Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 390

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Page 390

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 3 90 SOUTHWARD Ho !
stead of finding greater good in a profitable investment of thought
and curiosity at home�who wander away in mere listlessness
and return wearied and unrefreshed�were denied their usual
inane indulgences by the dread of pestilence. And how many
other thousands, capable of appreciating the charms of nature,
and the delights of a glorious landscape, were, in like manner,
compelled to forego the same progress, by the patriotic sentiment
which revolts at the thought of spending time and money among a
people whose daily labor seems to be addressed to the neighborly
desire of defaming our character and destroying our institutions.
The result of these hostile influences has been highly favor-
able to the development of the resources of the soil. We have,
in the South, a race of ' soft-heads,'--a tribe that corresponds
admirably with the ' dough-faces' of Yankee-land. These are
people born and wedded to a sort of provincial servility that
finds nothing grateful but the foreign. They prefer the stranger
to the native, if for no other reason than because they are re-
luctant to admit the existence of any persons, in their own pre-
cincts, who might come in conflict with their own importance.
In like manner, and for a similar reason, they refuse to give faith
to their own possessions of scenery and climate. Their dignity
requires foreign travel for its proper maintenance. It is distance
only, in their eyes, that can possibly ' lend enchantment to the
view.' They are unwilling to admit the charms of a region
which might be readily explored by humbler persons ; and they
turn up their lordly noses at any reference to the claims of
mountain, valley, or waterfall, in their own section, if for no other
reason than because they may also be seen by vulgar people.
To despise the native and domestic, seems to them, in their in-
flated folly, the only true way to show that they have tastes in-
finitely superior to those of the common herdlings.
For such people, it was absolutely necessary that they should
speed abroad in summer. The habit required it, and the self-
esteem, even if the tastes did not. It is true that they were
wearied with the monotonous routine. It is true that they were
tired of the scenery so often witnessed ; tired of the flatness of
northern pastimes, and outraged constantly by the bad manners,
and the unqualified monstrosity of the bores whom they con-
stantly encountered, from the moment that they got beyond the