Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty

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Novel by J. W. De Forest, published in 1867.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Dr. Ravenel, a scholar who is loyal to the Union, leaves New Orleans for “New Boston” (New Haven, Conn.). With his daughter Lillie, whose sympathies lie with the aristocratic South, he grows concerned at the entrance into the girl's life of two suitors: Edward Colburne, an intelligent but modest New Boston lawyer; and Lieutenant-Colonel John Carter, a Virginia-born soldier in the Union army, whose dashing manners and aristocratic tendencies match her ideal of Southern manhood. Dr. Ravenel prefers Colburne, an Abolitionist like himself, and fears Carter's reputation for dissipation and lack of scruples. Meanwhile Lillie's conversion has begun, and she has a vital interest in the Northern success when Colburne and Carter participate in the capture of New Orleans. Soon the Ravenels return to their old home, and Carter gives up his life of drink and mistresses to court Lillie and intrigue for promotion. After their marriage, he remains faithful for a time, but during a trip to Washington has a secret affair with her gay young aunt, Mrs. Larue. This ends with the birth of Lillie's son, but Dr. Ravenel, now engaged in the education of freed slaves, learns of Carter's infidelity and informs his daughter, who leaves her husband shortly before he dies as a hero in battle. At the close of the war, Lillie is converted to Abolitionism through her return to New Boston and her marriage to Colburne.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John William De Forest (1826—1906)

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