Monday, February 21, 2011

Female Aspect Of The Rebellion

A ludicrous incident took place a few days ago at the Provost Marshal’s headquarters.  Four rebel ladies called to see Col. Mathews.  Across the walk and between the outer gate and the house a large national flag is suspended.  Two of the ladies passed under it, but the other two vowed in animated tones that they would not bow their heads to that “filthy Lincoln rag.” When the party was about to leave, the two who had gone into the Provost’s room passed out of the gate, but the other two were stopped by the guard. – “What do you mean, Sir?  Let us out instantly!” exclaimed one of the stiff-necked rebels sharply.  “Not a step,” said the guard, “you wantonly insulted that flag which we are here to defend, and you can’t leave this place without permission of the Provost.”  The ladies whirled round in a furious rage, making a brilliant exhibition of garters and other unmentionable things, to the eyes of the guard, and went back under the flag to see Colonel Mathews.  Ladies have a peculiarly nervous twitchibility in their gait when much excited, and so one of the fair ones caught her heel in her hoops, and in extricating herself got the other foot into the same trap and whirled head foremost, and feet flying upwards into the soft blue grass which waves in the shady yard like the sea green plumage of a Bird of Paradise.  The goddess of Modesty who suckled us at her soft bosom in tender infancy hand whose foster child we have ever been, here bids us to draw a thick veil “impenetrable to mortal eyes,” over what poor Peeping Tom of Coventry sought to be hold when the noble lady Godiva rode through the streets of that ancient city on her milk-white steed.  We obey her sacred command and content ourselves with quoting the well known lines of Tom Moore, which tell us how poor Hebe while walking one night across the sky stumbled against a star –

“And all Heaven’s hosts of eyes
Saw those luxuriant beauties sink
In lapse of loveliness among the azure skies.
The wanton wind
Which had pursued the flying fair
And Sweetly twined
Its spirit with the breathing wings
Of her ambrosial hair,
Soared as she fell, and on its ruffling wings –
Oh, wanton wind
Wafted the robe whose sacred flow
Shadowed her kindling charms of snow,
The brow of Juno flushed –
Love blessed the breeze!
The muses blushed,
And every cheek was hid behind a lyre,
While every eye was glancing thro’ the strings.’
As Mark Anthony said:
“What a fall was there, my countrymen!”
We will notice the next case that turns up.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington Iowa, Saturday, May 24, 1862, p. 3

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