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Chapter 1: the forehead of the storm. Washington city in 1861. her two social circles was she a new Sodom? lobbyists and diplomats eve of the storm echo from Charleston Harbor a dinner and a ball popular views of the situation Buchanan's policy and the peace Congress separation a certainty preparations for the hejira precautions for Lincoln's inauguration off for Dixie. The cloud no bigger than a man's hand had risen. It became visible to all in Washington over the sall these elements, was the resident families of old Washingtonians. These had lived there so long as to be able to winnow the chaff and throw the refuse off. There has ever been much talk about the corruption of Washington, easy hints about Sodom, with a general sweep at the depravity of its social system. But it is plain these facile fault-finders knew no more of its inner circle-and for its resident society only is any city responsible-than they did of the court of the Grand Turk. Suc
vernment was on the side of this opinion; and now, for the first time, preparations for war began in earnest. Though the people of Montgomery still murmured, as they had done from the beginning, at the influx of corrupting social influences from Sodom on the Potomac, and still held the hordes of unintroduced strangers aloof from their firesides, they continued most strenuous exertions and made most selfless sacrifices to serve the beloved cause. Storehouses were freely offered for the public , after the Washington custom, at which were collected the most brilliant, the most gallant and most honored of the South. But the citizens still held aloof from general connection with the alien crowd. They could not get rid of their idea that Sodom had come to be imposed on them; and to their prejudiced nostrils there was an odor of sulphur in everything that savored of Washington society. And yet, while they grumbled-these older people of Montgomery-they wrought, heart and soul for the c