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few minutes they who had even breathed with circumspection, now gave loose to the most riotous merriment, and betook themselves to the woods, followed by all the dogs on the plantation.
Let the reader throw aside my volume, whose mind feels disgust from the images afforded by a school in the woods of America. I deprecate not his severity ; I write not for such feelings. But, reader, if thou art a father, or if thy mind uncorrupted by the business and vanities of life, can delight in the images of domestic privacy, thou wilt derive more real satisfaction from the picture of a groupe of school-boys at play, than from the conflict of the Austrians with the French on the plains of Maringo.
There was a carpenter on the plantation, whom Mr. Ball had hired by the year. He had tools of all kinds, and the recreation of Mr. Dye, after the labour of study, was to get under the shade of an oak, and make tables, or benches, or stools for the Academy. So true is the assertion of Horace, that the cask will always retain the flavour of the liquor with which it is first impregnated.
Well, Mr. Dye, what are you doing?
It is white oak, Siv.
What then you are skilled in trees, you can tell oak from hickory, and ash from fir?
Like enough, Sir. (A broad grin) I ought
to know those things; I served my time to it.
Carpenter.-I find, Sir, Mr. Dye has done with his old trade; he is above employing his hands; he wants work for the brain. Well ! larning is a fine thing; there's nothing like larning. I have a son only five years old, that, with proper larning, I should not despair of seeing a Member of Congress. He is a boy of genus ; he could play on the Jew's-harp from only seeing Sambo tune it once.
Mr. Dye.-I guess that's Billy; he is a right clever child.
Carpenter.—How long, Sir, will it take you to learn Mr. Dye Latin?
Schoolmaster.—How long, Sir, would it take me to ride from Mr. Bali's plantation to the plantation of Mr. Wormley Carter ?
Carpenter.—Why that, Sir, I suppose, would depend upon your horse.
Schoolmaster.-Well, then, Sir, you solve your own interrogation.-But here comes Dick. What has he got in his hand ?
Mr. Dye.---A mole like enough. Wbo are you bringing that to Dick ?
Dick.-Not to you.—You never gave me the taste of a dram since I first know'd
Worse luck to me ; you New Jersey Men are close shavers; I believe you would skin a louse. This is a mole. I have brought it for the gentleman who came from beyond sea. He never refuses Dick a
dram; I would walk through the wilderness of Kentucky to serve him. Lord! how quiet he keeps his school. It is not now as it was ; the boys don't go clack, clack, clack, like 'Squire Pendleton's mill upon Catharpin Run!
Schoolmaster.—You have brought that mole, Dick, for me. Dick.-Yes, Master, but first let me tell
you the history of it. This mole was once a man; see, Master, (Dick exhibits the mole,) it has got hands and feet just like you and me. It was once a man, but so proud, so lofty, so puffed-up, that God, to punish his insolence, condemned him to crawl under the earth.
Schoolmaster.-A good fable, and not unhappily moralized. Did you ever hear or read of this before, Mr. Dye?
Mr. Dye.—Nay (a broad grin) I am right certain it does not belong to Æsop. I am certain sure Dick did not find it there.
Dick.-Find it where? I would not wrong a man of the value of a grain of corn. I came across the mole as I was hoeing the potatoe-patch. Master, shall I take it to the school-house ?-If you are fond of birds, I know now for a mockingbird's nest; I am only afeard those young rogues, the school-boys, will find out the tree. They play the mischief with every thing, they be full of devilment. I saw Jack Lockhart throw a stone at the old bird, as she was returning to feed her young; and if I had not coaxed him away to look at my young puppies, he would have found out the nest.
In conversation of this nature I sometimes employed an hour or two not unprofitably ; for it brought me acquainted with characters which could, perhaps, be only found in the woods of America. Indeed human nature, when considered separately from contingent circumstances, is, I believe, every where the same ; but modi. fied by custom and climate, its external qualities are varied.
On Saturday I was at leisure to ride or walk. On that day the bow was unbent, that it might become stronger in its future tension. Yet, I confess, it was a day I rather dreaded than wished; for, without the company of Virginia, I gave myself up to despondency.
Urit me Glyceræ nitor
Had I lived near the Alps I should certainly have adopted the plan of Saint Preux, and striven to dissipate my melancholy by climbing to their summit. The Blue Ridge Mountains were in sight, and why did I not ascend them? Alas! the manners of the Blue Ridgers possess none of that simplicity which characterizes the inhabitants of the mountains of Switzerland.
Finding the hours hang heavy, I bethought
myself of some invitation that had been given me to a neighbouring plantation, and one visit leading to another, in my round of calling on one or another, I came to the house whither Virginia had gone
before me. Virginiins are ever hospitable; ever open-hearted to the stranger who enters their doors. The house of a Virginian is not less sacred to hospitality than the tent of an Arab. I was received always with transports. “ Here, Will, take this gentleman's horse. Ed“ ward, run up stairs, my dear, and tell
and tell your mo“ther and the girls to come down."
My recreation after school in the evening was to sit and meditate before my door, in the open air, while the vapours of a friendly pipe administered to my philosophy. In silent gravity I listened to the negro calling to his steers returning from labour, or contemplated the family groupe on the grass-plat before the dwellinghouse, of whom the father was tuning his violin, the mother and daughters at their needles, and the boys running and tumbling in harmless mirth upon the green. Before me was an immense forest of stately trees; the cat was sitting on the barn-door ; the fire-fly was on the wing, and the whip-poor-will in lengthened cries was hailing the return of night.
I was now, perhaps, called to supper, and enjoyed the society of Mr. Ball and his family till the hour of their repose, when I returned to my Jog-hut, and resumed my pipe before the door.