previous next

[504] that provoked a sorrowful smile with their ludicrous incongruities. A man who had fulfilled the ideal in his uniform, however shabby, lost all beauty and glory in a superannuated black frock coat or a linen ‘duster.’ It was doubtless more comfortable and more appropriate, this latter attire, but the glamour faded from many a manly figure when it ceased to wear the gray.

Girls, too, began to doff their jaunty jackets, a la militaire, and their home-made gypsy hats and don imported calicoes of gorgeous hues and ‘do up’ their hair with hairpins—unheard — of luxury for four long years. Bill Arp's children and many others tasted ‘reesins’ for the first time; and there were rumors of a circus! In short, ‘the cruel war was over.’

Alas! to how many it was just beginning. Starvation stared in the face of hundreds. The negroes—the traditional laborers of the land—were idle and impudent. Broad fields lay fallow, their fertility a matter of regret, since the rank vegetation produced malaria, hitherto unknown, and hundreds of rich and poor experienced for the first time the depressing influence of the ‘fever-'n-ager,’ while scores fell victims to typhoid diseases. The mighty army of speculators that had preyed upon the land since the attempted entrance of the Star of the West into Charleston harbor rendered war inevitable, now redoubled their ranks and energies, and bartered in human hearts. There was no comfort in the past, no relief in the present, no hope in the future, for the conquered country. We were at the mercy of our captors, and a questionable mercy it proved.

Some such words as these were getting themselves written down in a voluminous journal one day in mid-summer, when Mr. DeG. came in hot and hurried to say a neighbor was going to undertake the (almost) fabulous journey to Greensboro, and as I was so anxious to start homewards, I might be accommodated with a seat that far en route. I clapped my hands, turned over the home-made ink, and gathered the confidential companion to my bosom, exclaiming, ‘I shall be ready.’

Those ‘forty miles’ next day were the shortest on record. My heart flew so fast that it had accomplished the journey to Columbia a hundred times over, and returned to meet the spavined mule and dilapidated buggy, toiling over the dusty road at a snail's pace, and hail it as a chariot-and-four of unprecedented speed and lightness. Dawn had started us; dusk found us creeping into the suburbs of Greensboro. What a city it looked! How busy, how prosperous, how metropolitan, after those long months spent in the woodland

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Greensboro (North Carolina, United States) (2)
Charleston Harbor (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
DeG (1)
Arp (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: