Eleanor Cohen Seixas, Southern Patriot
DIARY, February 28, 1865 - September 10, 1865
Eleanor H. Cohen (1841-1874)
COLUMBIA, February 28th, 1865: I have been in the habit of keeping a journal for ten years, from the time of girlish beatitude, "sweet sixteen," up to the mature age I have reached, twenty-six! All the labors of years, all the records of my girlish triumphs, of my first love, all have been destroyed, and yet I am determined to recommence the labors, to rebuild, from the ashes of despair, a new record, and enthrone blue-eyed hope as the presiding deity.
I am the eldest of three daughters, and the connecting link between two sets of children, having three brothers older than myself, one brother and two sisters younger. I was for many years the only daughter and, in consequence, was much petted and indulged. My dear father's fortunes have been sadly varied. My first recollection is of a sufficiency, every comfort. Then came wealth. When I reached womanhood all of life's choicest gifts were mine, but the wheels turned, and we were poor, very poor. Father labored day and night, and could barely make both ends meet. I was young, hopeful, and energetic. I set to work and by doing various kinds of fancy work, at which I was an adept, I earned enough to clothe myself, except shoes, without calling on father. Peace then smiled on our land, calicoes were at the fabulous price of 12½¢!
But a revulsion came, the Union was destroyed, the Confederacy formed, and grim-visaged war, with all attendant horrors, desolated our land. The war brought money to father's coffers, and soon he became a rich man, rich, alas, only in Confederate money. Now all I wished for was mine, and even goods at fabulous prices were bought: tea at $1.25, coffee at 30¢, calico at 12¢ and 18¢.
So I will leave him and describe myself. At sixteen I fancies, if I was unmarried at twenty-five, I would surely be an old maid and feel inclined to resign all gayety. Now I have reached twenty-six. I feel nearly as young as I did then, and wonder if it is possibly true that I am so old. I am rather small, have a good figure, rather pretty, dark complexion, black eyes, and a quantity of straight, black hair of which I am rather proud, small hands and feet, with a bright expression. I am well educated, have read a good deal, and am called intelligent.
I have had several beaux and love affairs, and was privately engaged to be married at sixteen years to one I thought the perfection of a man. Now, with increased years and maturity of judgment, I bless God I did not marry him. I am quick-tempered, but warm and loving. He is jealous, passionate, dictatorial, and harsh, and, had I married him, my life would have been an endless quarrel, or I would have sunk into being a slave! But God kindly spared me, and tho' at the time I suffered, as every woman must, when she sees her idol shattered, yet I now and have for years blessed God, that I did not marry my first love.
Dear Journal, I suppose you think, as I am still Miss Cohen and twenty-six, that I am an old maid. No, for next month was to have smiled on my wedding, now indefinitely postponed. But I am betrothed, and to one who loves me truly, fondly, and with his whole heart, and I return his love. Yes, my noble, precious, darling, come what may, my heart is yours. I have been engaged six months to Mr. B[enjamin]. M. Seixas. He is very good-looking, gentlemanly, good-hearted, liberal, honest, and upright, and devotedly attached to me. My precious love, what would I not give for a glance at your dear face! But I must postpone until tomorrow the relation of the facts that destroyed my journals, postponed my wedding, and separated me from my love. My most intimate friends are Alice and Isabel Cohen, my cousins, and Fannie Stocker, my schoolmate, confidant, and true friend.
We are now in the fourth year of the fearful war that is now ravaging our land. In my last journals I had an accurate account of every detail, how determined the enemy were to possess dear old Charleston, how they shelled the city and we were hurried away, how my brave city, and forts held out, but this precious record is lost. But, thank God, it lives in my heart and in the heart of every true Southern man, woman, and child. But at last the dear old place has been evacuated and is in possession of the Yankees. Land of my birth, home of my childhood, dear to me as life, my heart bleeds for and with you, and every any sacrifice on my part which could be made, I would gladly, freely give it, for your precious sake. The Yankees now possess nearly every city of importance, yet the fire of patriotism and the determination to be free swells every nerve of our determined land. After the fall of Savannah, Columbia was threatened, but we could not bring ourselves to believe that Sherman could gain to great an advantage as to come so far into the heart of our state.
