care of them every time
they chose to go wading. There is such a thing as trusting the Lord once
too often, and the folks that know Him as well as the children of Israel
did aren't going to take risks like that on Him. First thing you know
you'll have that child seeing ghosts, and you know well enough that
people who see ghosts aren't ever likely to see anything that's worth
looking at."

I was often troubled in my mind between a confidence in "Miss Mary,"
which I wished to preserve unshaken, and the force of Miss Sophia's
arguments.

The germ of pathos latent in my undeveloped mind was fostered by the
story of Miss Sophia's lost vision, which ran thus:

She was visiting at the home of a friend who owned a parrot of unusual
brightness of mind and independence of character. Its mistress had a
little wooden whistle like those you may recall having seen rural
schoolboys whittle out and use for the production of music somewhat
shrill in tone but well adapted to please the taste of the juvenile
artist. The lady would whistle to the bird, which would answer her in
tones that obviously fell short of its ambition. The mistress had a
whistle like her own made for the parrot who, marvelous to relate,
acquired a high degree of skill in its use and was proud of the
achievement.

Once when Miss Sophia's fiancé called she wished to entertain him with a
display of the bird's accomplishments. Putting her friend's whistle to
her lips she approached the cage. The parrot, apparently angry with the
usurper for daring to assume the character of its mistress, darted its
beak through the wires and plucked out one of the interloper's eyes.
From overwork or sympathy the other eye lost its sight. The lover's
affection failed before the test of a blind sweetheart and he found a
more fortunate lady.

This story was told me as a lesson in refraining from meddling with the
possessions of other people. In combination with "Meddlesome Matty" in
my school reader it led me to extreme care in avoiding too great
familiarity with things that did not belong to me.

I was fascinated not only by the tragic story but by the click-clack of
Miss Sophia's teeth falling out of place as she told it to me. She had
purchased them by the sacrifice of her collection of gold dollars, the
gifts of friends through many years. The extravagance and vanity of this
purchase furnished another subject of dispute with "Miss Mary," who was
a thrifty soul and pious as well.

"Sophia Wilson," she said, "if the Lord had intended you to have teeth
all your life wouldn't He have given you a set that would have lasted to
your dying day?"

Miss Sophia retorted with spirit:

"If He wanted me to go without teeth because the ones He made turned out
badly, why do you suppose He put people into the world that were smart
enough to make new ones? Just answer me that!"

The question being wholly unanswerable, the conversation lapsed.

I found relief from the depression produced by the tragic reminiscences
confided to me by going out into the sunlight on the grass-carpeted lawn
and walking under the pink and white canopy of the blossoming althea
bushes, or Rose of Sharon, as the flowering plant was sometimes called.
The negroes had named the althea the "toothbrush tree" because they
broke twigs from it and chewed the ends of the tough fiber into brushes
softer than the finest hair brush and used them for cleaning their
teeth. "Miss Rose Sharon she first started it," they said. "She was a
fairy and lived in the tree and the pink and white blossoms are the
smile of her pretty face." I thought the fairy magic in the "tooth-brush
tree" was what kept the teeth of the negroes so dazzlingly white, and we
children always made our toothbrushes of the same material, hoping to
achieve a like result.

On the plantation were some "Story Trees," or "Ghost Trees," as the
negroes called them. On their trunks were patches of white and gray
moss, like fragments of thin veils. Each of the splotches bore a warning
or a legend brought by the spirits and written there. The trees were
centuries old and held the ancient Bible stories recorded before the
alphabet was invented, when the art of reading was among the
undiscovered things, and not even the earliest picture-writing had been
evolved. It was only the most important messages that the Lord would
permit to be confided to the old trees. Some of the spirit records had
broken lines and the servants said that the angel's wing was broken as
he brought the message down. There was a deep and fearsome scar on one
of the "ghost trees" which indicated a tragedy, past or to come, and I
used to gaze upon it with awesome wonder, trying to read its dread
meaning.

A few years later a great tragedy came and the blackness of it shrouded
our whole nation, but whether that was what the old tree prophecy meant
I know not.



IV

MY SOLDIER


Everyone has a point of beginning--a period back of which life, to
present consciousness, was not. For me this point stands out vividly in
memory.

I was staying with my grandmother, for since she took me home in the
"settin'-aig-basket," she had lovingly asserted her claim. My time was
divided between the two homes, hers and my father's. My tall handsome
father and my beautiful little mother sat on the front veranda, my
brother Thomas playing near them on the grass. It was in cherry time and
I saw "Uncle Charles" coming up the slope carrying a forked stick on
which hung a great cluster of black-heart cherries edged with bright red
ones that he had gathered for them to take home.

Suddenly my attention was diverted from the cherries to a horse pounding
down the lane and stopping at the gate, where a barefoot boy tumbled
off. He had ridden bareback, with plow-hames for a bridle, as if the
horse had been hastily taken from the field.

"Come quick as you can, please, ma'am!" cried the boy. "Mrs. Pitt is
dying!"

The rockaway was drawn to the door by old Starlight, my grandmother took
her seat within, and I watched Pery driving off, following them with my
eyes to the end of the lane, where they were lost to view in the
highway.

Poor Mrs. Pitt left four children to be apportioned among the members of
her church, little Sara falling to my grandmother's care. The next
morning my old mammy broke this news to me, ending with:

"Well, I sposin' it's all right, but de li'l gal don't b'long to de
quality, en how de Pitts come to membership in de silk-stockin' Chu'ch
is beyonst me."

My mammy's idea of the Episcopal Church dated from the days when its
members were noted for ornamentation in dress, and to her it was always
"de silk-stockin' Chu'ch." The lack of silken qualifications did not
lessen her determination to do her duty by the little girl who, in her
opinion, was so frail that she was doomed to an early death. In her
desire to fulfill her obligations mammy exhorted me to "ack lak a
sister-in-law to her, as you can't ack lak a sho' 'nough bloodified
sister." She expressed her opinion that it was not for nothing that she
had been dreaming about snakes and about wasps building their nests in
the beehives and made gloomy predictions of "haunts" and spirits that
would prowl around and creep through the keyholes because of this
unfortunate child. Warned by my wondering eyes that she was trespassing
on forbidden ground, she stopped short, saying:

"G'long, honey, and play wid yo' new French chany set. I done talk to
myself 'twel I got a mis'ry in my haid."

The privilege of playing with my dear little set of imported china was
granted only when I had been particularly good or some one else
particularly indiscreet.

That evening little "Sary Lizbef" came. She was a shy, frail, bow-legged
child, with sandy hair, pale blue eyes, and warts on her fingers. I took
possession of her, wanting to give her everything I had, happy in my
self-abnegation, having a tender feeling for her because of her lack of
the vigor possessed by the other children I knew and because there
gloomed over me mammy's assertion, "She's 'bleeged to die, anyhow."

One morning Aunt Serena came in to make known to my grandmother her
suspicions that the little girl had whooping cough, adding the warning:
"So you hyer me, ole Missus, you better stop she and li'l Missus
mingulatin' wid one anudder." The diagnosis proving correct, my
grandmother stopped our "mingulatin'" by taking me to Old Point Comfort
to visit her friend, Mrs. Boykin, a sister of Mr. John Y. Mason. At
first I was troubled about my only girl playmate; white girl, I mean,
for Mary Frances and Arabella, my little colored foster sisters, had
been my maids and playmates all my life and I was strongly attached to
them, like a princess dispensing laws and giving them their parts to
play in the drama of child-life. Only a Southern child can understand
these relations and the sentiments born of them.

The charms of Old Point soon dispelled my grief and I was happy, being a
favorite not only with the children but with the older guests, who found
me useful in amusing the little ones, to whom I taught the fancy steps I
had learned from my dancing-master and the original songs and dances of
the negroes on the plantation. Alas! in due course of time I developed
whooping cough and was thrust into the gulf of social ostracism. Instead
of the accustomed hearty welcome, I was greeted with, "Run away, little
girl, my little children cannot play with you now." I was a sensitive
child, and this sudden change was like a January freeze in midsummer,
but I soon discovered that my mammy's advice, "Ef you kyan't be happy
den be happy as you kin be," strictly followed, insured contentment in
the long run. She pointed out the advantage of being sociable with
myself, in that I should have no interference from others, but warned me
to be careful not to play too long at one game or I would surely have
"one of dem tur'ble low-sperited spells yo' gramma calls 'on yo' ear,'"
the latter phrase being mammy's version of "ennui."

Before I had reached this danger-point fate brought me a companion who
more than filled the vacancy left by the defection of my former
playmates. I had seen a solitary officer on the sands, reading, or
looking at the ships as they came and went, or watching the waves as
they dashed to sudden death against the shore. He figured in my
imagination as the "Good Prince" in the fairy stories my grandmother
told me.

He did not look as tall as the men of my family, but he carried himself
so erectly and walked with such soldierly dignity that I was sure that
any "Good Prince" might have envied him his stately appearance. I noted
that his hair, which hung in shining waves almost to his shoulders, was
the same color as my own and I pulled one of my curls around to look at
it and make sure of the accuracy of the comparison. Even at that early
age I had a liking for dainty hands and feet and I noticed his small
feet as he paced the sands and the delicate hand that was raised to his
cap in salute to an officer who passed. The grace of his hands was well
set off by the cambric ruffles that edged his sleeves. My childish eyes
took in the neatness and perfect fit of his attire which set off his
distinguished form. I thought him quite the handsomest soldier I had
ever seen, and was surprised one day to hear somebody say that he had
fought in the Mexican war. It seemed impossible to me. How could anyone
so immaculate and so beautiful to look upon have really fought and
killed people? I had never been near enough to see his eyes, but
imagined that they must be brilliant stars like those to which I said
good-night just before I cuddled down to invite sweet dreams.

My attention would probably not have been drawn so particularly to my
soldier, for I had already begun to call him _my_ soldier, had he been
surrounded by dancing, chattering companions and formed a part of the
gay life of Old Point Comfort. I should have observed him only as a
brilliant feature of the cruel world that had chosen to condemn me to
exile. But in his solitude I felt that we were comrades in sad
experience. I knew of only one calamity that could so set apart a human
being from his fellow creatures as to bar him from association with his
kind. The symptoms were unmistakable and I at once recognized the
melancholy officer as a co-victim of whooping cough and gave him the
tender pity of one who knew all about his misfortune.

One morning I was skipping along, chattering as usual, inquiring about
the little girl whose spiteful tongue had been pulled out by a
springbok, asking if the bluejay _really_ did carry tales to the devil,
and other queries pertinent to my stage of development, when my
grandmother stopped to speak to a friend. I rambled on until I came to a
spreading umbrella under which my soldier lay on the sands reading. He
was so absorbed in his book that he did not see me till I crawled under
the umbrella and looked into his face with, I suppose, all the sympathy
that I felt and asked him anxiously if he had the whooping cough,
telling him of my mammy's infallible remedy for that malady and assuring
him of her willingness to apply it to his case. Then he looked at me,
courteously raising his cap and smiling, and I saw that his eyes were
gray, shot with changeful lights, twinkling blue with mirthfulness as he
gave me a polite good morning. This recalled me to a realization of the
demands of good society and I got up and curtsied, wishing _him_ "Good
morning" and inquiring concerning his health. He arose and with knightly
grace returned my greeting, pointing to a seat for me on the sand, and
resumed his own place. Returning to the query with which I had opened
the interview he asked why I had taken him for a victim of so juvenile
an ailment. I feelingly related my own experience and dwelt upon the
oppressive isolation of one so afflicted and said that as he did not
associate with other officers nor dance with young ladies and had to
swim and read all by himself, as I did, I thought it must be because he
was suffering from the same misfortune as that which had deprived me of
social pleasures.

He looked at me with a shade of sadness in his face and then I saw that
his eyes could be very dark, like the sky sometimes at night when the
moon had gone to bed and the stars were only little shimmery specks of
light in the darkness piled velvety soft. He told me that he did not
have the whooping cough but he had something worse, a broken heart, and
he did not like to make others sad with his sorrow.

I had never seen a broken heart, but had some acquaintance with articles
that had come to grief in the kitchen and had been restored to pristine
wholeness by clever manipulation. I comforted him with the assurance
that broken hearts did not signify anything of importance; my mammy
could mend them with glue and boil them in milk so you couldn't even see
the cracks in them, as she had done with my grandmother's sugar bowl.
"How did you break your heart?" I inquired sympathetically. He replied
that God broke it when He took from him his loved ones and left him so
lonely. In return for his confidence I promised to comfort him for his
losses and to be his little girl now and his wife just as soon as I was
grown up to be a lady.

He took a ring from his guard-chain and put it on my finger and gave me
a tiny gold heart inscribed with "Sally," which had been the name of one
of his loved ones, and I crept out from under the umbrella pledged to
Lieutenant George E. Pickett of the United States Army. Then and to the
end he was my soldier, and always when we were alone I called him
"Soldier." I still have the ring and heart, and am indebted for this
reminiscence to the little red memorandum book which he gave me years
after, when he was General George E. Pickett, of the Confederate Army.

"Come again, little fairy," he said as I was leaving him to the
uninterrupted perusal of his book. Just then my grandmother came up,
with apologies for my intrusion upon a stranger, and the explanation
that my nurse had been sent to the Fort with a note for Lieutenant
Pickett, the son of one of her old friends, asking the pleasure of his
company to dinner. My new-found friend introduced himself as the officer
in question, expressing his pleasure in the meeting and assuring her
that my visit had been a charming episode in a monotonous waste of
loneliness. I explained:

"I am his little girl now already and am going to be his wife as soon as
I am grown up to be a lady."

"Yes, it has all been arranged," he laughed.

From that time loneliness was at an end for me. My soldier had no fear
of contagion, assuring me when I asked him if he was too big to have
whooping cough that it was a privilege of youth and diminutiveness. We
built pine bark yachts and sailboats and steamers and sailed them on the
lakes we made by damming up the waves that dashed highest on the shore.
The waves of our lakes washed the coasts of every country on the map and
our stately ships brought back to us rich cargoes from all the countries
of the world. We built forts and garrisoned them with men as brave as
those who fell with Leonidas in the great battle of which my soldier
told me as we worked. Upon the sea-wall he placed a flag that fluttered
defiance to the enemy-ocean as the waves dashed up to our embattled
ramparts and rolled back defeated. It was my first introduction to the
Star-Spangled Banner and the red and white stripes and star-gemmed sky
impressed me as very beautiful. In those days the Stars and Stripes were
rarely seen in the Southern States and the flag of Virginia was the only
emblem of sovereignty that I had known. My soldier told me the story of
the battle-born flag and the eagle that perched upon it amid the smoke
of the conflict, the thunder of guns and the lightning of swords.

When I was wearied with the toil incident to our extensive commercial
operations and the labors and anxieties of battle we sat upon the sand
and he sang to me, playing the accompaniments on his guitar. When I hear
those old songs to-day they come to me with the far faint odor of the
breezes that swept across the ocean in that long gone time and I hear
again the golden notes of that melodious voice mingled with the soft
music floating out from the touch of his fingers.

Three years later I saw my soldier again. He had just received his
commission as captain and was recruiting his company at Fortress Monroe
before sailing for the unknown West. The first real sorrow came to me
when I watched the _St. Louis_, the United States transport, go out to
sea with my soldier on board. From her prow floated a flag like that
which had waved over the fort we built on the sands in that time when
life had lost all its troubles and the sunshine of the heart filled
earth and sea and sky with radiance. I felt then as I had not before
realized that this was my soldier's flag to which his life was given and
to my view the stars in it shone with a new glory.

The _St. Louis_ was bound for Puget Sound where was the new station,
Fort Bellingham, which I thought must be farther than the end of the
world. Not one ship of our whole great fleet in the olden days had
sailed for Puget Sound.



V

A KEEPSAKE FOR THE ANGELS


When we went home Uncle Charles came to the wharf to meet us. He was
dressed in the clothes left to him by my grandfather's will and,
dangling from his watch-chain, glaring at us in bold relief against his
black velvet vest, a set of artificial teeth grinned in ghastly manner
from their gold settings. In those days artificial teeth were not
common, and when Mr. Durkee, a dentist from Connecticut, came into our
neighborhood and hung out his sign, all of a certain class who could
raise money enough had their teeth taken out and replaced by false ones.

That year when my grandmother asked Uncle Charles what he would like for
a Christmas present he chose "a p'ar of dem sto' teef," explaining that
his were "moughty nigh wo' out, chawin' 'backer en a gnashin' de mules
of a week days en de sinners of a Sundays."

My grandmother reasoned with him on the folly of making the exchange
but he had set his heart upon it and she, with her habit of spoiling her
servants by indulging them, permitted him to be measured and fitted for
his "sto' teef," of which he was so proud that he wore them more for
ornament than use, displaying them at all special functions.

As Uncle Charles drove us home he had many confidences to make to my
grandmother. The most important was about little Sara Elizabeth.

"Dem blin' en deef chu'ch visitors of we-alls--I don' mean no disrespect
to dar reflictions--but dey's spilin' dat li'l Sara 'Lizbef. You knows,
dey 'lowed dat gal to play on de spinet of a Sunday mornin's?--En dance
chunes, at dat? En dat ain't all; dey 'sputes so wif deyse'fs over her
dat it's scan'lous, en dar ain't no gittin' along wid 'em."

Little Sara, the bone of contention between the two, as Uncle Charles
said, proved in a fair way to be spoiled. On my return she looked upon
me as an intruder, but when she was made to feel that her rights were
not to be infringed upon she welcomed me into the old companionship. I
took great comfort in her, but often (though I kept the secret in my
heart) the unguarded words of my mammy, "dat chile bleeged fer ter die
anyhow," occurred to me and made me sorry and afraid, yet I knew not
why, for I had no idea of death.

One night I was awakened by the sound of voices and, peeping from under
the covers, saw the bald head of our old family physician, Dr. Finney,
and the anxious face of my grandmother, who was holding the big brass
nursery candlestick. I caught the word "croup." Then their voices were
lowered to a whisper as they looked toward my bed. They went out and
closed the door and I lay awake a long time thinking, wondering who or
what was "croup."

Next morning I awakened long after my usual hour and was told that I
must be very quiet for my grandmother had a headache. While my mammy was
dressing me she sighed and looked mysteriously wise, and between the
fastening of my buttons and the curling of my hair repeated over and
over again, "Lord a massy on us! We're here to-day but gone to-morrow!"

As I was tiptoeing down the hall my grandmother called me. She was
sitting in her wrapper before a corn-cob fire. Taking me upon her lap
and rocking me she tenderly stroked my hair. Mammy, shaking her head,
leaned against the mantel and moaned and groaned. I turned away and
looked into the crackling fire till presently the beautiful pictures in
the burning coals made me break the solemn silence, and I said:

"Look, grandmother! See! A ship of coals loaded with falling stars and
Jack-er-my-lanterns--Oh, and see! There is a city of gold! See that old
castle tumbling down. See the silver cloud going so fast to the city and
white flowers and sunshine all falling down and----"

"Yes, I see, my darling," replied my grandmother, pressing me closely to
her.

"I knowed dat chile was gwine to be pestered seein' sperits, but,
Mistis, dar p'intedly ain't no occasion of yo 'couragin' her in it lak
you is," objected my mammy, throwing on an armful of fresh cobs and
destroying my golden glory pictures.

"Now, go along, darling, and eat your breakfast," said my grandmother,
"and then you may tell Ole-Granny-Aggie that she may let you go into the
weaving room and give you the old cards and some of the waste wool to
card, and if you are very good she may let you run the shuttle awhile.
Tell her she need not 'toker' off her stent to-day, but just take care
of you."

I stopped for a minute and looking up at her said, "And little Sara,
too, please, marm?" She shook her head and shivered; then mammy took me
away.

It was always enchanting to watch Ole-Granny-Aggie weave, but to be
allowed to sit at the loom and slide the shuttle through with my own
hands was a special rapture. Yet this day I did not enjoy it, for I felt
that something unusual had happened and associated it with my little
friend.

The next morning mammy got out my new silk reins and hitched up Mary
Frances and Arabella, my "match of blacks," for me to drive, and as we
returned after a long race I saw an old gentleman with bent back
carrying a beautiful white box into the house.

"Oh, how pretty! What is it for?" I asked my grandmother.

"A little jewel casket, my darling, to hold a keepsake that I am going
to send to the angels. There, there; run along now and play."

I went into the garden where our own little bed of white violets was in
full bloom, and suddenly remembering with a pang that my little Sara had
wanted to gather them all and that I would let her have only what I saw
fit she should have, I said, "She shall have every one now," and
gathering my apron almost full I ran into the house.

The door of the room which had been closed to me for two days had been
accidentally left ajar and, hearing my grandmother's voice, I ran in.

She and poor Miss Sophia and "Miss Mary" and several of the neighbors
and servants were standing around that little white casket resting on a
table in the center of the room.

"Is the keepsake in it?" I asked.

My grandmother lifted me up and there, sweetly sleeping, was my little
Sara Elizabeth. I whispered my wish to put the violets into her lap so
that she could see them the first thing when she awakened and know that
I was sorry and had brought her both our shares. My grandmother held me
while I gently, and with no word, lest I should awaken her, put my
violets into her arms so as to "s'prise her when she waked." Then I
whispered to my grandmother as she carried me away, "Do angels want
little children for keepsakes?"



VI

AFRICAN ROYALTY


One of the enchantments of my childhood was the old cabin in the vale at
the entrance to the grounds of the mansion house at Holiday's Point,
where the gate-keeper, Uncle Bosun Keeling, and his wife, Aunt Charity,
lived. I used to run down the cypress-bordered path to the old lodge to
hear him tell "dem Bible-tales" and to see Aunt Charity's shining black
face surmounted by her flaming red "haid-hankcher," a combination
artistic and beautiful. She would take me on her lap and tell the old
legends that had come down through generations of dusky story-tellers.

"Yas, honey," she would say, telling me one of the five versions of the
origin of her race, "we was all niggers once. Dar wa'n't no white folks
at all, 'twel one day de Lord was tekin' a interview of His wu'ks to see
ef dey was good, when He tuk notus dat we-all didn't 'preciate what He'd
done for us, so He mekt up His mind to come down to de earf en test our
lub en gratichude en faif in His holy word en 'vide de sheeps fum de
goats. He put on His patum leather boots en beaver hat en tuck His
gold-headed cane en come 'long down de golden stairs en th'oo de golden
gate, down de golden lane to whar de road forked to come to de ye'th.

"'Twas de springtime of de yeah en de whole face of de ye'th was a
bloomin' en a buddin'. De paschers was all green en bescattered wid
buttercups en clover blossoms en de cattles on a t'ousan' plains was a
grazin' on 'em. De birds was all a singin' chunes, de roses a buddin' en
de violets en Johnny-quils en hyercinfs a bloomin', de trees was all
white-washed en kivered wid leaves, de grape-wines was a perfumin' up de
air, en de orchards was pink en white en green all over. De hens was all
a cacklin', en de chickens en ducks en goslin's all a hatchin'. All de
ole sheeps had li'l lambs en some of 'em had two, en all de cows was
givin' three gallons to de pail.

"De Lord was s'prized hisse'f at de glorification of His handywu'k. He
bowed His haid in humble somilichude, en was jest gwine to pray, when He
heard sump'n go kerchunk-kerchunk. He drapped His eyes en, lo! dar was a
mud-tuckle mekin' for a pond of muddy water. He looked at de tuckle en
He looked at de pond. Den He tuk some yeast powders en flung 'em in de
pond. Dat 'sturbed de waters, en dey riz en bubbled, riz en bubbled,
'twel dey was as cl'ar as cryslum. Den He blessed de pond en named it de
Pool of 'Thesda.

"He went 'long den to de co'tehouse, for 'twuz co'te day en He knowed
dem niggers was gwine to be dar ef dey could git dar. En dey was, sho'
'nough. 'Co'se de niggers didn' know de Lord was dar, en ef dey had He
was inwisible en dey couldn't see 'Im nohow. But de Lord could see dem,
dough, en dey was behavin' scan'lous. Some of 'em was magestricks en
constubles en auctioneers; some was swiggin' cider en drams en 'simmon
beer. Some was racin' hosses en fightin' chickens or playin' games or
whittlin' sticks or swoppin' knives or eatin' hoss-cakes en
watermillions. Some was 'sputin' en quarlin' en foughtin' en some was
sittin' on dar ham-bones gossickin' 'bout one nuther.

"De Lord's heart suttin'ly was troubled. He spuk out in a loud woice en
tole 'em to go to de Pool of 'Thesda en bave darse'fs. Now dem niggers
knowed ebby inch of dat groun' en dey knowed dar wan't no Pool of
'Thesda dar; but dem dat lubbed en serbed de Lord en feared His holy
name didn' queschify 'bout de pool. Dey went as fars' as dey could en
baved darse'fs en dey come out jest as white as ef dey had been libin'
in town all dar libes en wearin' sun-bonnets. Dar lub en faif had washed
away dar brack skins en mekt 'em white as de blood of de lamb.

"When dey went back to de co'tehouse de yuthers wanted to git obedient
den, too, so dey tuck off en run to de pon'. De supples' en de swif'es
dey got dar firs' en come out mos' as white as dat firs' passel, sep'n
dar eyes en dar hyar en dar eye-brows stayed brack.

"De Chinesers en Injuns en Italyuns en yuther furriners dey sticked dar
haids in firs' en unkinked dar hyar, en dey come out 'twix' a brindle en
a brown. But dem dar lazy niggers dat didn' lub de Lord stayed at de
co'tehouse drinkin' drams en projickin' en cussin' en cyarin' on 'twel
'twas jamby sundown, den dey jest amble darse'fs, sa'nterin' 'long lak
dey had de whole day befo' 'em--a singin' chunes en a chawin' terbacker
en smokin' dar pipes, en when dey reached de pon' dar wan' no pon' dar.
It had all dried up.

"Dey suttinly was one s'prized passel of niggers, for dey'd allus called
demse'fs de rambunkshunners en dey couldn't b'lieve dar eyes. Ebby now
en den dey come 'cross a li'l moisch place yer en a li'l moisch place
dar en dey'd run en pat it wid de palms of dar han's en de soles of dar
foots, en dat's all de white dar is 'bout a nigger fum dat day to
dis--jest de palms of dar han's en de soles of dar foots."

When Aunt Charity would tell these old legends Uncle Bosun would sit
spell bound as if it were the first time he had ever heard them and when
she would finish he would shake his head with pride and say:

"My ole woman she sho' kin talk lak a readin' book, en she ain't one er
dem kin' dat licks de 'lasses offn yo' bread en den calls you nigger.
Needer do she bek de bread en give you de crus', nor eat de meat en give
you de hus'. She gives you de white meat ebby time. En she never follows
de jay-bird's trade, needer, a carryin' news, en dress--she allus
dresses sincerely."

He was a very pious old man, cherishing extreme reverence for the works
of God, with small respect for the innovations of man. When Doctor
Durkee, the "tooth doctor," appeared in the neighborhood Uncle Bosun's
rigid principles arose in opposition. He looked with both scorn and fear
upon the glistening teeth that were the pride of Uncle Charles's
heart--and plead with him "not to 'courage dat ole doctor in de
imitation of de Lord's handy wu'ks, fer he was a back-slider en a
robber, en den ag'in don't de Lord say, 'Dou shalt not mek any graven
image or lakness of anyt'ing dat is in de heaven above or dat is in de
earf beneaf or dat is in de water under de earf,' en dat means yo' teef
jest de same as ef de good Lord had specified teef en said, 'Charles
'Rastus Thessalonians, yo' teef is a graven image,' en ain't yo' teef
under de earf beneaf?"

"No," said Uncle Charles, "He wouldn' say dat kase my teefs is in my
mouf."

This frivolous reasoning was contemptuously set aside by the logical
mind of Uncle Bosun, and later when Dr. Durkee committed various thefts
and took his departure in undignified haste, my father asked the
gate-keeper how he knew that the doctor was a rascal.

"Lor, Marse Dae," he said, "I lives so close to de things dat God made
in de woods en on de water dat I kin scent de bad fum de good ev'y
time."

Uncle Bosun claimed royal blood, having descended from Uncle Jack, the
son of a king, who was brought over from Africa in the last slaveship
that deposited its cargo at Old Osborne on the James River. We loved to
hear him tell of his royal ancestor.

"Yes, chillun," he would say, "yo' Uncle Jack, my ancestor, was hired
out to de oldes' college in de United States, William en Mary, named
atter Marse William en Miss Mary from London who give 'em de groun' to
build de college on, en de town what 'twas built in was de capital in
dem days en was de oldes' corporal town in ole Virginny. De firs'
newspaper, too, was printed dar. Yo' Uncle Jack had charge of all de
books at de college en dey says ev'y time he'd dus' de books dat Marse
Robert Dinsmore give to de college he'd stop en read de adbertisement
writ on 'em, 'Ubi Libertas Ibi Patria,' en say to hisse'f, 'I wonder why
on earf Marse Robert Dinsmore want to separate dat po' couple for, when
he was rich en could a bought Libi en Pat bofe hisse'f 'stead a orderin'
de yuther man to buy Libi en sayin' he was gwine to buy Pat.'"

Uncle Bosun told us how the preachers of all denominations, though they
were half-starved in those days, had joined together and bought Uncle
Jack from his owners and given him his freedom. He was not only good but
brave and always spoke his mind without fear, telling the negroes when
they would shout at revival meetings that it was scandalous for them to
make so much fuss about such a calm and serious thing as religion, that
they put him in mind of the little brooks after a rain, soon full, then
noisy, roaring and rushing, then just as soon empty again. He asked them
to try to be more dignified with their religion and more like the
great, broad, deep river, for he said he had noticed that the more
ignorant folks were, the more shallow their religion was, and the more
noise they made over it, just like the dry and no account leaves, he
said, that always make more noise when the wind blows through them than
the green ones do.

A rich man, Mr. Haxall, owner of Haxall's mills--the mills that made the
only flour in the United States in those days that could be carried
across the ocean without spoiling--had, like many gentlemen of that
time, a habit of profanity. One day when he was swearing Uncle Jack
asked if he wouldn't please, being a rich and mighty man, set an example
to the world and quit swearing. Mr. Haxall replied:

"Jack, old man, what for? I'm very well satisfied with myself as I am. I
don't know what more I want than I have. In fact, as far as I can see,
Jack, I'm just as well off as any of you Christians."

"Jest so, Marser, jest so wid de horgs," said Uncle Jack. "You know,
suh, I's often stood en watched 'em rootin' 'mongst de leaves in de
woods en findin' as many acorns as dey could pos'bly eat en stuff en I
ain't never yet seed one of dem horgs look up to de tree fum whar de
acorns drapped."

Mr. Haxall, leaning on his cane, walked up and down the floor and then
stopped in front of Uncle Jack and said:

"Well, old man, what you say is all true and after this I am going to
look up to the tree."



VII

OUR FIRST CURRENCY


Among my childish recollections is an intricate combination of
great-grandfathers, white mulberries, gold dollars, a lone eye, guinea
eggs, pipes, and bloody massacres, all centering around a visit from my
own great-grandfather, Dr. John Phillips, and his friend, Judge John Y.
Mason.

"Somebody's comin' down de lane en it's ole Marser, kase I knows him by
his high-top gig en his star-face critter," called out a little colored
boy, George Washington Cæsar Napoleon Bonaparte, whose keen eyes had
caught sight of an approaching gig. "Dar's anudder gemman alongside of
him en anudder li'l boy settin' in de foots of de gig."

By the time the visitors were at the gate, heralded by the barking dogs
and the little colored children calling "H-y-e-r comes ole Marser,
h-y-e-r comes ole Marser!" the whole family had assembled on the veranda
to welcome the guests.

The first to alight was a graceful, courtly old man with the bearing of
a soldier--my great-grandfather. The artificial eye which had taken the
place of one of those provided by Nature was a badge of heroism,
reminiscent of the war of 1812. After affectionate greetings from
children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, servants and dogs, he held
out his hands to his companion and assisted him to alight.

"This," he said, "is my young friend, Judge John Y. Mason, whom you
know."

From my great-grandfather's point of view, Judge Mason may have been
youthful, but from mine he was of great age, less venerable than his
friend and companion only because he lacked the distinguishing title of
patriarchal relationship, and looked out upon the world, like ordinary
people, through two eyes.

"And this," he said, jumping the little boy out, "is my still younger
friend, Ned Drewry, whose family you know."

Then began the unpacking of the gig-box, which we eagerly watched. I
remember being especially interested in a bucket of white mulberries and
a basket of guinea eggs.

Later, as a reward for reciting "Little Drops of Water," I received a
shiny gold dollar, one of the first minted.

When I hear the lament of to-day, that there is no money in poetry, I
recall my early lesson to the contrary. My first effort having been so
successful I gave "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" as a voluntary, in the
mercenary hope that the twinkles, like the drops, might be transmuted
into gold. After curtseying to my great-grandfather my thanks for the
dollar I ran across the room and, looking inquiringly at Judge Mason,
asked:

"Are you anybody's great-grandfather? No, 'course you couldn't be,
'cause you've got two eyes."

As my own great-grandfather was the only relation of that rank whom I
had ever seen, it had been borne in upon my mind that a single eye was
the distinguishing characteristic of great-grandfathers.

Judge Mason's manner of smoking next attracted my attention. I had never
seen a pipe used except by the negroes on the plantation.

"Did you run off and play with the little colored children and not mind
your black mammy and learn bad habits when you were a little boy is the
reason you smoke pipes now?"

"No," he replied. "I never learned any bad habits from the negroes. They
have very few bad habits. All the bad habits I have ever learned were
from white people."

Knocking the ashes out of his pipe he said:

"My child, when great-grandfathers were little babies this--" taking
out his tobacco-bag and filling his pipe from it--"was the only real
money in this country and was of greater value than the kind which you
now hold in your little hand."

Then he went on to tell me in words that a child could understand that
money debts were not even recoverable. Tobacco debts only were valid,
and to sell bad tobacco or pay a debt with it was a crime, precisely as
it is now to sell or pay counterfeit money. Tobacco was the currency,
and an excess was as injurious as an over-issue of bank paper,
depreciating on the market and causing everything to rise in price.
Great care was taken to burn bad tobacco, and it was as important to the
uniformity of the currency in those days as is now the exclusion of
counterfeits. All the viewings, censorships, inspections and regulations
of the amount of tobacco to be cultivated by each planter, the quality
to be gathered from each plant, the rules prescribed, were as important
as the laws of the mint are now.

Judge Mason's tobacco-bag was the next subject of my inquiry.

"'Tisn't cloth-cloth. Is it tobacco-cloth?" I asked. "Did people have
tobacco-cloth as well as tobacco-money in those days?"

"No; this is rattlesnake skin. The snake was killed by Charles Lewis,
who lived a long time ago in my county, Augusta. The Indians caught him,
tied his hands behind him and made him walk two hundred miles. As they
were going along a high precipice he broke the cords and jumped down.
The Indians followed and he escaped by springing over a fallen tree,
landing among the tall weeds. His pursuers did not see him fall and they
jumped over both the tree and the man and ran on as fast as they could.
Lying there he heard the hissing of a snake and opening his eyes saw a
large rattlesnake almost touching him. It moved its rattles and twice
they rested upon his ear and neck. He was so numbed with fright that he
could not move, luckily for him, for if he had moved a muscle or
breathed the snake would have bitten him. Its eyes glared into his and
it seemed to think he was dead, and so wriggled away. He picked up a
stone and hit it upon the head, killing it, and carried home the rattles
and skin and this bag was made from a piece of that skin."

The mother of this Charles Lewis was the beautiful daughter of the Laird
of Loch Lyn, and to his father, John Lewis, was accredited the
introduction of red clover. The white or wild clover was of indigenous
growth and abounded in great plenty, but the red clover was not known
until the blood of the red man, shed by the Lewises and their followers,
suddenly dyed the trefoil to its sanguinary hue. The Indians fully
believed this legend and superstitiously held the red clover sacred. The
superstition spread among the settlers and for a long time the milk of a
cow that had eaten the blood-stained blossom was believed to be tainted
with blood.

Little Ned Drewry, the third occupant of the gig, with a boy's natural
indifference to poetic effusion, had slipped away during my "twinkle
little star" and was playing "paterroller" with the colored children and
the bloodhounds, and my elders began to talk of the man for whom he was
named, a victim of the Nat Turner insurrection. I was not usually
permitted to hear such gruesome stories, but if they thought of me at
all they must have supposed that I was too young to understand or too
sleepy to notice. So they told some of the painful incidents connected
with the startling episode of 1832, while I leaned back in my chair and
drooped my little head. Judge Mason's sister, Mrs. Boykin, my
grandmother's friend at Old Point Comfort, had come near being killed in
the insurrection. She was saved by her maid, who hid her in a woodpile
till the danger was over.

Thus the simple-hearted, modest, unassuming old man sat with his long
fig-stem Powhatan clay pipe in his mouth, smoking and talking and making
history for a little child who never forgot the stories he told. Judge
Mason was given all the honors of his State--ten years a Member of the
Virginia Assembly, six years her Representative in Congress, a Judge of
the United States Court for Virginia, Secretary of the Navy under
President Tyler, Attorney-General and Secretary of the Navy under
President Polk, Minister to France in the Pierce administration, one of
the three who drew up the Ostend Manifesto--all these he was to the
world.

To me he has always remained the gentle-mannered man with sweet face and
soft voice who told the old-time stories in my plantation home while
all, from the master to the humblest servant and the smallest child,
listened with eager attention and delighted hearts. Two years before the
opening of the war between the States my grandmother's heart was
saddened by the news from Paris of the death of this old friend.



VIII

YULETIDE


It was Christmas Eve at Holiday's Point and, in accordance with the
custom of generations, the children and grandchildren were gathered in
an unbroken circle around the old hearthstone.

In my grandfather's day the neighbors called the old home Holiday's
Point because of the numerous holidays given to the servants. The
community held that if my grandfather had framed the almanac he would
have put into it twice as many days as did the Arabs and Romans, that he
might have more holidays to bestow upon his slaves.

The old-fashioned house on the Nansemond River, between Suffolk to the
right and Norfolk to the left, was built of brick imported from England.
In shape like an L, the four rooms on the first floor were divided by a
passage fifteen feet wide; dining-room and library on one side, parlor
and chamber on the other. Four large open fireplaces gave warmth and
cheerfulness to the corridor. On the first floor of the L was the
nursery and above it the children's room, the name of which was never
changed because, in relation to the household, its occupants remained
children to the end of the chapter, however the years might age them in
the view of the outside world.

The house fronted the river, which was concealed by a heavy growth of
trees until the door was reached through long lanes of cypress lined
with rows of cedar, when a full view of the water for miles was
presented. Hidden in the woods was one of the stables, in which old
Starlight had her home near enough to the cabin to answer "Ung' Bosun's"
whistle.

My mother, as usual, had permitted me to come to Holiday's Point the day
before Christmas, the lighting of the Yule Log being one of my greatest
joys. Away back in the early dawn of my infantile mind lurked a hazy
memory of the time when my little hand had held the candle that lit the
old log at the back of the great fireplace. That privilege was no longer
mine. Other children had since entered the family circle, and the
youngest child on the plantation, whether white or black, was the one
always selected to touch off the Yule Log.

Another delightful sensation preliminary to Christmas day at Holiday's
Point was the sight of "Uncle Charles" driving up from the river waving
a paper above the load of Christmas things and warning us that it
contained instructions from Santa Claus that all the contents of the
cart should be put away in the storehouse until he should come on
Christmas eve, and if anyone should touch any of the boxes or ask
questions about what was inside of them all the good things would turn
to ashes and sawdust and there would be nothing left when Christmas
came, adding, "'Member what Santa Claus did to Miss Cinderelly when she
didn't mind him, stayin' out late at night."

Though the awesome paper was only a bill of lading, which Uncle Charles
knew very well, believing him we shrank before it in terror. I watched
the unloading curiously, and the colored children, huddled together on
the quarter-kitchen doorsteps, pulled down each other's heads and
whispered mysteriously as the boxes and barrels were taken out and their
contents announced. There was the hogshead of New Orleans molasses, with
its thick layer of sugar at the bottom, the long peaked loaves of white
sugar under their thin blue "fool's-caps," the cases of raisins, dates,
figs and tamarinds, barrels of nuts, oranges and crackers, boxes of
cheese and, slyly pushed behind them, hampers mysteriously marked
"sundries," which we at once associated with the coming visit of Santa
Claus himself.

When the rays of the sun were long in the west the cheerful note of the
Yule Log was heard. The great hickory log, which had lain on its forked
branch support through months of golden sunshine and mellowing rain, was
carried in on the shoulder of the strongest negro on the plantation,
followed by a rollicking troop of Christmas revelers, white and black,
and next year's log was put on the Yule Log fork, which was never left
empty.

