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In Their Own Words

March 10, 1856

Journal Entry on Wounded Pride

Gertrude Thomas expressed her disappointment with her husband to her journal, foreshadowing what would become serious problems later in their marriage. This entry also shows that the financial problems which plagued the family for many years after the Civil War actually began before the war:

“Tonight is Mr. Thomas’ birth night. He is twenty-five tonight. Since supper we have been holding an animated conversation with regard to Mr. and Mrs. Harris. I was arguing that had I a husband who gambled and drank to excess, that I should spend more and have my expenses more in proportion to his own. I was perhaps wrong yet it is just so. As it is I endeavour to economise in some degree and assist Mr. Thomas in disengaging himself from his embarrassments. Fearful that some of the remarks I had made had wounded Mr. Thomas’ feelings I approached and took my seat near him. Just then he remarked that tonight and not last night was his birthnight as he has supposed. With a heart filled with kind wishes and affectionate emotions filling my thoughts I bent towards him and requested him ‘to kiss me.’ He was reading and probably engaged, made rather an impatient gesture and did not appear inclined to respond with alacrity to my request. I drew back offended I confess. I felt the blood rush to my face and tears of wounded pride filled my eyes - I am proud - know and feel it and am sensitive in an exceeding degree. The idea of it having occurred on Mr. Thomas’ twenty fifth birth night caused within me the feeling that perhaps this might, some years hence, perhaps two or more, this remark might be remembered… .”

Source: Virginia Ingraham Burr (ed.), The Secret Eye: The Journal of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas, 1848-1889 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), pp. 143-144.