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I hope this will be the last occasion on which I shall refer to the topic to which this unfortunate book seems to have been devoted. But it gives me a grim pleasure to add a link to the broken chain of the curious story, now and then. Maybe some day the missing links will be supplied me, and then I can read the little humdrum romance of What might have been, or What I'm glad never was, as easily as Marie tells her rosary.
Well! the prisoners have gone at last, to my unspeakable satisfaction. Day before yesterday they left. Now I can go out as I please, without fear of meeting him face to face. How odd that I should feel like a culprit! But that is in accordance with my usual judgment and consistency. Friday, I had a severe fright. Coming up Camp Street with Ada, after a ramble on Canal, we met two Confederates. Everywhere that morning we had met gray coats, but none that I recognized. Still, without looking, I saw through my eyelids, as it were, two hands timidly touch two gray caps, as though the question "May I?" had not yet been answered. In vain I endeavored to meet their eyes, or give the faintest token of greeting. I was too frightened and embarrassed to speak, and only by a desperate effort succeeded in bending my head in a doubtful bow, that would have disgraced a dairy maid, after we had passed. Then, disgusted with myself, I endeavored to be comforted with the idea that they had perhaps mistaken me for some one else; that having known me at a time when I was unable to walk, they could have no idea of my height and figure, or walk. So I reasoned, turning down a side street. Lo! at a respectable distance they were following! We had occasion to go into a daguerreau salon. While standing in the light, two gray uniforms, watching us from the dark recess at the door, attracted my attention. Pointing them out to Ada, I hurried her past them downstairs to the street. Faster and faster we walked, until at the corner I turned to look. There they were again, sauntering leisurely along. We turned into another street, mingled in the crowd, and finally lost sight of them. That fright lasted me an hour or two. Whose purse have I stolen, that I am afraid to look these men in the face?
But what has this to do with what I meant to tell? How loosely and disconnectedly my ideas run out with the ink from my pen ! I meant to say how sorry I am for my dear little lisper that she failed in her efforts to conquer the "Hero"; and here I have drifted off in a page of trash that does not concern her in the least. Well ! she did not succeed, and what ever she told him was told in vain, as far as she was concerned. He was not to be caught! What an extraordinary man! Dozens fighting for the preference, and he in real, or pretended ignorance.
I must do him the justice to say he is the most guileless, as well as the most honest of mortals. He told the mother of a rich and pretty daughter what he thought of me ; that my superior did not exist on earth, and my equal he had never met. Ha! ha! this pathetic story makes me laugh in spite of myself. Is it excess of innocence, or just a rĂ´le he adopted? Stop! His idle word is as good as an oath. He could not pretend to what he did not believe. He told her of his earnest and sincere admiration words ! words! hurry on! She asked how it was then ? Here he confessed, with a mixture of pride and penitence, that he had written me letters which absolutely required answers, and to which I had never deigned to reply by even a word. That, mortified beyond measure at my silent contempt, he had tried every means of ascertaining the cause of my coldness, but I had never vouchsafed an answer, but had left him to feel the full force of my harsh treatment without one word of explanation. That when he was paroled, he had hoped that I would see him to tell him wherein he had forfeited my esteem ; but I had not invited him to call, and mortified and repulsed as he had been, it was impossible for him to call without my permission. . . . Did my little lisper change the message when the little midshipman told her it had been intercepted because too friendly? I know she met this martyred Lion frequently after that and had many opportunities of telling him the simple truth, but she evidently did not.
He has gone away with sorely wounded feelings, to say nothing more; for that I am sincerely sorry; but I trust to his newly acquired freedom, and his life of danger and excitement, to make him forget the wrongs he believes himself to have suffered at my hands. If it was all to be gone through again (which thank Heaven, I will never be called upon to endure again), I would follow Brother's advice as implicitly then as I did before. He is right, and without seeing, I believe. They tell me of his altered looks, and of his forced, reckless gaiety which, so strangely out of keeping with his natural character, but makes his assumed part more conspicuous. No matter ! He will recover ! Nothing like a sea voyage for disorders of all kinds. And we will never meet again ; that is another consolation.
"Notice: The public are hereby informed through Mrs. - , Chief Manager of the Theatre of High Tragedy, that Miss Sarah M., having been proved unworthy and incompetent to play the role of Ariadne, said part will hereafter be filled by Miss Blank, of Blank Street, who plays it with a fidelity so true to nature that she could hardly be surpassed by the original."
- New Orleans
- A Confederate Girls Diary, Dawson, Sarah Morgan 1842-1909, HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY, The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1913