How Dabney Got His Hat (Dabneys Adventures Book 1)

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test2.expandit.io/shadow-on-the-mountain-ben-jensen-series-book.php No private house could do for his entertainment, but a suite of rooms in the great Eagle Hotel was secured for him. I have seen the rooms many a time, as my mother boarded there with my brother and myself. Cousin H. Well, Lafayette's pillow-cases were of the finest linen, marked by her with her own hair , which was a lovely auburn, very long and smooth and even, and a motto was also on them with the name. I saw them often. I believe he was in Richmond some time. All his pillow-cases were marked in that way.

My dear mother had then been a widow four years, and was only twenty-four years old, and in the very height of her beauty. Everybody who could get to Richmond was there to see the great welcome of the city to Lafayette. Many people were not even able to find shelter. Of course, my mother and young aunts were among those who went there. There was a hall, spoken of to this day as the Lafayette Hall.

My mother danced with him and became well acquainted. People used to come over with such tales to grandpa's, and he made me cry many a time, teasing me by saying that mother was going to marry Lafayette and go to France to eat frogs. You Page 12 know Lafayette was a married man, well advanced in years; but, of course, I did not know that. He really told several persons, Mrs. When he left Richmond many ladies kissed him, and he requested a kiss from my mother. She lived only a few years, leaving three children, George, Benjamin, and Ann.

A year or two later he married his second wife, Miss Sarah Smith, the daughter of the Rev. Thomas Smith. My father was one of the children of this marriage. The sons, George and Benjamin, grew up to be of so great physical strength as to become famous at their college of William and Mary. In physical development they resembled their grandfather's half-brother, James Dabney, who bears the surname of "the Powerful" on the family-tree. George went into the navy, and was engaged in the battle of Tripoli, and was so fortunate as to save Decatur's life in that fight. He grew tired of the navy and left it for a planter's life.

Benjamin also became a planter, and married his cousin, Ann West Dabney, the daughter of his uncle George. The Smiths from whom my father was descended on the maternal side were known in Virginia as the Shooter's Hill Smiths, - Shooter's Hill, in Middlesex County, Virginia, being the home which they founded in this country. His mother was Sarah Smith, the daughter of the Rev. A descendant of John Smith of Perton, General John Bull Davidson Smith of Hackwood, was a thorough democrat, sharing, with other Americans of that day in a revulsion and animosity against everything English.

Page 13 Seeing that some of his family took more interest in genealogy and family records than he thought becoming in a citizen of the young republic, he made a bonfire of all the papers relating to his ancestors and family history. It is necessarily, therefore, rather a tradition than a fact recorded in family history, that John Smith of Perton was the son of Thomas Smith, the brother of the Captain John Smith, so famous in colonial history. The Smiths of this line adopted Captain John Smith's coat of arms, the three Turks' heads, and now hold it.

The ceremony was performed at Jamestown by the Rev. William Dawson. In Bishop Meade's book on the old churches and families of Virginia are some interesting accounts of Mary Smith's Jaqueline ancestors and Ambler relations. A few tombstones, with the names of Amblers and Jaquelines, the chief owners of the island for a long time, and the Lees of Green Spring the residence and property, at one time, of Sir William Berkeley , a few miles from Jamestown, still mark the spot where so many were interred during the earlier years of the colony.

Some of the sacred vessels are yet to be seen, either in private hands or in public temples of religion The third and last of the pieces of church furniture - which is now in use in one of our congregations - is a silver vase, a font for baptism, which was presented to the Jamestown church in by Martha Jacqueline, widow of Edward Jaqueline, and their son Edward. In the year , when the act of Assembly ordered the sale of church property, it reserved that which was passed by right of private donation. Under this clause it was given into the hands of the late Mr.

John Ambler, his grandson He was descended from the same stock which gave rise to the noble family of La Roche Jaquelines in France. They were eminently wealthy, and were fortunate enough to convert a large portion of their wealth into gold and silver, which they transported in safety to England. I found the family to be still numerous in France. Thinking that he was inadequate to the task, on account of his extreme youth and total want of experience in military affairs, he sought seriously to decline the dangerous honor; but the troops, who had been devotedly attached to the father and family, would not allow him to do so, and absolutely forced him to place himself at their head in spite of himself.

As soon as he found that resistance was useless, he assumed the bearing of a hero and gave orders for a general review of his army: to which being formed in a hollow square , in an animated and enthusiastic manner, he delivered this ever-memorable speech: 'My friends, if my father were here you would have confidence in him; but as for me, I am nothing more than a mere child. But as Page 15 to my courage, I shall now show myself worthy to command you. After displaying all the skill of a veteran commander and all the courage of a most dauntless hero, he nobly died upon the field of battle, at the early age of twenty-one, thus closing his short but brilliant career.

A branch of the family in America still cherishes a lock of Queen Elizabeth's red hair. This was acquired through Cary, Lord Hunsden, whom they claim as their English ancestor. My father's grandfather, the Rev. Thomas Smith, was not related to his wife, Mary Smith, although she bore the same name. The result of this union was a family of three sons and four daughters. Among the list of their names in the family Bible we find a Mary Jaqueline. Their fifth child, Sarah, was born on the 27th of February, , and her brother, John Augustine, seven years later.

A thirteen-year-old sister, Ann, was struck by lightning and burned to death in her closet. At one time during the residence of his family at the rectory attached to this old church, there came an alarm that the British ships were coming up the Potomac River. The rector ordered everything that could be hastily collected to be put into a wagon to be driven off to a place of security. As the servants were engaged in loading up the wagon, the oxen moved one of the wheels against a plank on which a line of beehives were standing.

The plank was upset and the hives thrown to the ground. The bees flew in every direction, stinging every living thing within reach. Page 16 The family and servants fled into the house. They were obliged to stuff even the keyholes to keep out the infuriated bees.

The oxen ran entirely away, and the fowls which were in coops in the wagon were stung to death. The Rev. Thomas Smith died in May, Two years later, in December, , his wife died. In October, , their daughter Sarah, in her seventeenth year, was married to Benjamin Dabney. He was a widower with three children, though but twenty-seven years old. Sarah's step-daughter, Ann, afterwards married her brother, Major Thomas Smith. Benjamin Dabney had given up the family mansion at Dabney's Ferry, together with his patrimony, on his father's death, to his brother and his half-brothers, and he made his home on the York River at Bellevue, in King and Queen County.

He had also, to some extent, used his own means in the education of his half-brother, James Dabney, and his wife's favorite brother, John Augustine Smith. His kindness and trust were not misplaced. When his own early death deprived his children of a father's care, Dr. James Dabney and Dr. John Augustine Smith were the best friends whom his children had. MY father, Thomas Smith Gregory Dabney, was born at Bellevue, his father's country-seat on the Pamunky River, in the county of King and Queen, Virginia, on the 4th day of January, , and he used to tell us that he was two years in the world before General Washington left it.

Two brothers had died in infancy before his birth, and the vigorous boy was hailed with much rejoicing. The christening was a great event. It was celebrated at Bellevue on so large a scale that the cake for the feast was made in a churn. Often as children we heard the old servants refer with pride to this occasion, and to the large company invited to witness it. In the old Smith Bible, for the rebinding of which one hundred dollars of Continental money is said to have been paid, is found this entry, in his mother's small, old-fashioned handwriting: "Thomas Smith Gregory Dabney, our third child, was born on the 4th day of January, ; was baptized the 11th May, His godfathers were Messrs.

His godmothers were Mrs. Lee, Mlles. Whiting, Mary Camp, and Ann S. Dabney, and Ann Baytop. When only one year of age he was inoculated, having been sent with his nurse to a public hospital, as the custom then was in Virginia. In due time he passed safely and without disfiguring marks through the dangers of varioloid. He used to relate to us that his mother had said that one of the happiest moments of her life was when her spool of cotton fell from her lap, her little Thomas, then eighteen months old, picked it up and handed it to her.

When he was two years old his brother, Philip Augustine Lee, was born, and, two years later, his sister, Martha Burwell. This little flock were taught their letters and to read by a favorite servant, the daughter of their mother's maid. Thomas had great difficulty in remembering one of the letters. Finally, a cake was promised, all for himself, if he would try still harder. So, all day he went about the house repeating "G, G," and the next day, when lesson hour came, his mother put his cake before him as fairly earned. My father's recollections of his father were very distinct, considering that he died in the forty-third year of his age, when his son Thomas had only attained the tender age of eight years.

The memory of this father was ever a most cherished one, and his children remember the almost pathetic manner in which in his own old age he lamented the untimely cutting off of that young life and brilliant career. Benjamin Dabney was at the head of the bar in King and Queen County, and was engaged by the British government to settle British claims. In nearly every case that came to trial in his county he was engaged as counsel on one side.

He was considered by his brethren in his profession to be the most learned man in the law in his section. The judge who at that time sat on the bench appealed to him when doubtful on any legal point, saying that Mr. Dabney knew the law, and there was no need to look into Page 19 the books when he was at hand. My father used to tell us of his vivid recollections of seeing him drive home every evening when the court was in session.

He was accompanied by his body-servant, who followed the gig on horseback, and who, after my grandfather got out, carried into the house the shot-bags of gold doubloons that had been stowed away under the seat in the gig-box. He sometimes brought home several of these. One of his fees amounted to four thousand dollars, which, considering that he died when barely in his prime, and the value of money at that time, was exceptionally large.

His eight-year-old son was already learning from him some of the fond, fatherly ways, which were destined years after to endear him to his own children and grandchildren, and which he practised in imitation of this tender father eighty years after that father was laid in his grave. One of our earliest recollections of our father was his having some treat for us always on his return home from a visit.

This dainty was invariably put in the very bottom of his great-coat pocket, and the delightful mystery of feeling for that package and bringing it up to light, and then, with eager, expectant fingers untying the string before the treasure could be seen, was a pleasure not to be forgotten. My father's face at such times was one of the great charms of the scene, so merry and loving, and almost as full of the pleasant little excitement as the group of bright young ones gathered around him. In explanation to a visitor who might be looking on, he would say, "This is the way that my father treated me.

I shall never forget how I enjoyed running my hand down in his greatcoat pocket when he came back in the evening from court. I was always sure of finding there a great piece of what we called in Virginia 'court-house cake. Promptly at three o'clock he left his books and his business cares behind him in his study, and, after dressing for dinner, joined his family in the drawing-room. He was invariable in his rule of being there ten minutes before dinner was announced, and he expected all in the house to conform to this.

Many guests came and went at Bellevue, but this was never allowed to interfere with his business. After breakfast he would say to the gentlemen, "Here are guns and horses and dogs and books; pray amuse yourself as you like best. I shall have the pleasure of meeting you at dinner. He was so elegantly formed that after his death it was said that the handsomest legs in America were gone. His death was caused by a violent cold, contracted in the discharge of his law business. At this time a young and rising lawyer, Mr.

Charles Hill, was already beginning to share many of the important cases and large fees with Benjamin Dabney. This gentleman was destined to become the father of a child who, years after, married the son of his rival, Benjamin Dabney, and whom we knew as our dearest mother.

Our faithful old nurse, Mammy Harriet, who grew up from childhood with my father; being only two years younger than himself, and who was scarcely ever separated from him, sits by me as I write, and she gives me an incident connected with the death of my grandfather too touching to be passed by. I 'member well de ole 'oman, Grannie Annie, who sot wid him night an' day - sot wid de coffin upstairs - all by herself; lay by de corpse all night long, put her arms roun' de coffin, an' hold on to it, cryin' all night long.

She foller de coffin twenty miles to Bellevue whar dey bury him; foller behin' it cryin' an' hollerin' an' hollerin' an' cryin' to marster to say how d'ye to Toby - dat was her son - an' to Mars Gregory Smith, - dat was marster's uncle, what was Page 21 dead. De ole 'oman use to wear gre't big pockets, wallet-like, an' she used to fill 'em full o' peanuts an' hickory-nuts an' apples an' dem kind o' things, an' carry 'em to Mars Jeemes Dabney, de brother o' her own marster, what was dead.

He was Doctor Dabney, you know, your cousin Jeemes's father. He thought a heap on her. Yes, to be sho, he was a married man den, wid two chillun. She mighty good ole 'oman. When she die her hyar was white as my cap. John Augustine Smith, would be a better judge than herself of the necessary requirements for the education of her sons, sent them to him, and Thomas was under his care for nine years.

Augustine had never been a strong child, and it was soon decided that he was not able to stand the rigorous climate of Elizabeth, New Jersey, where the boys had been placed at boarding-school. At this early age the devotion of a lifetime had begun between the two children. The tender care and admiration of Thomas for his gentle, studious brother knew no bounds. He used sometimes to tease him himself, but never allowed any one else to do so.

He was the self-constituted champion of this younger brother, whose thoughtful, retiring habits might otherwise have drawn on him many petty annoyances from his heedless school-fellows. At this time Augustine possessed the gift, which he lost later in life, of handling bees and other insects without danger of being stung.

When he was missed from the playground, he might often be found in some secluded spot, with various stinging insects tied to strings, flying and buzzing around his head. He was quite fearless, and so gentle that they seemed to understand that no hurt would be done them. Thomas was occasionally deluded into trying the same experiments on seeing how easily it seemed to be managed, but in an instant he was off roaring with pain, and bitterly rueing his misplaced confidence.

He always believed that Augustine was by nature fitted for a naturalist, and he deplored that his education was not turned in that direction. The harsh climate Page 22 that froze the blood of the delicate boy and made his return to his mother's care in the Virginia home necessary, built up for the elder and stronger lad the iron constitution that was during his whole life the wonder and admiration of all who knew him.

In talking of these school-days, he used to amaze his Southern-born children by his stories of the moonlight races that he and his schoolmates took over the New Jersey snows. This they did without an article of clothing on. They sometimes ran a mile, diversifying things on the way by turning somersaults in the snow-drifts that were waist-deep. When they got back, they would creep softly up-stairs and jump into their beds and sleep like tops.

At last old Parson Rudd, the head of the school, got wind of all this, and strictly forbade it. Nothing daunted, the boys were out again like rabbits when the snows and the moonlights were propitious They were captured once, as they entered the door, after one of these escapades, and Parson Rudd did not fail to flog them soundly all around. In those days flogging was considered as necessary for a boy as his food, and as good for him. The habits formed at this time clung to Thomas through life. He used frequently in winter to stand in the cold night-wind in his shirt and get thoroughly chilled, in order, he said, to enjoy returning to bed and getting warm.

His family feared that revulsions so sudden would endanger his life, or his health, and tried to persuade him to give up what they could not but look on as a dangerous habit, but his laughing assurance that he liked it, and it agreed with his constitution, was the only satisfaction they received in answer to their solicitations. On one occasion during his school-days in Elizabeth his mother came to pay him a visit, and Mrs.

Winfield Scott called on her there. As Mrs. Scott was taking leave her coachman, an ignorant Irishman, got the fiery horses into so unmanageable a state that they stood on their hind legs and pawed the air. In vain did he try to make them move off. Thomas, seeing the difficulty, asked Mrs. Scott to allow him to drive her home. Page 23 She had not seen him before, and asked, "My little man, where do you come from, that you know how to manage horses? In a moment he was on the box by the coachman, and had shown to the unruly horses that a fearless hand had taken the reins.

They yielded at once to him, and in a short time Mrs. Scott was at her own door. General Scott came out to meet her as he heard the carriage roll up, and as he handed his wife out, asked, "What young gentleman am I indebted to, my dear, for bringing you home? I do not know who he is. When he had gotten too far away to be thanked, he could not resist looking around to see how the horses were behaving. They were standing on their hind legs pawing the air. Thomas was taken from this school into the household of his uncle, Dr.

This gentleman was admirably fitted by nature and education for the trust committed to him by his sister in the care of her sons. His character was so strong, and of such uncompromising integrity, as to impress itself on all who came under his influence. He received his medical education in London and Paris, and was a practicing physician in the city of New York when Thomas was put under his charge.

Obscure DC Characters: B

When only twenty-five years of age his native State of Virginia called him to the presidency of William and Mary college. From this post he was recalled to New York by the offer of a professorship in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Ultimately he rose to be president of the college. In order to stimulate Thomas's ambition in the city school which he now attended, Dr.

Smith urged him Page 24 to try to take the Latin prize. He did succeed in winning this prize, a handsome set of Plutarch's Lives, and when he carried the volumes home, his uncle took a five-dollar gold piece from his pocket and put it into the boy's hand. His first thought was to spend the whole of this in candy and raisins, and he went as fast as his feet could take him to his favorite resort, a little candy-booth kept by R.

Unfortunately, sulphur had just been weighed out in the scales, and the raisins had a strong taste of sulphur when they were handed to the lad. He was made so ill by this that he could not eat a raisin for years. Stuart was, fifty years after this time, one of the millionaires of New York. Smith heard Thomas say one day that he had never had as much pound-cake as he could eat. She made one for him, about the size of a grindstone, he used to say, and had it set before him when the dessert came on the table. But the lively, gay boy was more fond of going to the theatre than of his Latin books.

He spent nearly all his pocket-money in this way; and during the nine years that he was with his uncle he saw almost everything that was brought out on the New York stage. He went nearly every night, and the inexhaustible fund of amusing songs that were the delight of his children and grandchildren, and that are indelibly associated with him by his friends, who cannot recall them without a smile, were learned in this way.

After the horror of the burning of the Richmond Theatre the play-houses were not entered in New York by the public for some weeks. Every night the managers had their plays performed to houses absolutely empty. One night Thomas went to a theatre, and finding a man sitting there, stayed during the half of the play. But the situation of having all the actors and actresses looking at them, and going through their parts for Page 25 them alone, became more and more embarrassing, and both Thomas and the man slipped quietly out.

Curiosity to see the end prevailed, however, and finding a little crack in the lobby, the two stationed themselves so as to be able to peep through that, and held their posts till the curtain went down on the last act. His memory was very strong, and so clear in the minutest detail as to be the admiration of all who came in contact with him. Everything that he heard or read seemed graven on steel. Hence, by this constant attendance at the theatre, he became familiar with Shakespeare's plays, and with all the standard works of the English drama.

He was especially fond of Shakespeare's plays, and of "The Rivals" and "She Stoops to Conquer," and he quoted from them with ease. This, however, he rarely did, having an unconquerable shyness in making anything like a premeditated speech. At dinners he often made speeches and proposed toasts when the occasion called for them, but those who knew him cannot fail to recall the mounting color and slightly husky voice which accompanied even the shortest address. When he was nine years old he saw Robert Fulton make the trial trip with his steamboat on the Hudson River.

He never forgot the appearance of Fulton as he stood on the deck with folded arms, looking as if he were chiselled out of stone. All along the river-banks were the crowds who had gathered to witness what most of them had predicted would be ignominious failure, and they would have shouted in derision if their evil predictions had been verified. Instead, involuntary shouts of wild applause and admiration burst forth as the wheel made its first revolution and the steamer moved off from her wharf like a thing of life. The river-bank all the way was lined with people who came to see the wondrous thing.

In the city of New York it was known that the steamer was on her way down the river while she was yet several miles off by the loud shouts of the crowds on the river-banks. Thomas, like most boys born on tide-water, was exceedingly fond of boats and of all sorts of water sports, and used to amuse Page 26 himself by climbing the masts of the vessels in New York harbor. From the roundtop-mast of an English ship, just brought in as a prize, he one day witnessed the steaming in of Robert Fulton's steamboat.

When he went back to his uncle's house, his mother, who had arrived on the boat, told him that she had seen a little fellow no bigger than himself up in the rigging of a big ship, and was amazed to hear that he was no other than her own boy. His admiration of naval courage and prowess was boundless, fostered in childhood by the recitals of his half-brother George, the midshipman, and later by the stirring scenes of the war of He was one in the funeral procession that bore our heroic "Don't-give-up-the-ship" Lawrence to his last resting-place in Trinity church-yard.

At one time during his residence under his uncle's roof Dr.

Smith became dissatisfied with his want of application to his studies, and advised his mother to set him to work at some handicraft. Accordingly, he was set to work in a printer's shop, and he printed a Bible before he concluded to apply himself to the cultivation of his mind. At the same time Augustine was sentenced to learn the business of a coachmaker for the same offence of idleness. He was actually in his mother's carriage, on his way to be apprenticed to a coachmaker, when, at Dr. Smith's suggestion, he was given one more opportunity of showing that he was not hopelessly indolent.

The result with both boys was quite satisfactory; they returned to their books with new interest, and there was never again occasion to find fault with them on this subject. One night when Thomas was about fourteen years old he had run to a fire. This he always did when near enough to reach the scene. Above the uproar of the flames could be heard the screams of a poor woman entreating some one to save her baby, which she said was in the burning house. No one moved to attempt to rescue it.

