« AnteriorContinuar »
“can say they ever saw him go to the Quaker“ meeting. Alack ! Alack'! My poor husband “ died the next morning; I knew his time was
the Whip-poor-will cried all night by “ the house, and I could not drive him away. “ God help us ! Die come in every part of the world ; Virginia, Maryland: black man ! white “ man ! all one day or another get their mouth “ full of yellow clay !"
Occoquan scarcely supplied more literature than Ovid's place of banishment on the Black Sea. But at Clearmount, near Fauqier Court-house, lived a French gentleman of the name of Gerardine, whose reputation for the Belles Lettres, induced me to write to him from my solitude. I chose the French language for the vehicle of my thoughts, and enclosed in the letter the little book of Poems I had published at New-York. The answer of Mr. Gerardine discovers an ele
“ Monsieur, “ Dans cette Solitude ou les Muses se font si “ rarement entendre, vous conceverez aisément
que l'envoi de vos jolis Poemes a du exciter à “ la fois la surprize et le plaisir. Je compare
votre present inattendu à un joli parterre dans “ un Desert inculte et sauvage, dont l'email se 5 seroit offert continuellement à ma vue.
“ Continuez, Monsieur, à caresser les Muses “ avec Horace and Anacreon ; le tems reprendra
ses ailes, vos heures en couleront plus douce
" ment, et vous ajouterez de nouvelles fleurs á “ la Guirlande Poetique dont vous etes deja « couronnée. Ovide chantoit encore sur les bords " lontaines où la tyrannie d'Auguste l' avoit en“ chainée, et vous avez celebré Coosohatchie.
" Je me suis fait un devoir de repondre à votre " Lettre obligeante dans une langue que vous “ ecrivez si bien, et que sans l'envoi de ce que
vous appellez trop modestement vos Bagatelles,
je vous eusse assurément pris pour un de mes “ Compatriotes.
“ l' ai l'honneur d'être, Monsicur,
“ C. GERARDINE.". It was now I felt the bliss of having an enlightened friend to whom I could pour cut my soul on paper, and enjoy the intercourse of spirit without the mediation of an earthly frame. My -friendship with Mr. George was still unimpaired, and I consider it no small felicity that I have been able to preserve so many of his letters amidst the casualties to which the life of a Wanderer is subject. The gloom of my solitude at Occoquan, was cheered by the sincerity of his friendship, and the sprightliness of his wit.
“ An epistle from Ovid among the Getæ to his “ friend at Rome, could not have imparted half " the delight that your letter from Occoquan has
given the companion of your adversity. at New
“ York. I had long expected a missive from the
City in the Woods,'* and could only ascribe your “ silence to the distraction of business in your
office of Secretary's Secretary ; when suddenly is brought me a letter dated at a place, which, however acute my researches into the
Geography of America, I never heard men“ tioned before. I thank you for the ode you “ did me the favour to enclose, it is an happy “ imitation of Cunningham’s manner; but the
images are more pleasing from having the
grace of novelty to recommend them. Nor “should I neglect to observe, how much you “ have shewn your skill in making the word “ Occoquan the burden of your exordial and con“cluding stanzas; a practice never to be dis
pensed with in local poetry, as, without it, the poem, would have no particular application, were the title to be lost.
“ But it is useless to write any thing for Ame“ ricans. Taste has not so diffused its influence
through this hemisphere as to cause the Poet “ to be cherished; and though an Orpheus might “ have power to charm the woods, yet the inha- ; “bitants would be insensible to the harmony of “ his lyre. In this region the minuteness of the “politician takes place of the elevation of the poet.
“ Occoquan, from your description of it, must "s be a delightful spot, and in prophetic language
* " Washington,
“ I would declare, that your abode on the banks “ of the river will make the stream classical in “ the annals of literary history.
" Let us continue, without failure, to write to “ each other. It will give life to our friendship, “ and soften the rigours of existence. Whatever “we write must partake much of the spirit of “ the places in which we live; but sentiments
may arise from 'solitary reflexion, which the “ multitudinous (a word you taught me) uproar “ of a city would rather suppress than excite.
“ Is it possible that you live in a family of “ Quakers, or that a Quaker should have selected
you from the crowd to bring up his children in “ the way they should go? Alas! you will be “ writing wicked rhyme when you should be ex
pounding to them scripture ; and set before “ them the vanity of compliments, when they « should utter yea and nay!”
It was my custom every Saturday to ride to Alexandria, where I read the northern papers at the Coffee-room, and at Thomas' “ Book Store,” regaled myself with the new publications imported from Philadelphia.' But I sought in vain for the advertisement that was to announce the diffusion of the Wanderings of William, and looked forward with solicitude for the moment that was to reward my labour with emolument, and satisfy my vanity with praise. In this state of suspense I wrote my friend Dufief an elaborate epistle in French, execrating the honeyed-promises
of the great men in power, who had doomed me to the obscurity of Occoquan; and earnestly demanding intelligence of William, who occupied my waking and sleeping thoughts. The lively answer of Dufief will amuse those who understand French; and they who are ignorant of the language can find some linguist among their friends to interpret it.
“ Mon cher Favori d'Apollon, j'ai été plus “ faché que surpris d'apprendre que vous aviez é fait un demarche inutile. Je ne voyois rien de
moins sur que ce dont vous vous étiez flatté ; " et c'étoit la parole du Colonel Albert, qu'il *** falloit avoir pour être sûr d'une Lieutenance “ dans son Regiment.
“ Je vous aurois engagé amicalement à attendre parmi nous une Lettre, mais étant près des *. Vacances, je n'ai vu dans votre Voyage qu'un moyen agréable de passer un tems de desæuvre
* l'ai pensé plus d'une fois à William, tant
pour le lire moi-même, que pour vous en ven“dre, si je puis, beaucoup d'exemplaires. Cha“cun a ses tribulations dans ce monde. J'ai -.“ « à present le chagrin de voir que mon Commerce “ ne va aucunement: pour y faire diversion je “ me suis jetté dans le profondeur de la Meta
phisique avec Lock et Condillac.