I was to be married in April, father was going to housekeeping, all was bright before me. Mr. Seixas left here on the seventh of February, promising to come again in March, and in April to come to claim his promised bride. Vain hope! When he left me, I felt a foreboding of evil and begged him to remain here. I made him reiterate again and again, and tell me repeatedly of his love, and vow again and again that nothing should wean his heart from me.
On the sixteenth [of February] the Yankees shelled Columbia without notice. On the seventeenth the city was evacuated by our soldiers and surrendered by the mayor. Oh, God, can I ever forget that day? Can time with Lethean draughts ever efface from my memory the deep sorrow, the humiliation, the agony of knowing we were to be under the Yankees, that our beloved flag was to be pulled down, and the U.S.A. flag wave over the city; that flag that carried loathing to every Southern heart; that flag whose sway is ever characterized by villainy, by outrage, and violence of every kind! About twelve o'clock they entered, the bands playing "The Star Spangled Banner," and the shouts of the soldiers filled the air. Main Street was a fearful sight; the stores were opened; black, white, children and all were helping themselves freely, stealing, ransacking, and pillaging. The report was that private property would be respected, and we all set quietly at home, trying to nerve ourselves for the trials. Gold and silver was hid in all imaginable places, provisions were scattered, and so the day passed on in feverish expectation, but as dark approached, all felt unhappy.
As the evening shades drew darker, the sky was illumined with crimson. It was a fearfully windy night, and, as we watched the sky, we heard the awful cry of "fire!" Oh, God, can I ever forget that night? But after a while we heard only Main Street was so burned. We gathered together in a room at the top of the house and, as we gazed, we saw new fires burst forth in every direction. The flames were seen, leaping and dancing, assisted by the winds in the work of destruction, and the air was filled with torpedoes, shells, hand grenades, and all the most instruments of evildoers. The exultant shout of the infuriated soldiers met the ears, and from every heart went up to God a prayer that we would lull the wind, stay the flames, and put mercy in the heart of our foes. Vain hopes! As well might we hope to have mercy from a lion.
We at home did not think the fire would reach us, but it did so rapidly, and we were urged to put a change of clothing in a bag and leave our house. We did, and as I left all my comforts, all the accumulated treasures of a lifetime, the letters of loved, absent ones, pictures of our precious relations, tokens and souvenirs of childhood, a feeling of fearful desolation came upon me. By this time the streets were crowded with the "vandal foe," and as we reached the street, were greeted by: "How so you like secesh now?" "Columbia is skedaddling," "Columbia is on a picnic," and curses too fearful to be entered in my book.
We met crowds in the street, almost a procession of men, women, and children, and what was most remarkable was the calmness of our people. Our women and even our children behaved with fortitude. We knew not where to go; our party was large and many children. The flames seemed to encircle us like a belt, and the heat was so great that our faces were scorched and blackened by smoke! We went to the country with barely food enough for a day! Starvation, or death by fire, seemed inevitable. After we reached the the woods, we were surrounded by drunken soldiers. Father was fearful for our lives and brought us again to the city. At this crisis, I fainted, and remained so nearly an hour. We went to a house, and, immediately after I revived, we moved again to the street. We were compelled to abandon our clothing, for father and mother had to support me, and thus we were houseless, homeless, and without food or clothing. In one night we were brought from comparative wealth and luxury to abject poverty. After wandering for many hours, we were advised to seek refuge in the lunatic asylum, and hither we bent our steps.
Words are inadequate to describe the scene that greeted our eyes; old men tottering under the weight of some trifling bundle that he valued; young girls weighted down with heavy packages. Some had clothing; some, food, while some convulsively clasped an ornament, a picture, a package of letters, and some had nothing, but were walking quietly along as if stunned.
After many delays we reached the asylum and went to the chapel, which we found crowded. There we remained four days without mattress, pillow, or anything but the hard floor to lie on, and almost in a starving condition. I never imagined I should be so near actual starvation. From Friday night until Saturday night, I had only a small slice of corn bread to eat, thick and heavy, made of meal and water. While we remained there we suffered in every way that human nature is capable of suffering: want of rest, food, even water, without a change of clothing, or privacy to change it in.
