Page:Southern Life in Southern Literature.djvu/391
ESSAYISTS AND DESCRIPTIVE WRITERS
SUSAN DABNEY SMEDES
[Mrs. Susan Dabney Smedes was born at Raymond, Mississippi, in 1840, and was the daughter of, a planter whose life forms the basis of her description of life on a Southern plantation, entitled "Memorials of a Southern Planter." She was married in 1860 to Lyell Smedes, but was in a few months left a widow. Her life has been largely devoted to philanthropic work. Her home at present is Sewanee, Tennessee.]
A SOUTHERN PLANTER'S IDEALS OF HONOR
And now a great blow fell on Thomas Dabney. Shortly before the war he had been asked by a trusted friend to put his name as security on some papers for a good many thousand dollars. At the time he was assured that his name would only be wanted to tide over a crisis of two weeks, and that he would never hear of the papers again. It was a trap set, and his unsuspicious nature saw no danger, and he put his name to the papers. Loving this man, and confiding in his honor as in a son's, he thought no more of the transaction.It was now the autumn of 1866. One night he walked up stairs to the room where his children were sitting, with a paper in his hand. "My children," he said, "I am a ruined man. The sheriff is downstairs. He has served this writ on me. It is for a security debt. I do not even know how many more such papers have my name to them." His face was white as
- Reprinted from "Memorials of a Southern Planter," by permission of the holder of the copyright, James Pott & Company.