Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter VII: Piney Grove >> Page 63

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Page 63

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription PINEY GROVE. 63
itself vigorously and freely, and seems by its magnificence and shade expressly intended for such a purpose, no other sort of tree can well be employed. Here, however, in the region which we now tread, wanting in that patriarchal tree, the field-pine had been chosen as the substitute, and nothing surely could have been more truly beautiful than the one in question. A waving and double line, carried on in sweeping and curious windings for two thirds of a mile, described by these trim and tidy trees, enclosed the party, and formed a barrier on either hand, over which no obtrusive vine or misplaced scion of some foreign stock was ever permitted to gad or wander. Some idea may be formed of the pains and care which had been taken in thus bending the free forests in subservience to the will of man, when we know that, though naturally a hardy tree of the most vigorous growth, the pine is yet not readily transplanted with success, and is so exceedingly sensitive in a strange place, as in half the number of instances to perish from such a transfer. A narrow but deep ditch formed an inner parallel line with the high trees along the avenue; and the earth, thus thrown up into a bank beneath the trees, gave ample room and nutriment to a crowded hedge of greenbrier and gathering vines, interspersed, during a long season, with a thousand various and beautiful flowers.
Emerging from the avenue, the vista opened upon a lovely park, which spread away upon either hand, and was tastefully sprinkled here and there, singly and in groups, with a fine collection of massive and commanding water-oaks, from around the base of which everything in the guise of shrubbery and undergrowth, the thick, long grass excepted, had been care-fully pruned away. A few young horses were permitted to ramble about and crop the verdure on one side of the entrance, while on the other a little knot of ruminating milch-cows, to which a like privilege had been given, started up in alarm, and fled at the approach of strangers so numerous and so gorgeously arrayed. Throwing aside the heavy, swinging gate before- them, the troopers passed through a trace leading for-ward directly to the dwelling. On either side of this passage a fence of light scantling, which had once been whitewashed,