Civil War Transcendence, part 442

The next morning, Daphne and I, plus Tom and Lt. Pelham, sent the four young Iadies on their journey to Staunton. It seems that Tom and Lt. Pelham were very taken with the two ladies they spent time with at last night’s dinner. Addresses were exchanged and promises of visits were vowed. The ladies’ carriage and additional wagon of luggage left Ferry Hill about 9:00 am.

After the ladies were on their merry way, I sent a courier to fetch Caleb from the Throckmorton farm on River Road.

During the rest of the morning, Daphne and I spent time together in the parlor. We participated in a game of sorts. Entering the left parlor, which also acted as a home library, each of us chose a poetry book we enjoyed. Then we sat on the two- person sofa and took turns reading our favorite passages to each other.

My initial reading was Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee”. Daphne’s was Part 1 of “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It proved to be a very wonderful and restful morning entertainment.

At 12:30 pm, Anna announced that lunch was ready, and we went into the dining room. Mrs. Douglas, who had left about 9:30 am for the Shepherdstown market to procure food stuffs for the household, had returned. Willie had accompanied her and was allowed to seat on the carriage driver’s seat with John Lee and manage the carriage horses, but with John Lee’s able assistance.

Anna and the servant ladies joined us, and we had a good discussion about the four young ladies who stayed at Ferry Hill on their way to Staunton. By this time, everyone was accustomed to speaking their minds without any worry about repercussions. I glanced at Daphne when Anna described the way one of the young ladies was always in a tizzy. She was smiling and nodding her head in agreement. I happened to add, “Where I come from, tha lady would be known as a ‘Drama Queen’.”

Everyone at the table looked at me for a long moment. I guess they were thinking about the 21st century jargon I had laid on ‘em. Finally, Daphne said, “Ya know, Jim, ya never cease to amaze me with some of yar vernacular.”

Mrs. Douglas added, “That’s tha truth. Sometimes yar speech seems to come from another age.”

I just smiled at the ladies’ assessments and thought, “Y’all don’t know tha half of it.”

After lunch Daphne, Mrs. Douglas, Anna and the servant ladies went into another of their close-door conferences dealing with our move to the cottage in town.

I meandered to the stables and saw John Lee at the other end of the stable. He waved at me, and I walked to where he was working on a harness for the carriage team. As I got close to him, I heard a familiar whinny. I opened the top door to Stonewall’s stall, and my faithful steed stuck his head out. I immediately started rubbing his forehead, nose and ears. He instantly went into his meditative state.

I looked at John Lee and asked, “When did ya get ‘im back?”

John Lee answered, “We got ‘im back just ‘bout an hour ago. He mated with tha mare that we hoped he would. If’n tha mating takes, then tha mare should have a foal in about a year.”

Looking over what I could see of Stonewall’s body, I announced, “Well, he doesn’t look any tha worse for wear.”

John Lee chuckled and said, “Ya should have seen ‘im when he got back. He was plum worn out. I ‘spect that filly put ‘im through his paces.”

I started laughing, and John Lee joined in. We raised such a ruckus that Stonewall came out of his trance and looked at each of us in turn. I think he knew we were laughing at his expense, because he did something that I had never seen him do. There was a small rope nailed to the inside of the upper door of his stall. He backed deeper in his stall, grasped the rope in his teeth and pulled the upper door shut. Then he whinnied what seemed a reproachful answer to our laughter.

John Lee and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows. Stonewall’s intelligence never ceased to amaze me.

I went back to the house just in time to see Lt. Kirkland ride into the lane leading to the house. Once he was near the front door, he dismounted and tied his horse to the ring in a statute by the front porch. I hastened to him and he saluted, which I returned. Then we shook hands.

Never one to bandy words, he immediately asked, “What’s so urgent that ya wanted me here today?”

I smiled and retorted, “In good time Lieutenant, in good time.”




About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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