June 19, 1862
Father quite sick and has sent for the Dr. Went to see Mrs Spruill & her daughters. It is sad when one feels how soon one is forgotten. How true it is that “their place shall know them no more.” Poor Rebecca but for the mourning dresses one would not have known that she was no more & yet they are not heartless people. O far from it, none more so, & yet there we sat, her most intimate friend & her family, & tho she was in all our thoughts not an allusion was made to her. The way of the world I know, but is it a good way? Is it a way that we ourselves like? And yet from fear of “a scene” all repress the natural expression of the heart & pass as it were an act of oblivion upon the dead. It is not right! It is over cultivation—unnatural & injurious. I will no longer accede to it, but speak freely & sorrowfully & as my heart prompts of those who have gone before me.
Went to see Samantha & carried her some little rarities and delicacies proper for her situation. They were just in time for I found her with an Infant, a daughter, not two hours old! So I made but a short stay promising to come again soon. Read L Allegro, Penserosa, and Comus to the girls. They had never read them before & were surprised to find how many quotations constantly on their lips were to be found in them. Read also the contrast between Melancholy & Pleasure in Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, thought by many to have given Milton the idea of L Allegro & Penseroso. What a wonderful book, that. Burton is such a mine of thoughts, such a quarry of quotations, but the trouble with me now is that I cannot remember them as I once could. Is it the war and its consequent preoccupation or is my memory less pliant than formerly? I fear the latter, which is most mournful, as I have hitherto been gifted with a most excellent one, but nonsense, I talk like an old woman! and I am not yet a middle aged one. I am still young and my memory shall not fail.
Tied my Grape Vines to their new trellises. It ought to have been done before. They would have thriven better. They were given me by my dear papa, and I prize them the more on that account. He wrote me that he could never expect to sit under them but wished me many happy years under “my own Vine & my own Fig tree.” Dear old gentleman, he has left few behind him like himself, but he has been taken from the evil to come. So we must not mourn for him, yet I miss him sadly.
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html