“ Oh, never mind that.
We'll attend to that at Richmond
Stepping into his carriage, and unfurling the flag of truce, he then led the way, by a “short cut,” across the corn-field which divided the mansion from the high-road.
We followed in an ambulance drawn by a pair of mules, our shadow--Mr. Javins
--sitting between us and the twilight, and Jack
, a “likely darky,” almost the sole survivor of his master's twelve hundred slaves ( “De ress all stole Massa
— stole by you Yankees” ), occupying the front seat, and with a stout whip “working our passage” to Richmond
Much that was amusing and interesting occurred during our three--hours' journey, but regard for our word forbids my relating it. Suffice it to say, we saw the “frowning fortifications,” we “flanked” the “invincible army,” and at ten o'clock that night, planted our flag (against a lamp-post) in the very heart of the hostile city.
As we alighted at the doorway of the Spotswood Hotel
, the Judge
said to the Colonel
Button your outside-coat up closely.
Your uniform must not be seen here.
did as he was bidden; and with-out stopping to register our names at the office, we followed the Judge
and the Captain
up to No. 60.
It was a large, square room in the fourth story, with an unswept, ragged carpet
, and bare, white walls, smeared with soot and tobacco juice.
Several chairs, a marble-top table
, and a pine wash-stand and clothespress straggled about the floor, and in the corners were three beds, garnished with tattered pillow-cases, and covered with white counterpanes, grown gray with longing for soapsuds and a wash-tub.
The plainer and humbler of these beds was designed for the burly Mr. Javins
; the others had been made ready for the extraordinary envoys (not envoys extraordinary) who, in defiance of all precedent and the “law of nations,” had just then “taken Richmond
A single gas-jet was burning over the mantlepiece, and above it I saw a “writing on the wall” which implied that Jane Jackson
had run up a washing-score of fifty dollars!
I was congratulating myself on not having to pay that woman's laundry-bills, when the Judge
You want supper.
What shall we order?
“ A slice of hot corn bread would make me
the happiest man in Richmond
thereupon left the room, and shortly returning, remarked:
The landlord swears you're from Georgia.
He says none but a Georgian would call for corn bread at that time of the night.
On that hint we acted, and when our sooty attendant came in with the supper things, we discussed Georgia
banks, and Georgia
mosquitoes, in a way that showed we had been bitten by all of them.
In half an hour it was noised all about the hotel that the two gentlemen the Confederacy
was taking such excellent care of were from Georgia
The meal ended, and a quiet smoke over, our entertainers rose to go. As the Judge
bade us good-night, he said to us:
In the morning you had better address a note to Mr. Benjamin, asking the interview with the President.
I will call at ten o'clock, and take it to him.
But will Mr. Davis
see us on Sunday?”
“ Oh, that will make no difference.”
What we did there.
The next morning, after breakfast, which we took in our room with Mr. Javins
, we indited a note — of which the following is a copy — to the Confederate Secretary of State
This was signed by both of us; and when the Judge
called, as he had appointed, we sent it — together with a commendatory letter I had received, on setting out, from a near relative of Mr. Davis
--to the Rebel Secretary
In half an hour Judge Ould
returned, saying: “Mr. Benjamin
sends you his compliments, and will be happy to see you at the State Department.”
We found the Secretary
— a short, plump oily little man in black, with a keen black eye, a Jew face, a yellow skin, curly black hair, closely trimmed black whiskers, and a ponderous gold watch-chain — in the north-west room of the “United States
” Custom House.
Over the door of this room were the words, “State Department,” and round its walls were hung a few maps and battle-plans.
In one corner was a tier of shelves filled with books, among which I noticed Headley
's, “History,” Lossing
's “Pictorial,” Parton
's “American conflict,” a set of Frank Moore
's “Rebellion record,” and a dozen numbers and several bound volumes of the “Atlantic Monthly,” and in the centre of the apartment was a black-walnut table, covered