“I desire you to go to Norfolk County, Virginia, and hang up your sign as an attorney at law. I wish you to run for congress from that district. Leonard is down there. As you will find out, he will be of inestimable service to you.
“Now let me give you his history. Leonard was the most brilliant student that ever entered ------ University in the state of ------. Just prior to the time when he would have finished his education at school, the war broke out and he enlisted in the Confederate Army, and was made a colonel of a regiment. I was also a colonel, and when our ranks became depleted the two regiments were thrown into one. Though he was the ranking officer, our commander, as gallant and intrepid an officer as ever trod a battle field, was put in command. This deeply humilitated Leonard and he swore to be avenged.
“One evening, when night had just lowered her black wings over the earth, we were engaging the enemy. Our commander was in advance of his men. Suddenly the commander fell, wounded. At first it was thought that the enemy bad shot him, but investigation showed that the ball had entered his back. It was presumed, then, that some of his own men had mistook him for an enemy and had shot him through mistake. Leonard had performed the nefarious deed knowingly. By some skillful detective work, I secured incontestible evidence of his guilt. I went to him with my proof and informed him of my intentions to lay it before a superior officer. His answer was: ’If you do, I will let the whole world know about your nigger wife.’ I fell back as if stunned. Terror seized me. If he knew of my marriage might not others know it? Might not it be already generally known? These were the thoughts that coursed through my brain. However, with an effort I suppressed my alarm. Seeing that each possessed a secret that meant death and disgrace to the other (for I shall certainly kill myself if I am ever exposed) I entered into an agreement with him.
“On the condition that he would prepare a statement confessing his guilt and detailing the circumstances of the crime and put this paper in my hand, I would show him my marriage certificate; and after that, each was to regard the other’s secret as inviolate.
“We thus held each other securely tied. His conscience, however, disturbed him beyond measure; and every evening, just after dusk, he fancied that he saw the form of his departed commander. It made him cowardly in battle and he at last deserted.
“He informed me as to how my secret came into his possession. Soon after he committed his crime he felt sure that I was in possession of his secret, and he thought to steal into my tent and murder me. He stole in there one night to perpetrate the crime. I was talking in my sleep. In my slumber I told the story of my secret marriage in such circumstantial detail that it impressed him as being true. Feeling that he could hold me with that, he spared my life, determined to wound me deeper than death if I struck at him.