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or of a Northerner to say that he has a charm of manner that they in their busier and more populous world have long forgotten.
As we cross the lawn the shadows of half-a-dozen great oaks in which the general takes especial pride, are just dying from off the grass. The "bull-bats" or nighthawks in the air above us are circling to and fro. Against the dark hedges of box and arbor vitæ and trellises laden with honeysuckles, the fireflies, when the short twilight fades into night, will soon begin to dance their ceaseless round; various trees, both deciduous and evergreen, have been scattered about at different times by different Montagues. Here are mulberries that speak of a time some forty years ago when the culture of the silk-worm was being urged by the French upon the Virginian planters as a
will be much that is refreshing in this old Virginia home. The present house, built upon the site of the original homestead, dates back only to the year 1794, and was planned, a family tradition relates, by Mr. Jefferson, who was a second cousin of the then proprietor. However that may be, we have at any rate the long portico resting on white fluted columns which the great statesman is said to have done a great deal in making characteristic of Southern country houses. The high brick walls are unrelieved by ivy or by creepers, but the green venetian shutters thrown wide open almost cover the space between the many windows, while behind, innumerable offices and buildings of every conceivable shape and material, and set at all angles, gradually lose themselves among the stems of a grove of stately oaks. In the lawn fence before which our car-means of utilizing the mass of female riage stops, fifty yards short of the front door, there used to be a big gate, and a sweep up to the house for driving purposes, but in these rough and ready days, when there is no regiment of juvenile dependents to keep the weeds picked off, the turf has been allowed to usurp every thing that it will, and little vestige is left of the once frequented gravel track. So we dismount at the wicket gate which now is sufficient for all purposes, not, however, before Caleb has rent the air with a tremendous shout, and brought from the back quarters of the house a stout negro woman, and a very irresponsible-looking boy of the same persuasion, whose black faces beam with the Ethiopian instinct of pleasure at anything like company. Nor are these the only answers to the stentorian appeals of Caleb which in the South do duty for door bells, but half-a-dozen foxhounds and setters come bounding towards us with open mouths and bellowing throats. From behind the masses of annual creepers, that, trained on wires, stretch from pillar to pillar of the portico and screen its occupants from view, the flash of a newspaper is for a moment seen, and an elderly gentleman descends the stone steps and comes towards us with hospitable haste. His hair and moustache are as white as snow, his face well chiselled, his figure erect, and his eye clear. A somewhat shabby garb is forgotten in the gentleman as he greets us cordially and simply, but with an old-fashioned, gracious hospitality this undecorated and unpensioned hero of a hundred fights. It is no disparagement to the breeding of an Englishman
and decrepit labor that was increasing on their hands. Here the mimosa, most beautiful of trees, invites the hummingbirds, which in summer mornings hover among its fragile leaves. The shapely maple from the forests of western Virginia, the silver aspen, the acacia, the cherry, all are there. An English holly, brought from eastern Virginia, where it is indigenous, has for many a year given the genuine touch to Christmas decorations of house and church, of which the general, who planted the tree as a boy, has always been proud, though not so proud as he is of the magnolia which he brought himself from Louisiana, long before the war, and which now taps the eaves of the house at the corner where, as a mere shrub, he planted it.
As from the depths of a cane chair upon the broad verandah we see the short twilight fade, and through the waving streamers of bignonia, cypress, and Madeira vines, we watch the full moon rising slowly into the sky, and shedding its light over mountain, field, and woodland, there is a sense of peace and softness over everything that speaks of a happy latitude where the extremes of northern and southern climes temper one another, and where a singularly picturesque country echoes to the sounds of a singularly pic turesque and old-world life. There would most probably come over the senses of the stranger a feeling of having at last lit upon a spot in rural America that had not been regarded as the mere temporary abode of a family engaged in the produc tion of dollars, but where there is the look of a race having long taken root, to whom
dollars were not everything. The sights | price of wheat, and the improvement of and sounds of farmhouse life are near the the country roads, dashed now and again door it is true, yet it is the old home of a with allusions to the advantage which the family whom you would have no difficulty young republic would gain from sympa in believing, did you not know it, to have thy with France rather than with her been something more than farmers. unnatural parent Great Britain. Here too, Patrick Henry, the greatest popular orator America ever produced, with his long face and eagle eye, hangs above an armchair which a family legend treasures as having rested the old man groaning under the ingratitude of his countrymen. upon his last political campaign. There engravings of the Vienna Congress, of Queen Victoria, and of the famous royalist Colonel Tarleton, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, remind you that blood after all is thicker than water. Two or three ladies. in the costume of the first George, and as many gentlemen in wigs and swords, could tell you, if they could speak, of the big square mansion of English bricks upon the Chesapeake shore which they still looked upon as the home of their race, and there too in the post of honor above the high chimney-piece is the general's uncle, the senator, who, as every one in America knows, was minister to France in 183-.