The smoke was already puffing out of the windows, and it was considered as much as a man's life was worth to enter the building. The boy Page 27 seized a piece of rough scantling, which he adjusted to the second-story window that she indicated, and on this he climbed until he reached the window. He got into the room and felt his way to the bed, where the woman had said that her child lay. The bed was empty.

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Unknown to the mother, the child had been taken out and was in a place of safety. The boy now groped his way to the window. The fire had made such progress that the window-panes were falling in great drops of molten glass. Not a moment was to be lost, and he seized the scantling with both hands and slid to the ground. The liquid glass fell on his hands, and the splinters and nails, of which the scantling was full, lacerated them. The scars left by these wounds were so deep as to be plainly visible during his whole life.

The crowd had watched with breathless suspense his climbing into the house, and it was believed that he had gone to certain death. His reappearance at the window was hailed with tumultuous cheers and applause. The police crowded around him, asking his name, and the woman fell on her knees before him to bless him for his efforts in her behalf and to beg to know his name. He refused to give it, being quite embarrassed at finding himself the centre of so much attention, when he had been doing what seemed to him so plain and simple a duty.

He got away as fast as he could, and did not even tell his uncle of his adventure. The New York morning papers contained an account of the "heroic action of a young boy who had refused to give his name. One cold day, when he was about nineteen years old, he noticed on the ferry-boat, as he was coming from New York to Jersey City, a poor woman, who was shivering in her calico dress.

He took off his great-coat and put it around her. In after-life he amused his friends very much by his stories of a certain Mr. His efforts brought together a number of the Page 28 wild spirits of the city. Thomas, who was afraid of Dr. Smith's displeasure if it were known that such a place was his Sunday evening resort, introduced himself to this man under the name of Gregory. One of his duties was to snuff the candles; he also handed around the plate for the contributions of the congregation.

He received nothing but wads of paper and cigar-ends, but the man persisted in having the plate handed around regularly. There were no end of practical jokes played on him by his unruly congregation. They shied rotten apples at his head and blew out the candles, and tried in every way to interrupt him, especially when his eyes were tightly closed in prayer.

It was observed that no amount of disorder or noise could make him unclose his eyes at these times, and so the merry fellows invariably played the wildest pranks on him as soon as he began the prayer. Thomas was often the leader of these, but the man never suspected him, as he always seemed so ready to help to catch the offenders.

It must have been remarked even by Mr. One night he threw the snuff of a candle-wick on a fuse that he had arranged so that it would go off in the midst of the prayer. At the same moment the candles were put out all over the house. This time the unfortunate man was really so alarmed that he shrieked for Brother Gregory to come to him, that they meant to kill him. With a most officious show of zeal Thomas rushed forward.

The two pursued the supposed offenders through the church, and up the stairs and through the gallery, Thomas taking good care not to overtake the fugitives. In the gallery they fled through a door, which they held against the united efforts of the preacher and his ally. At a preconcerted signal they suddenly sprang from the door, which now gave way, and the poor man and his trusted friend were precipitated headlong on the floor. It is almost needless to say that the police frequently Page 29 appeared on the scene when this horse-play became very uproarious. After tea he asked his guest to lead in prayer.

But this was a length to which the boy could not be induced to go. Indeed, that he was asked to do it made such an impression on him that he made up his mind never again to attend the Sunday evening meetings. Years after this Mr. Gregory, who had come, he said, from that part of the world, and whom he had lost sight of, much to his regret. Of course he found no trace of him.

His mother, who heard of these inquiries, was greatly diverted. She had had many a hearty laugh over the stories of his escapades under the assumed name, for it was all too good to be kept from her. His mother went very often from her Virginia home to visit her brother in New York. The devotion of Thomas to her was one of the strongest feelings of his nature. After her death, which did not occur till he was nearly sixty years of age, he said that he had never said a disrespectful word to his mother in his life.

During her lifetime he never failed to go to visit her every other year, after he moved out to Mississippi. Until railroads were built this journey was performed in stages and by steamboats, and it could not be made in less than two weeks. Each time he took one or two of his children with him, that he might show them to her in turn. The last child that was taken to her of the nine that she lived to see was the first-born girl, her own little namesake, Sarah.

He had greatly desired to have a daughter, that she might bear his mother's name. While he lived with Dr. Smith he did all the family marketing. He also frequently went with him when surgical operations were to be performed. He learned so much from him in surgery as to be of lasting service to him in the care of his servants on his plantation. It was often said of him that he should have been a Page 30 physician. His steady hand and strong nerve fitted him especially for the practice of surgery. When he was fourteen years old the war of broke out.

A report came to the Gloucester home that the British were making a demonstration of landing at Old Point Comfort. The State of Virginia called for men to go to the defence of the Point, and among the drafted men was Mrs. Benjamin Dabney's overseer.

I shall give the account of this in Mammy Harriet's words. She was a child twelve years of age at the time, and never forgot the scenes then witnessed. What's to hender me from 'memberin'? He warn't grown, you know. He was just like Mars Ben, he own son Ben, when he went off to fight. You all know how you fix him up to go off to fight? Jest so he ma fix him up, and put him on de horse to ride to Old Point Comfort.

De horse was Juno colt. Don't I know Juno? She was one of missis carriage-horses, an' she used to stan' straight up on her hin' legs when she was put to de carriage. You see dey come an' call for de overseer, Maja, an' he was mighty skeered, an' he cum hollerin' to de house, Mrs. Whar is she? Mars Thomas was delighted to go. Dabney sent him on a lame horse, telling him that a lame horse was good enough to advance on, but would not do for a retreat.

At the end of three weeks it was seen that this place would not be attacked, and Thomas returned home. He was through life a soldier at heart. Perhaps this early taste of the military life made the indelible impression. His step and bearing were those of a soldier, and this appearance was heightened by the old style of dress, - the swallow-tailed, blue cloth coat and gold-plated buttons. This was his dress till he was over sixty years of age, when he no longer had the means to pay for the costly clothes. Here they were once more under the eye of Dr. John Augustine Smith, who had just been called to the presidency of the college.

A house was rented for the two boys, and, with the assistance of a cook and a body-servant apiece, they kept house during their collegiate course. Thomas was there for a comparatively short time, being called to take charge of Elmington. At this time his mother contracted a second marriage, with Colonel James H. He was at this time twenty-two years old.

This lady lived only three years. Of this marriage were born two children, Benjamin Augustine and Samuel Tyler. Samuel died in infancy. Charles Hill of that county. She was but sixteen years of age, and this was her first ball. All who saw her at that time say that she was one of the most beautiful creatures that the eye ever rested on. Her hair and eyes were of that rare tint called the poet's auburn, and her complexion was the fair, fine skin that is found only with such hair. Teeth of snow, a shapely head on lovely shoulders, hands and arms that might Page 32 have served as models for a sculptor, and a charming smile, and one of the sweetest voices in the world, made up a combination that is rarely met with.

To this matchless beauty was joined a sunny, happy disposition and bright manner that made her irresistible in her youthful grace. Thomas Dabney always said that he fell violently in love with her as soon as his eyes fell on her across the ball-room. He lost no time in securing an introduction, and before the evening was over he was resolved on winning this lovely girl for his wife.

