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Mortons, Lacys - had borne a conspicuous part in state, church, and social history. The region was aristocratic - and Presbyterian. There was much wealth, for tobacco was the most profitable crop of Central and Southern Virginia, and the plantations bordering the Appomattox River were a mine of riches to the owners. Stately mansions - most of them antedating the Revolutionary War - crowned gently rolling hills rising beyond the river, each, with its little village of domestic offices, great stables, tobacco-barns and "quarters," making up an establishment that was feudal in character and in power.

        Every planter was college-bred and a politician.

        The local atmosphere of "College Hill" was not unlike that of an Old World university town. The professors of the sister institutions of learning occupied houses in the vicinity of seminary and college, and the quaint church, the bricks mellowed to red-brown by time, stood equidistant from both.

        One feature of the church impressed my youthful imagination. "Cousin Ben," of Montrose - afterward the senior professor in the seminary, and as Rev. B. M. Smith, D.D., known throughout the Southern and Northern Presbyterian Church as a leader in learning and in doctrine - had, when a student of Hampden-Sidney, brought from Western Virginia a sprig of Scotch broom in his pocket. "The Valley" - now a part of West Virginia - was mainly settled by Scotch-Irish emigrants, and the broom was imported with their household stuff. The boy set the withered dip in the earth just inside of the gate of the churchyard. In twenty years it encompassed the walls with a setting of greenery, overran the enclosure, escaped under the fence, and raced rampant down the hill, growing tall and lush wherever it could get a foothold. In blossom-time the mantle of gold was visible a mile away. The smell of broom always brings back to me a vision of that ugly


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(but dear) red-brown church and the goodly throng, pouring from doors and gate at the conclusion of the morning service, filling yard and road - well-dressed, well-born county folk, prosperous and hospitable, and so happily content with their lot and residence as to believe that no other people was so blessed of the Lord they served diligently and with godly fear. Without the churchyard yard were drawn up cumbrous family coaches, which conveyed dignified dames and dainty daughters to and from the sanctuary. Beyond these was a long line of saddle- horses waiting for their masters - blooded hunters for the young men, substantial cobs for their seniors None except invalided men deigned to accept seats in carriages.

        As may be gathered from the formally familiar and irresistibly funny epistle, indited when I had been four months an insignificant actor in the scene I have sketched, "religious privileges" was no idle term then and there. Our social outings were what I have indicated. There were no concerts save the "Monthly Concert of Prayer for Foreign Missions" (held simultaneously in every church in the state and Union); not a theatre in Virginia, excepting one in Richmond, banned for the religious public by the awful memories of the burning of the playhouse in 1811. "Dining-days," which their descendants name "dinner-parties," were numerous, and there was much junketing from one plantation to another, a ceaseless drifting back and forth of young people, overflowing, now this house, now that, always certain of a glad welcome, and contriving, without the adventitious aid of cards or dancing, to lead joyous, full lives.

        Once a week the community turned out, en masse, for church-going. They were a devout folk - those F. F. V.'s, at which we mock now - and considered it a public duty not to forsake the assembling of themselves together for


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worship, prayers, and sermons. These latter were intellectual, no less than spiritual pabulum. Oratory had not gone out of fashion in these United States, and in Virginia it was indigenous to the soil. Pulpit eloquence was in its glory, and speech-making at barbecues, anniversaries, and political gatherings, in court-rooms and upon "stumps," was an art learned by boys in roundabouts and practiced as long as veterans could stand upon their shrunken calves.

        People flocked to church to attend reverently upon divine service, and, when the benediction was pronounced, greeted friends and neighbors, cheerily chatting in the aisles and exchanging greetings between the benches they had occupied during the services - men and women sitting apart, as in the Quaker meeting-house - as freely as we now salute and stroll with acquaintances in the foyer of the opera-house.

        Such were some of the advantages and enjoyments included in the elastic phrase "religious privileges," vaunted by the epistolary twelve-year-old.

        "Rice Hill" was a commodious dwelling, one mile from the seminary, and not quite so far from the college. Doctor Rice had literally spent and been spent in the work which had crowned his ministry - the foundation and endowment of a Southern School of Divinity. At his death, friends and admirers, North and South, agreed that a suitable monument to him would be a home for the childless widow. She had a full corps of family servants, who had followed her to her various residences, and she eked out her income by supplying table-board to students from college and seminary. Thus much in explanation of the references to the coming in of "the gentlemen" in the "evening" - rural Virginian for afternoon.

        A kindly Providence had appointed unto us these pleasant paths at the impressionable period of our lives. The goodliest feature in that appointment was that Robert Reid


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Howison, subsequently "LL.D.," and the author of a History of Virginia, and The Student's History of the United States, became the tutor of my sister and myself.

        He came to us at twelve o'clock each day, and we dined at half-past two. Hence, all our studying was done out of school-hours. The arrangement was eccentric in the extreme in the eyes of my father's acquaintances and critics. Other girls were in the class-room from nine until twelve, and after recess had a session of two hours more. That this, the most outré of "Mr. Hawes's experiments," would be a ludicrous failure was a foregone conclusion. Whereas the cool brain had reckoned confidently upon the fidelity of the tutor and the conscientiousness of pupils accustomed to the discipline of a home where implicit obedience was the law.

        Never had learners a happier period of pupilage, and the cordial relations between teacher and students testified to the mutual desire to meet, each, the requirements of the other party to the compact.

        To the impetus given our minds by association with the genial scholar who directed our studies, was added the stimulus of the table-talk that went on in our hearing daily. It was the informal, suggestive chat of men eager for knowledge, comparing notes and opinions, and discussing questions of deep import - historical, biological, and theological. In the main, they were a bright set of fellows; in the main, likewise, gentlemen at heart and in bearing. It goes without saying that the exception in my mind to the latter clause was our late and hated tutor. I might write to Dorinda, in constrained goody-goodyishness, of the impropriety of "drawing comparisons" between him and Mr. Howison, whose "easy" laugh and winning personality wrought powerfully upon my childish fancy. At heart I loved the one and consistently detested the other.

        To this hour I recall the gratified thrill of conscious


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security and triumph that coursed through my minute being when, Mr. Tayloe having taken it upon himself to reprove me for something I said - pert, perhaps, but not otherwise offensive - Mr. Howison remarked, with no show of temper, but firmly:

        "Mr. Tayloe, you will please recollect that this young lady is now under my care!"

        He laughed the next moment, as if to pass the matter off pleasantly, but all three of us comprehended what was implied.

        We began French with our new tutor, and geometry! I crossed the Pons Asinorum in January, and went on with Euclid passably well, if not creditably. Mathematics was never my strong point. The patience and perfect temper of the preceptor never failed him, no matter how far I came short of what he would have had me accomplish in that direction.

        "Educate them as if they were boys and preparing for college," my father had said, and he was obeyed.

        Beyond and above the benefit derived from the study of text-books was the education of daily contact with a mind so richly stored with classic and modern literature, so keenly alive to all that was worthy in the natural, mental, and spiritual world as that of Robert Howison. He had been graduated at the University of Virginia, and for a year or more had practiced law in Richmond, resigning the profession to begin studies that would prepare him for what he rated as a higher calling. My debt to him is great, and inadequately acknowledged in these halting lines.

        Were I required to tell what period of my nonage had most to do with shaping character and coloring my life, I should reply, without hesitation, "The nine months passed at Rice Hill." A new, boundless realm of thought and feeling was opened to the little provincial from a narrow, neutral-tinted neighborhood. I was a dreamer by nature and by


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habit, and my dreams took on a new complexion; a born story-maker, and a wealth of material was laid to my hand. We were a family of mad book-lovers, and the libraries of seminary and college were to my eyes twin Golcondas of illimitable possibilities. Up to now, novel reading had been a questionable delight in which I hardly dared indulge freely. I was taught to abhor deceit and clandestine practices, and my father had grave scruples as to the wisdom of allowing young people to devour fiction. We might read magazines, as we might have confectionery, in limited supplies. A bound novel would be like a dinner of mince-pie and sweetmeats, breeding mental and moral indigestion.

        So, when Mr. Howison not only permitted, but advised the perusal of Scott's novels and poems, I fell upon them with joyful surprise that kindled into rapture as I became familiar with the Wizard and his work. We lived in the books we read then, discussing them at home and abroad as we talk now of living issues and current topics. The Heart of Midlothian, Marmion, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Peveril of the Peak, and Waverley were read that winter on stormy afternoons and during the long evenings that succeeded the early supper. Sometimes Mr. Howison lingered when his comrades had gone back to their dormitories, and took his part in the fascinating entertainment. Usually the group was composed of Aunt Rice, her sister (Mrs. Wharey, lately widowed, who was making arrangements to settle upon an adjoining plantation), Mrs. Wharey's daughter, another "Cousin Mary," my sister, and myself.