Within the house a broad hall reaches from end to end; its floors shining and slippery with polish; its walls wainscoted half-way to the ceiling, their upper half simply whitewashed and covered with emblems of rural life. Antlers of deer killed fifty years ago in the dense forests on the eastern border of the county, or trophies of more recent expeditions across the Blue Ridge to the wild hunting grounds of the Alleghanies. Suspended from these hang old shot-flasks and powderhorns that have served the general and his generation in days gone by, before trouble fell upon the land. In the corner stands the Joe Manton and the long Kentucky rifle, that five-and-twenty years ago were the weapons of the Southern squire in stubble and in forest respectively. Here, on another wall, a younger generation of nephews from Richmond or Baltimore, who look on the home of their fathers as a happy hunting-ground for autumn holidays, have hung their "Greeners " and their cartridge belts. The remainder of the wall is relieved by a map of the county, a picture of the University of Virginia, the Capitol at Richmond, and several illustrated and framed certificates of prizes taken by the general at agricul
Here, too, in utter defiance of the com. monest rules of modern decorative art, hang specimens of the earlier efforts of photography, framed moreover in fir cones and in forest leaves! French - looking men in grey uniforms with stars upon the collars of their tunics. In the centre are Lee and Jackson. Around them are those of this family and their friends who fought and bled by their side. The other rooms apart from the furniture are much the same. There is a library where the books are kept in high, glass-covered shelves, and where modern periodicals, Richmond, New York, and local papers, with pirated editions of some of the English reviews,
It is in the drawing-room, however, that the treasures of the family are collected. Here again oak wainscoting and whitewash, with carved chimney-pieces clambering up towards the ceiling, silently protest against your conventional ideas of America; and here too the floor for the winter carpets have not yet been laid down shines with polish, and is treach-lie erous to walk upon. Brass dog-irons of ponderous build, and as old as the house, shine against the warm brick hearth, waiting for the logs that the cool October nights will soon heap upon them. Oldfashioned tables that suggest all kinds of grandmotherly skill in silk and worsted, cluster in the corners of the room. Upon the walls hang the celebrities that the good Virginian delights to honor. Here Washington, surrounded by the notables of his time, both men and women, is hold. ing his first reception. Here Mr. Jefferson looks down upon an old cabinet containing bundles of his private letters to the general's grandfather, full of the
scattered on the table. A dining-room also wainscoted and whitewashed, with a long table in the centre, surrounded by cane-bottomed chairs, a bare floor, a sideboard containing some curious specimens of old silver, and a chimney-piece devoted entirely to petroleum lamps meant to eat in, not to sit in. There is no bell in the house, but it is not much wanted, as an obsequious darkey even in these days of freedom follows you to your room and anticipates your wants.
When supper is over (for late dinner has never crept into southern life, even Baltimore still dines at unearthly hours), we drift naturally into the verandah. The general's wife has appeared and made tea,
but you will not see much of her. She has a soft voice, has once been pretty, and was a Harrison of Sussex County- -a distinction which in Southern cars has the same sort of ring as that of a Courtenay of Devon, or a Percy of Northumberland would have in this more exacting land. She will tell you, if you ask her, that there were many months between '61 and '65 in which she was glad to get a little cornflour, and green coffee, and also of how she buried the plate beneath the magnolia on the lawn when the Yankee general threatened to make "Oak Ridge" his headquarters, and how the negroes remained faithful to her all through the war, and cried when they were told they were free and had to go. She captivated the general thirty years ago at the White Sulphur Springs; and in the comprehensive ideas of kinship which exist in Virginia they doubtless up to that time ranked as cousins.
The general has sent to the barn for some tobacco, and through bowls of red clay such as were smoked by the father of Pocahontas, and long reed stems from the swamps of North Carolina, we blow clouds into the balmy night, and listen to the general's stories of the past.