The fire raged fearfully all night, but on Saturday perfect quiet reigned. The vile Yankees took from us clothing, food, jewels, all our cows, horses, carriages, etc., and left us in a deplorable condition after stealing from us. Sherman, with great generosity, presented the citizens with 500 cattle, so poor they could hardly stand up. No words of mine can give any idea of the brutality of the ruffians. They swore, they cussed, plundered, and committed every excess. No age or sex was safe from them. Sometimes, after saving some valueless token it was ruthlessly snatched from our hands by some of their horde. Our noble women were insulted by words, and some, I have heard of, in deeds, but none came under my knowledge, for I myself, God be praised, I received no rude word from any of them. I did not speak...to them at all. The fire burned eighty-four squares, and nothing can tell the quantity of plunder they carried off as Monday they left us, and though we feared starvation, yet we were glad to be rid of them.
Our family, much to our joy, removed to Melvin's who was not burned out. we stayed there two weeks, then removed to Uncle Jack's. He and his family have gone to Augusta, left Grandpa and Aunt Rachel, and gave us his house and provisions. He is immensely rich and has been very liberal and kind to Pa. Cousin Frank is also staying. Miss Amanda has a baby and is in the drawing room, which was the scene lately of so much gayety at Alice's wedding. It is turned into a bedroom. All my trousseau was burned and stolen, and, oh, saddest of all, I know not where my precious love is or if he is a prisoner, wounded, or dead.
This is the heaviest trial. April was to have been our bridal; now, alas, it is indefinitely postponed. I feel truly as if my fate was a hard one. From the pinnacle of happiness, I have reached the lowest depths of despair. Life seems worthless. I have no energy, no spirit; all are gone. Oh, my God, teach me to bear my burden. Oh, my own love, I never knew how precious you were to me until now.
March 7th: We are comfortable fixed at Uncle J. The family numbers twenty-three, and I am kept busy for I do nearly all the housekeeping, attend to the milk, make butter, etc. No news yet of my darling, and time drags slowly along. My dear father is about beginning life anew; his fate is hard. All my friends or most of them have proven themselves true. Fannie I can never forget. She offered me the half of all she had. She found out what I required and gave it to me, and acted like a sister. So did Isabel, poor child...Dr. Davega is staying with us. All the clothing we have was saved by Rose, our faithful servant. She and Helen were true, so was Lavinia. I shall ever remember her devotion to us. She gave us cotton homespun and behaved like a friend. Ben, who we believed faithful, left us; he says, or said, he was forced to.
March 3d: Slowly and sadly the months drag along. 'Tis six months since my engagement (not six months since I knew of and returned my darling's love, but six months since my father's consent was formally asked and given), and all but the last have been months of perfect happiness to me. No word yet of Mr. Seixas, and, strange to say, many letters have been received and many persons come out. I have perfect confidence in him, but I am very miserable, for a dread is on my that my best beloved may be a prisoner, or sick among strangers, with no loving hand to tend him. Nightly I wet my pillow with my tears, and intrust him, now nearly my all, to God's protection. Everything jogs quietly along, wagons come and go, and letters from loved ones serve to cheer our dark lives.
March 30th: Thanks be to God; I have heard of my intended. Yesterday, on Hyam's return from the office, he told me there was no letter for me, only one for father. With a deep sigh I turned away to hide from the fear of disappointment that daily fills my eyes when I receive the same reply. Father broke the seal and commenced reading: "At Mr. B. M. Seixas' request." I sprang to his side and said, "Father, don't jest with me." He said: "I am not jesting; read, child," and placed the letter in my hand. It swam before me; I was so excited but, to my great joy, I read that the writer, a Mr. Thomas, wrote to tell me that Mr. Seixas was well, and had, with two others, opened a store in King Street [Charleston, S.C.], and was making a living, and urged father to come down as soon as possible.
Of course, I am very happy to know he is well, and doing well; yet there is a pang, deep and sore at my heart. Unless he expected us down (and he had no reason to think so), it seems strange to me that he should willingly, as it were, separate himself from me. To no human being, however, would I express this thought for, though it looks strange to me, I doubt not he knows best and is doing what he considers easiest for both of us. I will not allow doubt of his truth to cross my mind. No! no shade of suspicion shall may the bright purity of our love and, although I cannot prevent a heaviness of my heart sometimes, yet I battle with it and try to believe all is right. A gentleman came out last week from the city and brought 500 letters, and yet not one for me. 'Tis very hard to bear, and I pray to God to grant me strength not to murmur or repine.