The Yule Log was laid at the back of the great fireplace and in front of
it were piled cobs, chips and kindling wood, known to the plantation
servants as "light 'ood," a contraction for "light wood," which was the
heart of the pine. It was lit with a wax candle made in the home kitchen
by Aunt Dilsey, a candle in which I felt a proprietary interest, having
watched with fascinated eyes the process of its manufacture. Aunt Dilsey
had let me draw one of the doubled and twisted cotton strands through a
tube in the tin mould to form the wick, and I felt like a conquering
hero when the end of the string emerged from the point of the tube.
There were six of these tubes in Aunt Dilsey's mould, and when they were
all provided with wicks she allowed me to thrust through the loops at
the top of the mould the little sticks which rested on the frames and
held the strands in place. Then she tied the wicks very tightly at the
ends. I watched the melted white wax poured into the tubes, feeling as
if I were assisting at a magic incantation. The time of greatest
excitement was when, after the carefully built structure had stood all
night in a cool place to harden, Aunt Dilsey would cut off the knots at
the bottom of the tube, take hold of the cross-sticks and pull till six
long, beautiful white waxen cylinders would come out, each with a tuft
of soft white cotton at the end. Every time I saw them emerge from their
cells a separate and distinct miracle seemed to have been wrought. I
have yet a pair of these moulds.

One of the candles was lighted and placed in the hand of my little
brother, the youngest of the family group. My father guided the tiny
hand until the flame formed a cross around which the tongues of fire
leaped and caught the log, embracing it lovingly, climbing upward and
turning blue and crimson and golden and white and then mingling in a
glorified web of color. Myriads of sparkles shot up the old chimney,
like Christmas prayers flying heavenward. The crackling of the wood and
the fluttering of the flames joined in a Christmas carol for all the
world.

Not the smallest fragment of the log must be left over after the
twelve-day feast. It had lain seasoning in the sunshine and the
starshine, in the rain and in the wind, in the frost and in the dew, in
winter cold and summer heat, that it might be well prepared to give
itself wholly to the sacrifice. Had a remnant remained in the ashes,
disaster would have marked the year until the next Yule Log had removed
the ban by entirely disappearing. Virginia had not received, with the
traditional heritage, the Old World custom of preserving a fragment of
one Yule Log to serve as a lighting torch for the next and to ward off
evil demons until Christmas came again. The servants were to have
holiday while there was a scrap of it left.

The ashes of the Yule Log were carefully saved apart from the others, as
they were of peculiar sacredness. Lye made from them was of magic
efficacy in the manufacture of soap, bringing it to a much-desired
degree of hardness and excellence. The negroes used the lye to kill evil
spirits and free themselves from the sins they had committed during the
year.

Old Santa Claus's rack, the "chimbly rack," made of black walnut and
handsomely decorated, with nails driven into it on which the stockings
were to be hung, was brought in by Uncle Charles and placed above the
marble mantelpiece. Over each nail was printed the name of the one for
whom it was intended. Aunt Serena brought in the basket of stockings
that she had knit of the finest spun cotton or wool and hung them on the
nails, singing her Christmas incantation, "Christmas comes but once't a
yeah, En ebby las' niggah has his sheah." The loved ones who had gone
before were remembered and stockings for them were hung upon the rack.
_Their_ gifts were of money to be used in providing Christmas cheer for
the unfortunate, the bereaved and the lonely. Thus was the memory of
those who had passed beyond kept in grateful hearts.

From the wall above the portrait of my grandfather Underwood, with long
hair and velvet-flowered vest and rolls of cravat, looked seriously
down. I had never seen him, but my grandmother said that "he believed in
God, woman and blood; was proud but not haughty, hospitable, generous,
firm and unchangeable in his opinions, quiet and commanding,
affectionate, courting responsibilities instead of shirking them."

For weeks all had been busy with preparations. The wood had been cut and
piled, the corn gathered, the pigs killed, the mince-meat and souse and
fruit cake prepared, the sausage chopped and the hominy beaten, the
winter clothes all spun, woven and made. We sat by the fire with rest,
peace and wonder in our hearts, cracking nuts and roasting apples, the
old silver punch-bowl of apple-toddy steaming on the table, while we
listened to stories of olden times and of times that never were. My
uncle in his cadet uniform, home for the holidays on furlough from the
Virginia Military Institute, told us fascinating tales of soldier-boy
life, sending delicious thrills of joy and terror through every nerve.

Presently my black mammy took me in her motherly arms and carried me
along the hall through the middle of the house, flanked by doors opening
into the living rooms, up the wide stairway into another long corridor
bounded by the same number of doors leading into bedrooms all in their
Christmas dress of arbor-vitæ, holly and mistletoe. In each of the
fireplaces were wood and kindling to be lit when the guests should
arrive on the morrow. Into the prettiest and smallest room she carried
me and put me into my little eider-downy trundle bed.

The next morning I was awakened by the music of the Christmas horns and
the popping of firecrackers. When I had been dressed I was taken to the
dining-room, where my grandmother stood by a table whereon was a large
bowl of egg-nog from which, with a silver ladle, she was filling glasses
for us all, for even the babies in old Virginia were given a taste of
egg-nog on Christmas morning.

After breakfast my grandmother went to service and would return with
guests who were to come to us after the Christmas sermon in the lavishly
decorated village church.

Soon the first carriage rolled into the yard, the coachman proudly
flourishing the whip, which he used merely as an insignia of his office.
"Dar dey come! Dar dey come! Dar dey come!" We all ran out to welcome
the visitors. The carriage doors were opened, the steps folded up on the
inside were let down, and the servants called out "Christmus gif',
Marse, Christmus gif', Missus," all holding out their hands and
clamoring as my uncle emerged from the coach, "I cotch him firs'! I
cotch him firs'! I cotch Miss firs', didn' I, Marse?" each claiming the
reward, regardless of actual priority in time.

My uncle was immaculate in frock coat and trousers of black broadcloth,
new boots, snowy linen front trimmed profusely with ruffles, high collar
and stock and shining silk hat. He turned with courtly grace and helped
Auntie from the carriage.

Auntie was the wonder of my childhood. I fancied that if I should be
very good and learn my lessons perfectly and avoid giving trouble to my
elders, and say my prayers and read my Bible at the rate of one chapter
every day and five on Sunday maybe the Lord would let me grow up as
proper and as smart, but never as religious, as Auntie. In the meantime
I liked to stand in remote corners unobserved and imagine that I was
forming myself upon her. Her speckless, wrinkleless, swishing new black
brocaded silk frock looked as if it had been moulded around her. Her
crinoline stood out in a perfectly balanced symmetrical balloon of
unapproachable beauty. Her oval face held just the right proportion of
pink and white and her mouth was bowed at the temperance curve. Her
sharp gray eyes looked into the center of things. She was a strict
Methodist, a fierce Whig, an uncompromising moralist.

A little boy was handed out and then a screaming bundle which turned out
to be a baby girl.

The carriage was laden with boxes and packages of Christmas gifts--a
present for each servant and other articles to be put with our Christmas
stockings still hanging on the rack.

From the next carriage my father and mother alighted--my father, always
my ideal, tall, stately, erect as an Indian, seemed to me more than
usually handsome as he lifted me up to a level with his classic face.
His holiday attire, snowy ruffles, rigid stock, black broadcloth and,
above all, the flowers of his brocaded vest, were to me an inexhaustible
source of delight. My beautiful mother's coal-black hair, without wave
or crinkle, was carried plainly from her face and wound in a plaited
coil. She was very fair and her cheeks looked as if they had stolen two
of the pink roses from the garden of May. Her eyes were like sparkling
sapphires. Her black moire-antique dress had wide bishop sleeves, and
she wore a white crêpe shawl that, falling back, revealed the square of
fine embroidered white thread cambric around her neck, crossing in front
to form a V.

When all the family carriages had come a stranger might have wondered if
grandmother's house could hold the many who claimed her Yuletide
hospitality. We knew that her home was measured by her heart.

My father, the oldest son-in-law, was the first to take down his
Christmas stocking from Santa's rack. He was always sure of a knife, a
black stock and a silk bandanna, whatever else old Santa might have left
for him. His last year's knife was then given to the foreman. We who
could not reach so high were held up to take down our stockings.

The plantation servants never failed to offer their tributes of
affection to the Master and his family and to receive gifts from them.
Among their numerous presents were always a plug of tobacco, a pipe and
a bandanna handkerchief for each. All the servants who had been working
away from home came back at Christmas and added their gifts to those
"w'at Marse Santa had done fotch down de chimbly." Many of my
grandmother's servants had been away from the home plantation, being
allowed to choose their places of service and to return if they did not
find them satisfactory.

Dinner was the great event that followed. Every leaf had been put into
the old mahogany table, and another table added at each end. A turkey
which had been penned up for weeks to fatten and become tender, stuffed
with pecan nuts, lay in delicious brownness on a china platter. Opposite
was a roast pig with an orange in its mouth, "kase pigs kin have apples
every day, but come Christmus 'course even pigs must have sump'n extra,"
my mammy explained. On one side of the table was a huge dish of fried
oysters, on the other an old Smithfield ham, baked as it could be only
by one born to the art. Sweet and sour pickles and preserves, for which
Aunt Dilsey was famous, were scattered about among all the vegetables
known to a Virginia plantation. On a side table were a saddle of mutton,
a round of beef and a bowl of chicken salad. On another table was the
dessert--sillibub, tipsy-cake, charlotte-russe, mince-pies, plain cake
and fruit cake, to be followed by the plum pudding, flaming with magic
fires which must be left to burn out of themselves, lest some of the
glow they held in their fiery hearts should fail to be diffused
throughout our lives in the coming year. The sideboard glistened with
decanters and glasses and great bowls of apple-toddy and egg-nog.

All the good things left were sent to supplement the feast of the
servants which they had spent days in preparing. It was spread in the
wide old weaving-room, the loom being hidden by decorations of holly and
mistletoe. We went in to see their table with its beautiful
ornamentations, loaded with goodies, 'possum and sweet potatoes at each
end. The 'possums had been caught early and fed in a lavishly hospitable
manner, that they might wax fat and juicy for the feast.

After dinner papa and the uncles, followed by the boy friends and
cousins, went out to the office in the yard a short distance from the
mansion house and soon such mirthful peals issued therefrom that
curiosity called us all out and the house was deserted while we sat
listening to such stories and jokes as we shall never enjoy again. Then
they talked of fox hunts, of the prancing gray and the good old red that
had carried them to victory, the music of the horns, the baying of the
hounds, the laughing girls, all eager for the brush. Crouched by my
grandmother's side, I heard about last year's crops, the condition of
the roads, the neighborhood news, the latest styles in collars and
stocks, politics, bits of history and appreciations of literature.

At night "Fiddling Jim" was called in, and in the room where the
Yule-fire burned there was a dance, opening with the minuet and winding
up with the Virginia reel. In all the dances my grandmother joined with
a lightness and grace that would have done honor to sixteen. Youth no
more than age served as a bar to pleasure, and I danced the Highland
fling and other fancy dances.

Then the sandman came by and mammy took me up to my little trundle bed.
Half lost between waking and sleeping, I heard the crunching of the snow
beneath the tread of horses and the roll of wheels and knew that some of
the guests who lived near were returning to their homes. Melodies,
dance-songs and the shuffling and pattering of feet, mingled with the
thrum of the banjo, bones and fiddle, floated from the negro quarters.

Soon old mammy and her turban, the black faces, the hand-fed lamb, the
goats and dogs, the coons and the rabbits, the peacocks' gorgeous
big-eyed tails, and long-whiskered Santa Claus, my grandmother, my
mothers lovely eyes and the Blessed Babe in the manger, all got mixed up
in a tangle of shadows and came sliding between the peeping, twinkling
stars on a moonbeam into the room and danced around my trundle bed.

With my tender little heart full of child love and unwavering faith, my
wee soul borne on the higher sentiments of adoration, faith and
spiritual sympathy, my Christmas dolly clasped close in my arms, my lips
wreathed in mysterious smiles, I laughed and--a-n-d--a-n--Christmas was
over.



IX

GREENBRIER WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS


Only twice had I seen my Soldier since with tearful eyes I watched the
United States transport, _St. Louis_, bear him away to join in the
frontier warfare, and later to play his important part in holding San
Juan and other Pacific Islands against the British. Occasionally letters
came from that far-off sunset shore in answer to my little printed notes
before I had learned to write well.

The last time I had seen him was at the Greenbrier White Sulphur
Springs, where, though still a child, I held that he was pledged to me
and resented his attentions to the belles nearer his own age. Amused and
pleased by this, he humored me by devoting most of his mornings to
joining in my games and assisting me in sketching, and by dancing in the
evening with no one but me until the children's bed-time came, when the
ballroom was reluctantly given up to the grown people. One Baltimore
beauty took my Soldier to task for his bad taste in dancing with a
child, thereby cancelling the little friendship which had existed
between them.

White Sulphur Springs, situated in a valley surrounded by hills and
mountains, was the most celebrated watering-place in Virginia. It was
known to the Indians as the most important lick of the deer and elk. Its
medicinal qualities first became known in 1772, when an Indian maiden,
suffering from a disease which baffled the skill of the "medicine men,"
was healed by its waters. It is a beautiful and enchanting spot, the
valley opening half a mile in breadth, winding in graceful undulations
from east to west beyond the line of vision. The fountain issues from
the foot of a gentle slope which ends in the low interval of a beautiful
river. The ground ascends from the spring eastward, spreading into a
lawn covering fifty acres. Over the fountain was a stately Doric dome,
supported by twelve large pillars and surmounted by a statue of Hygeia
looking toward the rising sun. A short distance from the spring were the
hotel, dining-hall and ballroom. The rest of the ground was occupied by
cottages, some of brick, some of wood, and a few of logs, whitewashed.
The cabins were all painted white.

The winding roads, leading away into an enchanted world of greenery,
were veritable Cupid's paths, opening sometimes into the springtime
vales of gay flirtation, sometimes into the warm, deep dells of love.
Many were the belles and beaux who met their fate amid the leaf-walled
environment of Greenbrier and more matches were made there than in
heaven.

My Soldier's furlough soon came to a close and he left, by chance, the
day we did. I shall never forget the ride on the top of the old
stagecoach, the wonderful red and gold foliage, the birds that sang in
the autumn trees, the good dinner at the hotel, the stories told me by
my Soldier, who knew everything, I thought. Of the name Greenbrier he
said:

"Old Colonel John Lewis, whose grandson you danced with this summer,
named this river in 1751 because of its thick growth of green-briers in
which his son, Andrew, was once entangled. It had been owned by the
French. In 1749 a hunter, wandering through the woods, came to the
river-bank and observed that the water ran in a direction opposite from
the usual course and reported it, exciting the curiosity of two New
Englanders, Jacob Martin and Stephen Sewall. They took up land there,
living together in a little cabin until one day they quarreled and
separated. One made his home in a hollow tree, the other keeping the
cabin in which they had formerly dwelt in peace with the world,
themselves and each other. They agreed never to say anything to each
other but 'Good morning, Mr. Martin,' 'Good morning, Mr. Sewall,'
confining themselves to this limited conversation for the remainder of
their years."

My Soldier told me of the Indian wars after peace had been confirmed
between England and France, the Dunmore wars, the massacre at Muddy
Creek where, under the guise of friendship, the Indians had descended
upon the settlers and destroyed their village, the attack of two hundred
Indians upon Donnally Fort, and the bravery of the old negro, Dick
Pointer, whose freedom was purchased by the State of Virginia in reward
for his services. In his helpless old age an unsuccessful effort was
made to secure a pension for him. Comparing his fate with that of
alleged soldiers of later years who volunteered to do guard duty around
their homes for three days, receiving pensions for their courageous
efforts, one might wish that he had lived in a later period and served a
more appreciative government.

From White Sulphur I returned to my father's home, brightened now by
three brothers and two sisters, all of whom had seen so little of
"Sister" that they knew nothing of her shortcomings and thought she was
the greatest thing in the world.

Then lessons began in earnest and stern duties came to interrupt
childish diversions. When the course laid out for me at home was
completed, my father decided to take me to Lynchburg Seminary. It was a
serious epoch for me, as I was to go among strangers for the first time,
so the farewells were solemn.

As a parting present, "Uncle Charles" brought me a nest of guinea eggs,
a box of sweet gum which he had been collecting for months, a string of
chinquapins and some dried haws, saying as he gave them to me:

"Honey, don't fergit de ole man en bring him sump'n, en remember you's
born but you ain't dead yit."

Others of the servants came with blessings and farewell gifts.
Mary-Frances, who always received more presents than her twin sister and
was noted for her stinginess, bade me a pathetic good-bye, assuring me
that she was "gwine to be good en 'vide her light'ood and things wid
Arabella." As I had disapproved of her selfish refusal to share her
"light'ood" with her sister she thought this promise of generosity would
be the best gift she could bestow upon me as a parting keepsake.

After tender farewells from mother, sisters, and brothers I started off
with my father on what seemed to me a long, long journey.

At Richmond a man in uniform boarded the train. I looked at him with
admiration as he came down the aisle. He was tall and walked erectly
with graceful carriage and a commanding air not dependent upon his
military dress. He stopped and spoke to my father, who arose, greeted
him cordially and, turning back the seat, invited him to join us. He
accepted and my father introduced "Colonel Robert E. Lee." The Colonel
shook hands with me in a gentle way and began to barter for one of my
long curls. In my diffidence I did not close with any of his offers,
though I would have given every curl on my head for the asking, for even
then, to my romantic vision, Colonel Lee was a hero.

He said that he had just returned from Harper's Ferry, where there had
been great excitement. John Brown had descended upon the town and taken
possession of the United States Arsenal. Colonel Lee, home on furlough
from the West, had been sent with the marines from the Washington
barracks and four companies of troops from Fortress Monroe to dispossess
them and restore quiet to the little town in the Virginia hills. It was
not alone Harper's Ferry that had been terrorized; the entire state had
been thrown into a turmoil of excitement.

To a child whose infancy had shuddered at the story of the Nat Turner
insurrection of 1832, the John Brown raid in 1859 was a subject of
horrible fascination, and I listened intently as Colonel Lee talked of
this strange old fanatic and his followers.

"What do you think would be the effect upon the negro, Mr. Corbell,"
Colonel Lee asked my father, "if we should be compelled to hang John
Brown?"

My father replied, "Well, I've thought of that, too, Colonel, and I
asked my foreman, who is a representative of his race, if he did not
think we ought to hang old John Brown." He looked at me earnestly for a
while then, shaking his head slowly, said, "I knows, Marse Dae, dat po'
Marse John done en bruk de law, killin' all dem mens; but den, Marse
Dae, even ef po' Marse John did bre'k de law, don't you think, suh, dat
hangin' him would be a _li'l abrupt_?"

Colonel Lee laughed and replied, "I think that just about expresses the
sentiment not only of the colored people but of many others." They
agreed that John Brown was an honest, earnest, courageous old man and
that his friends ought to put him where he would be cared for.

My eyes were turned steadily toward Colonel Lee with a large measure of
that admiration he won from observers older and more experienced than
I. Yet I could not have told what manner of man he was, except that he
was impressive in appearance and that he drew people toward him with a
subtle attraction which was indescribable as well as irresistible.

The story of John Brown was graphically told and heard with absorbed
attention, but it is not likely that the Virginia planter with all his
knowledge of history and character, nor the great soldier with his
military training, recognized signs of the impending storm any more than
did the wide-eyed child lost in breathless wonderment over the thrilling
episode.

At the next station the Colonel left us and I went on into the hill
country.



X

THE BREAKING OF THE STORM


I was a student at Lynchburg Seminary when the storm that had begun to
lower at Harper's Ferry broke in full force. To a few prescient minds I
think it brought no shock of surprise. Some had watched the little cloud
on the horizon till it had overspread the zenith. But most of us, old as
well as young, had felt secure "in the land where we lay dreaming."

Virginia held longest by the Union, the bonds of which had clasped the
States together until the Old Dominion had forgotten that political ties
are not eternal. Since the brave Thirteen had banded together to fight
for liberty, Virginia had clung with unswerving tenacity to the central
idea that had kept the States together through many severe tests of
loyalty. Forged in the fires of the Revolution, the chain that bound her
to the Union of States had grown stronger with the years and with the
blood of many battles. The Mother of Presidents and of patriotic
Statesmen, her devotion to the welfare of the nation was of unusual
depth and ardor. Politicians sought to drag her allegiance from the flag
whose stars lit the path of her great sons, Washington, Jefferson,
Madison, and the many who had worthily represented her in the work of
building up the nation, but the people stood firmly by their historic
and hereditary faith. There was but one thing that could shake her
fidelity. When she was called upon for aid in a contest against her
sister States loyalty to the nation gave way to loyalty to the South and
home and kindred, and Virginia joined the Confederacy.

To some the bells which rang out the tidings of the rising of the new
star in the Southern flag were joy-bells of victory; to many they tolled
the death-knell of a long, proud era. But the new banner floated
gloriously to the breeze, huzzas rang out triumphantly and all was
glowing to the vision of hope.

The fires of patriotism burned hotly in the heart of youth and there
were Stars and Bars enough in Lynchburg Seminary to light a world of
new-born nations to victory and set up invincible barriers to the
universe. Some weeks later when the news of the battle of Manassas came
surging along the line, we felt that events had justified our
enthusiasm. In imagination we beheld our flag floating over a great new
country that should rival the nations of the world in beauty and glory.

We saw then only the bonfires of joy and heard only the pæans of
victory, but a few days later, when my friend, Major John W. Daniel, was
brought to his home in Lynchburg with a wound received in that battle
which we had celebrated with such triumphant delight, I began to feel
that war meant something more than the thrill of martial music and the
shouts of victory. Major Daniel had been my friend from childhood,
strong, handsome and gallant, and when I saw him in suffering
helplessness I felt for the first time something of the power of war to
strike down life with all its hopes and dreams and ambitions. He was
soon able to return to the field, doing brave service for the cause
until he was so badly wounded in the battle of the Wilderness that he
was forced to retire. Even more gratefully does Virginia cherish the
courageous work he has since done in the United States Senate, and
lovingly does she hold him in her heart now that his brave and beautiful
life has passed into the great Memorial Hall of her proudest history.
Through all the years he has been a loyal friend to me and mine.

The passing of the ordinance of secession was the signal for the return
of the martial sons of Virginia. Every Federal post gave them up to us,
from Arlington, where Colonel Robert E. Lee laid down his allegiance to
the old flag, to the Pacific, where my Soldier had upheld the integrity
of his country against hostile Indians and foreign foes.

In July, 1861, Captain Pickett resigned from the United States Army,
made a perilous journey from San Juan, passing by sea around to New
York, going thence to Canada and then southward, barely escaping arrest
three times. From the window of a railway car along a Kentucky road is
seen an old home where he spent a night in his long journey. Government
officers called there in search of him, but he was protected by a ruse
of his host and rode on the next morning, reaching Richmond September
13, 1861. He at once enlisted as a private, being immediately afterward
commissioned as Captain and a few days later promoted to a Colonelcy.
His military life from Richmond to Appomattox belongs to the history of
the nation.

By this time everyday life in Virginia had become invested with
difficulties even for those who might have been regarded as outside the
sphere of war. Not only the soldiers in the field had obstacles to
encounter; they loomed in the pathway of the school-girl.

My home being within the Federal lines, I spent a part of my vacations
with friends in Richmond. There I used to see General Robert E. Lee
riding along the street in the graceful way that years before had
brought people to their windows to see "the handsomest man in the United
States Army" ride down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. The eyes of
Richmond followed him with equal admiration in these war days and I used
to recall my first meeting with him when the war was a dim prophecy. In
a short time he was sent away to Western Virginia, where he fought a
valiant but losing battle against mountains, rain, starvation, and
Southern editors who were gifted with a military genius never known to
the leaders of armies.

"I see that we have made a great mistake," the General lamented. "We
ought to have put the editors in the field and set the Generals to
managing the newspapers."

The streets of Richmond knew him no more until he returned in the late
autumn with no new laurels on his brow but with a strength of soul that
could abide the appointed time.

In our study halls we had fancied that we knew something of war. We had
cheered our flag, trembled for our soldiers at the front even while we
prophetically gloried in their future triumph, and celebrated with
great enthusiasm the battle of Manassas. We had made sacrifices for our
country, every girl of us having entrusted her jewelry to the principal
of the school to be sold for the benefit of our cause. She had accepted
the trust, saying that we might redeem our possessions if we wished.
Only one piece was ever reclaimed, a ring given to one of the girls by
her lover. When he was killed in battle she took back the ring, paying
in money for her treasure. Now I was to learn something of what war
meant.



XI

THE "VIRGINIA"


On a morning that was like ideal May, the 8th of March, 1862, I sat on
my horse by the river bank at Blinkhorn, opposite Newport News. My
uncle, Colonel J. J. Phillips, was stationed there, and I had come to
the camp and was one of the hundreds gathered on the bank of the
Nansemond River at that point, all eyes turned with eager interest
toward Hampton Roads, where lay our new battleship, the _Virginia_.

Like a phoenix, she had arisen from the wreck of the old frigate
_Merrimac_. Grim, solemn, weird, builded low upon the water, she was not
boat nor ram nor submarine, nor anything else hitherto known to the
waves. Newly clad in her robe of iron, she was a veiled mystery, a
forlorn hope, a theory, an armed engine, a steam battery protected by
armor, an experiment destined to change the course of naval warfare.
Being the first ship built in the Old Dominion, she was named for her
State, _Virginia_. Commanded by Captain Buchanan and manned by a crew
composed largely of landsmen who had volunteered from the Army, she had
waited in Hampton Roads for the dawning of her day.

Through my field-glass I watched the _Virginia_ gliding like a great
white bird hovering between the pulsing, scintillant blue of the heavens
above and the waters beneath. Accompanied by the gunboats _Raleigh_ and
_Beaufort_, she passed along amid the cheers of the enthusiastic
onlookers thronging both banks and of the troops at the batteries around
the harbor. An awesome feeling took possession of me, holding me silent
until the enthusiasm of the crowd thrilled me and I waved my
handkerchief in messages of Godspeed to the brave new craft.

Slowly she rounded Craney Island, lying like a blue-gray cloud over the
water, her batteries turned toward the Norfolk shore. The troops waved
their caps and sent up lusty cheers for the strange craft that looked,
as some one afterward said, "like a huge terrapin with a large round
chimney about the middle of its back." Having passed the island, she
turned into the south channel and slowly moved on toward Newport News
until, coming within firing range of the United States frigates
_Congress_ and _Cumberland_, she was greeted with broadsides from both.
A flash of fire, pale against the white day, a puff of smoke, widening,
drifting, wreathing around the mouth of the gun and floating off into
space, a deep roar of thunder showed us that our _Virginia_ was bearing
well her brave old name.

The enthusiasm which had greeted her appearance was as nothing compared
with the excitement that thrilled us now. Yells of encouragement and
defiance rent the air. Handkerchiefs fluttered; hats were thrown aloft.
Some of the men danced; others turned somersaults of enthusiasm. One
soldier rushed to Colonel Phillips shouting, "Say, Colonel, say; can't
we do something? Can't we help? For God's sake, let us do something to
help them!"

Fortunately there was no bridge from the shore to the scene of action.
Otherwise every man, woman and child among that seething crowd might
have rushed into the fight, to the embarrassment of the plucky little
_Virginia_. We could do our part only by going into paroxysms of
patriotism, in which we all excelled.

The _Virginia_ went on up the channel, turned and, coming back, ran full
against the _Cumberland_, penetrating her side with the sharp prow of
the Confederate ironclad. The frigate reeled, shuddered, and began
slowly to settle, her guns roaring from her deck. The _Congress_ came to
her assistance, but the shots which rained from the two frigates fell
harmlessly from the slanting sides of the _Virginia_.

With fascinated eyes I watched the _Cumberland_ tossing upon the waves,
gradually sinking, firing another volley as her bow went down, then
disappearing under the water, the flag that floated from her masthead
still fluttering above the sea.

For days we had seen that frigate with her mate, the _Congress_,
threatening us, a blot upon our waters, a monster, a thing of evil,
waiting for the moment of fate. But it was pitiful to watch her go down,
and I think every heart there felt a pride in that pennant waving
defiantly above the water, even while we cheered our victorious
_Virginia_. She went on, turned and came back to attack the _Congress_
which, in trying to escape, ran aground. She was soon ablaze, banners of
flame flapping out from her rigging. In an hour her flag fell.

We were told afterward that in one of the ships which we could dimly
descry in the distance, an old man waited for the battle and for tidings
of his son, commander of the _Congress_. When they told him that the
flag was down he said sadly, "Then Joe is dead!" He knew by that signal
that his son "Joe," Captain Joseph B. Smith, had fallen.

The _Raleigh_ and _Beaufort_ drew up beside the flaming _Congress_,
under a heavy fire from the Federal batteries on the Newport News shore
which not only did execution upon the crews of the Confederate gunboats,
but proved fatal to some of the prisoners from the burning frigate. The
_Virginia's_ launch rowed toward the _Congress_ and was struck by a
volley from the Federal battery.

Beyond the _Congress_ the _Minnesota_ lay aground. Before the surrender
of the _Congress_ the _Patrick Henry_, _Thomas Jefferson_ and _Teazer_,
the James River squadron, passed the Federal batteries, the _Patrick
Henry_ was struck through the boiler and was towed out of action by the
_Thomas Jefferson_, returning after repairs and running up close to the
grounded _Minnesota_, being light and able to come nearer than the
heavier ironclad. Till night fell we watched the gunboats raining shot
upon the _Minnesota_, the _Virginia_, from her greater distance,
occasionally firing ponderously upon the grounded frigate. When darkness
prevented correct aim the _Virginia_ and her sturdy little assistants
retired, slowly moving to Sewell's Point. We returned to our homes, awed
by the grandeur of the scene, sorrowful for the lost lives, but
triumphant in the victory won by our brave little craft.

Those who watched through the hours of darkness beheld a brilliant
fire-scene displayed against the velvety night. Steadily the _Congress_
had flamed upward, paling the stars in its red glow. At midnight banners
of flame, showers of stars, fiery serpents writhing upward in sinuous
pathways through the dense columns of smoke, marked the end.

That night a new-comer arrived and next morning was lying behind the
grounded _Minnesota_--a queer object, afterward described as "a tin can
on a shingle." It was Erickson's little _Monitor_, commanded by Captain
Worden and manned by a volunteer crew, for no one was ordered for
service on the odd little craft with its revolving turret. The position
was risky and no officer wanted to reflect later that he had sent men to
death on a wild experiment.

Those who could get a clear view of the stranger thought that she was a
raft sent to save the crew of the _Minnesota_, but she steamed up toward
the _Virginia_ with a war-like expression which left no doubt as to her
real character. From tidings sent from New York we had expected the new
invention down in our waters, but our imagination had not wound itself
around anything so funny looking and we did not recognize her until she
revealed herself.

I was early at my post, eager to see the end of the fray. My uncle had
his boat ready to put out to the scene of action.

"Oh, uncle, may I go?" I cried, running after him.

"No, no!" he shouted. "Go back!"

He stepped into the boat and pulled off without looking behind and did
not see that I followed and took a seat in the boat, with sketch-book
and pencil, prepared to take battle views at first hand. Perhaps an
artist of to-day might regard my sketch-book with some degree of scorn,
constructed as it was of wall paper, turned plain side out, cut into
leaves of convenient size, and bound together, the handiwork of my
ingenious grandmother. It was the best the Confederacy could afford just
then and perhaps it served the purpose as well as a more artistic outfit
might have done. I shall never forget the look of horrified amazement
that overspread my uncle's face as he chanced to look backward.

"You little dare-devil, you!" he called out, "I've a good mind to drown
you!"

The absurdity of the situation flashed upon him and his shout of
laughter rang over the water. We were too far out to admit of turning
back to put me ashore and there was nothing he could do but endure my
company.

"You needn't think I am going to try to keep you out of danger, you
disobedient, incorrigible little minx," he said indignantly. "It would
serve you right if you were shot."

I was not thinking of danger. It was my first chance at a sea-fight and
I was not going to miss it.

Thus I watched the first battle of iron-clad warships. Apparently
recognizing the fact that they had in a moment become useless lumber,
the old-time wooden structures drew aside and observed the novel
contest. The two little giants were almost touching and broadside after
broadside poured into each other. My uncle was absorbed in watching the
scene.

"Let me see! Let me see!" I cried all aquiver with excitement.

"I will not let you see, you miserable little wretch!" he replied.

Then relenting, he gave me the field-glass. "Well, here; look! Be
careful or you will lose your balance and fall overboard, though I
reckon it would be a good thing if you did. Teach you better than to put
yourself where you have no business."

His sense of humor, as usual, saved the situation, and he laughed again.
I think there was never a time since I routed him out at midnight to
take a neck-breaking ride in a hail-storm that I was not an amusing, as
well as a terrifying conundrum to my unfortunate uncle. He
good-naturedly shared his glass with disobedient little me and I watched
the contest.

The storm that rained upon the _Virginia_ was of solid shot and shell,
while it had been impossible to provide the Confederate ram with
anything but shell. The armor of the _Monitor_ was thicker than that of
her antagonist but the inclination of the sides of the _Virginia_,
causing the shot to glance harmlessly, offset that advantage. The
_Virginia_ suddenly ran aground and the _Monitor_ was quick to avail
herself of the mishap, but before we were certain of the peril of our
champion she was off and making an effort to run down the _Monitor_. The
bow of the _Virginia_ was directly against her antagonist and we saw the
Federal ship careen dangerously. When they separated a shell from our
ironclad struck the pilot-house of the _Monitor_. We afterward learned
that her commander, Lieutenant Worden, was disabled.

The _Minnesota_ was helpless and as the _Virginia_ turned toward her we
expected that she would be sunk. But, probably to the delight of those
on board the frigate as well as to the infinite dismay of us who looked
on, our little steamer went on her way toward Sewell's Point and then
to the Navy Yard. Our disappointment was very great and as we were
rowing home my uncle said reflectively:

"By George, it looks as if the Lord was on the side of those damned
Yankees."

It was the first time I had ever heard him admit the possibility that
Providence could be on the wrong side of anything.

We heard later that, so certain seemed the destruction of the
_Minnesota_, her captain was making preparations to fire and abandon her
when, to his surprise, the _Merrimac_, or _Virginia_, as we renamed her,
turned homeward.

Our captain afterward explained that he thought his last shot had
disabled the _Monitor_ and he dared not stay any longer in those waters
because the _Virginia_ had so heavy a draught that it was impossible for
her to cross the bar after ebb-tide.



XII

RICHMOND AFTER SEVEN PINES


In the Battle of Seven Pines, May 31 and June 1, 1862, Pickett's Brigade
played a most important and gallant part, an account of which may be
seen in General Joseph E. Johnston's report and in General Pickett's own
report as given in "Pickett and His Men."

While the battle yet raged darkness came on to force a truce. General
Johnston ordered his troops to sleep on their lines to be ready for the
morning. Shortly after seven he was slightly wounded by a musket shot. A
little later he remarked to one of his Colonels who dodged a shell:

"There is no use in dodging like that, Colonel. When you hear the things
they have passed."

At that moment a shell exploded, striking him in the breast. He fell
unconscious into the arms of Drewry L. Armistead, one of his couriers.
On regaining consciousness he missed his sword and pistols, and said:

"My father wore that sword in the Revolutionary War and I would not
lose it for ten thousand dollars. The pistols Colonel Colt, the
inventor, gave me."

Both sword and pistols were recovered and General Johnston, the natural
magnet for bullets, an officer of the highest soldierly qualities, of
military skill and sagacity equalled by few and surpassed by none, was
carried off the field severely wounded. General Robert E. Lee was
appointed to the command of the Army of Northern Virginia, to become the
idol of his people and one of the greatest military leaders of the
world; greater than will ever be known, because of the restrictions laid
upon his power. Though he was the General in command he was under the
direction of the War Department, which exercised its authority to the
utmost. Perhaps our Confederacy might have been longer lived if Lee had
adopted the policy of Stonewall Jackson who, when ordered to recall
General Loring from Romney, obeyed like a soldier and promptly sent in
his resignation like a mere human.

If I could bring before you the picture of the Richmond I saw after the
battle of Seven Pines you would say that it was the most powerful peace
argument ever penned. But no words could give you the faintest shadow of
the Richmond of those days of anguish. Could Dante have looked upon our
Capital in that opening June he would have needed no Virgil to unlock
for him the gates of Inferno, no Beatrice to lead him through the
midnight corridors of a lost world to the torture chamber of condemned
souls. He would have turned his gaze upon our streets, dipped his pen in
his heart's blood and written, and mankind would have shuddered through
all the ages to come.

Richmond was shaking with the thunders of the battle and the
death-sounds thrilled through our agonized souls. The blood of the field
was running in rivers of red through the hearts of her people. For days
the dead-wagons and ambulances wended their tragic way from the
battlefield to the Capital City and every turn of their crunching wheels
rolled over our crushed and bleeding hearts. The wretched loads of
wounded were emptied before the doors of the improvised hospitals until
they overflowed with maimed humanity and all hearts and hands were full
of grief for the dead and work for the wounded.

There was not a home in the city that held not some ghastly offering
from the battlefield. Every possible space was converted into a
temporary hospital and all was done that unwearied nursing and gentle
care could effect, for the roughest in the ranks as tenderly as for
those who wore the stars. Women, girls, and children stood before the
doors with wine and food for the wounded as they passed. It was not
unusual to see half a dozen funeral processions at the same time on
their way to the City of the Dead.

The Capitol square was filled with officers, privates and citizens,
seeking information of the battle. From all the Southland poured in
letters from friends and relatives, with the sacred charge to care for
their loved ones. From all quarters of the Confederacy wives followed
their husbands, mothers their sons.

"Come, Lassie, here is a telegram from Mrs. B----," said my hostess.
"Come, dear, and go with me to the train to meet her. How I dread it,
poor, dear lady!"

There was a sublime faith in the motherly face that met us in the
station--a faith that lifted up our hearts to the heights of Divinity.
There was no question, no fear, in the serene, loving eyes. "I've come
to see my boy; he was with General Johnston," she said.

We drove back through a mourning Richmond, a strange, foreign Richmond
that the mother did not know. From the doors of the houses hung
streamers of black. Ambulances filled with wounded passed us, their
torturing road marked by the trail of blood that oozed, drop by drop,
from human veins.

Wagons filled with dead rolled by, the stiffened bodies piled one upon
another in ghastly heaps, the rigid feet projecting from the ends of the
vehicles. It was the most appalling sight that ever greeted human eyes,
but it was the only way to save our fallen soldiers from the desecration
of birds of prey. All the vehicles of every description were utilized,
the less severely wounded walking, their wounds bound in bloody rags.
They formed a long procession, nearly five thousand, young boys,
middle-aged and old men, from privates to high officers, passing on to
the homes of Richmond where they would find tender care. From some of
the open windows came shrieks of pain from those whose courage had been
overcome by mortal agony. Down the streets new regiments were marching
to the front to fill, in time, other dead-wagons and ambulances.

Sometimes the Richmond of those days comes back to me now and I shudder
anew with terror.

Reaching the beautiful home of our friend and hostess, we hurried our
beloved charge, this sweet mother of a soldier, through corridors where
closed doors guarded scenes which could be but dimly imagined. Up the
stairway and along the hall to a small room she followed our friend,
who sent me down to order up a waiter of refreshments. On my return she
came out to meet me.

"She does not know, Lassie; ah, who will tell her? Heaven help her!
Heaven help her!"

Later I saw her go with firm step, erect form, and faith-redeemed face,
and stop silently as if in prayer at a closed door. Some one had told
her. The door opened and she passed through. Then it gently shut,
leaving her alone with her dead.



XIII

MY WOUNDED SOLDIER


For months "On to Richmond" had been the war-cry of the Federals, and
the battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862, was the turning point of the
seven days' battles around our Capital. No event of the memorable
campaign which had followed that slogan was more important in its
results than this desperate conflict.

McClellan in his retreat had burned and destroyed everything that could
be carried away until he reached Watts's Farm, known also by the names
of Gaines's Mill and Cold Harbor, and there was fought the greatest
battle of the war, up to that time. The great stage painter, Nature, had
never arranged a more picturesque scene for a battle than that which was
set for Gaines's Mill, one of the most awful contests of the war. It was
an undulating plain gracefully rising into gentle swells, crowned by a
dense growth of trees. It terminated in a tall cliff, a great rounded
mass of rock which had been hurled from its native bed so many centuries
ago as to be now covered with a large forest. Directly in front of the
cliff, separated by a deep gorge, was a low level field partly covered
by a heavy crop of oats which, together with a natural growth of
broom-sedge, afforded concealment to McClellan's sharpshooters and lines
of skirmishers. The cliff was defended by three tiers of field artillery
and a heavy infantry support.

Pickett's Brigade formed in line of battle under the brow of the hill,
and my Soldier, leading and cheering on his men in ascending the cliff,
was shot from his horse. His shoulder was pierced by a minie ball and
his medical director wanted to take him off the field, saying the ball
must be removed at once.

"My men need me," replied my Soldier. "Take the bullet out here and fix
me up quick, doctor, I must go back--see, they need me."

