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Library of Congress Subject Headings,
21st edition, 1998
Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
AUTHOR OF "REMINISCENCES OF PEACE AND WAR,"
"THE MOTHER OF WASHINGTON AND HER TIMES," ETC.
All rights reserved
[Title Page Image]
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1909.
J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
To the Memory of
Theodore Bland Pryor
I stood at dawn by a limitless sea
And watched the rose creep over the gray;
Till the heavens were a glowing canopy!
This was my day!
pale stars stole away, one by one—
Like sensitive souls from the presence of Pride:
The moon hung low, looking back, as the sun
Rose ever the tide.
he, like a King, came up from the Sea!
He opened my rose—unfettered my song—
And quickened a heart to be true to me
All the day long.
The soul that was born of a song and flower
Of tender dawn-flush, and shadowy gray,
Was strengthened by Love for a bitter hour
That chilled my day.
had dwelt in the garden of the Lord!
I had gathered the sweets of a summer day:
I was called to stand where a flaming sword
Turned every way.
spared not the weak—nor the strong—nor the dear;
And following fast, like a phantom band,
Famine and Fever and s huddering Fear
Swept o'er the land.
whispered that Hope, the angel of light,
Would spread her white wings and speed her away;
But she folded me close in my longest night
And darkest day.
of old, when the fire and tempest had passed,
And an earthquake had riven the rocks, the Word
In a still small voice rose over the blast—
The Voice of the Lord.
the Voice said: "Take up your lives again!
Quit yourselves manfully! Stand in your lot!
Let the Famine, the Fever, the Peril, the Pain,
Be all forgot!
no more for the lovely, the brave,
The young head pillowed on a blood-stained sod;
The daisy that grows on the s oldier's grave
Looks up to God!
soul of the patriot-soldier stands
With a mighty host in eternal calm,
And He who pressed the sword to his hands
Has given the Palm.
* * * * * * *
now I stand with my face to the west,
Shading mine eyes, for my glorious sun
Is splendid again as he sinks to his rest -
His day is done.
have lost my rose, forgotten my song,
But the true heart that loved me is mine alway,
The stars are alight—the way not long—
I had my day!
November 8, 1908.
I AM constrained to encourage a possible reader by assuring him that I have no intention whatever of writing strictly an autobiography. Nothing in myself nor in my life would warrant me in so doing.
I might, perhaps, except the story of the Civil War, and my part in the trials and sorrows of my fellow-women, but this story I have fully and truly told in my "Reminiscences of Peace and War."
My countrymen were so kind to these first stories that I feel I may claim some credentials as a "babbler of Reminiscences." Besides, I have lived in the last two-thirds of the splendid nineteenth century, and have known some of the men and women who made that century notable. And I would fain believe with Mr. Trollope that "the small records of an unimportant individual life, the memories which happen to linger in the brain of the old like bits of drift-wood floating round and round in the eddies of a back-water, can more vividly than anything else bring before the young of the present generation
those ways of acting and thinking and talking in the everyday affairs of life which indicate the differences between themselves and their grandfathers."
But I shall have more than this "floating driftwood" to reward the reader who will follow me to the end of my story!
Writers of Reminiscences are interested—perhaps more interested than their readers—in recalling their earliest sensations, and through them determining at what age they had "found themselves"; i.e. become conscious of their own personality and relation to the world they had entered.
Long before this time the child has seen and learned more perhaps than he ever learned afterwards in the same length of time. He has acquired knowledge of a language sufficient for his needs. His miniature world has been, in many respects, a foreshadowing of the world he will know in his maturity. He has learned that he is a citizen of a country with laws,—some of which it will be prudent to obey,—such as the law against taking unpermitted liberties with the cat, or touching the flame of the candle; while other laws may be evaded by cleverness and discreet behavior. He finds around him many things; pictures on walls, for instance, that may be admired but never touched, —other lovely things that may be handled and even kissed, but must be returned to mantels and tables, —and yet others, not near as delightful as these, "poor things but his own," to be caressed or beaten, or even broken at his pleasure. He has learned to
indulge his natural taste for the drama. His nurse covers her head with a paper and becomes the dreadful, groaning villain behind it, while the baby girds himself for attack, tears the disguise from the villain, and shouts his victory. As he learns the names and peculiarities of animals, the scope of the drama widens. He is a spirited horse, snorting and charging along, or—if his picture-books have been favorable—a roaring lion from whom the nurse flees in terror. Of the domestic play the there is infinite variety—nursing in sickness, the doctor, baby-tending, cooking,—and once, alas! I heard a baby girl of eighteen months enact a fearful quarrel between man and wife, ending firmly "I leave you! I never come back!"
These natural tendencies of children would seem to prove that the soul or mind of man can be "fetched up from the cradle"—a phrase for which I am indebted to one of my contemporaries, Mr. Leigh Hunt, who in turn quoted it as a popular phrase in his late (and my early) day. But with the single exception of the spoken language all these childish plays have been successfully taught to our humble brothers; to our poor relation the monkey, the dog, elephant, seal, canary bird— even to fleas. All these are capable of enacting a short drama. The elephant, longing for his bottle, never rings his bell too soon. The dog remembers his cue, watches for it, and never anticipates it. The seal, more wonderful than all, born as he has been without arms or legs, mounts a horse for a ride, and waits for his umbrella to be poised on his
stubby nose. Even the creature whose name is a synonym for vulgar stupidity has been taught to indicate with porcine finger the letters which spell that name.
With these and other animals we hold in common our faculty of imitation, our memory, affection, antipathy, revenge, gratitude, passionate adoration of one special friend, and even the perception of music —the infant will weep and the poodle howl in response to the same strain in a minor key—and yet, notwithstanding this common lot, this common inheritance, there is born for us and not for them a moment when some strange unseen power breathes into us something akin to consciousness of a living soul.