        Aunt Rice was a "character" in her way and day; shrewd, kindly sympathetic, active in church and home, and with a marvellous repertoire of tale and anecdote that made her a most entertaining companion. "The Seminary" was her foster-child; the students had from her maternal interest and affection. Like other gentlewomen


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of her time and latitude, she was well versed in the English classics and in translations from the Latin and Greek. Pope, Swift, and Addison were household favorites, and this winter she was reading with delight the just-published History of the Reformation, by Merle d'Aubigné. She always wore black - merino in the morning, black silk or satin in the afternoon - and a regulation old lady's cap with ribbon strings tied under a double chin, and I think of her as always knitting lamb's-wool stockings. Hers was a pronounced individuality in every capacity she assumed to fill - mistress, housewife, neighbor, and general well-wisher. She never scolded, yet she managed the dozen or more servants that had come down to her by ordinary generation - seven of them men and boys - judiciously and well. Even then she was meditating a scheme she afterward put into successful execution - namely, liberating all her slaves and sending them to Liberia. To this end she had taught them to read and write, and each boy was trained in some manual trade. She superintended their religious education as faithfully. Every Sunday night all the negroes who were beyond infancy assembled in the dining-room for Scripture readings expounded by her own pleasant voice, and for recitations in the Shorter Catechism and Village Hymn-book. They were what was called in the neighborhood vernacular, "a likely lot." The boys and men were clever workers in their several lines of labor. The women were skilled in the use of loom, spinning-wheel, and needle, and excellent cooks. One and all, they were made to understand from babyhood what destiny awaited them so soon as they were equipped for the enterprise.

        I wish I could add that the result met her fond expectations. While the design was inchoate, her example served as a stock and animating illustration of the wisdom of those who urged upon Virginia slaveholders the duty of returning the blacks to the land from which their fathers were


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stolen. Colonization was boldly advocated in public and in private, and the old lady was a fervent convert. In the fulness of time she sent out five families, strong and healthy, as well-educated as the average Northern farmer and mechanic. She sold Rice Hill and well-nigh impoverished herself in her old age to fit out the colony with clothes and household goods, and went to spend the few remaining years of her life in the home of her sister. The great labor of her dreams and hope accomplished, she chanted a happy "Nunc Dimittis" to sympathizer and to doubter. She had solved the Dark Problem that baffled the world's most astute statesmen. If all who hearkened unto her would do likewise, the muttering of the hell that was already moving from its depth under the feet of the nation, would be silenced forever.

        The competent colonists had hardly had time to send back to their emancipated mistress news of their safe arrival in the Promised Land, when they found themselves in grievous straits. These, duly reported to Aunt Rice, were African fevers that exhausted their strength and consumed their stock of ready money; the difficulty of earning a livelihood while they were ignorant of the language and customs of the natives; lack of suitable clothing; scarcity of provisions, and a waiting-list of etceteras that rent the tender heart of the benefactress with unavailing pity. She was importuned for money, for clothes, for groceries - even that she would, for the love of Heaven and the sake of old times, send them a barrel of rice - which, infidels to her faith in colonization did not fail to remind her, was to be had in Liberia for the raising.

        The stout-hearted liberator never owned in word her disappointment at the outcome of long years of patient preparation and personal privation, or gave any sign of appreciation of the truth that her grand solution of the Dark Problem was the song of the drunkard and a by-word


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and a hissing in the mouth of the unbeliever. But she ceased long before her death, in 1858, to tax her listeners' patience by setting forth the beauties of colonization as the practical abolition of negro slavery in America. If her ancestors had sinned in bringing the race into bondage, and her teeth were thereby set on edge, she hid her hurt. This significant silence was the only token by which her best friends divined her consciousness of the humiliating revelation which had fallen into the evening of a well-spent life. She had exchanged for the five families born and reared in her home, dependence, comfort, and happiness, for freedom, pauperism, and discontent. The cherished bud had been passing sweet. The fruit was as bitter as gall.

        At the time of which I am writing, the dream-bubble was at the brightest and biggest. She was in active correspondence with the officers of the Colonization Society; subscribed to and read colonization publications, and dealt out excerpts from the same to all who would listen; was busy, sanguine, and bright, beholding herself, in imagination, the leader in a crusade that would wipe the stain of slavery from her beloved state.

        One event of that wonderful winter was a visit paid to Aunt Rice by her aged father, Major James Morton, of High Hill, Cumberland County, the "Old Solid Column" of Revolutionary story. The anecdote of Lafayette's recognition of his former brother-in-arms was related in an earlier chapter. It was treasured in the family as a bit of choice silver would be prized. I had heard it once and again, and had constructed my own portrait of the stout-hearted and stout-bodied warrior. Surprise approximated dismay when I behold a withered, tremulous old man, enfeebled in mind almost to childishness, his voice breaking shrilly as he talked - a pitiable, crumbling wreck of the stately column.


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        He had definite ideas upon certain subjects still, and was doughty in their defence. For example, during this visit to his daughter, he sat one evening in the chimney-corner, apparently dozing, while a party of young people were discussing the increasing facilities of travel by steam, and contrasting them with the slow methods of their fathers. The Major drowsed on, head sunken into his military stock, eyes closed, and jaw drooping - the impersonation of senile decay - when somebody spoke of a trip up the Hudson to West Point the preceding summer.

        The veteran raised himself as if he had been shaken by the shoulder.

        "That is not true!" he said, doggedly.

        "But, Major," returned the surprised narrator, "I did go! There is a regular line of steamers up the river."

        The old war-horse reared his head and beat the floor with an angry heel.

        "I say it is not true! It could not be true! General Washington had a big chain stretched across the river after Arnold tried to sell West Point, so that no vessel could get up to the fort. And, sir!" bringing his cane down upon the hearth with a resounding thump, his voice clear and resonant, "there is not that man upon earth who would dare take down that chain. Why, sir, General Washington put it there!"

        A fragment of the mighty chain, forged in the mountains of New Jersey, lies upon the parade-ground at West Point.

        Forty years thereafter I laid a caressing hand upon a huge link of the displaced boom, and told the anecdote to my twelve-year-old boy, adding, as if the stubborn loyalist had said it in my ear,

                        "And there it stands until this day,
                        To witness if I lie."


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        We read Ivanhoe in the open air when the spring wore into summer. The afternoons were long, and when study-hours were over we were wont to repair to the roomy back porch, shaded by vines, and looking across a little valley at the bottom of which were a bubbling spring, a twisting brook, and a tiny pool as round as a moon, to the hill crowned by "Morton," a plain but spacious house occupied by the Wharey family.

        Not infrequently a seminary student, attracted by Mary Wharey's brunette comeliness and happy temper, would join our group and lend a voice in the reading. Moses Drury Hoge, a cousin of my mother and of Aunt Rice, was with us at least twice a week, basking in the summer heat like a true son of the tropics. He was a tutor in Hampden-Sidney while a divinity student, and, as was proved by his subsequent career, was the superior of his fellows in oratorical gifts and other endowments that mark the youth for success from the beginning of the race. I think he was born sophisticated. Already his professors yielded him something that, while it was not homage in any sense of the word, yet singled him out as one whose marked individuality and brilliant talents gave him the right to speak with authority. At twenty-three, without other wealth than his astute brain and ready wits, his future was sure.

        He won in after years the title of "the Patrick Henry of the Southern Pulpit."

        Of him I shall have occasion to speak further as my story progresses.


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X

FAMILY LETTERS - COMMENCEMENT AT HAMPDEN-SIDNEY -
THEN AND NOW

"RICHMOND, June 10th, 1843.

        "MY DEAR WIFE, - After a fatiguing day it is with great pleasure I sit down to have a little chat with you, and to inform you of our progress. Were I disposed to give credit to lucky and unlucky days, a little incident occurred on our way down which would have disturbed me very much. We were going on at a reasonable rate when, to our surprise, the front of the 'splendid line of coach' assumed a strange position, and for a moment I thought we should be wrecked, but it was only minus a wheel - one of the front ones having taken leave of us and journeying, 'singly and alone,' on the other side of the turnpike. We were soon 'all right,' and arrived here in good health but much fatigued. Mother has hardly got rested yet, but thinks another quiet day will be sufficient, and that she will be ready to start on Monday morning and be able to hold out to go through without again stopping. We have passed over the most fatiguing part of our journey. We shall leave on Monday morning by the railroad, and, unless some accident should happen on the way, expect to be in Boston on Wednesday about 9 o'clock A. M. It is my intention to keep on, unless mother should require rest, more than can be had on the line of travel. . . . Well, love, are you not tired of this overparticularity about business? I will not weary you any longer with it. I have never left home with a stronger feeling of regret than at the present time, and it appears that the older I get, the greater the trial to stay away. Now you will say that it is because you become more and more interesting. Well, it must be so, for I cannot


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discover any other cause. Do not let it be long before you write.

