Item Description: Diary entry dated 24 September 1864 by Sarah Lois Wadley. In this letter she recounts her many social events throughout the course of a week and discusses the people with whom she socializes. She also mentions a friend having tea with Gen. Prince Polignac.
Item Citation: From volume 4 (folder 5) in the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Saturday, Sep. 24th. 1864.
This time last year we were on our journey to Georgia, this very morning a year ago we were in the beautiful, but deadly Lafourche swamp, and Father was suffering such severe pain as makes us shudder to look upon; yet I look back upon this time with regret, the accidents and troubles of our journey are softened by time and distance and the excitation of exercise, and novelty, and bright hopes stand out in fascinating colours, when I look back upon the past year so full of uncertainties and trials, of miserable doubts and impious repinings, I am filled with thoughts so mingled and various that I that I cannot disentangle them. I am thankful for the restored health which God has been pleased to vouchsafe me, for the past week my strength and spirits have been better than I have rejoiced in for months, no terrible morning weakness, no miserable depression. I have felt the blood flowing bright and clear in my veins.
Captain Williams left us Wednesday morning for his command, I sent a letter to Willie by him; we missed him very much the day he left, but have gotten accustomed to his absence as easily as we got accustomed to his presence. The day before he left he conversed more with us than ever before, and I found him a most intelligent and interesting companion, he had the sensible quality of not speaking unless he had something to say, and so visible was this peculiarity that I felt no embarrasment in sitting for half an hour or more without any remark at all.
Thursday evening Dr. Furness came over, I think I never saw, or suffered, so dull and sleepy a man in my life, he appeared to be continually hammering his brain for something to say, and after all did not succeed in striking any sparks, he passed his hand over his forehead every now and then as if he had a bad headache, indeed he looked like it, and I think we were all relieved when he took his departure, I have not yet had the pleasure of gratifying my curiosity by a sight of Dr. Melton.
Miss Mary and I went into town Thursday to attend a rehearsal of the tableaux; Miss Hannah Bry sent to request a seat in the carriage and when we arrived at Major Bry’s we found we were also to have the pleasure of the company of a Miss Keene, we bore our trials with exemplary fortitude I trust; the dust was very great and the ferry troublesome to cross; when we reached the rendezvous of the D. D. D’s there were but two young ladies there, and but one more came. After waiting about an hour we left without doing anything, and with the impression that there would be no tableaux at all. We drove down to Maj. Bry’s with Miss Hannah, called on Miss Lou Hanna on our return, and when I got to Mrs. Stevens and met Mary’s affectionate welcome I felt like a weary mariner arriving at the long deferred port. The rest of the day passed pleasantly and quickly. Mary was just recovered from an attack of the chills, she looked quite badly, we had an animated talk of some length about the soldiers who recently passed through here, and about what Mary had seen of them. She actually had the honour of taking tea with Gen. Prince Polignac, and walked some distance with him for escort. She says his head just came to her shoulder and he is the ugliest little man she ever saw; I had just heard similar description from Capt. Williams. We called at Mrs. Dr. McGuire’s on our way out, to borrow some books for Mother. I also got “Hervey’s meditations,” have read but little in it yet but like that little very much. Am quite advanced in my “Girondins” my interest seldom flags, I read a great deal in it every day. Am now reading “Guy Mannering” aloud, I find it interesting and entertaining, as a novel of Scott’s could not fail to be. The evenings are so cool now that we have to leave the piazza and sit in the parlour; yesterday was warmer than it had been for the past week, we had rain in the morning, and also this morning early, it was very much needed. Mother is in bed this morning with a bad headache, Father has gone to Monroe. Father and I took a ride yesterday afternoon, Railroad was quite lively and I had a pleasant ride. Sent a note to Willie this morning, how I wish we could hear from him, we hear rumours of skirmishes and fights up in Arkansas, but nothing definite. We have heard no more from the East. Father is counting the days to the election in November, he says if McClellan is elected he thinks peace will follow. May a merciful Providence grant that Lincoln, that disgrace to humanity, may not continue in power.