The surgeon extracted the ball and my Soldier continued to give orders
until, weak from pain and loss of blood, he was carried from the field.
For some weeks he was on furlough at his home in Richmond and in July I
was permitted to make my first call. Here I met for the second time
Jefferson Davis, now President of the Confederacy. I had just taken my
seat by my wounded Soldier when the President was announced and, to my
inexpressible vexation, I saw the precious minutes slip away while he
occupied my chair and I sat in a corner with Mrs. Burwell, my Soldier's
only sister.

In spite of my green glasses I could not help forming a mental picture
of the man who had been chosen as our political head. He was tall and
extremely slender, but of indescribable dignity and grace. He was a type
of the Old South, cultivated, refined, a brilliant conversationist. His
eyes were clear and of a blue-gray color. He had a high forehead,
straight nose, thin, compressed lips, pointed chin, prominent cheek
bones, and deep lines around his mouth. His face was thin, features long
and sharp, expression intense. There was no pomp in his movements,
neither was there anything uncertain. His walk was wonderful; just what
a President's walk ought to be but seldom is. When he rode, the
beautiful unaffected harmony and grace of every motion were fascinating.

He pressed my Soldier's left hand, laying it gently down on the arm of
the chair to avoid jarring him.

"How soon will you be able to go back?" he asked. "We need you in the
field."

"I should like to go to-morrow," was the reply.

The President shook his head, and entered upon a brief account of the
fighting after the battle of Gaines's Mill, praising my Soldier's
brother, Major Charles Pickett, who had been wounded at Frazier's Farm,
carrying the flag on foot after his horse had been shot from under him.
I saw the President's eyes flash as he said:

"I am too much of a soldier to keep out of it in this way, I want to be
in the fray. I would much have preferred fighting in the field to
warring in the council chamber. I had gone out to consult with the
Generals when the artillery duel between Jackson and Franklin began. I
barely missed being accidentally shot and was carried off by force."

Then they talked of the time when they fought in Mexico.

On my next visit to my Soldier I met Stonewall Jackson, whom I had seen
once in my childhood when I went with my grandmother to visit my uncle,
Colonel J. J. Phillips, who was under him as a cadet at the Virginia
Military Institute and was afterward associated with him as a professor
in the same institution. Later I had heard my Soldier talk of him as the
man of the war; the greatest military character developed in that fiery
time. Even thus early the world began to know him for what he was. He
came to see my Soldier and asked after his welfare.

General Jackson talked of Gaines's Mill and said that General Whiting,
of his command, had lost his way and, not knowing where to find his
commander, had reported to General Longstreet, who put his brigade a
little in the rear of Pickett's men, so that the two brigades together
made the assault which broke the enemy's lines. My Soldier, who always
deplored the loss of life, expressed his sorrow over the death of
certain gallant officers and so many soldiers. Stonewall replied,
"General Pickett, we are fighting to save the country, not the army. I
fight to win, no matter how many are killed."

While they were talking mint juleps were brought in, which Jackson
declined, saying, "I never touch strong drink. I like it too well to
fool with it, and no man's strength is strong enough to enable him to
touch the stuff with impunity."

Julie, politely curtseying, came to the defense of her juleps:

"'Scuse me, Marse Gen'ul Jackson, but dese yer drams ain't got no
impunities in 'em, suh. Nor, suh. Braxton done en mek 'em out'n we-all's
ve'y best old London Dock brandy out'n one o' we-all's cobweb bottles."

Though my Soldier's wound was serious and he was suffering intensely,
General Jackson did not express sympathy. He only deplored his absence
from his command in time of need. My Soldier said afterward, "I believe
that General Jackson classes all who are weak or starving as lacking in
patriotism, and maybe he thinks I am unpatriotic to have been wounded."

Perhaps no one but Stonewall Jackson could have lived up to the stern
Puritanism which made him so indifferent to external things--always more
rigidly uncompromising for himself than for others. The same sturdy
determination which had led the untrained boy years before to seek and
obtain an appointment to West Point in the face of a multitude of
discouragements was shown in Stonewall's famous requisition, "Send me
twenty thousand men and no orders." The spirit which held Lieutenant
Jackson to his guns in Mexico after all his men had been killed or
driven away, and had won for him two promotions in one day, was the same
spirit in which, having received an order that upset his well-matured
plans, he promptly obeyed and as promptly sent in his resignation. The
South had then learned his worth and her protest led him to withdraw his
resignation, but he was never again hampered by instructions from the
War Department.

It was said in the army that General Jackson was afraid of nothing but
his own soldiers. Their expressions of devotion alarmed him. Riding his
chestnut sorrel, his tall, powerful form bent forward, his long, solemn
face, with high cheek bones half lost in heavy reddish-brown beard, his
gray eyes cast downward, when he unexpectedly came upon his men the
first cheer would cause him to straighten back, hold his shoulders
erect, doff the old fatigue cap that concealed his receding forehead,
spur up his horse and dash off at full speed, followed by ringing shouts
until he was lost to view.

Soon after this meeting with our "Stonewall" I returned to school, and
in October my Soldier reported for duty, his empty sleeve dangling, for
it was two months before he was able to draw it over his wounded arm.

Sheltered by academic walls, absorbed in our budding ambitions, we were
yet shaken by the thunders of Antietam and thrilled with triumphant,
though awesome, joy by the lightnings of Fredericksburg that seemed to
flash a fiery road to the goal of our dreams.

Then came Chancellorsville with its thrill of triumph, followed by the
knowledge of the immeasurable cost of the victory.

In the Executive Mansion I helped Lizzie Letcher, the daughter of the
Governor, and Miss Missouri Godwin, now the widow of General Ordway,
pin tuberoses tied with crêpe on the lapels of those who with sad hearts
followed their honored leader for the last time. At the grave each
soldier took off his flower and laid it on the sacred mound.

The question asked in '61, "Who is this T. J. Jackson?" had been
answered from many a battlefield. When the shot that struck him down
sent its mournful message around the world the fullest response to that
query came from the mourning hearts of friend and foe alike. Beyond the
sea he was recorded as "one who took to a soldier's grave the love of
the whole world and the name of Stonewall Jackson."

General Garnett was one of those who had been hurt by the severity of
the hero's military discipline. My Soldier had charge of General
Jackson's funeral and Garnett came to him and asked permission to take
part. Of all who followed the great soldier to his grave there was no
mourner more sincere. All antagonisms were drowned in the flood of
veneration which surged around his name and fame.



XIV

THE RED FOX


In my next vacation, as my father could not come to Lynchburg for
several days to take me home, he wrote that my mother suggested that I
accept an invitation from a classmate in Lovingston, Virginia. Four
others of our class were invited and we were having an old-time Virginia
house-party, where friends and neighbors vied with our hosts in giving
us pleasure, when a telegram came from my father saying that his old
friend, Dr. Seon, a celebrated minister who had just romantically made
his escape from prison in his daughter's clothes, would pass through
Lynchburg the following day and would escort me home. Though sorry to
make a break in our house-party I was glad to go, as it furthered the
plan of my Soldier, which I had feared would go astray, to meet me in
Petersburg where I was to stop over for a few days on my way home. On
the train the doctor said:

"Lassie, I found, to my delight, the son of an old friend in the
forward coach, whom I would like to present to you if I may. I have just
told him I was traveling with a little lady-girl, or a little girl-lady,
who was making me forget age and wars and troubles--just a ripple of
sunshine, but a wee bit of a rascal withal. Shan't tell you what else I
said, nor half the things he told me in reply about matching you against
a certain young lady of his acquaintance, which young lady, I am
inclined to think, is more than an 'acquaintance,' so I give you fair
warning _not_ to fall in love with him."

I replied that I should be delighted to meet his friend but needed no
warning, as _I_ had an acquaintance, too, who was more than an
'acquaintance,' and whom I would match against the entire universe.

I was handing the remainder of our luncheon out of the window to a
half-clad, hungry looking soldier when the doctor returned with his
friend and said:

"Miss Corbell, allow me to present to you the son of my old friend, of
Henrico County, Virginia, General Pickett."

My heart jumped into my throat with delight and surprise and in
breathless jerks I cried out--"Oh, my Soldier, my Soldier."

"I had no idea whom I was to have the honor of meeting," said my
Soldier. "This, doctor, is the acquaintance of whom I spoke."

"Ah-ha!" said the doctor, "ah-ha!" He offered my Soldier his seat beside
me, and the rest of the journey was a beautiful, beautiful, soulful
dream. My Soldier stopped off at Richmond, and I went on to Petersburg,
where I was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan.

My friends in Petersburg had announced my coming, and a number of
engagements had been made for me. The first was a large party at the
Johnsons' and the next at the Raglands'. I did not know whether my
Soldier would approve of my going without him and I neither wished to go
nor approved of it myself, so I begged to be allowed to await his
arrival the next day and make my first appearance with him. On seeing
his look of loving appreciation I was very thankful to have made the
decision. The party at the Raglands' was one of the largest and most
brilliant ever given in Petersburg, and that evening our engagement was
announced.

Two days later I was to start for my father's home but was amazed,
especially as my Soldier was in command, to find that I could not get a
permit. He was positive in his refusal and would make no exception in my
favor. However, he consented to date for me a permit a week in advance.
At the end of the week I said good-bye to him at the station and for
the first time was wounded by him, almost heart-broken, because he did
not seem as sorry at parting from me as I thought he ought to be.
Besides, there was a peculiar quizzical twinkle in his eye that puzzled
me and occupied my thoughts all the way down to Ivor Station, where my
uncle, Doctor Phillips, met me. Though fretting because the parting had
seemed of so little moment to my Soldier and wishing that I had not been
sorry either, that is, not so sorry as I was, the drive from the station
proved most pleasant and brought us to my uncle's near noon. That
evening as I was about to retire, a little after eight (they go to bed
early in the country), we heard horses galloping down the lane.

"Listen to the clanking of the swords," said my uncle. "Those are
certainly soldiers and I did not know there were any within miles of
us."

I listened, heard the horses turned over to the orderly, heard footsteps
on the gravel, then on the porch, and in answer to my uncle's greeting I
recognized with unutterable joy the voice of my own Soldier and that of
one of his staff. They were asking for me, had been welcomed, and the
candle was lighting them into the parlor. The dread mystery of my
Soldier's cheerfulness at parting from me was explained. He had come
through on the same day with a part of his division and they were then
in camp on the Blackwater a few miles distant.

When the division crossed the Blackwater and marched on to Suffolk I
went to the home of my aunt, Mrs. Eley, at Barber's Cross Roads, a
distance of about ten miles from Suffolk. Here when all was quiet along
the lines my Soldier would ride in from his headquarters almost every
night between the hours of sunset and sunrise to see me--a ride of about
thirty miles. While these short visits were glimpses of heaven to me,
they resulted sadly for my aunt, whose house, in consequence, was burned
by the Federals.

At the earnest solicitation of my Soldier, who feared my remaining
within the enemy's lines, I went to an old friend in Richmond, Mrs.
Shields, the wife of Colonel Shields. When on this visit I first met
General "Jeb" Stuart, the "Red Fox" of the Confederacy, thus named
because of the blonde glory of his coloring and the swiftness of his
movements, as well as his wiliness in evading pursuit. He was said to be
one of the handsomest men in the South, and perhaps it was true, but I
was at that time too much absorbed in the contemplation of the, to me,
handsomest man in the _world_ to have discriminating eyes for the beauty
of anyone else.

Among those of our officers most noted for personal attractions was
General Longstreet, who was thought to resemble "Jeb" in appearance. A
story is told of an ardent admirer of the "Red Fox" who, meeting the
"old War Horse," General Longstreet, said, "General Stuart, I just met a
man who told me of mistaking you for General Longstreet, but I don't see
how he could. Longstreet is not half as handsome as you are." General
Longstreet gravely replied, "Yes, I am sometimes taken for Longstreet."

As we danced at a ball at "Yellow Tavern" General Stuart teasingly
commiserated my Soldier on his bad luck in belonging to the infantry.

"I am sorry for Pickett, poor fellow! He has to walk. Upon my word, he
ought to be in the cavalry. He deserves it. What a pity! And you, Miss
Lassie--why should you throw yourself away on the infantry? _You_ ought
to marry a cavalryman."

I tried to defend myself and set forth the greater advantages of the
infantry service.

"Pickett is lucky," he replied, "in having such a champion. I am in love
with him myself and agree with you perfectly, for Pickett can do
anything. When I see him dance I think he ought to be a dancing-master.
When I see him ride I think he ought to be a cavalry leader. When he
whistles I think he ought to be a bird. When he sings it seems that he
ought to be an opera star. When I see him lead a charge I feel that he
ought to spend his life on the battlefield. Yes, Pickett can do anything
and do it well. As for poor me--all I can do is to make love."

Inexperienced as I was, I knew that the "Red Fox" could do everything
that was brave and fine and great. As for making love--there was only
one who knew his power in that art--the lovely woman who possessed all
his gallant heart and has worthily borne his great name through years of
wearing toil and lonely sorrow.

In the battle or on the road a song or a laugh was always on his lips
and the hearts of his men leaped up to meet his gayety as well as his
fearlessness.

To few men is it given to go through a great war untouched by any ball
except the fatal one. Such was the gift that Mars bestowed upon his
brilliant follower and in less than a year from that festive night at
this same Yellow Tavern the blood-red seal was set upon a youth that was
immortal.



XV

THE SMUGGLED BRIDE


Notwithstanding war and war's alarms, when I should be launched into the
world with a diploma in my hand and the blessings of my Alma Mater on my
head my Soldier was to marry me. Cupid does not readily give way to
Mars, and in our Southern country a lull between bugle calls was likely
to be filled with the music of wedding bells. But Mars was in the
ascendant for the time, and when I was graduated the Army of Northern
Virginia was marching to an undetermined battlefield in Pennsylvania.

Then came Gettysburg, and the wave of triumph set rolling at
Fredericksburg and mounting higher at Chancellorsville surged anew, for
the first news that came to us was of a great victory. So we rode on the
flood-tide of fancied success and fell with the ebb.

Soon after the battle my Soldier returned to recruit his division. On
Sunday we walked down Broad Street to the Monumental Episcopal Church.
It was the first time we had gone to church together and he was telling
me that this church was called the Monumental because it was built upon
the site of the old Richmond theater, burned in 1811. My Soldier's
grandmother was a victim of the fire, as were the Governor of Virginia
and more than sixty of Richmond's best known citizens. The fire and the
long funeral procession had been described to him by those who held in
memory the mournful cortège darkening the streets of the beautiful city
as Death had clouded the lives of the thousands who followed their loved
ones for the last time on earth.

As we went down Broad Street Hill we saw a little Hebrew child standing
first on one foot and then on the other, crying. He had rubbed his dirty
hands on his tear-stained face until it was covered with muddy streaks.

"Come, come, my little man, what is the matter?" asked my Soldier.

"My shoes is a hurtin' an' pinchin' me so. They feels like I was a
walkin' on red-hot corncobs. Oh-oh-oh! Mister, I can't walk; I can't get
anywhere at all."

Kneeling, my Soldier unlaced and took off the shoes, rubbed the little
feet, tied the shoes together, handed them to the boy, and with his own
clean handkerchief wiped away the tears. Lifting the child in his arms
he carried him home, some three blocks farther on. We went our way and
as I walked beside my Soldier in his gray uniform cloaked with the glory
and the gloom of the world's greatest battle, I felt prouder of the
simple sweet nature offering sympathy and aid to "one of the least of
these" than of all the valor of the soldier on the field.

Only a few days before he had ridden from Gettysburg to Richmond, cheer
after cheer following him along the way. Men, women and children were at
the roadside to welcome him and hang garlands on his horse. He had been
the central figure in a scene so supreme that it needed not victory to
crown it with glory. Yet not the flowers of love nor the echo of the
cannon's thunder, the grave duties nor the heavy sorrows that were laid
upon him, could so fill his heart as to leave no room for the cry of
suffering from an unknown child.

In September of that year my Soldier married me. He had confided in
General Longstreet and asked for a furlough. The Corps Commander replied
that they were not granting furloughs. "But," he said, with that twinkle
in his eye so well remembered by all who knew General Lee's "old War
Horse," "I might detail you for special duty and you could stop off and
be married." So my Soldier was detailed for "special duty."

Unfortunately, the Federals south of the line were at that time
worshipping exclusively at the shrine of Mars. For them Cupid was
absolutely dethroned. So much opposed were they to our marriage and so
insistent in their efforts to induce my Soldier to pay them a prolonged
visit instead of wasting his time in wedding frivolities that it became
necessary for me to cross the lines. This I did with the assistance of
my uncle, Doctor John T. Phillips, who took my father and me under his
protection, smuggled us across, my father driving a load of fodder in
which my trunks were concealed. My mother could not leave my little baby
brother, now Dr. Edwin F. Corbell, an eminent and beloved physician of
North Carolina, to go with me, so I was accompanied by one of her
friends as chaperon. I quaked inwardly when we met some Federal
cavalrymen but kept up a brave front and, recognizing Dr. Phillips, the
riders allowed his permit to cover the party and we passed on our way.

At Waverley Station we were met by my uncle, Colonel J. J. Phillips, and
his wife, and by my Soldier's brother and aunt and uncle, Miss Olivia
and Mr. Andrew Johnston. With them we went on to Petersburg and on
September 15, 1863, in St. Paul's Church, the marriage took place. We
left for Richmond amid the salute of guns, hearty cheers, the chimes of
bells and the music of bands and bugles.

As by that time the food supply of the South was reduced to narrow
limits, salt being procured by digging up and boiling the earth from
under the smokehouses, browned sweet potatoes cut into bits and toasted
serving for coffee, and lumps of sugar being sold at high prices for the
hospital fund, it might be thought that our prospect of finding a
banquet awaiting us in Richmond was not brilliant. But friends and
relations of my Soldier had exerted themselves to do him honor, and the
result was such as had not been seen in Virginia for many a day. It was
sora season and so generous was the supply that the feast was afterward
known as the "wedding sora-supper." The birds had been killed at night
with paddles, for the South was not wasting her small store of
ammunition on sora with so many more important targets in sight. The
birds, killed at Curl's Neck on the James River, and thousands of beaten
biscuit, gallons of terrapin stew, and turkeys boned and made into salad
by the neighbors and the old plantation servants under the supervision
of Mr. and Mrs. Sims, the overseer and his wife at Turkey Island, my
Soldier's old colonial home, were sent us as bridal presents. Mrs.
Robert E. Lee's gift was a fruit-cake, the making of which she had
superintended, and Bishop Dudley's mother sent us a black fruit-cake
that had been put away for her own golden wedding.

The only men in civilian evening dress were Mr. Davis and his Cabinet
and a few ministers and very old men, for even then we were "robbing the
cradle and the grave" to recruit the Army, and the women were
sacrificing everything to help. Through kindness of friends in Norfolk a
handsome bridal dress, imported for me by Mrs. Boykin, had been smuggled
across the line. It was so unusual that after Mrs. Davis had greeted me
she looked in astonishment at my costume and said:

"Child, where did you get these clothes?"

Turning to the General, smiling, Mr. Davis asked:

"Where did you get the little lady in the clothes?"

On the other side of the room was the editor of the _Richmond Examiner_,
who had been mercilessly assailing the administration. Mrs. Davis called
her husband's attention to him but Mr. Davis said:

"Let us not look that way, my dear. We have come to-night to see
beautiful things and think pleasant thoughts."

The General's sister invited the President and Mrs. Davis to the
dining-room.

"What a time you must have had plucking them," said Mr. Davis when he
saw the sora.

"A part of the gift was the preparation of them, even to the last shade
of brownness."

My memory of Mr. Davis that evening lingers with special significance
because it was the last time that I ever saw real happiness in his
earnest face. He was just a free, gallant gentleman that night. As he
said, he had come to enjoy. Clouds, public and private, were gathering,
and soon enough there was no longer the possibility of forgetting. I saw
him often afterward in sadness, but never again with the light of joy on
his face.

Perhaps there was never anywhere else so varied a collection of curios
for the adornment of the person as I had assembled for a trousseau. I
had gowns remodeled from court robes more than a century old, relics of
grandmothers and great-grandmothers; frocks of home-woven material,
striped with vegetable dyes gathered from the woods, and trimmed with a
passementerie made of various kinds of seeds, such as canteloupe, laces
knit from fine-spun flax, tatting and crocheted trimmings, and buttons
carved from peach-stones.

One of my bonnets was made of the lacy lining that grows on the inside
of a gourd, called my dish-cloth bonnet because the soft fabric was used
also for the less ornamental kitchen purpose. In the absence of the more
widely known varieties of millinery I used the silky milkweed balls for
white roses and made bunches of grapes from picked cotton covered with
fleek-skin and tinted. A bonnet of gray straw, plaited and dyed by the
servants, poke-shaped and with pink roses inside the brim, was
especially becoming. My bridal present from my pastor's wife was a very
wide collar of tatting and embroidery.

The wedding robe left nothing to be desired, for it was of white satin
and exquisite shimmering lace, made at a center of fashion. In passing I
may remark that the possession of a real wedding dress, new and stylish,
was a distinction that carried with it a sense of obligation to the
community at large, and my bridal gown graced a number of weddings after
my own. It was last worn by one of the most beautiful girls of the
Confederacy who, a few days later, exchanged its snowy folds for the
sables of widowhood when the bridegroom was brought home dead from the
battlefield. Thus tragically shadowed the dress around which clustered
so many happy memories, so many tender sentiments, and so many sorrowful
recollections, was laid away with reverent hands, never again to glimmer
with soft sheen through the misty folds of the bridal veil.



XVI

BUTLER BOTTLED UP


My Soldier was at this time assigned to the Department of North
Carolina, with headquarters at Petersburg, Virginia, commanding all that
part of Virginia between James River on the north and Cape Fear River on
the south, reaching eastward to the Federal lines around Suffolk and
westward to the Black Water and Chowan, including all the troops in that
region.

After our bridal visits to kinspeople we returned to Petersburg where we
found that our friends, in spite of the restrictions of war, had
arranged beautiful rooms for us, decorating them luxuriantly with
flowers and fitting them up handsomely.

Among the many who helped to make my life happy in Petersburg was Major
Charles Pickett, the General's Assistant Adjutant General (the "Little
Major," as he was affectionately called by the soldiers). When my
Soldier introduced him to me as his "little brother" he immediately
became my "little brother," too, and thus he was in my life and my heart
through all the years that he remained on earth. He walked slightly lame
from a wound received at Frazier's Farm. So anxious was he to get into
the fight that he disobeyed orders to report for staff duty in Richmond
and went into the battle instead. When he was shot he begged his
comrades not to carry him off the field but to leave him his flag that
he might die under its folds. But he lived through what was known among
the men as "the battle the little Major fought down at Frazier's Farm,"
and thus I came into possession of "my little brother." Soon afterward
he married Miss Elizabeth Smith of Washington, and brought us a dear
sister who was my companion in the rare sunshine and the many storms of
war.

All this region was historic and held thrilling memories of the battles
of bygone days. As we rode over the ground we talked of the old-time
conflicts and my Soldier said that he would have been glad to be in all
wars that were for a just cause. I had been taught that the Mexican war
was without such justification, and asked his opinion.

"At West Point," he replied, "some of us were reprimanded for expressing
a doubt of its justice. I was one of them. After we were in we had to
fight it out and as it must be done I wanted to do my share."

It was while my Soldier was stationed at Petersburg that the expedition
to North Carolina was projected, involving Newbern and Plymouth. The
military history of the movement is given in "Pickett and His Men," but
there are certain personal features of the expedition which have been
recorded in my memory, for I would not be left behind when the journey
to the old North State was made. I went as far as the house of a friend
on the Newbern road.

The night was bleak and frigid; we were nearing our stopping place. My
Soldier, always solicitous for his men, was discussing with his staff
the discomfort to which they would be subjected and the impossibility of
alleviating their suffering.

"Poor fellows!" he said. "They will be almost frozen and no wood, and
General Lee will not allow us to burn even a single rail. There will be
the devil to pay and I powerless to help."

Observing that I had awakened and heard his last remark he turned
reprovingly to Captain Bright, saying:

"Bright, how dare you use that gentleman's name in the presence of my
wife?"

"Beg your pardon, Sister," said Captain Bright, "I thought you were
asleep."

Whatever relation my Soldier might bear to his staff officers, I was
always "Sister."

"Don't you think I know your voice, my dear, from Captain Bright's?" I
inquired.

"No, little one, you could not possibly know my voice in connection with
such words, and you could not think that I would use such language as
Bright uses."

"Sister," said Captain Bright, "before the General was married he would
not allow any of us to swear at all. He said he would do the swearing
for the whole division. Now that he is married we have not only to do
all our own swearing but his, too."

Had it not been for the versatile imagination of Colonel Floweree, the
Ananias of the Seventh Virginia Regiment, my Soldier and I would
probably have fared badly. The hotel was impossible and the community
was of Union sentiment. In our connection with the Southern Army we
could expect no toleration. In this dilemma Colonel Floweree undertook
to grapple with the situation. He learned that the most beautiful and
luxurious home in the village was owned by an old Baptist, a power in
the church and in the community, who was known to be not unwilling to
make an occasional sacrifice of political opinions to religious
fraternity. Colonel Floweree called upon the good brother and, with an
intonation that he could have learned nowhere but from the pious and
hardshell Baptists of that region and period, said:

"My dear Brother, I know what a good Baptist you are and how ready you
are to help all your brethren in the Lord. I have my good General,
Brother Pickett, out here with his dear pious wife, Sister Pickett, both
good Baptists, and I beg you to extend to them the hospitality of your
home and entertain them as best you can for the sake of brotherly love."

"If I do," said the old man hesitatingly, "the Yankees may burn my
house; but I must take the chances, I cannot let my brethren suffer.
Yes, let the good brother and sister come in and share what I have."

We were received with fraternal hospitality, our host shaking hands with
us solemnly, saying, "How do you do, Brother Pickett? How are you,
Sister Pickett?" in a voice that invested us with the sanctity of the
church.

I was interested to observe that our host had but one eye, his wife was
cross-eyed, and their daughter was cock-eyed. These optical phenomena
were afterward scientifically explained by our Baptist brother.

"I was engaged to a cross-eyed girl," he said, "and my people objected
to the marriage. I was about to give it up when one day I was cutting
wood and the end of the stick flew up and hit me in the eye and put it
out. It was the judgment of the Lord and I repented and married my
cross-eyed girl. Then when our girl was born the hand of the accusing
angel touched her and she was cock-eyed to keep me in mind of my sin."

Petersburg, the gate to Richmond, was the weakest point of the
Confederacy, and my Soldier had explained its position to the
authorities in Richmond and asked that provision for its defense should
be made. His warning disregarded, he wrote a confidential letter on the
subject to General Lee, who sent an officer to Richmond, urging
immediate action. Still nothing was done and when, on the 5th of May,
Butler with thirty thousand troops moved upon the town, which was
defended by only six hundred men (two hundred of whom were ineffective),
the government and the country were as much surprised as if they had
never heard of the danger.

Though my Soldier had been ordered a few days before to report to the
Army of Northern Virginia, he could not leave Petersburg to destruction.
In defiance of orders he remained in the beleaguered city. The day after
the attack a part of the South Carolina brigade came in and, being
placed at Walthall Junction, about six miles from Petersburg, drove back
Butler's advance column. Wise's Virginia brigade arrived on the seventh
and was sent toward City Point. Then three brigades of Pickett's
division began coming in as fast as the crippled express could bring
them, and we had eleven pieces of artillery.

We women carried the dispatches, cooked the food and took it to the men
at the guns. At train time we would go to the station and send up cheer
after cheer of welcome, hoping to blind the Federals to the fact that
the cars, returning from their short trip to the country, brought in
only the half-starved railroad men. The roar of cannon and the shrieks
of shot and shell filled our ears day and night. During the entire week,
until Petersburg was safe and General Grant had sent his famous telegram
to Mr. Lincoln, "Pickett has bottled up Butler at Petersburg," my
Soldier scarcely slept, and I saw him only when I carried to him on the
lines a dispatch or his bread and soup and coffee. This telegram so
angered Butler that he came up the James River, out of the line of
battle, at great expense to the United States Government, and sacked and
burned my Soldier's beautiful ancestral home.

The city council of Petersburg voted a resolution of thanks to my
Soldier for his brave defense of the city. The people wished to express
their gratitude by a gift to me. It was impossible to buy a service of
silver, so each brought a fork, a salt-spoon, a pitcher, as the case
might be, until more than a thousand pieces were given to me. One woman,
having no silver because she had been compelled to sell her household
service, brought a pretty gilt-bordered cup. The gifts of affection were
of far greater value to me than the most elegant and costly new set of
silver could have been and were carefully cherished until, in the fire
which marked the surrender of Richmond, they, with all my bridal
presents and everything of value, were burned in the warehouse in
Richmond where they had been placed for safe-keeping.

One morning in May in the early dawn we rode out of the city of sweet
memories and days of terror, pausing to look back at the far-off Church
of Saint Paul, new-lit by the rising sun, where we had plighted our
troth.



XVII

ON THE LINES


Our next station was on the "Bermuda Hundred" lines near the heart of
the storm, but there were rifts of sunshine to break the gloom.

A tent was our first home and later a log cabin. Major Charles Pickett's
log cabin near our own had two rooms, a degree of splendor to which no
one else attained.

We had friends--such friends as war binds together with links that can
never be broken. The wives of many of the officers were there. The few
new books we had were exchanged until they were read through and through
and almost learned by heart. If one of us fortunately came into
possession of a month-old paper it went the rounds and was more eagerly
perused than are the morning journals now, just off the press with the
news of the hour fresh and hot. We visited, walked, talked, rode and
danced half the night away lest it should be over-long and bring
darksome dreams. How could we live on the rim of a volcano if we could
not dance around its crater?

At the Howlett House not all our evenings were given over to pleasure.
The Federals had a theory that business should come first, and would
thrust their views upon us at inopportune times, frequently arousing us
from slumber. These nocturnal attacks were veritable scenes from the
Inferno displayed against the black curtain of night--swords flashing
through the darkness, guns thundering across the silence that had
brooded over the earth, weapons clashing, the roar of orders sweeping
over the field--all the demoniac sounds of battle crashing through a
blackness that enshrouded our world. He who has looked upon such a scene
needs no fiend of darkness to roll back for him the heavy curtain that
hides the world of demons. Even the bravest of the brave doubted their
courage in a night attack.

After one of these encounters when the wounded were brought in I saw my
Soldier stop beside two of them, one a Federal and the other a
Confederate. Pointing to the northern soldier he said:

"Please attend first to our guest, doctor."

Then he gave his handkerchief to serve as a tourniquet to stop the
bleeding of the Federal soldier's wound.

It was at the Bermuda Hundred line that I first saw General Grant. My
Soldier and I were riding along looking at the Federal gunboats and
monitors not more than a few hundred yards from our headquarters when I
saw a puff of smoke drifting, scattering, a mere shadow as it floated
higher and was lost against the blue sky.

"Look, look!" I exclaimed. "Isn't that beautiful?"

"Dangerously beautiful. It is from a shell. The enemy are firing over
there. Come, dear; whip up your horse and let me get you out of this as
soon as I can."

"No, indeed," I said. "I'm not a bit afraid, and if I were do you think
I would let Pickett's men see me run?"

"Come, dear, please! You are in danger, useless danger, and that is not
bravery."

The soldiers did not seem to agree with him, for Corse's Brigade sent up
cheer after cheer as we passed. Captain Smith, just then riding across
the field, stopped to speak to us.

"The Federals are testing some guns, I think, for the entertainment of
visitors," he explained, "and are not firing at us. They are over there
to the right of that oak." He handed us his field glass. "Mrs. Grant is
standing between those two short, stout men. The one at the left with a
cigar in his mouth is Grant. The shorter, stouter one on the right is
Ingalls, Grant's Quartermaster-General."

"Yes, that's Rufus. See him laugh, the old rascal!" said my Soldier, a
glint of the old-time affection shining in his eyes and vibrating in his
voice. He, Grant and Ingalls were old friends, having been comrades in
Mexico and the West. "But come, let's ride on."

"Yes," said Captain Smith, "it is not safe here. I would take Mrs.
Pickett away. Turn to the left there into that clump of trees."

"Unfortunately, Captain, Mrs. Pickett outranks me; she will not go."

"Permit me, please, Mrs. Pickett, to add my entreaties to those of the
General. It really is not safe here."

"Let me get down and try our guns, too, and then I'll go," I answered.

"Not for the world," exclaimed my Soldier. "They are not shooting at us.
Mrs. Grant is so kind-hearted that she would not approve of their
shooting in this direction if she thought it would interrupt our morning
ride. Besides, she is exceedingly cross-eyed and does not know
directions."

The Captain saluted my Soldier, lifted his hat to me, suggestively
pointed to the grove on our left and rode away. I watched him, admiring
his fine horsemanship. Beginning to feel remorseful for my obstinate
resistance to his appeal I was about to turn off to the safe path when
one of the aimless cannon balls swept across the field and I saw the
Captain's horse careering madly along bearing a headless body.
Impulsively I sprang from my horse and ran and picked up the poor head,
and I solemnly believe that the dying eyes looked their thanks as the
last glimmering of life flickered out. Those pathetically grateful eyes
have looked at me many times through the mists of vanished years and
with them has come the booming of the guns that threw black bars across
the sunshine of that far away morning.

The memory of General Grant often came to me afterward associated with
that awful sight following my first view of him across the water where
he stood peacefully smoking on the slope. The fact that he remembered
the old friendship with my Soldier was impressed upon me many times
after my view of him through field glasses.

Among the friends whom I often met at this station was General Robert E.
Lee. It has been said that our Commanding General never knew or cared
what he ate, and it is true that he did not, in comparison with the
welfare of his soldiers. Once when he and his staff lunched with us I
gave them one of our famous Brunswick stews, made of chicken, a slice of
pork, corn, tomatoes and Lima beans, with bay-leaf and onion seasoning,
and cooked slowly. It was particularly good this day, as I had received
a gift of some smuggled salt and could afford to use it lavishly, and
General Lee said the stew was the most delicious thing he had ever
tasted. I had just made some walnut pickles of which I was very proud.
He praised them and told me that in his house he had them many years old
and that the "older they became the better they were."

"But, you know," he said, "I never eat anything good without thinking of
the soldiers and their privations."

One evening in Richmond my Soldier and I were invited to spend the
evening with Senator and Mrs. Clement C. Clay, and while there General
Lee called. We had ice cream made of buttermilk and sweetened with
sorghum, and lemonade made with lemons from the conservatory of our
hostess. She remarked that she had been saving those lemons for the
soldiers in the hospital but that she had more which she would give to
them. "If you will be sure not to forget the soldiers," said General
Lee, "I will enjoy this lemonade."

The General called me "Sweet Nansemond" because I came from Nansemond
County, as did the famous sweet potatoes which the hucksters hawked
about the streets, calling out, "Nansemonds! Sweet Nansemonds!" and I
rather resented this vegetable suggestion, not liking to be associated
with potatoes even in the mind of General Lee.

Though sympathetic and warm-hearted, our General had a natural dignity
of manner which, though inspiring confidence, interposed a veil of
reserve between him and even his warmest admirers. Years after the war
one of my friends who had been an officer in the Army of Northern
Virginia, first under General Joe Johnston and then under General Lee,
said to me:

"Lee was a great soldier and a good man but I never wanted to put my
arms around his neck and kiss him as I wanted to do with Joe Johnston."

With a bit of a jealous feeling for my own Soldier I asked:

"Did you want to do that to General Pickett?"

"To Pickett?--Why, I not only wanted to but I did."

One evening when General Lee, General Beauregard, my Soldier and his
Brigade Commanders were studying war-maps in our cabin and
confidentially discussing the freeing of the slaves and the enlisting of
them as soldiers, General Lee finished by saying:

"Well, gentlemen, we must hope for the best. If we should give up there
are many who would feel that we had sold the South--many of our Southern
States would think so, for even they have no idea that we have come to
the last of our resources and no realization of how starving and poor we
are, and, alas, gentlemen, too much of the best blood of the land is
being spilled, too many homes being despoiled and made desolate, too
many mothers with broken hearts."

Solemnly they shook hands and General Lee and his companions galloped
off, my Soldier and I standing in the doorway listening.

"Hear the horses' hoofs saying, 'Blood-blood, Blood-blood,'" said I.

"So they do, little one," answered my Soldier. "Strange--strange I had
not thought of that before."

We turned to the map on the floor and rolled up the ways to go and
prayed for a miracle to bring success.



XVIII

THE AMENITIES


We were near the Federal lines and the men on the opposing sides enjoyed
friendly chats with each other, swapped jokes, bartered tobacco for
coffee and exchanged newspapers.

The Federals kept their cattle in a stockade in the rear of their camp.
Early one morning they were surprised to see Confederate soldiers
running along the line in a manner suggestive of a drove of highly
excited cows.

"What's the matter with you, Johnnies, over there?" came the query
across the lines. "Are you all crazy?"

The only answer was a vociferous and long-drawn out chorus of "Moo-o-o!
Moo-o-o! Moo-o-o!"

Disgusted with the pertinaceous lunacy of their foes the blue-coats gave
up the conundrum. A little while later the problem was solved. In the
night General J. E. B. Stuart with some of his men had circled the camp
and driven off all the Federal cattle, and the "Moo!" of the
Confederates was a graphic announcement to the victims of their loss.
For a time the "Johnnies" fared sumptuously on steak and roast while the
"Yanks" were compelled to forage till they could lay in a new supply of
live stock.

The red flag of the politicians never wholly divided the hearts of the
soldiers into hostile camps. Not only did the West Pointers retain the
comradeship of the old Army days, but the enlisted men shared the
friendly sentiment.

In the summer of '63 the Confederate and Federal soldiers doing duty on
opposite banks of the Black Water River in Virginia were wont to divert
themselves by trading with each other. They had built for their traffic
a miniature fleet of rudely but ingeniously carved boats. One of these
little vessels would be taken up stream, the current of which was seldom
strong, and with rudder fixed it would go down the river with its cargo
of sugar and coffee wrapped in the latest newspaper and stored in the
scooped deck, and would be grappled and hauled in by the sentry on the
opposite side. Back the same trusty little carrier dove would come,
laden with plugs of tobacco, wrapped likewise in the latest paper on
that side. Cheers and shouts from both lines would greet each cargo as
it touched the shore.

One morning a short time after the battle of Gettysburg the Confederates
anxiously awaited the return of their little craft. It came and was
enthusiastically received, but to their surprise, no answering shout
went up from the opposite shore on the landing of the boat. The cargo,
much to their disappointment, was wrapped in brown paper.

"Well, we have whipped them Yanks again as sure as guns," they argued
sympathetically in explanation of the silence and the brown paper. The
vessel was sent back and on the paper in which the cargo was wrapped
were these words:

"We-all are so sorry for you-all Yanks, but we won't crow loud, so send
along the paper."

The boat returned with the paper, on the margin of which was written:

"'Twas sech darned infernal hard luck in the papers for you Rebs we was
'feared they'd sink the coffee."

In the old Army my Soldier had a dear comrade, at this time a General in
the Army of the Potomac. His brother had the misfortune to be captured
and put into Libby prison and, in memory of the old friendship, my
Soldier secured his release and took him as a guest into our home, the
old Pickett mansion in Richmond. In an unaccountable moment of
indiscretion he wrote a letter in which he said that the Confederacy was
on its last legs, stating that he was in a home of wealth, where there
was a house full of servants, and in the morning the basket was sent to
market packed full of money and brought back only half full of
provisions. This letter fell into the hands of Judge Ould, Commissioner
of exchange of prisoners, who immediately reported it and the offending
writer was returned to prison. My Soldier's sympathy was not cooled by
this unhappy incident, and later he secured permission for me to go to
the prison at will and take whatever I could of our scanty store that
would be a help or comfort to him--beaten biscuit, eggs, milk or fruit.
However unpromising the outlook might be I always managed to find
something for him. Every week when I would take him clean linen the
other prisoners would cut dice for that which he left off. Of more value
than anything else was the gourd of soft soap which I carried to him,
for we had no salt to make hard soap. I think he cared more for the
human interest that I brought from outdoor life, the glint of sunshine,
however dark my own heart might be.

It was thus that I saw the inside of Libby prison. Let no man who did
not see Libby prison in the last days of the Confederacy imagine for a
moment that he is able to conceive of any fraction of its infernal
horror. It is easy to understand that, in a country where the soldiers
were starving in the field and families were starving at home, a prison
would not be a comfortable place of abode, but it would have to be seen
to be in the least appreciated. When I look back through memory at that
scene of indescribable wretchedness, unutterable gloom and despair, I
can almost envy those whose fancy falls so far short of the reality.

It had been many months since the authorities of the North had set a
rigid bar against the exchange of prisoners, involving the reinforcement
of the Confederate Army. It was impossible for the South to replace her
captured men, while the Federal Army could be easily kept in full force
by new recruits. Mr. Davis had vainly pleaded for exchange on the field.
He had sent two Federal prisoners to Washington to represent our
condition and the impossibility of feeding prisoners in addition to
trying to keep our own soldiers from starvation. The stern necessities
of war had prevailed against him. The prisoners themselves had given
assent to the sad fate that was to be theirs. They had offered their
lives for their country. What mattered it whether the supreme sacrifice
was accepted in the swift glory of the battle flash or in the long
dreary darkness of a hopeless imprisonment.

