Imágenes de páginas

Horace had never before assumed so formidable an aspect. In the ordinary editions he had always looked at me placido lumine; but he now appeared crabbed and sour, and I found his text completely buried amidst the rubbish of annotations.

By making isthmius labor the agent to clarabit * the difficulty of the inversion vanished; but when I came to analyze the construction of the ode, not having some rule for verbs construed at memory, I think it was the important one of mo fit ui, as vomo vomui;t the Professor, with a shake of his head, which doubtless put all his sagacity into motion, told me very gravely I had yet something to learn.

I ought to apologize to my reader for detaining him so long in the company of Professor Drone; but it is a link in the chain of my history, however rusty. To be brief, he engaged me as an Assistant to his sublime College for three months; and had the vanity to assert, that in consequence of it I should become fama super aethera notus.

I was about to take leave of Mr. Drone, when his principal Tutor entered the room, (* Odes, IV, 3—

Quem tu, Melpomene, semel

Nascentem placido lumine videris,
Illum non labor Isthmius

Clarabit pugilem, non equus inpiger
Curru ducet Achaico
Victorem, ]

+ Vide Lilly's Grammar.

to whom he introduced me. Mr. George taught the Greek and Latin classics at the College, and was not less distinguished by his genius than his erudition.

On surveying my new acquaintance, I could not but think that he deserved a better office than that of a Gerund-grinder. Nature seemed to have set her seal on him to give the world assurance of a man.

Mr. George laughed obstreperously at the pedantry of the Professor. Peace, said he, to all such! Old Duffey, my first schoolmaster in Roscommon, concealed more learning under the coarseness of his brogue, than Drone will ever display with all his rhetoric of declamation. It is true he can talk of Luitprandus, Bertholdus, and Lambertus; but an acquaintance with these writers, however it may display reading, discovers little judgment.

Two young men, of similar pursuits, soon become acquainted. The day of my introduction to

to Mr. George, we exchanged thoughts without restraint; and during three months that I continued at Charleston, we were inseparable companions.

I know not whether I was qualified to fill the vacant chair of instruction at the College; but I remember, that zealous to acquit myself with dignity in my new office, I assumed the aspect of a pedagogue, and when an idle boy stared at me, I checked him with a frown. I, however, was not ambitious of this honour more than six weeks; a space of time, which, however it cannot be long, may surely be tedious. The Professor complained that I was always last in the College; * and I replied by desiring my discharge.

I was now dismissed from the College; but I was under no solicitude for my future life. A planter of the name of Brisbane, had politely invited me to his plantation, to partake with him and his neighbours, the diversion of hunting, during the winter; and another of the name of Drayton, the owner of immense forests, had applied to me to live in his family, and undertake the tuition of his children. Of these proposals, the first flattered my love of ease, and the other insured me an augmentation of wealth. I was not long held in suspense which of the two to chuse; but I preferred the summons of industry to the blandishments of pleasure.

The winters of Carolina, however piercing to a native, who during the summer months may be said to bask rather than breathe, are mild to an Englishman accustomed to the frosts of his island. In the month of November my engagement led me to Coosohatchie, an insignificant village about seventy-eight miles from Charleston; for the plantation of Mr. Drayton was in the neighbouring woods.

(*“Omnibus hoc vitiumst cantoribus ” ?]

The serenity of the weather invited the traveller to walk, and, at an early hour of the morning, I departed on foot from Charleston, having the preceding evening taken leave of Mr. George.

The foot-traveller need not be ashamed of his mode of journeying. To travel on foot, is to travel like Plato and Pythagoras; and to these examples may be added the not less illustrious ones of Goldsmith and Rousseau. The rambles of the ancient sages are at this distance of time uncertain; but it is well known that Goldsmith made the tour of Europe on foot, and that Rousseau walked from choice, through a great part of Italy.

An agreeable walk of ten miles, brought me to the bank of Ashley River, where I breakfasted in a decent public house, with the landlord and his family. That man travels to no purpose who sits down alone to his meals; for my part I love to mingle with the sons and daughters of industry; to mark the economy of their household, and compare their mode of living with that of the same class of people in my own country. The opulent of every nation are nearly the same; refinement has polished away the original stamp of character: the true estimate of manners is to be made among those in a middle rank of life.

Having crossed the ferry, I resumed my journey through a country which might be assimilated to one continued forest. Tall trees of pine, planted by the hand of nature in regular rows, bordered the road I travelled, and I saw no other animals, but now and then a flock of deer, which, ceasing awhile to browse, looked up at me with symptoms of wonder rather than fear.

"Along these lonely regions, here retir'd
From little scenes of art, great Nature dwells
In awful solitude, and naught is seen
But the wild herds that own no master's stall.”

At three in the afternoon I reached Jacksonborough, the only town on the road from Charleston to Coosohatchie. Though a foottraveller, I was received at the tavern with every demonstration of respect; the landlord ushered me into a room which afforded the largest fire I had ever seen in my travels; yet the landlord, rubbing his hands, complained

[* The author intends his quotation, in the matter of herds, to apply to deer, &c. In this region, somewhat to the northwest, was the early ranch country of the United States, and cattle .owning no master's stall’ might have been seen in the woods.

Cf. American Husbandry, London 1775. Vol. I, pp. 337338.—“It is not an uncommon thing to see one man (in North Carolina) the master of from 300 to 1200, and even to 2000 cows, bulls, oxen, and young cattle; hogs also in prodigious numbers. Their management is to let them run loose in the woods all day."

Cf. also J. F. D. Smyth, Tour in the United States of America, London, 1784, II, p. 78 ff.; and Schoepf, Reise, &c. Erlangen 1788, II, 168 ff.]

« AnteriorContinuar »