Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Flirtation at the Moultrie House >> Page 389

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Page 389

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Mr. Tom Appleby, at the Moultrie House, to his friend Mr. Richard
Meriwether, of Coweta, Ga.
That cock won't fight. I have had enough of the mountains. This
sea-shore is new to me, and so long as it keeps comfortable at this
place, so long I stay; at all events while hot weather lasts. Here, I
have as good cock-tails as heart could desire, and as pleasant a game
of whist as would please old Billy Harris. There are other things.
Sea-bathing I relish monstrously. It is perfectly glorious to rollick
among the great breakers, and dash through seas of foam. You know
that I pride myself upon my swimming; but, if I could do the thing
famously in fresh-water, I do it ten times as well in salt. I am, here,
sword-fish, shark, and porpoise, at the same moment; and execute
such plunges in the Atlantic as would astonish a Hoosier with the
idea of such a fish as never swam in the Mississippi. I don't go to
any mountains, I tell you. There are good fellows here, and I have
no time unoccupied. I have buried a button at ten paces, with my
pistols here, seven shots in ten, and clipped it the other three. There
is a fine grove here behind the sand hills, which makes the greatest
pistol gallery in the world. Shrimps, you never ate, I reckon, and
hardly oysters. I now include them in my articles of faith. I believe
in shrimps. I have a perfect faith in oysters. They open the soul;
they warm the sensibilities. They make the heart susceptible and
tender. I feel their influence. I have half fallen in love with one of
the Charleston girls, as fair as a lily and gentle as a zephyr. But,
no more of this. It may be, after all, nothing but a flirtation, and
the jade is an adept at that sort of thing. This is a famous place for
flirtation, I find, and the practice, which might worry a too earnest
fellow, has nevertheless, something very graceful and pleasant in it.
Talking of flirtation, by the way, let me say to you, that if you are
really serious in the affair with cousin Georgy, the sooner you are
here the better. There is a handsome fellow, one Augustus Colleton,
of some one of the parishes in South-Carolina, who is making loco-
motive progress in the heart of Georgy. He is no mean rival, I assure
you; something of a dandy, a clever fellow enough, though I suspect,
at bottom, a fortune hunter. He contrived, in the most natural way
in the world, to sift me as to Georgy's fortune, which, of course, I