He found several formidable rivals in the way, but he was so fortunate as to win her young heart. He drove from his home in Gloucester to her father's home, Mantua, on the Matapony River, in King and Queen County, every two weeks during the two months' engagement. He went in his gig, with his body-servant following; on horseback. Each time he took a gift, - sometimes handsome jewelry, and at other times volumes of standard English authors.

On each alternate week he wrote a letter to her. None of these letters were answered. He looked for no acknowledgment, - his thought was that he was honored sufficiently by her receiving them. This he expressed many years after, in speaking of a nephew who had complained that his betrothed did not write as often as he did.

The marriage took place at the Mantua house, on the 26th of June, The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John Coles, in the midst of a large company of relatives and friends. One who saw the bride the next day said that as she sat in her soft white gown, with her fair hands crossed in her lap and a smile on the beautiful face, she was like the vision of an angel. On that day Thomas took her home to Elmington. But Gene wants no part of him, as he is blamed for killing his beloved wife during childbirth. Immediately, it is apparent that no man in this movie will be allowed to button his butterfly-collared shirt above the navel, including Leslie Nielsen.

Especially Leslie Nielsen. Showing dramatic chops unequaled until Creepshow , Leslie is the bad guy of the story; a rat fink drug lord who just happens to be the kind of criminal who hatches his evil schemes while eating breakfast poolside. And what a scheme it is! Pride always goeth before the fall. But no, an aging asshole in a star-spangled jumpsuit flying over a trough of flaming Pico de gallo has that beat.

This is a cautionary tale, Evel? Evel is seriously hurt during that first jump, and though hospitalized, he appears to have suffered little more than a dirty forehead and mussed hair.

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Winfield Scott called on her there. As Mrs. Scott was taking leave her coachman, an ignorant Irishman, got the fiery horses into so unmanageable a state that they stood on their hind legs and pawed the air. In vain did he try to make them move off. Thomas, seeing the difficulty, asked Mrs. Scott to allow him to drive her home. Page 23 She had not seen him before, and asked, "My little man, where do you come from, that you know how to manage horses?

In a moment he was on the box by the coachman, and had shown to the unruly horses that a fearless hand had taken the reins. They yielded at once to him, and in a short time Mrs. Scott was at her own door. General Scott came out to meet her as he heard the carriage roll up, and as he handed his wife out, asked, "What young gentleman am I indebted to, my dear, for bringing you home?

I do not know who he is. When he had gotten too far away to be thanked, he could not resist looking around to see how the horses were behaving. They were standing on their hind legs pawing the air. Thomas was taken from this school into the household of his uncle, Dr. This gentleman was admirably fitted by nature and education for the trust committed to him by his sister in the care of her sons. His character was so strong, and of such uncompromising integrity, as to impress itself on all who came under his influence. He received his medical education in London and Paris, and was a practicing physician in the city of New York when Thomas was put under his charge.

When only twenty-five years of age his native State of Virginia called him to the presidency of William and Mary college. From this post he was recalled to New York by the offer of a professorship in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Ultimately he rose to be president of the college.

In order to stimulate Thomas's ambition in the city school which he now attended, Dr. Smith urged him Page 24 to try to take the Latin prize. He did succeed in winning this prize, a handsome set of Plutarch's Lives, and when he carried the volumes home, his uncle took a five-dollar gold piece from his pocket and put it into the boy's hand.

His first thought was to spend the whole of this in candy and raisins, and he went as fast as his feet could take him to his favorite resort, a little candy-booth kept by R. Unfortunately, sulphur had just been weighed out in the scales, and the raisins had a strong taste of sulphur when they were handed to the lad. He was made so ill by this that he could not eat a raisin for years. Stuart was, fifty years after this time, one of the millionaires of New York. Smith heard Thomas say one day that he had never had as much pound-cake as he could eat.

She made one for him, about the size of a grindstone, he used to say, and had it set before him when the dessert came on the table. But the lively, gay boy was more fond of going to the theatre than of his Latin books. He spent nearly all his pocket-money in this way; and during the nine years that he was with his uncle he saw almost everything that was brought out on the New York stage.

He went nearly every night, and the inexhaustible fund of amusing songs that were the delight of his children and grandchildren, and that are indelibly associated with him by his friends, who cannot recall them without a smile, were learned in this way. After the horror of the burning of the Richmond Theatre the play-houses were not entered in New York by the public for some weeks.

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Every night the managers had their plays performed to houses absolutely empty. One night Thomas went to a theatre, and finding a man sitting there, stayed during the half of the play. But the situation of having all the actors and actresses looking at them, and going through their parts for Page 25 them alone, became more and more embarrassing, and both Thomas and the man slipped quietly out. Curiosity to see the end prevailed, however, and finding a little crack in the lobby, the two stationed themselves so as to be able to peep through that, and held their posts till the curtain went down on the last act.

His memory was very strong, and so clear in the minutest detail as to be the admiration of all who came in contact with him. Everything that he heard or read seemed graven on steel. Hence, by this constant attendance at the theatre, he became familiar with Shakespeare's plays, and with all the standard works of the English drama. He was especially fond of Shakespeare's plays, and of "The Rivals" and "She Stoops to Conquer," and he quoted from them with ease. This, however, he rarely did, having an unconquerable shyness in making anything like a premeditated speech.

At dinners he often made speeches and proposed toasts when the occasion called for them, but those who knew him cannot fail to recall the mounting color and slightly husky voice which accompanied even the shortest address. When he was nine years old he saw Robert Fulton make the trial trip with his steamboat on the Hudson River. He never forgot the appearance of Fulton as he stood on the deck with folded arms, looking as if he were chiselled out of stone. All along the river-banks were the crowds who had gathered to witness what most of them had predicted would be ignominious failure, and they would have shouted in derision if their evil predictions had been verified.

Instead, involuntary shouts of wild applause and admiration burst forth as the wheel made its first revolution and the steamer moved off from her wharf like a thing of life. The river-bank all the way was lined with people who came to see the wondrous thing. In the city of New York it was known that the steamer was on her way down the river while she was yet several miles off by the loud shouts of the crowds on the river-banks. Thomas, like most boys born on tide-water, was exceedingly fond of boats and of all sorts of water sports, and used to amuse Page 26 himself by climbing the masts of the vessels in New York harbor.

From the roundtop-mast of an English ship, just brought in as a prize, he one day witnessed the steaming in of Robert Fulton's steamboat. When he went back to his uncle's house, his mother, who had arrived on the boat, told him that she had seen a little fellow no bigger than himself up in the rigging of a big ship, and was amazed to hear that he was no other than her own boy. His admiration of naval courage and prowess was boundless, fostered in childhood by the recitals of his half-brother George, the midshipman, and later by the stirring scenes of the war of He was one in the funeral procession that bore our heroic "Don't-give-up-the-ship" Lawrence to his last resting-place in Trinity church-yard.