Having no past as a standard for the reasonable and natural, nothing surprises children. They are simply witnesses of a panorama in the moving scenes of which they have no part. When I was three years old, I visited my grandfather in Charlotte County. The Staunton River wound around his plantation and I was often taken out rowing with my aunts. One day the canoe tipped and my pretty Aunt Elizabeth fell overboard. Without the slightest emotion I saw her fall, and saw her recovered. For aught I knew to the contrary it was usual and altogether proper for young ladies to fall in rivers and be fished out by their long hair. But another event, quite ordinary, overwhelmed me with the most passionate distress. Having, a short time before, advanced a tentative finger for an experimental taste of an apple roasting for me at my grandfather's
fire, I was prepared to be shocked at seeing a colony of ants rush madly about upon wood a servant laying over the coals. My cries of distress arrested my grandfather as he passed through the room. He quickly ordered the sticks to be taken off, and calling me to a seat in front of him, said gravely, "We will try these creatures and see if they deserve punishment. Evidently they have invaded our country. The question is, did they come of their own accord, or were they while enjoying their rights of life and liberty, captured by us and brought hither against their will?" My testimony was gravely taken. I was quite positive I had seen the sticks, swarming with ants, laid upon the fire. "Uncle Peter," who had brought in the wood, was summoned and sharply cross-questioned. Nothing could shake him. To the best of his knowledge and belief, "them ants nuvver come 'thouten they was 'bleeged to," and so, as they were by this time wildly scampering over the floor, they were gently admonished by a persuasive broom to leave the premises. Uncle Peter was positive they would find their way home without difficulty, and I was comforted.
I remember this little incident perfectly; I can see my dear grandfather, his white hair tied with a black ribbon en queue, advancing his stick like a staff of office. I claim that then and there—three years old—I found myself, "fetched up my soul" from somewhere, almost "from the cradle," inasmuch as I had pitied the unfortunate, unselfishly espoused his cause, and won for him consideration and justice.
Writers of fiction are supposed to present, as in
a mirror, the truth as it is found in nature. They are fond of hinting that at some moment in the early life of every individual something occurs which foreshadows his fate, something which if interpreted— like the dreams of the ancient Hebrews—would tell us without the aid of gypsy, medium, or clairvoyant the things we so ardently desire to know. In Daniel Deronda, Gwendolyn, in her moment of triumph, touches a spring in a panel, which, sliding back, reveals a picture,—the upturned face of a drowning man. In Lewis Rand, Jacqueline, the bride of half an hour, hears the story of a duel—and the pistol-shot echoes ever after through her brain, filling it with insistent foreboding.
We might recall illustrations of similar foreshadowing in real life. For instance, Jean Carlyle, six years old, beautiful and vivid as a tropical bird, stands before an audience to sing her little song; and waits in vain for her accompanist. Finally she throws her apron over her head and runs away in confusion. She was prepared, she knew her part; but the support was lacking, the accompaniment failed her. It was not given to him who told the story to perceive the prophecy!
Were I fanciful enough to fix upon one moment as prophetic of my life—as a key-note to the controlling principle of that life—I might recall the incident in my grandfather's room, when I ceased to be merely an inert absorber of light and warmth and comfort, and became aware of the pain in the world— pain which I passionately longed to alleviate.
I HAD a childless aunt, who annually came up from her home in Hanover to spend part of the summer with my parents and my grandfather. She begged me of my mother for a visit, meant to be a brief one, and as she was greatly loved and respected by her people, I was permitted to return with her.
There were no railroads in Virginia at that time. All journeys were made in private conveyances. The great coach-and-four had disappeared after the Revolution. The carriage and pair, with the goatskin hair trunk strapped on behind, or—in case the journey were long—a light wagon for baggage, were now enough for the migratory Virginian.
He lived at home except for the three summer months, when it was his invariable rule to visit Saratoga, or the White Sulphur, Warm, and Sweet Springs, of Virginia, making a journey to the latter, in something less than a week, now accomplished from New York in eight or nine hours.
The carriage on high springs creaked and rocked like a ship at sea. Fortunately, it was well cushioned and padded within—and furnished at the four corners with broad double straps through which the arms of the passenger could be thrust to steady himself withal. He needed them in the pitching and jolting over the rocks and ruts of dreadful roads. Inside each door were ample pockets for sundry comforts—biscuits,
sandwiches, apples, restorative medicines and cordials, books and papers. A flight of three or four carpeted steps was folded inside the door. Twenty-five miles were considered "a day's journey," quite enough for any pair of horses. At noon the latter were rested under the shade of trees near some spring or clear brook, the carriage cushions were laid out, and the luncheon! Well, I cannot presume to be greater than the greatest of all our American artists,—he who could mould a hero in bronze and make him live again; and hold us, silent and awed, in the presence of the mysterious and unspeakable grief of a woman in marble! Has he not confessed that although he remembers an early perception of beauty in sky and sea, and field and wood—the memory that has followed him vividly through life is of odors from a baker's oven, and from apples stewing in a German neighbor's kitchen? Hot gingerbread and spiced, sugared apples! I should say so, indeed!
In just such a carriage as I have described, I set forth with my strange aunt and uncle—a little three-and-a-half-year-old! At night we slept in some country tavern, surrounded by whispering aspen trees. A sign in front, swung like a gibbet, promised "Refreshment for man and beast." Invariably the landlord, grizzled, portly, and solemn, was lying at length on a bench in his porch or lounging in a "split-bottom chair" with his feet on the railing. He had seen our coming from afar. He was eager for custom, but he had dignity to maintain. Lifting himself slowly from his bench or chair, he would leisurely come forward, and hesitatingly "reckon"
he could accommodate us. I was mortally afraid of him! Sinking into one of his deep feather beds, I trembled for my life and wept for my mother.
Finally one night, wearied out with the long journey, we turned into an avenue of cedars and neared our home. My aunt and uncle, on the cushions of the back seat, little dreamed of the dire resolve of the small rebel in front. Like the ants I had been brought, against my will, to a strange country. I silently determined I would not be a good little girl. I would be as naughty as I could, give all the trouble I could, and force them to send me home again. But with the morning sun came perfect contentment, which soon blossomed into perfect happiness. From my bed I ran out in my bare feet to a lovely veranda shaded by roses. On one of the latticed bars a little wren bobbed his head in greeting, and poured out his silver thread of a song. Gabriella, the great tortoise-shell cat, with high uplifted tail, wooed and won me; and when Milly, black and smiling, captured me, it was to introduce me to an adorable doll and a little rocking-chair.
From that hour until I married I was the happy queen of the household, the one whose highest good was wisely considered and for whose happiness all the rest lived.
The bond between my aunt and her small niece could never be sundered, and as she was greatly loved and trusted, and as many children blessed my own dear mother, I was practically adopted as the only child of my aunt and uncle, Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Pleasants Hargrave.
