June 20, 1862
It is years since I had so many children in the house at a time & tho’ these are good & by no means troublesome, still I find it pleasant to escape from their noise once in a while. Children make a vast difference in people’s character. I feel they would have changed me greatly. When I look at a helpless little one now, my heart yearns to it, and a boy or girl old enough for companionship draws me strongly to them, but I believe children between four & sixteen have lost their charm to me. I no longer devote myself to them because they are children. I like them for a while, but I tire of them; yet I have a strong attraction about me for them. They are almost always fond of me & I can teach them with great ease to myself & pleasure to them. I have what is called the “gift of teaching” but I do not prize it as I ought nor practice it when I can, perhaps because I am not thrown much with children of whom I am very fond & perhaps, Mrs Edmondston, you fear being used as a convenience & have a dread of having some neglected little child put off on you to dry nurse! Fie, Madam, you shrink from being useful. “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” Why will not you who have no burden of that kind take one from your over burdened sister or brother? Simply because I won’t!
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