Who was Bird Thatcher? Beyond the fact that she was young and lovely, no one knew, really. She had always thought herself the daughter of slim, aristocratic Lorna Thatcher, widow of a Confederate cavalry officer killed in the Civil War, eighteen years before.
The Thatchers had owned a great plantation, Longleaf, taken over at war's end by scalawags. In order to support herself and raise her child, Lorna Thatcher -- who many people felt was too uppity -- opened a little shop in Catalpa, Tennessee. Among its ribbons and laces Bird grew to womanhood.