In my visits to the prison I met and knew other unfortunate ones and am
thankful that I was able to minister to some of them. Among my son's and
my own best friends in after years were some whom I first met in that
awful, woeful place.

Dining with Mr. and Mrs. Beverly Tucker at a hotel in Washington years
after the war, I saw a strange gentleman at a table near, gazing so
earnestly at me that I said to my host, "Is that gentleman some one whom
I should know and speak to?" Mr. Tucker looked up, half inclined to be
offended. The stranger rose and came to our table.

"Excuse me," he said, bowing to my host and hostess. Turning to me, his
voice trembling, he said, "Forgive this intrusion but I couldn't help
it. I want to ask you, please, if you ever gave buttermilk and soft
soap, fresh figs, a clean shirt, a world of sunshine and a lot of other
things to a poor, wounded, weary, homesick boy in Libby prison? Aren't
you the lady? You are; don't you remember me?"

The tears were streaming down his face now as he held out his hand.

"Yes," I said, "I remember; of course, I remember. You are the poor
wounded boy the prisoners used to call Little Willie Sourmilk, Little
Kentuck, Baby Blue, etc."

"Yes; that's me, and, oh, I am so glad that I have found you at last. Do
you know that I have prayed to God every night that I might, and, lady,
you never will know what a benediction your visits were to old Libby,
and me--oh, you saved my life; I never can forget that first day. It was
in June. The roses were in bloom, and such roses! A great bunch was
lying on the top of your basket. I was stretched out on the table near
the barred window trying to think of old Kentucky and forget my wounds
when I heard a voice say, 'Little fellow, would you like to have a
beaten biscuit and a glass of buttermilk?' 'Would I? Oh, God, would I?'
I said. When you went away you left half the roses on my pillow, and how
I watched for your visits after that. I never knew your name, never knew
how to find you. To us prisoners you were the Rose Lady."

His tears had washed off the kiss on my hand and I was back again,
looking into the wild, harrowing, despairing faces in the dismal
tobacco-warehouse prison, all regardless of my host and hostess and the
surrounding guests.

"Well, I'll be dogged, Jane," said Mr. Tucker to his dear little wife.
"What do you think of this? I always did believe every word of those Ali
Baba and Forty Thieves and Magic Lantern tales and this proves them, for
they are not a bit stranger than this sour buttermilk story."

The stranger was Colonel William H. Lowdermilk, of Anglim's Bookstore.
When later I lost all my worldly goods and was appointed to a desk in
the Pension Office, Colonel Lowdermilk, then of the firm of Lowdermilk &
Company, Book-Dealers, wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions a strong
letter of commendation, in which he told in warmest terms of my care of
himself and other Union soldiers in Libby prison, and asked that every
courtesy and consideration be shown to me for all time and in every
possible way, in sacred memory of the boys in Libby. Throughout his life
afterward he was a devoted, loyal friend to me and mine.

I still have the photograph of him taken in his Federal uniform before
he was captured.



XIX

THE CLOSING DAYS


The close of the stormy career of the Confederacy was marked in blood by
the battle of Five Forks. The end was at hand.

The Army had subsisted on corn for many days. As my Soldier was riding
to Sailor's Creek a woman ran out of a house by the roadside and handed
him a luncheon wrapped in paper. Passing on, he saw a man lying behind a
log; a deserter, he supposed. What did it matter! The poor fellows had
fought long enough and hard enough to earn the right to go home. He
spoke to the man, who looked up, revealing a boyish face. He was thin
and pale, scarcely more than a child.

"Are you wounded, my boy!" asked my Soldier.

"No, General, I am starving, sir," he replied. "I could not keep up any
longer and lay down here to die. I couldn't help it, Marse George."

"Here, take this," said my Soldier. "Eat it, and when you are rested
and have slept go back home."

The soldier took the luncheon gratefully.

"No, Marse George," he answered, "if I get strength to go on I'll follow
you and Marse Robert to the last."

He did follow to the last, being killed a few days later at Sailor's
Creek, where the parting salute was fired over the grave of the
Confederacy.


     "They failed and fell, who bade the sun in heaven to stand,
     We failed and fell, who set our bars against the progress of the
       stars,
     And stayed the march of Motherland."


Many months before the farewell shot, when some one applied to President
Lincoln for a pass to go into Richmond, he gravely replied:

"I don't know about that; I have given passes to about two hundred and
fifty thousand men during the last two years to go to Richmond, and not
one of them has got there yet."

Some of those passes had been used and their bearer had arrived at last,
having made the slowest time on record since the first camel bore the
pioneer traveler over an Oriental desert. The queen city of the South
had fallen. The story of the great nation that had hovered upon the
horizon of our visions had been written out to its last sorrowful word.

On the morning of Sunday, April 2, in the holy calm of St. Paul's
Church, we had assembled to ask the great Father of Heaven and earth to
guard our loved ones and give victory to the cause so dear to us.
Suddenly the glorious sunlight was dimmed by the heavy cloud of
disappointment, and the peace of God was broken by the deep-voiced bells
tolling the death-knell of our hopes.

There was mad haste to flee from the doomed city. President Davis and
his Cabinet officers were in the church, and to them the news first
came. They hurried to the State House to secure the Confederate archives
and retreat with them to some place of safety.

Fear and dread fell over us all. We were cut off from our friends and
communication with them was impossible. Our soldiers might have fallen
into the hands of the enemy--we knew not. They might have poured out
their life-blood on the battlefield--we knew not. In our helpless
deserted condition all the world seemed to have been struck with sudden
darkness.

The records having been secured, an order was issued to General Ewell to
destroy the public buildings. The one thing which could intensify the
horrors of our position--fire--was added to our calamities. General J.
C. Breckenridge, our Secretary of War, with a wider humanity and a
deeper sense of the rights of our people, tried in vain to have this
order countermanded, knowing that its execution could in no way injure
or impede the victorious army, while it would result in the ruin of many
of our own people. The order was carried out with even greater scope
than was intended.

The Shockoe warehouse was the first fired, it being regarded as a public
building because it contained certain stores belonging to France and
England. A breeze springing up suddenly from the south fanned the slowly
flickering flames into a blaze and they mounted upward until they
enwrapped the whole great building. On the wings of the wind they were
carried to the next building and the next, until when the noon hour
struck all the city between Seventh and Fifteenth Streets and Main
Street and the river was a heap of ashes.

The flames leaped from house to house in mad revel. They stretched out
burning arms on all sides and embraced in deadly clasp the stately
mansions which had stood in lofty grandeur from the olden days of
colonial pride. Soon they became towering masses of fire, fluttering
immense flame-banners against the wind, and fell sending up myriads of
fiery points into the air, sparkling like blazing stars against the dark
curtain that shut out the sky.

A stormy sea of smoke surged over the town--here a billow of blackness
of suffocating density--there a brilliant cloud, shot through with
crimson arrows. The wind swept on and the ocean of smoke and flame
rolled before it in surges of destruction over the once fair and
beautiful city of Richmond.

The terrified cries of women and children arose in agony above the
roaring of the flames, the crashing of falling buildings, and the
trampling of countless feet.

Piles of furniture and wares lay in the streets as if the city had
struck one great moving day, when everything was taken into the highways
and left there to be trampled to pieces and buried in the mud.

Government stores were thrown out to be destroyed, and a mob gathered
around to catch the liquors as they ran in fiery rivers down the
streets. Soon intoxication was added to the confusion and uproar which
reigned over all. The officers of the law, terror-stricken before the
reckless crowd, fled for their lives. The firemen dared not make any
effort to subdue the flames, fearing an attack from the soldiers who
had executed the order to burn the buildings.

Through the night the fire raged, the sea of darkness rolled over the
town, the crowds of men, women and children went about the streets laden
with what plunder they could rescue from the flames. The drunken rabble
shattered the plate-glass windows of the stores and wrecked everything
upon which they could seize. The populace had become a frenzied mob, and
the kingdom of Satan seemed to have been transferred to the streets of
Richmond.

The fire revealed many things which I should like never to have seen
and, having seen, would fain forget.

The most revolting revelation was the amount of provisions, shoes and
clothing which had been accumulated by the speculators who hovered like
vultures over the scene of death and desolation. Taking advantage of
their possession of money and lack of both patriotism and humanity, they
had, by an early corner in the market and by successful blockade
running, bought up all the available supplies with an eye to future
gain, while our soldiers and women and children were absolutely in rags,
barefoot and starving. Not even war, with its horrors and helplessness,
can divert such harpies from their accustomed methods of accumulating
wealth at the expense of those who have spent their lives in less
self-seeking ways.

About nine o'clock Monday morning a series of terrific explosions
startled our ears, inured as they were to every variety of painful
sounds. Every window in our house was shattered and the old plate-glass
mirrors built into the walls were broken. We felt as if called upon to
undergo a bombardment, in addition to our other misfortunes, but it was
soon ascertained that the explosions were from the Government arsenal
and laboratory, now caught by the flames. Fort Darling and the rams were
blown up.

Every bank was destroyed, the flour-mills had caught fire, the War
Department was in ruins, the offices of the _Enquirer_ and _Dispatch_
had been reduced to ashes, the County Court-House, the American Hotel,
and most of the finest stores of the city were ruined. The Presbyterian
Church had escaped. The flames had passed by Libby Prison, as if even
fire realized that it could not add to the horrors of the gloomy place.

While the flames were raging the colored troops of General Weitzel, who
had been stationed on the north side of the James a few miles from
Richmond, entered the city. As I saw their black faces shining through
the gloom of the smoke-shrouded town I could not help thinking that
they added the one feature needed, if any there were, to complete the
demoniacal character of the scene. They were the first colored troops I
had ever seen, and the weird effect produced by their black faces in
that infernal environment was indelibly impressed upon my mind.

General Weitzel sent Major E. E. Graves, of his staff, and Major A. H.
Stevens, of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, at the head of a hundred
mounted men, to reconnoiter the Richmond roads and works. At the
fortifications beyond the junction of the Osborne turnpike and New
Market road they were met by a flag of truce waved from a dilapidated,
old-fashioned carriage drawn by a pair of skeleton-like horses. The
truce party consisted of the Mayor of Richmond, Colonel Mayo; Judge
Meredith, of the Supreme Court; Mr. James Lyons, one of our most eminent
lawyers, and a fourth, whom I do not now recall.

The carriage was probably in the early part of the century what might
have been called, if the modern classic style of phraseology had
prevailed at that time, a "tony rig." At the period of which I write it
had made so many journeys over the famous Virginia roads that it had
become a sepulchral wreck of its former self.

There may have been a time when the reminiscences of animals that
dragged out from the burning Capital the ruins of the stately chariot
were a span of gay and gallant steeds, arching their necks in graceful
pride, champing their bits in scorn of the idea that harness made by man
could trammel their lofty spirits, pawing the earth in disdain of its
commonplace coarseness. If so, the lapse of years and an extended term
of Confederate fare had reduced those noble coursers to shambling
memories.

What of it? The chariot of state might be the wreck of former grandeur,
the horses might be the dimmest of recollections, but was not Mr. Lyons
still Mr. Lyons--in all circumstances, the most dignified member of Old
Dominion aristocracy? The Mayor turned over the keys of the city and in
recognition of the pre-eminence of Mr. Lyons, deputed to him the
performance of further ceremonies. With cold and stately formality Mr.
Lyons "had the honor" to introduce his companions and to present a paper
on which was inscribed:


     "It is proper to formally surrender to the Federal authorities the
     City of Richmond, hitherto Capital of the Confederate States of
     America, and the defenses protecting it."


Major Stevens courteously accepted the surrender on behalf of his
Commanding General, to whom the document was transmitted, and proceeded
to reduce the newly acquired property to possession by fighting the
flames which disputed ownership with him.

Having utilized to good effect what little remnant of the fire
department he could find, Major Stevens ordered the Stars and Stripes to
be raised over the Capitol. Two soldiers of the Fourth Massachusetts
Cavalry, one from Company E and one from Company H, mounted to the
summit of the Capitol, and in a few moments, for the first time in more
than four years, the National Flag fluttered unmolested in the breezes
of the South. The stars of the Union were saluted, while our "warrior's
Banner took its flight to meet the warrior's soul."

That flag which almost a century before had risen from the clouds of
war, like a star gleaming out through the darkness of a stormy night,
with its design accredited to both Washington and John Adams, was raised
over Virginia by Massachusetts, in place of the one whose kinship and
likeness to the old banner had never been entirely destroyed.

In March, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted the Stars and
Bars--three horizontal bars of equal width, the middle one white, the
others red, with a blue union of nine stars in a circle. This was so
like the National Flag as to cause confusion. In 1863 this flag was
replaced by a banner with a white field, having the battle-flag (a red
field charged with a blue saltier on which were thirteen stars) for a
union. It was feared that this might be mistaken for a flag of truce,
and was changed by covering the outer half of the field with a vertical
red bar. This was finally adopted as the flag of the Confederate States
of America.

Richmond will testify that the soldiers of Massachusetts were worthy of
the honor of first raising the United States flag over the Capitol of
the Confederacy, and will also bear witness to the unvarying courtesy of
Major Stevens and the fidelity with which he kept his trust.

The day after the fire there was a rap at our door. The servants had all
run away. The city was full of northern troops, and my environment had
not taught me to love them. With my baby on my arm I answered the knock,
opened the door and looked up at a tall, gaunt, sad-faced man in ill
fitting clothes, who asked with the accent of the North:

"Is this George Pickett's place?"

"This is General Pickett's home, sir," I replied, "but he is not here."

"I know that, ma'am, I know where George Pickett is," he answered, "but
I just wanted to see the place. Down in old Quincy, Illinois, where I
used to hear George Pickett whistle the songs of Virginia in his
bird-like notes, I have heard him describe his home till in spirit I
have been here many a time. I have smelled the multi-flora roses and the
Lady Bankshire roses and the golden cluster roses and those great
cabbage roses. I have seen the borders of hyacinths in the springtime
and the lilies-of-the-valley blooming in the chimney corner, the beds of
violets, the rows of beehives and the lily-beds that the bees knew were
theirs, had been planted just for them. I have stood under the arbor and
gathered those strange green looking grapes that are like the Virginia
aristocracy, growing each one on its own individual stem. I think he
called them scuppernongs. I have sat on that back porch and listened to
the music as his sister Virginia, of whom he was so proud, sang in that
glorious voice he told me about, and I have swung in this old swing here
while the moon and I watched and waited for the old cat to die. So I
wanted to see the place."

I, listening, wondered who he could be, till he finished and then he
said:

"I am Abraham Lincoln."

"The President!" I gasped.

"No--no,--just Abraham Lincoln; George Pickett's old friend."

[Illustration: ABRAHAM LINCOLN]

"I am George Pickett's wife and this is his baby," was all I could say.

The baby reached out his arms and Mr. Lincoln took him, a look of
tenderness almost divine glorifying that sad face. I have never seen
that expression on any other face. My little one opened his mouth and
insisted upon giving his father's friend a dewy baby kiss. As he handed
my baby back to me Mr. Lincoln shook his long hand at him and said:

"Tell your father, the rascal, that I could almost forgive him anything
for the sake of those bright eyes and that baby kiss."

The tones of his deep voice touched all the chords of life to music, and
I marveled no more at my Soldier's love for him even through all the
bitterness of the years. He turned and went down the steps and out of my
life forever, but in my memory that wonderful voice, those intensely
human eyes, that strong, sad, tender face have a perpetual abiding
place. He seemed to have a cast in his eye that reminded me of the glass
eye of Mr. Davis, but as no one has ever mentioned it in describing him
it may be that his likeness to Jefferson Davis made me think so, yet I
always see that look in his pictures.

Among my treasured possessions are some old letters, written by Mr.
Lincoln when practicing law in Springfield, to George Pickett, then a
cadet at West Point, where he was placed at the request of Mr. Lincoln.
The homely and humorous philosophy of these letters, the honesty which
breathes through them, the cheerful outlook upon life, and the ready
sympathy of the experienced professional man with the boy just on the
threshold of life, looking down the vista of the future to the flashing
of swords and the thunder of guns, all bring him before me as a friend.

I look beyond the description he once gave of himself, "Height, six
feet, four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on an average one
hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair and
gray eyes."

A free-hand sketch like that is easy, but my memory fills the outlines
with the subtle beauty of soul, the sunny view of life, the deep, tender
sympathy that made up a face of infinite charm which puzzled all artists
but revealed itself to the intuitions of a child, causing the babe to
raise its little arms to be taken up and its lips to be kissed.

The ways of Abraham Lincoln and George Pickett were widely separated for
a time, but were never so far apart that the old love had not full sway.
I marveled over it once, but after my own picture of the man was filled
out I wondered no more. I think no one who knew and loved Lincoln could
be estranged from him, whatever tides of political hostility might roll
between.

One afternoon, as we were reading "Les Miserables" upon the veranda, our
attention was distracted by a number of soldiers below who were
discussing the Emancipation Proclamation and saying all manner of
discrediting things about Mr. Lincoln, censuring him as ignorant and
despotic, and bringing other unfounded accusations against him. After
they were gone my Soldier walked up and down the veranda, whistling
"When other friends are 'round thee." Presently, coming back, sitting
beside me and taking hold of my hand, he said:

"Years ago there was a very lonesome, dispirited, disappointed,
heart-broken boy away off in Quincy, Illinois. He had received letters,
not in envelopes as they come now, for that was a long time ago when the
letter made its own envelope; paper was scarcer then than now, and one
had to be careful in opening the letter. It was fastened with sealing
wax and in breaking the wax it often happened that a word was broken
off. He had opened three of those letters and found that four of his
cousins had been appointed to West Point, three from Virginia and one
from Kentucky, and _he_ was compelled to study law, a subject which he
did not like, but which his family did and had chosen for him. His uncle
with whom he was studying had no sympathy with his ambition to be a
soldier and his disappointment in not being of the fortunate number.

"That night when this lonesome boy was leaning on the gate still
brooding over his disappointment but obediently trying to memorize the
Rule in Shelley's Case a tall man, for whom he was waiting, came up the
street and asked, 'What is the matter? Holes in your pocket and your
marbles and knife all dropped out?' 'Yes,' said the boy, 'I have lost my
knife and my marbles and there are big holes in my pockets.' 'Well,'
replied the man, 'you must have strong pockets like mine. I have marbles
and a knife but my pockets are so strong now that they do not make holes
in them, as they used to do. Come, sit down on the grass and let's have
a game of mumble-de-peg.' The man played so badly on purpose that it was
he who had to mumble the peg, but his playmate insisted that he should
mumble it. 'No, you have been mumbling the peg all day, my boy. I want
to keep you from mumbling pegs.'

"The next morning the boy was awakened by a handful of gravel thrown
against the window. He looked out and saw his friend with saddle-bags
in his hand. 'Going up the road a piece,' he called out. It took the man
a long time to go up the road and the boy waited for him week after week
to come down the road. After a long time there came instead a letter
from which the following is an extract:


     I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have got
     a bad memory, is the _worst_ enemy a fellow can have. The fact is,
     truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances are.
     Notwithstanding this copy-book preamble, my boy, I am inclined to
     suggest a _little prudence_ on your part. You see I have a
     congenital aversion to failure, and the sudden announcement to your
     Uncle Andrew of the success of your "lamp-rubbing" might possibly
     prevent your passing the severe _physical_ examination to which you
     will be subjected in order to enter the Military Academy. I should
     like to have a perfect soldier credited to dear old Illinois--no
     broken bones, scalp wounds, etc. So I think perhaps it might be
     wise to hand this letter from me in to your good uncle through his
     room-window _after_ he has had a _comfortable dinner_, and watch
     its effect from the top of the pigeon-house.


"Inclosed in this letter was one from Mr. John G. Stuart, Representative
in Congress of the Third Illinois District, together with an appointment
to West Point."

My Soldier was silent for a moment, then continued:

"That man is the one we have just heard maligned; the man to whom I,
your Soldier, owes his profession, the one to whom he is indebted for
the garlands that were hung around his horse all along the road as he
came from Gettysburg, the one whose honesty and courage enabled your
Soldier to defy the British fleet at San Juan, and to whom he owes the
gratitude of the people of Petersburg who say that he saved their
town--that man was Abraham Lincoln."

Months afterward, when the awful news of Lincoln's death came to us, my
Soldier exclaimed:

"My God! My God! The South has lost her best friend and protector in
this, her direst hour of need!"



XX

SUSPENSE


My Soldier left me in Richmond when he went away to fight the last
battles of the war, telling me to stay until he returned or sent for me.
"Now, remember, I shall surely come back," he said. So, like Casabianca,
I waited, and not even "the flames that lit the battle's wreck" should
frighten me away.

General Breckenridge, our Secretary of War, had, in his thoughtfulness,
offered me an opportunity of leaving the Confederate Capital, but
remembering that my Soldier had left me there I obediently determined to
remain until he came or sent for me. Thanking the Secretary I said:

"I cannot go until the voice that bade me stay calls me."

The days were filled with fear and anguish unspeakable. The clock struck
only midnight hours for me.

Rumors of the death of my Soldier were credited (I saw by the look on
everybody's face, though no word was said), and I would not ask a
question nor let anybody speak to me of him lest an effort be made to
prepare me for the sad tidings. The last letter I had received from him
was dated the 30th of March, at Hatcher's Run, the extreme right of the
Confederate line, most of the letter being written in Chinook, that I
only might understand. It contained the following paragraph:


     Heavy rains; roads and streams almost impassable. While General Lee
     was holding a conference with his chiefs this morning a message
     came from General Fitz Lee, stating that through a prisoner he had
     learned that the Federal cavalry, fifteen thousand strong,
     supported by heavy infantry, were at or near Dinwiddie Court-House.
     This decided the General's plans, and he has placed General Fitz
     Lee in command of the whole cavalry, Rosser's, W. H. F. Lee's and
     his own, with orders to march upon Five Forks. I am to support with
     my small force of artillery and infantry this movement and I take
     command of the whole force.


He wrote in full faith of a short separation, saying that all would be
well, that he would surely return, imploring me not to listen to or
credit any rumors to the contrary, and urging me in an added line to be
brave and of good cheer--to keep up a "skookum tum-tum." (Chinook for
"brave heart," always his last words to me in parting). This letter was
brought to me by Jaccheri, a daring, fearless Italian in my Soldier's
employ as headquarters postmaster. He was sagacious and loyal, perfectly
devoted to the General and his cause, and was trusted with letters of
the strictest confidence and greatest importance all through the war.

As I said before, our people were on the verge of starvation. For weeks
before we left camp the army had been living on rations of corn and
beans, with "seasonings" of meat. The game had been trapped and killed
throughout the whole country, and my breakfast that morning had
consisted of a few beans cooked in water, no salt, for salt had long
been a luxury in the Confederacy. All the old smokehouses had been
moved, that the earth might be dug up and pulled down to recover the
salt which in the many years it had absorbed.

John Theophelas, my dear little brother, nine years old, was a great
comfort to me in these days of trial. He had just brought my beans and
was lovingly coaxing me to eat them when Jaccheri came, and a plate was
filled for him. After Jaccheri had finished his meager breakfast,
seasoned with his adventures on the road, swimming the river at one
place carrying his clothes in a bundle on his head, he said he must go.
I added a few lines to my diary, which I always kept for my Soldier, and
gave it to our faithful letter-carrier to take back to him.

"Ina da days to come," said Jaccheri in his soft Italian voice "ina all
lands, no matter, mucha people, mucha gloly, nadie money, no matter, you
find Jaccheri here--and here--" first putting his hand over his heart
and then drawing from his boot and gracefully brandishing a shining
blade. "Gooda-bye."

At the door he turned back, untied his cravat, and wiggled out five
pieces of money, three gold dollars and two ninepences. He walked over
on tiptoe to where the baby was sleeping, crossed himself and, kneeling
by the cradle, slipped into baby's little closed hand two of the gold
dollars and around his neck a much worn and soiled scapula.

"Da mon--Confed--noa mucha good, noa now mucha accountable--you mighta
want some; want her vely bad before you nota get her. Gooda-bye, some
moa."

Dear, faithful old Jaccheri, he would take no refusal, so I let baby
keep the money. I was kneeling by the cradle crying and praying for my
Soldier and thanking God that he had so good a friend as this poor camp
postman, when the door opened softly and Jaccheri looked in.

"I know you cly and so I come back to say gooda-bye some moa, and God
bless."

I was reading aloud lovingly and reverently the torn words on the ragged
red-flannel scapula which Jaccheri had given to baby: "Cease, the heart
of Jesus is with you," when the baby opened his sweet eyes and crowed
over the little fortune which had come to him in his dreams, the first
gold he had ever seen. Just then my little brother, who had gone
downstairs with Jaccheri, came rushing back, his eyes wide open, all
excitement, exclaiming:

"Sister! Sister! There's a Yankee down-stairs! Come to see you, but
don't you go; hide, hide, sister! I'll stand by the door and he daresent
pass by me. Quick, sister, hide! He said that he was one of brother
George's friends, but I believe he has killed brother George, and now
wants to kill you!"

In the light of the present day the terror of the child seems almost
exaggerated, but in those days southern nurses kept children docile by
warning them that the Yankees would get them if they did not behave, and
the whole environment of childhood intensified the fear thus instilled.

"Oh, no, no, my child," I said reassuringly, trying to soothe and calm
him. "No, no; don't be such a little coward, dear. If he is one of your
brother George's friends he is mine, too, and he would not hurt me. I am
not in the least afraid, and I will go down at once and see him."

"Please don't go, sister, you might be killed and I promised brother
George to take care of you."

"That's a sweet boy; take care of the baby," I said and, kissing them
both, closed the door behind me.

As I entered the parlor a tall, thin gentleman with the sweetest of
smiles and the kindest of voices, dressed in the uniform of a United
States surgeon, arose and said as he bowed, holding his hat against his
breast, thus avoiding offering me his hand:

"My name is George Suckley, madam. I am one of George Pickett's friends,
although, as soldiers, we have been enemies in the field for more than
three years. That, however, does not interfere with us when we are not
on duty. I have heard that you southern women are very bitter, and I did
not know how you, his wife--you are Pickett's wife, are you not,
madam?--would take a visit from me, but I came, nevertheless. Knowing
and loving George Pickett as I do, I knew he would appreciate my motive
in coming."

"Your name is a very familiar one, Dr. Suckley," I said. "I have often
heard the General speak of you, and recall many stories of your
adventures--your love for bugs and beetles, for all natural history, in
fact." I wished him to know that I remembered him and had not mistaken
him for another, and also that I had reason to wonder at seeing him in
his present position. "He spoke of your having been with him at Fort
Bellingham Bay, and knowing how you felt when he left the old army, he
wondered at your remaining and going to the front."

"I am a surgeon in Grant's army," said Dr. Suckley, proudly, ignoring
and, by his manner, almost resenting my reference to his former sympathy
with the South. "I love _Pickett_, and came, as he would have come had
our positions been reversed, to see his wife and offer her my services."

I thanked this kind-hearted gentleman and distinguished officer, but was
too bitter to accept the smallest courtesy at his hands, even in my
husband's name and offered for love's sake--so bitter that suffering was
preferable to such obligation. He bowed and was going, when I said:

"Doctor, is there any news of the army?--ours, I mean."

"The war is over, madam. You have my address, if you should change your
mind and will show me how I can serve you."

He bowed and left. He, too, had heard that my Soldier had been killed,
and believed it, and I hated him worse because of his belief.

On the evening of the 3d of April I was walking the floor. Baby was
asleep and my little brother was trotting behind me, when I heard from
the street:

"Grand victory at Five Forks! Pickett killed and his whole division
captured."

It seemed very strange to me that in the streets of Richmond, his old
home, the Capital of the Confederacy, the death of Pickett and the
capture of his whole division should be heralded as a "grand victory."
How great a change had come in so short a time! Even the newsboys had
apparently gone over to the enemy.

"'Tisn't so, sister, 'tisn't so! Don't you believe him!" said my little
brother, catching my dress and shaking it. Then running to the window in
his excitement, he called out:

"Hush, sir; hush! hush this minute, hallooing your big stories out loud
and scaring everybody to death. I'd like to stick those five forks
through your old black gizzard, for you haven't got any heart, I know.
Ain't you ashamed of yourself, you good-for-nothing old scalawag, you!
There ain't a word of truth in brother George being killed, and you
know it, you old thing! I'll go down and smash his mouth for him and
kick him to death for scaring you so, my poor sister, 'deed I would; but
it isn't so, my sister. You trust in the Lord. I know brother George is
not killed, for he said he wouldn't get killed."

"No, it is not so. You are right, my darling. Your brother George is not
killed," I said. "Yes, he will come back! he will come back! He said he
would, and he will."

Thus I spoke and believed, for my Soldier had never broken a promise.
The days came and the days went and the sun rose each morning with an
auroral glow of hope in its golden heart. When twilight drifted out from
the forest shadows, the sun went down in a sea of crimson fire that
burned out my dream of happiness. Then night fell and the world and my
heart were wrapped in darkness.



XXI

"WHOA, LUCY"


One morning I had mechanically dressed baby George and had taken him to
the window to hear the spring sounds and breathe the spring balm and
catch the sunshine's dripping gold wreathing the top of the quivering
blossoms of the magnolia and tulip-trees.

It was the time when the orchestra of the year is in perfect accord,
when all the world is vocal, when the birds sing of love, the buds and
blossoms of joy, the grains and grasses of hope and faith, and when each
rustle of wind makes a chime of vital resonance.

Through the quiver and curl of leaves and perfume of flowers and soft
undertone of dawn-winds came the words, "Whoa, Lucy; whoa, little girl!"

Oh, those tones, those words, that voice thrilled my heart so that I
wonder it did not burst from very gladness! Such joy, such gratitude as
flooded my soul only the Giver of all good can know! All the privation
and starvation and blood-stains of the past four years, all the woes and
trials, griefs and fears, of those last dreadful days were swept away by
those blessed, precious-words, "Whoa, Lucy!" spoken in my husband's
tender tones to his horse.

I could not wait to go down stairs in the regular way; it was too slow.
So I slid down the bannisters with my baby in my arms and ran out upon
the porch just as my Soldier came around the rosebushes that Mr. Lincoln
had described, and which had just budded out. Baby and I were both in my
Soldier's arms almost before Lucy had been given into the hands of the
hostler. I do not know how to describe the peace, the bliss of that
moment--it is too deep and too sacred to be translated into words. I
think that it is akin to the feeling that will come to me in the
hereafter, when I have gone through all these dark days of privation and
of starvation of heart and soul here, victorious, and at last am safe
within the golden gates and, waiting, and listening, shall hear again
the voice that said, "Whoa, Lucy!" here, bidding me welcome there as I
welcomed him after the perilous waiting.

All through the war Lucy had brought my Soldier to me. Spirited and
beautiful, she had many times carried him twenty miles in an evening to
see me, sometimes through dangers greater than battle. Lucy was not his
war-horse. She was the little thoroughbred chestnut mare my Soldier
always rode when he came to see me. His "peace-saddle," his "love-pony,"
he called her. Bob, the General's valet, would say, "Dat hoss Lucy she
Marse George's co'tin' filly; and you dares'nt projick wid dat hoss,
needer, kase Marse George is mos' as 'especkful to her as ef she was
sho' 'miff real lady folks." The horse my Soldier used in battle he
called "Old Black," a steady, sure-footed, strong, fearless animal that,
though obedient to his slightest touch or command, allowed no one else,
on peril of death, to mount her.

We had no plans for the future. Our home on the James had been burned at
the command of Butler, so we decided to go to my father's plantation on
the Chuckatuck, in Nansemond County, Virginia, a difficult thing to do,
for the railroads had been torn up and no boats were running. The little
town of Chuckatuck was about thirty miles from Norfolk, diagonally
opposite Newport News, and after the evacuation of Norfolk by the
Southern Army all that part of the country was neutral ground, being
occupied one day by Federal troops and another by Confederate. Lying
thus between the two lines, a constant warfare was carried on by the
scouts of both armies, making it a dangerous region for travel. I had
not been home since my marriage and we knew that the loving welcome
which awaited us there had but increased in warmth for the long absence.
Nature's great larder, the Chuckatuck Creek, ran but a stone's throw
from the back door, supplying with but little labor terrapin, fish,
oysters and crabs in abundance.

On the afternoon of the second day after my Soldier's return, while we
were trying to plan a way to go, my little brother Johnny came running
in, saying:

"Sister, I saw riding by the door just now that same Yankee who came
here to see you the other day, and who said he was brother George's
friend. He knew me and asked how you were, and how's the baby."

"Oh, I forgot; I must let you know all about it," I said, and told my
Soldier of the visitor who had called before he came back. When I had
finished his gray eyes filled with tears and looking at the card he said
tenderly:

"Dear old Suckley--dear old fellow--so true!"

I stooped and took my Soldier's head in both my hands, and raising it up
gazed searchingly into his earnest, loving eyes to see how he could
possibly speak so affectionately of a Yankee.

"You, too, have that same kind of 'off-duty' feeling that this Yankee
doctor spoke of having," I said with surprise, and rather
disrespectfully for me, I am afraid.

"I must find the dear old fellow," my Soldier said, graciously
overlooking my smallness of spirit. Excusing himself and taking leave of
baby and me, he went out at once. In a little while he returned, saying:

"It is very fortunate for us, little one, that I went out when I did.
Suckley goes down the river to-morrow to Norfolk in the
surgeon-general's steamer, and he has kindly invited us to go with him,
dear old big-hearted bug-catcher! Come, let us lose no time. Let us
hurry and get our little traps together and be ready. We will not say
anything about our plans to anyone till to-morrow morning, when we can
announce our intentions and say our good-byes simultaneously."

Not only had this Yankee officer, in his "off-duty" feeling for my
Soldier, kindly volunteered to transport us to our home, but to carry
our trunks and horses, in fact, all we had, which, alas! was very, very
little. Most of our worldly possessions--all of our bridal presents,
linen, library, pictures, silver, furniture, harp, piano, china,
everything except a few clothes--had been stored at Kent, Payne &
Company's, and had been burned in the awful fire the night of the
evacuation of Richmond.

The General's staff had, one by one, come in during the day from field
and camp, and all breakfasted with us for the last time next morning in
the old Pickett home. I observed that each wore a blue strip tied like a
sash about the waist. It was the old headquarters flag, they explained,
the flag of Virginia, saved from surrender and torn into strips by my
Soldier to be kept in remembrance. By our door was a rose-bush full of
white bloom called, because of its hardihood and early blossoming, the
Frost-Rose. It had been planted by my Soldier's mother. He broke off
some of the buds, put one in my hair and one in the button-hole of each
of his officers. Then for the first time tears came, and the men who had
been closer than brothers for four long years clasped hands in silence
and parted.

The second social parting was sad, too, for they had taken me, "the
child wife," into their lives twenty months before and they all loved me
and called me "Sister." Their pride in each other and in their command,
the perils that together they had endured, the varied experiences of
good times and bad, had bound them together in links stronger than
steel.

In spite of the partings, the loss of our cause, our disappointment and
poverty, there was a sweet, restful, peaceful feeling of thankfulness in
my heart and gratitude because the war was over, my husband had been
spared and belonged now only to me; we were going home together, free
from intrusion, to live our own lives.



XXII

GEORGE JUNIOR'S FIRST GREENBACK


The next morning Dr. Suckley called in his headquarters ambulance to
take us to the steamer. Just at the close of breakfast we had announced
our intention of going. There was to be a sudden breaking up and
severing of old associations. The staff were all en route to their
respective homes except the adjutant-general, Major Charles Pickett. He
and Mrs. Dr. Burwell, the only brother and sister of my Soldier, were to
remain with their families for a time in the old Pickett home.

We said our sad good-bye in the great fruit and flower garden at the
rear of the house, and passing all alone through the large parlors and
wide halls, crept quietly out and softly closed the door behind us. The
only evidence of life in the dear old house as we looked back was Dr.
Burwell's big dog which, having escaped from the backyard, howled
mournfully within the gates. The blinds and window-shades had not been
opened or raised since the Federal forces had occupied the city.

As we boarded the steamer that morning I realized for the first time
that our cause was lost. In all the days of our beautiful married life
cheer after cheer had always greeted us wherever we had gone--salute
from soldier or sailor, whether on or off duty. This morning these
honors were replaced by stares of surprise, of mingled curiosity and
hate. Dr. Suckley recognized this feeling at once, and, with a quizzical
smile at my caged-tigress expression of rage, put his arm in that of my
Soldier, and with a haughty glance at the men, walked boldly on board. I
was shown into the surgeon-general's stateroom, in which there were many
evidences of thoughtful care for my comfort. We were soon under way.

My Soldier and Dr. Suckley called each other by their given names and
laughed and talked as cordially as if they had loved the same dear cause
and fought for it side by side. At the table they drank to each other's
health and to the friends and memories of olden times. A stranger could
not have told which of the two soldiers had furled his banner.

They chatted of Texas, and the great annexation strife which had changed
the political complexion of the nation away back in what seemed to my
youthful view a remote antiquity. They talked of Mexico, and my General
recalled reminiscences of the battles in which he had fought in that
wonderful tropical country. They discussed the wild, free, fresh, novel
life of the far-off Pacific Coast, the wealth of the gold-mines of
California, its luscious and abundant fruits, and the friends they had
known there. They told stories of the great Northwest, that was like a
mythologic region to me, of the Chinook Indians, and of the San Juan
Island and the English officers who had occupied the island conjointly
with my Soldier. I found myself wondering if it had been a dream, and
there had been no internecine strife.

Just before reaching City Point, which is a few hours' distance from
Richmond, Dr. Suckley came up and told me that we were to stop for
General Ingalls, Grant's Quartermaster-General, who wished to come on
board to pay his respects, beseeching me, in his sweet gracious way, to
be more cordial with him than I had been with another of my Soldier's
old friends.

He turned for sympathy to my husband, who looked imploringly at him and
at me. Presently my Soldier drew me to one side and whispered:

"Suckley voiced my wishes, my little wife, and I want you to meet my old
friend just as cordially as you can. Put your little hand in his and
forget everything except that he is one of your husband's oldest and
dearest friends."

I promised with all my heart what he asked, and really intended to keep
my word. I loved to do everything he bade me. I liked him to make things
hard for me sometimes, that I might show him how sincere and loving my
obedience was. But when General Ingalls came on board, was given a
salute and received, as became his rank, with the honors the absence of
which I had marked when my own General came, I slipped my hand out of my
Soldier's and ran back to my stateroom as fast as I could.

There I burst out crying and shook our baby, waking him, and told him
how his dear father had been treated--that he had not had any honors
paid him at all, and that a dreadful old bad Yankee General had come on
board and taken them all, and that when he grew up and was a big man he
must fight and fight and fight, and never surrender, and never forgive
the Yankees; no, not even if his poor, dethroned father asked him to do
so. I told him how his father had asked me to shake hands with this
Yankee General, because he was his friend, and that I was going to do it
because his father wanted me to; that I tried and could not and that he
never must, either--never, never!

I did not know there was a witness to all my bitterness till I heard a
smothered chuckle and, looking up, saw my Soldier and his friend,
General Rufus Ingalls, standing over me. With a twinkle in his eye, and
in a voice full of suppressed laughter, General Ingalls said, as he
patted me on the head:

"I don't blame you one bit, little woman--not a damn bit. I should feel
just as terrible about it as you do if I were in your place. It's all
different with Pickett and me, you see. We don't mind. Why, do you know,
child, we have slept under the same blanket, fought under the same flag,
eaten out of the same mess-pan, dodged the same bullets, scalped the
same Indians, made love to the same girls--aye, Pickett, it won't do, by
Jove, to tell her all we have done together--no, no--come, shake hands.
I am dreadful sorry we have had this terrible kick-up in the family, and
all this row and bloodshed, but we are all Americans, damn it, anyhow,
and your fellows have been mighty plucky to hold out as they have. Come,
that's a good child; shake hands. May I kiss her, Pickett? No--damn it,
I shan't ask you. There, there! Here is a basket of trash I had the
orderly rake together. I don't know what it all is, but I told the man
to do the best he could. Here, Mr. George junior--with your bright eyes
and your won't-cry mouth--here is a green chip for a pair of red
shoes."

General Ingalls put into our baby's hands his first greenback, and it
was the only money we had, too--every cent. Baby and I said good-bye,
and he and my Soldier went out on deck. While I was peeping into the
basket "Mr. George junior" tore the note in two. I caught the pieces and
stuck my bonnet-pin through them till I could paste them together. One
of the officers brought me some glue, and I cut a hundred-dollar
Confederate note in two to mend it with. Poor Confederate money!


