Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVII / How the Bilious Orator Essayed >> Page 402

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 402 SOUTHWARD HO !
humble and too frequently mortified flesh. With the spectacle
of the venerable host, presiding so gracefully and so amiably
the napkin tucked beneath his chin, and falling over the ample
domain in which certain philosophers, with much show of reason,
have found the mortal abiding place of the soul�you associate
the happy action with which, slightly flourishing the bright steel
before he smites, he then passes the scimitar-like edge into the
rosy round before him. It is no rude or hurried act. He feels
the responsibility of the duty. He has properly studied the rela-
tions of the parts. He knows just where to insinuate the blade;
and the mild dignity with which the act is performed, reminds
you of what you have seen in pictures, or read in books, of the
sacrifices of the high priests and magi, at Grecian or Egyptian
altars. What silence waits upon the stroke ! and, as the warm
blood gushes forth, and the rubied edges of the wound lie bare
before your eyes, every bosom feels relieved ! The augury has
been a fortunate one, and the feast begins under auspices that
drive all doubts of what to-morrow may bring forth, entirely
from the thought.
With such recollections kindling the imagination, our extem-
pore hotels of the Apalachian regions will doom you to frequent
disappointment. You see yourself surrounded by masses that
may be boiled or roasted polypi for what you know. But where's
the mutton and the venison ?
You call upon the landlord � a gaunt-looking tyke of the
forest, who seems better fitted to hunt the game than take charge
of its toilet. He is serving a score at once; with one hand heap-
ing beef and bacon, with the other collards and cucumbers, into
conflicting plates ; and you fall back speechless, with the sudden
dispersion of a thousand fancies of delight, as he tells you that
the mutton, or the venison, which has been the subject of your
revery all the morning, lies before you in the undistinguishable
mass that has distressed you with notions of the polypus and
sea-blubber, or some other unknown monstrosities of the deep or
forest. But the subject is one quite too distressing for dilation.
We have painful memories, and must forbear. But, we solemn-
ly say to our Apalachian landlord
Brother, this thing must be amended. You have no right
to sport thus with the hopes, the health, the happiness of your