THE general impression I retain of the world of my childhood is of gardens—gardens everywhere; abloom with roses, lilies, violets, jonquils, flowering almond-trees which never fruited, double-flowering peach trees which also bore no fruit, but were, with the almond trees, cherished for the beauty of their blossoms. And conservatories! These began deep in the earth and were built two stories high at the back of the house. They were entered by steps going down and only thus were they entered. Windows opened into them from the parlor (always "parlor,"—not drawing-room) or from my lady's chamber. On the floor were great tubs of orange and lemon trees and the gorgeous flowering pomegranate. Along the walls were shelves reached by short ladders, and on these shelves were ranged cacti, gardenias (Cape Jessamine, or jasmine, as we knew this queen of flowers), abutilon, golden globes of lantana, and the much-prized snowy Camellia Japonica, sure to sent packed in cotton as gifts to adorn the dusky tresses of some Virginia beauty, or clasp the folds of her diaphanous kerchief. These camellias, long before they were immortalized by the younger Dumas, were reckoned the most poetic and elegant of all flowers —so pure and sensitive, resenting the profanation of the slightest touch. No cavalier of that day
would present to his ladye faire the simple flowers we love to-day. These would come fast enough with the melting of the snows early in February.
I have never forgotten the ecstasy of one of these early February mornings. Mittened and hooded I ran down the garden walk from which the snow had been swept and piled high on either side. Delicious little rivers were running down and I launched a mighty fleet of leaves and sticks. Suddenly I beheld a miracle. The snow was lying thickly all around, but the sun had melted it from a south bank, and white violets—hundreds of them—had popped out. I spread my apron on the clean snow and filled it with the cool, crisp blossoms. Running in exultant I poured my treasure into my dear aunt's lap as she sat on a low chair which brought my head just on a level with her bosom. Ah! Like St. Gaudens, I remember the gingerbread and apples!— but I remember the violets also!
I can see myself in the early hot summer, sent forth to breathe the cool air of the morning. What a paradise of sweets met my senses! The squares, crescents, and circles edged with box, over which an enchanted glistening veil had been thrown during the night; the tall lilacs, snowballs, myrtles and syringas, guarding like sentinels the entrance to every avenue; the glowing beds of tulips, pinks, purple iris, "bleeding hearts," flowering almond with rosy spikes, lily-of-the-valley! I scanned them all with curious eyes. Did I not know that the fairies, riding on butterflies, had visited each one and painted it during the night? Did I not know that these
same fairies had hung their cups on the grass, and danced so long that the cups grew fast to the blades of grass and became lilies-of-the-valley? I knew all this—although my dear aunt never approved of fairy tales and gave me no fairy-tale books. Cousin Charles believed them; moreover, I had a charming picture of a fairy, riding on a butterfly. Of course they were true.
But I always hurried along, with small delay, among the flower beds. I knew where the passion-vine had dropped golden globes of fruit during the night—and I knew well where the cool figs, rimy with the early dew, were bursting with scarlet sweetness. Tell me not of your acrid grape-fruit, or far-fetched orange, wherewithal to break the morning fast! I know of something better. Alas! neither you nor I can ever again—except in fancy—cool our lips with the dew-washed fruits of an "old Virginia" garden.
It seems to me that the life we led at Cedar Grove and Shrubbery Hill was busy beyond all parallel. Everything the family and the plantation needed was manufactured at home, except the fine fabrics, the perfumes, wines, etc., which were brought from Richmond, Baltimore, or Philadelphia. Everything, from the goose-quill pen to carpets, bedspreads, coarse cotton cloth, and linsey-woolsey for servants' clothing, was made at home. Even corset-laces were braided of cotton threads, the corset itself of home manufacture.
Miss Betsey, the housekeeper, was the busiest of women. Besides her everlasting pickling, preserving,
and cake-baking, she was engaged, with my aunt, in mysterious incantations over cordials, tonics, camomile, wild cherry, bitter bark, and "vinegar of the four thieves," to be used in sickness.
The recipe for the latter—well known in Virginia households a century ago—was probably brought by Thomas Jefferson from France in 1794. He was a painstaking collector of everything of practical value. To this day there exists in the French druggists' code a recipe known as the "Vinaigre des Quatre Voleurs"; and it is that given by condemned malefactors who, according to official records still existing in France, entered deserted houses in the city of Marseilles during a yellow fever epidemic in the seventeenth century and carried off immense quantities of plunder. They seemed to possess some method of preserving themselves the scourge. Being finally arrested and condemned to be burned to death, an offer was made to the method of inflicting their punishment if they would reveal their secret. The condemned men then confessed that they always wore over their faces handkerchiefs that had been saturated in strong vinegar and impregnated with certain ingredients, the principal one being bruised garlic.
The recipe, still preserved in the Randolph family of Virginia, is an odd one—with a homely flavor— hardly to be expected of a French formula. It requires simply "lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue and mint, of each a large handful; put them in a pot of earthenware, cover the pot closely, and put a board on the top; keep it in the hottest sun two
weeks, then strain and bottle it, putting in each a clove of garlic. When it has settled in the bottle and becomes clear, pour it off gently; do this until you get it all free from sediment. The proper time to make it is when herbs are in full vigor, in June."
Only a housewife, who lived in an age of abundant leisure, could afford to interest herself for two weeks in the preparation of a bottle of the "Vinegar of the Four Thieves." The housekeeper of to-day can steep her herbs, then strain them through one of the fine sieves in her pantry, the whole operation costing little labor and time, with perhaps as good results. If she is inclined to make the experiment, she will achieve a decoction which has the merit at least of romance, the secret of its combination having been purchased by sparing the lives of four distinguished Frenchmen, with the present practical value of providing a refreshing prophylactic for the sick room,—provided the lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint completely stifle the clove of garlic!
Pepper and spices were pounded in marble mortars. Sugar was purchased in the bulk—in large cones wrapped in thick blue paper. This was broken into great slices, and then subdivided into cubes by means of a knife and hammer.
Sometimes a late winter storm would overtake the new-born lambs, and they would be found forsaken by the flock. The little shivering creatures would be brought to a shelter, and fed with warm milk from the long bottles, in which even now
we get Farina Cologne. Soft linen was wrapped around the slender neck, and my dear aunt fed the nurslings with her own white hands. How the lambkins could wag their tiny tails! and how they grew and prospered!
All the fine muslins of the family, my aunt's great collars, and the ruffles worn by my uncle, my Cousin Charles, and myself, were carefully laundered under my aunt's supervision. Dipped in pearly starch, they were "clapped dry" in our own hands, ironed with small irons, and beautifully crimped on a board with a penknife. Fine linen was a kind of hall-mark by which a gentleman was "known in the gates when he" sat "among the elders of the land."
