Our amiable conversation topics for the next hour included the War, our wedding, the family situations in Halltown and the Shepherdstown area, plus what each of us would be doing in the future.
Daphne’s brothers would be leaving early in the morning to visit Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer in Halltown, so they excused themselves about 9:00 pm and retired to their different bedrooms.
After they had left, I remarked to Mrs. Douglas and Daphne, “What a difference a few weeks make.”
They both nodded their agreement.
We picked up the rest of the china and crystal and took it to the kitchen, so the servants could finish up the cleaning.
Biding Mrs. Douglas a good night, Daphne and I went upstairs to our bedroom. We were on opposite sides of the room and dressing for bed when Daphne asked me, “Jim, do ya want children?”
It was one of those questions that, back in Arkansas, we say “comes at you out of left field.” I was flabbergasted. I looked at her with a stupid slack-jawed expression on my face.
Recovering quickly and looking at her with an adoring smile, I said in typical 19th century male chauvinist style, “Daphne, “I want ya to be tha mother of my children.”
And then I added in 21st century jargon, “Ya are my wife, my lover and my best friend. I want to spend every possible waking moment in yar presence. So in answer to yar question, I definitely want children.”
Tearfully she said, “Jim, I love you so much, and I want to have yar children.”
Abruptly like some agile sprite, she flew across the room and into my arms. We kissed fervently as I picked her up and carried her to the bed.
The next morning, we heard a gentle knock on the bedroom door, and then Anna said, “Miss Daphne, yar brothers are ready to leave and wanna say good-bye to ya.”
I answered in a drowsy voice, “Thanks Anna. We’ll be right down.”
We both hurriedly dressed and hot-footed it down the stairs to find Tom, Jonah, Mrs. Douglas, Willie, Anna and the rest of the staff standing in the hallway waiting on us. The brothers were decked out in their cavalry uniforms and looked so outstanding that they could have been utilized as poster boys for recruiting. Too bad they didn’t have the availability of mass produced ‘larger than life’ posters in the 19th century.
We apologized for our appearances, because we knew we looked a fright with pillow tousled hair and fragmentary apparel, but the brothers didn’t seem to mind, even though Mrs. Douglas gave us a distressed expression.
Daphne hugged her brothers in turn and whispered a private message for each. Tom laughed when he heard his special communication, while Jonah flushed beet red after hearing his.
I shook hands with each of the young men and wished them luck and Godspeed.
Mrs. Douglas hugged the brothers with tears rolling down her cheeks and vowed to pray for them every day.
Willie shook his cousins’ hands and said he wish he could go with them.
Anna gave each of the brothers a small cloth sack of what smelled like muffins, hugged them and told them to watch out for those durn Yankees.
We followed the brothers out of the house onto the front porch and watched them mount their cayuses. Giving our gaggle a crisp salute, they turned and rode off toward Shepherdstown.
Mrs. Douglas, Daphne and Anna were dabbing their eyes with their phantom handkerchiefs as the brothers rode away.