I came to and was lying on my stomach. Daphne immediately kissed me on the check and smoothed my hair out of my eyes.
I drowsily asked, “Where am I?”
She replied, “You are on a table in the serving room of Ferry Hill. Captain Tidwell, the cavalry surgeon, just removed a bullet from your back and another from the back of your leg. Jim, you are one lucky man. If the bullet in your leg had been another half inch to the right, you would have bled to death.”
She started to cry, and out of nowhere as usual, she produced a handkerchief.
Weepily, she uttered, “I don’t know what I would have done if you had died. Why are you in the middle of every shootout that occurs in the region?”
She was way ahead of me with her avowal of love and her question. I must have been given some sort of anesthesia, because I was groggy and was still trying to figure out where she kept that phantom handkerchief. I must have had a goofy grin on my face because she looked at me closely and abruptly stopped her soliloquy.
“What are you grinning at? You look like a cow that’s been hit in the head with a poleax,” she declared.
“I was just wondering where you keep that there hanky you always have handy,” I explained with a chuckle. I don’t remember what happened next, ’cause I blacked out again.
I woke again, but this time I was face down in a bed. I aroused from my drug-induced slumber and saw a servant girl asleep in a chair by my bed. I tried to talk, but my voice didn’t work right. I croaked some inhuman sounds that scared the girl awake and made her give a little yell. That brought Daphne, Mrs. Douglas and, to my amazement, Major Mosby into the room. The girl started fanning me with one of those old church fans that everyone had back in the 19th Century.
Daphne came forward and put her hand on my forehead and declared, “Thank heavens. His fever has broken.”
“What fever?” I finally rasped.
Daphne explained, “You got a fever after the removal of the bullets and have been in a daze for two days. Thank the Lord. You seem to have fought your way through and are getting better.”
She magically produced that handkerchief and began to cry. I grinned, but when I saw the consternation on everyone’s face, I quickly asked Major Mosby, “Did John Lee get y’all to come to our rescue?”
“Yes, he did. We heard all the shooting, and my boys were getting mounted to investigate when he came lickety-split down the trail yelling “Shenandoah! Shenandoah! The Yankees are trying to kill everybody at Ferry Hill!” explained Major Mosby with a chuckle. “He took my boys up the secret back way, and they ran into the Yanks at the back door to Ferry Hill. They had quite a shootout. I understand that John Lee, who was in the lead of our onslaught, shot one Yank out of the saddle, which made the others skedaddle.”
I smiled and said, “Well, bully for John Lee.” Everyone smiled warmly.
Major Mosby turned to Mrs. Douglas and said, “You have some very loyal slaves under your care.”
Mrs. Douglas rejoined, “Oh, Major, we consider them all as members of our family.”
I added, “Speaking of family, how is Jacob?” They all looked apprehensive.