From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.
Stone’s critical eye takes in a town’s beauty, overpriced luxuries, her brother’s love, and a gentleman’s proper language use.
Aug. 3, 1863
Lamar County, Texas
Paris is a clean, pretty place in the edge of Blossom Prairie — clumps of trees and deep white sand in the streets.
We went to church and saw a really nice-looking congregation of refined-looking people. We all liked the place so well that Mamma would rent a place there, but it is too near the borderline, the first point for an invasion and right next to the Indian Nation. We do not wish to lose our scalps in addition to everything else. We saw a large party of Indian men dashing through the town. They are nearly all Southern sympathizers, we hear.
We went shopping. There are several well-filled stores, but the prices are beyond anything. We saw a pretty light calico but Mamma could not afford it at $6 a yard. A penknife was very tempting, but who would give $25 for a little Yankee knife? Our nails will have to grow like eagle’s claws before we can afford an extravagance of that kind. We did get a few articles, absolute essentials, and Mamma indulged me in a piece of extravagance a deck of playing cards at $5. They are a different kind from those the girls use out here, but I fancy they will afford us more amusement than the finest pair of cotton cards.
A gentleman gave us a late Louisiana paper containing Mary Gustine’s marriage on July 21. I know she was a beautiful bride, and our best wishes go with her for her future happiness. I wonder how Brother Coley will stand the loss of his sweetheart, his first love affair. Like most boys, he lost his heart to a girl several years the older — fortunately a disease that never kills a boy of that age.
The Baptist meeting has been going on in Paris for seven weeks, and sixty have joined that church. It seems the strongest church of this section. Sunday morning we heard a splendid sermon, the best since hearing Dr. Marshall preach two years ago. I wish Jimmy could have heard it. It was the first real Baptist sermon I ever really listened to. Have heard the preacher, Mr. Buckner — knows what he believes and is not afraid to preach it from the pulpit.
We have made the acquaintance of another Texas gallant. Dr. Bywaters, introduced as a friend by Mr. McGleason, walked home with us from church. One thing in his favor: he does not say “mile” for “miles,” and he does not ignore the plural of “year.”