Obrazy na stronie

it may

Up to this point the country is rolling is approached by a gentle slope, descendand the soil rich. On the north a range ing in the water to a depth of five feet. of hills has been visible since morning, It is impossible to conceive any thing which in its progress farther west takes more delightfully arranged for the luxury the name of San Saba. Between the of a bath. The water is a perfect transQuihi and the Alamos, a distance of four

parency, revealing the pebbles of the or five miles, the roadway is bordered by bottom with the distinctness of day-light. a species of sumach, though very little The scenery on a small scale is surpasslike the plant of that name sound at the ingly beautiful, and a succession of such north. Its leaves are mixed with tobacco spots, with a fertile and productive country by the Indians, and are found to be agree around, might justify the erection of able for smoking: it thus forms an article country seats and villas vying with those of traffic.

of the Delaware and the Hudson. A solitary house stands on the west It is a received fact among prairie trabank of the Quihi, the pattern for a Ger vellers and the inhabitants of Texas genman settlement, where we were fortunate erally, and is therefore recorded for what enough to procure a quarter of a pound

be worth on such highly respectof butter for the quid pro quo of the able authority, that a hair rope, stretched same fraction of a dollar, while others upon the ground so as to envelope the purchased a few eggs at the same liberal person, is a sovereign protection against rate. The sellers were German women, snakes. This, it is said, may be demonwho although unable to understand Eng strated by placing a snake within a circle lish, found no difficulty in apprehending our of rope, and then attempting to drive him wants, through the medium of the univer over it. The result is, according to the sal interpreter-cash. From the Alamos testimony aforesaid, that as soon as his to the Ilondo, the distance is about seven head touches the hair, he turns aside in miles: the country generally stony and disgust, and takes a new direction. This broken. It abounds principally in Texas may or may not be a fiction; but even live oak, in other words, a scraggy,

stunt the incredulous are not unwilling to avail ed, knotty, and crooked specimen of the themselves of a doubtful truth, though quercus virens, which probably grows the success of the experiment may depend nowhere else, and even here is a cumberer entirely on faith. One of the party last of the earth.

evening proposed to appropriate to himself The Hondo at present appears to have at once the advantages of this remarkable lost the character of a stream, and con prairie discovery in physics and natural sists only of a series of basins formed in history, and accordingly after going to the limestone rock, evaporation and the bed requested that he might be surrounded current having probably broken the con and protected from nocturnal invasion, by nection, though it is not impossible there this magic girdle. On awaking the folmay be a subterraneous channel. Some of lowing morning he was somewhat surthe party have secured fish enough for prised to find four uprights planted near supper, but the angler not being of my his bed, from which the rope was susmess we are without perch. This even pended in a series of graceful festoons, the ing we were enabled to enjoy a most de lowest point being a foot or two from the licious bath, in one of the marble basins, ground. The sleeper at any rate was not as it were, to which the Hondo here ac disturbed by snakes, and the success atcommodates itself. The pool or fountain tending the experiment renders it not imis bounded on one side by a rock rising possible that the hair may be just as almost perpendicularly to the height of effectual above the ground as upon it. Of twenty-five or thirty feet, while the other course the rope was hung by an Irishman.


Own era.

The rusty

AMERICANS hoff the present day give slowly reveal theraselves for the first an age of progress—forests are to be w elder day actually existed, characterized down, rivers spanned with bridges, rail by a thousand peculiarities of thought roads and canals to be webbed all across and usage quite as good or bad, as admirthe land. The practical overthrows and able or ridiculous as the habitudes of our puts to rout what, for the want of a

The old sword flashed above better word, we must style the poetical. the head of some valiant soldier, in The poetry most popular with the men times beyond the recollection of any one to-day, is that of marble custom-houses, of the present generation. telegraphs, and iron horses annihilating doublet, with its hanging cuffs and emspace and time for us.

This is the new broidery, enveloped the broad shoulders American poesy, and it recommends itself of some well-known ancestor, as he moved more powerfully to the advocates of pro nimbly in the gavotte and reel, or bowed gress, than all the chants of IIomer and low in the stately minuet: the discolored Ariosto.

portrait was "considered an excellent Let us not complain of it-it is not un likeness of that ruffled and be-powdered worthy of the admiration of its disci worthy, now almost as completely forgotples; but still we may find both pleasure ten as the painter, whose name the merand profit in occasionally losing sight of ciless hand of time has obliterated from the great elements of wealth and power the canvas. The sword, and doublet, around us, of the telegraph, the railway, and portrait, assist the imagination powerthe thoughts that shake mankind”. fully, indeed seem to open and illuminate giving our attention for a space to the past some hidden crypt of memory. Looking times of the land we live in. Justly upon them, we are carried away from the proud as we may be of what our era has present to the past-just as we return accomplished, it is not the part of true almost in reality to some scene of sorrow philosophy to disregard the past. Rather or joy as we listen to the strain of music let us endeavor to penetrate its character, associated with it in our memories. and derive from it a lesson :—from its There are great numbers of these porbright deeds and celebrated men, the traits in Virginia homes: in the broad models for our own lives, from its ignor halls of some mansions, they completely ance and weakness, a warning to avoid banish the deer-antlers, fishing-rods, guns, such ourselves.