I was intensely interested in all this busy life— and always eager to be a part of it.
There was nothing I had not attempted before I rounded my first decade,—churning, printing the butter with wooden moulds, or shaping it into a bristling pineapple; spinning on tiptoe at the great wheel—we had no flax-wheels—and even once scrambling up to the high seat of the weaver and sending the shuttle into hopeless tangles. "Ladies don't nuvver do dem things" sternly rebuked Milly. "Lemme ketch you ergin at dat business, an' 'twont be wuf while for Marse Chawles to baig for you."
The inconsistencies as to proprieties puzzled me then and have puzzled me ever since. "Why mustn't I spin and churn, Milly?" I insisted.
"Ain't I done tole you? Ladies don't nuvver do dem things."
"Then why can I help with the laces and muslins?"
"Cause—ladies does do dem things."
And so I became an expert blanchisseuse de fin, as it was the one household industry allowed my caste.
There was no railroad to bring us luxuries from the nearest town—Richmond—twenty-five miles distant, and we depended upon the little covered cart of Aunt Mary Miller. Aunt Mary and her husband, Uncle Jacob, were old family servants who had been given their freedom. They lived at the foot of a hill near our house, and down the path, slippery with fallen pine needles, I was often sent with Milly to summon Uncle Jacob, who was the coachman. He was very old, and gray, and always unwilling to "hitch up de new kerridge in dis bad weather." He would stand on the lawn and scan the horizon in every direction—and a dim, distant haze was enough to daunt him. Aunt Mary was allowed to collect eggs, poultry, and peacock's feathers from the neighbors, take them down to Richmond to her waiting customers, and return with sundry delightful things,—Peter Parley's books, a wax doll, oranges and candy for me, and wonderful stories of the splendors she had seen. She had other stories than these. One night "a hant" had walked around her cart and "skeered" her old horse "pretty nigh outen his senses"; as to herself, "Humph, I'se used to hants."
"Where, Aunt Mary, tell me," I begged. With a furtive glance lest my elders would hear, she answered:—
"I ain't sayin' nothin'. Don't you go an' say I tole you anythin'. Jes you run down to the back of the gyardin as fur as the weepin' willer an' you'll know.
Of course I knew already what I should find beneath the willow. I had often stood at the foot of the two long white slabs and read: "Sacred to the Memory of Charles Crenshaw" and "Sacred to the Memory of Susannah Crenshaw." I knew their story. This had been their home. The brother had died early, and for love of him the sister had broken her heart. My sweet great-aunt Susannah! Had she not left a lovely Chinese basket—which I was to inherit—full of curious and precious things; a carved ivory fan, necklace, pearls, and amethysts, and a treasure of musk-scented yellow lace? Aunt Mary shook her head when I announced scornfully that I wasn't afraid of my Aunt Susannah.
"I ain't talkin! Miss Susannah used to war blue satin high-heeled slippers. You jes listen! Some o' dese dark nights you'll hear sump'n goin' 'click, click.' "
"I know, Aunt Mary. That's the death-head moth. Milly says it won't hurt anybody, without you meddle with it."
"Humph! Milly! I seed hant befo' her mammy was bawn! I tells you it's Miss Susannah comin' on her high heels to see if you meddlin' with her things. I knowed Miss Susannah! she
was monsous particlar. She ain't nuvver goin' to let you war her things."
I was a wretched child for a long time after this. Whenever I retired into the inner chambers of my imagination—as was my wont when grown-up people talked politics, or religion, or slavery—I found my pretty fairies all fled, and in their places hollow-eyed goblins and ghosts. If my gentle Aunt Susannah was permitted to come back to her home, how about all the others who had lived there? My aunt coming for her final good-night kiss would uncover a hot face, to be instantly recovered upon her departure. Par parenthèse, I never did wear Aunt Susannah's jewels. All disappeared mysteriously except the chain of lovely beads. These I wore. One night I slept in them and the next morning they were gone. Whither? Ah, you must call up some one of those long-time sleepers. According to latter-day lights, they may "come when you do call." They may know. I never did know.
NO house in Virginia was more noted for hospitality than my uncle's. I remember an ever coming and going procession of Taylors, Pendletons, Flemings, Fontaines, Pleasants, etc. These made small impression upon me. Men might come and men might go, but my lessons went on forever; writing, geography, and much reading. I had Mrs. Sherwood's books. I wonder if any present-day child reads "Little Henry and his Bearer," or Miss Edgeworth's "Rosamond," or "Peter Parley's" Four Quarters of the Globe"! Hannah More was the great influence with my aunt and her friends. "Thee will be a second Hannah More" was the highest praise the literary family at Shrubbery Hill could possibly give me. Mr. Augustine Birrell could never have written his sarcastic review of her in my day. It would not have tolerated. From Miss Edgeworth, Cowper, Burns, St. Pierre, my aunt read aloud to me. On every centre table, along with the astral lamp, lay a sumptuous volume in cream and gold. This was the elegant annual "Friendship's Offering," containing the much-admired poems of one Alfred Tennyson, collaborating with his brother Charles. Miss Martineau was much discussed and was distinctly unpopular. Stories were told of her peculiarities, her ignorance of the etiquette of polite society at the North. When she was in Washington
in 1835, she was invited by Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith to an informal dinner at five o clock. Mrs. Smith had requested three friends to meet her, and had arranged for "a small, genteel dinner." She had descended to the parlor at an early hour to arrange some flowers, when her daughter informed her that Miss Martineau and her companion, Miss Jeffrey, had arrived, and were upstairs in her bedroom, having requested to be shown to a chamber. Mrs. Smith wrote to Mrs. Kirkpatrick: "I hastened upstairs and found them combing their hair! They had taken off their bonnets and large capes. 'You see,' said Miss Martineau, 'we have complied with your request and come sociably to spend the day with you. We have been walking all the morning; our lodgings were too distant to return, so we have done as those who have no carriages do in England when they go to pass a social day.' I offered her combs, brushes, etc., but showing me the enormous pockets in her French dress she said that they were provided with all that was necessary, and pulled out nice little silk shoes, silk stockings, a scarf for her neck, little lace mits, a gold chain, and some other jewellery, and soon, without changing her dress, was prettily equipped for dinner or evening company. It was a rich treat to hear her talk when the candles were lit and the curtains drawn. Her words flow in a continuous stream, her voice is pleasing, her manners quiet and ladylike." She was thought to be unfriendly to the South—which I have the best of reasons for believing was true.
