Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/304

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300 Smithes

jamin that any friend of his would be more than welcome to the household.

The following Sunday Mr. Benjamin gave an exhibition of his ad- mirable tact, which can best be described in the words of Dr. Hoge:

"At the breakfast table the conversation turned to the subject of church services, and Mr. Benjamin inquired casually of our hostess where she was going to worship that day. Now, I happened to know that as a member of Mr. Davis' Cabinet, official etiquette demanded that he should accompany his chief to his (the Episcopal) church, and when our hostess replied, in a tone that almost implied an invi- tation, ' We are going to the Presbyterian Church to hear Dr. Hoge preach,' I wondered what Mr. Benjamin would do. He never hesi- tated a moment, but in his most affable manner asked: " May I have the pleasure of accompaning you ? ' '


After church the party was sitting in the parlor chatting when Mr. Benjamin, who had been called away, entered the room, and, after conversing nonchalantly for a short time, beckoned Dr. Hoge to follow him to their chamber. When they were there Mr. Benjamin said: " Dr. Hoge, I didn't have the heart to tell you before these ladies, something I want to communicate to you." He then went on to say that General Lee had surrendered. Mr. Benjamin's face never re- vealed what he suffered, "but," said Dr. Hoge in relating the incident, ' ' I could not refrain from sitting down on the bed and weeping, a habit to which I am not addicted."

When Mr. Benjamin set out on his trip southward from Danville shortly after this, he was asked by Dr. Hoge if he was not afraid of being captured. With a significant smile, he replied: " I shall never be taken alive." Mr. Benjamin remained with the presidential cav- alcade until it reached Georgia, when he separated from his com- panions. Up to that time he had passed as a French military officer, having a passport in that language, which he spoke like a native. He rode a very tall horse, purchased in South Carolina, and said to be one of the finest in that State. When he left President Davis* party he purchased a cart and horse, and, disguised as a pedler, wearing immense green goggles, he worked his way toward the coast. On one occasion he stopped over night with a gentleman who was acquainted with and who recognized him despite his dis- guise. Being the soul of politeness, the host made no sign to show that he had penetrated the incognito of his guest, and that it was