     [A]Representing nothing in God's earth now,
       And naught in the waters below it;
     As the pledge of a nation that passed away,
       Keep it, dear friend, and show it.
     Show it to those who will lend an ear
       To a tale this trifle will tell--
     Of Liberty born of a patriot's dream,
       Of a storm-cradled nation that fell.

     Too poor to possess the precious ores,
       And too much of a stranger to borrow,
     We issued to-day our promise to pay,
       And hoped to redeem on the morrow.
     The days rolled on, and weeks became years,
       But our coffers were empty still;
     Coin was so scarce that the treasury quaked
       When a dollar would drop in the till.

     But the faith that was in us was strong, indeed,
       Though our poverty well we discerned;
     And this little check represents the pay
       That our suffering veterans earned.
     They knew it had hardly a value in gold,
       Yet as gold our soldiers received it;
     It gazed in our eyes with a promise to pay,
       And every true soldier believed it.

     But our boys thought little of price or pay,
       Or of bills that were overdue--
     We knew if it brought us our bread to-day
       'Twas the best our poor country could do.
     Keep it! It tells all our history over,
       From the birth of our dream till its last;
     Modest, and born of the angel Hope,
       Like our visions of glory, it passed.


[Footnote A: These verses were written on the back of a Confederate
note, and for a time were ascribed to John Esten Cooke and to Colonel
Wythe Mumford; afterward attributed to Colonel Jonas.]

Baby's first greenback was put to dry, and then I turned my attention to
the big covered basket the sailor had brought in. What an Aladdin treat
it was! Raisins--the first I had seen in years and years--coffee, real
"sho'-'nuff" coffee--sugar, crushed sugar--how nice! (we had had nothing
but sorghum-juice sugar and sweet-potato coffee for so long)--rice and
prunes, Jamaica rum, candy and a box of dried figs--nothing ever had
tasted so delicious as all these good things--and, well--the Yankee
General who gave them all to me--the tones of his voice made more peace
than his words. Eating the figs, I repeated the words to baby, saying:

"Never mind, baby, about hating this Yankee. He said your father and he
had trailed after the same Indians and smoked their venison at the same
camp-fire and had drunk from the same flask. He said you looked like
your father, and he said you were a beautiful boy. So you need not mind
about hating just this one. He said geography and politics had forced
your father and him to opposite courses and it took four years to settle
for their hot-headedness and ambitions. You must never be a politician,
and--you may love this one Yankee a tiny bit, and may suck a piece of
his beautiful candy."

Dr. Suckley not only took us to Norfolk, which was the end of his route,
but he took us up the Nansemond River, thirty miles, and up Chuckatuck
Creek, to my father's wharf. No one was expecting us. They thought, of
course, it was the "Yankees come again," and had all run off and hidden,
except my father who came down to catch the boat-line and welcome the
travelers, whoever they might be. Oh, the joyful welcome of my great
big-hearted father!

Soldiers and sailors, one and all, came and shook hands with us. Baby
and my little brother, Johnny, had made friends of them all for us. Baby
knew no difference between those who wore the blue and those who wore
the gray, and some of them had little ones at home. We said good-bye,
with many a regret, to our kind friend and benefactor, Dr. Suckley, and
to the sailors and officers, and this time cheer after cheer went up for
my noble hero Soldier, as the little steamer hauled in the lines and
puffed away, and more names were added to the list of Yankees for baby
not to hate.



XXIII

"SKOOKUM TUM-TUM"


My Soldier did not like to fight his battles over. He said that the
memories they revived were too sacred and sorrowful for utterance. The
faces of the dead and dying soldiers on the field of battle were never
forgotten. The sorrow of widows and orphans shadowed all the glory for
him. In the presence of memory he was silent. The deepest sorrow, like
the greatest joy, is dumb.

"We are both too worn and weary now for aught else but to rest and
comfort each other," he said. "We will lock out of our lives everything
but its joys. From adversity, defeat and mourning shall spring calmness
for the past, strength for the present, courage for the future. Now
that, in obedience to the command of General Lee, I have finished and
sent off the report of the last fight of the old division, the closing
days of our dear lost cause, we will put up the pen for awhile and lay
aside our war thoughts. We will rest and plan for peace and after a
time we will take up the pen again and write down our memories for our
children and perhaps for the children of the old division. We will build
us a nest over the ashes of our grand old home on the James and plant a
new grove in the place of the sturdy old oaks cut down."

My Soldier possessed the greatest capacity for happiness and such
dauntless courage and self-control that, to all appearance, he could as
cheerfully and buoyantly steer his way over the angry, menacing,
tumultuous surges of life as over the waves that glide in tranquil
smoothness and sparkle in the sunlight of a calm, clear sky.

This sweet rest which we had planned for ourselves, however, was of but
short duration. We had been at my father's home only a few days when a
private messenger brought letters of warning from some of my Soldier's
old army friends. Two officers high in authority, solicitous for his
welfare, advised that in the existing uncertain, incendiary, seditious
condition of things he should absent himself for awhile until calm
reflection should take the place of wild impulse and time bring healing
on its wings and make peace secure. Knowing his fearlessness and
stubbornness, General Ingalls and General Tom Pitcher came in person to
voice their apprehensions, lest my Soldier might not heed the warning.

Butler, who had not yet recovered from the "bottling-up" experience, had
instigated a movement to have my Soldier indicted for treason, based on
the assertion that he had joined the Confederacy before his resignation
from the United States Army had been accepted by the War Department. He
was at that time on the Pacific coast where information of the secession
of Virginia had been received many weeks after the ordinance was passed
and many more weeks must elapse before a message could be delivered to
the Department in Washington and a reply returned.

The nation had gone mad with grief and rage. The waves of passion rose
mountain-high and from the awful storm the angels of justice, mercy and
peace took flight. All that was bad in the hearts of men arose to the
surface; all that was good sank to the depths. The first person that
could be seized was regarded as the proper victim to the national fury.
The weakest and most defenseless was made the target of popular wrath
because rage could thereby most quickly spend itself in vengeance. Mrs.
Surratt was imprisoned, and the whole country was in a state of frenzy
and on the verge of revolution.

Strictest secrecy was enjoined upon us. Only my father and mother were
taken into our confidence. Lucy was bridled, saddled and brought to the
door. I walked with my Soldier, he holding the bridle, to the upper
gate. It was ten o'clock; the moon was shining brightly and all was
quiet and still.

My Soldier's plan for me was that I should go next day to Norfolk, take
the steamer to Baltimore and visit his aunt, whose husband, Colonel
Symington, had been in the old army, and who had not left it to join the
Southern Confederacy, though his sons had fought on that side, one of
them having been detailed on duty at my Soldier's headquarters.

"My aunt will welcome you," he said, "and you will remain with her until
a telegram shall come to you saying, 'Edwards is better.'" (Edwards was
my Soldier's middle name.)

That telegram would mean that he was safe and that I was to join him,
starting on the next train. I was to telegraph to "Edwards" from Albany,
on my way to him, sending my message to the place at which his telegram
had been dated. If his telegram should say, "There is still danger of
contagion," I was not to start, but remain with his aunt until another
message should come.

"Cheer up, the shadows will scatter soon. Already bright visions and
happy day-dreams flit through my brain and thrill my heart; so keep up a
'skookum tum-tum,' little one, and take care of yourself. Watch for the
telegram, 'Edwards is better,' for it will surely come."

I smiled up at him as he repeated the familiar old saying, learned from
an old Chinook warrior on the Pacific. In the darkest days he would lift
my face upward, look down with his kind eyes and gentle smile and say,
"Keep up a skookum tum-tum, dear one." All through my life have the
sweet old words come back to me when the sun has been hidden by the
darkest clouds.

I heard the footsteps of the horse keeping time to my Soldier's whistle,
"Believe me if all those endearing young charms," away in the distance
long after he was out of sight. I remembered a trick of my childhood
which had been taught me by a half-Indian, half-negress and, putting my
ear to the ground, I listened to the steps until the last echo was lost.
Later I learned that the faithful Lucy bore her master safely to the
station and when the train carried him away lay down and died, as if she
felt that, having done all she could, life held for her no more duties
or pleasures.

The night-wind sighed with me as I walked back, repeating, "Keep up a
skookum tum-tum." My pathway lay parallel with the Chuckatuck Creek, a
stone's throw to the left. The tide was high and still coming in. The
surging of the waves seemed to call out to me, "Skookum tum-tum! Skookum
tum-tum!" I could not be all desolate when the most beautiful forces of
nature, echoing his words, called to me, "Keep up a brave heart--brave
heart!"

My precious old father had waited to have us say good-bye alone and was
now coming forward to meet me. Our baby awakened just as we reached home
and I confided to him the secret of the telegram and told him his dear
father said that it would surely come and he always said what was true.

The stars were burning brightly in the midnight sky to light the
traveler on his way as he went afar off. Could there be light on the
pathway that led him from me? Had his face been turned southward, with
his eyes fixed joyfully upon the loved home where he would be welcomed
when the journey was over, what radiant glory would have flooded the
way.

Far up in the zenith I could see "our star" gleaming brilliantly,
seeming to reach out fingers of light to touch me in loving caress. It
was a pure white star that sent down a veil of silvery radiance. Near it
was a red star, gleaming and beautiful, but I did not love it. It
seemed to glow with the baleful fires of war. My great, loving, tender,
white star was like a symbol of peace looking down with serenest
benediction.

"Our star," he had said as we stood together only one little evening
before--how long it seemed!--and gazed upward to find what comfort we
might in its soft glow. "Wherever we may be we will look aloft into the
night sky where it shines with steady light, and feel that our thoughts
and hearts are together."

I fell asleep, saying softly, "God's lights to guide him."

There were no steamers and no railroads from my home to Norfolk, but my
father secured a pungy--a little oyster-boat--and the following day
we--baby and I--started off.

A storm came up just as we left Chuckatuck Creek and we were delayed in
arriving at Norfolk. We had hoped to be there some hours before the
departure of the Baltimore steamer, but reached the wharf as the plank
was about to be taken in, so that my father barely had time to say
good-bye to me and put me on board.



XXIV

CARPET-BAG, BASKET AND BABY


Alone, except for baby George, for the first time in all my seventeen
years! Perhaps no timid little waif thrown out upon the deep sea of life
ever felt more utterly desolate.

I stepped on board the Baltimore steamer and was piloted into the saloon
by a porter whose manner showed that he was perfectly cognizant of my
ignorance and inexperience. In the midst of my loneliness and the
consciousness of my awkwardness and my real sorrows, sympathy for myself
revived my old-time compassion for poor David Copperfield, whom
Steerforth's servant had caused to feel so "young and green."

So little did I know of traveling and the modes and manners of
travelers, that I sent for the captain of the steamer to buy my ticket
and arrange for my stateroom and supper.

I had been warned on leaving my home that the slightest imprudence or
careless word from me might cause my arrest, and that if it were known
who I was it was more than possible that I might be held as hostage for
my husband. After consideration it had been decided that I should travel
under my maiden name. My train of thought was interrupted by the ringing
of a bell and a loud voice shouting:

"Passengers will please walk into the custom-house office and show their
passports!"

The laws were so strict that no one could leave any city in the South
without a passport from the military authorities. My grandmother had
given me her "oath of allegiance," which everybody in those dread days
immediately after the surrender of the army was compelled to take in
order to purchase medicine, food or clothing of any kind, or for the
transaction of any business whatever. It was a rare occurrence that a
man was found who would take this iron-clad oath for, no matter how
great the exigency might be, he was branded as a traitor if he yielded.
So the women, who were most bitter, too, in their feelings, were obliged
to make a sacrifice of their convictions and principles, and take this
oath in order to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones. Illness in
the family and the urgent necessity for quinine and salt left my
unselfish little grandmother no alternative, and she found a kind of
safety in the oath. It had brought her relief and she wanted that I
should have it with me as a "mascot" or safeguard.

With carpet-bag, basket and baby I started into the custom-house office
and explained to the officer in charge:

"I am very sorry, sir, that I have no passport. The steamer was about to
sail as I reached Norfolk. I came from a little village thirty miles
beyond where passports are not given. I have an oath of allegiance, if
that will answer in its place."

The officer, laughing, said:

"No; never mind. It is all right; only register your name. I remember
you did come on board just as the whistle blew; but was there not
another passenger who came on with you--a gentleman?"

"Yes, sir," I replied. "It was my precious father, and he went back home
in the little sailboat."

There must have been something to excite suspicion in the way I wrote my
name or in my manner. I boldly wrote out my given name and then, as I
began to write my last name, I looked all around me, confused, and
changed the letter "P" to "C," writing "Corbell." Then I began to erase
"Corbell" and write "Phillips," the name in my oath of allegiance. While
there was nothing very false in what I did, I felt guilty and was
frightened, for I had been brought up to be strictly truthful.

I had not been long in the saloon when baby became restless and fretful.
I was impatiently awaiting the coming of the captain, for whom I had
sent, when a man appeared. He had short curly hair, deep, heavy
eyebrows, eyes sunken and close together as if they had to be focused by
his big, hooked nose to enable them to see. He was chewing alternately
one end of his crinkly moustache and one side of his thick red lip and
was making a sucking noise with his tongue as he said:

"Madam, you sent for the captain of the boat, I believe."

"Yes, sir."

"What do you wish?"

"I want you to be kind enough to get my ticket and stateroom, please," I
replied. "My father had only time to put me on board and could not make
any arrangements."

"Certainly; with pleasure. You stop in Baltimore long?"

"I don't know," I replied.

"You have been there before, I suppose?"

"Oh, no; never. I have been nowhere outside of Virginia and North
Carolina. Most of my traveling before my marriage was in going to and
from Lynchburg, where I was at school.

"Once I rode on horseback to the Peaks of Otter, which are among the
highest mountains of the South. You can't imagine how glorious it was to
be up there so far away from the earth. When I first looked down from
their lofty heights the sky and the earth seemed to be touching, and
presently the rain began to pour. I could see the glimmering, glittering
drops, but could not hear them fall. I was above the clouds and the
rain, up in the sunshine and stillness, the only audible sound being a
strange flapping of wings as the hawks and buzzards flew by. Suddenly
the rain ceased, the haze vanished and I saw below the rugged mountains
the level country that looked like a vast ocean in the distance.

"The words of John Randolph echoed in my heart with this infinite
mystery of nature. He with only a servant spent the night on those
mighty rocks and in the morning as he was watching the glory of the
sunrise he pointed upward with his long slender hand and, having no one
else to whom to express his thought, charged his servant never from that
time to believe anyone who said there was no God.

"'No, sah, Marse John; no sah,' said the awe-stricken servant. 'I ain't
gwine to, sah. I ain't gwine to let none of Marse Thomas Didymuses'
temptatious bedoutin' tricks cotch no holt of my understands of de
Lord.'

"Once, too, I----"

"You have relatives in Baltimore?" said the gentleman, abruptly
interrupting me; otherwise, feeling that geography and history were safe
subjects, I should have rattled on till I had told him all I knew.

"Yes, sir," I replied. "I am going to visit them."

"Where were you from this morning?"

"I came from a little country village about thirty miles from
Norfolk--Chuckatuck, in Nansemond County."

As I was about to launch another tide of historic information upon him
he again interrupted me.

"I saw your father as he was leaving the steamer. I was attracted to him
because he made an appeal to all Masons, asking of them protection and
care for his child and grandchild. He was thus making himself known to
any of us, his brothers, who might be aboard when he disappeared at the
turn of the boat. So you can safely confide in me, and I will help you
in any way possible."

"Thank you," I replied. "I know my dear, dear papa is a Mason, and that
he was anxious about me, but there is nothing to confide--nothing. I
want only a stateroom and my tickets and some milk for the baby. I do
not wish for any supper myself; I am too lonesome to eat. It is wicked
to feel blue and downhearted, with baby and all the kind friends to
watch over me, as you say; and then God is always near."

"Yes, that is true; but did you lose your husband in the war?"

"No, sir."

"He was in the war, though, was he not?"

"Yes, sir."

A fear came into my heart that I was talking too much. I did not want
him to know anything concerning my husband, whose rank it was especially
important to keep secret. I encouraged myself with the reflection that
the end justified the means, even though a slight deviation from the
truth might be involved, and said:

"You could not have heard of him, and he was not of sufficient rank to
have made an impression upon you if you had."

"Where is he now?"

"In the country."

"And you are leaving him?"

"Yes, sir, but just for a little while."

Then he talked of how much the Southerners had lost and how much they
had to forgive; how easy it was to bear victory and how hard to endure
defeat, saying that if he had been born in the South he would have been
a rebel, and that his sympathies even now were with the Southern people.
A sudden suspicion came to me and I said:

"I wish there had never been any rebels at all; not even the first
rebel, George Washington; and now, sir, please, I do not want to talk
about the war. I am very weary and sleepy and would like to retire. If
you please, sir, will you get me my stateroom and ticket? I am so
tired--so very tired."

Baby was lying asleep on my lap, hypnotized by the chandeliers. The man
looked down on him for a moment and then said, "Of course, I will get
them for you," and was going, when an ex-Confederate officer, one of my
Soldier's old comrades and friends, came up and, cordially extending his
hand, greeted me:

"How do you do, Mrs. Pickett? Where is the General? What are you doing
here, and where are you going?"

He himself was returning to his home in the far South, but had been
called back to Baltimore on business.

"Thank you, General," I replied. "My husband has gone to farming and I
am on my way to visit his aunt, whom I have never seen. He is to come to
us after a little while; could not leave conveniently just now. He is
very well, I thank you."

"I am so glad to have met you," he returned. "Will see you later on,"
and was hobbling away on his crutches. He saw by my manner that he had
said something to embarrass me and left with a pained look. He was still
dressed in his old Confederate gray, from which the brass buttons had
all been cut, in obedience to the order from the custom-house office,
and replaced by plain steel. For several moments not a word was spoken.
Then I looked up and said:

"My tickets and stateroom, please."

"I thought you said your name was Corbell," he of the hooked nose
rejoined as he held my money shaking in his hand. "I thought you said
your husband's rank was not sufficient to have made an impression; that
in all probability I had never heard of him."

Oh, that smacking sound of jaw and tongue, and that beak of a nose, and
those little black eyes which grew into Siamese twins as they glared at
me like the eyes of a snake!

"Did I say that?" I asked and, with a face all honesty and truth, I
looked straight into those eyes and told, without blushing, without a
tremor in my voice, the first deliberate falsehood I had ever told:

"Did I say so? Well, my friends think that my mind has been unbalanced
by the way the war has ended and they are sending me from home to new
scenes and associations to divert me, with the hope of making me well
and strong again. Corbell was my maiden name, but I do not know how I
happened to say that my husband's rank was low, for I was so proud of
it; I could not have been thinking. Will you please be so good as to get
my ticket? I am so tired I don't know what I am saying."

He went away, and the stateroom keys were brought to me by a waitress
who unlocked the door for me, and I went in, too frightened now to think
of supper, too frightened to sleep, and wondering if, in my imprudence,
I had hurt my husband and what would happen if I had.

All night long the noise of the wheel was to me the sound of the
executioner's axe. All night long it rose and fell through seas of
blood--the heart's blood of valiant men, of devoted women, of innocent
little children. Near morning I fell asleep and dreamed that it was I
who had destroyed all the world of people whose life-blood surged around
me with a maddening roar, and that I was destined to an eternity of
remorse.

When I awoke the boat had landed. Dressing hurriedly I went to the door
and found that it was locked on the outside. As the chambermaid did not
answer my repeated call, I beckoned to a sailor passing my window and
asked him to tell her that I was locked in and wished that she would
come and let me out. When she came she told me that she was not
permitted to open the door. I asked if we were not at Baltimore and an
officer who was with the maid answered that we were, but that I was to
be detained until the authorities should come and either release or
imprison me, as I was supposed to be a suspicious character.

On a slip of paper I wrote--"A Master Mason's wife and daughter in
distress demands in their name that you will come to her," and gave it
to the chambermaid, asking her to take it to the captain. As she
hesitated the officer said, "You might as well."

She went and while I was trying to hush the baby a voice as kind and
gentle as the benevolent face into which I looked, said:

"What can I do for you, madam? You sent for me."

"No, sir," I replied, "I sent for the captain of the boat, but I am glad
you came; you seem so kind and may help me in my trouble."

"I am the captain of the boat," he answered. "What can I do for you?"

"You are not the gentleman who represented himself as the captain of the
boat last night, sir, and bought for me my ticket. He was short and
dark----"

The gentleman interrupted me, saying that the pseudo captain was a
Federal detective who had advised that I be detained on the steamer
until his return with the authorities and warrant.

I told him what the man had said about my father and the Masonic sign.

The captain replied:

"Your father did make that sign and placed you in our care. Come, I am
captain of this steamer, and a captain is king in his own boat. Where
did you say you wish to go! Stand aside," he said to the officer in
charge.

Giving me his arm, he placed me and baby, carpet-bag and basket, in a
carriage and the driver was told to go to 97 Brenton Street.

"Yis, sor," said the Irishman. "97 Brinton Strate, sure."

"God bless you and watch over you! Good-bye, little baby."

After driving some time, the Irishman impatiently told me there was no
street by that name and I would have to get out, but not until I had
paid him for the time he had been hunting for 97 Brenton Street.

I did not know enough to go to a drug store and consult a directory. I
was at my wits' end, if I had ever had any wits.

"Drive me back to the captain of the boat, please," I said. "I don't
know what else to do."

When I went on board the captain was not yet gone, which was an unusual
thing. He had waited to see the officers before leaving. I answered the
smile that came into his face, in spite of his kind heart, by handing
him the letter of my aunt who wrote a hand that was not only peculiar
but illegible.

"Read, captain, and see if this is not Brenton Street, the place to
which my aunt has written me I must come."

"'Go to 97 Brenton Street, where my niece, Mrs. C----, will bring you to
my house,'" he read. "It might be anything else as well as Brenton," he
said. "It looks like Brenton, but I have lived here all my life and have
never heard of such a street. I will get my directory and look. No; but
it may be Preston; let's look; but there are no C----s living there. You
might try this house, at any rate, 97 Preston Street, and if you do not
find your friends, come to the number on this card, where my wife and I
will be happy to have you as our guest, you and the little lost bird,
till you can write to your friends and find out where they want you to
come."

Off again I started and arrived at 97 Preston Street. I wrote on my card
and sent it in:

"Does Mrs. C---- live here--a niece of Mrs. S----?"

In a moment there were two or three faces at the windows, and in another
moment as many voices at the carriage door asking, "Is this George
Pickett's wife and child?" and I was thankful to be once more where they
knew George Pickett's wife and child.

Besides the lovely people whose home it was, there was with them, on her
way to visit her mother, Mrs. General Boggs, one of the most charming
women I ever met. She had just returned from the South. Her husband was
in the Confederate Army. The next day we both went out to the home of
her mother, my Soldier's aunt, Mrs. Symington.



XXV

"EDWARDS IS BETTER"


The week I spent in Hartford County, Maryland, reminded me of my
childhood, when I used to play that I was a "Princess" or a "Beggar," or
"Morgiana of the Forty Thieves," or "The White Cat," or whatever
character it would please me to select to play, for my heart and soul
were separated from my body. I was not what I pretended to be. My body
went to parties and receptions and dinners, and received people and
drove and paid calls, while my soul waited with intense longing for the
telegram, "Edwards is better."

One day I had been out to dine and, coming home, found awaiting me the
message for which eyes and heart had been looking through a time that
seemed almost eternal.

That night I took the train for New York, starting out all alone again,
baby and I. I was tired and sleepy, but there was such joy in my heart
as I thought of soon seeing my Soldier that I did not think of my
discomforts. I repeated the telegram, "Edwards is better, Edwards is
better," over and over again. I sang it as a lullaby, putting baby to
sleep to the measure of the happy words, "Edwards is better." Only for
us was that sweet refrain. When he slept I leaned back and closed my
eyes and saw a world of beauty and bloom as the glad words went dancing
through my heart. Was there ever so sweet a slumber-song since babies
were invented to awaken the deepest melody of mother-hearts! I went to
sleep with my little one in my arms. I had not money enough to get a
berth--just barely enough to buy my ticket and pay my expenses through
to Montreal, Canada, at which point the telegram was dated.

When I awakened later I found that a home-spun shawl had been placed
under my head. I never thought about who had been so kind, nor why the
shawl was there. All my life long everyone had been thoughtful of me;
things had been done for me, courtesies had been extended to me, and I
had learned to accept kindnesses as only what I had a right to expect
from the human race. Murmuring softly the comforting words, "Edwards is
better," I turned my face over and went to sleep again on the shawl and
did not awaken until my baby became restless.

We took the steamer up the Hudson from New York to Albany. My poor
little baby was not well and I censured myself for having allowed him to
catch cold on the train while I was sleeping. He was teething, and was
very fretful. He had been used to his nurse, his black mammy, and missed
her customary care and attention and was tired of me, preferring anybody
else. Some philanthropic ladies on board the steamer seemed very much
concerned, and at a loss to understand why he was so unhappy with me,
not knowing that he was accustomed to a circle of admiring friends to
whom he might appeal in turn.

"Nurse, why do you not take the child to its mother?" one would say, and
a look of incredulity would follow my assertion that I was its mother.
"Then, why don't you quiet the child, if you are, and find out what is
the matter with it?" and so on.

I was indignant and my manner must have made them think there was
something wrong with me and the child, for they followed me about,
asking intrusive questions and making offensive remarks. I was walking
the deck, trying to quiet him, all tired and worn out as I was, when a
gentleman came up to me. On his shoulder I recognized the shawl that had
been put under my head on the cars the night before. He said:

"Madam, excuse me, but I do not think you have had any dinner, and you
must be worn out with hunger and fatigue from fasting and carrying the
baby. Won't you let me hold him while you go down and eat something?"

Even though he carried the shawl which bespoke my faith, I was afraid to
trust him with so precious a treasure, and would rather have starved
than have permitted my baby to go out of my sight.

"Thank you, very much, but I could not think of troubling you," I said.
"No--oh, no."

Then he asked:

"May I order something for you here?"

I was hungry, and was glad for the open way he had found for me, and
said, "Yes," handing him twenty-five cents. It was all I could afford to
pay for dinner, but as I looked at the tray when it was brought to me, I
thought, "How cheap things must be in New York," for there were soup and
fish--a kind of yellow fish I had never seen before, salmon, I afterward
learned it was--stewed with green peas, a bird, asparagus, potatoes,
ice-cream, a cup of coffee and a glass of sherry.

Upon his insisting that it would be restful to the baby, I let him hold
little George while I ate my dinner. I had not known how hungry I was,
nor how much I was in need of nourishment. Baby immediately became
quiet in his arms. Whether it was due to the change or not, I do not
know, but in a little while he was fast asleep. I covered him up with
the shawl to which the gentleman pointed, finished eating my delicious
dinner, taking my time and enjoying it, while he read his book and held
my baby. When the servant came and took away the tray, I arose and,
thanking the stranger for his kindness, said:

"I will take the baby now, if you please."

"If you would rather," he said, "yes, but I think he will be more
comfortable with me for awhile. Then, too, you might waken him if you
moved him. Let me hold him while you rest. Here is a sweet little book,
if you would like to read it. I think, however, it would be better for
you to rest; to sleep, if you could. You look really fagged out."

The book he gave me was a child's book--it may have been "Fern Leaves."
I can't remember the name, but pasted in the book was a letter written
in a child's irregular hand:

For my dear darly popsy who is gon to fite the war fum his little darly
dorter little mary

Dear popsy don kill the por yangees and don let the yangees kill you my
poor popsy little mary

Dear popsy com back soon to me an mama an grandad thats all. I says
your prayers popsy evry day fum little mary

Beneath little Mary's name was this line:

"Little Mary died on the 16th of May, 1864--her fifth birthday."

I rested, but thought of little Mary as I watched my own baby who was
sleeping so sweetly in this childless stranger's arms--till presently
the waves brought back to me the days of my childhood--the story of the
sailor with his stolen mill, grinding out salt, forever and forever, and
the lost talisman lost still--back to my grandmother's knee, listening
with wonder-eyes to "Why the sea is salt," the while my soul chanted to
music those all-healing, blissful words, "Edwards is better," gaining
strength for the o'erhanging trial I least dreamed of--and the shadows
rose to make place for one darker still.



XXVI

ONE WOMAN REDEEMED THEM ALL


On the train from Albany my attention was attracted by a man in close
conversation with the conductor. I was evidently the subject of
discussion, for they would look carefully over the paper they held and
then at me as if comparing me with something therein described. Had I
been a hardened criminal they would probably not have taken the risk of
thus warning me of the fact that I was under suspicion. As my appearance
would seem to indicate that, if a law-breaker, I was a mere tyro in
crime, they supposed they could safely take notes of me. I was
absolutely sure that they were talking of me and trembled with a
presentiment of coming evil. I tried to turn my face to the window but
my eyes were fascinated. A thousand preposterous fears passed in review
before my mind, though the real one never suggested itself. I endeavored
to dispel them each in turn, arguing that the scrutiny of the men
foreboded nothing, because I seemed an object of curiosity to everybody
and, recalling my appearance, I do not wonder.

My dress was different from that of those around me, though I was
unconscious of any defect in my apparel, being garmented in my very
best, the traveling gown in which I had been married, and which had been
bought and made under great difficulties and kept afterward with
scrupulous care. So I was perfectly well satisfied with myself.

I wore a long, loose-fitting black silk mantilla with three ruffles at
the bottom, while those around me were dressed in tight-fitting, short
cloth jackets. My gray straw bonnet, sewed into poke shape by our
fashionable village milliner, extended far over the face, its wreath of
pink moss-rosebuds inside tangled in with my dark brown hair. It was
trimmed on the outside with several clusters and bunches of hand-made
grapes of a lighter shade of gray. My collar was about five inches wide
and pinned in front with a cameo breastpin. The prevailing collar worn
by the world around me was linen, very narrow, only an edge showing, and
small jaunty hats, worn back on the head, were the style.

The conductor seemed to be arguing with the strange man as I caught his
eye. Just then my baby sprang forward and snatched a newspaper that an
old gentleman in front of me was reading, and shrieked when it was
loosened from his grasp, the old gentleman looking daggers in answer to
my apology. After this diversion I found that the two men were gone, for
which I thanked Heaven.

I had just settled back, a little unnerved and weak, when from behind me
came a touch on my shoulder and, turning around, I saw the strange man
and the conductor. The former said, "I have a warrant for your arrest,
Madam," and forthwith served it upon me.

There on the cars, all alone, miles away from home and friends, two
dollars and ten cents all my little store, I was arrested for--stealing!
Stealing my own child! I could not read the warrant as it trembled in my
hands--I had never before seen or heard of one. Baby thought it was a
compromise for the old gentleman's paper, and it was with difficulty
rescued from his little clenched hands, after being torn in the
struggle.

As soon as my confused wits grasped the meaning of this I said:

"This baby! This baby, sir? It is mine--mine--it is named after its
father--it is mine and I can prove it by everybody in the world,
and----"

"Well, well," said the conductor kindly, his voice trembling, "that's
all he wants, lady. You will be detained, probably, only till the next
train."

"But I must go on," I said, "for my husband is looking for me and I
could not bear to stay away another minute longer than the time at which
he expects me. Please, everybody, help me."

My fright had attracted attention, and some stared, some were too
refined even to look toward me; others merely glanced over their glasses
or looked up from their books and went on reading. Some kept their faces
carefully turned toward the landscape; a few, just as heartless and more
vulgar, gathered around me in open-mouthed curiosity.

One woman's good heart, thank God, redeemed them all. She came forward,
her tender blue eyes moist with sympathy, her black crêpe veil thrown
back from her lovely face and her waving hair with the silver threads
all too soon among the gold, and said in a voice so sweet that it might
have come from the hearts of the lilies-of-the-valley that she wore
bunched at her swan-white throat:

"Come, I will stop off with you if it must be. Let me see the paper."

Simultaneously with her, the gentleman of the home-spun shawl came from
I don't know where and asked, too, to see the paper and both got off
the train with me.

I was so weak that I could not hold my baby, for all at once there came
over me the sense of my utter helplessness to prove that my child was my
own. There was no one to whom I could telegraph without revealing my
identity and the purpose of my journey. A telegram to my friends at home
would alarm them and might betray me. A message to my Soldier would
jeopardize his safety, for he would surely come to me at once.

"Look, look!" I said to the magistrate and officers when they read aloud
the suspicions and accusation of the philanthropic ladies who were with
me on board the Albany steamer and who, in their zeal to secure a right
and correct a wrong, ignorant of the cause of my child's discomfort and
unhappiness with me and the reasons for my rather suspicious reticence,
had caused my arrest.

Thus do the pure and holy ever keep guard over the sins of the world and
throw the cable-cord of justice around the unregenerate to drag them
perforce into the path of rectitude. May they reap the reward to which
their virtues entitle them.

"Look at his eyes and look at mine," I exclaimed, holding his little
face up against my own. "Can't you all see that it is my child?"

"That may be, but give us the name of some one to whom we may
telegraph--some tangible proof. If he is your own there must be some one
who knows you and can testify in your behalf."

"No, no," I said, "there is no one. I have nobody to help me, and if God
does not show you all some way and your own hearts do not convince you I
don't know what I shall do."

My poor little, half-starved, in-litigation baby refused to be
comforted. The kind gentleman with the shawl could amuse him no longer.
He had dashed from him the keys and pushed the watch from his ear and
demanded impatiently the right of sustenance. The dear, good woman
beside me, with the smile of the redeemed and a look of relief lighting
up her face, touched mine, whispering in my ear while I held the baby's
hands to prevent him in his impatience from tearing apart my mantle and
untying my bonnet-strings:

"Do you nurse your baby?"

"Yes," I replied, "and he is so hungry, poor little thing."

She stood up, leaning on her cane, for she was slightly lame, and said
in a voice clear and sweet:

"Gentlemen, I have a witness"--my heart almost stood still--"here, in
the child who cannot speak. It is not always a proof of motherhood, but
with the circumstantial evidence and the youth of this mother, this
beyond peradventure is proof convincing. The child is still nourished
from her own body," and she opened my mantle.

I, who had never nursed my baby in the presence of even my most intimate
friends, bared my bosom before all those strange men and women and
nursed him as proof that I was his mother, while tears of gratitude to
the sweet friend and to God flowed down my cheeks and dropped onto
baby's face as he wonderingly looked up, trying to gather up the tears
with his little dimpled fingers and thankfully enjoying the proof. The
men turned aside and tears flowed down more than one rugged face. The
kind stranger with the shawl lifted his eyes heavenward as if in
thanksgiving, and then turned them earthward and breathed a bitter
curse, deep and heartfelt. Perhaps the recording angel jotted down the
curse on the credit side of the ledger with as great alacrity as he
registered there the prayer of thanks.

I trust that the philanthropic ladies, when the facts were placed before
them, were as surely convinced as all these people were that I had not
stolen my child. I hope they were pleased by this indication that some
degree of innocence existed in the world, outside of their own virtuous
hearts, but--I don't know.

"Take thy fledgling, poor mother dove, under thy trembling wings, back
to its nest and the father bird's care. I shall go a few miles further
where I stop to see my baby," said my new friend. "This little boy who
brought me back to life is older than yours. He is the child of my only
son, whose young life ebbed out on the battlefield of Gettysburg, and
whose sweet spirit has joined that of his noble father, my husband,
which in his first battle was freed. This baby blesses our lives--the
young mother's and the old mother's."

The cars were crowded with soldiers returning home, disbanded soldiers,
soldiers on furlough, and released prisoners, with pale, cadaverous,
unshaven faces and long, unkempt hair. One from Andersonville, more
ragged and emaciated than the others, was selling his pictures and
describing the horrors of his prison life and, as he told of his
sufferings and torture amid groans of sympathy, maledictions and curses
were hurled against my people. Once his long, bony arm and hand seemed
to be stretched menacingly toward me as he drew the picture of "the
martyred Lincoln, whose blood cries out for vengeance. We follow his
hearse; let us swear hatred to these people against whom he warred and,
as the cannon beats the hours with solemn progression, renew with each
note unappeasable hatred."

I crouched back in my seat, almost holding my breath as I pressed my
baby to my wildly throbbing heart. The train stopped and the sweet new
friend touched my brow with her lips, leaving the kiss and a prayer, put
the lilies into my hand and was gone. The cars moved on and there was a
great void in my heart as I thought of my God-given friend, so lately
found, so swiftly lost.

All this was half a century ago, but one of the lilies yet lies in my
prayer-book, glorifying with the halo of a precious memory the page on
which it rests.

A man, not a soldier I think, for brave soldiers are magnanimous and
generous always, stood up in a seat opposite mine and said:

"When I think of the horrors of Libby and Andersonville and look at
these poor sufferers I not only want to invoke the vengeance of a just
God but I want to take a hand in it myself. Quarter should be shown to
none; every man, woman and child of this accursed Southern race should
be bound to their own slaves for a specified length of time, that they,
too, might know the curse of serfdom. Their lands should be confiscated
and given to those whom they have so long and so cruelly wronged."

As he in detail related the story of the scanty allowance of the
prisoners, the filth and darkness of their cells, I longed to stand and
plead for my people, and tell how they, too, were without soap, food or
clothes; that we had no medicines, even, except what were smuggled
through the lines, and that our own poor soldiers were barefooted and
starving, and that all the suffering of prisoners on both sides could
have been avoided by carrying out the terms proposed by the Confederate
Government. If I had only dared to raise the veil and reveal the truth
perhaps sympathy might have tempered their bitterness, the flame of
divine kinship smouldering in their veins, hidden as in a tomb, might
have miraged over the gulf of wrongs a bridge of holier feelings.

Yet the memory of the woman whose son had been killed on the field of
Gettysburg and whose lily, now browned and withered with the years, I
cherish with such tender care, softened the words that were like blows
to my ear and heart. Thus the power of one pure heart radiating its love
upon the world as an odorous flower diffuses fragrance on the
surrounding atmosphere, uplifts the sorrowing spirit and strengthens it
to withstand the rude assaults of a vindictive world.



XXVII

A FAMILIAR FACE


I had no stateroom in the Lake Champlain steamer, and my little sick
baby and its poor tired mother were very thankful when, after the long,
dreary night, they welcomed the dawn of day which counted them many
miles nearer to their Mecca.

I have forgotten the name of the place from which we took the train for
Montreal after leaving the steamer, but I remember a fact of more
consequence concerning it--that it was the wrong place.

On reaching the Canada side the passengers were summoned to the
custom-house office to have their baggage examined, and I, with my
carpet-bag, basket and baby, followed my fellow travelers. When my turn
came I handed the officer my keys and checks, which, after a glance, he
gave back to me, saying with haste and indifference, as if it might have
been the most trivial of matters:

"Your luggage has been left on the States side. Your checks were not
exchanged."

Taking the wrong train at the wrong point put me into Montreal later
than I was expected, but I religiously followed instructions to remain
on the train which stopped over at Montreal, until I should be claimed,
like a general delivery letter.

Every passenger had left the coach, and baby and I were alone. I was
waiting and watching breathlessly for my claimant, when my hungry eyes
caught sight of three gentlemen coming straight toward me. It was with
but a languid interest that I regarded them, for I had preconceived
convictions as to the appearance of the one who should assert
proprietary rights over me, and none of these newcomers seemed at first
glance adapted to respond to those convictions. The face of one seemed
rather familiar, but I was not sure, so I drew my little baby closer to
me and looked the other way. I felt them coming, and felt them stop by
my side.

"What will you have of me?" I asked.

There were tears in the eyes of the gentleman whose face had seemed
familiar, and the next minute baby and I were in his great strong arms,
and his tender voice was reproachfully asking:

"Don't you know your husband, little one?"

I was looking for my Soldier as I had been used to seeing him--dressed
in the dear old Confederate uniform, and with his hair long and curling.
The beautiful hair had been trimmed, and while he was not subject to the
limitations of Samson in the matter of personal strength, a critical
observer might have detected variations in personal beauty. An English
civilian suit of rough brown cloth had replaced the old Confederate
gray.

The two gentlemen with him were Mr. Corse, a banker, a brother of one of
my Soldier's brigadiers, and Mr. Symington, of Baltimore, a refugee. I
noticed that these gentlemen called my Soldier "Mr. Edwards" and me
"Mrs. Edwards," which made me feel somewhat strange and unnatural. I may
have reflected that I was in a foreign country, and very far north of
our old home, and perhaps even people's names were affected by political
and climatic conditions.

I had expected my Soldier to take us to a quiet little room in some
unpretentious boarding-house, but was too tired to express my surprise
when we were driven in a handsome carriage to a palatial home, with
beautiful grounds, fountain and flowers. A big English butler with
side-whiskers opened the large carved doors, and a pretty girl in a cap
took baby from my arms.

After that I remember only being tired--so tired--so very tired. When I
had rested enough to think again, I was on a sofa dressed in a pretty,
soft, silken robe, and I heard a kind voice saying:

"The lady is better; she will be all right. Let her sleep."

Glancing up, I saw a benevolent-looking old gentleman and a pair of
spectacles. I closed my eyes and heard the gentleman with the familiar
face say such beautiful things, and his voice and touch thrilled my
heart so that I kept my eyes shut and never wanted to open them again;
and presently the pretty girl with the cap on came in with baby in her
arms, dressed in a beautiful robe.

