Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 381

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Page 381

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription LOCAL CHRONICLES. 381
local history or tradition�the fancy would instantly quicken, and the mind would not only take a lively interest in the scene through which you pass, but would, by a naturally-assimilative process, begin to explore for its underlying beauties."
What a pity that handbooks for the South are not provided by some patriotic author !"
They will be furnished, no doubt, when the tide of travel sets in this direction, and you will then be surprised at the discoveries which shall be made. He who goes over these common routes has no idea of the wondrous scenic beauties which lie in wait to delight him, hidden from sight only by the road-side umbrage. With a considerable knowledge of the history of the country in all these states, I am able to identify scenes of interest as I pass ; and I find, at every step, in my course along these regions which seem so barren to the stranger, fruitful interests and moving influences, which exercise equally the memory and the imagination the imagination through the memory. There is scarcely a mile in the passage over the common roads, in South Carolina, which I do not thus find suggestive of events and persons, legends and anecdotes, which elevate the aspect of the baldest tracts, each with a befitting moral. To him who can recall these events and traditions, the scene becomes invested with a soft and rosy light the sterile sands put on features which sublime them to the thought, and the gloomy wastes of pine and swamp forest commend them-selves to sympathies which lie much deeper than any which we can reach through the medium of the external senses. No doubt this is the same in all the wild states of the South, to him who is of ' the manor born.' There will be a thousand local matters, of colonization, early adventure, peculiar strifes and endurances the long records of history and tradition, from the first coming of the colonists which, if known to the wayfarer, would make him forgetful of the monotonous features of his progress."
It is a great pity that for these we have no guide-books no monuments along the wayside no ` Old Mortality' to show us where the stone lies half buried, and, with his chisel, to deepen all its features to our eyes. Some of these days, no doubt, we shall have rare chroniclers springing up, who shall