Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 168

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Page 168

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 168 SOUTHWARD Ho !
and civilization ; though, of these thousands, thousands live by
beggary, by theft, chicanery, and the constantly active exer-
cise of a thousand evil arts�the inevitable consequence of
necessities which could not arise to the community were the
unnecessary members driven to an honest, healthy, industrious
occupation in neglected fields of agriculture. You judge mostly
by externals, which rarely show the truth�the people in cities
being chiefly learned in the art of concealing their true condi-
tion, and making the best show to their neighbors ; while the
Southern agriculturists know nothing of this art, exhibit them-
selves precisely as they are ; use no white paint to cover old
boards�no stucco to make common brick look like stone ; and,
satisfied with the real comforts of their condition, never busy
themselves in the endeavor to impose upon their neighbors with
the splendors of a season which would only lead to bankruptcy.
The dilapidated Virginia farmhouse, for example, will re-
ceive more guests, at the family table, in one month, than the
marble palace in Broadway or Fifth Avenue will entertain in
one year. There will be always plenty and a generous wel-
come, though the service be of delph and not of silver.
That we have not towns and villages is the inevitable
result of staple cultivation. Every plantation is a village, and
where it is a large one, it will be found provided with all the
essential elements of progress and performance, precisely as
they are to be found in a village. Here, for example, is always
a blacksmith and a carpenter, possibly a wheelwright, and fre-
quently a shoemaker ; while, in place of a hotel, for the recep-
tion of the stranger, is the mansion-house of the planter
wanting in paint, I grant�of ancient fashion, uncouth architec-
ture�the floors, perhaps, not carpeted, and the furniture of
that dark, massive mahogany which the city of New York
would revolt at, but which carries to my mind an idea of the
dignity of an ancient race, and that reverence for the antique
which is, perhaps, too much wanting in every part of our coun-
try, except the old states of tia. South.
This ancient mansion will be found usually with its doors
thrown wide�in sign of welcome. Lest you should doubt, as
you approach it, you behold the planter himself descending the
old brick steps to welcome you. You will be confounded to see