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HOW I shall miss your visit to-day, my darling! I wish you had not gone. Don't stay. Doctor Minnegerode asked me this morning when he called, "Who sent the beautiful flowers?" Bob, to save me from answering, said, "De same young lady sont de flowers, Marse Doctor, dat broidered dat capefer Marse George, en broidered dem dar slippers he's got on, en sont him de broidered stars dat he w ars on his coat when he wars it; but dat young lady ain't de onlyest young lady dat sends Marse George flowers en things. No, Suh."
The dear old doctor understood; he winked at me and changed the subject. He is as loyal to the South, dear old fellow, as if his ancestors had landed at Jamestown. When he asked after my wound he said he would like to pray with me, though the dear old man pronounced it, with his German accent, "bray," and that reminded me of a story, and instead of having my thoughts and my heart set upon his beautiful prayer as I should have miserable sinner that I was I began think ing of Tom August, who said that one Sunday someone meeting him coming out of Old St. Paul's asked him what was the matter. He replied, "Oh, nothing. I m not a jackass and I m not going to bray, and old Doctor Minnegerode not only insists that I, but that his whole congregation, shall bray. I, for one, will not do it and I don't want to make a row about it; so I came out. I wonder what the effect would be if we took him literally and didairbray ?"
Now, my darling, forgive this foolish story. I learned to like story-telling, listening as a boy to the best story-teller in the world, Mr. Lincoln.
Even the bird knows you are not coming to-day, for he doesn't sing. I shall hold you to the last line of your sweet note, which says, "I ll come to you, my Soldier, before the flowers die." When Bob asked me, "Is Miss Sallie comin dis ebenin er in de mornin ?"
I answered, "She does not mention any set time, Bob. She only says she ll come before the flowers die." "De flowers ain't waxinated flowers, is dey, Marse George?" he asked. "Den if dey ain't waxinated twon't be long fo she is here."
When I asked him to hold the paper while I wrote, he humbly, beseechingly asked, "Please, Suh, Marse George, ef hit ain't axin too much, when you comes ter writin er dem dar words lak love en honey en darlin , er any er dem poetry rhymes bout roses red en violets blue, won't you please, Suh, show em ter me?" I didn't promise him, my sweet heart. I only said, "Hold that paper steady, Sir, and don't let it slip." But when I did call you "darling" or tell you I loved you, I felt so guilty that the rascal knew it and grinned.
- George Pickett
- Heart of a Soldier the as revealed in the Intimate Letters of Gnl George E. Pickett CSA, 1908