and pictures of celebrated races, immemoBut it is not an easy thing to return to rial ornaments of halls generally. Ranged former days, and realize in their full force in long lines, they look down perseveringly those strange peculiarities of character with never-winking eyes upon the hurrywhich made them so different from our ing, bustling household: comprehending, own times. Books scarcely furnish us you would say, plainly, every thing which any assistance :—mere historical facts are is going on before them, but forbidden by like skeletons, which, doubtless were a some magical spell, to speak, or close their genuine portion of the body now crumbled

eyes, or move. There are chevaliers of into dust, but can afford no adequate idea the time of Captain Smith, with bright of the once living and breathing form-of steel cuirasses and ferocious fringes on the bright eye, the eloquent lip, the locks their upper lips :-ladies with high towers around the forehead, the graceful and easy of lace and curls reared on their heads: movement of the limbs. To get at the and courtly gentlemen with ruffles and blood of history we must seek elsewhere : cocked-hats, and hair gathered in a queue -we must explore old letter-chests: go behind, and tied with bows of ribbon. into dark closets where mouldering doub Some grasp swords, others rest their white lets, and rust-eaten swords have long been hands, heavily ruffled as in Vandyke's suspended, the prey of oblivion and the

pictures, on excellently bound books, moth; scan the odd costumes, and the others again hold hunting horns burnished noble features of old dusty portraits, which still by the bright October sunlight. The leave a white space on the wall when they soft-eyed dames float in clouds of pale are taken down. In presence of these saffron lace, and sparkle all over with objects, the past again revives in some de diamond bracelets, breastpins, and rings: gree; their warmth penetrates the yellow they hold in their delicate taper fingers parchment, and the sympathetic traces rose-buds and other flowers; or else caress

with snowy hands the narrow heads of Plantation-having an unconquerable greyhounds, or curling backs of little aversion to assemblages of houses. He poodle-dogs. There they all are quite as resided in baronial splendor on his large natural as life. We have read of them in estate, surrounded by a small army of books, and gazed upon their portraits, but “followers”-in other words, of black and who has seen them in their homes?

white indented servants. He went to No one of the present generation :—for Middle Plantation on all occasions of alas! those gallant cavaliers and excel ceremony, and, of course, resided tempolent dames have long since " 'gone to sup rarily there, when he chanced to be a per” with Polonius in the play. The member of the House of Burgesses, but bright roses are withered the grey he was by no means fond of the place. hounds have coursed their last hare, and He was much more at home on his planbeen in turn run down by a brace more tation, and we will go to find him in his fleet:—the lapdogs no more snarl and comfortable home. sleep away their idle aristocratic days, He sits there, in the long portico whose gone long ago to sleep on colder and harder trellis is covered all over with bright beds than ladies' laps. The rich laces have flowering vines—a tall, fine-looking cavaregaled some royal family of dainty lier, with open honest features and a pleasmoths-gone in their turn, and forgotten ant smile. He is clad in rich cloth and even by the annalists of Mothland :-the

velvet, with silk stockings, ruffles at wrist books the fair hand held, in which the and breast, and his long waistcoat, fitting words all ended with an e, are now un casily over his portly figure, reaches to opened, being far from casy to peruse the knees; it is of exactly the same length the hunting bugles no longer echo through with his square-cut coat, and of the same the hills, chronicling the death of Reynard, material, but ornamented with figures their gay music is no more, and like those worked with silver thread. The hair is “horns of Elfland faintly blowing,” dies brushed back from the forehead, covered away in the far distance of the Past. All with powder, and tied behind with plain are gone; and in their turn too, the stal black ribbon. On days of ceremony he wart soldiers, and fine courtly gentlemen wears a handsome, but strong and ser--men who looked around upon their viceable sword, suspended from a broad broad possessions, and thought the sun belt, buckled over the coat and falling would shine for them always, not push down very low on the left side. When them soon into night, to make room for he visits Middle Plantation he wears fine those other actors waiting for their time shoes of Spanish leather, ornamented with to make an entrance on the stage of life. diamond buckles; those which he goes They are all crumbled along with their about his plantation in are much stronger nobleness and meanness—their thousand and plainer. Thus dressed, with his courtconspicuous faults and bright virtues. ly smile, pleasant openness of face, and They empty no more goblets: hunt no good-humored air of self-importance, enmore: league no more against royal op gendered by long sway upon his large pression, or the encroachment of the peas estate, he is as elegant an old cavalier as ant galling the courtier's heel. They are could be well imagined. Place him surall gone long ago, like the days they rounded by his family in the wide, oakfilled with their gay revels and great wainscoted dining-room of his mansion, deeds.

