Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XV / More of the Genius of the Old North State >> Page 320

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 320 SOUTHWARD HO!
and his northern brother (Virginia) to the great merriment, and
the monstrous guffawing of the latter. He carries still the same
earthen pipe, of mammoth dimensions, in his jaws; and you
may see him, any day, in a fog of his own making, with one hip
resting against a barrel of tar, and with his nose half buried in
a fumigator of turpentine. He is the very model of that sort
of constancy which may at least boast of a certain impregnable-
ness. His tastes and temper undergo no changes, and are what
they have been from the beginning. The shocks of the world
do not disturb his gravity. He lets its great locomotives pass
by, hurrying his neighbor through existence, and congratulates
himself that no one can force him into the car against his will.
He is content to be the genius of tar and turpentine only. His
native modesty is quite too great to suffer him to pretend to any-
thing better.
The vulgar notion is that this is due wholly to his lack of
energy. But I am clear that it is to be ascribed altogether to his
excessive modesty. He asserts no pretensions at all�he dis-
claims most of those which are asserted for him. Some ambi-
tious members of his household have claimed for him the first
revolutionary movements, and the proper authorship of the Dec-
laration of Independence. But his deportment has been that
of one who says, What matter ? I did it, or I did not ! The
thing is done ! Enough ! Let us have no botheration."
Do you ask what he does, and what he is ? You have the
answer in a nutshell. He is no merchant, no politician, no ora-
tor ; but a small planter, and a poor farmer and his manufac-
tures are wholly aromatic and spiritual. They consist in tur-
pentine only, and his modesty suffers him to make no brag even
of this. His farm yields him little more than peas and pump-
kins. His corn will not match with the Virginian's, and that
is by no means a miracle. I have seen a clump of sunflowers
growing near his entrance, and pokeberries and palma-christi
are agreeable varieties in his shrubberies. Of groundnuts he
raises enough to last the children a month at Christmas, and
save enough for next year's acre. His pumpkins are of pretty
good size, though I have not seen them often, and think they
are apt to rot before lie can gather them. His cabbage invaria-
bly turns out a collard, from which he so constantly strips the