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What, cried I, can you, who are a native of Carolina, be afraid of a snake ? Not, said he, if I meet him on the road, or in the woods. I wish I had as many acres of land as I have killed rattlesnakes in this country. My plantation would be a wide one.-Mr. Dubusk was somewhat a wag. Being called on after supper to sing the patriotic song of Hail Columbia he parodied it with much drollery.
Hail Columbia ! happy land !
At this I was surprised; for Hail Columbia exacts not less reverence in America, than the Marselloise Hymn in France, and Rule Britannia in England.
Before I quit the subject of Mr. Dubusk, I will mention a delicacy of conduct which I could not but remark in him; and which I record for the imitation of American Planters. Having thoughtlessly chastised a negro-boy in the room, he apologized for doing it before me; a circumstance which verified the observation, that goodbreeding is the natural result of good sense.
The next morning, Mr. Dubusk walked with me a few miles on my road ; but my companion having business at a plantation in the woods, I was soon left to pursue my journey alone through the sand. My sight was still bounded by the same prospect as ever.
I could only distinguish before me a road that seemed endless, and mossy
forests on each border of it. An European gazes with wonder at the long and beautiful moss, that, spreading itself from the branches of one tree to those of another, extends through whole forests. *
It was now eight in the morning; the weather was mild, and I walked vigorously forward, chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy.
At Darr's tavern, I found nobody but a negrowoman, who was suckling her child, and quieting its clamours by appropriating, instead of a common rattle, the rattles of a snake. I would have much rather heard her jingle the keys of the cupboard in the child's ears; but, unfortunately for me, Mr. Darr was gone out, and had taken the keys with him.
I was, therefore, glad to obtain a plate of Musb,* which having eaten sans milk, sans sugar, and even sans molasses, I gave the good woman a piece of silver, and again pursued my journey.
Beshrew the Traveller, who would let fall a reflection over the dinner I here made. Though plain, it was wholesome; and, instead of wishing it was better, I thanked God it was not
* This moss when it becomes dead serves many useful purposes. The negroes carry it to Charleston, where it is bought to stuff mattrasses, and chair-bottoms. The hunters always use it for wadding to their guns.
* Indian meal boiled.
A walk of eight more miles brought me to Owendaw bridge, and, taking a small path that led into the woods, I sought for the grave of a stranger, of whom tradition has preserved no remembrance; and whose narrow house I at length discovered under a large and stately pine. I suppress the reflections which filled my breast on beholding it. Mr. George had anticipated me in a poem, which I meditated over the grave in all the luxury of melancholy.
ELEGY OVER THE GRAVE OF AN UNKNOWN,
IN THE WOODS OF OWENDAW.
NOW while the sun in ocean rolls the day,
Those warring passions struggling to be free,
And fills the sable bark with sordi:) ore,
Pursuing my journey, in somewhat a dejected mood, I crossed over Owendaw Bridge, and walked forward at a moderate rate. In fact, I regulated my pace by the sun, which was descending behind me in the woods, and at which I occasionally looked back.
About night-fall I reached Mr. Mac Gregor's tavern, of which the proximity was announced by the axe of the negro chopping wood. No sound can be more delightful than this to the foot-traveller in America, when night has cast its shadows over the face of the country. It not only informs him that he is near some human habitation ; but associates the welcome image of a warm fire-side, and an invigorating supper. · The house of Mr. Mac Gregor was agreeably situated on the River Santee. But it was filled with the Planters and young women from the neighbouring woods, who had assembled to celebrate their Christmas festival ; for, it was, I discovered, the anniversary of the day that gave birth to our Redeemer, Strange! that I should regard time so little, as not to know that its inaudible and noiseless feet had stolen through another
year. The party was, however, taking time by the forelock. They had formed a dance! but could