        "The heat, wind, and dust of the city to-day have put me entirely out of trim for writing, and my talent is but small even under the most favorable circumstances. By-the-bye, called on Mrs. D. last evening to deliver a message from Mr. D. Quite a pleasant ten minutes' affair, and was excused. Herbert must save some of those nice plants for that box to be placed on a pole, and tell him if he is a good boy we will try and have a nice affair for the little birds. My man must have a hand in the work, if it be only to look on, and Alice can do the talking part. Don't let Virginia take to her chamber. Keep her circulating about the house in all dry weather; the wind will not injure her, unless it be quite damp, at least so I think.

        "Sunday, 11th. - Attended Doctor Plumer's church this morning, and heard a young man, the son of one of the professors at Princeton, preach. The sermon was good, but should have preferred the Doctor. Morning rainy and no one in from Olney.

        "Evening. - Attended Mr. Magoon's church. He preached from the words, 'Be not deceived, God is not mocked,' etc. A good, practical sermon; he alluded to ministers and church members away from home, and showed them in many cases to be mockers of God, and instanced inconsistencies, all of which he termed 'mockery.' Expect To-night to hear Doctor Plumer. Now, love, you have a full history up to the time of our departure. Write to me soon, and, after telling about yourself, the children, and servants, give me an account of store, farming, and gardening operations. Those large sheets will hold a great deal, if written very close. Kiss Alice and the baby for father. Tell Herbert and Horace that father wishes them to be good boys and learn fast. And now, dear Anna, I must bid you adieu, commending you and our dear ones to the care of Him whose mercies have been so largely bestowed on us in days past. May He preserve you from all evil and cause you to dwell in perfect peace."


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        The foregoing extracts from a letter written by my father during the (to us) "wonderful summer" of our sojourn in Prince Edward had to do with the periodical visit paid by my grandmother to her Massachusetts home. I am deeply impressed in the perusal of these confidential epistles with the absolute dependence of the strong man - whom mere acquaintances rated as reserved to sternness, and singularly undemonstrative, even to his friends - upon the gentle woman who was, I truly believe, the one and only love of his lifetime. He talked to her by tongue and by pen of every detail of business; she was the confidante of every plan, however immature; she, and she alone, fathomed the depths of a soul over which Puritan blood and training impelled him to cast a veil. In all this he had not a secret from her. Portions of the letter which I have omitted go into particulars of transactions that would interest few women.

        No matter how weary he was after a day of travel or work, he had always time to "talk it out" with his alter ego. The term has solemn force, thus applied. In the injunction to write of domestic, gardening, and farming affairs, he brings in "the store," now of goodly proportions and "departments," and into which she did not set foot once a week, and then as any other customer might. "Those large sheets will hold a great deal if written very close," he says, archly. They had evidently been provided for this express purpose before he left home.

        One paragraph in the exscinded section of the letter belongs to a day and system that have lapsed almost from the memory of the living.

        An infant of Mary Anne, my mother's maid, was ill with whooping-cough when the master took his journey northward.

        "I am quite anxious to hear how Edgar is," he writes "I fear the case may prove fatal, and am inclined to blame


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myself for leaving home before it was decided. Yet I know he is in good hands, and that you have done and will do everything necessary for his comfort. Also that, in the event of his death, all that is proper will be attended to. When I get home the funeral shall be preached, of which you will please inform his parents."

        No word of written or spoken comfort would do more to soothe the hearts of the bereaved parents than the assurance that the six-months-old baby should have his funeral sermon in good and regular order. The discourse was seldom preached at the time of interment. Weeks, and sometimes months, intervened before the friends and relatives could be convened with sufficient pomp and circumstance to satisfy the mourners. I have attended services embodying a long sermon, eulogistic of the deceased and admonitory of the living, when the poor mortal house of clay had mouldered in the grave for half a year. I actually knew of one funeral of a wife that was postponed by untoward circumstances until, when a sympathizing community was convoked to listen to the sermon, the ex-widower sat in the front seat as chief mourner with a second wife and her baby beside him. And the wife wore a black gown with black ribbon on her bonnet, out of respect to her predecessor!

        They were whites, and church members in good and regular standing.

        Little Edgar died the day after my father took the train from Richmond for the fast run through to Boston - in two days and two nights! When the master got home after a month's absence, the funeral sermon was preached in old Petersville Church, three miles from the Court House, on a Sunday afternoon, and the parents and elder children were conveyed thither in the family carriage, driven by Spotswood, who would now be the "coachman." Then he was


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the "carriage-driver." They took time for everything then-a-days, and plenty of it.

        In September, Mea and I had the culmination of our experiences and "privileges" upon College Hill in the Hampden-Sidney Commencement. I had never attended one before. I have seen none since that were so grand and none that thrilled me to the remotest fibre of my being as the exercises of that gloriously cloudless day. I hesitate to except even the supreme occasion when, from a box above the audience-floor packed with two thousand students and blazing with electric lights, I saw my tall son march with his class to receive his diploma from the president of a great university, and greeted him joyfully when, the ceremonial over, he brought it up to lay in my lap.

        There were but four graduates in that far-off little country college with the hyphenated name and the honored history. It may be that their grandchildren will read the roll here: Robert Campbell Anderson, Thomas Brown Venable, Paul Carrington, and Mr. Rice, whose initials I think were "T. C." There were, I reiterate, but four graduates, but they took three honors. Robert Anderson was valedictorian; Mr. Rice of the uncertain initials had the philosophical oration; Tom Brown Venable had the Latin salutatory; and Paul Carrington, the one honorless man, made the most brilliant speech of them all. It was a way he had. The madcap of the college - who just "got through," as it were, by the skin of his teeth, by cramming night and day for two months to make up for an indefinite series of wretched recitations and numberless escapades out of class - he easily eclipsed his mates on that day of days. The boys used to say that he was "Saul," until he got up to declaim, or make an original address. Then he was "Paul." He was Pauline, par éminence, to-day.

        I could recite verbatim his lament over Byron's wasted


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powers, and I see, as if it were but yesterday that it thrilled me, the pose and passion of the outburst, arms tossed to heaven in the declamation:

"O! had his harp been tuned to Zion's songs!"

        Music was "rendered" by an admirably trained choir. The hour of the brass-band had not come yet to Hampden- Sidney. And the choir rendered sacred music - such grand old anthems as,

                        "Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion!
                        Put on thy beautiful garments";

        and,

                        "How beautiful upon the mountains
                        Are the feet of him that publisheth salvation;
                        That saith unto Zion,
                        'Thy God reigneth!' "

        Doctor Maxwell was the president then, and was portentous in my eyes in his don's gown.

        Dear old Hampden-Sidney! she has arisen, renewed in youth and vigor, from the cinders of semi-desolation, has cast aside the sackcloth and ashes of her grass-widowhood, and stepped into the ranks of modern progress. I like best to recall her when she maintained the prestige of her traditional honors and refused to accept decadence as a fixed fact.


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XI

BACK IN POWHATAN - OLD VIRGINIA HOUSEWIFERY - A
SINGING-CLASS IN THE FORTIES - THE SIMPLE LIFE?

        MY father's "ways" were so well known by his neighbors it was taken for granted that the education of his daughters would not be conducted along conventional lines after we returned home. Mr. Howison had completed his theological course in the seminary, and there were other plans on foot, known as yet to my parents alone, which made the engagement of another tutor inexpedient.

        It did not seem odd to us then, but I wonder now over the routine laid down by our father, and followed steadily by us during the next winter and summer. A room in the second story was fitted up as a "study" for the two girls. Each had her desk and her corner. Thither we repaired at 9 o'clock A.M. for five days of the week, and sat us down to work. When problem, French exercise, history, and rhetoric lessons were prepared, we gravely and dutifully recited them to each other; wrote French exercises as carefully as if Mr. Howison's eye were to scan them; and each corrected that of her fellow to the best of her ability. We read history and essays upon divers topics aloud, and discussed them freely. The course of study was marked out for us by our beloved ex-tutor, who wrote to us from time to time, in the midst of other and engrossing cares, in proof of continued remembrance and interest in his whilom pupils.

