Once the prayer was over, Anna, Ezra and John Lee were asked to join us at the table, which they did. The servant ladies waited on all of us.
Forks, knives and spoons began flying as we cleaned the table of food like a swarm of locusts. When we were through, everyone just sat back in their chairs and sighed. We were stuffed and were too full to waddle into the left parlor for coffee.
I guess to fill the awkward silence, Major Mosby said, “Did y’all have a chance to pick out names?”
Daphne looked bashfully down in her lap. I looked at her, but she wouldn’t look at me. I looked up at Mrs. Douglas and she was beaming from ear to ear. I shifted my attention to Hattie and she was smiling like a cat that had eaten the canary.
I said out loud, “Ah, come on now. Not Jamie!”
Daphne turned a bright shade of red and pleadingly looked up at me. She had tears in her eyes, and I expected the phantom hankie would make its appearance any second.
I looked stonily at Daphne for a few seconds, but as tears began to run down her cheeks and she dabbed them with the phantom hankie, I raised my hands in surrender. I turned to the Major and answered, “Jamie is the baby’s name.”
Mosby looked from me to Daphne. Then he scanned the room to find Mrs. Douglas and Hattie both looking smugly pleased. He frowned and knew that some family differences of opinion had just been resolved.
He arched his eyebrow, and clearing his throat, said, “That’s a very loving name for a child.” Tilting his head in curiosity, he entered the realm of the Transcendental by asking, “How did you happen on it?”
Daphne glanced at Mrs. Douglas, wiped the tears from her cheek, gave a sigh and recited, “Mrs. Douglas’ dearly departed husband appeared to her in a dream and told her that we would have a baby girl…and that her name will be Jamie Lee.”
I don’t think I have ever seen Major Mosby completely at a loss for words. His eyes popped open to their full extent, his ears laid back and his lower jaw dropped. He had a stupefied look on his face.
I had to avert my gaze and cough to keep from laughing at his expression.
Daphne looked at him with a defiance that would brook no negative comment.
Finally, he conquered the shock of Daphne’s statement and brought his facial expression back to normal. He looked at me with an “is this true?” look.
I just nodded my head.
Mosby, having regained his composure, remarked, “Well, that is very interesting.”
At that moment, Mrs. Douglas stood up and asked, “Shall we retire to the parlor for coffee?”
This fortunately broke the eerie mood that had fallen on the breakfast table occupants.
Ezra, John Lee and Anna excused themselves and left to attend to their duties. The rest of us walked over to the left parlor and immediately lined up to be served coffee by the servant ladies from a huge ewer on a table in the middle of the room.
Once everyone had received their beverage, we all broke up into smaller groups and found places to sit. Two conversation groups assembled. One was Mosby’s group, of which I was a participant that discussed the latest war news. The other was the women’s group which moved from topic to topic with the speed of an attacking cheetah.
I must say, it was a great time of fellowship. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.