All this I heard with unheeding ears, but a delicious, memorable hour awaited me. Some guest had brought her maid, and from her I heard a wonderful fairy-godmother story,—of one Cinderella, whose light footstep would not break a glass slipper.
Uncle Remus had not yet dawned upon a waiting world of children, but Cowper had written charmingly about hares and how to domesticate them. I had a flourishing colony of "little Rabs." Some of my humble friends were domiciled in the small playhouse built for me in the garden. Into this sacred refuge, ascended by a flight of tiny steps, even Gabriella was forbidden to enter. I could just manage to stand under the low ceiling. There I entertained a strange company. I had no toys of any description, and only one doll, which was much too fine for every day. Flowers and forked sticks served for the dramatis personæ of my plays.
I had never heard of Æsop or of Aristophanes but it was early given to me to discern the excellent points of frogs. I caught a number of them on the sandy margin of a little brook which ran at the bottom of the garden, and Milly helped me to dress them in bits of muslin and lace. Their ungraceful figures forbade their masquerading as ladies—a frog has "no more waist than the continent of Africa,"— but with caps and long skirts they made admirable infants, creeping in the most orthodox fashion. Of course their prominent eyes and wide mouths left something to be desired; but these were very dear children, over whose mysterious disappearance their
adoptive mother grieved exceedingly. Could it be that snakes—but no! The suggestion is too awful!
My aunt had a warm affection for a kinswoman who lived seven or eight miles from us. This lady's gentleness and sweetness made her a welcome visitor, and I never tired of hearing her talk, albeit her manner was tinged with sadness. She grieved over the disappearance, years before, of a dear young brother. He had simply dropped out of sight—her "poor Brother Ben!" This was a great mystery which she often discussed with my aunt, and which delightfully stirred my imagination.
One night late in summer a cold storm of rain and wind howled without and beat against the windowpanes. A fire was kindled on the hearth, and around it the family gathered for a cosey evening. Suddenly some one saw a face pressed against the window, and hastened to open the door to the benighted visitor. There, dripping upon the threshold, stood a wretched-looking man. It was Brother Ben!
He carried a bundle of blankets on his back which he proceeded to unwind, revealing at last two tiny Indian girls! The frightened little creatures clung to him closely, and only after being brought to the fire and fed on warm milk were sufficiently reassured to permit him to explain himself. With one on each knee, "Brother Ben" told his story. He had run away to escape the restraints of home and had found his way to the wild Western country beyond the Ohio. Friendly Indians had sheltered and succored him, and he had finally married a young daughter of their chief. When his children were
born, he "came to himself." He could not endure the prospect of rearing them among savages, and so had stolen them from their mother's wigwam during her temporary absence, and was well on his way before his theft was discovered. For days and nights he was in the wilderness, fording rivers, climbing mountains, hiding under the bushes at night. Finally he overtook a party of homeward-bound huntsmen, and in their company succeeded in reaching his sister's door.
I never knew what became of him, but the children were adopted by their aunt as her own. They were queer little round creatures, knowing no word of English, but affectionate and docile. I was much with them, delighting to teach them. I cared no more for Gabriella nor my rabbits and frogs. I thought no more of fairies and midnight apparitions. Here was food enough for imagination, different from anything I had ever dreamed of,—romance brought to my very door.
Without doubt the Indian mother, far away towards the setting sun, wept for her babies, but nobody, excepting myself, seemed to think of her. Could I write to her? Could I, some day, find a huntsman going westward and send her a message? She might even come to them! Some dark night I might see her dusky face pressed against the window-pane, peering in!
As time wore on, the children grew to be great girls, and their Indian peculiarities of feature and coloring became so pronounced that they were constantly wounded by being mistaken for mulattoes.
There was no school in Virginia where they could be happy. No lady would willingly allow her little girls to associate with them. Evidently there was no future for them in Virginia. Finally their aunt found through our Quaker friends an excellent school, I think in Ohio, and thither the little wanderers were sent, were kindly treated, were educated, and grew up to be good women who married well.
My aunt made many long journeys—across the state to the White Sulphur Springs of which I remember nothing but crowds and discomfort—to Amherst, where my father lived, to Charlotte to visit my grandfather, and to Albemarle to visit friends among the mountains. She joined house-parties for a few weeks every summer; and one of these I, then a very little child, can perfectly recollect.
The country house, like all Virginia houses, was built of elastic material capable of sheltering any number of guests, many of whom remained all summer. Indeed, this was expected when a visit was promised. "My dear sir," said the master of Westover to a departing guest who had sought shelter from a rain-storm, "My dear sir, do stay and pay us a visit."
The guest pleaded business that forbade his compliance. "Well, well," said Major Drewry, "if you can't pay us a visit, come for two or three weeks at least."
"Week ends" were unknown in Virginia, and equally out of the question an invitation limited by the host to prescribed days and hours. Sometimes
a happy guest would ignore time altogether and stay along from season to season. I cannot remember a parallel case to that of Isaac Watts, who, invited by Sir Thomas Abney to spend a night at Stoke Newington, accepted with great cheerfulness and staid twenty years, but I do remember that an invitation for one night brought to a member of our family a pleasant couple who remained four years. Virginia was excelled, it seems, by the mother country.
At this my first house-party there were many young people—among them the famous beauty, Anne Carmichael, and the then famous poet and novelist, Jane Lomax. These, with a number of bright young men, made a gay party. Every moonlight night it was the custom to bring the horses to the door-steps, and all would mount and go off for a visit to some neighbor. I was told, however, that the object of these nocturnal rides was to enable Miss Lomax to write poetry on the moon, and I was sorely perplexed as to the possibility, without the longest kind of a pen, of accomplishing such a feat. I spent hours reasoning out the problem, and had finally almost brought myself to the point of consulting the young lady herself,—although I distinctly thought there was something mysterious and uncanny about her,—when something occurred which strained relations between her and myself.
An uninteresting bachelor from town had appeared on the scene, to the chagrin of the young people, whose circle was complete without him. He belonged to the class representing in that day the present-day "little brothers of the rich," often
the most agreeable relations the rich can boast, but in this case decidedly the reverse.
It was thought that the present intruder was "looking for a wife,"—he had been known to descend upon other house-parties without an invitation, —and it was deliberately determined to give him the most frigid of cold shoulders. Our amiable hostess, however, emphatically put a stop to this. I learned the state of things and resented it. "Old True," as he was irreverently nicknamed, was a friend of mine. I resolved to devote myself to him, and to espouse his cause against his enemies.
