« PředchozíPokračovat »
are (at least in this part of the country,) not long in making up their acquaintance. The young man of Abington, whose name is B- was one of your noble, fine looking men, and though stout, possessed of much personal beauty, and grace of manner. He was good natured, moderately improved, yet still enough 80 for his age, being very young: he was shortly after this, married to the young and beautiful Mrs. Trigg, of Wythe. Our Irishman was a comical, gay, lively man, of about thirty, a little crazed when sober, a good deal so when tipsy. The Tennesseean was a middle aged man, of the inferior order, he was ugly, ignorant, and in short, he was a complete boor, if it be good English. Clown, as he is too surely, he must have the back seat, the only one with a back belonging to the stage, which was nothing but an old rattletrap. However, this made no difference: I was prejudiced against him at first sight. Meantime I was relieved by the driver, who informed me, we would soon meet the Nashville line, which was more comfortable.
For the distance of a mile, after leaving Huntsville, the road is causewayed with huge logs, and so soon as the stage was on it, we were sadly jolted. Our Irishman acted the inerry Andrew to perfection, uttering as many “Oh laws” as Sancho, after his discomfiture by the mule-drivers. - Oh Lord, sir! do speak to your horses, and tell them to go more softly; Oh law, O! they are the most uncivil horses 'ever I saw." The horses were actually the best of their kind, and seemed to understand every word of their master perfectly. After we were clear of the causeway, the road, though level, was narrow and crooked, often interrupted with stumps of trees : going at the rate we went, it required the utmost skill to avoid them. When the driver would see danger before him, he would address his horses with“ look sharp," or“ take care," that moment the animals would be seen looking up the road, and would avoid the danger, with all the caution of reasonable beings.
The first day brought us to Winchester, in Tennes.
Winchester is the seat of justice for Franklin county; it is a handsome village, many of the buildings are well built, of brick. It contains a CourtHouse, a church, a post office, an academy and other schools. The land is beautiful and fertile. From Huntsville to this place, forty miles, the soil and its productions are the same, viz. rich and level. Here we change our driver, as is the practice ; I dislike the practice.
Next morning before day, all on the road again, in health and good spirits. Our Irishman having invigorated his spirits, with a portion of the spirits of corn, was doubly amusing ; his tongue outwent the wheels of the stage, and his countenance defied description. It was ludicrous enough, to see him earnestly rumaging his pocket-book, while some dowdy fat woman endeavoured to keep up with the stage, to get the letter from her father, mother, or acquaintance,” whilst he vociferated the driver, for not stopping his borses, till he gave the lady the letter. Anon he has some awkward boy or girl, by the way-side, staring at“ has Jim come from mill yet?” When he could make us laugh no other way, he would insist upon drinking out of the horse-bucket, and that after the horses had done, for which he was sumetimes censured by the driver, with." sir, why did'nt you drink before I watered my horses." What a happy knack some people have! I have often wondered whether it affords such characters the same amusement it does others, as their aim appears solely to amuse the company. This man of happy disposition, once independent (as I have since understood,) well reared and ed. ucated, is now not worth a cent, and yet how merry he is! Is not a disposition like his a fortune.
MacMinville.--The second day brought us to MacMinville, the seat of justice for Warren county. The land is low and flat. After leaving Winchester, you see no more cotton fields. The soil, though equally rich, gradually changes from a redish to a black color,
presenting a flat, even surface, from thence to Cumberland mountain, which occasions bad water, and sickness, but produces Indian corn in abundance. Here the Huntsville stage-line ends, and the Nashville stage takes in the travellers. But if it be too full, as is sometimes the case, the Huntsville stage passengers
have to remain at MacMinville till the next stage. The Nashville stage brought but three passengers, and our Irishman going no farther, we got a seat, as it happened. I was gratified that our Tennessee boor had to give up the back seat, which was the exclusive privilege of those first in the stage. I had much rather have dropped the Tennesseean, as we were now nearly laden with the baggage of the strangers, he being very heavy, and had not three ideas in bis head. Our new fellow travellers were, a young
Doctor who lived in Knoxville, 'a Mr. Mager (or Major,) who lived in Philadelphia, to which city he was returning, after a three years residence in New-Orleans, as agent
a for his father. He was modest, genteel, and communicative, with a countenance glowing with benevolence and good humour. I don't know when I was more disappointed; I had always understood, that the young men of Philadelphia were inanimate, ignorant, reserved, and unsociable; a greater contrast, perhaps, never existed than the present. The charms of this amiable stranger, left a lasting impression on my memory. Our third and last stranger, was, I believe a merchant, clerk, or something like that, direct from Nashville, but where his place of residence, I never learned; for although two days in company, he did not in that time, speak more than half a dozen 'words. He was one of your close calculating, suspicious, distant, contracted men, his countenance a complete contrast to the openness and candour of our Philadelphian. The young Dr. of Knoxville, in few words, was a pert little fop, and an ignoramus besides. Such are the travellers that now joined us.
