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des chemins raboteux a monter & a descendre, des précipices à mes cotés qui me fassent bien
my walk to Coosohatchie I passed here and there a plantation, but to have called on its owner without a previous introduction, would have been a breach of that etiquette which has its source from the depravity of great cities, but has not failed to find its way into the woods of America. When I first beheld a fine lady drawn by four horses through the woods of Carolina in her coach, and a train of servants following the vehicle, clad in a magnificent livery, I looked up with sorrow at that luxury and refinement, which are hastening with rapid strides to change the pure and sylvan scenes of nature into a theatre of pride and ostentation. When Venus enchanted Æneas with her presence in the woods, she was not attired in the dress of the ladies of Queen Dido's court; but, huntress like, had hung from her shoulders a bow, and was otherwise equipped for the toils of the chase.
On coming to Coosohatchie, I repaired to the post-office, which never failed to give me an epistle from my beloved and literary friend Mr. George; who enlightened me with his knowledge, enlivened me with his wit, and consoled me with his reflections. I shall not expatiate on our genuine, disinterested friendship. He has conse
* Confessions. Tom. 2.
crated to it a monument in his Poem of the Wanderer. What but the heart could have dictated the following passage
“ Here doom'd to pant beneath
I remember, with lively pleasure, my residence in the woods of South Carolina. Enjoying health in its plenitude, yet young enough to receive new impressions ; cultivating daily my taste by the study of polite literature; blest with the friendship of a George, and living in the bosom of a family unruffled by domestic cares; how could I be otherwise than happy, and how can I refrain from the pleasure of retrospection.
Coosohatchie ! thou shalt not be unknown, if, by what eloquence nature has given me, I can call forth corresponding emotions in the breast of my reader to those which my own felt when wandering silently through thy woods.
My pupils, in the woods of Coosohatchie, consisted of a boy and two young ladies. William Henry was an interesting lad of fourteen, ingenuous of disposition, and a stranger to fear. He was fond to excess of the chase. His heart danced with joy at the mention of a deer; and he blew his horn, called together his dogs, and hooped and hallooed in the woods, with an animation that would have done honour to a veteran sportsman. O! for the Muse of an Ovid, to describe the dogs of this young Actæon. There were Sweetlips, and Ringwood, and Music, and Smoker, whose barking was enough to frighten the wood nymphs to their caves.—His eldest sister Maria, though not a regular beauty, was remarkable for her dark eyes and white teeth, and, what was not less captivating, an amiable temper. She was grateful to me for my instruction, and imposed silence on her brother when I invoked the Muse in school. But it was difficult to controul her little sister Sally, whom in sport and wantonness they called Tibousa. This little girl was distinguished by the languish of her blue eyes, from which, however, she could dart fire when William offended her. Sally was a charming girl, whose beauty promised to equal that of her mother.—That I passed many happy hours in watching and assisting the progress of the minds of these young people, I feel no repugnance to acknowledge. My long residence in a country where honour and shame from no condition rise, has placed me above the ridiculous pride of disowning the situation of a Tutor.
Though the plantation of Mr. Drayton was immense, his dwelling was only a log-house ; a temporary fabric built to reside in during the winter. But his table was sumptuous, and an elegance of manners presided at it that might have vied with
the highest circles of polished Europe. I make the eulogium, or rather exhibit the character of Mr. Drayton, in one word, by saying, he was a Gentleman ; for under that portraiture I comprehend whatever there is of honour. Nor can I refrain from speaking in panegyric terms of his lady, whose beauty and elegance were her least qualities; for she was a tender mother, a sincere friend, and walked humbly with her God. She was indeed deserving the solicitude of her husband, who would not suffer the winds of heaven to visit her face too roughly.
It is usual in Carolina to sit an hour at table after supper ; at least it was our custom in the woods of Coosobatchie. It was then I related my adventures, to Mr. and Mrs. Drayton, in the eastern section of the globe, who not only endured my tales, but were elated with my successes, and depressed by my misfortunes.
About ten I withdrew to my chanıber and my books, where I found a sparkling fire of wood, and where I lucubrated, smoked segars, and was lost in my own musings. The silence of the night invited meditation ; but often was I to be seen at three in the morning sitting before my chamber-fire, surrounded like Magliabechi by my papers and my books. My study was Latin, and my recreation the Confessions of the eloquent Citizen of Geneva. But I was not without company.
A cricket in my chimney-corner never failed to cheer me with his song.–A cricket is not to be contemned. It is related by Buffon that they are sold publicly in the Asiatic markets ; and it is recorded of Scaliger that he kept several in a box. I remember an Ode which I consecrated to my midnight companion.