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Chapter 75: reasons for not asking Pardon.—Mississippi Valley Society.

In 1874, three months before the failure of the Carolina, our boy William fHowell died of diphtheria. All that sympathy and kindness could do was tendered to us to alleviate our grief, but the death of one whose character, talents, and personal beauty made the joy of our lives, and promised to justify the hope of our old age, was a blow which must leave us mourning until the end. The little boy used to go and sit with his father in his office, silent and observant if his pen dropped, or he wanted anything, and often when I missed him, his father would say, “You will not grudge me our grave little gentleman's company when you know how I enjoy his presence.” Now we had but one son left, Jefferson.

Worn with sorrow, but undaunted by failure and heavy pecuniary loss, Mr. Davis looked about again for the means of making a livelihood. His health was far from good, and the people of Texas invited him to visit [815] them. After much urging he went, and received a royal welcome “all along the line.” After his return, these dear generous people very much desired to give him a tract of land and stock enough to furnish and cultivate it, but we felt unwilling to accept so much, and the gift was affectionately declined.

He was engaged in a lawsuit to recover the Brierfield plantation, which had passed into other hands after the death of his brother, and hoped to live, even though the shrinkage in values would necessitate our living poorly, on the products of that plantation. While environed by these difficulties, Mr. Davis's health, which had been steadily declining, became worse, and he was ordered to take a long sea voyage. He sailed from New Orleans to Liverpool, and from there went to Paris to see his old friend, A. Dudley Mann, who was one of his dearest friends. He also saw his friends, Lord Campbell and Beresford Hope, with others who had been hospitable to him while temporarily a resident of England, and returned after three months time, much improved in health and strength.

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