Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 166

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Page 166

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CHAPTER X.
A LONG, and to us a comparatively interesting, conversation
followed, � Virginia, her resources, characteristics, scenery, and
general moral, affording the principal subject. In this conversa-
tion, which occasionally ran into politics � in which some of the
party showed their teeth very decidedly�the whole of our
group was brought out, the ladies excepted. They had retired
for the night. Most of us had rambled in Virginia at different
periods ; and it was in the delivery of recollections and impres-
sions that we passed naturally into discussion. I propose to
give bits only of this conversation, leaving out the bites�con-
fining my report to the innocuous portions of the dialogue, and
omitting certain sharp passages which occasionally followed the
thoughtless or the wanton shaft. One of our " Down-East"
brethren threw down the ball of provocation, dealing in a whole-
sale, if not wholesome, diatribe against all Southern agriculture.
As his opinions are those of a somewhat numerous class, and as
they are working no little mischief at the present day, it may
be as well to record, with tolerable fullness, the portion of the
dialogue which ensued upon their utterance.
You pass through Virginia," said he, " as through a desert.
The towns are few, and these all look old and wretched. The
houses need paint, and are frequently in dilapidation. The cul-
ture is coarse and clumsy, the implements rude, and the people
seem entirely ignorant of all improvements. They plough,
plant, and reap, precisely as their fathers did a hundred years
ago, and without doing any justice to their lands. The lands
have never been properly worked, and manures are but little
known, and less esteemed. In favorite regions, 'along water-
courses easily accessible, the plantations have been abandoned
as entirely exhausted�sold for a song, at an average, perhaps,
of a dollar an acre. The same lands, in the hands of New York
farmers, have been bought up, improved, made valuable for