A Confederate Girl’s Diary

Saturday, October 11th.

Miriam went off to Clinton before daylight yesterday, with Mr. Carter and Mrs. Worley. She would not let me go for fear mother should keep us. At midnight they got back last night, tired, sleepy, and half-frozen, for our first touch of cool weather came in a strong north wind in the evening which grew stronger and stronger through the night, and they had worn only muslin dresses. I shall never cease to regret that I did not go too. Miriam says mother is looking very sad. Sad, and I am trying to forget all our troubles, and am so happy here! O mother, how selfish it was to leave you! I ask myself whether it were best to stay there where we would only be miserable without adding anything to your comfort or pleasure, or to be here, careless and happy while you are in that horrid hole so sad and lonesome. According to my theory, Miriam would remind me that I say it is better to have three miserable persons than two happy ones whose happiness occasions the misery of the third. That is my doctrine only in peculiar cases; it cannot be applied to this one. I say that if, for example, Miriam and I should love the same person, while that person loved only me, rather than make her unhappy by seeing me marry him, I would prefer making both him and myself miserable, by remaining single. She says “Fudge!” which means, I suppose, nonsense. But our happiness here does not occasion mother’s unhappiness. She would rather see us enjoying ourselves here than moping there. One proof is, that she did not suggest our return. She longs to get home, but cannot leave poor Lilly alone, for Charlie is in Granada. Oh, how willingly I would return to the old wreck of our home! All its desolation could not be half so unendurable as Clinton. But Lilly cannot be left. Poor Lilly! When I look at her sad young face, my heart bleeds for her. With five helpless little children to care for, is she not to be pitied? I think that such a charge, in such dreadful days, would kill me. How patiently she bears it!

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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