I was crest fallen.
“Oh, no!” I gasped. Then I looked closely at the soldier and realized he was a Sergeant. I
asked, “Who is the officer in charge here?”
“First Lieutenant Pelham,” he stated.
“Please take me to him as quickly as possible,” I implored.
“Yes, Sah! He is at the top of the hill near our lines. Please follow me.”
The Sergeant confiscated a mount from a nearby trooper and yelled for the soldiers to get out of our way as he headed toward Ferry Hill. Goliath was still trying to get his wind back, but he gamely followed the Sergeant when I kicked him in his flanks.
The Sergeant scurried up the steep hill to the Confederate lines and we followed as quickly as we could. I believe loping up the hill expended what was left of Goliath’s reserves. He was breathing rather hard when we topped the prominence.
The Sergeant had turned toward Ferry Hill and we followed him at a very slow walk. I guessed that Lieutenant Pelham had taken the Douglas mansion as the residence of his headquarters.
I looked with trepidation at the edifice. I didn’t believe I would be welcome here.
However, when we arrived at the front porch, Ezra came out of the house and bellowed, “Marse Jim! I’s so glad to see ya. I was fearful that ya might have come to harm.”
I dismounted and we embraced. I acknowledged, “Ezra, there have been some close times lately.”
He smiled, and I asked in a guarded whisper, “Am I still welcome at this home?”
“Yes, Sah. But you gots a rival. Ms. Daphne is quite taken with Marse Pelham,” he told me.
Despite my near exhaustion, my ire was suddenly aflame and jealousy raised its ugly head.
The Sergeant was at the front door waiting on me. So I didn’t tarry and hurried to the entrance as he entered the house. We proceeded to the right parlor and entered. A temporary office had been set up in the room. However, the Lieutenant was entertaining at the moment.
Mrs. Douglas occupied a chair opposite a small sofa on which was seated Daphne and a man that I supposed was Lieutenant Pelham. Mrs. Douglas rose from her chair and looked at me severely. Daphne stood up with an embarrassed look and began fanning herself fiercely.
I just looked at her with a knowing glance and then rested my eyes on the Lieutenant. His name hadn’t registered with me until I saw his face and recognized him from a photograph in a book I had in my library. Standing before me was the “Gallant Pelham.”
If the 19th Century had ‘Rock Stars’ in my Universe, this man would have qualified as Number One.