| I am highly honored on this occasion by
being permitted to voice our appreciation of the character and services
of our late beloved President, Mrs. William Hume. If I am less qualified
for this duty than others who had the privilege of knowing her more intimately,
I can at least speak out of my reverence for her noble and beautiful character,
my admiration and my sincere personal regard.
Mrs. Hume's life is like a romance which began in the olden time and came down to our own commonplace and materialistic age. She was a product of the Old South. Let people of the present say what they please, the men and ladies of the old regime in the South were different. For character is the result of environment, of ideals and of principles, and the Old South with its seclusion, its leisure, its culture, its chivalry and its reverence produced a type of character as distinct as it was fine and beautiful. Amid this charming life of these olden days, the child grew into the girl, the girl blossomed into the young woman, and then suddenly all the Southern sunshine was obscured by the dark clouds of "the War." It was these dark days that love came to her and gave new meaning to her life, for she had given her heart to a gallant young officer who at the very beginning of hostilities, with all his ardor had devoted himself to the defense of the South. More fortunate than many, he had been preserved amid all the unaccustomed hardships and dangers in the service; and while stationed at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he met and soon thereafter wed Miss Mary Leland of that city. The details of that wedding have not been preserved for us, but in trying to picture it some of us have thought about the marriage of meh Lady in the matchless story of Thomas Nelson Page, told by the old negro "Uncle Billy."
"An all on
a sudden Hannah fling de do' wide open an' Meh Lady
I have felt that Mrs. Hume's wedding must
have been like this, and like that of Meh Lady, in the good providence
of God, Mrs. Hume's life story was not tragic but happy, for her gallant
husband survived all the dangers of battle and came safely back to her,
and together, with heroic purpose, they set themselves to help rebuild
the desolated Southland. Success crowned their efforts, the voices
of merry children made music in their home, and happiness and prosperity
was the meed of their labors until that home was shadowed by the husband's
She lived a wonderful life. To her
was granted the gift of years and in her latter days she had everything
that should accompany old age, as reverence, love and honor, hosts of friends,
and among these friends none were more loyal or more appreciative than
those of the Virginia Society. We have been enriched by her example.
She has gone from us in person but she lives in our hearts.
"Life loved her, though it gave and took away,
"As cowslips gild the grass, love gilt her days,
"Death loved her, if it might not show her ruth,