At one time during his residence under his uncle's roof Dr. Smith became dissatisfied with his want of application to his studies, and advised his mother to set him to work at some handicraft. Accordingly, he was set to work in a printer's shop, and he printed a Bible before he concluded to apply himself to the cultivation of his mind. At the same time Augustine was sentenced to learn the business of a coachmaker for the same offence of idleness. He was actually in his mother's carriage, on his way to be apprenticed to a coachmaker, when, at Dr. Smith's suggestion, he was given one more opportunity of showing that he was not hopelessly indolent.

The result with both boys was quite satisfactory; they returned to their books with new interest, and there was never again occasion to find fault with them on this subject. One night when Thomas was about fourteen years old he had run to a fire. This he always did when near enough to reach the scene. Above the uproar of the flames could be heard the screams of a poor woman entreating some one to save her baby, which she said was in the burning house. No one moved to attempt to rescue it.

The smoke was already puffing out of the windows, and it was considered as much as a man's life was worth to enter the building. The boy Page 27 seized a piece of rough scantling, which he adjusted to the second-story window that she indicated, and on this he climbed until he reached the window. He got into the room and felt his way to the bed, where the woman had said that her child lay. The bed was empty. Unknown to the mother, the child had been taken out and was in a place of safety.

The boy now groped his way to the window. The fire had made such progress that the window-panes were falling in great drops of molten glass. Not a moment was to be lost, and he seized the scantling with both hands and slid to the ground. The liquid glass fell on his hands, and the splinters and nails, of which the scantling was full, lacerated them.

The scars left by these wounds were so deep as to be plainly visible during his whole life. The crowd had watched with breathless suspense his climbing into the house, and it was believed that he had gone to certain death. His reappearance at the window was hailed with tumultuous cheers and applause. The police crowded around him, asking his name, and the woman fell on her knees before him to bless him for his efforts in her behalf and to beg to know his name.

He refused to give it, being quite embarrassed at finding himself the centre of so much attention, when he had been doing what seemed to him so plain and simple a duty. He got away as fast as he could, and did not even tell his uncle of his adventure. The New York morning papers contained an account of the "heroic action of a young boy who had refused to give his name.

One cold day, when he was about nineteen years old, he noticed on the ferry-boat, as he was coming from New York to Jersey City, a poor woman, who was shivering in her calico dress.

Burp the Twerp

He took off his great-coat and put it around her. In after-life he amused his friends very much by his stories of a certain Mr. His efforts brought together a number of the Page 28 wild spirits of the city. Thomas, who was afraid of Dr. Smith's displeasure if it were known that such a place was his Sunday evening resort, introduced himself to this man under the name of Gregory.

One of his duties was to snuff the candles; he also handed around the plate for the contributions of the congregation. He received nothing but wads of paper and cigar-ends, but the man persisted in having the plate handed around regularly. There were no end of practical jokes played on him by his unruly congregation. They shied rotten apples at his head and blew out the candles, and tried in every way to interrupt him, especially when his eyes were tightly closed in prayer.

It was observed that no amount of disorder or noise could make him unclose his eyes at these times, and so the merry fellows invariably played the wildest pranks on him as soon as he began the prayer. Thomas was often the leader of these, but the man never suspected him, as he always seemed so ready to help to catch the offenders. It must have been remarked even by Mr. One night he threw the snuff of a candle-wick on a fuse that he had arranged so that it would go off in the midst of the prayer.

At the same moment the candles were put out all over the house. This time the unfortunate man was really so alarmed that he shrieked for Brother Gregory to come to him, that they meant to kill him. With a most officious show of zeal Thomas rushed forward. The two pursued the supposed offenders through the church, and up the stairs and through the gallery, Thomas taking good care not to overtake the fugitives.

In the gallery they fled through a door, which they held against the united efforts of the preacher and his ally. At a preconcerted signal they suddenly sprang from the door, which now gave way, and the poor man and his trusted friend were precipitated headlong on the floor. It is almost needless to say that the police frequently Page 29 appeared on the scene when this horse-play became very uproarious.

After tea he asked his guest to lead in prayer. But this was a length to which the boy could not be induced to go. Indeed, that he was asked to do it made such an impression on him that he made up his mind never again to attend the Sunday evening meetings. Years after this Mr. Gregory, who had come, he said, from that part of the world, and whom he had lost sight of, much to his regret. Of course he found no trace of him. His mother, who heard of these inquiries, was greatly diverted.

She had had many a hearty laugh over the stories of his escapades under the assumed name, for it was all too good to be kept from her. His mother went very often from her Virginia home to visit her brother in New York. The devotion of Thomas to her was one of the strongest feelings of his nature. After her death, which did not occur till he was nearly sixty years of age, he said that he had never said a disrespectful word to his mother in his life.

During her lifetime he never failed to go to visit her every other year, after he moved out to Mississippi. Until railroads were built this journey was performed in stages and by steamboats, and it could not be made in less than two weeks. Each time he took one or two of his children with him, that he might show them to her in turn.

The last child that was taken to her of the nine that she lived to see was the first-born girl, her own little namesake, Sarah. He had greatly desired to have a daughter, that she might bear his mother's name. While he lived with Dr. Smith he did all the family marketing. He also frequently went with him when surgical operations were to be performed. He learned so much from him in surgery as to be of lasting service to him in the care of his servants on his plantation. It was often said of him that he should have been a Page 30 physician.

His steady hand and strong nerve fitted him especially for the practice of surgery. When he was fourteen years old the war of broke out. A report came to the Gloucester home that the British were making a demonstration of landing at Old Point Comfort. The State of Virginia called for men to go to the defence of the Point, and among the drafted men was Mrs. Benjamin Dabney's overseer.

I shall give the account of this in Mammy Harriet's words. She was a child twelve years of age at the time, and never forgot the scenes then witnessed.

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What's to hender me from 'memberin'? He warn't grown, you know. He was just like Mars Ben, he own son Ben, when he went off to fight. You all know how you fix him up to go off to fight? Jest so he ma fix him up, and put him on de horse to ride to Old Point Comfort. De horse was Juno colt. Don't I know Juno? She was one of missis carriage-horses, an' she used to stan' straight up on her hin' legs when she was put to de carriage. You see dey come an' call for de overseer, Maja, an' he was mighty skeered, an' he cum hollerin' to de house, Mrs.

Whar is she? Mars Thomas was delighted to go. Dabney sent him on a lame horse, telling him that a lame horse was good enough to advance on, but would not do for a retreat. At the end of three weeks it was seen that this place would not be attacked, and Thomas returned home. He was through life a soldier at heart. Perhaps this early taste of the military life made the indelible impression.

His step and bearing were those of a soldier, and this appearance was heightened by the old style of dress, - the swallow-tailed, blue cloth coat and gold-plated buttons. This was his dress till he was over sixty years of age, when he no longer had the means to pay for the costly clothes. Here they were once more under the eye of Dr. John Augustine Smith, who had just been called to the presidency of the college.

A house was rented for the two boys, and, with the assistance of a cook and a body-servant apiece, they kept house during their collegiate course. Thomas was there for a comparatively short time, being called to take charge of Elmington. At this time his mother contracted a second marriage, with Colonel James H.

