Major Pendleton Talbot and his daughter, Miss Lydia Talbot, moved to Washington to reside in a pleasant, private boarding house. Major Talbot was working on his book, "Anecdotes and Reminiscences of the Alabama Army, Bench, and Bar."
One of the boarders, Henry Hopkins Hargraves, was a young actor who took a liking to Major Talbot and his stories.
Hargraves was particularly interested in the major's tales of the old South and would often engage him in conversation about the past. The major was moved to declare to Miss Lydia one day that young Hargraves possessed remarkable perception and a gratifying respect for the old regime.
The major was moved to declare to Miss Lydia one day that young Hargraves possessed remarkable perception and a gratifying respect for the old regime.
One day, Miss Lydia discovered that they were almost out of money. Major Talbot decided to visit a congressman, General Fulghum, who had promised to help get his book published. However, the publisher wanted to cut down the content by half, which angered Major Talbot. In the meantime, Hargraves invited the Talbots to see his new play, "A Magnolia Flower." To their shock, Hargraves had based his character, Colonel Webster Calhoun, on Major Talbot, imitating his mannerisms and even his unique coat. The portrayal of the type was so exact, so sure and thorough, that the leading characters in the play were forgotten.
The portrayal of the type was so exact, so sure and thorough, that the leading characters in the play were forgotten.
Major Talbot was furious and confronted Hargraves, who apologized and explained that he meant no offense. Hargraves then offered to lend the Talbots some money, but Major Talbot refused, insulted by the offer. Hargraves left the boarding house soon after.
Unexpectedly, an old servant from the Talbot plantation, Uncle Mose, arrived in Washington for a Baptist convention and sought out Major Talbot. He had prospered in Nebraska and wanted to repay a debt he owed to the major's father for a pair of mule colts. The Talbots gratefully accepted the money, which allowed them to regain their financial footing.
“Uncle Mose am worth leb’m thousand dollars in money, property, and lan’.”
A week later, Miss Lydia received a letter from Hargraves, who had been offered a lucrative role in a New York stock company to play Colonel Calhoun. He revealed that he had secretly given the Talbots the money through Uncle Mose, as a way to make amends for any offense he had caused.