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[62] quick intelligence and spirit of enterprise, his business success was almost instant. What is far more to the purpose, it was there that he met socially two people who were to play the chief part in his life—Miss Stevens, a niece of Governor Stevens, of Maryland, a lady destined within a few years to become his wife under the most romantic circumstances—while he was an escaped prisoner in the enemy's country—and Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart, U. S. A., who, though but twenty-two, had just proved his warlike mettle in the campaign against the fierce Apaches, as a young officer of the famous old ‘Rifles,’ and who, now transferred to the First Cavalry, had been assigned duty at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis.

An intimate friendship sprung up at once between Venable and the brilliant young officer, for they were both enthusiastic Virginians, both far from home and both in the very ‘May-morn of their youth.’

Little did either then dream that, within ten years, one should become a great cavalry leader, ‘dazzling a world with deeds,’ and the other ride by his bridle-rein as his most trusted staff officer. But Stuart soon went his way to fight the Sioux and the Cheyennes, receiving in the campaign against the latter a grievous wound in the desperate action at Soloman's Fork, Kan., while Venable, with characteristic tenacity, stuck to his business enterprises with such effect, that, within a few years, he had accumulated what was then reckoned a handsome competence.

But party spirit was running high through all the land and nowhere, North or South, were sectional animosities so intense and bitter as in St. Louis. ‘The Southern element,’ as it was called, dominated ‘society,’ but the bulk of the population, ‘the plain people’ (in large measure Germans), sided with the ‘Abolitionists’ and ‘Free-Soilers.’

Young Venable, who had been bred up in the ‘strict States' Rights school,’ and who, through temperament, contemned everything savoring of compromise “or ‘expediency,’ threw himself with all the passion of his ardent nature into the struggle that had even then begun between Secessionists and Union men for control of Missouri in the impending conflict. Then burst the storm of war, and Venable, without a moment's hesitation, threw up his prosperous business (though he ”

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