Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 391

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Page 391

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CHANGES IN SOCIETY. 391
line of Mason and Dixon. All the social training of a polished society at home, was disparaged by the reckless obtrusiveness by which that was distinguished which they met abroad�the free, familiar pertness of moneyed vulgarity, or the insolent assumptions of a class whose fortunes have been realized at the expense of their education. A thousand offensive traits in the social world which they sought, added to the utter deficiency of all freshness in the associations which they periodically made, combined to lessen or destroy everything like a positive attraction in the regions to which they wandered ; but, in spite of all, they went. Habit was too inflexible for sense or taste ; and, possibly, the fear that the world might not get on so well as be-fore, unless they appeared as usual at the opening of the season in Broadway, and found themselves, for a week at least each year, at Newport and Saratoga, seemed to make it a duty that they should, at large pecuniary sacrifice, submit to a dreary penance every summer.
" But the cholera came in conflict with the habit. It unsettled the routine which was only endurable in the absence of thought and energy. It suggested unpleasant associations to those who, perhaps, would suffer under any sort of excitement, the whole-some as well as the pernicious ; and the idea of eating cherries and cream, at the peril of utter revolution in the abdominal domain, had the effect of startling into thought and speculation the inane intellect which, hitherto, had taken no share in regulating the habits of the wanderer. When, at the same time, it was found that the pestilence confined its ravages to the North, �that either the climate of the South was too pure, or the habits of its people too proper, to yield it the requisite field for operation, and that Charleston, Savannah and other cities in the low latitudes, were not within the reach of its terrors,� then it was that patriotism had leave to suggest, for the first time, the beauties and attractions of home, and to make the most of them. Her argument found succor, as we have hinted, from other influences. Our ' Soft-heads' no longer found that unlimited., deference, and servile acknowledgment, which the societies they visited had uniformly shown, in return for their patronage. Society at the North was in revolution. Old things were about to pass away ; all things were to become new. Prop-