Lady Baltimore eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Lady Baltimore.
own rooms) was of importance to Mrs. Trevise; but I assure you that her ways kept our landlady’s cold, impervious tact watchful from the beginning to the end of almost every meal.  Juno was one of those persons who possess so many and such strong feelings themselves that they think they have all the feelings there are; at least, they certainly consider no one’s feelings but their own.  She possessed an inexhaustible store of anecdote, but it was exclusively about our Civil War; you would have supposed that nothing else had ever happened in the world.  When conversation among the rest of us became general, she preserved a cold and acrid inattention; when the fancy took her to open her own mouth, it was always to begin some reminiscence, and the reminiscence always began:  “In September, 1862, when the Northern vandals,” etc., etc., or “When the Northern vandals were repulsed by my husband’s cousin, General Braxton Bragg,” etc., etc.  Now it was not that I was personally wounded by the term, because at the time of the vandals I was not even born, and also because I know that vandals cannot be kept out of any army.  Deeply as I believed the March to the Sea to have been imperative, of “Sherman’s bummers” and their excesses I had a fair historic knowledge and a very poor opinion; and this I should have been glad to tell Juno, had she ever given me the chance; but her immodest sympathy for herself froze all sympathy for her.  Why could she not preserve a well-bred silence upon her sufferings, as did the other old ladies I had met in Kings Port?  Why did she drag them in, thrust them, poke them, shove them at you?  Thus it was that for her insulting disregard of those whom her words might wound I detested Juno; and as she was a woman, and nearly old enough to be my grandmother, it was, of course, out of the question that I should retaliate.  When she got very bad indeed, it was calm Mrs. Trevise’s last, but effective, resort to tinkle a little handbell and scold one of the waitresses whom its sound would then summon from the kitchen.  This bell was tinkled not always by any means for my sake; other travellers from the North there were who came and went, pausing at Kings Port between Florida and their habitual abodes.

At present our company consisted of Juno; a middle-class Englishman employed in some business capacity in town; a pair of very young honeymooners from the “up-country”; a Louisiana poetess, who wore the long, cylindrical ringlets of 1830, and who was attending a convention the Daughters of Dixie; two or three males and females, best described as et ceteras; and myself.  “I shall only take a mouthful for the sake of nourishment,” Juno was announcing, “and then I shall return to his bedside.”

“Is he very suffering?” inquired the poetess, in melodious accent.

“It was an infamous onslaught,” Juno replied.

The poetess threw up her eyes and crooned, “Noble, doughty champion!”

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Lady Baltimore from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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