One day when the young ladies were together in my aunt's room there was great merriment over the situation in regard to "old True," and many jests to his disadvantage related and laughed over. To my great delight Miss Lomax presently announced: "Now, girls, this is all nonsense! Mr. Trueheart is a favorite of mine. I shall certainly accept him if he asks me."
I believed her literally. I saw daylight for my injured friend, and immediately set forth to find him. He was sitting alone under the trees, on the lawn, and welcomed the little girl tripping over the grass to keep him company. On his knee I eagerly gave him my delightful news, and saw his face illumined by it. I was perfectly happy—and so, he assured me, was he!
That evening my aunt observed an unwonted excitement in my face and manner—and after feeling my pulse and hot cheeks decided I was better off in bed, and sent me to my room, which happened
to be in a distant part of the house. To reach it I had to go through a long, narrow, dark hall. I always traversed this hall at night with bated breath. Tiny doors were let into the wall near the floor, opening into small apertures then known by the obsolescent name of "cuddies." I was afraid to pass them. So far from the family, nobody would hear me if I screamed. Suppose something were to jump out at me from those cuddies!
In the middle of this fearsome place I heard quick steps behind. Before I could run or scream, strong fingers gripped my shoulders and shook me, and a fierce whisper hissed in my ear—"You little devil!"
It was the poetess—the lady who wrote verses on the moon! "Old True" had suffered no grass to grow under his feet!
He left early next morning and so did we—my aunt perceiving that the excitement of the gay house- party was not good for me.
I learned there were other things besides hot roast apples to be avoided. Fingers might be burned by meddling with people's love affairs.
We were not the only guests who left the hospitable, gay, noisy, sleep-forbidding house. Our host had an eccentric sister whom we all addressed as "Cousin Betsey Michie," and who had left her own home expressly to spend a few weeks here with my aunt, to whom she was much attached. When "Cousin Betsey" discovered our intended departure, she ordered her maid "Liddy" to pack her trunk,—a little nail-studded box covered with goatskin,
—and insisted upon claiming us as her guests for the rest of the season.
"Cousin Betsey" was to me a terrible old lady, —large, masculine, "hard-favored," and with a wart on her chin. I wondered what I should do, were she ever to kiss me,—which she never did,—and had made up my mind to keep away from her as far as possible. I owed her nothing, I reasoned, as she was not really my cousin. She used strong language, and was intolerant of all the singing, dancing, and midnight rides of the young people. Her room was immediately beneath mine. But the night before, lying awake after my startling interview with the poetess, I had heard the galloping horses of the party returning from a midnight visit to "Edgeworth," and the harsh voice of Cousin Betsey calling to her sister: "Maria, Maria! Don't you dare get out of bed to give those scamps supper—a passel of ramfisticated villians, cavorting all over the country like wild Indians."
A peal of musical laughter, and "Oh, Cousin Betsey!" was the answer of a merry horsewoman below.
As we heard much about Johnsonian English from Cousin Betsey, it was reasonable to suppose, my aunt thought, that the startling word was classic. One evening while we were her guests she suddenly asked if I could write. I was about to give her an indignant affirmative, when my aunt interrupted, "Not very well." She knew I should be pressed into service as a secretary.
"She ought to learn," said Cousin Betsey. "My
own writing is more like Greek than English since my eyes fail me. Maria Gordon has been copying for me, but such fantastic flourishes! It will be Greek copied into Sanskrit if she does it. Well, what can the child do? Come here, miss. Are your hands clean? Ah! Wash them again, honey; you must help Liddy make the Fuller's pies for my dinner-party to-morrow."
I was aghast! But I found the "Fuller's pies" were quite within my powers. "Pie" was not the American institution, but the bird supposed to hide itself in its nest. "Fe m'en vay chercher un grand peut-estre. Il est au nid de la pie," says Rabelais. As to my hands—I feel persuaded that Cousin Betsey's guests would have been reassured could they have known to a certainty the old lady had not prepared them with her own! A glass bowl was placed before me forthwith,—a bowl of boiling water, some almonds and raisins. "Liddy" blanched the almonds in the hot water and instructed me to press each one neatly into a large raisin, which, puffing out around the nut, made it resemble an acorn, or, to the instructed, a nest. These were the "pies" (birds in a nest), and very attractive they were, piled in the quaint old bowl with its fine diamond cutting. As to the "Fuller" thus immortalized, I looked him up, furtively, in the great Johnson's Dictionary which lay in solitary grandeur upon a table in the old lady's bedroom. Finding him unsatisfactory, I concluded Dr. Johnson was not, after all, the great man Cousin Betsey would have me believe. She quoted him on all occasions as authority upon all
subjects. Boswell's Life of him, "Rasselas," "The Journey to the Hebrides," and "The Rambler" held places of honor upon the shelves of her small bookcase. "Read these, child," she reiterated, "and you need read nothing else. They will teach you to speak and write English,—you need no other language, —and everything else you need know except sewing and cooking." I soon became interested in her own literary work. She was, at the moment, engaged in writing a novel, "Some Fact and Some Fiction," which was to appear serially in the Southern Literary Messenger. I listened "with all my ears" to her talk concerning it with my aunt. It was to be a satire upon the affectations of the day —especially upon certain innovations in dress and custom brought by her cousin "Judy," the accomplished wife of our late Minister to France, Mr. Rives, and transplanted upon the soil of Albemarle County; also the introduction of Italian words to music in place of good old English. The heroine was exquisitely simple, her muslin gown clasped with modest pearl brooch and a rose-geranium leaf. Her language was fine Johnsonian English—a sort of vitalized "Lucilla," like the heroine in Miss Hannah More's "Coelebs." As to the Italian words for music, I blithely committed to memory this sarcastic travesty, sung for me in Cousin Betsey's sonorous contralto:—
Frog he did a' courting ride,
Rigdum bulamitty kimo—
With sword and buckler by his side—
Rigdum bulamitty kimo.
Kimo naro, delta karo!
Kimo naro, kimo!
Strim stram promedidle larabob rig
Rigdum bulamitty kimo!
This was deemed a clever satire on the unintelligible Italian words of recent songs, and ran through several verses, describing the Frog's courtship of Mistress Mouse, who seems to have been a fair lady with domestic habits who lived in a mill and was occupied with her spinning.
I was full of anticipation on the great day of the dinner-party. Mrs. Rives, Ella Page her niece, and little Amélie Rives—named for her godmother the queen of France—were the only invited guests. The house was spick and span. I filled a bowl with damask roses from the garden, sparing the microphylla, clusters that hung so prettily over the front porch. The dinner was to be at two o'clock.