He was at this time twenty-two years old. This lady lived only three years. Of this marriage were born two children, Benjamin Augustine and Samuel Tyler. Samuel died in infancy. Charles Hill of that county. She was but sixteen years of age, and this was her first ball.

All who saw her at that time say that she was one of the most beautiful creatures that the eye ever rested on. Her hair and eyes were of that rare tint called the poet's auburn, and her complexion was the fair, fine skin that is found only with such hair. Teeth of snow, a shapely head on lovely shoulders, hands and arms that might Page 32 have served as models for a sculptor, and a charming smile, and one of the sweetest voices in the world, made up a combination that is rarely met with.

To this matchless beauty was joined a sunny, happy disposition and bright manner that made her irresistible in her youthful grace. Thomas Dabney always said that he fell violently in love with her as soon as his eyes fell on her across the ball-room. He lost no time in securing an introduction, and before the evening was over he was resolved on winning this lovely girl for his wife.

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He found several formidable rivals in the way, but he was so fortunate as to win her young heart. He drove from his home in Gloucester to her father's home, Mantua, on the Matapony River, in King and Queen County, every two weeks during the two months' engagement. He went in his gig, with his body-servant following; on horseback. Each time he took a gift, - sometimes handsome jewelry, and at other times volumes of standard English authors. On each alternate week he wrote a letter to her. None of these letters were answered. He looked for no acknowledgment, - his thought was that he was honored sufficiently by her receiving them.

This he expressed many years after, in speaking of a nephew who had complained that his betrothed did not write as often as he did. The marriage took place at the Mantua house, on the 26th of June, The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John Coles, in the midst of a large company of relatives and friends. One who saw the bride the next day said that as she sat in her soft white gown, with her fair hands crossed in her lap and a smile on the beautiful face, she was like the vision of an angel.

On that day Thomas took her home to Elmington. Her beauty and gentleness and modesty won the hearts of his friends. Mann Page, of Gloucester, was celebrated for her beautiful hands, but after Sophia came, it was acknowledged that hers surpassed Mrs. Page's in beauty. She found Elmington full of her husband's servants, who had been accustomed to take Page 33 care of him during his life as a widower.

She felt shy about taking things into her own hands, fearing to excite their jealousy, and she took no voice in the housekeeping for two years. The butler, George Orris, was quite equal to the trust committed to him. It was only necessary to say to him that a certain number of guests were looked for to dinner, and everything would be done in a style to suit the occasion. George himself was said to know by heart every recipe in Mrs. Randolph's cookery-book, having been trained by that lady herself.

Virginia tradition says that Mrs. Randolph had spent three fortunes in cooking. At the appointed hour, in knee-breeches and silk stockings and silver buckles, George came to announce that dinner was served. George was so formidable in his dignity of office that the timid young wife stood quite in awe of him, and before she learned to know the good, kind heart that beat under that imposing appearance, was actually afraid to ask for the keys to get a slice of bread and butter in her husband's house.

Some one asked George how he liked his new mistress. George was sincerely mourned at his death, which occurred a few years later. The lady's-maid, Abby, whom Sophia found at Elmington, was in her department as accomplished and as faithful as George Orris was in his. She took the new mistress at once all over the house, giving her an inventory of everything that had been left in her care.

In speaking of this afterwards, when both mistress and maid were grown old together, Sophia said that not even the smallest thing had been misappropriated by those honest hands. On the 27th of March of the following year the first child was born. The happy parents gave him the name Page 34 of Charles. But the child lived only nine months. On Christmas-day, , a second son was given to them, whom they named Thomas. Then followed James, another Charles and Virginius.

The life at Elmington was the ideal life of a Virginia gentleman. Elmington was situated on an arm of the Chesapeake Bay, the North River, in the county of Gloucester, that has so often been called the garden-spot of Virginia. The house was of red brick, quaint and old-fashioned in design. It was built very near the water's edge. The lapping of the waves of the incoming tide was a sweet lullaby to the quiet scene, as the eye rested on the greensward of the lawn, or took in the bend of the river that made a broad sweep just below the Elmington garden.

The North River is half a mile wide. On the other shore could be seen the groves and fields and gardens of the neighboring country-seats. The low grounds on the river-shore extend back a distance of a mile and three-quarters, and lie like a green carpet, dotted here and there with grand old forest-trees and corn, wheat, rye, and tobacco fields. Far as the eye can reach stretches this fair view around Elmington.

And far over, beyond field and grove and creek, rises the line of soft, round hills that mark the highlands of Gloucester. On the land side, the Elmington house was approached through the fields by a lane a mile and three-quarters long. It was broad enough to admit of three carriage-drives. Many of the lanes in Gloucester lie between avenues of cedar-trees, and the fields in most of the estates are divided by cedar-hedges.

It was so on the Elmington lands. About four miles inland from the North River, in a quiet spot, surrounded by venerable oak and pine and walnut and other native trees, stands old Ware Church. It was built in colonial times, and its age is unknown. It is nearly square in form, and altogether unlike the present style of church architecture in this country.

But its ancient walls are churchly, and the look of unchangeableness is soothing to the spirit in this world Page 35 of unrest. This was the parish church attended by the North River people. The old pew-backs at that day were so high that the occupants were invisible to each other. Many of them might read the names of their deceased ancestors on the tombstones that served as a floor for the chancel. The floor of Ware Church was made of flagstones. Stoves were not then in use in churches, nor was any attempt made to heat them.

Delicate people stayed at home in the winter, or had warming-pans of coals carried in by their servants to put to their feet. Gloucester County had been settled by the best class of English people who came to this country, the younger sons of noble houses, and other men of standing, who were induced to make their homes over here by an inherent love of change, or because they had not the means to live in the mother-country in the extravagant style required by their station.

These brought to their homes in the New World the customs and manners of the Old. The tone of society has always been truly English in Lower Virginia, the "tide-water country," as the people love to call it. Everybody kept open house; entertaining was a matter of course, anything and everything was made the occasion of a dinner-party. The country-seats were strung along the banks of the North River in a way to favor this. A signal raised on one could be seen for several miles up and down the river. If one of the colored fishermen, whose sole occupation was to catch fish for the table at the Great House, as they called their master's residence, succedeed in catching a sheep's-head, his orders were to run up a signal-flag.

This was an invitation to dinner to every gentleman in the neighborhood. If a rabbit was caught the same rule was observed. Rabbits were not common, which seemed to be the pretext for this, for they were not really esteemed as a dainty dish. A rabbit was served up rather as a trophy of the hunt than as a part of the feast intended to be eaten. But the sheep's-head in those waters were not uncommon, and one was taken by the fisherman of one house or another nearly every day. At five minutes Page 36 before the time for dinner the gentlemen would would up, or come by boat to the door of the house that had the signal flying.

