We're back now, after a weekend break, and it's time for some more characters from A Scratch with the Rebels. I'm combining two of the women in Gus Smythe's life because I don't have a great deal of information about either one of them. However, it is high time the grumpy male faces that dominate the book give way for a moment to more feminine charms.
Margaret Adger Smyth was Gus's mother. (Note that the difference in the spelling of their names is not a typo.) The story goes like this. Gus's father, Rev. Thomas Smyth, started out as plain old Tom Smith, but the name was a common one, so he changed the spelling to distinguish himself from the others. And what's fair for the father is also fair for the son, or so it seems. Gus argued that there was another Augustine Smyth at college, so he added an extra "e" to make his own mark, and the family has kept the spelling ever since. Margaret was the daughter of James Adger, a shipping magnate and one of South Carolina's wealthiest men before the war.
As the wife of a Presbyterian minister with strong views on every subject, Margaret comes across at first as a meek and wifely lady. She stewed over her sons when they joined the army. Her letters to Gus are full of fussing about keeping his clothes sweet-smelling and storing his possessions carefully. By the middle of the war, however, Rev. Smyth had suffered a stroke, and Margaret had become a strong, determined woman. She turned her living room into a hospital for wounded Confederates and stood up to all arguments that tried to force her to leave her beloved Charleston.
The other young lady is Louisa Rebecca McCord. She was a resident of Columbia, SC, and a year younger than Gus when he arrived at college. The two met early on, but Louisa was not too impressed a first. She described Gus as being short and stout, but having beautiful hair. The next year, after he had been away for a while, she noted that he had grown taller and thinner. Presumably he still had the beautiful hair. Gus courted "Miss Lou" with every ploy he could think of -- flowers, love notes, kittens, puppies, and pet squirrels. She was evidently won over. Louisa's mother was another strong character, who personally financed a group of soldiers in her son's regiment and followed them when they were stationed in Charleston.
When the war ended, Gus immediately sought out Miss Lou, and the two were married shortly thereafter. Louisa later claimed a bit of fame on her own by becoming an early president of the Daughters of the Confederacy.