April 4th: My mother's wedding day, thirty-three years married! And it was to have been mine, but God ordained it differently. I bow in submission to God's will and struggle to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done." And I could easily bear the postponement of my marriage, if Mr. Seixas was only here to share with, and lighten, my trials. The day dawned brightly, the sun gleamed with an added lustre, and as I threw upon my window, I hailed it as an omen of good. Oh, I do hope, ere long I will get a sweet, loving letter that will dispel the faint doubts that will come sometimes. I think, if he tried to send a letter to me as hard as I tried to send one to him, I might have got one, but men occupied with business do not feel as we do, and I suppose he thinks he is working to keep us together, it matters not if we don't hear from each other.
Spring with all its thousand beauties is here. The genial air, the perfume of a thousand flowers, greet me and cheer me when saddest. Columbia is a lovely spot and, even in the places where the fire had fearfully devastated, nature is doing a great deal to atone for the ruins. The wild jessamin blows and trails for the want of its accustomed pillow, which formerly was its support. Snowdrops, roses, and all of God's most perfect work gladdens our sight, and from my heart of heart goes up to God thanks for his most beauteous works. These sweet tokens of God's goodness do much to reconcile us to the vandals' destruction. They could have selected a better season, if any season is good, for such atrocity.
April 16th: Joy is mine, dear Journal: I have had a letter from my most precious love. He is well and doing well, is doing business in Charleston, in dear old King St. He expects us down, but says if Pa don't come, he will come for me, and be married, Oh, happy I am to be reassured of his love, to read his fond letter, and know he loves me as fondly as ever! And yet there is a sad struggle in my heart, if to leave my dear parents in their time of trouble, our cause and country in her darkest hours, to follow him, or to allow him to come for his wife, and find her unwilling to return with him. I do not yet clearly see my duty---I fear I don't see clearly, for the path of duty is seldom adorned with flowers. Father, mother, and all here think I should go. I am getting ready the few things I have to do. Oh, it is sad to see what my trousseau now will be and compare it with what it might have been! But my love loves me not for fine clothes.
April 20th: A dark, heavy cloud dims the brightness that has illumed my life since I received Mr. S.'s letters. Father called me and told me a friend had told him there was much bad feeling excited towards Mr. S., owing to his intimacy with the Yankees, and some even declared he was in their pay, and he had pointed out Rebel property, and that his life was not safe if he came up. Father said he wished to write him not to come up for the present. Farewell to all my hopes of a speedy marriage, and, saddest of all, me may come up and be arrested. Oh, God, have pity on me! I have suffered greatly; spare me this.
April 21st: A sad record today of crushed hopes, wasted life, and fruitless exertion. Our noble General Lee with 30,000 men were surrounded by 200,000 men, and were compelled to surrender. Johnston and Sherman met and agreed to suspend hostilities for the present and not to renew the fight without two days' notice. During this truce a peace will be arranged, but what a peace! And although I am glad, aye, very glad, to have the fearful loss of life stopped, and to feel once again the security that peace alone can give, yet it is fearful to know that we are conquered! By superior numbers all the gallantry of our soldiers, all their suffering, avail nothing. We struggled for freedom, but found it not. Oh, God, fill us with fortitude to bear this reverse!
April 30th: Politically I have much to say. No peace yet agreed upon, but negotiations are being carried on, and people generally think peace will follow. Abram Lincoln was assassinated in the Washington theatre by a man who exclaimed: "Death to traitors; Virginia is avenged!" So our worst enemy is laid low, and Seward, the arch fiend, was also stabbed, and today we hear the glorious tidings that the Yankee Congress had a row, and Andy Johnson was killed. God grant so may all our foes perish! I had a short letter today from Mr. S., but it told me he was well, and loved me; so I am happy.
June 2d: I cannot but blame myself for my long neglect of this dear old book, but really I have lived in such a whirl that I entirely forgot to note events, important as they are. Peace has come, but, oh, God, what a different peace to the one we prayed for! We are conquered by superior numbers. Sherman and Johnston declared an armistice; since then, the war is over, we know not on what terms.
