Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Flirtation at the Moultrie House >> Page 383

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Page 383

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
I am more than ever delighted, best sister of my affections. The
more I see of this place, the more I am charmed. It is at once so
strange and so attractive. Think of being surrounded by the sea like
Robinson Crusoe, only not alone. The Island is about four miles
long. It has a great hard beach, almost like rock, after the seas go
down, over which we ride on horseback, or in carriages, and hoof and
wheel make no impression on the sand. We sit in the long piazza,
which goes clean round the house, both stories, and look out upon
the ships going in and out the harbor, with their broad white sails
swelling out in the wind, like the wings of mighty sea-birds. Then
you see the beautiful little pilot boats, like swallows darting along
the waves. Then suddenly, some great sea-steamer, rushes up, foam-
ing and fretting, puffing and panting, full of people staring at us,
with much hunger in their faces. The truth is, there are charming
enough people at this place, whom they would like very much to de-
vour. Then come the big black porpoises, —a sort of sea-hog, and
very good eating they say, plunging one after the other, clean
out of the sea, and playing about as happily, as if they did not care
to come ashore again, and I suppose they don't. Oh! my Sophronia,
could you see these things with me. Could I know that you, too,
were gazing on them at the same moment with myself. But you
don't look at the sea all the time. It is one of the beauties of this
place, that, by looking out straight in a certain direction, you could
see three thousand miles, directly into Limerick, in Ireland, if,
indeed, your eyes did'nt fail you, as is the case with mine. Augustus
Colleton, said to me yesterday:
"There you see Europe."
"Where?" said I.
"In that direction," said he. "It certainly lies out there. It depends
entirely upon the extent of vision. It is hardly three thousand miles."
I strained my eyes a great deal, but could see nothing but the
ocean. I suppose when I become used to it, I shall see Ireland as
well as other people. But, looking out in one direction, as I tell you,
I could see nothing but the ocean. I had only to turn a foot, and on
the right, there was the loveliest headland, and the greenest shrub-