The general, of course, talks over old days. He has sobered down about the war. In fact, like many of his neighbors, he was himself against secession, or all thoughts of it, till the mutual aggravations and the complications of those feverish times drove him into the struggle in which he so pre-eminently distinguished himself. He is immensely proud of the part his State played in the war, however, and if you saw him every day for six months, he might bore you on the subject; but who can be surprised that the stirring scenes of those five years should be uppermost in the evening of a life that has otherwise been spent in the unbroken monotony of country pursuits?
He never liked the North, and never had anything in common with them. Their ways were not his ways, and for years the intolerance of either waxed stronger from a mutual ignorance born of absolute social separation. He has, however, little rancor left, and is conscious rather of having | come well out of the struggle in at least public estimation. His fallen grandeur is soothed by being made the hero of the novels and the magazine articles of his prosperous and triumphant but generous foe. He lives in dignified retirement, courting no man, and civil to all; but they, in the fulness of their heart, forget the
stubbornness of his rebellious blade, and in the growing cosmopolitanism of their rampant prosperity, pat him on the head as a curious historic and social relic of which nationally they are proud. He rather likes all this, but takes it with his tobacco, puts it in his pipe, and smokes it, in fact, as he used to thirty years ago the bloodhound stories. Outside opinion to the general and his generation are not of much consequence, as death alone will put an end to the conviction that he and his compeers are representatives of a past social state that was superior to everything, not only in America, but on earth.
The general's only brother was a captain in a U. S. cavalry regiment when the war broke out, and he will tell you of the struggle of conscience that decided the latter against his worldly interests to a course that some partisan historians have flippantly stigmatized as treachery · a treachery that very often gave up comfort and future honors, friends and professional devotion, for the cause their native State had seen fit to embrace, whose hopelessness was far better realized by such men than by their civilian and untravelled brethren at home. He was killed at Shiloh, and his sword hangs in the hall; while our friend, his brother, who had never seen anything till then but a militia muster, rose to be a general.
It is a common fallacy to credit the Southern planter with an unusual amount of profanity. Whatever may be the case in the extreme South, the ordinary conversation of the Virginian of all classes is more free from bad language than that of any Anglo-Saxon community on either side of the Atlantic I have ever come across. The general is certainly no exception to this rule, and as a fair speci men of his class, has a strong reverence for religion, and respect for the Episcopal Church of which he, like his fathers before him, is a member. The parson who officiates in the building whose wooden spire we could see peeping above the general's woods were it daylight, has ex-officio eaten his Sunday dinners at Oak Ridge ever since the Montagues revived Episcopacy in the county after the lapse caused by its identification with Toryism during and after the Revolutionary War.
The general still reads the lessons on Sundays, and when some unusually ancient and "good old tune" is sung, his deep voice may be heard booming lustily above the piercing notes of the rustic choir. Here upon the verandah, with his
legs crossed and his chair tilted back
"I know we were provincial and egotistic. We thought ourselves bigger men VOL. XLIII. 2188
than we really were, but our political control at Washington did much in saving us from the mental stagnation that our bare literary record might imply.
"Whatever else we were, we were al ways farmers and country gentlemen, but, in addition, were often judges, senators, bankers, physicians; that the Yankees, when the war broke out, thought we were enervated by luxury, is a proof of how little the two sections knew of one another in those days (and I sometimes think they don't know much more now.) There never was luxury in your sense of the word in Virginia. Such as you see my home to-day it has always been, and the meal my wife gave you to-night you would have got in 1860,- for thank God and a good plantation and a taste for farming, I have never since the year after the war had to want for the ordinary comforts of life. I pay more attention to grass and improved cattle than of old. I have seeded much of my alluvial low ground to timothy, and cut all the hay I require every year from them, and the rest produces as heavy crops of Indian corn per acre as the Ohio valley, and has done so from time immemorial. Upon the poorer uplands I range my cattle, and grow what wheat and oats my own people and horses require. I have set out a vineyard which is fast coming into bearing, and have planted several hundred peach and apple trees, for the benefit, if not of myself, at any rate of those that come after me. Negro tenants cultivate the odd corners of the property in tobacco and corn on shares with me, and upon the whole I have no great cause to complain.
Twenty years ago, however, it is not at all likely you would have been sitting in the porch alone with me as you now are. The chances are, there would have been half a dozen here, and double the number of young folks frolicking in the parlor. We sometimes scare up a right smart crowd, even now, when the city people are out here in the summer; but, bless me, I've seen the men lying so thick on the floors, tucked up for the night, you could hardly get about the house without treading on them.
