Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 148a Israel Keech Tefft >> Page 60

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Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 60 THE SIMMS LETTERS
[1843?]' dear Tefft.
I send you some more antiques, among which I trust that your keen eyes will discern a gem or two. There is a letter
originality of combination, addressed the company about three quarters of an hour." Before the ninth regular toast was announced, Alexander Beaufort Meek "addressed the company, and referred to the various conjectures which had been afloat in the public mind, as to the authorship of the Hurdis Novels, some of the scenes of which were located in our city. He had never heard the writer acknowledged, but he had good reasons to believe that he was within the vicinity of the table. Then pointing to Mr Simms, he adopted the language of another, and said, 'Thou art the man.'" The toast to "The Author of Richard Hurdis" was then given: "Though like the Knight of the sable plume, he fights under strange colors and his vizor down, yet we recognize in his the same strong arm which has won noble laurels in other fields of southern literature." After "the bursts of applause" had ceased, "Mr Simms found himself at the confessional; and after entertaining the company with some happy remarks, he threw himself on their indulgence, while he admitted that the secrecy with which he wrote and published had not protected him from the well founded suspicion which had just been uttered. He was the author of Richard Hurdis, the materials for which work he collected when travelling in Alabama twenty years ago." The tenth scheduled toast, to "Woman" ("The soul of society—the inspiration of the Poet. In every festival our warmest thoughts are turned to her"), was followed by "other addresses ... and many volunteer toasts.""Mr Simms also made a few additional remarks, which he concluded by making a compliment to Alexander B. Meek—the warm and generous friend, and manly writer. May the State honor him whose genius has honored her." The company separated "at a late hour," and on the following day Simms left for South Carolina. The Independent Monitor also reports that "during the ten days Mr S. remained in the city . . . his drawing room was thronged with visitors, all anxious to improve his acquaintance, and to testify their respect." Since the only other Tuscaloosa newspaper we know of for this period (the Flag of the Union) contains no reference to Simms, it must have been the Independent Monitor of Dec. 28 which Simms sent to Lawson on Jan. 7, 1843 (149), with the comment that it "gives a very meager account of the dinner." One wonders what Simms wished the newspaper had included in its copious report. Apparently the lectures Simms delivered before the Tuscaloosa Lyceum were the same as those he had earlier delivered before the Georgia Historical Society (see note 2, Jan. 10, 1842 1126a]).
'Simms' close friendship with Tefft seems to have begun during his visit to Savannah in Mar. 1842 (see letter to Tefft of Jan. 10, 1842 1126a], and following letters). By 1843 Simms was sending him autographs for his collection (see letter to Tefft of c. Apr. 3, 1843 1158]). Since two (and perhaps all) of the autographs mentioned in this note were originally part of the collection of Laurens MSS. that Simms had acquired at some time before 1845 (sec letter to Duyckinck of Feb. II, 1845 (233], and notes 3 and 4, below), it is probable that Simms went through