If any one was unable to attend, his servant rode up promptly with a note of regrets. Punctuality in the observance of all the rules of courtesy and good breeding seemed inherent in the men and women in Gloucester society. In his Mississippi life Mr. Dabney was often annoyed by the different manners of his neighbors out there, very few of whom thought it necessary to send regrets or apologies when his invitations could not be accepted. Old Bishop Moore would go two or three miles out of his way in order to spend a day or two at Elmington. One night at about ten o'clock, in the midst of a snowstorm, he drove up.

A game of whist was going on in the dining-room. Dabney, hearing the sound of his carriage-wheels, went out to welcome the guest, and found the bishop and his daughter there. While he was helping the old gentleman to get out of his great-coat before taking him in to the dining-room, the company there were busy hiding away the cards. Meanwhile, Bishop Moore was telling him, with hands upraised, of the cause that had brought his daughter and himself out in such weather and at such an hour, - the people at whose house they had intended to sleep they had found engaged in a game of whist!

Dabney roared with merriment in telling this story. At this time John Tyler, afterwards President of the United States, was among his intimate friends, and he wrote to ask if he could come to Elmington for a week of absolute rest and quiet. Upon the invitation being sent, he came, and his wishes were respected in the true Virginia manner of letting the guests of the house be happy and comfortable in their own way. He sat all day over his papers, no one being allowed to intrude on his privacy. Every evening, when he came down to dinner, he found a company invited to dine with him.

Thomas's nearest neighbor and most valued friend was his father's half-brother, Dr. James Dabney. Living on adjoining estates, their homes were barely a stone's throw apart, and not many hours of the day passed without intercourse between the two houses. The uncle and nephew were congenial in many ways, and Sophia revered and loved Dr. Dabney like a father. Thomas's aptitude for medicine and surgery was at times so helpful to Dr. Dabney, that he fell into a way of calling on him frequently to assist him.

He used to say that Thomas's soft hand and acute sense of touch enabled him at times to diagnose a case that would baffle a practitioner of considerable experience who was not possessed of these natural advantages. He always had him at hand in his surgical cases if possible, and thus, under this uncle, were renewed the lessons given by Dr. Dabney was a man made of no common clay. His hospitality was on so princely a scale that he made no charge for medical services to any stranger visiting his county, thus making the whole county of Gloucester his home.

Although for many years a widower, with only two children, both sons, the arrangements of his home were set with a view to a large household. Everything was on a scale liberal even for Gloucester. A lady now sixty-eight years of age writes thus of Dr. James Dabney: "He stood very high in his profession. He was a widower from my earliest recollection. He had a housekeeper and five servants, and entertained people by the score for months at a time. Even ladies used to stay there from cities.

The ample fortune of the host justified the elegant hospitality of the house. He had expended the whole of his patrimony during his five years at the medical school in Edinburgh. On his arrival in America, after graduating in medicine, he was obliged to borrow five hundred dollars in order to open his office as a practitioner of medicine at Gloucester Page 38 Court-House. It was not long before his ability brought him into a large practice, not only in Gloucester County, but he was called to Richmond, Norfolk, and other places as consulting physician.

In the midst of Dr. Dabney's busy professional life his friends and neighbors called on him to represent his county in the Virginia Legislature. This he refused to do, alleging that he had no time for political work. But they were so persistent that he finally yielded. He stipulated, however, that he would not make one electioneering visit or ask for a single vote.

In this he remained firm, and even went so far as to absent himself from the polls on the day of election. He was elected by a large majority, and he served the term out. His county people tried hard to induce him to allow his name to appear a second time as a candidate for the Legislature. But he was not to be moved from his resolution of devoting himself henceforth to his profession.

The strong, character of Dr. James Dabney made its impress on Thomas. Doubtless he had inherited some of the traits with the blood of this large-souled uncle. Dabney's views about his own interment were very simple. He required from his son James a promise to carry them out on his death, and his last wishes were respected. He was placed in a plain pine coffin, and no stone was set up to mark his grave. A brick wall saves it from desecration. Like his uncle, Thomas had a repugnance for costly and showy funeral trappings. He carried out these views in his own household.

He always expressed a desire to be buried himself as he buried his loved ones, in a plain pine coffin. They did nothing for show during their lifetime, and did not desire anything done for show over their ashes. In colonial days a robe of silk was spun and woven for the Merrie Monarch in Gloucester County, and in Page 39 the garret of the Exchange the silk-worms spun the silk for two complete suits for General Washington.

In color they wore gray. Thomas Dabney remembered seeing the silk-worms up there when a child, and his aunt Anderson, who presented these suits to General Washington, used occasionally to give him a cocoon for a plaything. Thomas Dabney was interested in all that was going on in Virginia. He rode to Richmond frequently. When it was known that Watkins Leigh, or R. Scott, or the Stannards, or any other of the distinguished men of that day, were to engage in a debate, he was pretty sure to be there to hear them. Thomas was present at the famous dinner at Yorktown given in honor of the nation's guest, the Marquis de Lafayette.

At the table he was placed next to George Washington Lafayette, who occupied the seat next to his father. It was in the month of October, and there was a small dish of red Antwerp raspberries sent by Mrs. Tayloe of Mount Airy. They came from her hot-houses, and were set before General Lafayette.

The courteous gentleman leaned across his son and offered the berries to Thomas. He took two. The story is still told in Gloucester of Thomas's capture of a man by the name of Crusoe, living in the lower part of the county. This man had acted for some years in open defiance of the oyster law. No sheriff had arrested him. He openly boasted that none should. Thomas had lately been elected to this office, and he determined to make an attempt to capture Crusoe. Summoning a posse of three of his neighbors, he proceeded in a boat down the river to Crusoe's schooner, that was lying out in York River.

The schooner was well built and in stanch condition, while the boat which held Thomas and his friends was a wretched water-logged craft. As they drew near Crusoe's schooner, the sheriff called out to him to surrender. The only reply made to the summons was to cover the little boat of the sheriff and his party with an enormous old swivel-gun, and to warn them with an oath not to advance any nearer.

Thomas held Page 40 a consultation with his friends, telling them that they must decide whether they were willing to approach the schooner under such circumstances. It was decided that it would be foolhardy to attempt to board a well-equipped boat when they were in a crazy thing that could not be managed in an emergency. So they went back home, leaving Crusoe master of the field for the time. Ascertaining that Crusoe was in his house on a certain night, it was resolved to capture him there. Accordingly another posse was summoned, and Thomas and his four men rode to the man's house, a distance of about twelve miles.

They surrounded the house, and the sheriff knocked at the door and demanded instant surrender. Crusoe's wife put her head out of the window up-stairs and said that her husband was in bed; that if Mr. Dabney would come upstairs alone and unarmed, he would give himself up.

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The posse objected to these conditions, and said that Mr. Dabney should at least be accompanied by one of them, or should wear his arms. But he called to the woman that he was ready and willing to come up on Crusoe's terms. She came down then and unbarred the door, and he followed her up to the man's room. He gave himself up at once, and, at the sheriff's bidding, prepared to mount a horse and go with him as his prisoner.

He was greatly dejected at the prospect of being thrown into prison to await his trial, and was very sulky as they rode along. The party did not stop till they had reached Elmington.