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[182] The servant returned, saying: “Mistis say she's a widder, and there ain't no gentleman in the house, and she can't let you come in.” She was sent with a second message, which informed the lady that the visitors were from Richmond, members of a certain company from there, and would be content with permission to sleep on the porch, in the stable or in the barn. They would protect her property, &c., &c., &c.

This message brought the lady of the house to the door. She said: “If you are members of the--------, you must know my nephew; he was in that company.” Of course they knew him. “Old chum,” “comrade,” “particular friend,” “splendid fellow,” “hope he was well when you heard from him; glad to meet you, madam!” These and similar hearty expressions brought the longed for “come in, gentlemen, you are welcome. I will see that supper is prepared for you at once.” (Invitation accepted.)

The old haversacks were deposited in a corner under the steps and their owners conducted down stairs to a spacious dining-room, quite prettily furnished. A large table occupied the centre of the room, and at one side there was a handsome display of silver in a glass-front case. A good, big fire lighted the room. The lady sat quietly working at some woman's work, and from time to time questioning, in a rather suspicious manner, her guests. Their correct answers satisfied her and their respectful manner reassured her, so that by the time supper was brought in she was chatting and laughing with her “defenders.”

The supper came in steaming hot. It was abundant, well prepared and served elegantly. Splendid coffee, hot biscuit, luscious butter, fried ham, eggs-fresh milk! The writer could not expect to be believed if he should tell the quantity eaten at that meal. The good lady of the house enjoyed the sight. She relished every mouthful, and no doubt realized then and there the blessing which is conferred on hospitality and the truth of that saying of old: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The wayfarers were finally shown to a neat little chamber. The bed was soft and glistening white. Too white and clean to be soiled by the occupancy of two Confederate soldiers who had not had a change of underclothing for many weeks. They looked at it, felt of it, spread their old blankets on the neat carpet and slept there till near the break of day.

While it was yet dark the travelers, unwilling to lose time waiting for breakfast, crept out of the house, leaving their thanks for

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