        We girls wrought faithfully and happily until one o'clock


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at our lessons. The rest of the day was our own, except afternoon hours which were passed with our mother, and in occupations directed by her. She had inherited from her mother taste and talent for dainty needlework, and, as all sewing was done by hand, her hands were always full, although her own maid was an expert seamstress. The Virginian matron of antebellum days never wielded broom or duster. She did not make beds or stand at wash-tub or ironing-table. Yet she was as busy in her line of housewifely duty as her "Yankee" sister.

        Provisions were bought by the large quantity, and kept in the spacious store-room, which was an important section of the dwelling. Every morning the cook was summoned as soon as breakfast was fairly over, appearing with a big wooden tray under her elbow, sundry empty "buckets" slung upon her arm, and often a pail on her head, carried there because every other available portion of her person was occupied. The two went together to the storeroom, and materials for the daily food of white and black households were measured into the various vessels. The notable housewife knew to a fraction how much of the raw products went to the composition of each dish she ordered. So much flour was required for a loaf of rolls, and so much for a dozen beaten biscuits; a stated quantity of butter was for cake or pudding; sugar was measured for the kitchen- table and for that at which the mistress would sit with her guests. Molasses was poured into one bucket, lard measured by the great spoonful into another; "bacon-middling" was cut off by the chunk for cooking with vegetables and for the servants' eating; hams and shoulders were laid aside from the supply in the smoke-house, to which the pair presently repaired. Dried fruits in the winter, spices, vinegar - the scores of minor condiments and flavoring that were brought into daily use in the lavish provision for appetites accustomed to the fat of the land -


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were "given out" as scrupulously as staples. If wine or brandy were to be used in sauces, the mistress would supply them later. It was not right, according to her code, to put temptation of that sort in the way of her dependants. It was certainly unsafe. Few colored women drank. I do not now recall a solitary instance of that kind in all my experience with, and observation of negro servants, before or after the war. I wish I could say the same for Scotch, Irish, and German cooks whom I have employed during a half-century of active housewifery.

        Negro men were notoriously weak in that direction. The most honest could not resist the sight and smell of liquor. The failing would seem to be racial. It is an established fact that when the solid reconstructed South "went dry" in certain elections, it was in the hope of keeping ardent spirits out of the way of the negroes.

        To return to our housekeeper of the mid-nineteenth century: The second stage in the daily round appointed to her by custom and necessity was to superintend the washing of breakfast china, glass, and silver. In seven cases out of ten she did the work herself, or deputed it to her daughters. One of my earliest recollections is of standing by my mother as she washed the breakfast "things," and allowed me to polish the teaspoons with a tiny towel just the right size for my baby hands.

        Her own hands were very beautiful, as were her feet. To preserve her taper fingers from the hot water in which silver and glass were washed, she wore gloves, cutting off the tips of the fingers. The proper handling of "fragiles" was a fine art, and few colored servants arose to the right practice of it. I have in my memory the picture of one stately gentlewoman, serene of face and dignified of speech, who retained her seat at the table when the rest of us had finished breakfast. To her, then, in dramatic parlance, the butler, arrayed in long, white apron, sleeves rolled to


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the elbow, bearing a pail of cedar-wood with bright brass hoops, three-quarters full of hot water. This he set down upon a small table brought into the room for the purpose, and proceeded to wash plates, cups, glass, silver, etc., collected from the board at which madam still presided, a bit of fancy knitting or crocheting in hand, which did not withdraw her eyes from vigilant attention to his movements.

        Like surveillance was exercised over each branch of housework. Every part of the establishment was visited by the mistress before she sat down to the sewing, which was her own especial task. Her daughters were instructed in the intricacies of backstitch, fell-seams, overcasting, hemstitching, herringbone, button-holes, rolled and flat hems, by the time they let down their frocks and put up their hair. The girl who had not made a set of chemises for herself before she reached her fourteenth birthday was accounted slow to learn what became a gentlewoman who expected to have a home of her own to manage some day. Until I was ten years old I knit my own stockings of fine, white cotton, soft as wool. Gentlemen of the old school refused to wear socks and stockings bought over a counter. In winter they had woollen, in summer cotton foot-gear, home-knit by wives or aunts or daughters. We embroidered our chemise bands and the ruffles of skirts, the undersleeves that came in with "Oriental sleeves," and the broad collars that accompanied them.

        Reading aloud more often went with the sewing-circle found in every home, than gossip. My father set his fine, strong face like a flint against neighborhood scandal and little-tattle. " 'They say' is next door to a lie," was one of the sententious sayings that silenced anecdotes dealing with village characters and doings. A more effectual quietus was: "Who says that? Never repeat a tale without giving the author's name. That is the only honorable thing to do."


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        I do not know that the exclusion of chit-chat of our friends drove us to books for entertainment, when miles of seams and gussets and overcasting lay between us and springtime with its outdoor amusements and occupations. I do say that we did not pine for evening "functions," for luncheons and matinees, when we had plenty of books to read aloud and congenial companions with whom to discuss what we read. Once a week we had a singing-class which met around our dining-table. My father led this, giving the key with his tuning-fork, and now and then accompanying with his flute a hymn in which his tenor was not needed.

        Have I ever spoken of the singular fact that he had "no ear for music," yet sang tunefully and with absolute accuracy, with the notes before him? He could not carry the simplest air without the music-book. It was a clear case of a lack of co-ordination between ear and brain. He was passionately fond of music, and sang well in spite of it, playing the flute correctly and with taste - always by note. Take away the printed or written page, and he was all at sea.

        Those songful evenings were the one dissipation of the week. A singing-master, the leader of a Richmond choir, had had a school at the Court House the winter before, and The Boston Academy was in every house in the village. I could run glibly over the names of the regular attendants on the Tuesday evenings devoted to our musicale. George Moody, my father's good-looking ward, now seventeen, and already in love up to his ears with Effie D., my especial crony, who was a month my junior; Thaddeus Ivey, a big blond of the true Saxon type, my father's partner, and engaged to be married to a pretty Lynchburg girl; James Ivey, a clerk in the employ of Hawes& Ivey - nice and quiet and gentlemanly, and in love with nobody that we knew of - these were the bassos. Once in a while,


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"Cousin Joe," who was busily engaged in a seven years' courtship of a fair villager, Effie's sister, joined us and bore our souls and voices aloft with the sonorous "brum! brum!" of a voice at once rich and well-trained. There were five sopranos - we called it "the treble" then - and two women sang "the second treble." One weak-voiced neighbor helped my father out with the tenor. Until a year or two before the singing-master invaded the country, women sang tenor, and the alto was known as "counter."

        The twentieth century has not quite repudiated the tunes we delighted in on those winter nights, when

                        "The fire, with hickory logs supplied,
                        Went roaring up the chimney wide,"

        and we lined both sides of the long table, lighted by tall sperm-oil lamps, and bent seriously happy faces over The Boston Academy, singing with the spirit and, to the best of our ability, with the understanding - "Lanesboro' " and "Cambridge" and "Hebron" and "Boyleston" and "Zion," and learning, with puckered brows and steadfast eyes glued to the notes, such new tunes as "Yarmouth," "Anvern," and "Zerah."

        "Sing at it!" my father would command in heartsome tones, from his stand at the top of the double line. "You will never learn it if you do not make the first trial."

        I arose to my feet the other day with the rest of the congregation of a fashionable church for a hymn which "everybody" was enjoined from the pulpit to "sing."

        When the choir burst forth with

"Triumphant Zion! Lift thy head!"

        I dropped my head upon my hands and sobbed. Were the words ever sung to any other tune than "Anvern," I wonder?


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        In the interval of singing we chatted, laughed, and were happy. How proud all of us girls were, on one stormy night when the gathering was smaller than usual, and good-looking George - coloring to his ears, but resolute - sang the bass solo in the fourth line of "Cambridge":

"Resound their Maker's praise!"

        The rest caught the words from his tongue and carried the tune to a conclusion.

        We sang until ten o'clock; then apples, nuts, and cakes were brought in, and sometimes sweet cider. An hour later we had the house to ourselves, and knelt for evening prayers about the fire before going to bed.

        It was an easy-going existence, that of the well-to-do Virginia countryman of that date. If there were already elements at work below the surface that were to heave the fair level into smoking ruin, the rank and file of the men who made, and who obeyed the laws, did not suspect it.

        Grumblers there were, and political debates that ran high and hot, but the Commonwealth that had supplied the United States with statesmen and leaders since the Constitution was framed, had no fear of a dissolution of what was, to the apprehension of those now at the helm, the natural order of things.


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XII

ELECTION DAY AND A DEMOCRATIC
BARBECUE

        THE time of the singing of birds and the departure of winter came suddenly that year. Hyacinths were aglow in my mother's front yard early in February, and the orchards were aflame with "the fiery blossoms of the peach." The earth awoke from sleep with a bound, and human creatures thrilled, as at the presage of great events.

