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not begin it for want of their musician, whom they expected with impatience.
Curse that Orpheus ! exclaimed one of the young men, who held by the hand a little girl of true virginal beauty, with fair hair floating over
her shoulders ; curse that Orpheus! said he; I'll 1 lay you, * he has got drunk again, and has lost
himself in the woods! Mac Gregor, do lend me
and blow to him. Do Jack, said the landlord. I hope some bear or panther has not got him fast by the nape of the neck. The old sinner is down three shillings on the score.
Keep yourself cool, replied Jack. If I find the Musicianer dead, I'll lodge an 'execution against his fiddle for the benefit of his creditors.
Jack snatched up the horn, and slipping on his great coat, was about to sally into the woods to seek for the lost Orpheus, when the little girl, whose hand he had let go, anticipating his design, clung fondly round him, and burst' into a violent flood of tears.
Why! what ails you, Barbara, cried Jack.
You are go-go-going in the woods! sobbed the afflicted girl. You'll meet with a-a-a panther !
Woman! all conquering woman! thou art every where the same ; and thy empire over man
* Phrase of frequent occurrence among the soutliern Americans,
is every where confest. Whether in the polished cities of Europe, or among the rude forests of America, thou canst practice the same arts, and inspire the same tenderness !
The ferocity of Jack was softened by the mournful distraction of Barbara. It was a ludi. crous spectacle. Jack in the towering height and breadth of his body, could scarcely, I think, be inferior to Sampson ; he would have slain with his nervous arm a whole host of enemies. Yet here he was killed himself by only one glance from a virgin eye, that was brimful of tears; for some minutes his speech was suspended, and the giant could only look and sigh unutterable things. Oh! for the chisel of a Praxiteies, to represent this tender damsel ; the most seducing object that love could employ to extend the limits of his empire. Insensibility itself would have fallen at the feet of so sweet a creature.
At length Jack recovered the use of his faculties. He laid down the horn ; and, catching Barbara in his arms, smacked her lips with such ardour, that he seemed to be tearing up kisses by the roots.
The girls in company blushed, or held down their heads; but the men fell into a roar of such loud and obstinate laughter, that, like the peal of Homer's gods, I thought it inextinguishable.
Mr. Mac Gregor now took the horn, and, going to the door, began to blow it with vehemence, and then to exclaim Orpheus! Yo ho! Or
pheus ! Must I come and look for
my ball ?
At length a voice was heard to reply, Who call Orpheus ? That Mossa, Mac Gregee? Here Orpheus come! Here he come himself !
It was not long before Orpheus made his appearance in the shape of an old Guinea Negro, scraping discord on a fiddle, reeling about from side to side, and grinning in the pride of his heart.
Each man now seized his partner, Orpheus struck up a jig, and down the dance went Jack and Barbara, with light, though untutored steps. Not being for any of their anıbling, and finding that amidst such riot no sleep was to be had, I summoned a negro, and was paddled in a canoe, through Push-and-go Creek, to the opposite bank of Santee 'River. The Whip-poor-will, on my landing, was heard from the woods; and, in prosecuting my walk, I meditated a sonnet to the bird.
SONNET TO THE WHIP-POOR-WILL.
POOR, plaintive bird! whose melancholy lay
Wisely thou shunn'st the gay, tumultuous throng,
Pensive, at silent night, I love to roam,
And hear thee tell thy moving tale of woe,
I had now not to walk through woods, but over ground that had been cleared by the industry of the husbandman. But I had scarce proceeded half a mile when a party of horsemen, and girls double-mounted, came ambling over the plain; and all seemed to ask, with one voice, if the boat was at the ferry. I informed them that I had crossed Santee River in a canoe, which, I believed, was at the ferry, but that, far from embarking their party, it would not hold a third of them.
Then you came, said one of the men, through Push-and-go Creek? I replied in the affirmative.
The devil take Mac Gregor, cried he. There are no snakes in South Carolina if I am not up to him for this. I hope Orpheus has not been able to find his way through the woods !
I assured the gentleman, that, if by Orpheus he meant a drunken negro, who scraped upon the fiddle,-he had not only reached the house, but put all the company in motion. And is Jack Douglas there ? said the horse
He is a great, lengthy* fellow. * Leng!hy is the American for long. It is frequently used by the classical writers of the New World.
I answered in the affirmative.
And is he dancing, rejoined he, with a little girl ; a black-eyed girl, with rather lightish hair, a pretty turn-up nose, and a dimple in one of her cheeks?
Sir, said I, the dimple in the young lady's cheek is particularly visible when she smiles.
'Tis she ! 'Tis Barbara! exclaimed the fellow. Oh ! all the devils ! I'll not wait for the boat; I'll swim my beast across the river.
The company endeavoured to dissuade this Leander from his enterprize ; but love was not to be cheated of its right; and putting his spurs into the horse's sides, he gallopped towards Santee.
And now my friends, said I, having satisfied your interrogations, let me ask you if there be any house on the road where I shall be likely to obtain a lodging ?
Are you for George-town? said one of the
I replied in the affirmative.
Then, rejoined he, it is hard saying ; for there is no house in the main-road between this and the Run ;* and the Run is so high, from the freshes, that you will not be able to ford it. We did not cross the Run; we live this side of it
* A stream that crosses a road is called a Run in the scuthern States. After a heavy rain, the freshes (floods) render these Runs for some time impassable.