"Ze petite enfant--very much no hungry now--he eat très pap--he
sleep--he wash--he dress--he eat très much. He no hungry; he eat some
more très much again. He smile; he now no very much hungry again some
more."

Was I in the land of fairies, and was the gentleman with the familiar
face the prince of fairies, as he was the prince of lovers? Our baby's
outstretched arms and cry for me as he recognized me dispelled any such
delusion, but I was too tired to hold out my hands to him. I soon felt
his little face, however, nestling close against my own, and felt, too,
the touch of yet another face, and heard the same voice which had made
my heart thrill with bliss whisper again more things like unto those
other things it had whispered, but I was too tired and too happy to
speak, and my blessings seemed too sacred to open my eyes upon, so I
kept them closed. When the old English physician came in the next day he
said:

"Ah, ha! Ah, ha! The lady is most well. Keep on feeding her and sleeping
her. She is half-starved, poor lady, and half-dazed, too, by
sleeplessness. Ah, ha! Ah, ha! Poor lady! That will do--feed her and
sleep her; feed her and sleep her. Ah, ha! Ah, ha! that's all."

When the old doctor was gone I remember listening for the tread of the
sentinel outside--confusing the "ah, ha! ah, ha!" with the tramp, tramp,
tramp--and as I asked, the question brought back the memory that the war
was over, the guns were stacked, the camp was broken, and my Soldier of
the sweet face was all my very own. I looked around inquiringly and up
into the familiar face for answer, and he, my Soldier, a General no
longer, explained our pleasant surroundings. His old friends, Mr. and
Mrs. James Hutton, he said, had been suddenly summoned to England, and
had prayed him, as a great favor to them, to be their guest until their
return, as otherwise the delay to make the necessary arrangements for
their going would prevent their catching the first steamer. Thus we had
a beautiful home in which to rest, to grow well and strong, to forget
all that could be forgotten of the past, and to enjoy the present.

While in Canada we received letters telling us of the troubles that had
come upon our people after the close of the war, but the saddest news
was of the suffering of Mr. Davis for whole generations of national
mistakes. Captain Bright, who had served on my Soldier's staff, wrote
that, through his kinsman, the surgeon in charge of Fortress Monroe, he
had been permitted to see Mr. Davis.

He arrived at the Fortress on the morning that the fetters had been
removed from the ankles of the feeble old man by order of the physician,
because they endangered the life of one so ill and weak, and was told by
the surgeon that the only way for him to see Mr. Davis was to accompany
the surgeon on his rounds, when he could see all the patients, the
ex-President among the rest.

The captain followed the surgeon until he came to the imprisoned chief.
The face of Mr. Davis was turned from the door and the visitor stood
for a moment silently observing the great change in the man whom he had
last seen as the President of the Confederacy. Then he stepped forward
and laid his hand on the arm of Mr. Davis.

"Mr. President!" he said reverently.

Mr. Davis looked up quickly.

"I am Robert Bright, of General Pickett's staff."

The hand of the prisoner closed warmly over the one lying upon his arm.
"He looked into my face as if a miracle had been performed," wrote
Captain Bright.

"My own! One of my own again!" said Mr. Davis, in that musical voice
that held a note of heart-break always after the fall of the
Confederacy--a cadence which deepened and saddened his melodious tones
until they were merged into the perfect symphony of the greater life.

In his loneliness he had so yearned for some one who had belonged to
him--some one who had taken part with him in that short-lived, tragic
dream-nation for which the South had given her blood and treasure--that
his heart leaped up to meet the sympathy of the tender, reverent voice.

The surgeon came up to make his morning examination. At sight of him the
light in the sad face died away and the look of helpless suffering
returned. Having finished his work the surgeon said:

"Come, Captain."

"And is this all?" asked Mr. Davis, as his visitor passed on and again
reverently touched his arm.

"I would have given my whole fortune," wrote the captain, who had just
succeeded to an inheritance of considerable value, "to have stayed there
in his place and let him go free."

"There is not one of us in all the South, not a soldier of us, who would
not gladly take his place and save him from humiliation and suffering,"
said my Soldier, looking up from the letter.

Captain Bright pleaded with his kinsman to let him make another visit
and stay long enough to speak some word of cheer to his heartbroken
chief.

"I do not think that I can," said the surgeon. "The risk to us all would
be too great."

"I do not see any risk," was the reply. "The whole place is
double-guarded. Neither that poor old feeble man nor I could possibly
get away."

As the surgeon really wished to serve his kinsman, not only in return
for past favors but to be gracious as a host, after reflection he said:

"To-morrow when I make my rounds I will try to arrange to leave you
there till I return."

The next day the captain went into the cell and the surgeon, closing
the door, turned to the sentinel and said:

"Guard that door well and see that it is not opened until I come back.
That man in there is my relation, but we must not trust him too far."

Having thus secured for the caller an uninterrupted interview with Mr.
Davis, the surgeon continued on his way.

"Mr. Davis, I have only a few moments before the doctor finishes his
round. Can I do anything for you?--anything? Tell me, quick."

"No; there is nothing, my young friend--nothing; but I thank you for the
wish."

The captain took from his pocket a cheque-book and pencil, saying:

"Write on the backs of these cheques any messages or letters you may
want to send and I will see that they reach their destination."

Mr. Davis replied:

"I cannot do that. No; you would be risking your life."

"I have risked my life before and now would risk my soul for you. But
there is no danger, Mr. President."

Mr. Davis wrote messages on three of the cheques, one to Senator Wall,
of New Jersey, one to a friend in Pennsylvania, a third to another
friend whose name I have forgotten.

"You can write to Mrs. Davis that you have seen me. Take my love to
_all_ my friends. I leave them in God's care. This means to me more than
all the doctor's medicine--this one glimpse of one who says, 'Mr.
President'--who comes to me and recognizes all that I have tried to do
for my people."

Just as the cheque-book was returned to its place the surgeon came in,
looking at him suspiciously. Seeing nothing, and knowing that there was
no pen, ink or paper in the room, he went out, followed by the visitor.

Early next day Captain Bright left for Williamsburg. When he and the
surgeon were on the wharf some soldiers came forward.

"Halt!" commanded the captain.

"What does this mean?" asked the surgeon.

"We are ordered to search this gentleman," was the explanation.

"This gentleman is my kinsman and my guest," said the surgeon.

After consultation with the officers the embarrassment was relieved by
the countermanding of the order and Captain Bright departed with the
precious messages in his pocket.

"The feeling of fear," he wrote, "came to me for the first time in all
my life; not for myself but for that beloved old man who is dear now to
us all."

Mr. Davis had not lived through those terrible four years without
making enemies. Who in such a position could? But when he was made to
suffer for the mistakes of the whole nation, every Southern heart went
out in love to him, regardless of past antagonisms. All personal
animosities, all political differences were forgotten, and the people
were united in a loving sympathy with the toil-worn, feeble, sorrowful
old man, as they never could have been by any gifts or favors which he
might have heaped upon them had he won not only the object for which he
had given his life, but the gold and jewels of a kingdom.

A generation later, when the people of the South met in Richmond to
dedicate a monument to Jefferson Davis, they did not hold first in their
hearts the memory of the statesman, the orator, the gracious gentleman,
the President of the Confederacy. Above all the pictures that came
thronging before them, as they recalled the life history of the man in
whose honor they had met, was that scene in the gloomy cell and that
bowed and feeble old man with the wounds of the irons upon him, in whose
sad eyes the light of love shone as he reached out to greet a messenger
of his own people and said brokenly: "My own! One of my own!"



XXVIII

VISITORS, SHILLING A DOZEN--OUR LEFT-HANDERS


The first week in June the French maid came to our room with a telegram
for Mr. Edwards, announcing that Mr. and Mrs. Hutton would sail for home
the following week.

We began to hunt for a place to live, beginning with the hotels and
larger boarding-houses, and ending with the smaller ones. After a week
of varied, and some very funny, experiences, we decided at last upon one
house, principally because of its attractive court overlooked by
pleasant verandas.

"With its glistening fountain and pretty shrubbery and flowers, how nice
for our baby," I said. "How cool and refreshing are the sound of the
water and the glimpse of green."

So, for baby's sake, the selection was made and our rooms engaged. Our
landlady was a very dark brunette, and prided herself upon being a
French Canadian, but----

"That man of mine," she sorrowfully said, "is a soggy Englishman, and
you would hardly believe it possible he could be the father of our two
beautiful daughters. Both of them are going to do well, but they don't
take after their pa. The oldest is engaged to be married to a Stateser
with nine businesses!"

By the "nine businesses" and "Stateser" I gathered from her explanation,
which she volunteered in answer to my puzzled look, that the fortunate
son-in-law-to-be was a Yankee living in a small town in the State of
Vermont, and owning a little country store where woolen and cotton
goods, silks and flannels, pottery, queen's-ware, hardware, groceries,
grain, and so forth, were sold, the precursor of the department store.
In her admiration of him, after each alleged "business" she affixed the,
to her, high-sounding title of "merchant."

The second daughter, she told me, was learning to sing.

"She has a sweet voice, but she don't take after her pa," she said, "and
the young preacher student in the next room to the right of the one you
have chosen is very much taken with her, and it looks like I'd get both
girls off my hands before long."

She said she could not give me the use of the parlors when the girls
wanted them.

"The Stateser comes a long ways, you know, and has to have it all to
himself when he is here."

She generously suggested that if none "of them" were using the parlor at
the time when my "company came," she would let me entertain my visitors
in it at the rate of a "shilling a dozen," which arrangement I
considered a very good one for me, as I did not expect to have more than
a shilling's worth of visitors in six months.

Our meals were to be served in our own room, except on Sundays, when we
would dine in the public dining-room and do our own "waiting," like the
others. We did not exactly understand what that meant, but one day's
experience proved it to be anything but comfortable. The dinner had all
been cooked on Saturday and was cut up and piled on the table in the
center of the room, and we served ourselves. I could not help thinking
of the time when my Soldier had been served by butlers and waiters, each
anxious to be the first to anticipate his wishes, and all feeling amply
rewarded for every effort by a pleasant word or an appreciative smile. I
wondered how any one of those obsequious attendants would feel to see us
now.

The following menu was about the average dinner (with the exception, of
course, that on week-days it was warm): Corned beef, mutton pie, potato
salad, pickled snap-beans, gooseberry tarts and milk. Our breakfast was
always cold; the first one was cold bread, preserves, a baked partridge
(which is the same as our pheasant), and delicious coffee and butter.

Our rooms had one discomfort: we were awakened every morning by the
young lady, who made love to the bird of her preacher beau while she
arranged his room.

"Dear 'ittle birdie!--birdie dot a Dod?--birdie dot a soul?--'ittle
birdie sings praises to Doddie?"

A sound as of the door opening, a rustling and a confused "Oh, dear!"
and then "Good morning" was followed by the invariable excuse for not
having finished tidying up the room and cage before he came, "because
birdie and I are such friends--ain't we, birdie?--and time slips so
quickly--don't it, birdie?"

I would know she was being forgiven, though I could hear only the sounds
of his deep, low tones between the chirping to--birdie, of course.
Neither my husband nor I meant to listen to these chirpings to--birdie,
of course, and I always put my fingers in his ears at the sound of them.

After our breakfast was over and baby had been made comfortable, I
usually sent him out for his walk with Annie McCarthy, his new nurse,
who was delighted at having him all to herself.

"Shure, and I'll not be having the interfarence of so many others whose
rasponsability I don't be a-wanting; for the bairn, God save him, was
afther being that kissed, his dinner wouldn' agray with him at all, at
all. There was the cook and John's wife and John and the coachman and
that ugly French Lizette (sorra a bit am I to be rid of her, the vain
prig) would be all afther kissing him until he'd be that sick his milk
would curdle in him, and for the loife of me I couldn't be kaping the
clothes clane on him with all their crumpling and handling; and it's
glad that I am entirely, the saints save us, having him to mesilf, the
blissed child!"

The rooms were comfortable, and we found the long veranda, where we
spent our evenings and most of our mornings, not only a very pleasant
change, but a source of amusement as well. My curiosity was greatly
excited concerning our neighbors on the left. I was uncertain how many
there were of them, though I put them down in my mind as not less than
half a dozen.

The first morning these "Left-handers," as I called them, were as silent
as the grave till about noon, when, all at once, without any premonitory
noises, they began a most animated conversation, interspersed with
laughter, mirthful and scornful. The tones of their voices would change
from anger to reproach and then to grief, so that at one time I was so
full of sympathy with the poor man who was being driven out into the
cold world that it was all I could do to refrain from going in and
pleading for him; but while I was hesitating the trouble ceased. I
supposed he was gone and all was over with him, and involuntarily
offered up a prayer--the only help I could give.

Imagine, if you can, my surprise when the next morning at a little later
hour I heard a repetition of the same painful scene. The poor man had
returned, I reasoned. Taking them all together, I thought they certainly
were a most peculiar family, and I determined to enlist my husband's
interest when he returned. Something had prevented my telling him the
day before. That evening as we were sitting on the veranda I carried my
resolution into effect and, though he listened with his usual sweet
patience, my description of the disturbance, to my surprise, excited in
him more mirth than sympathy.

Just as I had finished telling my story, our baby was brought in to be
enjoyed and put to sleep. "The little pig went to market," "the mouse
ran up the clock," "the cock-horse" was ridden "to Banbury Cross," and
after innumerable "Hobble-de-gees," baby was ready, and so were we, for
his "Bye Baby Bunting."

When his sweet little "ah-ah-ah" accompanying ours grew fainter and
fainter, we began to sing in the Chinook jargon the Lord's Prayer, which
my husband had taught the Indians on the Pacific coast, and which we
always sang at the last to make baby's sleep sound. At the words,
"Kloshe mika tumtum kopa illahie, kahkwa kopa saghalie" (Thy will be
done on earth as it is in heaven), from through the open door of the
room to our left a voice clear and sweet joined in the same jargon with
ours to "Our Father," and as the last invocation was chanted, "Mahsh
siah kopa nesika konaway massachie--Kloshe kahkwa" (Send away from us
all evil--Amen), a handsome stranger stepped out and, with outstretched
hand, said to my Soldier, with great cordiality, "Klahowya sikhs,
potlatch lemah" (How do you do, friend; give me your good hand). Then
followed a conversation between them about the Pacific coast, Fort
Vancouver, San Juan Island, Puget Sound, the Snohomish tribe and their
many mutual friends of the Salmon Illehe.

All the while I was wondering what could have become of the other
family--if they had gone--and yet now and then I caught a tone in our
visitor's voice as he talked to my Soldier, that sounded very similar to
the tones of the man in trouble belonging to them, though I did not see
how it would be possible for any one to drive, or wish to drive, him out
of one's home. When, after awhile, I came in for the compliments of the
season, my astonishment knew no bounds when I learned that he had been
the sole occupant of that room since Sunday night.

The clock in the court struck seven. Rising hastily, and with many
apologies, this strange-family man wrote something on his card, and
handing it to my husband, said, "I am playing at the theater here
to-night--come and see me," and was gone.

To this kind stranger, William Florence, I was indebted for my first
taste of the pleasures of the theater. Almost every evening he joined us
on the veranda, shared our play with baby, cheered and entertained the
General, and kindly took us afterward to see the play. Yet, during the
whole of his stay--four days--he never once, in the most remote way,
intruded himself upon our confidence; and though he knew there was some
mystery, in his innate delicacy he made no allusion to it.

On Saturday evening, when his engagement was over and he came to say
good-bye, after lingering over the pleasant evenings we had passed
together, and putting great stress upon the benefit they had been to
him, he stopped abruptly, saying:

"Confound it all! Forgive me, if I put my foot in it--but here is
something to buy a rattle for the youngster. I swear I absolutely have
no use for it. In fact, I never had so much money at one time before in
my whole life, and it belongs by rights to the young rascal; for, if it
had not been for the 'cat's in the fiddle,' the 'cow jumping over the
moon,' 'getting the poor dog a bone,' and 'Our Father who art in
heaven,' I should have spent every red cent of it on the fellows.
Please--I insist," he said, as my husband refused. "I know you have had
more money than you seem to be bothered with now; take this."

Though we were both very much touched by the kind generosity of this
stranger in a strange land, my Soldier was firm in his refusal.

"Well, good-bye and good luck to you," he said. "You are as obstinate as
an 'allegory on the banks of the Nile.' Here it goes," putting the fifty
dollars back into his pocket, and turning to me, with a tone I so well
remembered, he wished me happiness.

"Good-bye," I said; "may 'Our Father' who art in heaven and his little
ones of whom he says 'suffer to come unto me,' keep your heart
thoughtful for others, and gentle and kind all through this life.
Believe in soul and be very sure of God."

In all the years that came afterward the friendship formed then between
my husband and our first "Left-hander" was never broken--and to me it
was a legacy.

The following week I noticed his rooms were taken by a lady and
gentleman whose actions were very strange. I saw there were two of them
this time. The second evening, as I was putting baby, who was unusually
restless and fretful and would not be amused or comforted, to sleep, the
queer lady, with a "Banquo-is-buried-and-can-not-come-out-of-his-grave"
tone and manner, came in and said, "The child--is't ill, or doth it need
the rod withal!" Whether the child needed "the rod withal?" or Mrs.
Winslow's soothing syrup, he stopped crying at once and, while she
talked on, he never took his startled eyes from her face till he wearily
closed them, hypnotized to sleep.

"Hast thou a nurse--one that thou call'st trustworthy?" she asked, after
I had put the baby in his little bed.

"Yes, madam," I answered, "one whose love makes her so."

"It is well" she said, "and if thou dost not fear to leave the watch
with her, wilt thou and thy husband come as our guests to see our
Hamlet as we have conceived him to be?"

It was the first of Shakespeare's plays I had ever seen, and my blood
ran cold as I breathlessly watched the portrayal of it by these, the
most celebrated actors of their day (Charles Kean and his wife, Ellen
Tree), with talents so versatile that I cried over the tragedy as if my
heart would break, and laughed with equal heartiness over "Toodles," the
farce which followed.

At the close of the play the actress brought her husband into the box
and introduced him. Unlike her, he did all his acting on the stage; she
stabbed her potatoes and said, "What! no b-e-a-n-s?"

We accepted their kind invitation to share their carriage back to the
house, and enjoyed, too, some of the delicious supper prepared for them.
It was their last year on the stage, and I never saw them again, though
I treasure their little keepsake, given me in exchange for one not half
so pretty, and gratefully remember the pleasure they put into our lives
during the days they were our "Left-handers."

Among others, there came in time that king of comedians, noble in mind
as he was perfect in art, Joe Jefferson. This pleasant acquaintance did
not end with our Canadian experience. The next time we saw Joe
Jefferson he gave a performance in Richmond and turned over the whole
proceeds to a war-ruined Confederate who had assisted him in early days,
all in such a quiet manner as to fulfill the spirit of the Scriptural
injunction regarding the right and left hands. The kindness which was
shown by the wealthy tobacconist--the seeming favorite of fortune--to
the poor lad in the beginning of that career the distinction of which,
even then, could be foretold, was thus gracefully repaid a thousand
times by the successful actor.

Our landlady made a tour of inspection of all the rooms every Friday,
but to us she made her visits longer each time, showing a growing
interest in our affairs. She could not solve the mystery of our having
come from such a palatial home to her boarding-house. Then, too, one of
my "shilling visitors" happening to be the Governor-General and another
an English officer, they were also a cause of wonder. She was so
insistent in this unbounded curiosity that we were compelled to seek a
larger house where we should be more lost to sight, especially as just
at this time two prominent Southern gentlemen, Mr. Beverly Tucker and
Mr. Beverly Saunders, had been gagged and taken through the lines,
though their release was immediately demanded by the English government.

Much to my husband's relief, I volunteered to assume the disagreeable
task of notifying her, which notice she seemed intuitively to have
anticipated and determined to thwart by telling of her troubles, all of
which she laid at her husband's door.

"He is got so high-minded now," she said, "he refuses to blacken all the
boots at night--leaves the top floor ones till morning. Wants to set
upstairs with me and the girls, instead of staying down in the kitchen,
looking for chaws and to be handy; expects us to hunt tins to shine and
mend, and nails to drive; won't eat the boarders' leavings; reads the
Stateser's newspaper that he sends to his girl; sets on it when he hears
us coming; took money from Stateser, too, and was that sly he was going
to spend it on himself, and I giving him all he needs."

Taking advantage of her pause for sympathy, I edged in my notice. She
immediately put all the blame of our going on "that Johnson," and,
though I assured her that he had nothing whatever to do with it, wailed:

"You can't fool us, you can't fool us--he drives every boarder out of
the house."

Our next rooms opened on the Champs de Mars, the attractions of which in
part made up for the loss of the veranda, but not for that of our
"Left-handers," who had made oases in our lives.



XXIX

BORN WITH EMERALDS--NEMO NOCETUR


"Come, look at the soldiers," I said, as I saw a shadow in the General's
smile and heard a sigh when the music, almost under our very windows,
signaled the hour for dress-parade.

The shadowy ghost of despair vanished with my entreaties, as we stood at
the window and watched the soldiers, keeping time with them to step and
tune outwardly, while hiding the muffled sound within, each playing we
were enjoying it, without one marring thought of the crumpled-browed
past, trying to fool each other till we really fooled ourselves. It was
with thankfulness that I saw my Soldier watch with unfeigned interest
the maneuvers of the troops day after day, and pleasantly welcome
reveille and tattoo. Our baby learned to march almost before he walked.

While we were enjoying our congenial surroundings and each other, spite
of poverty, fears for the future, and grief for the past, my husband
became very ill. In the crisis of his illness, when he required all my
attention, our baby was seized with croup. The kind old Englishman,
recommended by my good friends, was very attentive, but failed to
inspire me with my wonted faith. The chief reason, I think, must have
been that he was not called "Doctor," but "Mister." For two weeks he
came once, and sometimes twice a day, going first to see and bring me
news of the baby, who had been kindly taken by our friends to their home
to be cared for. I was a source of unending amusement, an unsolvable
mystery to the English doctor, though we were very good friends.

During all this long illness I never once stopped to consider the cost
of anything, whether it were food, medicines or delicacies of any kind,
if prescribed or suggested, but purchased regardless of expense. When
the danger was past, and our board bill was sent up, I counted over our
little store and found there was not enough left to meet it.

My husband was still too ill to be annoyed or troubled about anything,
and with the bill hidden away in my pocket, I was making a plan of
battle and maneuvering how I could fight my way out of the
intrenchments, when he noticed that I was looking pale, and suggested
that I go out for a little fresh air.

Eagerly taking advantage of the excuse thus offered, I put on my bonnet
and went down to the office and took from my box in the safe an
old-fashioned set of emeralds and, asking the proprietor to direct me to
the most reliable jeweler and to send some one to sit with my husband
until my return, went out.

I had had very little experience in buying of merchants, and none
whatever in selling to them, but I feigned great wisdom and dignity as I
told the young man who stepped forward to wait upon me that my business
was with the head of the firm. He took me back to an inner office, where
an old man with grizzly-gray hair and a very moist countenance was
looking intently, through something which very much resembled a
napkin-ring screwed into his right eye, at some jewels lying on a tray
before him. He wore his teeth on the outside of his mouth, and his upper
lip was so drawn, in the intensity of his look, as to be almost hidden
under his over-reaching nose. His face, too, was wrinkled up into a
thousand gullies in his concentration upon his work.

"We don't hemploy young women 'ere," he said, looking up and frowning as
he suddenly became aware of my presence.

"I came," I explained, taking out my emeralds and handing them to him,
"to ask you if you would not, please, sir, kindly buy some of these
stones from me, or, at least, advance me some money on them."

"This is not a pawnbroker's shop, heither, mum," he replied, as he
carefully examined the jewels, and then, suddenly popping the
napkin-ring out of his eye, turned both of the piercing little gray
twinklers upon me and said:

"Where did you get these hemeralds from, miss?"

"I was born with them, sir," I said indignantly.

Either from my appearance, or for some other cause, he became suddenly
suspicious, and not only would not purchase them of me, but refused to
let me have them till I could prove my right to them. I was too young
and inexperienced to be anything but furious, and the bitter, scalding
tears that anger sometimes unlocks to relieve poor woman's outraged
feelings, were still falling fast when I reached the hotel with the
clerk whom the jeweler had sent back with me that I might prove by the
proprietor my ownership of the jewels with which I was born.

He, in his sympathy, shared my anger and, after expressing his sincere
regret that I should have been subjected to such an indignity, advised,
as he snatched the case from the clerk with a withering look of scorn
translated into more emphatic language, that I should look carefully
over them to be sure that neither this hireling nor his master had
abstracted any of the stones, for his experience had been that suspicion
was born of guilt.

As he again locked up my emeralds in his safe he kindly asked how much
money I needed and begged that in the future I would permit him to
advance for me if I should need any, and furthermore, "as to the board
and expenses here," he said, "Mr. Edwards and I will arrange all that
when he is well--entirely well." My friends would have been glad to
advance me the money but I did not wish to trouble them.

Through the goodness of God and the skill of my kind physician, my loved
ones were spared to me, and one day, some time after they were well, as
I was reading the paper to my husband, I chanced across an advertisement
for a teacher of Latin in Miss McIntosh's school. The professor was
going abroad and wanted some one to take his place during his absence.
The chuckle of delight which I involuntarily gave as I read it, provoked
from my Soldier the remark that I was keeping something very good all to
myself. I slyly determined that this little suspicion should be
verified and that I would make an application at once for the position;
then, if I should fail, I alone would suffer from the disappointment.
So, just as soon as I could arrange it, I donned my best clothes,
assumed a most dignified mien, went to the number advertised and asked
for the professor.

I was shown into the primmest of parlors--the kind of room one feels so
utterly alone in, without even the suspicion of a spirit around to keep
your own spirit company. Each piece of furniture was placed with
mathematical precision, and all was ghost-proof. The proprietress, who
came in response to my call, seemed put up in much the same order. She
was tall and angular, and her grizzly-red hair was arranged in three
large puffs (like fortifications, I thought) on each side of her long,
thin face, high cheek-bones, Roman nose, and eyes crowded up together
under gold-rimmed spectacles. As she held my card in her hand and looked
at me with a narrow-gauge gaze, piercing my inmost thoughts, and with
that discouraging "Well!-what-can-I-do-for-you?" expression, I felt all
my courage going. My necessities aroused me from my cowardice, and I
said as bravely as I could:

"I have had the good fortune to read your advertisement, madam, in the
paper this morning, and have come in answer to it. May I see the
professor?"

Looking curiously at my card and then over her glasses at me, she said:

"The advertisement was for a teacher, not for a pupil."

"I am perfectly aware of that," I answered, "and came in response, to
offer the professor my services as a teacher."

A most quizzical expression bunched up the corners of her mouth and
wiggled across her little colorless eyes as she said:

"I will send the professor down to you."

Looking over her spectacles again, as if for a verification of her first
impression of me, she left the room.

Returning after a little while, she said:

"The professor requested me to ask if you would be so good as to come up
into the recitation room."

I saw as soon as I had entered that a description of me had preceded my
coming, and not a very flattering one, either, I judged, from the faces
of the professor and the pupils.

The class consisted of fourteen young ladies, all of them apparently
older than I was. The professor finished the sentence he was translating
on the board, rubbed it out, wiped his hands on the cloth, replaced it,
came forward and was duly presented by Miss McIntosh, who remained in
the room. He had a pleasant, round, smooth face, a bald head and large
gray eyes, was short and stout, with a sympathetic, cultured voice and
manner.

"Miss McIntosh tells me you came in reply to my advertisement. I have
been forced to advertise in order to save time, as my going abroad is
unexpected and brooks no delay."

"I am very glad you had no option but to advertise, else it might not
have been my good fortune to know of, and respond to, your wants, sir."

"And you have really come to apply for the position?" he asked.

"I have, sir."

The expression on Miss McIntosh's face, the nudging and suppressed
titter among the pupils which this answer brought forth was not
calculated to lessen my embarrassment.

"Have you had any experience in teaching?"

"No, sir," I said.

"May I ask where you were educated?"

"I was graduated at Lynchburg College."

"Is that in England?"

"Oh, no, sir," said I, with astonishment at his ignorance, and then
recollecting myself just as I was about to inform him that Lynchburg was
the fifth town in population in Virginia, was on the south bank of the
James River, one hundred and sixteen miles from the capital of the
State, and within view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Peaks of Otter, I
stopped short, embarrassed by my imprudence. The professor, taking no
notice of my confusion, went on to say:

"And so you were graduated there? My class here has just finished Cæsar.
Do you remember how Cæsar commences?"

"Yes, sir," I said, and repeated: "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes
tres."

"You have the Continental pronunciation, I see."

He gave me several sentences to translate; then an ode from Horace and
some selections from Catullus and Tibullus. By this time the pupils were
silent, and Miss McIntosh's expression was changed.

He then asked me to write and parse a sentence, which I did, saying
_sotto voce_ as he took the chalk from me:

"That was a catch question."

"Please translate and parse this," said he, without noticing my aside,
and he wrote in Latin, "The late President of the United States said
'nobody is hurt----'"

Before he wrote any further, instead of translating, I looked up at him
and said:

"But, oh, sir! somebody was hurt."

Quickly he cleared the board, put down the cloth, wiped his hands,
turned his face to me and offering his hand, said, not to my surprise,
because I had faith in prayer, but rather to that of Miss McIntosh and
the young ladies:

"I will engage you, Mrs. Edwards, and will be responsible for you."

We went down to the parlor, and I gave him the names of the only friends
I had in Montreal of whom he could make inquiries regarding me. The next
day I gave my first lesson to the class. I became very fond of them all
and, after my embarrassment of the first few days, got along very well
with them.

My Soldier was curious to know where I went every day, but, knowing it
gave me great pleasure to be thus mysterious, humored me and asked no
questions.

My first month's salary was spent in part payment on an overcoat for
him, and only Our Father and the angels know what joy filled my heart,
that with the work of my hands I could give him comfort. Then my secret
was out.

I was sorry when the cold weather came. The snows not only put an end to
the military reviews, but covered up the beautiful green. There were
very few diversions for us, but I was just as happy as it was possible
for me to be. Indeed, those were the very happiest days of my whole
life and I was almost sorry when General Rufus Ingalls wrote to my
Soldier, inclosing a kind personal letter from General Grant, together
with the following official assurance of his safety:


     "HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES

     Washington, D. C, March 12th, 1866.

     Geo. E. Pickett, a paroled officer of the Southern Army, is exempt
     from arrest by Military Authorities, except directed by the
     President of the United States, Secretary of War or from these Hd.
     Qrs. so long as he observes the conditions of his parole.

     The restriction requiring paroled officers to remain at their homes
     is removed in this case, and he, Pickett, will be allowed to travel
     unmolested throughout the United States.

     U. S. Grant,
     Lt. Gen."


General Grant also wrote that it had not been at all necessary for us to
go away in the first place, and that the terms of his cartel should have
been respected, even though it had necessitated another declaration of
war.

We stopped in New York en route to Virginia, expecting to remain there
only three or four days, but we found that our board had been paid in
advance for two weeks, that a carriage had been put at our service for
that length of time, and that in our box was a pack of wine-cards marked
"Paid." To this day I do not know how many people's guests we were, for
a great many of my Soldier's old army friends were there at the time,
and they all vied with each other in making us happy.



XXX

TURKEY ISLAND


As soon as we could make our plans we returned to our ruined home on
Turkey Island by the James River, where we built a small cottage in the
place of the colonial mansion which had been burned by Butler.

The ancestral trees had all been cut, even the monuments in the family
cemetery had been broken, but it was home and we loved it. The river and
the woods and our own garden supplied our table. We planted vines to
wind lovingly around the melancholy stumps of the old oaks and elms
which had fallen victims of the vandalism of war. In our own flowers my
Soldier found the perfumes that he loved. He gathered geranium leaves to
keep around him, scattered rose-petals through his bureau drawers, and
put fragrant blossoms into bags and laid them in the folds of his
clothing. In war-time a friend going North asked him, "What shall I
bring you!"

"A bottle of new-mown hay and a bottle of heliotrope," was the reply.

Turkey Island, called by the Federal soldiers Turkey Bend, is in Henrico
County, which is one of the original shares into which Virginia was
divided in 1634. Historic Richmond, the State capital, a town
established in the reign of George II, on land belonging to Colonel
Byrd, is its county-seat. Brandon, the home of the Harrisons; Shirley,
the home of the Carters; and Westover, the home of the Byrds, where
Arnold landed on the 4th of January, 1781, and proceeded on his march
toward Richmond, are neighboring plantations. Malvern Hill, where one of
our internecine battles was fought, adjoins Turkey Island.

Not far distant is the famous Dutch Gap Canal, the useful legacy which
Butler left to the State of Virginia, and which, in the advantages it
gave the commonwealth, to some extent atoned to my Soldier for the
destruction of the Pickett home.

Diverting his troops for a time from wanton spoliation, Butler set them
to digging a canal at Dutch Gap to connect the James and Appomattox,
thereby shortening by seven miles the road to Richmond, and placing the
State traffic under a permanent obligation to his memory. To protect his
men while they worked he stationed his prisoners in the trench beside
them, in order that the Confederates might not yield to the otherwise
irresistible temptation to fire upon them.

Butler may not have been gifted with that fascinating suavity of
demeanor which renders a man an ever-sparkling ornament to society, but
from a practical business point of view he was not wholly destitute of
commendable qualities. His Dutch Gap Canal is not only a lasting
monument to his progressive spirit, but a benefit to commerce and an
interesting feature which has attracted visitors from many nations.

Out on a point of the plantation, back from the river in a clump of
trees--the beginning of the big woods--is still standing a most
interesting monument. The top of it was broken off by Butler's troops in
a search for hidden treasure. It was erected by William and Mary
Randolph in 1771. The following is a copy of the inscription on one of
its sides:


     "The foundation of this pillar was laid in 1771, when all the great
     rivers of this country were swept by inundations never before
     experienced; which changed the face of nature and left traces of
     their violence that will remain for ages."


My first visit to this monument is one of the sweetest memories of my
Turkey Island life. I had gone with my husband to hunt rabbits and
birds--a hunt more for the meat than the sport in those poverty-stricken
days when our larders were greatly dependent upon the water and the
woods.

The day was fine and the dew was yet glistening as we came suddenly and
without warning within touch of the gray broken monument shut in and
surrounded by the great forest trees. In silence and solemn awe, in the
strange light and sudden coolness beneath the shadows my hero-soldier
stacked his gun and, raising his hat, gently and silently reached for my
hand. I slipped it into his and drew close to him. Birds were singing in
the distance.

"God's choir," he said, and in his beautiful voice sang his favorite
hymn, "Guide me, oh, thou great Jehovah." Then he taught me these lines:


     "The groves are God's first temples. Ere man learned
     To hew the shaft and lay the architrave,
     And spread the roof above them,--ere he framed
     The lofty vault to gather and roll back
     The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood,
     Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down
     And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks
     And supplication."


"Is not that monument one of the oldest in Virginia?" I asked my
Soldier.

"No," he said. "There are many older, but the oldest one in the United
States, I believe, is one erected to a poor fellow who died on what was
to be your birthday in the centuries to come. It is on the banks of
Neabsco Creek in Fairfax County. Once when I was on furlough Snelling
and I came across it and copied the epitaph. The poor fellow was a
companion of John Smith. The inscription on the monument simply said:


     "'Here lies ye body of Lieut. William Herris, who died May 16,
     1608, aged 65 years; by birth a Briton; a good soldier, a good
     husband and neighbor.'"


These rambles over the fields and woods, through the clover and
sweetbrier, keeping step and chattering with my Soldier where he, as a
boy, had often tramped with his father, are among the blessedest of my
blessed memories. My Soldier's classic taste and perfect harmony and
simple, pure heart made him a true lover of nature and the trees and the
plants, the stones, the sod, the ground, the waters, the sky, and all
living animals were his kin.

Though my warrior was a lion in battle, he was gentle, amiable,
good-humored, affectionate and hospitable in his home. The same
exuberant and hopeful spirit which cheered and encouraged his soldiers
in the field was felt in his home life. All the world is witness to his
patriotism and unselfishness, as he offered his life for the success of
the cause in which he had faith. He was never disheartened by the most
complicated difficulties. Unspoiled by fame, just and loyal, he deserved
the love he received, for he was worshipped by his family, idolized by
his soldiers, honored by all parties and all nations--my brave warrior,
as simple as a child, as high-minded as he upon whom the word-magician
said, "Every god did seem to set his seal, to give the world assurance
of a man."

Soon after the surrender the Khedive of Egypt offered my Soldier the
position of General in his army, which he declined. After he had refused
a second invitation the Khedive cabled to Mr. Mott asking if there was
any way of inducing General Pickett to accept the commission. My Soldier
replied:

"I fight only for my country. Nothing would induce me to enter a foreign
war."

He tried to turn his sword into a plowshare, but he was not expert with
plowshares and, worse, he constantly received applications for
employment from old comrades no more skilled than he. All were made
welcome, though they might not be able to distinguish a rake from a
rail fence or know whether potatoes grew on trees or trellised vines.
They would get up when they felt like it, linger over breakfast, go out
to the fields, and if the sun was too hot or the wind too cold they
would come back to sit on the veranda or around the fire till dinner was
ready. Then they would linger at table telling war stories until it was
unanimously decided to be too late for any more work that day. There
were Generals, Colonels, Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, privates, all of
one rank now, and he who desired a graphic history of the four years'
war needed only to listen to the conversation of the agricultural army
at Turkey Island. The inevitable soon came. Resources were exhausted and
proprietor and guests were forced to seek other fields.

One of our friends was a veteran who had lost an eye in the Mexican war
and had served in the Confederate Army. All that was left of his
magnificence was his pride, which had grown strong and rugged on
misfortune. It was difficult to do anything for him. He would never
admit his needs and any reference thereto was likely to give offense. He
had visited us for a time and when urged to stay had resolutely
declined. My Soldier was very anxious to help him, but fearful of
wounding him. Walking down with him to take the steamer to Richmond my
Soldier, unobserved, took a ten-dollar gold piece from his pocket and
dropped it in the road, hoping that the old Major would find it. But the
veteran walked by without seeing it. So his friend was compelled to find
it himself. Three times the ruse was played and at last the Major saw
the coin and, picking it up, offered it to his companion. "No, it
belongs to you," said the General. "You must have dropped it," urged the
Major. "I?" was the query. "How could I have a gold piece? The Yankees
are about the only people who have been down in this country with gold,
and now that you have found it, it belongs to you." After a long
discussion the Major was induced to accept the law that "finders is
owners," and he put the gold in his pocket.

When a number of his Virginians wished to make my Soldier Governor he
said that he never again would hold any office, but he would be glad to
have the valor of his soldiers at Gettysburg recognized and he and the
men would like to see his old Brigadier, Kemper, elected Governor.
General Kemper was the only one of Pickett's Brigadiers who came out of
the battle of Gettysburg, and he was maimed for life. He was elected
Governor, and, as he was a bachelor, my Soldier and I often assisted at
his receptions.

At a dinner given by the Governor to George Augustus Sala, the English
correspondent, Mr. Sala asked:

"General Pickett, whom do you regard as the hero of the battle of
Gettysburg, on the northern side?"

"Mr. Sala," was the reply, "the hero of Gettysburg on both the northern
and southern side was the private soldier."

I had often heard him say that not the Generals but the men in the ranks
fought the battles.

This reminded me of a story, which I told them:

"At a dinner in Canada, given to General Magruder's niece, who had
married an English officer, the conversation turned upon the battle of
Gettysburg and my Soldier was asked by the Governor-General and General
Magruder if he would tell them, now that the war was over, whom he
considered responsible for the loss of the battle; who was to blame.
With a twinkle in his eye he replied:

"'Well, Governor-General and General Magruder, I think the Yankees had a
little something to do with it.'"

Among the visitors at our home at Turkey Island was Mr. R. M. T. Hunter.
I well remember his grave but genial face, beardless, marked with deep
lines wrought by years of study and care. Those who do not recall him
may look at the pictured face of former Senator John W. Daniel, of
Virginia, and gain an idea of his appearance. His long hair, almost
touching his shoulders, gave him an air that would seem quaint to one
accustomed to the closely cropped heads of the present day. His
extensive acquaintance with public life, formed in the Congress of the
United States and that of the Confederacy, had secured for him an
inexhaustible fund of anecdote which his ready wit displayed to good
effect, and his vein of humor made him always a welcome companion. His
ability to deal with weighty subjects is indicated by the remark of
Senator Wigfall, "I don't know what we Southern men would do without
Hunter; he is the only one among us who knows anything about finance."
As a child his gravity and fondness for books led his old mammy to say,
"Li'l Marse Robert gwine ter be a gre't man; he's so lonesome in his
ways."