We set out from MacMinville* long before day, and long before we reached Sparta, a little village, where we were to change horses, and breakfast, it rained excessively. At length we reached Sparta, at the foot of Cumberland mountain. Sparta is the seat of justice for White county, it has some very neatly built houses, of brick, contains a church, a court-house, a post office, and unfortunately for us, two taverns. My friend of Abington, proposed to take breakfast at one of these, a different one from that at wbich the stages were wont to stop ; the fare, he said, was much better, and withal, cheaper: this however, would have had but little weight with us, but the proprietor was a worthy man, and a new beginner. We therefore closed with his proposal. But this circumstance put it out of our heads to enter our names, at the stage office, which was kept at the other tavern, and here the new driver, a huge, rough, red headed fellow, comes posting upon us in a violent passion, swearing he would leave us, and in fact he was very near it; he did wait, however, until some of our party ran to enter our names on the way-bill. While they were absent, he and our tavern-keeper had nearly come to blows, because he did not apprise us of our duty. But as the tavernkeeper waxed warm, the other grew cool, and upon the interference of the travellers, the storm blew over. I suspected, what I afterwards found true, that the mighiy offence, was that we gave the preference to the new tavern. This was the meanesi driver I met with on the route.
Near Sparta they have found salt water, from which they already make a considerable quantity of salt. Within a few miles, also, there is a spacious cave, called the arch cave, a great natural curiosity, i having an arch-way under ground, the distance of a mile in length, through which persons may walk upright, from one end to the other. An opening being
* A village, called after M Min, Governor of Tennessee. It is growing fast.
at each end, sufficiently wide to admit one person. Some salt-petre has been made at this cave, and a great quantity, I am told, might be made were it properly attended to. At Sparta, and at the new tavern too, we met several members of the Legislature, on their way from East Tennessee, going on to Murfreesborough, to hold their session. We were sorry to impart bad news to them, but it was little less than our duty to do so. Their house in which they intended to convene, viz. the state house, was just burnt to the foundation, only two nights before; the gentlemen who joined us at MacMinville, saw its remains smoking on the morning of the succeeding day. Respecting this dreadful business, different opinions prevail ; some suspected the people of Nashville, and some the people of Jefferson, in order, as was supposed, that the seat of Government would be moved, at least the approaching session. But in this, if this was the view, they were disappointed, as I have since learned, they convened in a church.
Cumberland Mountain. This was an unlucky day throughout, we were so heavily laden, the mountain to ascend, and the rain had rendered the road deep and difficult. Such being the case, we had to walk on foot a great part of the way up the mountain, all but our Tennessee clown, who feigned himself sick; but I shall ever think he was any thing else than sick, and worse than all this, we have to travel all night. The Cumberland mountain, where we cross it, is sixty miles wide. About day-light we arrived at the foot of " Spencer's Hill," by far the steepest part of the mountain. When you are on the summit of this part of Cumberland, you have a grand view of this stupendous pile. The eye ranges over the whole, without control, to an immense distance, the mountain throwing itself into a thousand different shapes and curva. tures, assuming different hues, as they are near or remote. I was much pleased at the enthusiastic effusions of our Philadelphian, to whom the sight was new, he