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which it grows parsimonious. Men who are isolated from society by distance, feel these wants by an instinct, and are grateful for an opportunity to relieve them. In Meriwether the sentiment goes beyond this. It has, besides, something dialectic in it. His house is open to everybody, as freely almost as an inn. But to see him when he has had the good fortune to pick up an intelligent, educated gentleman, and particularly one who listens well!—a respectable, assentatious stranger !—All the better if he has been in the Legislature, and better still, if in Congress. Such a person caught within the purlieus of Swallow Barn, may set down one week's entertainment as certain-inevitable, and as many more as he likes, the more the merrier. He will know some. thing of the quality of Meriwether's rhetoric before he is gone.
Then again, it is very pleasant to see Frank's kind and considerate bearing towards his servants and dependents. His slaves appreciate this, and hold him in most affectionate reverence, and, therefore, are not only contented, but happy under his dominion.
Whilst Frank Meriwether amuses himself with his quiddities, and floats through life upon the current of his humor, his dame, my excellent cousin Lucretia, takes charge of the household affairs, as one who has a reputation to stake upon her administration. She has made it a perfect science, and great is her fame in the dispensation thereof!
Those who visited Swallow Barn will long remember the morning stir, of which the murmurs arose even unto the chambers, and fell upon the ears of the sleepers ; the dryrubbing of foors, and even the waxing of the same until they were like ice ;-and the grinding of coffee-mills ;-and
the gibber of ducks and chickens and turkeys; and all the multitudinous concert of homely sounds. And then, her breakfasts! I do not wish to be counted extravagant, but a small regiment might march in upon her without disappointment, and I would put them for excellence and variety against anything that ever was served upon platter. Moreover, all things go like clock-work. She rises with the lark, and infuses an early vigor into the whole household. And yet, she is a thin woman to look upon, and a feeble ; with a sallow complexion, and a pair of animated black eyes which impart a portion of fire to a countenance otherwise demure from the paths worn across it, in the frequent
el of a low-country ague. But, although her life has been somewhat saddened by such visitations, my cousin is too spirited a woman to give up to them; for she is therapeutical, and considers herself a full match for
any reasonable tertian in the world. Indeed, I have sometimes thought that she took more pride in her leechcraft than becomes a Christian woman; she is even a little vain-glorious. For, to say nothing of her skill in compounding simples, she has occasionally brought down upon her head the sober remonstrances of her husband, by her pertinacious faith in the efficacy of certain spells in cases of intermittent. But there is no reasoning against her experience. She can enumerate the cases“and men may say what they choose about its being contrary to reason, and all that ;-it is their way! But seeing is believing-nine scoops of water in the hollow of the hand, from the sycamore spring, for three mornings, before sunrise, and a cup of strong coffee with lemon-juice, will break an ague, try it when you will.” In short, as Frank says, “Lucretia will die in that creed.”
I am occasionally up early enough to be witness to her morning regimen, which, to my mind, is rather tyrannically
enforced against the youngsters of her numerous family, both white and black. She is in the habit of preparing some death-routing decoction for them, in a small pitcher, and administering it to the whole squadron in succession, who severally swallow the dose with a most ineffectual effort at repudiation, and gallop off, with faces all rue and wormwood.
Everything at Swallow Barn, that falls within the superintendence of my cousin Lucretia is a pattern of industry. In fact, I consider her the very priestess of the American system, for, with her, the protection of manufactures is even more a passion than a principle. Every here and there, over the estate, may be seen, rising in humble guise above the shrubbery, the rude chimney of a log cabin, where all the livelong day, the plaintive moaning of the spinningwheel rises fitfully upon the breeze, like the fancied notes of a hobgoblin, as they are sometimes imitated in the stories with which we frighten children. In these laboratories the negro women are employed in preparing yarn for the loom, from which is produced not only a comfortable supply of winter clothing for the working people, but some excellent carpets for the house.
It is refreshing to behold how affectionately vain our good hostess is of Frank, and what deference she shows to him in all matters, except those that belong to the home depart. ment; for there she is confessedly and without appeal, the paramount power. It seems to be a dogma with her, that he is the very “first man in Virginia," an expression which in this region has grown into an emphatic provincialism. Frank, in return, is a devout admirer of her accomplishments, and although he does not pretend to have an ear for music, he is in raptures at her skill on the harpsichord, when she plays at night for the children to dance; and
he sometimes sets her to singing “ The Twins of Latona,” and “Old Towler," and "The Rose-Tree in Full Bearing" (she does not study the modern music), for the entertainmeni of his company. On these occasions, he stands by the instrument, and nods his head, as if he comprehended the airs.
HOW HORSE-SHOE AND ANDREW CAPTURED FIVE MEN. (From Horse Shoe Robinson, a Tale of the Tory Ascendancy in S. C.*)
[Mistress Ramsay speaking to Horse-Shoe Robinson:] “ Who should come in this morning, just after my
husband had cleverly got away on his horse, but a young cocka-whoop ensign, that belongs to Ninety-Six, and four great Scotchmen with him, all in red coats; they had been out thieving, I warrant, and were now going home again. And who but they! Here they were, swaggering all about my house—and calling for this—and calling for that—as if they owned the fee-simple of every thing on the plantation. And it made my blood rise, Mr. Horse Shoe, to see them run out in the yard, and catch up my chickens and ducks, and kill as many as they could string about them and I not daring to say a word : though I did give them a piece of my mind, too.”
“Who is at home with you?” inquired the sergeant eagerly.
“Nobody but my youngest boy, Andrew," answered the dame. “And then, the filthy, toping rioters—" she continued, exalting her voice.
“What arms have you in the house?” asked Robinson, without heeding the dame's rising anger.
“We have a rifle, and a horseman's pistol that belongs to John.—They must call for drink, too, and turn my house, of a Sunday morning, into a tavern."
* By permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, N. Y.
“They took the route towards Ninety-Six, you said, Mistress Ramsay?'
“Yes,—they went straight forward upon the road. But, look you, Mr. Horse-Shoe, you're not thinking of going after them?
“Isn't there an old field, about a mile from this, on that road?” inquired the sergeant, still intent upon his own thoughts.
“There is,” replied the dame; “ with the old school-house
“A lop-sided, rickety log-cabin in the middle of the field. Am I right, good woman?”
“I know the place very well,” said the sergeant, very thoughtfully ; "there is woods just on this side of it.”
“That's true,” replied the dame; “but what is it you are thinking about, Mr. Robinson?"
“How long before this rain began was it that they quitted this house?”
" Not above fifteen minutes."
“Mistress Ramsay, bring me the rifle and pistol bothand the powder-horn and bullets."
“As you say, Mr. Horse Shoe,” answered the dame, as she turned round to leave the room ; “but I am sure I can't sus. picion what you mean to do.”
In a few moments the woman returned with the weapons, and gave
them to the sergeant. “ Where is Andy?” asked Horse-Shoe.
The hostess went to the door and called her son, and, almost immediately afterwards, a sturdy boy of about twelve or fourteen years of age entered the apartment, his clothes