Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII >> Page 106

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Page 106

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 106 SOUTHWARD HO
goblet of julep, foaming amid green leaves and ice, beside him.
There he will sit, and swear famously, and discuss politics by
the hour, and talk of his famous horses, orators, and warriors
for he is a good local chronicler always, and has a wonderful
memory of all that has happened in the " Old Dominion." You
will, if you know nothing of him, fancy him a mere braggart and
a sluggard. But wait. Only sound the trumpet give the
alarm�and he is on his feet. If a sluggard, he is like the
Black Sluggard in Ivanhoe. He only waits the proper provo-
cation. Like the war-horse, the blast of the trumpet puts his
whole frame in motion. He kicks the chair from under him.
He rolls the barrel away with a single lurch. The cigar is flung
from his jaw ; and, emptying his julep, he is prepared for action
�ready to harangue the multitude, or square off against any
assailant.
His fault in war is want of caution. He never provides
against an enemy because he never fears one. He is frequently
caught napping, but be makes up for it, in the end, by extra ex-
ertions. There is a dash of Raleigh and John Smith both in his
character, as when the Old Dominion," when it had not a gun-
boat or a piece of ordnance, defied Cromwell, and declared at all
hazard for the Stuarts. His loyalty is as indisputable as his cour-
age�provided you let him show it as he pleases. He is as self-will-
ed as Prince Rupert, who, in most respects, was no bad representa-
tive of the Virginian ; bold, headlong, dashing, full of courage
and effrontery, fond of a rouse, and mixing fun, fight and devo-
tion, together, in a rare combination, which does not always of-
fend, however it may sometimes startle. A proud fellow, who
loves no master, and who only serves because it is his humor to
do so.
He is profligate beyond his means. His hospitality, which
was once his virtue, is, like that of some of his neighbors further
south, becoming a weakness and a vice. He will not, however,
repudiate, though his gorge rises at the thought of bank-
ruptcy. IIe is too much of an individual for that has too
much pride as a Virginian. But, I fear that his profligacy of
life has tainted the purity of his politics. I could wish that Vir-
ginians were less solicitous of the flesh-pots of the national gov-
ernment.