Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 398

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Page 398

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 398 SOUTHWARD HO
plc achieve, to obtain for them the simplest justice, even among
themselves. We surrendered ourselves wholly into the hands
of our Yankee brethren�most loving kinsmen that they are
and were quite content, in asserting the rank of gentlemen, to
forfeit the higher rank of men. We were sunk into a certain
imbecility read from their books, thought from their standards,
shrunk from and submitted to their criticism and (No! we
have not yet quite reached that point �Walker still holding his
ground in the South against Webster), almost began to adopt
their brogue ! They dictated to our tastes and were alone al-
lowed to furnish the proper regions for their exercise. Above
all, theirs was all the scenery; and the tour to Saratoga, West
Point, Newport, Niagara, almost every season, was a sort of
pilgrimage, as necessary to the eternal happiness of our race of
soft-heads,' as ever was that made, once in a life, to Mecca, by
the devout worshipper in the faith of Islam !
But, owing to causes, already indicated, the change has come
over the spirit of that dream which constituted too much the
life of too large a portion of our wealthy gentry ; and the last
summer, as we said before, left them at liberty to look about
their own homes, and appreciate their own resources. The dis-
coveries were marvellous ; the developments as surprising as
those which followed the friction of the magic lamp in the hands
of Aladdin. Encountered, on the opposite side of Mason and
Dixon's Line, by the loathsome presence of Asiatic cholera and
African abolition, they averted their eyes from these equally of-
fensive aspects, and found a prospect, when looking backward
upon the South, at once calculated to relieve their annoyances,
and compensate admirably for all their privations. The tide of
travel was fairly turned ; and, through the length and breadth
of the land, in the several States of Virginia, the two Carolinas,
Georgia, and even Florida, nothing was to be seen but the
chariots and the horsemen, the barge and the car, bearing to new
and lately discovered retreats of health and freshness, the hun-
gering wanderers after pleasure and excitement. For such an
event, the country was almost totally unprepared. A few ancient
places of resort excepted, the numerous points of assemblage
had scarcely ever been indicated on the maps. The means for
reaching them were rude and hastily provided. The roads were