Mr. Hunter knew men, and was the first to discover the genius of
Stonewall Jackson. In a letter written to my Soldier near the beginning
of the war he congratulated the South on the possession of so great a
military man as General Jackson. He was one of those whom Mr. Lincoln
wished to see in Richmond after the surrender, expressing confidence in
his honesty and his influence with the Southern people, a meeting which
was prevented by the absence of Mr. Hunter from Richmond at the time,
and for which there was no later opportunity because of the tragic end
of the President's great life.

Some of the Northern officers who had seen little, if any, of Southern
plantation life, visited us and were deeply interested in the
characteristic features of our domestic circle. They found much
amusement in the original repartee of the negroes, liking to ask them
questions and discuss with them subjects of everyday life. General
Ingalls saw an old negro coming in with a large number of terrapin.

"What a lot of terrapin and what immense ones, Uncle Tom! How much do
you get for them, and where do you sell them?"

"Yas, suh; dey is 'mense 'case dey's fresh water tarepin; salt water
ones is littler. I gits ober en above a couple er ninepences apiece fer
'em, en I sells 'em up in Richmon' ter Mr. Montero, de gambler gemman.
You mus' 'scuse me, Marsa, fer answerin' you in retail."

"Why, Uncle Tom, you could get over a dollar apiece for these terrapin
in New York," General Ingalls replied.

Uncle Tom pointed to a bucket of water and looking at the General said:

"Yas, suh, Marsa; I spec' dat's so. En, suh, ef I had dat pail er water
in hell I could git a million er dollars fer it."

The visitors were also amused by the division of the plantation
property, as explained by the servants.

"Whose horse is that?" asked General Tom Pitcher of one of the boys
"mindin' de cows."

"Dat hawss? W'y, Marsa, hawsses allers b'longs ter de men-folks, so
cou'se dat hawss b'longs ter Marse George."

"And whose cows are those?"

"De woman-folks allers owns de cows, so cou'se dey's Miss Sally's cows."

"Whose chickens are those in the yard?"

"Dey's woman's t'ings, too, en cou'se dey's Miss Sally's."

"To whom do those mules belong?"

"Dey's jest only mules en dey don' hab no owners. Dey don' b'long ter
nobody 'specially, en don' nobody want 'em 'specially cep'n fer ter
wu'k. Dey's dif'unt fum udder prop'ty; dey ain' one t'ing ner de udder."

Looking up General Pitcher saw a flock of wild ducks flying across the
river in delightful irresponsibility.

"Whose ducks are those?" he asked.

The boy looked up and turned toward the General with an expression of
scorn.

"Dey's dey own ducks," he asserted emphatically. "Lawd, Marsa, whar you
been all yo' life not ter know dat wile ducks is dey own ducks?"

Going down the river one day with my Soldier, his brother Charlie, and
their sister, in a boat rowed by the overseer, I had what I thought an
interesting illustration of the tenacity of childish habits of thought.
Mr. Sims had been overseer on the Pickett plantation in the childhood of
the two sons of the family, who used to follow him around and absorb
knowledge from what they looked upon as fathomless depths of intellect
and experience. They were catching terrapin and my Soldier looked at the
catch in the bottom of the boat.

"Mr. Sims, why is it that these terrapin are of such different
markings?" he asked with a recurrence of the old-time attitude of mental
dependence. "They come from the same water, are grown in the same
conditions, and seem in every way alike except that the color markings
are different. There is a reason; what is it?"

"Yas, George," said the old man, "of course there is a reason for it,
it's jest this way with them tarepins; I've allers noticed they are
different. I've been catchin' tarepins off an' on all my life an' I've
allers seen 'em that way. Some's streaked an' some's criss-crossed an'
some's plain an' some has diamon's on 'em an' that's jest the reason.
They's jest made that way."

"I see now," said my Soldier in all seriousness and good faith. "I
suppose that is the reason. I have often wondered about it and this is
the first time I ever understood it."

After all the years and the wars and the foreign travel and the changes
he had unconsciously gone back to the blind confidence of childhood.

Adjoining Turkey Island was the plantation of Colonel William Allen
(Buck Allen), Curl's Neck. General Schofield and some other officers of
the United States Army, among them Colonel Day, drove down from
Richmond, visiting old battlefields and shooting ducks and partridges,
and were guests at Curl's Neck. At the invitation of my Soldier they
came to our home. Colonel Day had never before seen my Soldier and he
afterward thus expressed his feeling upon first meeting the warrior whom
he had hitherto known only by reputation:

"Imagine my surprise when, instead of the dashing, rollicking fire-eater
whom I expected to see in the hero of the greatest charge in modern
history, I touched glasses of apple-toddy with the gentle George
Pickett. I was impressed above all with his quiet demeanor, his
warm-hearted hospitality and gentleness. I stood in speechless wonder,
trying to reconcile the man before me with my preconceived idea of the
great warrior. It might all be summed up in the explanation that 'the
bravest are the tenderest.'"



XXXI

AT THE WHITE HOUSE


Not long after General Grant became President he sent an order to my
Soldier and Mrs. Grant extended an invitation to me and our little ones
to visit them at the White House. The Southern train, usually late, was
on time for once, and we came out of the station just as the President's
carriage appeared.

"Hello, Pickett!" he called out. "Up to your old war tricks, coming in
ahead of the train!"

The President referred to an incident of the war; my Soldier, wishing to
go from Hanover Junction to Richmond, applied to General Lee for a pass.
At that time the cars were so crowded that travel by rail was not
permitted except on official business or by special permission. General
Lee, just boarding the train from Richmond on military duty, referred
him to the Adjutant-General. As there was not time to visit the Adjutant
and be in Richmond at the desired hour, my Soldier mounted his horse,
Lucy, and rode into the city, waiting at the station to salute General
Lee as he stepped from the train.

[Illustration: ULYSSES S. GRANT]

My first view of Washington was from the President's carriage, though it
could scarcely be called a view of the city, as the carriage contained
all my world and my attention was more particularly centered therein.

We were received with warm hospitality by Mrs. Grant, who proved to be a
charming hostess, and all went well until night came, when I was so
afraid my baby would cry that I could hardly sleep. The next day when my
Soldier spoke of my uneasiness the President, putting his hat on the
boy's head and his stick between his legs, said:

"There, ride your horse and tell them you'll cry as much as you please;
that you own this house."

One evening when we were reminiscing I told Mrs. Grant of the first time
I had seen her, and my Soldier, who loved to tease me, repeated, much to
my dismay, my belligerent remarks on that occasion and the argument he
had used to curb my hostile demonstrations.

"And do you know, Pickett," the President replied, relieving my
embarrassment, "that once we were foolish enough to think seriously of
having an operation performed on her dear eyes? We had consulted the
best surgeons and had been assured that it was a very simple thing and
not at all dangerous, so we decided to have it done. As the time grew
near I got to worrying over it, and the more I thought of it the more I
did not want my wife's eyes changed even the least little bit from what
they had always been. Arrangements had been made; the hour for the
operation was almost at hand. We were alone. I stood watching her
collecting the last little odds and ends and stealing my pictures and
the children's and putting them into her handbag under her shawl.
Everything was ready and we started from the room. My hand was on the
knob of the door, when I stopped and said:

"'My dear, I am very selfish and ought not to say this; but I don't want
your eyes changed. They look just as they did the first time I ever saw
them--the same eyes I looked into when I fell in love with you--the same
that looked up into mine and told me that my love was returned. I have
seen that expression in them through all the years and I don't want it
to be lost. You might look better to other people, but to me you are
prettier as you are. So, if you don't mind, please let's keep your dear
eyes just as they always have been.'

"She looked up in joyful surprise and replied:

"'Why, it was only for your sake that I was even thinking of having
anything done, and if you feel in that way about it I--I----'

"Well, Pickett, I was glad and she was glad. I untied the
bonnet-strings, threw the bonnet onto the floor, I think, and took her
by the hand and we turned and walked back into the room as light-hearted
as a pair of children on their first picnic."

"Untied the bonnet-strings!" exclaimed Mrs. Grant. "You just pulled them
into a hard knot, then broke them and threw the bonnet onto the floor."

He reached over and patted her hand, and the President of the United
States gazed upon the same eyes that had looked their love into those of
the young captain in the years agone and had become more precious to him
with the passing of time.

Mrs. Grant's morning receptions in the blue room, in which she was
assisted by the President, were very popular, chiefly because of her
unfailing good nature, which had the effect of putting others in a good
humor with themselves and the world. It may be that you have met people
whose apparently permanent condition of mind led you to think that they
were averse to being put into a good humor and would prefer to avoid
the society of those who could effect such a revolution. That is a
delusion. There is no one who does not like to be in a good temper or
fails to experience a pleasant glow in the society of those who can
produce that novel condition.

The weakness of Mrs. Grant's eyes compelled her to carry on her
correspondence with the aid of a secretary, one of the soldiers usually
being sent to her aid when she desired clerical assistance. It was
before the day of the White House "social secretary," writing to the
first Lady of the Land not being at that time so popular a diversion as
it has since become.

The charities and generous deeds of Mrs. Grant were so quietly effected
that the world never knew of the good she accomplished. A friend who was
very close to her said that her work ought to be made known to the
public after she was gone, that it might live in memory without wounding
her modesty.

A home-like atmosphere pervaded the White House, due to the President's
habit of keeping his official existence and his home life separate and
to the determination of Mrs. Grant to provide him with a place where
official duties might fall from his brain and pleasure and content fill
his heart. Here he was "Ulys" to "Mrs. G.," as he called his
heart-companion of many years. Here he listened to the confidences of
his children, happy that they brought to him even their inmost thoughts.
At that time Fred was a cadet at West Point and the younger children
were attending Washington schools.

Colonel Dent did his part toward keeping the White House cheerful with
the original of that smile which has since been utilized for commercial
purposes. General Babcock could more easily have passed for a politician
than a soldier. General Porter's funereal face covered a fountain of wit
that was constantly bubbling up, to the surprise and delight of those
who had been deceived by the preternatural gravity of his expression.
The President was criticized by his opponents for keeping officers about
the White House, but when their martial phase was so slightly in
evidence I could not see why anyone should object.

Though General Grant was the soul of geniality with his intimate
friends, to the public generally his reticence had made him known as
"The Sphynx," or "the Great Unspeakable." If one chanced to appeal to
"the Sphynx" on a subject in which he was interested he became as fluent
as the most loquacious of men. When he was Commander of the United
States Army a gentleman who called upon him with a letter of
introduction from a friend of both, tried him upon two apparently
interesting subjects without leading anywhere. As the visitor was about
to retire in despair it occurred to him to mention a fine horse owned by
their friend. The "Great Unspeakable" immediately became a fountain of
eloquence and an animated conversation followed, to the delight equally
of the General and his caller.

The President told me in a gleeful way the story of his first purchase
of a horse. Speaking of his early dislike of military life and his
horror of war:

"I did not want to be a soldier. When my father came home from town one
day and surprised me with the information that I had received an
appointment to West Point I said, 'I am not going.' He looked at me and
replied, 'I think you are.' Then I thought so, too. I don't know what
else I could have been. I should probably not have succeeded in trade.
My first purchase was made when I was seven. A neighbor had a horse
which he was willing to sell for twenty-five dollars. My longing for
that horse was so great that my father, though knowing the price was too
high, told me that I might offer twenty dollars for it, and if the
neighbor would not take that I could offer twenty-two and if that did
not suffice I might pay the twenty-five. So I went to the man and told
him what my father had said. It would not be difficult to solve the
problem of the cost of that horse. The boys got wind of the story and
you can imagine that for awhile life was not worth much to me.

"It may be that I lost money on that horse, but the first dollar I ever
earned was on a mule; a circus mule. The ringmaster offered a dollar to
anyone who should succeed in riding the mule once around the ring. My
mind was made up to win that dollar. I promptly mounted the animal and
was as promptly deposited upon the sawdust. Asking if I might have
another trial I was told that I might have as many as I wanted. This
time I mounted with my face toward the mule's tail, which so
disconcerted him that he ambled peacefully around the ring and I got the
dollar."

At West Point Cadet Grant took the highest leap recorded in the history
of the Academy. One who witnessed the feat described the scene,--the
clean-cut, blue-eyed young man who at the call of the riding-master
dashed out from the ranks on a powerfully built chestnut sorrel horse
and rode to the end of the hall. Turning he galloped down the center
toward a bar placed higher than the head of a tall man standing. Within
a short distance of the bar the horse paused and gathering all his
strength for the mighty effort vaulted over. Forty years later Grant
remembered the steed that had served him so well and said, "York was a
wonderful horse." After the war, learning that his old riding-master was
poor and helpless, General Grant sent him a cheque.

The old soldier never claimed to have distinguished himself in
scholarship at West Point, but he must have made an impression of
strength upon those around him, for one of his classmates, James A.
Hardie, said, "If a great emergency arises in this country during our
lifetime Sam Grant will be the man to meet it."

He had the simplicity characteristic of all really great minds, and the
directness of a soldier, going straight to his aim; he never either
overshot or undershot the mark. He spent a part of every day walking
unattended along the streets enjoying exercise and open air unhampered
by guards, and his daily rides were also usually solitary, for in his
racing buggy behind his magnificent trotter, leaning over the dashboard
to encourage his horse by a friendly word, there was scarcely anything
in Washington that could have kept him in view. Only once was he passed
in a race. His friend and clerk, Lieutenant Culver C. Sniffen, now a
General on the retired list, owned a fine horse and the President
challenged him to a race. The Lieutenant declined, not wishing either
to beat the President or be beaten by him. The President, with the true
sporting instinct, persisted until the Lieutenant, fired with like
emulation, yielded and rode to win. He did win and the President was
very fond of telling the story of the only time he had ever lost a race.

General Grant had one sad memory connected with a horse, dating back to
the time when he was a young officer in Mexico. He rode a beautiful
fierce untamable animal that in years past had killed a number of
would-be riders. A Mexican officer who was a skilled and daring horseman
had an ambition to mount the horse. Lieutenant Grant, fearing for the
safety of his Mexican friend, would not consent to his riding so
dangerous a beast. The Mexican would not let himself be dissuaded and
the Lieutenant, fearing that the friend might think that he did not want
him to ride his horse, ceased his opposition. The Mexican mounted and
was thrown and killed.

Occasionally when it could not be avoided the President would curb his
wild spirit sufficiently to take a leisurely drive in Mrs. Grant's easy
carriage behind the tall and dignified black coachman, Hawkins, attended
by the almost equally imposing footman, Jerry. Usually this stately
equipage was left to the unshared enjoyment of Mrs. Grant and her
guests. A number of pleasant drives I took with my hostess, sometimes
into the country around Washington, and sometimes to the Soldiers' Home
where the veterans bivouacked peacefully until they should be mustered
out of the earthly army. The long rows of white wooden slabs with black
lettered names upon them brought back vividly memories so new that they
lay near the surface of my heart.

It may be that to one familiar with the Washington of to-day the views
of the city at that time would have been marred by primitive
architectural features, but Nature had so far done her best in the
beginning that one might well accept the opinion of Humboldt who, after
visiting all the cities of the known world, said that for a site the
entire globe does not hold its equal. The youthful surveyor, long before
he became the "Father of his Country," wrought well in fancy when gazing
across the Potomac he viewed the fair prospect with prophetic eye and
foresaw a stately capitol of a great nation rising from one of its green
hills. So well had the capital city weathered the storm that had almost
wrecked the Ship of State that one who had known it in war days might
have found it beautiful in comparison.

Inside the White House the deft fingers of Martha Johnson Patterson had
wrought miracles of adornment out of the web of her imagination, aided
by a few simple materials which in less skillful hands would have been
ineffective. Within its walls life went on to the time kept by Madison's
clock that had ticked away all the decades since the "Father of the
Constitution" held guardianship over that complicated child of many
variegated phases.

General Grant, as head of the United States Army, regarded his staff as
his military family and chose its members according to his desire. As
President he took a similar view of his Cabinet, looking upon it as his
civic family, and did not cast a favorable eye upon recommendations made
by politicians who wished to draw upon him for the payment of their
campaign debts. Having no such debts of his own, being tied to no party
and bound by no pledges, he felt free to select his associates as he
thought best, thereby incurring the ill-will of party leaders who held
their positions by heavy mortgages to office-seekers. I suppose soldiers
have an instinctive aversion to politicians, not only because they make
war but because they insist upon managing it throughout its whole
existence. Thus Grant sought his advisers in non-political fields.

The President was severely criticized for his appointment of Mr. A. T.
Stewart as Secretary of the Treasury, in contradiction to the "nine
statutes" which Mr. Conkling afterward found to bar the way, but the
wise statesmen of the Senate confirmed the appointment with eager
promptness, and it could scarcely be demanded that a soldier with more
opportunity of knowing the regulations of battlefields than the statutes
that govern political administration should be better informed as to
civic laws than those who have devoted a large part of their lives to
the study and framing of such laws. Failing this appointment Governor
Boutwell, a good friend of the President, was made Secretary of the
Treasury, and it was as one of the most trusted advisers in the Cabinet
that I met him.

The sympathies of President Grant were deep and broad and sometimes
presented humorous phases. At a Cabinet meeting one day he brought up
the case of a lawyer whom he thought of appointing Chief Justice of one
of the territories, expressing pity for him because he had lost a leg in
battle. After an extended silence the Attorney-General, Judge Rockwood
Hoar, quietly remarked, "Mr. President, it seems to me that mere absence
of legs is not a sufficient qualification for judicial office." The
other members looked apprehensive, but the President laughed and said
that he would think of it further. The result of more mature reflection
was that some one else was appointed, presumably with the normal
equipment of legs and a fair endowment of unquestionable judicial merit.

Attorney-General Rockwood Hoar was never averse to expressing his
sentiments in rugged English, but his somewhat burry aspect and speech
covered a good healthy heart filled with sympathetic impulses. His wit
was a shining blade that cut more deeply than he intended, sometimes to
his regret, but his eloquence on the finer phases of life was a radiance
of sunlight. The true depth of his nature was shown in his kindness to
all who needed him.

The most impressive member of the Cabinet was, quite appropriately, the
head of the State Department, Secretary Hamilton Fish. Six feet tall, of
distinguished bearing, with strong face surmounted by dark curling hair,
intense eyes that seemed to look through the object of their gaze,
graceful and cultivated manner, he was a noted figure in any assemblage.
His tact and statesmanship kept the country off the diplomatic reefs on
which it might have been wrecked by a guiding hand less firm. President
Grant said, "History will write that we have had two great Secretaries
of State, Governor Marcy and Governor Fish." Mr. Fish was always
immaculately dressed, a distinctive mark of his attire being a diamond
breastpin, which he always wore in his shirt. He succeeded the
six-weeks' term of Mr. Elihu B. Washburne, who was transferred to Paris
and, as Minister during the stormy period of the Franco-Prussian War,
gained the admiration and confidence not only of his own country but of
Europe as well for his wise and patriotic service.

The President and my Soldier often talked of the war, discussing it from
their opposite view-points. Never once did General Grant refer to us as
"rebels." He always mentioned us as, "You fellows on the other side."

General Grant was deeply interested in the battle of Gettysburg, of
which he knew only by report. One day at the close of dinner he asked my
Soldier to explain certain movements in the final charge. To make the
inquiry plainer he drew some lines on the table-cloth with the handle of
a spoon. My Soldier took the spoon from the President's hand and drew
upon the cloth a diagram, briefly explaining as he went along:

"Here is Seminary Ridge; there Cemetery Ridge. Here is Round Top. This
is Meade's left; here, Meade's right. There are the Confederate troops
in the woods; here, Gettysburg. There is the Fifth Corps. Here are the
batteries, and there, Hall's Brigade. Here are Cushing and Webb. Here is
Clark's Brigade; there, a rail fence. Here is the Third Brigade."

Lining off a space at one corner to enlarge the vital point of the
charge, he continued:

"Here is the turning point of the third day. There, the stone wall we
crossed. There is Webb. Here is the Confederate assault. There is where
Armistead got over; here, where he fell." Drawing his hand quickly
across the corner beyond he added, "There is hell!"

"Bring me a blue pencil," said the President to a servant. When it was
brought he carefully marked over the lines in the soft-laid cloth and
carried it into the smoking-room.

The tenderest memory I have of President Grant, because it is the one
closest to my heart, is of him and my Soldier as they stood facing each
other in the President's office just before the close of our visit. I
can see them now looking earnestly into each other's eyes, one of
General Grant's hands on the shoulder of his old comrade and friend.

Grant, always faithful to his friends, was urging upon my Soldier, whom
the war had impoverished, the marshalship of the State of Virginia,
which he was gratefully but firmly declining. Later, when the devotion
of the President to his old friends and his confidence in them had given
his enemies an opportunity to criticize with undue severity his habit of
making appointments for friendship rather than politics, I appreciated
still more the generosity and wisdom of my Soldier's refusal. Knowing
the demands upon the President, knowing that acceptance of the
appointment, sorely as he needed it, would create for the administration
a host of enemies, he said:

"You cannot afford to do this for me, and I cannot afford to let you do
it."

"I can afford to do anything I choose," replied the President.

I shall never forget the gratitude in my Soldier's tear-dimmed eyes as
he turned them upon the President, showing his appreciation of the
friendship and sacrifice, nor General Grant's look in return, nor what
those old soldiers did--never, as silently shaking hands and walking off
in different directions they gazed out of separate windows, and I stole
away.



XXXII

UNCLE TOM


One evening just after the New York steamer had blown her three whistles
in honor of my Soldier, as the river steamers always did in passing our
wharf, and had gone around the bend, we saw Uncle Tom, the faithful old
negro fisherman, coming up the hill with a bag over his stooping
shoulders and talking to himself more excitedly than usual.

"Good evening, Uncle Tom," I said, stepping off the porch to greet him.
"What have you in your bag for me?"

"Tarepins--dat's what I got fer you, but I got a piece of my mind fer
Marse George, en ez dis piece of mind mought not agree wid your
temperation I reckon you better g'long in de house en sing some of dem
song chunes while I's mekin' a present of de piece of mind to Marse
George."

As my curiosity was greater than my fear of mental indigestion, I
stayed to share with my Soldier the "piece of mind."

Uncle Tom proceeded to unfold his story to the effect that a
carpet-bagger who had come to Bermuda Hundred was inciting the colored
people against my Soldier and planning with them to visit us in force.
He said that he was a brother of one of the same class of human wreckage
who had visited our community some time before, selling to the negroes
ointment that was advertised to turn them into white people. My Soldier
had reported the enterprising merchant and, with Mr. "Buck" Allen and
Colonel John Selden, had taken to Richmond some boxes of the ointment
and some of the negroes to whom the ointment had been sold, and the
"carpet-bagger" had been put in jail. His brother was now inflaming the
credulous colored people with the idea that my Soldier had caused the
disappointment of their ambitious aspirations.

The man who thus excited Uncle Tom's indignation and apprehension had
lain in the river with his vessel for weeks, sending out his emissaries
to tell the poor credulous colored people that the United States
government had authorized him to promise that to every colored man who
would bring him a good bridle and saddle, thereby showing his fitness
for the possession, should be given a mule to fit the saddle and
bridle, and that he would receive and receipt for the same every night
between the hours of midnight and daybreak. So successful was this
impostor that he had almost made up his load before he was caught, and
there was hardly a bridle and saddle left in all the surrounding
country.

While my Soldier had confidence in Uncle Tom, he did not much believe
that the negroes would dare make an attack upon him. He insisted,
though, that I should not run any risk, but should take our babies and
go to Richmond for a few days. Finding that no persuasion could induce
me to leave him, he consented that we might wait together, fearing, yet
not believing, that they would come.

The third night after Uncle Tom's warning, when we had begun to hope
that he had after all been misinformed, we heard a rapping at the door
and then a low growl.

"That's Rufus, rapping on the door with his tail," said my Soldier. "He
hears something and is warning us. Listen!"

He opened the door and the dog entered, trembling and with great tears
of fear in his loyal eyes. We listened but heard nothing. My Soldier
came in and shut the door.

"Lay the baby down," he said, "and take this, but keep it out of sight,"
handing me a pistol.

His loaded gun was resting on a bracket just above the door. Rufus
stood pointing, his nose nearly touching the panel of the door. My heart
seemed almost bursting from my throat and sounded in my ear like the
beating of a drum. The baby smiled and dreamed aloud. While we listened
tensely there came the sound of footsteps, the rolling of loose dirt and
brickbats.

"Listen! They are coming around the back way and across the ruins of the
old house. I hear a number of steps, but they are uncertain steps. Don't
be afraid, dear; be your own plucky little self."

"I am not the least afraid," I answered, my teeth chattering and my
hands trembling, "not the least, Soldier."

Rufus turned his head and looked at me as if he had heard a stranger's
voice, and then, wagging his tail to reassure me, returned to a dead
point. The sounds became louder and the surging wave rolled nearer.

One who has never beheld a raging sea of black faces filled with
excitement and fury, wild, ignorant, brutal, some distorted with
intoxication, cannot form the faintest idea of the awful sight. They
threatened vengeance against my Soldier, saying that, not satisfied with
fighting against their liberties, he was now trying to keep away those
who would befriend them. They were led by a renegade white man who, when
they reached a point where possible danger lay, retired from leadership
and withdrew to a protected spot in the rear.

My Soldier stepped out on the porch and confronted the mob, who were
yelling, cursing, and brandishing pistols, knives, and all manner of
weapons. Looking at them for a few seconds he said:

"Boys, what does all this mean? What is all this trouble about? You
don't know what you are doing. That cowardly dog there, sneaking and
crouching down behind you to save his own worthless carcass, is not your
friend. For a few handfuls of money he will lead you to steal, lie and
kill. All he wants is what he can make out of you. Don't trust him,
boys. These miserable Yankee scalawags haven't any love for you. They
never owned any negroes. We who owned you are your friends. We have been
brought up together and understand each other."

"Dat's so, niggers; dat's so," cried Uncle Tom, who had come up with the
mob as if he were one of them in spirit. "You better listen to Marse
George. He sho' is tellin' you de trufe, niggers--de gorspel trufe."

"Stand back! Stand back!" cried my Soldier, suddenly starting forth and
waving both hands. "Stand back, I say!"

The negroes fell back on both sides and my Soldier went down between
them to where the white renegade was cowering behind his poor, ignorant,
impulsive black dupes, and, seizing him by the collar, shook him with
all his force. The collar broke and the man fell to the ground. My
Soldier jumped on top of him and called, "Bring me that rope!" pointing
to the clothes-line stretched across the road. "Come, boys, let's tie
the scoundrel!"

After they had securely bound him the General ordered some of them to
pick him up and carry him to the smokehouse and lock him in, which they
did with great satisfaction, their mercurial natures having now veered
completely to the side of my Soldier.

"Now, boys," said he, "get into your boats and go back home, and be
thankful that the bad man locked up there in the haunted smokehouse with
the rats and ghosts has not made you all commit a crime, too, for which
you would be sent to jail."

The reference to the spectral inhabitants of the smokehouse was, for the
colored people, a sufficient bar to their possible change of sentiment
and return to the rescue of their former leader. They believed
implicitly in the uncanny reputation of that house and, to their view,
the ghost of old Grundy, who had hanged himself from its rafters and
who, as the story goes, when the flames were devouring the old colonial
home within a stone's throw of it, came out shaking his fist at them,
thus saving the smokehouse from the fire, was more formidable than the
armies of the whole world. The next morning the sheriff took the
prisoner to Richmond, where he was jailed and promptly brought to trial.
He was found guilty of inciting a riot and was sent out of the country.

Uncle Tom was an old servitor of the Pickett family. He had been at
Turkey Island when the mansion was burned and had contrived to save a
few relics from the ruins. Among them was a medallion which had been
presented to my Soldier's grandfather by La Fayette. It was set in gold,
framed in blue velvet, and hung in the library under La Fayette's
picture. As one of Butler's men was carrying it to the steamer the
medallion fell out, and Uncle Tom picked it up and had saved it all
these years. In his own logical way he explained the selection of the
one to whom it should be given.

"I done studied 'bout dis 'heritance a heap, en I says to myse'f, 'Well,
I gwine to give dis 'heritance to Miss Sally, kase she Marse George's
wife en Marse George he is de oldest chile.' Den I says, 'No, dat ain't
ret; I gwine to give it to Miss Lizzy, kase she Marse Charlie's wife en
Marse Charlie is de youngest chile.' Den I says, 'No, I gwine let de
wifes 'cide fer darse'fs which gwine to have de 'heritance, en I gwine
to give it to de one dat treats de ole man de best.'

"So de Sunday atter dey moved down I goes 'roun' to Miss Lizzy's house
en she axes me 'Howdy?' en axes me how Aunt Lindy, my ole 'oman,
sagashuates. Den she say, 'Uncle Tom, won't you hab a toddy?' En I say,
'Yas'm, Miss Lizzy, thanky, ma'm; ole nigger allus raidy for a toddy.'
Den she mek me a gre't big nice toddy en fetches it out to me herse'f.
Den she say, 'Uncle Tom, don't you want sump'n to eat?' I say, 'Yas'm,
de ole man allus hongry.' Den she fetches me out a pilin' plate of
vitals. Den I say, 'Dat's Miss Lizzy's 'heritance, sho'!'

"De nex' Sunday I goes ter Miss Sally's house, en she axes me 'Howdy?'
too, jest as 'spec'ful as ef I wuz de king, en den she axes me how my
ole 'oman is, too, en I tells her. Den she say, 'Uncle Tom, don't you
want a dram?' 'Yas'm,' I says, 'Miss Sally, de ole man allus wants a
dram.' Den she say, 'Well, g'long back dar to de sideboa'd en he'p
yo'se'f. Dar's de canter of ole apple jack en ole London dock; you jest
go he'p yo'se'f, Uncle Tom.' Den when I comes 'long back she say, 'Uncle
Tom, did you he'p yo'se'f plent'ful?' I say, 'Yas'm, de ole man allus
does dat.' Den she say, 'Ain't you hongry?' I say, 'Yas'm, de ole man's
allus hongry.' Den she say, 'Well, Uncle Tom, you must 'scuse me, but I
fergot to ax you 'bout bein' hongry, so g'long back to de dinin' room en
he'p yo'se'f; dar's plenty er col' ham en fried chicken en pickle
oyschers en 'zerbs en t'ings. I's waitin' for de hunters to come in 'fo'
I puts 'em away, so g'long back en he'p yo'se'f.' 'Name of God,' I say,
'Marse George's wife's gwine to git dis hyer 'heritance, atter all.'
Yas, dat 'heritance is Miss Sally's, sho'."

From the rim of gold around this "'heritance," as Uncle Tom called it,
my Soldier had made two pairs of beautifully carved bracelets, one for
his brother's wife and one for his sister. The miniature was made into a
pin for me, which I still have and wear, not only for its quaint
prettiness and because it is almost the only relic of all those old
household treasures, but in memory as well of Uncle Tom and of La
Fayette's appreciation of the hospitality of old Turkey Island.



XXXIII

"GOD'S 'TISEMENT"


Upon leaving Canada we had expected to lose Annie, our faithful nurse,
but she interrupted our objections to taking her with:

"Howly Fathers! an' sure an' phwat's to become of me widout the baby an'
leastwise, phwat's as bad an' worse, phwat's to become of the baby
widout me?"

We explained that wages were much higher in the States and that we could
not afford to take her. She begged to be allowed to come at any
sacrifice of her own interests, so we finally consented, resolving that
she should lose nothing by her loyalty.

Annie enjoyed the journey and the visit to New York, but at Norfolk the
hundreds of negro stevedores who met the New York steamers frightened
her nearly to death. The few colored people whom she had seen in
Montreal and looked upon as martyrs and saints were of a very different
class from these. When I tried to reassure her she said angrily:

"Oh, the mother of ye that ye are, sure--being afther planning to have
one of these black, howling, writhing craythurs nursing of the boy, the
dirty, twisting bastes! It's meself that's afther the temptin' of
Providence to be a risking of me own grown-up life among such haythens,
a singin' words widout any meanin', the saints save us!"

She was praying and counting her beads.

In my father's home there had been only colored servants, and my father
and brothers, the most courtly of men, could not bear to see Annie
standing in their presence while they remained seated. She was not only
being spoiled by their numerous courtesies and gallantries, but was
embarrassed by them, feeling herself a servant equally with the colored
maids.

Our second child, little Corbell, was three years old when Annie left us
to marry a well-to-do farmer, a young man who, in his rural simplicity,
recognized no superior. I was sorry to part from her, particularly on
account of Corbell's strong aversion to colored people. After
innumerable failures to fill her place a kinswoman, noted for judgment
and care in the selection of her servants, sent me her own nurse until I
could secure one that would please me. The nurse remained three days,
when Corbell took the situation into his own hands and thus explained it
in his prayers:

"Our Father who art in Heaven, please send me a white nurse because
nobody else can, and because when black hands touch me my soul crawls
all around inside and I get icicles and creepy things all down my back,
and, oh, dear Lord, our Father who art in Heaven, I'd rather have no
supper than have their black hands cut it up for me, and I'd rather be
dirty as the pigs than have them wash me, and I'd rather not go out
doors and see the birds and flowers and other children and things play
and pick the buttercups that the policeman don't care if we pick because
they grow wild, than have their big black-white eyes watching me. So,
our Father who art in Heaven, please send me a white nurse quick, for
Christ's sake. Amen!"

"Don't you know, my darling," I said, "that all the Southern children
have colored nurses. Your mamma had one and loved her almost like a
mother. God made the colored people."

"Well, then, there must have been a colored God around somewhere."

He thought that the black God must be very wicked and prayed that the
dusky deity might die "and let the white God make all the people."

At that time the only servants in Virginia were colored. Finding that
the child could not become accustomed to "black hands" and that his
health was endangered by his efforts to overcome a weakness that seemed
congenital, we advertised for a white nurse but with no success. Hearing
us talk about advertising, Corbell asked God to put in a "'tisement" for
a white nurse for him. He prayed for everything he wanted and asked the
Lord to do things for him that his father and mother could not do, at
the same time begging the Father in Heaven not to let us know that he
had appealed to a higher power, lest our feelings be hurt.

We were staying at the Ballard and Exchange Hotel in Richmond. One
morning as we were going out for our daily ride a beautiful woman
dressed in deep mourning was standing in the hall. With a startled
expression she held out her hands and my little Corbell ran into her
arms, exclaiming:

"Oh, you are the dear, good God's 'tisement and you have come to be my
nurse and take my 'Carthy's place. See, our mother, see! Black hands
won't ever, ever make creeps in me any more, now that our Father who art
in Heaven has sent the 'tisement to me."

The stranger clasped the child to her heart, kissing his golden curls
and sweet brown eyes while her tears fell.

"Pardon this uncontrolled emotion, madam," she said, "and excuse me,
please, for taking such a liberty with your child. I have just passed
through a great sorrow and am very nervous."

I led her to our rooms where she sat with my little darling in her arms,
gazing into his face lovingly and moaning, "My little angel! Oh, my
little angel!" He took out his tiny handkerchief and wiped her eyes and
kissing her said:

"Don't cry, 'Tisement, don't cry. Come and ride with our mother and my
little brother and me and you can hold me in your lap; come, 'Tisement,
come."

She rode with us, sitting beside me, holding my little Corbell.

"Why do you call me 'Tisement?" she asked.

Corbell explained that, hearing us talking about advertising for a nurse
and seeing how we had failed, he had sent an advertisement to God
himself, asking for just the kind he wanted, "and," he added, "I knew
you were God's 'tisement as soon as I saw you."

When we returned she told me her sad story, the tragic story of a
beautiful, fair, proud woman with the one black drop in her veins. All
her loved ones were gone, her beautiful boy the last to leave her, and
she longed for little hands to soothe away her pain. She stayed with us
and her new-found charge saw only the pure white face, the delicate
soft hands that touched him lovingly, and knew nothing of the dark link
that held her in bondage to the past.

She was a devoted nurse, helpful and diplomatic with both children, but
it was on Corbell that she showered all her pent up love. He was very
fond of music and was always ready to greet the dawn with a smile and a
song. Early one morning when George first opened his eyes after a night
in the better world of dreams, he heard Corbell's flute-like tones in
the strains of "Where, oh, where are the Hebrew Children?" The necessity
of taking up the tangled threads anew filled his little heart with
dismay, and with a sense of having been wronged he called out:

"Our mother, please come and make Corbell stop singing 'Where are the
Hebrew Children?' I don't know where the Hebrew Children are and I don't
want to know."

Mary, the faithful answer to God's "'tisement," volunteered to find the
Hebrew Children and amid her suggestions of possible places in which
they might be concealed, peace was restored.

Corbell was one of the most gifted of children. Not only could he sing,
but he was quite an artist with the scissors, and at a very early age
could cut out the most astonishing representations of birds and animals.
One day after an illness I thought he had been cutting long enough and
suggested to him to put up the scissors lest he become nervous and
tired. Click-click went the scissors. "Wait till I get the meat part of
the mule's mane right," he said. Several times I made the same
suggestion, receiving the same reply, and click-click-click went the
scissors. Then forgetting myself I raised my voice and commandingly
called, "Put those scissors down, sir, this minute!"

Bang went the scissors across the other side of the room and with eyes
flashing with indignation he cried out:

"Madam! Do you think that Aunt Mary Christ would have spoken to her
little boy Jesus like that?"

"No, my darling," I said, ashamed of myself, "and I will never, never
again speak in that way to you." And I never did.

It was probably the first time that the Blessed Virgin had ever been
spoken of as "Aunt Mary Christ," but the claim of relationship was not
surprising, as put forth by a little Virginia boy, since in the Old
Dominion elderly ladies or those who were regarded with special
reverence were always addressed as "Aunt."

Our nearest neighbors in the hotel were Colonel and Mrs. Parsons. The
Colonel had belonged to the Federal Army and after the war had brought
his family to Richmond to live. His children had some toy soldiers with
which they and my two little boys would fight great battles, the
Confederates and Federals being permitted to win alternately.

Mr. Davis came in one day when the star of victory shone on the Southern
side.

"Hurrah, boys," he said. "I am glad I came to-day. I like to see the
Confederates win."

"Wait, wait," said my little George, "and we'll let you see the Federals
win."

"Ah, my little man," replied Mr. Davis in his pathetic voice, "your
father and I have seen the Federals win."

Corbell was always interested in his father's fighting in Mexico. Of
course Mr. Davis far outranked my Soldier in that war, but when Corbell
asked, "Were you in papa's Company, Mr. Davis, or was he in yours?"
rather than hold any precedence over his father in the boy's thought,
Mr. Davis replied:

"If I remember correctly, we were both in each other's Company, I think,
my son."

"Our mama," said Corbell, after Mr. Davis had gone, "what has Mr. Davis
got in his throat that makes his talk sound so music-y?"

The summers we passed at the Old Greenbrier White Sulphur and the Salt
Sulphur Springs, the hotels in both places being kept by brothers who
had served in my Soldier's Division.

One season we occupied a cottage with Mr. Peabody, the great
philanthropist. It was his last visit to his native land, the summer
before he died. He had gone to the Springs in the vain hope of restored
health. Looking for my little Corbell one day I found him in the rooms
of Mr. Peabody who, with weak and trembling hands, was signing some
cheques. Corbell was sitting on his knee, watching his work.

"I know what makes your hand tremble," he was saying. "Our mother told
me; she says it's because of all the good things it has done for God's
people."

"Your little hand does not tremble. Aren't you glad?" asked Mr. Peabody.

"I'd rather have trembly hands if they would help me to do good to all
the people like yours," replied Corbell.

In the last summer of General Lee's life he was at the "Old White"
taking the waters. Corbell had been ordered to drink them, too, and
emphatically objected.

"Don't drink that water, General Lee," he said. "It doesn't smell good."

"But you drink it," replied the General.

"I have to; they make me," responded Corbell sadly. "You are a man and
they can't make you."

"But I like it," asserted the General.

Corbell regretfully confided to me afterward:

"They call him a great man, our mama, and, oh, he likes things that
don't smell good."

It was the only cloud upon his confidence in General Lee.

Coming in one day the General found the children building block houses.

"Is this the house that Jack built?" he asked.

"No, sir," replied Corbell. "That's the house that George built and this
is the house that Corbell built. Jack didn't build any houses down this
way."

"Don't you know the story?" asked General Lee. "'This is the house that
Jack built. This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.'"

"Yes, sir," returned Corbell, "but it makes me feel weazley to keep on
saying the 'Jack built' part."

In passing out of the dining-room one evening General Lee stopped at our
table by the door. We were cracking nuts, which reminded him of the
story I had told about the young man who asked for "the nut-busters." He
said to Corbell:

"Your little hands are not strong enough to use these 'nut-busters.'
Let me crack your nuts for you."

"No, thank you, General," replied the child. "Our mama says that we may
eat all we can crack and that the squirrels don't have anybody to crack
their nuts; if they did they'd eat too many, too. 'Course she don't want
to hurt our hands, but she is afraid if somebody cracks nuts for us
we'll eat too many and be sick."

The General said if that was the case he would not offer to crack any
more nuts for little children.

