“How can you speak so plainly before them?” I say.
“Why, what matter? They know that we shall keep the whip-handle.”
April 13, 1861.—More than a month has passed since the last date here. This afternoon I was seated on the floor covered with loveliest flowers, arranging a floral offering for the fair, when the gentlemen arrived (and with papers bearing the news of the fall of Fort Sumter, which, at her request, I read to Mrs. F.).
April 20.—The last few days have glided away in a halo of beauty. I can’t remember such a lovely spring ever before. But nobody has time or will to enjoy it. War, war! is the one idea. The children play only with toy cannons and soldiers; the oldest inhabitant goes by every day with his rifle to practice; the public squares are full of companies drilling, and are now the fashionable resorts. We have been told that it is best for women to learn how to shoot too, so as to protect themselves when the men have all gone to battle. Every evening after dinner we adjourn to the back lot and fire at a target with pistols.
Yesterday I dined at Uncle Ralph’s. Some members of the bar were present and were jubilant about their brand-new Confederacy. It would soon be the grandest government ever known. Uncle Ralph said solemnly, “No, gentlemen; the day we seceded the star of our glory set.” The words sunk into my mind like a knell, and made me wonder at the mind that could recognize that and yet adhere to the doctrine of secession.
In the evening I attended a farewell gathering at a friend’s whose brothers are to leave this week for Richmond. There was music. No minor chord was permitted.
April 25, 1861.—Yesterday I went with Cousin E. to have her picture taken. The picture-galleries are doing a thriving business. Many companies are ordered off to take possession of Fort Pickens (Florida), and all seem to be leaving sweethearts behind them. The crowd was in high spirits; they don’t dream that any destinies will be spoiled. When I got home Edith was reading from the daily paper of the dismissal of Miss G. from her place as teacher for expressing abolition sentiments, and that she would be ordered to leave the city. Soon a lady came with a paper setting forth that she has established a “company”—we are nothing if not military—for making lint and getting stores of linen to supply the hospitals.
My name went down. If it hadn’t, my spirit would have been wounded as with sharp spears before night. Next came a little girl with a subscription paper to get a flag for a certain company. The little girls, especially the pretty ones, are kept busy trotting around with subscription lists. A gentleman leaving for Richmond called to bid me good-bye. We had a serious talk on the chances of his coming home maimed. He handed me a rose