Feb. 15, 1862. (Village of X.)—We reached Arkansas Landing at nightfall. Mr. Y., the planter who owns the landing, took us right up to his residence. He ushered me into a large room where a couple of candles gave a dim light, and close to them, and sewing as if on a race with time, sat Mrs. Y. and a little negro girl, who was so black and sat so stiff and straight she looked like an ebony image. This was a large plantation; the Y.’s knew H. very well, and were very kind and cordial in their welcome and congratulations. Mrs. Y. apologized for continuing her work; the war had pushed them this year in getting the negroes clothed, and she had to sew by dim candles, as they could obtain no more oil. She asked if there were any new fashions in New Orleans.
Next morning we drove over to our home in this village. It is the county-seat, and was, till now, a good place for the practice of H.’s profession. It lies on the edge of a lovely lake. The adjacent planters count their slaves by the hundreds. Some of them live with a good deal of magnificence, using service of plate, having smoking-rooms for the gentlemen built off the house, and entertaining with great hospitality. The Baptists, Episcopalians, and Methodists hold services on alternate Sundays in the court-house. All the planters and many others, near the lake shore, keep a boat at their landing, and a raft for crossing vehicles and horses. It seemed very piquant at first, this taking our boat to go visiting, and on moonlight nights it was charming. The woods around are lovelier than those in Louisiana, though one misses the moaning of the pines. There is fine fishing and hunting, but these cotton estates are not so pleasant to visit as sugar plantations.
But nothing else has been so delightful as, one morning, my first sight of snow and a wonderful, new, white world.
Feb. 27, 1862.—The people here have hardly felt the war yet. There are but two classes. The planters and the professional men form one; the very poor villagers the other. There is no middle class. Ducks and partridges, squirrels and fish, are to be had. H. has bought me a nice pony, and cantering along the shore of the lake in the sunset is a panacea for mental worry.
How It Was In Arkansas
March 11, 1862.—The serpent has entered our Eden. The rancor and excitement of New Orleans have invaded this place. If an incautious word betrays any want of sympathy with popular plans, one is “traitorous,” “ungrateful,” “crazy.” If one remains silent, and controlled, then one is “phlegmatic,” “cool-blooded,” “unpatriotic.” Cool-blooded! Heavens! if they only knew. It is very painful to see lovable and intelligent women rave till the blood mounts to face and brain. The immediate cause of this access of war fever has been the battle of Pea Ridge. They scout the idea that Price and Van Dorn have been completely worsted. Those who brought the news were speedily told what they ought to say. “No, it is only a serious check; they must have more men sent forward at once. This country must do its duty.” So the women say another company must be raised.