Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX >> Page 132

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Page 132

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 132 SOUTHWARD H01

scruple at a manufacture of their own, when the thing wanted
is not exactly ready to their hands, and I dare not answer for
the chronicle."" Let us have it by all means."
The ladies seconded the entreaty, and our fellow-voyager began.
" You are aware," said he, " that in the early settlement of
Virginia, as perhaps in the case of all colonists in a new coun-
try, there is always at first a lamentable dearth of women. The
pioneers were greatly at a loss what to do for wives and house-
keepers. Nothing could be more distressing."
As Campbell sings it, of a more select region �
"`The world was sad, the garden was a wild,
And man the hermit sighed�till woman smiled.'" Precisely ! Our Virginians felt particularly lonesome along
the wildernesses of James river, as is the case even now with
our Californians along the Sacramento and other golden waters.""Nay, they are much more charitable now. The gold re-
gions are not so barren of beauty as you think. This may be
owing to the greater safety of the enterprise. In 1600 a young
woman incurred some peril of losing a scalp while seeking a
swain in the territories of that fierce Don of Potomacke, Pow-
hatan."" The danger certainly was of a sort to demand consideration.
It was one which the old girls might be permitted to meditate
almost as cautiously as the young ones. At all events, our
guid folk' in the Old Dominion felt the need of a supply, the
demand being no less earnest than pressing. They commissioned
their friends and agents in England to supply their wants with
all despatch, making the required qualifications as moderate and
few as possible, the better to insure the probability of being pro-
vided. The proprietaries, after a solemn counsel together, ar-
rived at the conclusion that the requisition was by no means an
unreasonable one ; a conclusion to which they arrived more
readily from the great interest which their own wives respect-
ively took in the discussion. Efforts were accordingly made
for meeting the wishes of the colonists. Advertisements, which,
it is said, are still to be found in the news organs of the day--
were put forth in London and elsewhere, announcing the nature
of the demand and soliciting the supply. Much, of course, was