We hurried back, and as we entered the church the whole congregation turned to look at us. We both turned bright red and I broke out in a sweat. If this walk up the street without a chaperone ever got back to Mr. Newcomer, I bet he would sic Ahab on me.
Mr. Throckmorton, who was standing behind the pulpit, motioned for me to join him. I deposited Daphne with Mrs. Douglas, who gave me a disapproving gaze. With my head down, I walked the aisle and climbed the stairs to the podium like a man going to the gallows. Mr. Throckmorton began to clap, and then the whole audience joined in. I stood with mouth agape and really didn’t understand it was for me. I looked at Mosby, who was seated on the dais. He had broken into a smile and was clapping with the rest. I didn’t know what to do or say.
Finally, Mr. Throckmorton motioned for quiet and explained, “We just heard of your actions over the last few months from Major Mosby.”
At the word “major,” I abruptly jerked my head toward Mosby and saw the star on his collar designating him a major. He had been a bit of a sneak. I remembered he didn’t have on his tunic, nor did he put it on, when he had walked me out of his camp this afternoon. I couldn’t help but feel pleased at this well-deserved promotion. I gave him a thumbs-up. I really didn’t know if this was an appropriate gesture in the 19th Century, but he bowed his head toward me in acceptance.
Mr. Throckmorton then stated, “Major Mosby also has enlightened us as to what your job has been over the last few months. We now know you have been on assignment for the Confederate cavalry and, on occasion, have taken control to organize our town’s people to thwart both raiders and invasion by the Union cavalry. We just wanted to show our appreciation.”
Everyone began to clap again. I gave a stern look toward Major Mosby, who gave me a pleading look. I now knew what he meant when he had asked for a personal favor, which I granted at our last meeting.
Someone began to yell “speech!” I started motioning for quiet, and after the congregation simmered down, I stepped to the podium and said, “I just wanted to protect our town. Thank you.”
Mr. Throckmorton motioned me to a vacant chair on the dais. Apparently, the meeting wasn’t over yet.