I have a tender memory of a call from General Lee once when my little
Corbell was very ill at the Ballard and Exchange. One morning Uncle
Wash, the old colored porter, tiptoed in with a card.

"It's Marse Genul Lee, Missus," he whispered. "He come ter ax atter de
li'le man, en he say he moughty sorry to hyer boutn his being so bad
off. He's ret out hyer at de do'."

I went to the door and held out my hand to General Lee.

"I have heard of the illness of my little friend and have come to see
him."

My Soldier got up from the side of the bed and brought a chair.

"I have come to renew my acquaintance, George, with our little man
here," he said, calling my Soldier by his name, which I had never
before heard him do.

He was President at that time of Washington College, now the
Washington-Lee University, at Lexington, and this was the last time he
was ever in Richmond.

General Lee's fondness for children made him always a great favorite
with them, and he and our little Corbell discussed the Old White, its
nasty smelling sulphur-water, and the many friends they had made there.
Holding up his little thin hand, Corbell said:

"See, General, how wobbly my hand is. It's a heap tremblier than Mr.
Peabody's was. I can write my name now, but I can't write it to do good
with and to give things, as Mr. Peabody did; I wish I could. My,
wouldn't I make it fly?"

"Your dear little hand does more good than it could possibly do by
writing your name on paper," replied General Lee. "It is a hand of love
and that is better than anything else in the world. I saw Dr.
Minnegerode and he told me how sick you had been and how patient and
sweet you were and how hard you were trying to get well."

"Dr. Minnegerode wasn't a soldier like you and our papa, was he?" asked
our little darling, shaking his head and changing the subject.

"Yes," replied General Lee, "but he did not fight with a sword. He is a
preacher, a Bible teacher, and fights with the spirit."

"That's poetry, isn't it?" asked Corbell.

"Yes; that is poetry."

"General, Dr. Minnegerode always says his prayers with me and asks the
Lord to bless me and make me well," said Corbell.

"May I say my prayers with you, too, my boy, and ask the Lord to make us
both well and bless us?"

"Yes, General, but you are a soldier, not a preacher."

"No, I am neither now, my little man," replied the General; "just a
poor, sick, helpless child like you, asking for health."

He knelt by the bedside and prayed the most beautiful prayer I ever
heard.

It was the last time I saw General Lee.



XXXIV

CHARLOTTE CUSHMAN


After the failure of the military system of agriculture developed at
Turkey Island my Soldier became the general agent for the South of a
life insurance company. His office was in Richmond, where his boyhood
had been spent and where we had many pleasant friends and old
associations.

Though living a life of deep earnestness, my Soldier was fond of a story
or a jest. He used to tell some of Lincoln's jokes and anecdotes which,
in his youthful days in Illinois, he had heard from the lips of that
famous story-teller, so that when I afterward saw the stories of the
great War President in print I remembered many of them as old friends.
Mr. Lincoln was much interested in the plantation legends told by the
Virginia boy and they exchanged stories, to the delight of both.

My Soldier especially liked a joke if it was upon me. On leaving home
for a business trip he once asked me how much money I should need
before his return. After a labored calculation I mentioned a sum which
he, knowing me, promptly doubled. He had been gone only a day when I
suddenly recalled an obligation that had escaped my memory, and
telegraphed him. By next mail came a cheque, carefully made out, payable
to "Mrs. Oliver Twist." As I must have the money it was necessary for me
to indorse it as it was made out. To tease me he kept the cheque to
dangle before my eyes on the slightest provocation, and I have it now.

He always made companions of our boys and joked and played with them as
if he were the same age as they. One morning when our little George was
about ten years old he took him to the office several blocks from home,
sending him back with a note, telling him to go directly home and not to
get into any trouble on the way. Then he followed him, watching his
progress. I still have the note in which were recorded the little
fellow's meanderings, of which this is a copy:

"Saw a man posting bills; stopped to watch him. Went on a short
distance; saw two dogs fighting. Stopped to see which beat; sicked them
on again. Farther along saw something interesting in a drug-store
window; stood and looked. Started on and came to some boys playing
marbles; stopped and took a hand in the game; lost all his own marbles,
paid up like a man, walked on, whistling. Came to a man shoveling coal;
helped him, and pocketed some small pieces. Met a man he knew; stopped
and talked to him, asked the time. Played in a pile of sand with a
stick. Had a fight with Wirt Robinson; licked each other. Found a boy
who had lost a penny down a crack; helped him to get it out. Saw a
kitten escaping from a cellar window; chased it back. Met a boy on
stilts; made him get down and let him walk on them. Saw an old woman
coming out of the doorway with a bucket of water on her head; jumped at
her, frightening her, making her head lose its balance, spilling the
water all over her. Turned his pockets inside out and gave the old woman
all his week's allowance, as compensation for the wetting he had caused.
Reached the gate; stopped to play with the latch. Went in. Time in
reaching home, one hour and twenty-five minutes."

The report was sent by a messenger, who delivered it to me before little
George came into the house, so that, to his great surprise, I was able
to tell him all that he had been doing. When I showed him the record he
said:

"I knew dear father was a great man and knew most everything, but I
didn't know he had God's eyes and could see everything."

[Illustration: "I KNOW DEAR FATHER WAS A GREAT MAN AND KNEW MOST
EVERYTHING, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HE HAD GOD'S EYES AND COULD SEE
EVERYTHING"]

To my query whether he had done anything else by the way which his dear
father had not seen, he replied:

"Yes; I threw Branch Barksdale's hat over the fence, and I wouldn't have
been home yet if he hadn't chased me."

Charlotte Cushman was with me at the time and I had an amusing
illustration of the way in which she unconsciously threw herself into a
situation.

"Poor little man! Poor little man!" she said in her deep sympathetic
voice, as she observed the bewilderment of the child, expressed in every
line of his tense little body, his puckered features and bent fingers.
"His little brain is all puckered up, too. He can't understand how this
thing should have come to him. Poor little man! It is wicked to mystify
him so--bless his little heart!"

In her sympathy she had assumed the pose of the bewildered child, and
her face and hands were "puckered up," as she had described his brain.

This was Miss Cushman's last visit to Richmond, when she came as a
reader, having left the dramatic stage. When I first knew her she was at
the height of her wonderful career as an actress. I met her at the
house of a friend, and she often visited me when in Richmond. She became
very fond of our children and they were fascinated by her. My little
Corbell asked her:

"What is the use of acting? Why don't you be it--just be it?"

"Ah," she replied, "there is the trouble. I do 'be it,' my child. There
is where strength and vitality go--in just being it."

Corbell was anxious to see her play, but she would not let him see her
as Meg Merrilies.

"No Meg Merrilies must ever come into the life of a child like that,"
she said. "Of all the people I have ever known, he would be the most
deeply impressed by Meg Merrilies."

A friend had sent in some birds for Corbell, and he said to Miss
Cushman:

"I wasn't brought up thinking it any wrong to shoot birds or any wrong
to eat birds, and all the good people I know shoot them and eat them.
But things that have such pretty feathers and such pretty talk in their
throats must have souls, and so I don't know for sure about shooting
them and eating them, not for really, truly sure, you know."

"I think you are right, my child, about the birds having souls, and I
believe horses and dogs have souls, too. You know, dear, I believe in
reincarnation. We eat the body of the bird, the feathers we put in our
cap, and the soul is the voice that must sing in another bird."

After that Corbell did not feel so bad about the shooting of the birds.
"The soul goes out and another bird catches it and sings."

Charlotte Cushman told me how her idea of Meg Merrilies had come to her.
On the evening of the day that she had been unexpectedly called upon to
play the character she was standing in the wing awaiting her cue, book
in hand, when she heard one of the gypsies say, "Meg--why, she is no
longer what she was; she doats." In a flash there came to her the
conception of the character in which she was to make her greatest
success.

I never saw her Lady Macbeth on the stage, but retain a vivid impression
of the awesome personation when she showed me in my own room how she had
played the sleep-walking scene upon her first appearance in drama when
she was nineteen. I still see her tragic face with the dawning horror
creeping over it as she looked at the stain on her hand. With the sudden
impulse of a frightened woman, she hurriedly took up a fold of her dress
to rub it off. The futility of the effort flashing upon her, she removed
her clutch from her dress and a deeper terror gloomed into her face.
She caught up her long hanging hair and tried to rub away the stain.
With her great awe-compelling eyes fixed upon her hand she uttered the
words, "Out, damned spot!" in a tone of anguished despair that thrilled
me with terror. She did not act Lady Macbeth; she _was_ Lady Macbeth in
all her pride, all her ambition, all her determination, all her despair.
She said that she did not like to play the character because it
exhausted her. It is easy to understand that a woman of cold and
unscrupulous ambition would drain the life of one so gentle and
sweet-natured as Charlotte Cushman.

In this engagement she did not play Nancy Sikes, but she gave us her
characterization of the part because my Soldier wanted to see it.
Lawrence Barrett described it accurately when he said: "It sounded as if
she spoke through blood." She was one of the few to whom a set stage
with scenery and music and costumes and an audience are not necessary in
the production of artistic effects. A private room, or a grassy plot
under a tree, or an open space in the sunshine, was all the stage she
required, one soul that understood her was audience enough, and when she
threw herself into the character she represented no one would have known
whether she wore the garb of a beggar or a queen.

I told her of having met Ellen Tree in Canada.

"Oh," she said, "that was worth losing your name for," referring to the
fact that in Canada the General and I were known by our middle name of
Edwards. "The very fact that she could not keep from acting when off the
stage made her interesting. Did you ever see her wipe her nose?"

I never had, so, to illustrate Ellen Tree's manner of performing that
ceremony, Miss Cushman slowly and mysteriously drew her handkerchief
from her pocket. As she did so her eyes opened wide and glared
ominously, as if some scene of tragic import were looming up in the
middle distance. Her form was tense and rigid, all her muscles drawn
taut as if for a fatal spring. The handkerchief was lifted and applied
to each nostril, while the face was stern and uncompromising as might
have been that of the noble Roman sentencing his son to death for
breaking the law. The handkerchief was returned to her pocket in the
same dramatic manner.

"The blood of all the Cæsars was on that handkerchief when it was put
away," Charlotte said. "Ellen Tree could not help acting; it was her
nature."

Ellen Tree's everyday tragedy was sometimes productive of startling
results. Going into Price's dry-goods store in Richmond she asked in her
most dramatic voice:

"Have _ye_ any prints?"

"N-n-no, no, dear Madam," stammered the gallant but startled Virginian,
"I--I'm sorry."

One of the clerks came to his assistance with the information that the
lady meant calicoes, at the same time taking down some pieces from the
shelf. The customer examined them with tragic significance and looked up
with eyes filled with fathomless depths of emotion, inquiring in a voice
of intense power, dwelling with dramatic force upon each word:

"_Said ye they would wash?_"

"N-n-no, Ma'am," replied the terrified clerk, "I d-d-did not, Ma'am."

Charlotte Cushman's manner was the opposite of that of Ellen Tree. She
was a perfect child of Nature, and one meeting her would have supposed
that she was a gentle, quiet home-keeper with no thought except to
please her own.

Speaking of Joe Jefferson she said:

"I think his paintings are as marvelous as his acting, and the colors in
his voice blend as perfectly as those in his paintings. He really must
have had a dog named Schneider when he was playing Rip Van Winkle, and
if you had told him differently he would not have believed you. He could
fool himself into thinking that whatever he acted was a fact, and his
audience readily took the same view."

Once when Charlotte Cushman was with us Judge Moncure, then an old man,
came in and, meeting his wife, greeted her with great chivalry, bending
and kissing her hand. Judge Joynes, of Petersburg, asked, "How old is
Mrs. Moncure, Judge?" Judge Moncure replied, "She was sixteen when I
married her, Judge, and to me she has been that age ever since."

The little incident reminded Charlotte of the Brownings, whom she had
known in Florence, and of the beautiful compliments that Robert Browning
used to pay his wife. She spoke of his indignation when Mrs. Browning's
poetry was compared with his own in a manner unfavorable to her. He
really felt that she was superior to himself and had no patience with
people who could not appreciate her greater merit.

Miss Cushman told me that of all the parts she had ever played she most
enjoyed Romeo, which she used to play to her sister's Juliet.

She was fond of dialects, saying, "Everything is more fascinating than
plain English." In Ireland she talked the brogue with the peasants so
well that she might have passed for one of them. She was equally at home
with Scotch, German and Italian dialects, and when in the North had been
noted for recitations in negro speech, which she thought the most
beautiful of all. But on coming to Richmond she found that she did not
know anything about the lingo of the darkies. Being anxious to learn it,
she used to talk with old Wash and Julia, two historical characters at
the Ballard and Exchange Hotel, repeating their expressions over and
over. Later she would try to say them, finding that she was no more
expert than in the beginning. Thus she learned that to know plantation
talk one must be born to it; it cannot be acquired.

She was at that time victim to a painful and wasting disease. Seeing her
suffering one day from the treatment for the malady, I said:

"Oh, I am so sorry! You can't play to-night."

"Yes, my dear," she replied gently, "I shall play to-night, and, it may
be, all the better for the pain."

Watching her wonderful performance that evening I thought it might be
that pain is the gateway to the highest realm of art.

The last time I saw Charlotte Cushman was in Philadelphia. A great
sorrow had shrouded me from the sunlight, and she tried to shelter me in
the warmth of her own heart.

"You ought to have been an actress," she said, "and then you would have
regained happiness by simulating it."

Another of our friends from the mimic world was Joe Jefferson, whom we
saw now for the first time since meeting him in Canada. On coming to
Richmond he found that his old friend, Mr. Caskie, who had helped him to
a foothold upon life, had lost his fortune by the war, and was in even
greater need than the unknown boy had formerly been. The famous comedian
was not one to forget a kindness. "Let's give him a benefit," he said to
my Soldier. It was characteristic of Joe Jefferson that he never said "I
will do" thus and so. He said "Let's do it," as if the success of the
project depended upon the one to whom he was talking rather than on his
own ability. The benefit was given and the man of ruined fortunes had
reason to be glad that in the days of the full larder he had "cast his
bread upon the waters."



XXXV

EASTER FLOWERS


The old Ballard and Exchange Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, celebrated for
having entertained more distinguished visitors than any other hostelry
in this country, consisted of two houses on opposite sides of the
street, connected by one of the most picturesque bridges, where the
guests found a pleasant meeting place as they passed from one building
to the other.

Colonel Carrington, the proprietor, was a courtly, gallant and
hospitable old Virginia gentleman, a peer of peers, yielding to no
superiority of position, as was evidenced in his reception of the Prince
of Wales on his visit to Richmond. After cordially shaking hands with
the royal visitor he slapped him on the back and said:

"Make yourself at home, Prince, make yourself at home, sir. I extend to
you my heartiest welcome, sir. Old Wash will look after you and if I
can be of any service, Prince, just call on me."

I never heard whether the Prince returned the Colonel's slap but I know
that he accepted the cordiality in the same spirit in which it was
offered. He visited the Colonel's stables and discussed the pedigree of
his fine thoroughbred, drove with him behind his fastest trotter, and so
liked the old Virginia mint juleps which he drank with his host, that he
asked for and received the recipe for making them and took it back with
him to the motherland, with some mint roots to plant in his palace
garden.

The Colonel was our life-long friend and devoted to our children who,
while they returned his affection, stood in awe of him from the time
that he gave them a graphic illustration, by pulling his wig awry and
turning his eyelids wrong side out, of what had happened to "peeping,
prying, inquisitive Jerry."

On our return from Salt Sulphur Springs the summer our little Corbell
was in his eighth year, as we drove up to the Exchange Hotel the dear
old Colonel came out to the carriage and said:

"Your rooms are all ready, General. We received your telegram and
prepared for your coming, but we have two cases of measles here, so I
have arranged to have you taken care of at the Monumental Hotel till the
danger is over."

We thought it best not to run any risk, and went to the Monumental. The
rooms were large and comfortable. Dr. and Mrs. Barksdale were the first
to greet us. They, too, with several others of our friends who had
little children, had been obliged to leave the Exchange for the same
reason.

Our precautions proved in vain, for my sister, a young lady just
entering society, who was staying with us, was stricken with the
disease, and my schoolboy brother and my two children caught the
contagion. At the end of three months, however, all were well except our
beautiful, gifted, wonderful boy, our little Corbell, always a delicate
child, who now became weaker day by day.

There was never anything like the goodness of the people of Richmond in
those trying months. Relatives, friends and strangers came daily with
toys, books, good things, carriages, as long as we could take our
darling to ride, for his beautiful angel face, his wonderful mind and
his glorious voice had won a place in every heart.

While Corbell was ill Mr. Davis called on us for the last time, as he
was never again in Richmond. When he came in I drew up a chair for him,
but he said:

"May I not sit on the bed beside our sick boy?"

When Corbell's lunch was brought in he asked that luncheon be brought
for Mr. Davis, to which Mr. Davis added his voice.

"Shall I say grace, Mr. Davis, or will you?" asked the child.

"You, if you please," Mr. Davis replied, "for I should like to hear your
grace."

Closing his beautiful eyes Corbell said the grace his father had taught
him:


     "Dear Jesus, be our Guest to-day,"


adding, "and never mind, Jesus, about Mr. Davis being here for he would
like to have you."

I do not think that the child took his eyes from Mr. Davis's face,
except to say grace, during the whole time the visitor was there. Oh,
but that face was so awfully, so pathetically changed! Every expression,
the sound of his voice, the look in his eyes, all betokened a broken
heart. Only the harmony of motion and the melody of tone remained.

On Good Friday night, seven months afterward, in sorrowful tones one and
then another of my friends as they left me for the night whispered
resignation to the will of God. Our Corbell was dying. All through the
long weary night my Soldier, Mary and I breathlessly watched and
listened beside him. As we were moving softly about the room he said:

"I'm not asleep, our mama. 'Tisement thought I was dreaming 'cause I was
laughing, but I wasn't. I was laughing about the funny thoughts I had
when I was young. I just couldn't make my eyes open wide and when she
caught me laughing I could see the first time I found out that God was
ahead. It was that time in the bathroom when I wanted you to turn on the
snow and 'Tisement said you couldn't do it, and couldn't any of you do
it; neither our mama nor our papa nor Thomas could turn on the snow. You
said you could all of you turn on the water. Well, I couldn't see why
you couldn't just as well turn on the snow as the water. Then all of a
sudden the thought came into my head that God was ahead of you all and
that only He could turn on the flaky, flying, zig-zag snow, and I began
wondering what more He could do that nobody else, not even our mama and
our papa, could do. Do you remember how Thomas laughed at me the next
day when I told him about it? How funny I was when I was young, wasn't
I? I reckon all the little children are just as funny, though, and all
of them think there isn't anything in the world that their father and
mother can't do. I know I thought so until that very morning and then I
knew that God was ahead even of them. Once I asked our papa which was
the oldest, he or God, and oh, my, but I was so hurt and disappointed
when he said God was the oldest."

Little streaks of light were just beginning to scramble in through the
slatted blinds. My Soldier smiling, stooped and kissed our darling's
little wasted hands and said, "Yes, my boy; God is ahead," and then he
walked over to the double windows and opened wide the blinds so that all
the dawn-colors might stream in untrammeled and light the room, that our
little one could see the eastern sky and watch for the sun he loved so
well. The sky became a deeper red and moving across it was a black
specky cloud.

"What are those dark specks, Soldier; are they crows?" I asked as I
walked through the window onto the veranda to take a better look at the
long queer line and to breathe in the morning air.

"No, little one," replied my Soldier, "they are wild geese; the cold
weather is all gone."

"Then summer has come, our papa," said the child. "I was watching those
little moving black flakes, too, when our mama asked you what they
were."

A wrangling of voices from below grated upon our ears.

"Some unfortunate fellow has been overcome and is in the hands of the
police," explained my Soldier.

The sacredness of our watch, the loneliness of the hour and the hollow
silence of the deserted streets made the harsh voices seem more
discordant. I looked over the rail.

"Oh, what a pitiable sight!" I exclaimed. "The poor man looks like a
gentleman, too, refined and distinguished looking. Poor fellow! He seems
so angry and--so sick. Please, my darling, go to his rescue. Who knows
but perhaps somewhere there are belonging to him little ones like ours?"

"Yes, please go, our papa, please, sir," echoed the pleading tones from
the bed, "go and bring him in. He may have little ones of _our_ kind and
maybe he has a little one of _our mama's kind_, too, waiting for him
somewhere."

My Soldier went out just as the round red rim of the sun burst into
sight out of the east. There was a greater joy than a smile on his face
when he came back. He had brought the stranger in and registered him in
the hotel as our guest. Our lives frequently came in touch with this
stranger's in the years that followed, and he told me that often and
again when he was attacked by that same terrible, almost incurable,
malady, the memory of the spirit of the child in the dawn of Good
Friday had saved him.

A year later, when my Soldier went home and little Corbell was placed
beside him, the children of this man came to me and said, "We are sorry
Corbell is taken away, for we have been putting flowers on his grave
every day, as our papa told us. But we can just as well put them here
and on the General's grave, too."

The long Saturday passed and Easter Sunday came over the hills in the
whiteness of its lilies and with melodious chimes rang out the blessed
tidings that a Saviour had risen to bring Heaven to the world. But the
golden light brought no dawn of hope to the hearts of those who watched
sorrowfully over the little life that was drifting out upon that sea of
glorious music into the Heaven of which it gave glad promise. Lulled to
rest while the children sang their Easter carols, our boy went to join
his brother angels. Through the open window the voices were sounding
"Christ is risen" as he turned his head and laid his face against mine
and reached out his little hand to my Soldier and Mary. I felt his
spirit flutter and go. With a shivering sigh for me his soul slipped
through the gate that Christ had risen to unlock.

During his long illness thoughtful friends from everywhere had been
untiring in kindness. All their gifts he had willed to the poor
children. His books he had left to his little brother, his ring to Mary,
his "Confederate Orphan" fund to his father and me, saying, "Next
quarter you will both be Confederate Orphans, for I shall be with the
soldiers in the Lord's Army--maybe I'll be His little drummer boy, so I
want you both to have that money."

His "Uncle Bev," as he called Judge Beverly Tucker, had given him a
little enameled democratic rooster and on the Saturday evening before
the Easter dawn he asked his father to give the rooster to the "poor
handsome man who had come in the early morning when the sun was biggest
and reddest and Good Friday was getting out of the way for Easter."

Weeks before he had selected his pall-bearers from among his little
playfellows and had asked them all to wear white. To Dr. Minnegerode he
said:

"Please, sir, Doctor, don't make the boys or any of my friends or
relations cry but, please, sir, tell them something pretty, as you do at
Sunday-school sometimes, and make them as happy as you can and have them
all sing bright songs; and I want everybody to bring me red and blue and
yellow and pink flowers, as well as white ones, and when you all get
through and start back home I want the boys and girls to carry all the
flowers with them because the flowers would be so lonesome out there
that they'd fade and die. Birds don't care for flowers and children do."
He often asked me, "Don't you think flowers can feel?"

The Easter blossoms were still fresh and fragrant in St. Paul's Church
when fourteen of Corbell's little boy friends all in white, singing
their Easter anthem, carried the little white casket that held the
flower just budding into blossom in our Father's garden, across the
street and up the aisle, followed by all the children of the
Sunday-school and the many sympathizing friends.

We left him under the shade of the young green leaves, among the
blooming flowers of the early spring, where the music of the waters of
the winding stream as it rippled over the pebbles could be heard
mingling with the sweet song of the birds.

The morning that he went to sleep George had come in with a waiter of
white cape jasmine from General and Mrs. Maury, who had taken him to
their home during these last days of his little brother's perfect life.
In his loving haste to bring them to his brother some of the delicate
white blossoms had fallen and been crushed. Corbell looked down at the
hurt leaves, then up into George's eyes, saying, "Little brother, be
gentle with the flowers; they die so soon." These, almost his last
words, my Soldier had engraved on one side of the gold dollar, the
"Confederate Orphan" money which he had willed to us, and wore it always
on his watch-chain. After he went to our boy I wore it and always have
tried to obey its voice and "be gentle with the flowers, they die so
soon."

[Illustration: "LITTLE BROTHER, BE GENTLE WITH THE FLOWERS; THEY DIE SO
SOON"]

My Soldier longed to take me away at once from the scenes where so much
suffering had come to me and the next morning I summoned all my strength
for the trial awaiting me. I went to Mary's room and found her dressed,
with the exception of her gloves, ready to go out. Her trunks, marked
and strapped, were being taken down-stairs. Upon the bed were my dress
and wrap, bonnet and veil and gloves of mourning, all laid out by her
careful hand.

"Come," she said, "let me help you off with your wrapper. You have not
much time; I was just coming for you. You are to leave on the ten-thirty
train. George has gone with his father while he makes the final
arrangements. I have said good-bye to them."

"Good-bye? Mary!" I said. "Good-bye? What do you mean? You would never
leave me now when I need you so?"

Her beautiful face was as white as marble as she said:

"Weeks ago, my lady, when I saw that our little darling could not live
I made all my arrangements to take the veil. God has again taken from me
_all_ I had on earth. When you, too, like me, are bereft of _everything_
come to me."

"Passengers for the New York express, time's up!" rang through the hall.

For one minute we were clasped in each other's arms; her cold lips
pressed mine for the first time. No word was spoken--she was gone--I was
alone. I looked about me, dazed, confused. There was my hand satchel
packed, a book and a letter, Mary's writing, on the bureau. Mechanically
I picked them up, shuddering as I caught a glimpse of myself in the
mirror. Was that pale, pinched face shrouded in crêpe mine?

"Dear Mother, where are you?" George's little arms were clasping my
knees. "Dear Father sent me to take care of you till he comes back. He
says he will be up in a minute for you and I must help you to get
ready."

Always before our precious boy had called me "Our Mama" and his father
"Our Papa," as he had been taught by his father. I sat down, taking him
in my lap.

"'Our Mama' is ready, my precious boy," I said.

"Dear Mother, you've got me and Dear Father; don't cry--please, Dear
Mother. I saw Mammy-Mary again but she shook her head at us and pointed
up here to you and so Dear Father wouldn't stop her. Oh, she looked most
as dead as you do, Dear Mother."

"Why do you call me differently, dear?" I asked.

"I don't know," he replied, "but the words 'Dear Mother' just came to me
and choked up in my throat and so I said them out."

From that time to him I was always "Dear Mother."

From the walls of a convent in France for many years came at Easter time
a message of love, a book, an embroidered flower, a letter or a prayer.
Then, when all had been taken from me and I needed her most, only
silence came, and I knew that she, too, had passed beyond.



XXXVI

HIS LAST BATTLE


In the early summer of 1875, as we were on the eve of going to Green
Brier White Sulphur Springs for the rest that my Soldier so much needed
after a winter of hard work, a telegram came from the Insurance Company
he represented notifying him that an important matter in their Norfolk
Agency had arisen, requiring his immediate personal attention.

"Little one," he said to me, "you must go on to the Springs with our boy
and I will join you just as soon as this business is settled."

"Go without you? Not for the whole world!" I replied. "No, indeed, my
Soldier. I am going with you. Why, I would not leave you even if you
were perfectly well. I am going with you."

He, with his usual unselfishness, urged my going to the Springs,
pleading that he was not at all seriously ill and would be all right in
a day or two.

"I am going to Norfolk," I said, "and that settles it."

"But think, little one, think," he replied. "You are packed and ready to
start, your rooms are engaged and your tickets bought. Now, don't be a
foolish little wife. Go on to the White where it is cool and
pleasant--please, now, my Lily, please, dear. This business may not
detain me over a day or two. Be good and go, and please me by escaping
the heat and mosquitoes."

"I want to be foolish," I replied, "and I don't want to be good, nor
stay in a cool and pleasant place when you are where it is uncomfortable
and sweltering; I want to be scorched with heat and bitten by
mosquitoes, so I am going with you if it is not longer than a minute."

I went. The day following our arrival in Norfolk my Soldier returned to
the hotel suffering with a chill. The duties had proved more complicated
than were anticipated and his illness had been aggravated by hard work
in the intense heat. Feeling better the next morning, he insisted upon
going out again, but within the hour came back with another chill.

Thus began the long battle with death, in which no impatient word
escaped his lips. With the endurance born to the brave, trained in long
marches and agonizing campaigns and steeled in the fires of battle, his
soul rose triumphant above the shocks of physical torture. When intense
pain forced a moan from his lips he would look up pathetically and
apologize, saying:

"You must not mind my moaning, little one. I'm afraid husband is getting
into bad habits; forgive him."

So solicitous was he for me that often he would not acknowledge that
suffering had caused an expression of pain, but would say, "Oh, it was
nothing." With serene face he met the agony, fighting a braver battle
than had ever been waged upon a field of war. Oh, those dark, dark days
when hope failed and faith waned! If there was one ray of light in their
gloom as I look back through the long weary years, it was in the loving
thoughtfulness and sympathy of his people, the people of our beloved
land everywhere.

Especially do I recall, among the legion of those who came to serve, my
cousin, William Jasper Phillips, a mere boy in years but a man in mind
and spirit, who with willing hand and heart, with gentle words and
loyal, loving eyes, came to watch with me through the dark
hours--holding my hands with a child's loving fervor and a man's strong
sympathy.

Long years afterward, when I stood by the open grave of this cousin and
looked upon the many mourners whom special trains had brought from all
parts of the country to do him honor and show their love, my thoughts
went back to that dread time and I wondered not that a host of friends
were saddened by his passing.

[Illustration: "ALL QUIET ALONG THE POTOMAC"]

In vain were all our prayers--in vain our loving care. The time soon
came when I knew that my Soldier's warfare was almost ended.

Father Jansen, who had come from Richmond to see him, asked, "Do you
want to see me alone?" With his hand on the Father's knee, he replied:

"You know, Father, I never was a solitary bird. I was never alone except
sometimes in the twilight or in the woods and then I had the spirit of
my mother and my little girl with me."

"I know you are reconciled to death," said the priest.

"Ah, no; how could I be? I think God does not want me to be reconciled
to leaving my wife and little boy alone in the world. He only wants me
to obey with the courage of a soldier who receives an order that must be
carried out because he is a soldier."

The Father was silent for a time as if going back in memory to an hour
long past. Then he said:

"The first time I remember seeing you and having a talk with you was on
Shockoe Hill. Standing there alone, your little boy gathering flowers
some distance away, you seemed completely lost in the view before you.
You held a bunch of wild flowers in your hand and were singing, 'As I
view now those scenes so charming,' I listened and when you had finished
the song you began to whistle. I asked you what tune you whistled and
you said, 'I was thinking of Forsyth and of the boys and of the old
fellow who came into the camp at San Antonio and acted out "Bennie
Havens, O," and we all gave him money to go on his way and I sang that
song that night, and it came back to me, and I wondered what had become
of the boys. The next morning at breakfast a young fellow named May came
in and said, "Boys, here is your money and it is worth it. I was Bennie
Havens, O." I was wondering where May was.'"

On the last day when the physicians wanted to give my Soldier an
anodyne, he said:

"No, I would rather suffer and know. You say there is no help for me;
that I've got to cross the river. Well, I want to go over in my right
mind--to know when I'm going; and I want to see how to steer my little
craft as it pulls out from the shore and look into the dear faces of my
loved ones till I breathe my last good night. Now, please, Doctor,
excuse me, but won't you all go and leave me alone with my wife? You
have tried to save me for her and I thank you. Now, all that you can do
for me is to say good night."

Just as they were going my uncle, Colonel Phillips, and his wife came in
with our little boy, who was staying with them.

"Well, Colonel," said my Soldier, "the enemy is too strong for me again,
you see, and, Colonel--my ammunition is all out. I am glad you have both
come. Thank you, and now good night, my dear friend; you are the last
old comrade to whom I shall give an order--watch over my wife and
child."

Calling our boy he said:

"Crawl up here by 'Dear Father,' my baby," and laying his hand on our
boy's head he closed his eyes and there was silence in the room.
Presently he spoke:

"This is the month that God sent you to us, my boy, and this is the
month, I am afraid, that God is going to call me away from you. You must
take my place at the side of your Dear Mother, begin at once to be the
little husband to her, the little man for her, and I will watch over you
and help you to perform all these offices."

"What are officers?" asked the child.

"Offices. You are old enough to know offices and officers. You must
begin to learn words, because words are things and their meanings have
much to do with our lives."

He spoke of Indian words and how the Indians had chosen their words.

"Klosch nonnitsh, look out, means you must not tell anybody; it is a
secret. Tum-tum, heart. Klosch mika tum-tum, my heart speaks to yours."

He turned to me and said in Chinook:

"I am trying to make him understand the value of words and feel their
meaning as indicated in their sound."

He gave George some money and told him to treat his little friends,
saying that he had found that it brought him much more pleasure to give
than to receive, and that one of the expressions of the eyes that he
liked more than anything else was _gratitude and love_.

"I have seen gratitude and love in a dog's eyes almost as strong as in a
human being's."

Little George asked:

"How about a cat's?"

"Cats have secret eyes. They are eyes of mystery; eyes that defy you to
read them. They are wonderfully beautiful, and there is a jewel that
looks like them and is called cat's-eye.

"They told Dear Father that he must not write and he is a good soldier,
but he is going to risk a court-martial and write. Now, run along and
spend your money and have a good time and remember when even you are
having a good time that it is at nobody's expense."

"What is expense?" asked George.

"You can have it at your own expense."

"What are you going to do to be court-martialed about!" asked the boy,
returning to the risk that his father was to take.

"Well, I am going to have pencil and paper if I can get them. I would
rather have pen and ink if I could."

"I will get paper and ink and pen for you," replied George.

He went out and returned with paper, a bottle of ink, a pen and a
sponge. He said he tried to get some shot because he had seen it
down-stairs to wipe pens on, but he did not see how it could wipe pens,
for he took one and tried to wipe a pen and couldn't do it.

"Now, this is a love-letter and I don't want you to read it because you
would be jealous. It is to an old sweetheart," said my Soldier, and the
old twinkle came into his eyes.

On that last day he wrote a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Haxtun, dear friends
at whose home I had visited in happy days. Mr. Haxtun was both
Vice-President and Secretary of the Life Insurance Company which my
Soldier represented.

"Sister," he said to the nurse, "I want this letter mailed at once."

"All right," she answered. "Would I not better ask the Doctor?"

"I want this letter mailed right at once," he repeated.

In the letter he had written:

"The marching days are over and when the train comes in and the call is
'All aboard' and I shall have started on the last journey, I want you to
come and take my precious wife to your home and keep her just as long as
you can have her and as she can stay. She loves music, she loves the
beautiful sky, she loves the flowers, the ocean, and she loves you both.
Lying here thinking about it, I feel that if she went to her own people
they would remind her all the time of her grief, because it will be a
grief to her, and it would be the same way if she went to mine. With you
there is nothing that will make the sorrow keener."

When the letter was finished he said to little George:

"My darling boy, your Dear Mother gave you my name, George Edwards
Pickett. I know you will take care of it, and now I give you my place,
too, and my darling wife, your Dear Mother. You understand, my son?"

The little head of his namesake son nestled closer to his own, the
little arms crept about his neck and the child sobbed out, "Yes, sir,
Dear Father."

"Bless your heart, my baby, bless your heart. Come now and kiss 'Dear
Father,' good night."

After our boy had gone my Soldier said:

"Poor little man! Poor little loving heart! He does not know what death
is, even though he saw his little brother go out of this earth-life; and
you, my darling wife, must not let him know its meaning now. You
must--you have got to take my place and be 'Dear Mother' and 'Dear
Father,' too, to our boy."

The moon was rising, filling the night with radiance and casting mystic
shadows on the earth.

"Turn down the lights, please, little one," he said, "and come to my
arms."

Again there was silence. The Doctor came and gave him something and I
have always thought there was an anodyne in it.

"How beautiful the moonlight looks and how peaceful! You will remember
sometimes, my darling wife, how often in the years that are no more, I
have sung to you under its silvery sheen, but my guitar is unstrung and
the strings in my voice are all broken and I can't sing to you
to-night, and I want to--oh, how I want to sing just one song for, as I
hold you close and feel your touch, I seem to hear again the chimes
ringing out on our wedding day--our blessed marriage song, 'Believe me,
if all these endearing young charms,' and I hear the choir chanting it
soft and low in the distance as the minister is saying, 'Those whom God
hath joined together let no man put asunder,' and the bands playing the
same song as they passed our carriage on the way to the station. I feel
the hand of my wife creep into mine, and as the last faint sound of the
last band dies away I feel our hand-clasp tighten and hear my own voice
singing for my darling, 'Believe me, if all these endearing young
charms,' and feel the thrill of our great love."

My Soldier felt my tears. I could not speak. I could only remember.

"Oh, my Lily--my little one--my precious wife! Pass over the dark days
as bravely as you can till our boy is safe and then come to husband."

His thought went out to the home in which we had spent so many happy
years.

"If I had been at home in our little room within the sight and the sound
of the waters below us and the old packet-boat coming by, the birds
singing and my own redbird that always came and the mocking-birds, I
think husband would have been a long time with you and the little boy.
Maybe it is best. I think they must have given me an anæsthetic, though
I asked them not to, for I feel as if floating dizzily. Now, little one,
let's go to sleep."

[Illustration: THE ANGEL OF PEACE]

My Soldier went to sleep with my hand in his. One and then another of
the watchers would look in and as I waved my hand would quietly steal
away. He just breathed hard and then seemed to be gently sleeping.

Six hours later one of the Sisters of Charity came in and unclasped the
precious hand which I knew was holding mine for the last time. Two hours
earlier I had felt the sigh that freed his great spirit and made of me
(Oh, the woe of that word!) a widow.


Darkness came. Through it some of the scenes that passed made pictures
on my mind which come back to me now in the dim watches of memory. I
recall the memorials and resolutions of sorrow that came from military
associations, from Boards of Trade, from the many organizations that had
known my Soldier through the years. From all over the country they came
to tell of the deep appreciation and honor in which he was held.

I remember the long procession of mourners that followed him through
the streets of Richmond to the beautiful resting place of Hollywood, the
longest funeral procession, they told me, that had ever been known in
Richmond. His staff officers, couriers and headquarters guard met again
to follow him as loyally as when he led them into the whirlwind of
battle.

His old soldiers who had leaped at the flashing of his sword and dashed
with him against the gates of death, and who were now scattered through
far distant States, had rallied to the call of the unblown bugle and the
unvoiced command of their beloved leader to march behind him for the
last time. Those who had followed other leaders came to do honor to the
memory of the great soldier who had fought for the cause dear to them
all.

A few years later another procession marched down the streets of
Richmond to the sacred ground of Hollywood to attend the dedication of
Gettysburg Monument, erected to the memory of my Soldier and his brave
men--the first Confederate Monument. Again Southern veterans assembled
in honor of their leader and of their gallant comrades. Loyal to them
and the past, they came from many States, faithful as in the days of
fire and storm, bringing their treasure of memories to lay on that
sacred shrine.

William Florence and Joe Jefferson placed their laurel wreaths on the
grave of their friend.

From Pennsylvania came ex-Governor Curtin, the war Governor, and two
Union Generals. The Philadelphia Brigade, that stood on Cemetery Hill
and received the shock of that great charge which will live in history
while our country stands, marched in a body to pay tribute to the great
Southern soldier whose heart was filled with kindness, leaving no room
for enmity. Officers of the old Army of the Forties and Fifties, who had
loved my Soldier in those far-gone days, three of them members of that
memorable class of 1846, were there, with the golden flames of old
camp-fires yet burning upon the altar of the heart.

General Longstreet thus recalls his old comrade:


     In memory I can see him, of medium height, of graceful build, dark,
     glossy hair, worn almost to his shoulders in curly waves, of
     wondrous pulchritude and magnetic presence, as he gallantly rode
     from me on that memorable third day of July, 1863, saying in
     obedience to the imperative order to which I could only bow assent,
     "I will lead my Division forward, General Longstreet."

     He was the first to scale the parapets of Chapultepec on the 13th
     of September, 1847, and was the brave American who unfurled our
     flag over the castle, as the enemy's troops retreated, firing at
     the splendid Pickett as he floated our victorious colors.

     With George E. Pickett, whether fighting under the Stars and
     Stripes at Chapultepec or under the Stars and Bars at Gettysburg,
     duty was his polar star, and with him duty was above consequences
     and, at a crisis, he would throw them overboard.


In a memorial paper General George B. McClellan wrote of my Soldier:


     He will live in history as nearer to Light Horse Harry, of the
     Revolution, than any other of the many heroes produced by old
     Virginia,--his whole history when told, as it will be by some one
     of the survivors of Pickett's men, will reveal a modern type of the
     Chevalier Bayard, "Sans peur et sans reproche."

     Could he have had his wish, he had died amid the roar of battle. No
     man of our age has better illustrated the aptitude for war of his
     class of our country, and with these talents for war was united the
     truest and sweetest nature.

     Virginia will rank him in her roll of fame with Lee, with Johnston,
     with the Jackson she loves as "Stonewall"; and mourners for the
     noble and gallant gentleman, the able and accomplished soldier, are
     legion.

     True and noble soul, rest in peace.





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