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able that Gadesby keeps the best house of entertainment in the United States.
It was the middle of July, when I landed at Alexandria, and the heat was excessive. The acrimony of the bilious humours was consequently excited, and the diarrhoea and dysentery prevailed among the inhabitants; yet the taverns were frequented, for, Americans to preserve health, adopt the Brunonian system of keeping up the excitement.
The splendour of Gadesby's hotel not suiting my finances, I removed to a public-house kept by a Dutchman, whose Frow was a curious creature. I insert a specimen of her talk : “ This hot wea" ther makes a body feel odd. How long would
a body be going from Washington to Baltimore? “ How the musquitoes bite a body, &c.” But I left the body of my landlady to approach that of her daughter, whose body resembled one of those protuberant figures which Rubens loved to depict.
To what slight causes does a man owe some of the principal events of his life. I had been a fortnight at Alexandria, when, in consequence of a short advertisement I had put in the Gazette, a gentleman was deputed to wait on me from a Quaker, on the banks of the Occoquan, who wanted a Tutor for his children. Mr. Ridgeway was what is called a supple Quaker. With those of his own sect, none could be more formal; but among
men of the world, he could practise all the arts of conciliation ; and knew how to flatter a lady from the lustre of her eyes down to the taste of her shoe-string.
A Quaker accompanied him to the door, with whom he exchanged only the monosyllables, yea
but no sooner had he turned his back, than Friend Ridgeway introduced himself to me with the bow of a dancing-master ; expressed the earnest desire Mr. Ellicott had to engage me in his family, and lavished his eloquence on the romantic beauties of the river Occoquan, and the stupendous mountains that nodded over its banks.
The following evening, I left Alexandria on horseback, to visit the abode of Mr. Ellicott. But I had scarce ridden a couple of miles, when a violent storm of rain overtook me, and I sought shelter in a tailor's shop by the way-side. The tailor laid down his goose at my approach, and we soon entered into a political discussion, which ended with his lamentations over the miseries of the times, and a determination to support the Rights of Man.
It was six o'clock before the rain subsided, and I was in suspense whether to return to Alexandria, or prosecute my journey, when the tailor informed me, that only two miles further lived a very honest farmer, who accommodated Travellers with a bed. His name was Violet.
But why, said the tailor, not go on to Mount Vernon?
What, friend, should I do there?
Why, Sir, a gentleman is always well received. I made the tailor an inclination of
my but Mount Vernon was as remote from my thoughts as Mount Vesuvius.
I pursued my journey, but, after riding two miles, instead of reaching the farm of Mr. Violet, my horse stopped before the door of a log-house, built on the brow of a hill. The man of the house was sitting under an awning of dried boughs, smoking in silence his pipe; and his wife occupied a chair by his side, warbling her lyrics over the circling wheel.
Will you alight, Sir, said the man, and rest yourself in the shade? Your horse looks well, Sir. He appears to be a mighty well-conditioned brute. What, if I may be so bold, Sir, did he cost you
? Why, Sir, the creature is worth a hundred and fifty dollars. The horse is young, quite young ; he will be only five years old next Spring. Do put your hand into his mouth.
Excuse me, Sir. I never trusts my hand in a horse's mouth : the brute may be vicious. But should you ever want any thing done to him, I shall be happy to serve you. My name is Kaiting. I have long been used to cutting and splaying all kinds of creatures. Can you
fox and nick a horse, Mr. Kaiting ? Aye, Sir, and curc all sorts of distempers ; whether spavins, or ringbones, or cribs, or yellow-water, or blind-staggers, or weak eyes, or glanders.
Hum! What a catalogue of complaints is horse-flesh heir to. But can you inform me how far it is to the house of Farmer Violet?
I suspect it is a mile.
Come, none of your suspicions, but tell me candidly, my friend, do you think I can be accommodated there for the night.
Aye, as elegantly as you would be at Gadesby's!
Psha! It is better than mine; it is weather boarded. I pay no taxes for my house ; the taxgatherers value it below a hundred dollars.
I had not time to reply, before' a goose waddled out of the house towards the place where Mr. Kaiting and his wife were sitting, followed by a tame frog that jumped in concert with his feathered companion. It was a singular spectacle, and would have afforded little pleasure to an unreflecting mind. But it was to me a most pleasing speculation, to behold this worthy couple extending their protection to a goose and a frog; it verified the remark of Sterne, that the heart wants something to be kind to.
Then, Sir, said I, you do not consider the frog a nuisance ? You would not kill it?
Kill it! I should as soon think of putting an
end to my own life! There was a gentleman from Fredericksburg, who stopped last week at my house to give his horse a bite of clover. He had hardly sat down under the awning, when the frog came out of the house, and hopped towards his chair. That's a cursed impudent frog, says he, and, lifting up his arm, he made a blow at the animal with his whip. We were all in consternation. My wife screamed; I held out my leg to intercept the blow; and the goose, who seldom quits the frog, flew at the man with the strength and fury of an eagle. It was lucky his whip missed the frog, for had he killed him, there would not have been a dry eye in the house for a week.
I would willingly have protracted my conversation with so humane a person, had not the sky, which was overcast, indicated there was no time to be lost. I, therefore, put spurs to my nag, and departed at a gallop. It was not quite twilight, and my situation brought to my recollection a passage in the Poet of Nature.
The West yet glimmers with some streaks of day:
But I had scarce proceeded a mile when a storm of rain, lightning, and thunder, gave me some solicitude for my night's lodging; I could perceive no house; and the only alternative left