Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter X >> Page 169

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Page 169

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription SOUTHERN ECONOMY. 169
that his costume is neither fine nor fashionable�that he wears
a great broad-brimmed white hat, exceedingly ample, which
may have been manufactured for his grandfather. His coat
may be of white flannel, and out at the elbows ; and his panta-
loons will be of domestic manufacture, homespun or nankin
cotton. If you are wise enough to look below the externals,
you will see, perhaps, that he has learned to despise them�at
all events, you will perceive that lie has sacrificed for these none
of the essentials of the host, the gentleman, or the patriot. His
hospitality is unimpaired by his antiquity�nay, it forms a part
of it�and in the retention of the one, he has retained the
other as a matter of necessity. As a gentleman, he is frank
and easy of manner, unaffected in his bearing, and always soli-
citous of your comfort and satisfaction. He does not suffer you
to perceive that he would have been better pleased that you
should have admired his fine house, and passed on without task-
ing its hospitality. These are characteristics which must be
taken as an offset to those respects which you select for censure.
These, I have said, are the natural consequence of staple cul-
ture. It is the farming culture which exhibits and requires
much nicety of detail. In the hands of the planter of a staple,
lands are held in bodies too large to be handled minutely. It
is the small plat only which you can put in bandbox condition.
Lands in staple countries are of less value than labor in farm-
ing countries, of greater value than labor. In proportion as the
population becomes dense, they rise in value. But few southern
planters desire a dense population. One secret of their hospi-
tality is the extensiveness of their ranges. A wealthy planter,
having from fifty to five hundred slaves, will have from a hun-
dred to a thousand head of cattle. He kills so many beeves
per annum, from four to forty, according to his force. That he
can order a mutton to be slaughtered, even though but a single
guest claims his hospitality, is due to his extensive tracts of
field and forest. Ile seldom sends any of his sheep, cattle, corn,
or other provisions to market. These are all retained for the
wants of the homestead.
" It will not do for you, recognising the peculiar characteristics
of his mode of life � their elegances, comforts, and bounties
to cavil at deficiencies, which could only be remedied by his