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Gossip with Yankees.

The feminine gender has always been a proverb of curiosity. We do not understand how the sex got that character originally, but it is generally conceded that a woman is a living and breathing interrogation point. We were never able to discover the justice of according an exclusive monopoly of this article to women. The men, and especially all Yankee men, are, to our mind, as prying, as inquisitive, and as loquacious as women. Nearly every man, not provided with firearms, now carries a revolving weapon in his mouth which can fire off at least six questions without reloading, if, indeed, any charge at all is necessary in the beginning. It takes very little ammunition indeed to fire off this kind of six shooters, a certain amount of explosive gas being all that is necessary.

Of all the bores now used in warfare these questioning and requisitioning operators are the most frightful. Still they could be endured, like other human afflictions, if they would gratify their love of inquiry solely among their own countrymen; but when these inveterate gossips thrust themselves upon Yankee prisoners, as has been done a good many times during this war, and proceed to pump them upon topics of public interest, they become an intolerable nuisance, richly deserving all the pains and penalties of the old Virginia law against gossips.

What is more common and more disgusting than to see Confederate citizens of a garrulous turn attaching themselves to Yankee prisoners on their way to Richmond, asking them an indefinite number of questions, the prominent one being, "When do you think the war is going to end?" What a sensible, what a dignified, what a patriotic question! We catch a wolf--one of a gang which has long been ravaging our sheepfold — and we proceed to say, "Well, Mr. Wolf, how long do you think it will be before the other gentlemen of your nation will lose their taste for mutton?" If the wolf could talk he would undoubtedly reply that not until wolves and sheep ceased to be separate races, and become consolidated in a perfect union, could the wolves he expected to listen to peace propositions. A similar answer was lately given by a Yankee Captain to a similar question. "How long do you think the war will last?" "It will last," was the reply, "till the restoration of the Union." What other answer could be expected to such a question?

Such interrogatories of Yankee prisoners are not only undignified, and suggestive of a want of confidence in the strength of our cause and our ability to maintain it, but are entirely useless expenditures of breath and language; for if our own people would only hold their tongues, the Yankees would say all they can say themselves and ask them five questions to their one. Washington Irving facetiously remarks that the word Yankee was derived from an Indian word, "Yankees," meaning, in their language, "silent men," a phrase which the savages ironically bestowed upon the children of the Mayflower, in contempt of their excessive and interminable loquacity. They were capable of talking the Six Nations to death in five minutes, and the Dutch of New Amsterdam, when they brought their long winded discourses to bear upon them, had no recourse but to put their fingers in their ears and run for their lives.

Never was adherence to the inspired maxim, "Be swift to hear, slow to speak," wiser and more appropriate than in intercourse with Yankees. If our people must gratify their curiosity, let it be by looks, not by words. Leave them to do the talking. Try the experiment only once, and see if they don't give you their opinion of how long the war will last, of Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and every other thing under the sun, without asking them a single question. And, after all, what do they know any more than ourselves of the future? The whole progress of the war has upset the predictions and calculations of the wisest and most sagacious persons, and no mortal man, least of all the agents and instruments of the wicked plotters at Washington, can enlighten us as to the precise period of the termination of hostilities. There is reason to hope that, with the successful termination of this campaign, the backbone of the invasion will be broken, a probability which can neither be confirmed by the concurrence, nor diminished by the dissent, of Yankee prisoners.

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