When papa said he must go back to the plantation, mamma thought it a great risk, as he was so far from strong. She urged him to take another week’s rest; but he said he must go; there was to be a meeting in Georgetown to determine something about the public schools, and he must be there. He would take two days on the drive through the country home, and rest two days before the meeting, for it was most important. He left us March 18, Friday, promising to return to us the next Sunday week.

About a week after he left, early in the morning, a messenger came up on horseback with a note from Mr. Belflowers. He thought it his duty to let mamma know that he thought papa an ill man. He had attended a meeting in Georgetown in very inclement weather, when he 杭州桑拿百花坊 was so far from well{202} that he had a mattress put in the carryall, and lay on that instead of going in the carriage. He was afraid “the governor,” as he continued to call papa, would not like it if he knew he was writing this, but he had to do it. Mamma ordered the carriage at once and we prepared to start on the journey. By the mail which came in just before we started, a letter came from papa to her, saying he had taken a bad cold and wished very much he could come back and put himself under her care. That was so much for him to admit that she felt she could name the letter as the cause of her coming and not betray Mr. Belflowers. It was dreadful to have no quicker means of going. We started at nine o’clock; that night we spent at Mrs. Fryer’s, about half-way. The next morning we started by dawn, met a fresh pair of horses, 杭州男士养生会所微信 Mr. Belflowers sent to meet us at union Church, and reached Chicora about five in the afternoon.

When we got to Chicora we found papa very ill. He had pneumonia. He was very happy to see us and did not inquire why we came. It seemed quite natural to him that we did come. Doctor Sparkman, the same who had saved his life at The Meadows when they were both young, was in attendance and was perfectly devoted.{203} Stephen was in constant attendance and very efficient, also a very faithful man named John Locust, sent by my cousin, William Allan Allston, over from Waccamaw. As soon as I came I was established in the position of head nurse, for I had always had a turn for nursing and at school had nursed all the sick girls and got the nickname of Miss Nightingale. I was truly thankful for my experience now, for I was able to be a 杭州桑拿西子阁论坛 comfort to papa and a help to everybody, specially mamma, who was completely unnerved by seeing papa so desperately ill. The doctor had told us he had little hope, but I was full of confidence that he would get well. I was very happy to find papa’s comfort in my nursing. I could see his eyes follow me as I moved about the room, and one day as I brought him his cup of gruel he said, “Daughter, that is a pretty dress; it pleases me”—and he held the fold of the skirt in his fingers as he reluctantly swallowed the gruel which I gave him by the teaspoonful. His breathing was so labored it was hard for him to speak and also to swallow.


No one can understand the joy his words gave me, for I loved him so dearly and it was such a delight to give him pleasure now. I remember the frock well. It was a greenish-gray material,{204} something 杭州水磨服务会所 like mohair, with dark-green conventionalized leaves here and there over it; an old dress Della had given me when she got new things for her trousseau. I had had it washed and made it over myself. I kept it just to look at for years and years.

The neighbors helped. Mr. Josh La Bruce came over from Sandy Island in his boat and sat up one night, and was a great help, he was so quiet and so strong in lifting. Then one night Mr. Weston came and sat up and Mr. Belflowers sat up one night. Then Mr. La Bruce came again. Papa suffered terribly from the difficulty of breathing and the want of sleep was dreadful. He could not sleep. He would repeat in a low voice, “He giveth his beloved sleep”; then, “I am not beloved!” I would sing a hymn in a low voice sometimes, which seemed to soothe him and made him doze a little.

One day he called for Mr. Belflowers, saying he wanted to see him alone, and every one went out, and it must have been nearly an hour before Mr. Belflowers came out. Papa asked me to read to him from the Bible, and that always seemed a comfort to him. The 14th chapter of St. John was what he asked for most often: “Let not your{205} heart be troubled.” One day I was reading it to him when his niece, Mrs. Weston, came in, and I asked her to read it, and she took the Bible from me and read so beautifully. I saw at once how it comforted him, so slowly, so quietly, so distinctly, so impersonally. It might have been the blessed Saviour himself uttering those great words of comfort and promise to his disciples. The mind of a suffering, dying person acts slowly. If you hurry the words they cannot follow them without painful effort. When Cousin Lizzie got to the end of the chapter papa gasped out, “Go on, Elizabeth,” and she went slowly on a long time.

The breathing became more and more terrible every hour, such a struggle that I could not endure to see it and be helpless to aid in any way. I would kneel beside the bed and take his hand and he would press mine in a grip which showed his pain, and at last as I knelt there I gave him up and prayed God to relieve him from his agony. Poor mamma could scarcely stay in the room, it was such an agony to her. She came in and knelt beside him and held his hand, and then she had to go out. But at last we all felt the end was at hand, and knelt beside the bed, praying for him with all our being, when he lifted his right hand{206} with a powerful sweep and said in a strong voice: “Lord, let me pass!” And it was all over in a few seconds, with no struggle or distress. It was peace after the awful storm, and we felt he was safely in the haven.