"Then, in those days, as I before said, you knew who was who. Now if your daughter goes out to a dance in the neighborhood, the chances are she is escorted home by young Smith whose father kept the store at the forks of the road yonder when I was a boy, or young Jones who measures calico in a dry goods store in town. Perhaps that's all right; mind
you, I don't want to say anything against | silently in the balmy night. The cease
it. We are a free country now, and a republic (worse luck to it), but I sometimes feel like the old Lord Fairfax, who, on hearing in the backwoods of Augusta County, of Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, told his servant to carry him up-stairs to die, as there was no use in his living any longer.'
"Then there was a large class of good, honest yeoman farmers living amongst us, also slave-holders, that were welcome to a seat at our table, or a bed for that matter, if they came along, and with whom we were on a familiar and friendly footing, but still they were not of us. Their families and ours did not even pretend to associate. The annual call they made perhaps as neighbors was a mere relic of very old colonial days when families were more dependent on one another, and a sort of feeble protest against class distinctions - -a mere show of equality that hurt nobody and amounted to nothing, and that the very negroes laughed at. But if we held our heads above the large yeoman who very often had considerable property, and nearly as many negroes, sometimes more than we had, they in their turn looked down on the smaller farmers, who again revenged themselves by their contempt for the overseers and the poor whites. In fact," says the general, laughing, we were a powerfully aristocratic people, I promise you, and you will find the fires still smouldering through the country now, and working with the new elements if you lived here long enough to get below the surface
"Mar'se George. Oh,* Mar'se George." The voice is Caleb's from out the darkness; he has stolen round the house and his white teeth are flashing on us from the foot of the verandah steps.
"Hullo, Caleb, what's up?"
"Mar'se George, sah dars suthin the matter wid dat ar sorrel mar agin, 'pears like she's powerful oneasy a snortin' an' a gwine on; I thote I'd jes git you to step round an' look at her."
While the general, who, like all Southerners, can not only break, buy, and ride a horse, whether he be farmer, merchant, or lawyer, but doctor one, too, in a rough and ready fashion, gets his stable lantern and hurries across the lawn towards the lodging of the "sorrel mar," we revel
Oh-the universal Southern prefix when calling any one is barely spellable, and is pronounced in various ways, and long or short according to the distance the voice has to travel. Oh, aw-er, aw, waw-er, as nearly represent the actual sounds as anything could.
less trill of frogs and tree-crickets seems to grow louder now; all sounds of human voices have ceased; great-winged beetles and cockchafers go swinging through the trellis work of cypress and trumpet flowers, and fall with a thud upon the verandah floor; bats flit backwards and forwards before the lighted windows; the night owl hoots gloomily from the orchard, and the whip-poor-will fills the valley below with his plaintive song; fireflies dance against the dark background of shrubbery, while the great oak-trees above us gently rustle their leaves on which the moonlight is streaming from a sky cloudless and twinkling with a myriad stars.
"Then as for sport," continued the general, having once again seated himself at his favorite angle, "those antlers in the hall were of course not taken here. Of partridges and turkeys we had plenty, and still have, but my father was a great sportsman, and we owned, like many other families, a quantity of wild land in one of the, south-western mountain counties. In fact, nearly the whole of County at that time belonged to us. It did not amount to very much as a property. Our Virginia mountaineers are tough customers, and they squatted all over the valleys at a nominal rent, which had to be drawn from them like their eye teeth. The old gentleman, however, had a fancy for the place, and used to come home with a whole string of horses behind him as the revenue of his principality. But we boys, and indeed all our friends, used to look forward keenly to the annual excursion to the mountains. My father had a pack of hounds of which he was exceedingly proud, and with which he would hunt foxes at home, and deer when we went to County. A long cavalcade it used to be that every October started from this door for the mountains. My father and one of his old cronies in the big carriage, two wagons full of provender, ammunition, blankets, etc., and fifteen or twenty friends and servants, mounted on saddlehorses in the rear. The ninety miles used to give us three days of travelling, and at the end our mountaineer tenants used to throng to meet us at the rude shooting-box with stories of deer and 'bar,' wonderful to listen to, and with eyes looking wistfully at the corner where the whiskey jar always stood. I could fill the night with stories of the odd ways and curious simple lives of these mountaineers, though none of them were such curiosities as old Jake, my father's negro