        It was the year of the presidential election and a campaign of extraordinary importance. My father talked to me of what invested it with this importance as we walked together down the street one morning when the smell of open flowers and budding foliage was sweet in our nostrils.

        A Democratic barbecue was to be held in a field on the outskirts of the village just beyond "Jordan's Creek." The stream took its name from the man whose plantation bounded it on the west. The widening and deepening into a pool at the foot of his garden made it memorable in the Baptist Church.

        I do not believe there was a negro communicant in any other denomination throughout the length of the county. And their favorite baptizing-place was "Jordan's Creek." I never knew why, until my mother's maid - a bright mulatto, with a smart cross of Indian blood in her veins - "got through," after mighty strivings on her part, and on the part of the faithful of her own class and complexion, and confided to me her complacency in the thought that she was now safe for time and eternity.


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        "For, you see, John the Babtis', he babtized in the River Jerdan, and Brother Watkins, he babtized me in the Creek Jerdan. I s'pose they must be some kin to one another?"

        My father laughed and then sighed over the story, when I told it as we set out on our walk. The religious beliefs and superstitions of the colored servants were respected by their owners to a degree those who know little of the system as it prevailed at that time, find it hard to believe. From babyhood we were taught never to speak disrespectfully of the Baptists, or of the vagaries that passed with the negroes for revealed truth. They had a right to their creeds as truly as we had to ours.

        This younger generation is also incredulous with respect to another fact connected with our domestic relations. Children were trained in respectful speech to elderly servants - indeed, to all who were grown men and women. My mother made me apologize once to this same maid - Mary Anne by name - for telling her to "Hush her mouth!" the old Virginian form of "Hold your tongue!"

        The blesséd woman explained the cause of her reproof when the maid was out of hearing:

        "The expression is unladylike and coarse. Then, again, it is mean - despicably mean! - to be saucy to one who has no right to answer in the same way. If you must be sharp in your talk, quarrel with your equals, not with servants, who cannot meet you on your own ground."

        The admonition has stuck fast in my mind to this day.

        By the time we turned the corner in the direction of Jordan's Creek, my father and I were deep in politics. He was the stanchest of Whigs, and the ancient and honorable party had for leader, in this year's fight, one whom my instructor held to be the wisest statesman and purest patriot in the land. The ticket, "Clay and Frelinghuysen," was a beloved household word with us; talk of the tariff, protection and the national debt, which Henry Clay's


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policy would wipe out, and forever, if opportunity were granted to him, ran as glibly from our childish tongues as dissertations upon the Catholic bill and parliamentary action thereupon dropped from the lips of the Brontë boy and girls. There was not a shadow of doubt in our minds as to the result of the November fight.

        "It seems a pity" - I observed, as we looked across the creek down into the distant meadow, where men and boys were moving to and fro, and smoke was rising from fires that had been kindled overnight - "that the Democrats should go to so much expense and trouble only to be defeated at last."

        "They may not be so sure as you are that they are working for nothing," answered my father, smiling good- humoredly. "They have had some victories to boast of in the past."

        "Yes!" I assented, reluctantly. "As, for instance, when Colonel Hopkins was sent to the Legislature! Father, I wish you had agreed to go when they begged you to let them elect you!"

        The smile was now a laugh.

        "To nominate me, you mean. A very different matter from election, my daughter. Not that I cared for either. If I may be instrumental in the hands of Providence in helping to put the right man into the right place, my political ambitions will be satisfied."

        "I do hope that Powhatan will go for Clay!" ejaculated I, fervently. "And I think it an outrage that the Richmond voters cannot come up to the help of the right, at the presidential election."

        "The law holds that the real strength of the several states would not be properly represented if this were allowed," was the reply.

        I saw the justice of the law later in life. Then it was oppressive, to my imagination.


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        That most doubtful blessing of enlightened freemen - universal suffrage - had not as yet been thrust upon the voters of the United States. In Virginia, the man who held the franchise must not only be "free, white, and twenty-one," but he must be a land-owner to the amount of at least twenty-five dollars. Any free white of the masculine gender owning twenty-five dollars' worth of real estate in any county had a vote there. If he owned lands of like value in ten counties, he might deposit a vote in each of them, if he could reach them all between sunrise and sunset on Election Day. It was esteemed a duty by the Richmond voter - the city being overwhelmingly Whig - to distribute his influence among doubtful counties in which he was a property-holder. He held and believed for certain that he had a right to protect his interests wherever they might lie.

        Powhatan was a doubtful factor in the addition of election returns. Witness the election to the Legislature at different periods of such Democrats as Major Jacob Michaux - from a James River plantation held by his grandfather by a royal grant since the Huguenots sought refuge in Virginia from French persecutors - and of the Colonel Hopkins whom I had named. This last was personally popular, a man of pleasing address and fair oratorical powers, and represented an influential neighborhood in the centre of the county. A most worthy gentleman, as I now know. Then I classed him with Jesuits and tyrants. I had overheard a sanguine Democrat declare in the heat of political argument that "Henry L. Hopkins would be President of the United States some day." To which my father retorted, "When that day comes I shall cross the ocean and swear allegiance to Queen Victoria."

        When I repeated the direful threat to my mother, she laughed and bade me give myself no uneasiness on the subject, as nothing was more unlikely than that Colonel


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Hopkins would ever go to the White House. Nevertheless, I always associated that amiable and courtly gentleman with our probable expatriation.

        Election Day was ever an event of moment with us children. From the time when I was tall enough to peep over the vine-draped garden-fence - until I was reckoned too big to stand and stare in so public a place, and was allowed to join the seniors who watched the street from behind the blinds and between the sprays of the climbing roses shading the front windows - it was my delight to inspect and pronounce upon the groups that filled the highway all day long. Children are violent partisans, and we separated the sheep from the goats - id est, the Whigs from the Democrats - as soon as the horsemen became visible through the floating yellow dust of the roads running from each end of the street back into the country. One neighborhood in the lower end of the county, bordering upon Chesterfield, was familiarly known as the "Yellow Jacket region." It took its name, according to popular belief, from the butternut and nankeen stuffs that were worn by men and women. The term had a sinister meaning to us, although it was sufficiently explained by the costume of the voters, who seldom appeared at the Court House in force except upon Election Day. They arrived early in the forenoon - a straggling procession of sad-faced citizens, or so we fancied - saying little to one another, and looking neither to the left nor the right as their sorrel nags paced up the middle of the wide, irregularly built street. I did not understand then, nor do I now, their preference for sorrel horses. Certain it is that there were four of that depressing hue to one black, bay, or gray. So badly groomed were the poor beasts, and so baggy were the nankeen trousers of the men who bestrode them, that a second look was needed to determine where the rider ended and the steed began. We noted, with disdainful glee, that


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the Yellow Jacket folk turned the corner of the crossway flanking our garden, and so around the back of the public square enclosing Court House, clerk's office, and jail. There they tethered the sorry beasts to the fence, shook down a peck or so of oats from bags they had fastened behind the saddles, and shambled into the square to be lost in the gathering crowd.

        As they rode through the village, ill-mannered boys chanted:

                        "Democrats -
                        They eat rats!
                        But Whigs
                        Eat pigs!"

        Bacon being a product for which the state was famed, the distinction was invidious to the last degree. My mother never let us take up the scandalous doggerel. She said it was vulgar, untrue, and unkind. It was not her fault that each of us had the private belief that there was a spice of truth in it.

        When we saw a smart tilbury, drawn by a pair of glossy horses, stop before the "Bell Tavern" opposite our house, the occupants spring to the ground and leave the equipage to the hostlers - who rushed from the stables at sound of the clanging bell pulled by the landlord as soon as he caught sight of the carriage - we said in unison:

        "They are Whigs!"

        We were as positive as to the politics of the men who rode blooded hunters and wore broadcloth and tall, shining hats. The Yellow Jacket head-gear was drab in color, uncertain in shape.

        It seemed monstrous to our intolerant youth that "poor white folksy" men should have an equal right with gentlemen, born and bred, in deciding who should represent the county in the Legislature and the district in Congress.


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        The crowning excitement of the occasion was reserved for the afternoon. As early as three o'clock I was used to see my father come out of the door of his counting-room over the way, watch in hand, and look down the Richmond road. Presently he would be joined there by one, two, or three others, and they compared timepieces, looking up at the weltering sun, their faces graver and gestures more energetic as the minutes sped by. The junta of women sympathizers behind the vine-curtains began to speculate as to the possibility of accident to man, beast, or carriage, and we children inquired, anxiously, "What would happen if the Richmond voters did not come, after all?"

