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Upstairs, Downtstairs at The Empress Episode 1: The Journey Begins


Prolog: In the aftermath of the Civil War, a brilliant and adventurous young foreigner finds a beautiful young woman on the war ravaged edges of Mississippi, whose current circumstances have changed her whole outlook on life. Against all that has been holy to her family and her past, she shakes the misery of her present to shape a new life with this dashing cavalier who promises to change her future forever. But to do so, she must forever sever the ties of family, tradition, and heritage………….

This is the story of Margaret McCullough Hornibrook and James H. Hornibrook.  They impacted the history of Little Rock, Arkansas, in many ways.  But their lasting legacy still stands today in a home known as the Hornibrook Mansion.  This story uses historical figures but takes poetic license with events of the time.  While based on actual facts and dates, instances and people have been changed.  This in no way should be considered an accurate rendering of facts by anyone, but an exciting journey into the world of an incredible period in our history. It is collaboration by a Grandmother and a Granddaughter fascinated by the events of that time and the lessons to be learned from their history. Please enjoy the saga.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS:  Margaret gazed longingly over the bed at the sleeping child with her Mother.  The children’s rooms looked different.  Not the nursery for the female babes any longer.  But her attention was all for the young child lying in the featherbed.  She looked cherubic in her slumber.  It tugged at her heart and reminded her of those early days…………………

Dairy Entry: April 12, 1865; Desoto, Mississippi

News reached us today of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. While I am elated it is over, the devastation of our crops, the loss of our slaves, the joyless look in the eyes of  Mama and Papa leaves me with little joy over the event. Our outlook is almost as bleak today as the day Vicksburg fell. We are left occupied by these Yankee dogs; hungry, vulnerable, without any real law. I am so weary of all this misery. I am weary of having no lovely clothes to wear, or parties to go to. But at least I have managed to save some of my clothes, unlike my friend Auphie Willet, whose family had their house ravaged by the troops staying at their plantation. I look in the mirror. Although my clothes hang some due to our meager diet, my skin is still fair; my dark auburn hair has managed to maintain it’s luster with the use of a vinegar rinse- the Yankees weren’t interested in vinegar!  At least we have an early spring and the trees are bright green with new birth. It gives me hope. Papa calls. A stranger has ridden down our tree lined lane.






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