A few minutes before two a sable horseman galloped up to the door, dismounted, and, scraping his foot backward as he bared a head covered with gray wool, presented a note which my aunt read aloud:—
"CASTLE HILL, Wednesday noon.
"DEAR COUSIN BETSEY:—I know you will be amiable enough to pardon me when I tell you how désolée I am to find the hours have flown unheeded by, and we are too late for your dinner! The young ladies and I were reading Byron together, and you know how
" 'Noiseless falls the foot of time
That only treads on flowers.'
I am sure you forgive us, and hope you will prove it by asking us again.
"Your affectionate cousin,
"JUDITH RIVES. "
There was an ominous pause—and then the old dame said, in her sternest magisterial manner:—
"Tell Judy Rives to read Byron less—and Lord Chesterfield more." Turning to my aunt after the dignified old servitor had bowed himself out, she said, with fine scorn: "There's no use in telling her to read Dr. Samuel Johnson! 'Désolée,' forsooth! —and 'the foot of time'! That sounds like that idiot, Tom Moore."
I had a very good time at Cousin Betsey's. I helped to pick the berries and gather the eggs from the nests in the privet hedge. Also for several days I had a steady diet of "Fuller's pies."
As to the novel, if it appeared at all it fell upon the public ear with a dull thud. Still, Cousin Betsey must have been, in her way, a great woman, for it was of her that Thomas Jefferson exclaimed, "God send she were a man, that I might make her Professor in my University."
SOMETHING akin to the tulip mania of Holland possessed the Southern country in the early thirties. The Morus multicaulis, upon the leaves of which the silkworm feeds, can be propagated from slips or cuttings. These cutting commanded a fabulous price. To plant them was to lay a sure foundation for a great fortune.
My uncle visited Richmond at a time when the mania had reached fever-heat. Men hurried through the streets, with bundles of twigs under their arms, as if they were flying from an enemy. All over the city auction sales were held, and fortunes were lost or gained—as they are to-day in Wall Street—with the fluctuations of the market. "I saw old Jerry White running with a bundle of sticks under his arm as if the devil were after him," said my uncle,—lazy, rheumatic old Jerry, who had not for years left his chimney corner in winter, or the bench upon which he basked like a lizard in summer, except to eat and sleep!
Long galleries, roofed with glass, were hastily erected all over the country, the last year's eggs of the Bombyx mori obtained at great price, and the freshly gathered leaves of the Morus multicaulis laid in readiness for their hatching.
My uncle ridiculed this madness, although as a physician it interested him.
"It does people good to stir them up," he declared. "It wakes up their livers and keeps them out of mischief. It is a fine tonic. They will need no bark and camomile while the fever lasts."
We made a pilgrimage to the distant farm of one of the maniacs. With my narrow skirts drawn closely around me, I tiptoed gingerly along the aisles dividing the long tables, and saw the hideous, grayish yellow, three-inch worms—each one armed with a rhinoceros-like horn on his head—devouring leaves for dear life. They had need for haste. Their time was short. Think of the millions of brave men and fair ladies who were waiting for the strong, shining threads it was their humble destiny to spin! Meanwhile, the lazy moths, their raison d'être having been accomplished, enjoyed in elegant leisure the evening of their days of beneficence. I saw the ease with which their spider-web thread was caught in hot water, and wound in balls as easily as I wound the wools for my aunt's knitting.
Nothing came of it all! In time all the Morus multicaulis was dug up, and good, sensible corn planted in its stead. Old Jerry found again his warm seat by the ingleside, where doubtless he
"backward mused on wasted time,"
and many a better man than poor Jerry was stricken with amazement at his own folly. Does not Morus come from the Greek word for "fool"?
Next to his Bible and the Westminster Catechism, my uncle pinned his faith to the Richmond Whig. Henry Clay was his idol. To make Henry Clay
President of the United States was something to live for. When the great man passed through Virginia, all Hanover went to Richmond to do him the honor, ourselves among the number. He was a son of Hanover, the "Mill boy of the Slashes." The old Mother of Presidents could, never fear, give yet another son to the country! No living man except Webster equalled him in all that the world holds essential to greatness—none was as dear to the mass of people. And yet neither could be elected to the post of Chief Magistrate of those adoring people!
Clay, at the time he visited Richmond, was confident he would win this honor. My uncle resolved I should see "the next President." A procession of citizens was to conduct him to a hall where a banquet awaited him. My uncle found a vacant doorstep on the line of march, and there we awaited the great man's coming. "Ah, there he comes!" exclaimed my uncle. "Look well, little girl! You may never again see the greatest man in the world." But to look was impossible. The crowd thronged us, and my uncle caught me to a vantage-ground on his shoulder. A tumbling sea of hats was all I could see! Presently a space appeared in the procession, and a tall man on the arm of another looked up with a rare smile to the small maiden, lifted his hat, and bowed to her! My uncle never allowed me to forget that one supreme moment in my child-life. To this day I cannot look at the fine bronze statuette of Henry Clay in my husband's library without a sensation born of the pride of that hour.
I am afraid the small maiden dearly loved glory!
Nobody would ever have guessed the ambitious little heart beating, the next winter, under the cherry merino; nor the conscious lips deep in her poke-bonnet that followed the prayers at church and implored mercy for a miserable sinner! For she had, during that glorious summer, another shining hour to remember. Those penitent lips had been kissed by a great man all the way from England—a man who had kissed the hand of a queen! She had a dim apprehension of virtue through the laying on of hands in church. What, then, might not come in the way of royal attribute from the laying on of lips!
Great thoughts like these so swelled my bosom that I was fain to reveal them to my little Quaker cousin at Shrubbery Hill. She received them gravely. "Oh, Sara Agnes," she ventured, "I am afraid thee is going to be one of the world's people!" All the same she had just dressed her doll Isabella in black silk, with a lace mantilla! The Princess Isabella, born, like myself, in 1830, was even then known as the future queen of Spain. It was an age of young queens.
Among the strangers from abroad who found their way to Virginia, none was more honored in Hanover than the Quaker author and philanthropist, Joseph John Gurney. He was the brother of Elizabeth Fry, who gave her life to the amelioration of the prison horrors of England.
