Needless to say, all our glasses were being held ready to take a sip of wine, but nobody had imbibed. All eyes were on Mrs. Douglas.
Daphne sputtered the question that was foremost in our minds, “Is this apparition to be trusted?”
Mrs. Douglas gave a chuckle and replied, “Oh yes. Remember that I told ya he started appearing in my dreams just before Jim arrived and each occurrence that he described about ya two has come true.”
I finally put my glass of wine back on the table, which was quickly mimicked by everyone but the servants, who unashamedly looked at me and smiled from ear to ear. I guess my psychic stature was raised another notch in their eyes. Ever since I had been the recipient of a miraculous cure from injury, I believe they thought of me as anointed of God. I tried to avoid all conversation in reference to my healing. It was embarrassing enough to catch them looking at me in adoration let alone hearing someone discussing how I was akin to Lazarus.
I interrupted any further conversation by informing everyone, “Mrs. Douglas has allowed us to rent a cottage in Shepherdstown, which we will be occupying in tha future.”
Tom and Jonah were no doubt looking for an excuse to partake of the delicious wine, so when I made my declaration, they jumped at the chance by raising their glasses and saying, “To Daphne and Jim.”
Everyone echoed them and took a sip of wine. Daphne beamed and I had to smile at the simple, but very gracious toast.
After the toast, the conversation lapsed back to Mrs. Douglas and her dear departed husband. I remembered that during the middle of the 19th century there was quite a Spiritualist furor that was afoot in the country.
I really didn’t want to get involved in any banter about the appearance of the apparition or what he communicated. However, Daphne trumped any further interference I might have been able to craft by stating, “Ya told me before that William had said we would name the little girl, Jamie Lee.”
“That’s right,” Mrs. Douglas said in a startled voice as she remembered the conversation.
Daphne questioned, “What was tha significance of tha name?”
Mrs. Douglas shrugged and admitted, “I don’t know.”
Daphne was frustrated by the answer and was frowning her dissatisfaction. I expected her to stomp her foot like a petulant child, but the mood passed and she relaxed. However, as an adjunct to her inquiry, she added, “Well, if I am going to have a baby, Jim and I will pick tha names we feel appropriate for our child.”
I was so proud of her declaration that I raised my glass to her. She did the same to me and we drank simultaneously. I was in complete agreement with her avowal and was proud of the stand she had espoused.
At that point the conversation finally shifted to another subject, the family.
Mrs. Douglas abruptly turned to look at Tom and Jonah and asked, “Are y’all gonna tell yar parents that ya stopped to see us before ya went home?”
Tom said, “I don’t see why not. They know I participated in Daphne and Jim’s wedding. Father didn’t say a word about it when I stayed with ‘em before I reported to my command, and he was amiable during my entire visit.”
Mrs. Douglas turned to look at Jonah and asked, “Have they seen ya since ya left and joined tha cavalry?”
Jonah turned a bright shade of red and answered, “No, they haven’t. I really don’t know what to expect when I get there.”
Daphne looked at her younger brothers and stated emphatically, “Don’t back down from what ya believe in, no matter what tha consequences!”
Tom returned, “I plan to.”
Jonah nodded in agreement.
I looked at the young men and saw how my lovely wife was beaming in response to their assertions. I wondered what Mr. Newcomer thought about his children. I don’t believe anything had turned out as he had planned.