“You cannot imagine,” she wrote, “the feelings of awe and even terror which steal over me the nearer I get to the seat of war, and the more I realize the bloody strife we have been engaged in, and which, thank God, has now so nearly ceased. You have heard of John Jennings, the noble man who saved my dear husband’s life, and of Aunt Bab, who helped in the good work? Both are here. It seems that suspicion was aroused against them at last, and Bab was cruelly whipped to make her confess where a Union prisoner was hidden; but, though the blows cut deep into her back, bringing the blood at every stroke, she never uttered a word; and with her wounds all smarting as they were, she helped the poor boy off, and then with her master, John Jennings, started for the North. I never saw Mark more pleased than when seized around the neck by two long, brawny arms, while a cheery voice called out: ’Hello, old chap, has you done forgot John Jennin’s?’ I verily believe Mark cried, and I know I did, especially when old Bab came up and shook ‘young misses’ hand.’ I kissed her, Katy—all black, and rough, and uncouth as she was. I kissed her more than once, and felt honored in doing so. Poor Bab! her back is still a piteous sight, and I dress it every day, shuddering at the sight, and thanking God that slavery, with all its horrors, is at an end. I wish you could see how grateful the old creature is for every act of kindness. She says ‘the very feel of misses’ soft, white hands makes her old back better,’ and she praises me continually to Mark, who is just foolish enough to believe all she says. When we come home again, both John and Bab will come with us, though what we shall do with John is more than I can tell. Mark says he shall employ him about the office, and this I know will delight Tom Tubbs, who has again made friends with Chitty, and who will almost worship John as having saved Mark’s life. Aunt Bab shall have an honored seat by the kitchen fire, and a pleasant room all to herself, working only when she likes, and doing as she pleases.
“Did I tell you that Mattie Tubbs was to be my seamstress? I am getting together a curious household, you will say; but I like to have those about me to whom I can do the greatest amount of good, and as I happen to know how much Mattie admires ‘the Lennox girls,’ I did not hesitate to take her, even though Mark did ask if I intended bringing her into the parlor to help entertain my company. Mark is a saucy, teasing fellow, and I see more and more how he kept up that dreadful Andersonville while so many of his comrades died. Dear Mark! can I ever be grateful enough to God for bringing him home?