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Sarracino, Carmine, 1944- / The heart of war

No more forever,   pp. 27-29

Page 27

no more forever
  When I remember all the true-hearted, the light-hearted, the gay and
  gallant boys who came laughing, singing, and dancing in my way the
  three years now past, how I have looked into their brave young eyes and
  helped them as I could in every way and then saw them no more for-
  ever.., my heart breaks.
    -Mary Chesnut, Diary, July 26, 1864
Mary marches into the yard in the dark, leading Lawrence
and Molly. "Who remain, Lawrence? How many still loyal?"
In his slow and dignified way, Lawrence answers without pause:
"Main, we all here. Din't nobody go over, main."
just as she expected. All remain. She wished to speak that fact
directly to Mrs. Stowe: Put that in your horrid book! All remain!
In the middle of a yard of slaves, Mary commands the field:
swinging a lantern, pointing left and right, directing
this one and that to hitch the wagon (no horses? find a mule!)
fill a dozen jugs with milk, hunt provisions (beg them
from neighbors!) and smartly pack fried chicken, rabbits,
vegetables, sacks of flour.-Fruit is so scarce. And so desired.
Oranges $5 apiece!
Her silk dress trails a strip torn by some officer's spurs.
Molly flits around her-trying to repair the hem,
to arrange her hair, fretting as Mary shoos her away.
So be it then.
In the rising sun, with all that can be mustered,
she hies for the wards, Lawrence driving the mule.
One hand at her breast clutches a shawl,
the other holds her bonnet down.

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