Seriously, I wonder if any soldiers will ever wear these remarkable coats. The most bewildering combination of brilliant, intense reds, greens, yellows, and blues in big flowers meandering over as vivid grounds; and as no table-cover was large enough to make a coat, the sleeves of each were of a different color and pattern. However, the coats were duly finished. Then we set to work on gray pantaloons, and I have just carried a bundle to an ardent young lady who wishes to assist. A slight gloom is settling down, and the inmates here are not quite so cheerfully confident as in July.
A BELEAGUERED CITY.
Oct. 22, 1861.—When I came to breakfast this morning Rob was capering over another victory—Ball’s Bluff. He would read me, “We pitched the Yankees over the bluff,” and ask me in the next breath to go to the theater this evening. I turned on the poor fellow: “Don’t tell me about your victories. You vowed by all your idols that the blockade would be raised by October 1, and I notice the ships are still serenely anchored below the city.”
“G., you are just as pertinacious yourself in championing your opinions. What sustains you when nobody agrees with you?”
I would not answer.
Oct. 28, 1861.—When I dropped in at Uncle Ralph’s last evening to welcome them back, the whole family were busy at a great center-table copying sequestration acts for the Confederate Government. The property of all Northerners and Unionists is to be sequestrated, and Uncle Ralph can hardly get the work done fast enough. My aunt apologized for the rooms looking chilly; she feared to put the carpets down, as the city might be taken and burned by the Federals. “We are living as much packed up as possible. A signal has been agreed upon, and the instant the army approaches we shall be off to the country again.”
Great preparations are being made for defense. At several other places where I called the women were almost hysterical. They seemed to look forward to being blown up with shot and shell, finished with cold steel, or whisked off to some Northern prison. When I got home Edith and Mr. D. had just returned also.
“Alex,” said Edith, “I was up at your orange-lots to-day and the sour oranges are dropping to the ground, while they cannot get lemons for our sick soldiers.”
“That’s my kind, considerate wife,” replied Mr. D. “Why didn’t I think of that before? Jim shall fill some barrels to-morrow and take them to the hospitals as a present from you.”
Nov. 10.—Surely this year will ever be memorable to me for its perfection of natural beauty. Never was sunshine such pure gold, or moonlight such transparent silver. The beautiful custom prevalent here of decking the graves with flowers on All Saint’s day was well fulfilled, so profuse and rich were the blossoms. On All-hallow Eve Mrs. S. and myself visited a large cemetery. The chrysanthemums lay like great masses of snow and flame and gold in every garden we passed, and were piled on every costly tomb and lowly grave. The battle of Manassas robed many of our women in mourning, and some of these, who had no graves to deck, were weeping silently as they walked through the scented avenues.