My uncle entertained Dr. Gurney. The house was filled with guests to its utmost capacity. A picture of the long dining-tables rises before me— the gold-and-white best service, the flowers—and
the sweetest flower of all, my young aunt. She was tall and graceful and very beautiful,—with large gray eyes, dark curls framing her face, delicate features, a lovely smile! She wore a narrow gown of pearl silk, the "surplice" waist belted high, and sleeves distended at the top by means of feather cushions tied in the armholes. I remember my uncle ordered the dinner to be served quietly and in a leisurely manner. "These Englishmen eat deliberately," he said. "Only Americans bolt their food."
In the evening, after the dinner company had left, a small party gathered around the astral lamp in the parlor, and Dr. Gurney drew forth his scrapbook and pencils, and began, as he talked, to retouch sketches he had made during his journey. The parlor was simply furnished. The Virginian of that day seemed to attach small importance to the style of his furniture. His chief pride was in his table, his fine wines, his horses and equipage, and the perfect comfort he could give his guests. There was no bric-a-brac, there were no pictures or brackets on the wall. "I have now," said an artist to me, "seen everything hung on American walls except buckwheat cakes! I have seen the plate in which they were served."
This parlor at Cedar Grove admitted but one picture—a fine copy over the mantel of the School of Athens, which my cousin Charles had brought as a present for my aunt, when he last returned from abroad. She was not responsible for the taste of this inherited home, which she had not tenanted
very long. The walls of the parlor were papered with a wonderful representation of a Venetian scene —printed at intervals of perhaps four or more feet. there was a castle with turrets and battlements; and a marble stair, flanked with roses in pots, descending into the water. Down this stair came the most adorable creature in the world,—roses on her brocade gown, roses on her broad hat,—and at the foot of the stair a cavalier, also adorable, extended his hand to conduct her to the gondola in waiting. In the distance were more castles, more sea, more gondolas.
In this room the distinguished stranger met the company convened in his honor. If he gasped or shuddered at the ornate walls, he gave no sign. The little girl on the ottoman in the chimney corner, permitted to sit up late because of the rare occasion, listened with wide eyes to conversation she could not understand. Weighty matters were discussed,—for all the world was alive to the question which had to be met later,—the possibility of freeing the slaves under the present constitutional laws. This was a small gathering of the wise men of our neighborhood—come to consult a wise man from the country that had met and solved a similar problem. Perhaps all of these men had, like my uncle, given freedom to inherited slaves.
Presently I found myself, as I half dreamed in the corner, caught up by strong arms to the bosom of the great man himself. Bending over the sleepy head, he whispered a strange story—how that, far away across the seas, there was once a little girl
"just like you" who loved her play, and loved to sit up and hear grown people talk—how a lady came to her one day and said, "My child you must study and learn to deny yourself much pleasure, for soon you will be the queen of England" —how the little girl neither laughed nor cried, but said, "I will be good"—how time had gone on, and she had kept her promise and was now grown up to be a lovely lady; and sure enough, just a little while ago had been crowned queen—and how everybody was glad, because they knew, as she had been a good child, she would be a good queen.
That was a long time ago. Many things have happened and been forgotten since then; the Venetian lady and her cavalier have sailed away in unknown seas; the good Englishman has long since gone to his rest; the queen has won, God grant, an immortal crown, having lived to be old, never forgetting all along her life her promise; and the little girl has lived to be old, too! She has dreamed many dreams, but none more beautiful than the one she probably dreamed that night,—all roses and castles and gondolas, and a gracious young queen lovelier than all the rest.
Thus passed the first eight years of my life. Compared with those that followed, they were years of absolute serenity and happiness. They were not gay. This was the time when people who "feared God and desired to save their souls" felt bound to forsake the Established Church, many of whose clergy had become objects of disgust rather than of reverence. Dissenters and Quakers lived all around
us; my uncle and aunt were Presbyterians, and I heard little but sober talk in my early years. Sometimes we attended the silent meetings of the Quakers, and sometimes old St. Martin's, to which many of our Episcopal friends belonged. Extreme asceticism, however, was as far from the temper of my aunt and uncle as was the extreme of dissipation. They were strict in the observance of the Sabbath and of all religious duties. Temperance in speech and living, moderation, serenity,—these ruled the life at Cedar Grove.
And so, although I cannot claim that
"There was a star that danced,
And under it I was born,"
I look back with gratitude unspeakable to a beautiful childhood, and bless the memory of those who suffered no "shapes of ill to hover near it," and mar its perfect innocence.
WHEN it was found that a refined and intelligent society was inclined to crystallize around the court green of Albemarle County, it became imperative to choose a fitting name for a promising young village.
In 1761 there was a charming princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; intelligent, amiable, and only seventeen years of age. She had stepped forth from the conventional ranks of the young noblewomen of her day, and written a spirited letter to Frederick the Great, in which she entreated him to stop the ravages of war then desolating the German States. She had painted in vivid colors the miseries resulting from the brutality of the Prussian soldiery.
It appears that this letter reached the eyes of the Prince of Wales. He fell in love with the letter before he ever knew the writer. In the same year that he, as George III, ascended the throne of England, the lovely Charlotte, Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, became his wife. Charlottesville, then, was a name of happy omen for the pretty little town, and in three more years a county was created, it would seem, expressly that it might be called "Mecklenburg," and yet again a slice taken from another county to form the county of Charlotte.
The colony of Virginia was strewn thickly with the names of royal England: King and Queen, Charles City,—Charlestown,—King George, King William, William and Mary, Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Caroline, Prince George, Henrico, Prince William. No less than four rivers were named in honor of the good Queen Anne: Rapidan, North Anna, South Anna, Rivanna. We might almost call the roll of the House of Lords from a list of Virginia counties.
Twenty-four years after the Princess Charlotte had become a queen, Mrs. Abigail Adams, as our minister's wife, was presented at the Court of St. James. Alas for time,—and perhaps for prejudice, —she found, in place of the charming princess, an "embarrassed woman, not well-shaped nor handsome, although bravely attired in purple and silver." The interview was cold and stilted, but all the "embarrassment" was on the part of royalty.
There had been a recent unpleasantness between John Bull and Brother Jonathan; King George, however, brave Briton as he was, broke the ice, and startled Mrs. Adams by giving her a hearty kiss! She could not venture, however, to remind the queen that we had named counties in her honor. She might, in her present state of mind, have deemed it an impertinence on our part.
I am so impatient under descriptions of scenery,
that I do not like to inflict them upon others. But
I wish I could stand with my reader upon the
elliptic plain formed by cutting down the apex of
Monticello. He would, I am sure, appreciate the