I had not slept for days and nights and went into the next room and fell into a deep sleep for an hour. When I woke I went into papa’s room. The big bed had been moved out, and there he lay on the little single mahogany bed,[4] looking oh so peaceful and so beautiful; all the lines of care and anxiety gone and a look of youth and calm strength in his face. Oh, the comfort of that look. Mamma was sitting there, quite self-controlled and calm. I called her outside, for we had to make all the arrangements and give all the directions.

In the country there are no officials trained to take charge of things, and I suggested that we have Mr. Belflowers come and give him necessary directions. He was waiting down-stairs, and came up at once. Mamma began to tell him what she thought he had better do, but faltered and said: “I really don’t know what directions to give!{207}”

He said: “There is no need for you to give any or to think about it, Mrs. Allston. The governor called me in three days ago and gave me every direction. He had it all in his mind, but his speech was so cut short by his breath that it took a good while for him to tell me. He told me what carpenters must make the coffin, where the specially selected and seasoned wood was; what negro was to drive the wagon which carried him and which horses; what horses to go in your carriage, with Aleck driving; who was to carry the invitation to the funeral, and with what horses on this side of the river, and to Georgetown, and what man was to take the boat and take it to Waccamaw. He said he wanted to be laid in the graveyard of Prince Frederick’s church, as it was so near, and it would give too much trouble to be taken to Georgetown, and that after the war was over he could be moved to the family enclosure in Georgetown. And, ma’am, I have already given all the orders, just as he told me.”

It is impossible to give any idea of the immense relief this was to mamma and to me. It just seemed a horror to see after all the sordid, terrible details. Papa had told John Locust and Stephen just how to arrange and dress and lay him out, so John had{208} asked mamma to leave the room when the spirit had fled, and called her back when it was all done. The day before the end mamma had wanted to ask him some questions as to what she should do, etc. She broke down and said: “What can I ever do without you? Tell me what to do!” He pressed her hand and said: “The Lord will provide; have no fear.” He could not direct her as to anything ahead in those troublous, changing times, but he could see that she was spared all trouble at the last, and we both felt it was the most touching and wonderful proof of his devotion even in the agony of death.

He was laid to rest in the churchyard of Prince Frederick’s, just a mile away, where the beautiful half-finished brick church in whose building he had been so much interested, stood, a monument to war. All the trimmings and furnishings had been ordered in England, and, in running the blockade, they had been sunk. The architect, whose name was Gunn, had died, and was buried near the church, and the roofless but beautiful building stood there forlorn. There we laid him, with all the beauty of the wild spring flowers and growth he so loved around him, nearly under a big dogwood-tree in all its white glory. Crying{209} and lamentation of the negroes who flocked along the road behind the wagon which carried papa, and filled the large graveyard, standing at a little distance behind the family, according to their rank and station on the plantation. Those who dug the grave had been specially named by papa, and it was considered a great honor. My dear father, if love could avail, when he reached those gates of pearl, they would fly open at his approach, for he carried the love and devotion of many people of all colors and classes.

As soon as possible my uncle, Chancellor Lesesne, arrived and opened and read the will. Mamma was named executrix and Chancellor Henry D. Lesesne executor. The house in Charleston and all the furniture were left to mamma, with all the house-servants and their families, and what carriages and horses she wanted, and a sum of money. To each of us five children a plantation and negroes, one hundred each. They were all named for each one. Charley was to have Chicora Wood, where we had always lived, and all the negroes who lived there. Brother Guendalos, the plantation adjoining on the south; Jane, Ditchfield, the plantation adjoining Chicora on the north; and to me was left Exchange, the plan{210}tation just north of that. To my sister Adèle, Waterford, a plantation on the Waccamaw, very valuable, and which would sell well; and Nightingale Hall, which was considered the place which would sell best, as it was at the pitch of tide most considered, being subject neither to freshet from above nor salt from the ocean below, was to be sold for the benefit of the heirs.

Then came an immense deal of writing and work for me. My brothers not being available nor any clerical outside help, I did all the writing and copying of the will to be sent round to the different heirs, and the lists of negroes, cattle, farm implements, and personal property, and helped Uncle Henry in every way. I have by me now the list of 600 negroes.

It was a great relief to have the work to do, for more and more as the days went on and the sense of thankfulness for his relief from suffering grew fainter, the sense of terrible desolation and sorrow possessed me. Papa was the only person in the world in whom I had absolute faith and confidence. I had never seen him show a trace of weakness or indecision. I had never seen him unjust or hasty in his judgment of a person. I had watched him closely and yet I had never seen him give way to temper or irritation, though I had{211} seen him greatly tried. Never a sign of self-indulgence, or indolence, or selfishness. It was my misfortune to see people’s weaknesses with uncanny clearness, and my mother often rebuked me for being censorious and severe in my judgments of all around me; but never had I seen a thing in my father which I would criticise or wish to change. Only, I often wished he would talk more; but when I once said that very shyly to him, he laughed and said: “Child, when I have something to say I say it, and it seems to me that is a good plan.”

