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The little silver Star of David dangled from a chain in front of her pretty bosom. Shaman noticed that she was paying close attention to who she nodded to, for there were people who, reluctantly, would greet a Jew politely, but never a Copperhead, a southern sympathizer. Lillian was the cousin of Judah Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State, and her husband Jay had returned to his native South Carolina at the beginning of the war to join the Confederate Army with two of his three brothers.
When Lillian finally stood in front of Shaman, her smile was forced. “Aunt Lillian!” He said. She wasn’t his aunt at all, but the Geigers and Coles had been like close relatives when he was growing up, and he had never called them anything else. Her eyes softened. “Hello, Rob J.!” She said in a familiar, tender tone.
Nobody else called him that – it was actually his father’s name – but Lillian had almost never called him Shaman. She kissed him on the cheek but refrained from expressing her condolences. From what she had heard, she said, and that was little, since the letters had to pass the fronts, her husband was safe and out of danger. As a pharmacist, when he joined the army, he had been made administrator of a small army hospital in Georgia, and he was now in command of a larger hospital on the banks of the James River in Virginia. His last letter, she continued, contained the sad news that his brother, Joseph Reuben Geiger, a pharmacist like all other male family members who had volunteered for the cavalry, had died in battle.
Shaman nodded, and he, too, avoided expressing condolences, which was now taken for granted.
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