“I suppose it isn’t,” he assented good-naturedly. “But you people up at the North here don’t suspicion what we have been through. You caught only the edge of the hurricane. The most of you, I take it, weren’t in it at all.”
“Our dearest were in it.”
“Well, we got whipped, Wesley, I acknowledge it; but we deserved to win, if ever bravery deserved it.”
“The South was brave, nobody contests that; but ’’t is not enough to be brave’—
On the awful shield of God,’
as one of our poets says.”
“Blast one of your poets! Our people were right, too.”
“Come, now, Flagg, when you talk about your people, you ought to mean Northerners, for you were born in the North.”
“That was just the kind of luck that has followed me all my life. My body belongs to Bangor, Maine, and my soul to Charleston, South Carolina.”
“You’ve got a problem there that ought to bother you.”
“It does,” said the colonel, with a laugh.
“Meanwhile, my dear boy, don’t distress Mrs. Wesley with it. She is ready to be very fond of you, if you will let her. It would be altogether sad and shameful if a family so contracted as ours couldn’t get along without internal dissensions.”
My cousin instantly professed the greatest regard for Mrs. Wesley, and declared that both of us were good enough to be Southrons. He promised that in future he would take all the care he could not to run against her prejudices, which merely grew out of her confused conception of State rights and the right of self-government. Women never understood anything about political economy and government, anyhow.
Having accomplished thus much with the colonel, I turned my attention, on his departure, to smoothing Clara. I reminded her that nearly everybody North and South had kinsmen or friends in both armies. To be sure, it was unfortunate that we, having only one kinsman, should have had him on the wrong side. That was better than having no kinsman at all. (Clara was inclined to demur at this.) It had not been practicable for him to divide himself; if it had been, he would probably have done it, and the two halves would doubtless have arrayed themselves against each other. They would, in a manner, have been bound to do so. However, the war was over, we were victorious, and could afford to be magnanimous.
“But he doesn’t seem to have discovered that the war is over,” returned Clara. “He ‘still waves.’”
“It is likely that certain obstinate persons on both sides of Mason and Dixon’s line will be a long time making the discovery. Some will never make it—so much the worse for them and the country.”
Mrs. Wesley meditated and said nothing, but I saw that so far as she and the colonel were concerned the war was not over.