        "No fear of that!" we were assured, our mother adding, with modest pride, "Your father has attended to the matter."

        They always came. Generally the cloud of distant dust, looming high and fast upon the wooded horizon, was the first signal of the reinforcements for the Whig party. Through this we soon made out a train of ten or twelve carriages, and perhaps as many horsemen - a triumphal cortege that rolled and caracoled up the street amid the cheers of expectant fellow-voters and of impartial urchins, glad of any chance to hurrah for anybody. The most important figure to me in the scene was my father, as with feigned composure he walked slowly to the head of the front steps, and lifted his hat in courteous acknowledgment of the hands and hats waved to him from carriage and saddle-bow. If I thought of Alexander, Napoleon, and Washington, I am not ashamed to recollect it now.

        That child has been defrauded who has not had a hero in his own home.

        I was at no loss to know who mine was, on this bland spring morning, as my father and I leaned on a fence on the hither side of the creek and watched the proceedings of the cooks and managers about the al fresco kitchen.


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        "Too many cooks spoil the dinner!" quoth I, as negroes bustled from fire to fire, and white men yelled their orders and counter-orders. "Not that it matters much what kind of victuals are served at a Democratic barbecue, so long as there is plenty to drink."

        "Easy, easy, daughter!" smiled my auditor. "There are good men and true in the other party. We are in danger of forgetting that."

        "None as good and great as Mr. Clay, father?"

        He raised his hat slightly and involuntarily. "I do not think he has his equal as man and pure patriot in this, or any other country. God defend the right!"

        "You are not afraid lest Polk" - drawling the mono syllable in derision - "will beat him, father?"

        The smile was a laugh - happily confident

        "Hardly! I have more faith in human nature and in the common-sense of the American people than to think that they will pass over glorious Harry of the West, and forget his distinguished services to the nation, to set in the presidential chair an obscure demagogue who has done nothing. Wouldn't you like to go down there and see half an ox roasted, and a whole sheep?"

        We crossed the stream upon a shaking plank laid from bank to bank, and strolled down the slope to the scene of operations. An immense kettle was swung over a fire of logs that were so many living coals. The smell of Brunswick stew had been wafted to us while we leaned on the fence. A young man, who had the reputation of being an epicure, to the best of his knowledge and ability, superintended the manufacture of the famous delicacy.

        "Two dozen chickens went into it!" he assured us. "They wanted to make me think it couldn't be made without green corn and fresh tomatoes. I knew a trick worth two of that. I have worked it before with dried tomatoes and dried sweet corn soaked overnight."


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        He smacked his lips and winked fatuously.

        "I've great confidence in your culinary skill," was the good-natured rejoinder.

        I recollected that I had heard my father say of this very youth:

        "I am never hard upon a fellow who is a fool because he can't help it!" But I wondered at his gentleness when the epicure prattled on:

        "Yes, sir! a stew like this is fit for Democrats to eat. I wouldn't give a Whig so much as a smell of the pot!"

        "You ought to have a tighter lid, then," with the same good- humored intonation, and we passed on to see the roasts. Shallow pits, six or seven feet long and four feet wide, were half filled with clear coals of hard hickory billets. Iron bars were laid across these, gridiron-like, and half-bullocks and whole sheep were cooking over the scarlet embers. There were six pits, each with its roast. The spot for the speakers' rostrum and the seats of the audience was well selected. A deep spring welled up in a grove of maples. The fallen red blossoms carpeted the ground, and the young leaves supplied grateful shade. The meadows sloped gradually toward the spring; rude benches of what we called "puncheon dogs" - that is, the trunks of trees hewed in half, and the flat sides laid uppermost - were ranged in the form of an amphitheatre.

        "You have a fine day for the meeting," observed my father to the master of ceremonies, a planter from the Genito neighborhood, who greeted the visitors cordially.

        "Yes, sir! The Lord is on our side, and no mistake!" returned the other, emphatically. "Don't you see that yourself, Mr. Hawes!"

        "I should not venture to base my faith upon the weather," his eyes twinkling while he affected gravity, "for we read that He sends His rain and sunshine upon the evil


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and the good. Good-morning! I hope the affair will be as pleasant as the day."

        Our father took his family into confidence more freely than any other man I ever knew. We were taught not to prattle to outsiders of what was said and done at home. At ten years of age I was used to hearing affairs of personal and business moment canvassed by my parents and my father's partner, who had been an inmate of our house from his eighteenth year - intensely interested to the utmost of my comprehension and drawing my own conclusions privately, yet understanding all the while that whatever I heard and thought was not to be spoken of to schoolmate or visitor.

        It was not unusual for my father to confide to me in our early morning rides - for he was my riding-master - some scheme he was considering pertaining to church, school, or purchase, talking of it as to an equal in age and intelligence. I hearkened eagerly, and was flattered and honored by the distinction thus conferred. He never charged me not to divulge what was committed to me. Once or twice he had added, "I know I am safe in telling you this." After which the thumb-screw could not have extracted a syllable of the communication from me.

        It was during one of these morning rides that he unfolded a plan suggested, as he told me, by our visit to the Democratic barbecue-ground some weeks before.

        We had to rise betimes to secure a ride of tolerable length before the warmth of the spring and summer days made the exercise fatiguing and unpleasant. A glass of milk and a biscuit were brought to me while I was dressing in the gray dawn, and I would join my escort at the front gate, where stood the hostler with both horses, while the east was yet but faintly colored by the unseen sun.

        We were pacing quietly along a plantation road five miles from the Court House, and I was dreamily enjoying


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the fresh taste of the dew-laden air upon my lips, and inhaling the scent of the wild thyme and sheep-mint, bruised by the horses' hoofs, when my companion, who, I had seen, had been in a brown study for the last mile, began with:

        "I have been thinking -" The sure prelude to something worth hearing, or so I believed then.

        A Whig rally was meditated. He had consulted with three of his friends as to the scheme born of his brain, and there would be a meeting of perhaps a dozen leading men of the party in his counting-room that afternoon. The affair was not to be spoken of until date and details were settled. My heart swelled with pride in him, and in myself as his chosen confidante, as he went on. The recollection of the scenes succeeding the barbecue was fresh in our minds, and the memory sharpened the contrast between the methods of the rival parties.

        I was brimful of excitement when I got home, and the various novelties of the impending event in the history of county politics and village life were the staple of neighborhood talk for the weeks dividing that morning ride from the mid-May day of the "rally."

        That was what they called it, for it was not to be a barbecue, although a collation would be served in the grounds surrounding the Grove Hotel, situated in the centre of the hamlet, and separated from the public square by one street. The meeting and the speaking would be in the grove at the rear of the Court House. Seats were to be arranged among the trees. It was at my father's instance and his expense that the benches would be covered with white cotton cloth - "muslin," in Northern parlance. This was in special compliment to the "ladies who, it was hoped, would compose a great part of the audience."

        This was the chiefest innovation of all that set tongues to wagging in three counties. The wives and mothers and daughters of voters were cordially invited by placards


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strewed broadcast through the length and breadth of Powhatan. The like had never been heard of within of memory of the oldest inhabitant. It was universally felt that the step practically guaranteed the county for Clay and Frelinghuysen.


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XIII

A WHIG RALLY AND MUSTER DAY

        THE day dawned heavenly fair, and waxed gloriously bright by the time the preparations for the reception of the guests were completed. The dust had been laid by an all- day rain forty-eight hours before. Every blade of grass and the leaves, which rustled joyously overhead, shone as if newly varnished. At ten o'clock all the sitting-space was occupied, three-fourths of the assembly being of the fairer sex. Half an hour later there was not standing-room within the sound of the orators' voices. A better-dressed, better- mannered crowd never graced a political "occasion." All were in summer gala attire, and all were seated without confusion. My father, as chairman of the committee of arrangements, had provided for every stage of the proceeding. It was by a motion, made by him and carried by acclamation, that Captain Miller, "a citizen of credit and renown," was called to preside.

        As if it had happened last week, I can, in fancy, see each feature of this, the most stupendous function that had ever entered my young life. I suppose there may have been five hundred people present. I would have said, unhesitatingly, "five thousand," if asked to make the computation. I wore, for the first time, a sheer lawn frock - the longest I had ever had, but, as my mother explained to the village dressmaker - Miss Judy Cardozo - "Virginia is growing so fast, we would better have it rather long to begin with." I secretly rejoiced in the sweep of the full


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skirt down to my heels, as giving me a young-ladylike appearance. "Thad" Ivey, always kind to me, and not less Jolly because he was soon to be a married man, meeting me on the way up the street, declared that I had "really a ball-room air." My hair was "done" in two braids and tied with white ribbon figured with pale-purple and green flowers. Sprigs of the same color decorated the white ground of my lawn. I carried a white fan, and I sat, with great delight, between my mother and Cousin Mary.

