A Confederate Girl’s Diary

September 27th.

I often wonder how lies first came into the world, and whether those who originate them do not believe them as firmly as any one else would believe truth. Lying seems to be the common creed of children and servants.

Anna told me of having heard Lennice telling the other servants that she knew there were spirits, because I often talked to them. Every morning and evening I walked to the graveyard with a basket of flowers, and would sit by father’s and Harry’s graves and call their spirits to me; and they would all fly to me, and talk and sing with me for hours until I would tell them good-bye and go home, when they would go away too. I suppose the ignorant girl, having foundation enough from my frequent visits there, which were most often alone, made up the rest to account for my never seeming to like company out there. The fervent “Good Lord” with which the tale was received by the other servants, and the full credence they gave it, might have proved unpleasant if further circulated; and I believe some members of the family found it necessary to put an end to it at once.

And speaking of the graveyard recalls something I heard for the first time last night. Miriam was telling me that Tithe had asked if we knew that Mr. Sparks had visited Harry’s grave? That he had got a basket of flowers from the Davidsons, and had made their driver carry it for him. And the man had told her that, after filling the vases with roses, and spreading them over the grave, he had thrown himself on it with a shriek of despair, calling on Harry to forgive him; that it was only because forced by his father that he had killed him; and calling on God to prove that he would give his life gladly to recall Harry’s. The man thought him a raving maniac and fled in terror. Miriam asked Fanny if it was true, and she said yes; she had gathered the flowers for him herself.

I saw them there, but little knew whose hand had brought them. I perceived at once that they were not mine, and touched even to tears by so silent an offering from an unknown person, I said, “It is some woman’s work; God bless the hand that laid them there.” I cannot say how much that little tribute affected me. And, Mr. Sparks, I do not retract the blessing now. No! “God have mercy on him!” has been my prayer ever since I knew what an awful loss you had caused us. God knows that I never even desired this revenge — remorse standing over his grave. It has ever been, “God pity and forgive!” — never yet for an instant, “God pursue and avenge!”

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson

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