A few hours before the ball, I was approached by Mrs. Wise and her daughter, Mrs. Wise held something in her gloved hand.
"Doctor? Doctor!" she called out to get my attention as she approached.
She handed me a small packet. It was two letters tied together in a little bundle, "These arrived for you on Monday."
I thanked her and she went on her way. I immediately recognized the handwriting... one letter was addressed to me, another to a young woman of my acquaintance employed by the estate of Mr. John Overton in Tennessee. I tucked her letter into my waistcoat pocket so as to deliver it to her at the Ball that night.
My letter from Mr. S. Merritt (click to enlarge)
I believe that perhaps Mr. Merritt had caught wind of my duel with Mr. Hazuga at Corydon over a matter of money owed me for service rendered. This may have motivated him to write the letter for fear he might get the same treatment.
Lucy listening from instructions from the dancemaster.
That night at the Ball, everyone was out in their finest. The music from the stage was excellent, and the refreshments were good and beautifully arranged. In my mourning state, it is hardly appropriate for me to attend dances or balls, but I was there in my capacity as Lucy's father, and only danced a few times, and ONLY with my Lucy (as she was in want of a partner on a few occasions).
Lucy in the line next to the rakish Mssr. LaFaux.
Misses Holmes and Shipsey attended by Mrs. Staggs.
You may spot Lucy and myself on the far right at about 2:30.
I occupied myself in the drinking of punch and gossip with Mrs, Staggs and her two young charges, Miss Holmes and Shipsey, whom Lucy had befriended.
When the night was over, Lucy had an invitation to spend the night with Mrs. Staggs and her charges, leaving me to return alone to Locust Grove, where I found several of the gentlemen drinking in the kitchen, including Mr. Cushing.
We talked until well after midnight, then decided that, due to the heat, we would sleep on the back porch of the house.
I gathered my blankets and pillow and made a spot that would be comfortable. I slept well there in my little make shift bed, not rising until the sun had begun to do so the next morning.
...to be continued.