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Page 91 text:
ebr rmiuarii in HJar atmrii r WAS ill the fall of 1863. ' midst the cannon ' s roar and the tramp, tramp of the soldier boys, that our courageous prin- cipal started her bold undertaking. We in these better days can scarcely appreciate the difficulties attending such an enterprise. To provide board and fuel for so great a number at a time when flour sold at twenty-five dollars a barrel, and bacon at a dollar a pound, was a problem not easily solved. All the long summer days were spent in laying in supplies, and by dint of unceasing perseverance, together with the aid of kindly friends, when autumn returned, a sufficient store had been collected to keep the wolf from the door, for a time, at least. The trouble, though, did not end here. The provisions were in possession, but how to keep them? Staunton in those days was a great depot for army supplies, and was consequently alive with soldiers wearing both the blue and the gray. The former ' s proclivities for appropriating all the goods and chattels of their Southern foes, especially the contents of the larder, was a fact thoroughly within the grasp of a school girl ' s mind. Accordingly, when that dread cry, " The Yankees! " went forth, down dropped every book and out rushed every girl. The wood pile, then just outside the present parlor window, there being no other back yard, claimed attention first, a soldier ' s weakness in that line being proverbial. The girl would seize upon a log of wood, put one end on each shoulder, and off they ' d go to deposit it in the dark and hidden precincts of the cellar. Many hands made quick work, and soon there was no trace of a wood pile save a few scattered chips. By stratagem which would have rendered a general famous, many bar- rels of flour had been procured, and deep and anxious were the debates as to the safest hiding place for the precious possession. At the suggestion of a bright-eyed little maiden, each girl draped a barrel in one of her skirts — crinolines were then in favor — making thus a dainty dressing table for every room. But, alas! there were more barrels than rooms. Accordingly, the con- tents of the remaining ones were sewed up in a tick and did duty as a bed. When the tramp of the blue coats was heard, the thinnest girl in school — and it is said she was the only thin one — chalked her face to a ghastly white and got into her bed of flour. As Miss Baldwin ushered a Federal ofP.cer into the
Page 90 text:
Where the little du x carts ramble The streets of cobblestones, And the chubby Fraus With shoes like scows, Chatter in merriest tones? ' I ' is there in the illaiz;e of Oosterleek By tlie shores of the Zuyder Zee, Hiat the little Dutch babies are oin ; to sleep To the murmuring of the sea — And the soft winds whisper tbrouj;li the trees, And tlie wavelets kiss the shore, And a sunset rare You may sure see there. Like you ne er saw before. ' ou would lave the folks of t)osterleek. Who laugh by the Zuyder Zee, For there ' s never a frown In all the town. But they ' re tender and happ and free; And the folks will welcome ou ere u land With a welcome that ' s hearty and true — Should the chance be yoins To see their shores. The gods will be favoring miu. Fax Lei-.
Page 92 text:
room to make the usual search, this ghastly figure suddenly rose up in the b?d as if awakened from sleep. The startled officer backed out of the room with a murmur of apology for disturbing a girl so ill. The pretty draperies aroused no suspicions, however, and the flour was saved to furnish food not only for hungry school girls, but for many a wounded soldier lying sick and suffering in the hospital. On another occasion when the Federal soldiers were in the town, the girls hid hams in every desk of the big school-room, not our present chapel, for that was the Presbyterian Church, but the present office and the adjoining hall, then one room — even the stove had been duly filled, and there was just time for each girl to grab a book when the searching party entered. A studious company they appeared, notwithstanding the fact that many of their books were upside down. A little taken aback that the young ladies should show such indifference to their presence, the soldiers, after a casual glance about the room marched out. one of them remarking that the girls didn ' t seem much afraid, to which he received the prompt reply from a pert little Miss near the door, " What ' s you to be afraid of? " Yet not always were their little schemes so successful, as when some of the girls attempted to roll a barrel of sorghum up the dining-room stairs and the head came out! They had this consolation, however, if they could not eat that sorghum neither could the Yankees. A favorite plan, when there was something valuable to be saved, was for the principal to show the search officers about; ushering them graciously into rooms and halls, up stairs and down, in and out; she took them through the endless maze of crooks and turns, until the poor men were completely bewildered and went off not a whit wiser for their pains, and at one time leav- ing a dozen barrels of flour in the hall where they had not been taken. Among other things, there was a scarcity (and I believe there has never been an abundance I of men in the Seminary — in fact, not a single being of the male persuasion dwelt within these walls. As a consequence, numerous apparitions, always clothed in male attire, were seen, and many were the mid-night processions of white-robed figures marched down the dark gallery armed with pokers, tongs, shovels, and other offensive and defensive weapons, in search of the dreadful man, who was nevrr found but once. That once marks the epoch in the annals of the Seminary. The usual cry of ' ' . man! a man! " had been given, and the usual procession of trembling girls. with Miss Baldwin at their head, was advancing down the gallery, when there
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