Slavery is done away with. Our noble Jeff Davis, as well as all of our great men, are prisoners; even the governors of the several states have been arrested. Confederate money is worthless, and greenbacks rule the day. Columbia and all the principal cities are garrisoned by Yankees. How it makes my Southern blood boil to see them in our streets! Yes, we are again in the hated Union, and over us again floats the banner that is now a sign of tyranny and oppression. Johnson was not killed and is now President. Sad, sad is the change since the days of Washington. My brothers are all home after fearful deprivations and hardships. Than God, they are spared. Poor Josh Moses, the flower of our circle, was killed at Blakely [Alabama, April, 1865]. He was a noble man, another martyr to our glorious cause.
I have had several letters from Mr. S. He is well and doing well, and truly loves me, and he says he can't leave business to come before the roads open. But I have written so often to beg him to I hope he may come. Pa has gone to town; we expect him daily. When he comes, I will know when Mr. S. is coming. I am all ready. Would to God he would come soon! I am weary of uncertainty and long to see him.
June 23d, 1865: This book is a sad record of broken intentions. I resolve and re-resolve to write weekly and yet I fail to do so, nor can I plead want of time, for of that, if nothing else, I have plenty. Pa returned and brought me a letter from Mr. Seixas, containing the greatest disappointment I ever had. I felt certain that, if Mr. S. did not come with him, he would soon follow, but, to my grief, he wrote he would not be able to come. He feared he could not come until August, for business had not been good, and he feared he could not afford to marry at present. Independently of my sorrow at not seeing him, the trial was more bitter owing to the fact that all my humble preparations were completed, even my clothes done up, and everyone expected my marriage, and, as I could not give out the reason, persons think it strange.
Oh, God, my trials this year have been great. Grant, I beseech thee, they may soon end! Another source of trouble to me is that Mr. S. wants to go North. This is natural, for his family are there, but, oh, I don't want to go. My feelings are yet too bitter to go among them. I cannot so soon forget Sherman, and, while I hope to love Mr. S.'s family, I fear some remark may call forth my Southern blood, and it would be truly disagreeable to have any dispute. Besides, father's loss is so great he can't give me a trousseau, and I do dislike going among total strangers, who will value me for my dress, destitute as I am of so many things. Besides, if Mr. S. is poor, it will be a great expense, and I think we ought to study economy. Mr. S. does not write satisfactorily. He speaks of buying furniture, and I think it far more pleasant and economical to board at first. He is also not very attentive in writing and, though I don't doubt his love, it makes me very unhappy.
Our servants, born and reared in our hands, hitherto devoted to us, freed by Lincoln, left us today. It is a severe trial to mother, and quite a loss to me. Among them went Lavinia, a girl given to me by my grandmother, very handy, and who had promised always to remain with and, when I was married, to go with me. Mr. S. was so pleased; he wrote me to tell her, if she proved faithful, he would take her North and show her as one faithful servant. But she went. She behaved better than most of them; she offered to come to me in town and do anything. She gave me notice and showed regret at parting. This is one of the fruits of the war. I, who believe in the institution of slavery, regret deeply its being abolished. I am accustomed to have them wait on me, and I dislike white servants very much.
My brothers are all home and in no business. Father's circumstances are very bad; what he will do, God alone knows. It is hard; he is an old man, a good husband and father, and son. At his time of life to start fresh is hard. Next week is Mr. S.'s birthday, and I have written him and sent him a small picture of myself done by Lawrence. I hope it will please him. [this is the picture shown at the top of the page]
July 6th: It is nearly two weeks since I heard from Mr. S. His negligence is very painful to me, and, though I don't doubt his love, yet this annoys me much for, if he is so careless to writing, perchance he may be careless in other things after marriage, but I hope not. The Fourth was celebrated by the "freedmen". They had orations, a barbecue, fireworks, and a general jubilee. To me it was a say day of humiliation. ...Our cause is lost; we are conquered and feel the yoke. Mr. Seixas wrote Pa he hoped to be at North by August 1st; so I guess I will be married late this month. Oh, I hope I will not be again disappointed. 'Tis five months since I have seen Mr. Seixas, and I do yearn to see him.
