Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 28.djvu/60
54 Southern Historical l^ociety Papers.
you to seize your property and to slay your people?" "I do," was her brief and unmistakable reply. " I don't know you nor General Mahone, nor ever heard of either of you before, and I want you to leave." Never heard of either of us before! What is fame?
I returned to the General, not only crest-fallen, but, I confess, no little irritated. Johnston was the only man who seemed to enjoy my discomfort. General Mahone remarked that it would serve her right to camp right there in her lawn, take what we wanted, and pay for nothing, but that it would be a bad example to set, espe- cially in such lawless times, and that we must go on, which we did, to Charlotte Courthouse, four miles further, the longest four miles that I ever rode. On reaching there, our little party broke up into sections, General Mahone, Captain Patterson, Captain Stevens, I
think, and myself, going to Mr. S 's, who formerly lived at
Westover, on James river, but who had sold his place during the war and moved up to Charlotte Courthouse, to be out of reach of the enemy.
Its location was such, that it was supposed that not even a Yan- kee could ever find it. Mr. S was not at home, but was out in
the woods dodging capture, as Mrs. S told us, but she received
us as only a patriotic Virginia woman could receive a soldier, gave us supper of hot rolls, broiled chicken and coffee! And such rolls, such chicken and such coffee! The savor of that supper has never died away from my senses.
Mrs. S 's daughter and one or two young ladies received us in
the parlor, and Capt. Patterson introduced me as Doctor Claiborne of Petersburg, "the glass of fashion and the mould of form." As I had not washed my face and hands, or combed my head, or made my toilet for ten days, and was muddy to my blinkers, I felt that I was being trifled with, but I made my best obeisance, took a prof- fered chair, and distinguished myself by going asleep immediately, in their presence. They were polite and considerate enough to ask us to our room at an early hour. There were two beds in the room, and General Mahone and I were bunked together. But now a very serious question arose, which I feared at one time, would give rise to some unpleasantness. I had not had an opportunity of taking off my long cavalry boots for fifteen days, and they, having in that time been often wet and dried on my feet, were literally moulded to them, and positively declined to come off. General Mahone, and then my other companions, refused to sleep with me, with boots on,