Joseph had not been prepared for Miss Howard to confront him, but in retrospect he probably should have seen it coming. The woman was no opium-impaired imbecile.
He held his hands up in a gesture of surrender. "I wasn't looking for a fight. I have no doubt you'd win, Miss Howard. Especially with the might of the blessed Unions behind you." He attempted a disarming grin. "I confess that it pains me that I would appear to be the sort in needing to steal coin from you. If it makes you feel any better, I just bought a peach. So, I am not without means." He held it up for her to see. Of course, it had cost him more than he wanted to admit. "As for being put in a living hell. That sounds rather fun, though I can't imagine what such a hell might entail. Perhaps you could enlighten me, Miss Howard. Or you could just put in a pamphlet for me to read at my leisure."