As the Lieutenant and I started down the front porch at Ferry Hill, we could see that Ezra was holding Goliath and what appeared to be a horse for the Gallant Pelham.
We mounted and turned toward the road leading downhill to the covered bridge that spanned the Potomac and proceeded into Shepherdstown. We walked the horses to give Goliath more time to catch his wind. As we vacated the grounds of the mansion, the Lieutenant declared, “You are a very fortunate man to have the affections of Ms. Newcomer.”
I didn’t look at him, but uttered, “Indeed, I am.”
“She spoke very highly of you. I could ascertain that she admired you greatly,” he added.
I looked at the Lieutenant with a surprised glance. He turned to me, smiled, and divulged, “Yes. I was quite taken with the young lady, but I can see where her heart lies.”
I just nodded my head. We rode on in silence. I really thought that I had lost Daphne for good, but the Lieutenant’s information buoyed my spirits, and I cracked a smile from ear to ear.
By the time we reached the bridge, Goliath had gotten his second wind and I had lost
mine. We prodded the horses and began cantering toward town. It was all I could do to stay in the saddle. We passed over the bridge and into Shepherdstown.
I looked at the beautiful little town and longed for the time before the events of the Rebellion had changed it completely. I missed the school and teaching the young people. I missed the sedate life style. I missed the camaraderie of the folks in the area. I missed the interlude of wooing Daphne Newcomer. Would this war ever let us go back to that wonderful time? I sighed.
The Lieutenant looked at me. “Are you alright Mr. Hager?” he asked in a caring voice.
I wearily answered, “Just wishing we could go back to the serene life we enjoyed here.”
“With all your adventures, I can see why you might welcome a peaceful existence,” he reasoned.
I turned to him and saw that he envied my ‘adventures’, as he called them. I faced him and said sincerely, “Lieutenant, I predict that you will have a sterling career and be greatly admired in this conflict. Your exploits with definitely surpass mine.”
He looked abashed and hesitantly asked, “Do you really think so?”
I fixed him with a sincere stare and stated, “Yes, I do.”
At that moment we had arrived at the telegraph office. It was closed.