Kate Stone’s Civil War: A man-flirt is detestable

Stone, riding her horse with a pistol in her belt, decides that the antebellum age of young love, innocent flirting, and romantic dreams is over.

1864

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.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone, riding her horse with a pistol in her belt, decides that the antebellum age of young love, innocent flirting, and romantic dreams is over.

July 18, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Only the quiet routine of home duties. Nothing from the outside world. Oh, for letters from [those] who have bidden us adieu to know what is going on and how they arc faring in their new life.

Mrs. St. Clair and Neta Irvine came in and I tried to be unusually polite and non-committal to Mrs. St-Olair. She is such a dangerous woman that, I am afraid of her. She will start any report, and now she is most intimate with the Yankees. … Mr. Moore dined with us. Mr. Moore is the most belligerent minister I ever saw and the hottest Southerner. He cannot reconcile himself to defeat. There are two Yankee cotton-buyers in town. They are very conciliating in manner, we hear, and dumb as to the war.

Mollie Moore and I took a lovely ride this afternoon entirely alone but with pistols gleaming at our side. I fancy the good people of Tyler, the conservative, will be horrified if they saw them, but we will hope for the best and trust they did not spy our weapons. We took them more for a frolic than anything else, but the roads are said not to be entirely safe with so many hard cases roving around. Mollie and I were longing for a ride and good long gossip together, and all our cavaliers have left us. Mollie told me all about “Adonis” and confesses to a partial engagement, but she evidently does not expect to keep it. We decided that the girls would all have to change their war customs, stop flirting, and only engage themselves when they really meant something. The days of lightly-won and lightly-held hearts should be over.

Mr. Moore’s accounts of the frolics of Willy and Jimmy Carson on their bachelor ranch worry me considerably. I am afraid they will get into serious trouble carrying on so with those country girls and will carry their flirtations too far, and they are but boys turned loose with no one out there to restrain them. Hope they will soon come in, and I will talk to them. Might do some good. A man-flirt is detestable, and I do not want those boys to degenerate into that.

We are living now on the fat of the land, plenty of milk, cream, butter, and gumbo, vegetables of all kinds, melons, and chickens. I am only sorry Mamma and the boys cannot be with us to enjoy it. The outer world is still a sealed book to us. Few mails.

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Vets cope with injuries / Bachmann’s implosion / Daily health care deals / The narcissist / Don’t mention George W. Bush

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. Acting Out War’s Inner Wounds
By James Dao | The New York Times | Jan. 1
“The roadside bomb that separated Sgt. Matthew Pennington from his left leg in 2006 also shattered his right leg and scorched his lungs. Those injuries he understood. But then came the ones he did not, the ones inside his head.”

2. Topic: Why did Michele Bachmann implode?
By David Mark | The Arena :: Politico | December 2011
Weigh in on her political rollercoaster ride.

3. Uninsured turn to daily deal sites for health care
By Joseph Pisani | Associated Press | Jan. 1
“Merchants like the deals because it gives them exposure and a pop in business. Customers use them to try something new, to save money on something they already use, or both.”

4. The Dreamers
Activate :: Al Jazeera | October 2011
“Viridiana Martinez only found out that she is considered ‘illegal’ upon graduating from high school and discovering that she could not work or apply to colleges. … But now Viridiana is fighting back — openly declaring her ‘illegal’ status. …”

5. Behind the Facade: The ‘False Self’ of the Narcissist
By Randi Kreger | Psychology Today | November 2011
“Narcissists can’t differentiate between their mask and their true self”

6. For the Depressed, Mothers Matter More
Big Think | December 2011
“Depressed people react more strongly to photos of their mother than healthy individuals, according to new research.”

7. Keeping Greens Green
By C. Claiborne Ray | Q&A :: The New York Times | November 2011
“When greengrocers drench vegetables with water every few minutes, does it keep them fresh or hasten spoilage?”

8. Carter’s advice to Obama: Don’t alienate voters
By Greg Bluestein | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“Carter said: ‘If your main goal is to get re-elected, avoid a controversial subject as much as you can in the first term.’ ”

9. George W. Bush barely mentioned in GOP campaign
By Beth Fouhy | Associated Press | Jan. 3
“While the candidates routinely lionize Ronald Reagan and blame President Barack Obama for the nation’s economic woes, none has been eager to embrace the Bush legacy of gaping budget deficits, two wars and record low approval ratings — or blame him for the country’s troubles either.”

10. Civil War women: Laura Towne
Civil War Women Blog | November 2011
“Begun in 1862, the Port Royal Experiment, the first large-scale government effort to help the newly freed slaves. Northern women like Laura Towne and Charlotte Forten volunteered, and made it their mission to educate the freedmen and prepare them for economic independence.”

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