                        " 'And bright
                        The sun shone o'er fair women and brave men,' "

        murmured a gallant Whig to the row of women behind us.

        "Isn't that strange!" whispered I to Cousin Mary; "those lines have been running in my mind ever since we came."

        Not strange, as I now know. Everybody read and quoted "Childe Harold" at that period, and I may add, took liberties with the text of favorite poems to suit them to the occasion.

        When the round of applause that greeted the appearance of Captain Miller upon the platform subsided, everything grew suddenly so still that I heard the leaves rustling over our heads. His was not an imposing presence, but he had a stainless reputation as a legislator and a Whig, and was highly respected as a man. He began in exactly these words:

        "Ladies and gentlemen - fellow-citizens, all! - it behooves us, always and everywhere, before entering upon the prosecution of any important enterprise, to invoke the presence and blessing of Almighty God. We will, therefore, be now led in prayer by the Reverend Mr. Carus."

        My uncle-in-law "offered" a tedious petition, too Long-winded to please the average politician perhaps, but it was generally felt that a younger man and newer resident


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could not have been called upon without incivility verging upon disrespect to a venerable citizen. The invocation over, the presiding officer announced that "the Whigs, in obedience to the spirit of fair play to all, and injustice to none, that had ever characterized the party, would today grant to their honored opponents, the Democrats, the opportunity of replying publicly to the arguments advanced in the addresses of those representing the principles in the interest of which the present assembly had been convened. The first speaker of the day would be the Hon. Holden Rhodes, of Richmond. The second would be one almost as well known to the citizens of county and state - the Hon. John Winston Jones, of Chesterfield. The Whigs reserved to themselves the last and closing address of the day by the Hon. Watkins Leigh, of Richmond."

        Nothing could be fairer and more courteous, it seemed to me. In the hum of approval that rippled through the assembly it was apparent that others held the like sentiment. Likewise, that the "Honorable Chairman" had scored another point for the magnanimous Whigs. But then - as I whispered to my indulgent neighbor on the left - they could afford to surrender an advantage or two to the party they were going to whip out of existence.

        Holden Rhodes was an eminent lawyer, and his speech was a trifle too professional in sustained and unoratorical argument for my taste and mental reach. I recall it chiefly because of a comical interruption that enlivened the hour- long exposition of party creeds.

        I have drawn in my book, Judith, a full-length portrait of one of the men of marked individuality who made Powhatan celebrated in the history of a state remarkable in every period for strongly defined public characters. In Judith I named this man "Captain Macon." In real life he was Capt. John Cocke, a scion of a good old family, a planter of abundant means, and the father of sons who


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were already beginning to take the place in the public eye he had held for fifty years. He was tall and gaunt, his once lofty head slightly bowed by years and - it was hinted - by high living. He had been handsome, and his glance was still piercing, his bearing distinguished. I ever cherished, as I might value a rare antique, the incident of his introduction to that stalwart dame, my New England grandmother, who had now been a member of our family for three years.

        We were on our way home after service at Fine Creek, and the carriage had stopped at a wayside spring to water the horses. Captain Cocke stood by the spring, his bridle rein thrown over his arm while his horse stooped to the branch flowing across the highway. Expecting to see my mother in the carriage, he took off his hat and approached the window.

        "This is my mother, Captain," said my father, raising his voice slightly, as he then named the new-comer to her deaf ears.

        The old cavalier bowed low, his hand upon his heart: "Madam, I am the friend of your son. I can say nothing more to a mother!"

        The fine courtesy, the graceful deference to age, the instant adaptation of manner and words to the circumstances, have set the episode aside in my heart as a gem of its kind.

        He wore on that Sunday, and he wore on every other day the year around, a scarlet hunting-coat. I wonder if there were more eccentrics in Virginia in that generation than are to be met with there - or anywhere else - nowadays? Certain it is that nobody thought of inquiring why Captain Cocke, whose ancestors had served under Washington and Lafayette in the war for freedom, chose to sport the British livery. We had ceased to remark upon it by the time I write of. When strangers expressed wonderment


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at the queer garb, we had a resentful impression of officiousness.

        Mr. Rhodes, with the rest of his party, was thoroughly dissatisfied with the policy (or want of policy) of John Tyler, who had been called to the presidential chair by the untimely death of Gen. W. H. Harrison. In the progress of his review of national affairs, he came to this name when he had spoken half an hour or so.

        Whereupon uprose the majestic figure clad in scarlet, from his seat a few feet away from the platform. The Captain straightened his bent shoulders and lifted lean arms and quivering fingers toward heaven. The red tan of his weather-beaten cheeks was a dusky crimson.

        "The Lord have mercy upon the nation!" he cried, his voice solemn with wrath, and sonorous with the potency of the mint-juleps for which "The Bell" was noted. Fellow- citizens! I always cry to High Heaven for mercy upon this country when John Tyler's name is mentioned! Amen and amen!"

        He had a hearty round of applause mingled with echoes of his "amens" and much good-humored laughter. They all knew and loved the Captain. I felt the blood rush to my face, and I saw others glance around reprovingly when a city girl who sat behind me, and carried on a whispered flirtation with a fopling at her side during Mr. Rhodes's speech, drawled:

        "What voice from the tombs is that?"

        Mrs. James Saunders, née Mary Cocke, was my mother's right-hand neighbor. With perfect temper and an agreeable smile, she looked over her shoulder into the babyish face of the cockney guest -

        "That is my Uncle John," she uttered, courteously.

        Whereat all within hearing smiled, and the young woman had the grace to blush.

        Mr. Rhodes was speaking again, and the audience was


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respectfully attentive. The orator made clever use of the Captain's interruption. The manner of it offended nobody. John Tyler was, perhaps, the most unpopular man in the Union at that particular time. The Democrats had no use for him, and he had disappointed his own party. When the smoke and dust of political skirmishing cleared away, Virginians did something like justice to his motives and his talents. Twenty years thereafter, my early prepossessions, engendered by the vituperative eloquence of the Clay campaign, were corrected by a quiet remark made by my father to a man who spoke slightingly of the ex-President:

        "The man who chose the cabinet that served during Tyler's administration was neither fool nor traitor."

        John Winston Jones demolished the fair fabric Mr. Rhodes had spent so much time and labor in constructing that I began to yawn before the lively Democrat woke me up. I recollect that he was pungent and funny, and that I was interested, despite his sacrilegious treatment of what I regarded as sacred themes.

        It was a telling point when he drew deliberately a wicked looking jack-knife from his breeches pocket, opened it as deliberately, and, turning toward Mr. Rhodes, who sat at his left, said:

        "If I were to plunge this into the bosom of my friend and respected opponent (and I beg to assure him that I shall not hurt a hair of his head, now or ever!), would I be regarded as his benefactor? Yet that is what General Jackson did to the system of bank monopolies," etc.

        I did not follow him further. For a startled second I had really thought we were to have a "scene." I had heard that Democrats were bloodthirsty by nature, and that sanguinary outbreaks attended political demonstrations and cataracts of bad whiskey.

        It goes without saying that the Hon. Watkins Leigh -


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a distinguished member of the Richmond bar, famous for legal acumen and forensic oratory - made quick and thorough work in the destruction of Mr. Jones's building, and sent the Whigs home with what I heard my mother describe as "a good taste in their mouths."

        The orations were interspersed with "patriotic songs." A quartette of young men, picked out by the committee of arrangements, for their fine voices and stanch Whiggery, stood on the platform and sang the body of the ballads. The choruses were shouted, with more force and good-will than tunefulness, by masculine voters of all ages and qualities of tone.

        Doctor Henning, an able physician, and as eccentric in his way as Captain Cocke in his, stood near my father, his back against a tree, his mouth wide, and all the volume of sound he could pump from his lungs pouring skyward in the refrain of

                        "Get out of the way, you're all unlucky;
                        Clear the track for Old Kentucky!" -

        when his eye fell upon a young man, who, having no more ear or voice than the worthy Galen himself, contented himself with listening. As the quartette began the next verse, the Doctor collared "Abe" Cardozo (whom, by the way, he had assisted to bring into the world), and actually shook him in the energy of his patriotism -

        "Abraham James! why don't you sing?"

        "Me, Doctor?" stammered the young fellow, who probably had not heard his middle name in ten years before - "I never sang a note in my life!"

        "Then begin now!" commanded the Doctor, setting the example as the chorus began anew.