Oh! I think with pain of having to go North, for, although I long to know his family, yet I feel too bitter towards them to desire to go North. And besides, although I have now a neat, comfortable trousseau, very nice for Charleston, but, oh, not fit to go North; and besides, I don't feel like going where fashion and dress rule the day. But Mr. Seixas wills it so. I must submit. Time glides swiftly by. Oh, hasten, time, and bring me to the care of my best love! For I do long to see and be with him. Patience and trust in God, and all may be well.
Columbia, July 9th: I feel very anxious and unhappy, although I try not to show it. I have not heard from Mr. Seixas for two weeks. I fear he is sick, and if it is not so, it is equal pain to be neglected. He has never even acknowledged the receipt of my picture. I don't doubt him, but he is too inattentive, God grant I may soon hear!
July 26th: Grand news, dear old book! I guess this is the last entry Eleanor Cohen will ever make in this book, for next Wednesday, God willing, I will become Mrs. B.M. Seixas. This event, log, long, looked, is at hand, and yet I hardly realize it. I don't yet feel either scary or nervous, though my whole being is pervaded by a kind of serious strain of thought, and I feel fully that I am leaving the love that is tried and true, going to the love untried and new. I have ever been an indulged, petted daughter. I had my own way considerably and, now entering on new duties. I feel that perchance I will have to give all this up. I know Mr. S. loves me, and I love him with my whole heart. I am willing to make sacrifices for him, and all I ask is that he will continue to love me, to be patient with my high tempter, and, above all, be just. I had a telegram yesterday. I look for him every day. 'Tis six months since I have seen him, and my heart yearns for him. God grant me strength to be a good, true wife, show me the clear line of duty!
I expect to be married next Wednesday at four o'clock, leave at five for Winnsboro, to go North. It seems to me to be very hard to go away among those who were so lately our enemies and, as my heart is filled with southern fire, I fear I may, by look or word, say things that I ought not to; but I will try to learn to keep quiet. Truly I fear the change from deathlike quiet of Columbia to the whirl and confusion of gay New York will almost set me wild. I am calmly, quietly happy.
I regret much that neither Alice nor sis will be with me at this time, but am thankful that Fannie, my first true friend, is here. In accordance with a childish promise, she will be my first bridesmaid. My wedding will be very private, very quiet.
August 2d, 1865: My wedding day, can it be, long thought of, long hoped for, here at last? I am very, very happy, fully satisfied of Mr. Seixas' love, yet feeling a shade of deep pain at the severing of old ties, leaving my darling parents to go among new relations. Today I cease to be a girl, a woman, and enter on the cue of a wife. God grant me strength to act correctly, to make him happy and, above all, to live in the fear and love of God! Can it be that today maidenhood ceases? Oh, this getting married is no trifle, but an event that gives rise to grave, serious thought.
My new life is full of anxiety and care, and my old one is not free from it. But my faith in God is strong, and blue-eyed hope cheers me with the reflection that all cares and troubles will be shared by one who is dearer to me than life; and the full conviction of his pure, true love seems to render me happy. He is strange, and we are strange engaged people, yet I feel fully satisfied with him. Increased knowledge of his character has made me love him better. It is a strange day for August, cool, and like April, alternate gleams of sunshine and of cloud. Oh, I hope it won't rain while the ceremony is going on, or until I leave.
The wedding will be quiet, at two o'clock. Mesader kiddushin by Mr. Jacob Cohen. We leave at four with Frederic Jacobs. Strange, is it not, he should be wagoner for me on my bridal tour? This event, the crowning glory of woman's life, this giving up herself to the one who is her glory and her pride, has come for me. Teach, oh, Lord, thy child to act with becoming behavior; let modesty and purity direct my life; let truth and propriety be my guide, and if I can be loved by my new master, as by my family, all well be well. I can write no more; this is the last, dying effort of Eleanor H. Cohen, spinster.
Entry number one of Mrs. B. M. Seixas. Richmond, August 6th, 1865: Yes, I am a bride, a wife, four days married, but I must start at the beginning. The sun shone clearly, brightly, while I was married. All said I looked better than I ever did before, and I feel I did look well. I was very plainly dressed. White Swiss muslin, high neck and long sleeves, trimmed with Valienciene lace, lace barbe at my throat, my hair beautifully braided, a white illusion that enveloped me, and a few natural flowers. All passed off well. The glass broke; the ring was on my finger, and from every side I received kisses and congratulations for Mrs. Seixas. Mr. S. was very nicely dressed. He wore a suit of black, except a very handsome, white vest. He looked remarkably well. He was serious and felt fully the responsibility of his position. My cake was splendid, and, after eating it and drinking my health, I hastened to my room and donned my travelling dress.