with a volume of the new serial of Mr. Let us endeavor to return for a moment Joseph Addison in his hand, and we have to the times they moved in, and, if possi a tolerable idea of the external appearance ble, look upon the old race in their homes. of the worthy gentleman, at home on his To accomplish any thing like a completo plantation, or at Williamsburg.-Let us picture of their manners, would require, now, after speaking of his costume, spend of course, much space-far more than we a few words on his character. The Old have on the present occasion ; but we may Virginia gentlemen,” as they are now find something to interest us, even in a often called, were a race of men with hasty glance at a single period. Let us probably more good and bad qualities, select the commencement of the Eigh and with those good and bad qualities in teenth Century, before there were any greater excess, than any other class of cities in Virginia, and when the royal human beings that ever lived. They were Governors, like moons shining with bor brave, true, honest, and open-heartedrowed light, held their miniature vice better men in every way than their Engregal courts in Williamsburg—or as they lish prototypes. The gentlemen ” of called it then, Middle Plantation. The England--the untitled nobility, as some wealthy Virginian did not live at Middle one calls them—were men of great cour

age and extreme ambition, if we could get only lament the shadows which deformat the truth of the matter, in all times and ed it. places ;-but with this courage, they pos There were dark colors in the picture, sessed vices and meannesses which make which I, for one, will not suppress. The the reader of the present day hesitate Virginia gentleman, so honest, hospitable, whether to admire, pity, or despise them. generous, and estimable, was, with all The Virginian was improved by his dis this, intensely aristocratic in the very tance from the vices and temptations of a worst acceptation of the word. Not ariscorrupt and dissolute court: in Virginia tocratic in the sense which should attach there were no lords to bend to, no rapa to the term truly—a sense in which every cious ministries led on by scheming Boling one should regard it, which should make brokes to flatter or be ruined by. There us cling to the doctrine of aristocracywere no palaces which made him ashamed power to the Best—as the greatest hope of his comfortable manor-house; no maids and stay of nations: the Virginia gentleof honor, fair and frail, to make his daugh man did not so translate it. With him ters blush for their country manners and the aplotou were the gentlemen by birth, fashions, or corrupt their pure morals; no the hereditary landed proprietors, the men elegant, perfumed, fine gentlemen to lead whose forefathers were “gentlemen” behis sons into wild revels and contami fore them--who could bow elegantly over nating purlieus, or to gambling-houses, a lady's hand, and tread a minuet gracethere to fleece them after the fashion very fully. I know that in the characters of much in vogue with "roystering blades >> this old race of men were to be found a and "jolly Mohocks.” His wife was not thousand conspicuous virtues and bright subjected to the insulting admiration and

graces, making them, as far as these things insidious compliments of some notorious went, undeniably the “foremost men of all rake-admiration just of that description, the world:” I have no desire to question and carried just so far, that the indignant the existence of those virtues, for many husband must feign not to see it, and reasons. They did possess them; I know smile, and be the excellent good friend of it, I do not deny it. They are justly enhis insulting guest, on pain of being sub titled to the praise of having been a courjected to most dreadful of ordeals, ageous and honest race of men-as true, ridicule. His daughters could grow up and honest, and courageous as the world with unblemished reputations, as well as has ever seen, when duty called on them. pure hearts, safe from the shameless hints But, what was wicked, what was shameand inuendoes, then fashionable talk with ful, what was unchristian, here as elseladies in their morning calls-safe, more where, was that contempt they felt tothan all, from the trained skill and dia ward every man who chanced not to be bolical cunning of those men whose enor born a "gentleman.” It was wicked and mities the comedy of the time could not shameful, because it mortified and humcaricature: every thing was purer far off

, bled noble natures sprung from low eshere, in Virginia. The inane jests and tate—a thousand times unchristian, belaughter of a social organization which cause opposed directly in the very teeth to tried thus to conceal its unbelief in man what onr Saviour taught men in his life and or woman, or in God-to drown the stings words. Nothing excuses it ; scarcely any of conscience in wine and revel—were not thing palliates it. It was not concealed, heard across the wide Atlantic: the at