        How my father laughed! backing out of sight of the pair, and doubling himself up in the enjoyment of the scene, real bright tears rolling down his cheeks. I heard


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him rehearse the incident twenty times in after-years, and always with keen delight. For the Doctor was a scholar and a dreamer, as well as a skilful practitioner, renowned for his horticultural and ornithological successes, and so taciturn and absent-minded that he seldom took part in general conversation. That he should have been drawn out of his shell to the extent of roaring out ungrammatical doggerel in a public assembly of his fellow-citizens, was a powerful proof of the tremendous force of party enthusiasm. The incongruity of the whole affair appealed to my father's ever-active sense of humor. He would wind up the story by asserting that "it would have made Jeremiah chuckle if he had known both of the actors in the by-play."

        One specimen of the ballads that flooded the land in the fateful 1844 will give some idea of the tenor of all:

Tune: "Ole Dan Tucker"

                        "The moon was shining silver bright, the stars with glory crowned the night,
                        High on a limb that 'same old Coon' was singing to himself this tune:
                        Chorus

                        "Get out of the way, you're all unlucky; clear the track for Ole Kentucky!

                        "Now in a sad predicament the Lokies are for President;
                        They have six horses in the pasture, and don't know which can run the faster.

                        "The Wagon-Horse from Pennsylvany, the Dutchmen think he's the best of any;
                        But he must drag in heavy stages his Federal notions and low wages.

                        "They proudly bring upon the course an old and broken down war-horse;
                        They shout and sing: 'Oh! rumpsey dumsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumsey!'


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                        "And here is Cass, though not a dunce, will run both sides of the track at once;
                        To win the race will all things copy, be sometimes pig and sometimes puppy.

                        "The fiery Southern horse, Calhoun, who hates a Fox and fears a Coon,
                        To toe the scratch will not be able, for Matty keeps him in the stable.

                        "And here is Matty, never idle, a tricky horse that slips his bridle;
                        In forty-four we'll show him soon the little Fox can't fool the Coon.

                        "The balky horse they call John Tyler, we'll head him soon or burst his boiler;
                        His cursed 'grippe' has seized us all, which Doctor Clay will cure next fall.

                        "The people's fav'rite, Henry Clay, is now the 'fashion' of the day;
                        And let the track be dry or mucky, we'll stake our pile on Ole Kentucky.

                        "Get out of the way, he's swift and lucky; clear the track for Ole Kentucky!"

        (The chorus of each preceding verse is, "Get out of the way, you're all unlucky," etc. The "Fox" is Martin Van Buren, or "Matty." The "Coon" is Clay. The "Wagon-Horse from Pennsylvany" is James Buchanan.)

        Another ballad, sung that day under the trees at the back of the Court House, began after this wise:

                        "What has caused this great commotion
                        Our ranks betray?
                        It is the ball a-rolling on
                        To clear the way
                        For Harry Clay.


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                        And with him we'll beat your Polk! Polk! Polk!
                        And his motley crew of folk.
                        O! with him we'll beat your Polk."

        To my excited imagination it was simple fact, not a flight of fancy, that Powhatan should be alluded to that day as "your historic county - a mere wave in the vast Union -

                        "That ever shall be
                        Divided as billows, yet one as the sea."

        "A wave, fellow-citizens, that has caught the irresistible impulse of wind and tide bearing us on to the most glorious victory America has ever seen."

                        Ah's me! That was how both parties talked and felt with regard to the Union seventeen years before the very name became odious to those who had been ready to die in defence of it.         I cannot dismiss the subject of public functions in the "historic county" without devoting a few pages to the annual Muster Day. It was preceded by five days of "officers' training." The manoeuvres of the latter body were carried on in the public square, and, as one end of our house overlooked this, no lessons were studied or recited between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. on those days. The sophisticated twentieth-century youngling will smile contemptuously at hearing that, up to this time, I had never heard a brass-band. But I knew all about martial music. Already there was laid away in the fat portfolio nobody except myself ever opened, a story in ten parts, in which the hero's voice was compared to "the thrilling strains of martial music."

        I boiled the tale down four years thereafter, and it was printed. It had a career. But "that is another story."

        I used to sit with my "white work," or a bit of knitting,


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in hand, at that end window, looking across the side-street down upon the square, watching the backing and filling, the prancing and the halting of the eight "officers" drilled in military tactics by Colonel Hopkins, the strains of the drum and fife in my ears, and dream out war-stories by the dozen.

        The thumping and the squealing of drum and fife set my pulses to dancing as the finest orchestra has never made them leap since that day when fancy was more real and earnest than what the bodily senses took in.

        By Saturday the officers had learned their lesson well enough to take their respective stands before (and aft, as we shall see) the larger body of free and independent American citizens who were not "muster free," hence who must study the noble art of war.

        They came from every quarter of the county. The Fine Creek and Genito neighborhoods gave up their quota, and Deep Creek, Red Lane, and Yellow Jacket country kept not back. It was a motley and most democratic line that stretched from the main street to that flanking the public square. Butternut and broadcloth rubbed elbows; planter and overseer were shoulder to shoulder. "Free, white, and twenty-one" had the additional qualification of "under forty- five." Past that, the citizen of these free and enlightened United States lays down the burden of peaceable military muster.

        Besides those worn by the officers, there was not a uniform on duty that Saturday. Here and there one might descry the glitter of a gun-barrel. Walking-canes and, with the Yellow Jacket contingent, corn-stalks, simulated muskets in the exercises dictated by Colonel Hopkins, who was to-day at his best. I employ the word "dictated" with intention. He had to tell the recruits (surely the rawest ever drawn up in line) exactly what each order meant. To prevent the swaying array from leaning back


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against the fence, three officers were detailed to skirmish behind the long row and shove delinquents into place. The Colonel instructed them how to hold their "arms," patiently; in the simplest colloquial phrase, informed them what each was to do when ordered to "shoulder arms," "right dress," "mark time," and the rest of the technicalities confusing to ears unlearned, and which, heard by the veteran but once in a twelve-month, could not be familiar even after ten or fifteen years of "service."

        Both the windows commanding the parade-ground were filled on Muster Day. My mother and our grown-up cousins enjoyed the humors of the situation almost as much as we girls, who let nothing escape our eager eyes. Especially do I recall the shout of laughter we drew away from our outlook to stifle, when the suave commanding officer, mindful of the dull comprehension and crass ignorance of a large proportion of his corps, directed them in a clear voice - whose courteous intonations never varied under provocations that would have thrown some men into paroxysms of mirth, and moved many to profanity - to "look straight forward, hold the chin level, and let the hands hang down, keeping thumbs upon the seam of the pantaloons." More technical terms would have been thrown away. Twenty warriors (prospective) brought both hands forward and laid their thumbs, side by side, upon the central seams of their pantaloons! Merriment, that threatened to be like the "inextinguishable laughter" of Olympian deities, followed the grave anxieties of the officials in rear and front of the mixed multitude to hinder those at the extreme ends of the line from bending forward to watch the manoeuvres of comrades who occupied the centre of the field. In spite of hurryings to and fro and up and down the ranks, it chanced, half a dozen times an hour, that what should have been a straight line became a curve. Then the gallant, indomitable Colonel would


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walk majestically from end to end, and with the flat of his naked sword repair the damage done to discipline -

        "Just like a boy rattling a stick along the palings!" gasped Cousin Mary, choking with mirth.

        The simile was apt.

        Some staid citizens, tenacious of dignity and susceptible to ridicule, seldom appeared upon the parade-ground, preferring to pay the fine exacted for the omission. Others - and not a few - contended that some familiarity with military manoeuvres was essential to the mental outfit of every man who would be willing to serve his country in the field if necessary. This sentiment moved sundry of the younger men to the formation, that same year (if I mistake not), of the "Powhatan Troop."

        One incident connected with the birth of an organization that still exists, in name, fixed it in my mind. Cousin Joe - the hero of my childish days - was mainly instrumental in getting up the company, and brought the written form of constitution and by-laws to my father's house, where he dined on the Court Day which marked the first parade. Our kinsman, Moses Drury Hoge, came with him. He prided himself, among a great many other things, upon being phenomenally far-sighted. To test this he asked Cousin Joe to hold the paper against the wall on the opposite side of the room, and read it aloud slowly and correctly from his seat, twenty feet away.

        The scene came back to me as it was photographed on my mind that day, when I read, ten years ago, in a Richmond paper, of the prospective celebration of the formation of the "Powhatan Troop." I was more than four hundred miles away, and fifty-odd years separated me from the "historic county" and the Court House where the banquet was to be given. I let the paper drop and closed my eyes. I was back in the big, square room on the first floor of the long, low, rambling house on the village street. My