Collecting Journals: Volume VII, 1860-1869
Volume VII includes many works of fiction covering the Civil War, and Lillian accompanies her entries with debates about the war in letters, reviews, and the books themselves. Among the most interesting is a long letter by the author Augusta J. Evans, explaining why she would not receive any visitors associated with the Northern army. In 1867 Evans writes, “Having been an ardent and conscientious Secessionist and indulging still, an unwavering faith in the justice and sanctity of the principles for which we fought and prayed so devotedly, I of course could not find it agreeable to associate with those, who were arrayed in arms against my own section and people.” Lillian copied this lengthy letter into entries for Evans’s St. Elmo, written in 1867, and Vashti, written in 1869.
The book recorded in Volume VII that Lillian most treasured as a reader is Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 Little Women, a story that opens during the war. She writes in her entry, “[…] a book usually loved to death. Printed too often to count, translated in all languages, loved by every generation.” In fact, she says her own 1871 edition has been “read to death by the 7 Gary sisters.” […] A Book I read so often that I knew it by heart.” She continues these recollections in her entry for Little Women, Part Second: “I open it, and see the frontispiece, and after years and years, realize how much this book meant to my youth. Only I never was satisfied to have Laurie marry Amy, and Joe the Professor. I loved Laurie, and did not love the blunt German Professor. As my Mother always called me ‘Jo,’ this might be called a blighted love affair, only I could never understand Miss Alcott when she gave Laurie to Amy—and twisted my romance.”