Friday, September 07, 2007
A Faithful Heart: The Journals of Emmala Reed, 1865 and 1866 was my reading list selection for August. (Witness pushed me off schedule a bit, so although I began reading this book in August - the 31st - I didn't finish it until yesterday.)
This diary of Emmala Reed, a native of Anderson, South Carolina, was interesting as she chronicled her life during the last year of the war, and the first part of Reconstruction. Of course, the larger events of our nation's history are mentioned in passing, while she concentrates on people and activities important to her family and friends.
The great disappointment of her life during this period was the loss of her suitor, Robert. She writes a lot of him, and her thoughts of him, and why he might be avoiding her, and whether or not the two of them will ever be reconciled and marry. (They don't.)
Of great interest to me was the list of books she read or loaned out during this period. She even gave short reviews of several of them. Among those mentioned were Jane Eyre (which she liked a lot, and referenced many times, comparing acquaintances to characters in the book), Davy Crockett, History of the Conquest of Mexico and History of the Conquest of Peru, both by William Prescott, and St. Elmo, which she characterized as "full of genius & classical love & mixed learning, holy truths & pure womanly feelings, - yet too crowded and pedantic as are all her works as yet with some faults of taste and temper & rather unnatural - yet I hope the world may profit by the good displayed!"
Also interesting was that she met George Bushyhead, chief of the Cherokees - who I think was mentioned (fictionally) by Charles Frazier in his book, Thirteen Moons. Chief Bushyhead and his wife came to Emmala's home on their way to Washington.
Emmala finally did marry when she was 27 or 28, not to her long-time crush, but to another man. As the diary ends before that, I assume that she loved her husband with all the ardor she would have willingly given her former beau, and that her life ended well.