Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XIII / The Oration of the Green-Spectacled Alabamian >> Page 248

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Page 248

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 248 SOUTHWARD HO

being better men, our humblest citizens enjoy a domestic con-
dition which would have made the mouths to water, with equal
delight and envy, of the proudest barons of the days of Queen
Bess and Harry the Eighth. What would either of these
princes have given to enjoy ices such as Captain Berry gave us
yesterday, and the more various luxuries which (I see it in his
face) he proposes to give us to-day ! What would the best
potentates, peers and princes of Europe, even at this day, give
to be always sure of such oysters as expose themselves, with all
their wealth of fat, buried to the chin, about the entrances of
our harbors, from Sandy Hook to Savannah, in preference to
the contracted fibres and coppery-flavored substitutes which
they are forced to swallow, instead of the same admirable and
benevolent ocean vegetable, as we commonly enjoy it here.
And what�0 Americans !--can they offer in exchange for
the pear, the peach, the apple and the melon, such as I already
taste, in anticipation of events which shall take place in this
very vessel some two hours hence ? It is enough, without enu-
merating more of our possessions�possessions in the common
enjoyment of our people�that I insist on the national prosperity.
" But this is our misfortune. We are too prosperous. We are
like Jeshuran, of whom we read in the blessed volume, who,
waxing too fat, finally kicked. Fatal kicking ! Foolish Jeshu-
ran ! In our fatness�in our excess of good fortune we are
kicking ungraciously, like him ; and we shall most likely, after
the fashion of the ungracious cow of which the Book of Fables
tells us, kick over the bucket after we have fairly filled it.
We admit the prosperity : but where's the peace ? It is in
the very midst of this prosperity that we hear terrible cries from
portions of our country, where they have not yet well succeeded
in casting off the skins of their original savage condition. There's
Bully Benton, and Big-Bone Allen, and Humbug Houston, and
Little Lion Douglass, and Snaky-Stealing Seward, and Copper-
Captain Cass, and a dozen others, of bigger breeches than
brains, and mightier maws than muscles hear how they sev-
erally roar and squeak !* One would cut the carotid of corpu-
* Of course we are not responsible for the complimentary estimates here made of our men of mark, by our Alabama Orator. We are simply acting as reporters, and taking down his language, verbatim et literatim.