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"Melinda McCall, he would sternly say, you got to keep these darkies in their place or otherwise they'll get so uppity they won't do nothin' you tell 'em to. And I did too, keep them in their places, I mean. It was the way of the world then down here in Georgia. We had no reason to think otherwise at the time, as this way of life was all we knew until the War of Northern Aggression changed everything once and for all."
"The woah changed everything, of course. At first it was simply a glorious adventure, a chance to show them Yankees what chivalry and honah was all about. There were fabulous balls held to raise money for the cause. Me and many of my girl friends -Sadie and Rachel Brown were my tow closest confidantes-danced till dawn sometimes, our bright dresses twirlin' round, and we'd be completely worn out when the sun rose, all for the almighty cause. It was the least we could do."
"What? Sounds like a party? Well, let me tell you, my feet hurt so bad I had to go right home and have Cassie and Mimah-they was my own private dressin' slaves--draw me a hot bath and rub my feet with warm oil till I was relaxed enough to finally get some sleep. Yes, it was a tough time for me. It got worse befoah long though. It seemed at first Marse Robert and Stonewall would make short shrift of the Blue Boys, would end the silly woah and let us get back to living fine as we did befoah. It had to end soon we all said to each other. Many times."
I know what you're thinkin' now. I ain't dumb. I used to be beautiful, believe it or not. I had some pictures made one time by a travelin' photographer. I wisht I still had them. But as I was sayin', Jeffry only had eyes for me and we planned on marryin' when he come back from the woah. Except he didn't- come back from the woah, that is. It was only a month since we had kissed goodbye when he died on the battlefield. I saw his name on the list. I tell you, it was almost as if my name was on there too."
"While I was grievin' foah Jeffry, not knowin what day it was or where I was most of the time, Papa went off to the woah too. I didn't know it though, I was that heartbroken and alone. By the time I was able to cope again, Papa was gone off the fight the Yankees too. I was a lost soul after that A lost, soul if there ever was one. But as you can see, I survived. There were many much worse off than me. I just kept tellin' myself that, anyways."
"Morgan Riley was Jeffry's best friend during the woah, was with him when it happened. I had given Jeffry a new outfit to wear when he left for battle. I bought the softest and finest dove gray cloth I could find and had my seamstresses on the plantation sew him a masterpiece. When he first tried it on even the slave girls had to sigh.Of course...so did I. My heart still skips a beat when I remember how really fine he looked in that uniform. Like it's doing right this moment. Don't never let them tell you an old woman doesn't still have feelin's for her first beau, or her only beau in my case. Don't ever believe that at all."
"I told you he had auburn hair, didn't I? Long, almost to his shoulders it was. With his black knee high boots and seated on his favorite red horse-to match his hair I always teased him-- he looked more than handsome through my tears when he rode away. I cannot imagine him as they say he died. I hope it wasn't true what Morgan said. I never asked him personally if it was. I prefer to think it a rumor and always will."
After The War
"What's that you said, Missy? Oh, I didn't never tell you, did I? Grape shot, Morgan told my brother. Said Jeffry's head was almost gone after it hit him. But I didn't believe that tale, no ma'am. No, it was a clean shot through his heart that killed him I'll always believe. Through mine too it was. I never found another man who I loved like I did Jeffry. There were no more young men like him after the woah, I suppose they all died. Anyway, you asked me why I never married when Papa lost everything. Now you know."
"I was broke after the woah. Nowhere to go and no one to love me anymore. And the men who came back were all shot up, missing arms and legs, some without all their faces. No, compared to Jeffry they were no match for
my memories of love, nothing to catch my fancy at all. That's why now I teach young girls how to be ladies, how to act around the young and older men, how to find their own Jeffry I suppose. But that's fine with me. I've nothing else to do with my life now."