or pretended to be denied. It was a conmosphere laden with the odor of a cor tempt and disregard, as genuine in its charrupt, festering court, vainly endeavoring acter and excessive in degree as any other to smother its rank' effluvia in perfume, trait of the “cocked-hat gentry.” It was did not extend as far as the fresh Virgin indiscriminate in its exercise-no excepLand.” And so, with all around him tion was permitted to assert itself, and purer and fresher, like the bright morning no genius, no nobility or elevated purity which blessed him, the Old Virginia gen could cause the taint to be lost sight of tleman became himself much more pure. for a moment. A man of the people might He was a simple, worthy man in heart distinguish himself never so much, but with chivalry for ladies and honesty for the invisible barrier between himself and all men with whom he dealt. His door the "gentry” defied his utmost efforts to was never closed, and the broad board remove it. This cannot be denied, and was spread for every comer throughout will not be ; because in our vastly liberthe year. No beggar ever went away alized day and generation much of the hungry from his door, or asked in vain same prejudice exists among many of the for a night's lodging in winter. That is best men, not only in Virginia, but the plain, unvarnished picture ; we can throughout the Union. It was no less

true of them than contracted and un of ombre or tictac, and music on the manly. That was the feeling of the harpsichord—and then with devotion from whole race, the dark shade in the picture; the “Book of Common Prayer" the housethe shadow which history, when she be hold separated for their chambers. The gins to speak, not stammer, will vainly “Squire” as he was often called varied endeavor to remove.

this routine by occasionally spending an But to leave this part of the subject hour in reading Shakspeare, or Horace in and pass on.

The daily habits of the old hand, endeavoring to give the Oxford Virginia gentleman are not without inter sound to the ringing odes: or he attended est, and suggestiveness. The stout plant races ; or followed the fox-hounds, drinker rose with the sun, made a hearty ing in with much delight their musical ploughmanlike breakfast, surrounded by cry; or presided at the county courts, his brightfaced wife and children, then and visited with great complacency the mounting his easy-going cob, made the utmost penalties of the law on trespassers, tour of his plantation, seeing that the lit and other invaders of the sacred right of tle army of white and black laborers were property. On Sunday he rolled grandly at their work in the wheat, corn, or to to church in his fine chariot with its four bacco field. He gave his orders to the glossy, long-tailed horses: and devoutly overseer, saw to his stock, caressed the

made the responses: and after service glossy necks of his hunters and race talking with the fox-hunting, card-playing horses who whinnied at the sound of his parson of the parish-fulminated terrible well-known voice, and then with a healthy menaces against those audacious “New color reddening his open face, rode once Lights” who presumed to dissent from again into the field, and so came home to the doctrines or regulations of the great dinner. The wits and beauties of Eng Established Church of England. Thus land had lately introduced the fashion of the old Virginia gentleman passed his time going to dinner at the late hour of two or at peace with all men for the most part, three o'clock: but Virginia was not quick and in his own estimation as worthy in to follow every caprice, and “new fangled the sight of God as fallen man can be in notion” of the Mother Country. The old this world. Let us not discuss the quesVirginian dined still, as his fathers had tion: the lights and shadows, the strength done before him, at the honest hour of and weakness of the individual are all

And plainly too :-we very much manifest. fear that the silver and gold plate" which The eldest son of the worthy now so figure in rhetorical diatribes against the claims our attention. That young gentle class were

more imaginary than real. man was not accustomed, formerly during True, the tea-service was of silver, and his lifetime, to neglect; and would, if more valuable for the workmanship than that were possible, resent any disregard of the material, like Cellini's chisellings to his claims to notice, any silence on the day: but plain, trenchers, and steel forks subject of his manifold graces and attracwere used at dinner. After the hearty tions. He is quite a different person from meal the old gentleman betook himself to his father: there is no sturdiness in his the Library, or hall or portico, and whiled form or air, no healthy ruddy color in his away an hour or two with the assistance cheeks—at least natural color, of which of his pipe over some three-months-old we shall come to say a few words presentjournal from England which told him ly. He cordially disdains plantation afwhat was, or had been, going on in Par fairs, and considers conversation, generally liament-or in reading his news letter speaking, horribly wearisome. He has from Williamsburg alias Middle Planta just returned from Oxford and a season tion, swearing audibly the while at some in London, where he made the acquaintproclamation of "His Excellency;"-or ance of all the more celebrated bucks, and else some old neighbor came in and they even himself achieved no slight success talked together of plantation inatters, and " in the nice conduct of a clouded cane." the blood of horses, and breeds of sheep Master Hopeful has a languid manner, and and cattle: the conversation ending usu patronizes with an air of good-humored ally in a visit to the stable, and a critical superiority his younger brothers and sisexamination of the limbs and movements ters. Why, indeed, should he work or of the slim-legg'd race-horses, led out by worry himself about his future? The a rising generation of small, monkey-like estate comes naturally to him, as he is the black grooms.

At sunset or soon after eldest son. He is the heir nearest the came supper, and quiet social enjoyment throne, the succession is his own beyond by the cheerful fire of winter or the open cavil or dispute--and so he looks down window in the summer time: and games kindly on the household and practises the


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