We returned to Society Hill in May, mamma and I driving up in the carriage as we had gone down; but oh, how different the whole world was to us! The beauty of nature on the way, the woods in all the glory of their fresh leafage, the wild flowers, the birds, the gorgeous sunshine—all, all seemed a mockery. Our life was to be a gray, dull drab always. We stopped a night on the way up with kind, devoted friends, General Harllee and his charming wife, in their beautiful home, with a wonderful flower-garden. There was no power left in me to admire even, much less to enjoy. I had always been the most enthusiastic person in the world, too much so for polite standards. Now it was all gone. I was just a very thin, {212}under-sized, plain, commonplace young person, ready to do anything I was told, but without one spark of initiative. Mamma was crushed not only by her grief but by the feeling that she was utterly inadequate to the task before her, that of looking after and providing for over 600 negroes in this time of war and stress, of seeing that the proper supplies of food were at the different points where they were needed.

Mamma had never had the least planning about supplies, beyond buying her own groceries. The supplies of rice, grist, potatoes, everything, had been brought to her storeroom door regularly once a week, calling for no thought on her part. Now suddenly she had to plan and arrange for the 100 people on the farms in North Carolina, as well as for the 500 down on the plantations. It was perfectly wonderful to see how she rose to the requirements of the moment, and how strong and level her mind was. In a little while she had grasped the full extent of the situation, and was perfectly equal to her new position.

SOON after we returned to Crowley Hill she determined to go to the North Carolina farms and see the people, so as to reassure them as to her taking care of them fully.

We started very early in the morning, Daddy Aleck driving, with baskets packed with lunch for the day and provisions to cook, for we expected to stay three or four days. The drive of thirty miles was charming until it got too hot, and we stopped under a tree by a spring, took out the horses and tied them in the shade and had our lunch, and rested until it became a little cooler. Loch Adèle, as we girls had named the farm, was a very pretty place with a mill and large pond, which we dignified into a loch, much to papa’s amusement. A pretty rolling country, and the Pee Dee River, called the Yadkin as soon as it passed the line from South to North Carolina, ran a small rocky stream about a mile from the rambling farmhouse. Flats had brought supplies in large quantities up the river from Chicora, and most of{214} the Charleston furniture had been brought by rail to Cheraw, fifteen miles away, and hauled out to this place, so that the house was thoroughly furnished, pictures hanging on the walls, because it seemed better than to keep them packed. The two lovely bas-reliefs of Thorwaldsen’s, “Night” and “Morning,” looked especially beautiful hanging on the white walls of the drawing-room, and the whole place was homelike and delightful with our Charleston belongings. And the poor negroes were so glad to see us and to realize that “Miss” was going to look after them and to the best of her ability take “Maussa’s” place. They wanted to hear all about papa’s illness and death and the funeral, and who had been honored by taking special place in it. Mamma was interviewed by each one separately, and had to repeat all the details over and over. She was very patient, to my great surprise, and, I think, to the people’s, too, for she had never been as willing to listen to their long rigmaroles as papa had been. But now she listened to all and consoled them and wept with them over their mutual loss. Altogether the visit did us both good.

Old Daddy Hamedy, who was head man on the place, had been a first-class carpenter and still{215} was, but when there was needed some one to take supervision of the farm and people up there, papa chose him on account of his character and intelligence. Papa had engaged a white man, a Mr. Yates, who lived some miles away, to give an eye to the place from time to time and write him how things went on, and Hamedy was to apply to Mr. Yates if anything went wrong. He was originally from the North, but he had bought a farm near the little town of Morven some years before, and lived here ever since. Mamma sent to ask Mr. Yates to come and see her, and he came. He was a very smart man, but impressed me most unpleasantly as unreliable and unscrupulous, as I watched him talking to mamma. He evidently felt that, papa being gone, his time had come, and was quite sure he could manage my mother easily. He was most flattering in his admiration, which was not surprising, for my mother was beautiful in her plain black frock and widow’s cap.

In trying to make easy conversation as he sat and talked to us, he asked: “Miss Allston, do you smoke?”

In some surprise my mother answered: “No, I have never smoked.”

“Well, well,” he said. “You wouldn’t find{216} another lady of your age in this country that didn’t smoke.”

This 杭州油压可以干 nearly upset my gravity, for the idea of my mother’s smoking was too much for me, and I went out down to the mill-pond. Into this lake my father had had rolled many hogsheads packed securely with bottles of old Madeira wine, as being the best chance of saving them from the Yankees. They were certainly not safe at Chicora Wood, only about twenty miles from the mouth of Winyah Bay, when gunboats could run up from the sea so easily. So the wine was packed and shipped by his flats in charge of faithful men. I remember when the flats were going, on one occasion, papa wanted to send up a very beautiful marble group of “The Prodigal Son,” which was always in the drawing-room at Chicora, and he called in Joe Washington, who was to take charge of the flat, to look at it, and told him that he would have it carefully packed by the 杭州龙凤兼职论坛 carpenter, and he wanted him to be specially careful of it; whereupon Joe said: