This incident of old Aunt Dilsey and Sam was but one of many that set Dorothea to thinking deeply. The summer had passed with but little change in the village of Washington. September had seen Sherman in possession of Atlanta; he had occupied Savannah in December and a month later began his successful march through South Carolina. But the most significant occurrence of that Autumn was the reëlection of Mr. Lincoln. This was a confirmation of the unity felt in the North to prosecute the war to the end and a blasting of the hopes of those Southerners who, realizing their dwindling resources, had worked to bring about some form of compromise. The winter of 1865 was a continued history of defeat for the Confederate armies who opposed Sherman. Charleston was evacuated in February, and when the Stars and Stripes once more floated over Sumter’s ruins, it seemed to Dorothea that the end of the war had really come. For she developed an intense interest in all these matters and it was hard for her to understand how her cousins could close their eyes to the clear meaning of events.
Miss Imogene was away upon a visit to other relatives and there was no one to whom the girl could talk freely, so that her thoughts were in a somewhat chaotic state. She was surprised sometimes to find herself so eager for news of the war, as if in some way her personal fortunes were involved. Now and then she would say to herself that these things made little difference to an English girl; but immediately there came the recollection that she was half American.