We left at four, in a Confederate wagon drawn by four mules. Fred was driving. I was in a gale of spirits, laughing, gossiping, and teasing Mr. S.'s life out of him. I felt the parting and had to show my excitement either in tears or smiles; so, as I bride, I preferred smiles. I made Mr. S. laugh until he was weak. He was kind, gentle, tender, and loving. We arrived at White Oaks in time to take the cart. We met there a Mr. Stockton and lady, a newly married couple. It was very pleasant to have them for travelling companions. Mr. Goodwin of Columbia was with us and gave us no peace, telling everybody we were bride and groom.
August 30th: I feel quite ashamed of my neglect of my dear old friend, but for four weeks I have lived in such a whirl that it was impossible to write. We had a delightful time coming on. Memory will ever rest joyfully on my bridal tour. We stopped Friday night in Raleigh, then in Peterburg, Richmond, Philadelphia, Washington. I saw all the battlefields, and cannot describe my feeling in leaving Richmond, for then I felt I left the sunny South, home of my birth, my choice, and my heart. We stopped at the best hotels everywhere; each one was better than the other, until we reached Philadelphia. The Continental there surpassed anything I ever dreamed of. We had two rooms, parlor and bedroom, furnished with green velvet, meuble mantle, étagère mirrors, and in superb style.
We arrived after six days' travel in New York City. We met Mr. Seixas' father at the wharf. They greeted me very kindly, put us in a carriage, and drove us up to the house, 129 West Thirty-Eighth. It is a large, four-story house. Imagine my feelings in going to see perfect strangers! His mother wept over us, and all greeted me with affection. I was taken to my room, a nice, large one, all ready for me, and I love them all already. Vic [Mrs. Meyer Seixas] is very kind to me. She has three lovely children and the prospect of a fourth.
My experience of married life is that there is no true happiness in single life, yet marriage without love must be intolerable. Only deep, pure, holy love can ever fit a woman for what she has to undergo. My dear husband is kind and affectionate. Of course he has faults, as have I, but I will try to cure mine, and bear with his. His greatest fault is that he never thinks seriously. He is always lighthearted, and life is not made of sunshine alone, as we all know.
He has determined to stay in New York, and this has pained me much, for I don't like this place to live in. It is too grand, too large, too gay and fashionable to suit poor me, and I wanted to live with my beloved family. The separation from them is too hard, but as a true wife I try to reconcile myself to my husband's will. I have visited theatres, ice cream saloons, etc., and I am forcibly struck by the contrast between the prosperous North and our poor, desolate South, yet is she dearer to me in her desolation than this gay, heartless country.
I have not been well and have yearned for home and ma. The first year, all say, is hard. I am obeying my husband. My honeymoon is over; a glorious one it has been. I have had crowds of calls.
Sep. 10: While my husband is taking his Sunday nap, I will scribble off a few lines. I am very happy as far as my husband's love goes but, as I continue to feel unwell, I long to be at home. Oh, I am heartsick and homesick. I hope to see Susie Oakes tomorrow and will be glad to see a home face. I shall also cheer my heart by going to see Bee and talk of home.
January 1st, 1866: I feel very much ashamed of myself to think I have allowed so long a time to pass, but now, at the new year, I must take a retrospective glance at the past, present, and future. My husband will live in New York, and I have reconciled myself to it, for he is so good, so kind. I must be happy; my marriage life is a truly happy one, and I can't feel grateful enough to God for the blessing he has given me in my precious husband. His business is as good as we could expect, and life looks brightly to me. My parents expect daily to go to Charleston, and I will go home in two months to stay three.
Dear old Journal, let me whisper to you that a woman's crowning glory will, with God's blessing, be mine this year. I will become a mother. Oh, how my heart thrills at the word! Yes, please God, in May I will have a pledge of love given me in our baby, as we love to call it, the blessed assurance of my husband's love. I can hardly believe it, that I will be a mother. My dear husband had liberally supplied me with materials, and I am busy making up a baby wardrobe.