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though these creatures, except the old lady, were little
qualified to amuse, farther than it presented human na-
ture in a new light. Concealing my embarrassment
with all the care I could muster, I introduced common
topics, such as weather, and how long they had lived
there, how many children, &c.; I soon gathered her
history. She was a native of Maryland, but had lived
in Virginia for the last eight years; and for the last
eighteen months on the place where she then lived. This
last place was a low flat situation, from which cause, as
she conjectured, her family had been sick great part of the
time. She had, besides small children, four daughters that
were grown. But alas! what a falling off: those young
people seemed no more than lumps of breathing clay.
Without their sprightliness, they possessed no morc
judgment than children. Whether that apathy depicted
in their every look, and inaction exhibited in their move-
ments, was the effect of their disorder, climate, educa-
tion, or mental defect, I was unable to discover; but its
effect on me was that of mingled disgust and horror.

To divert my feelings, I walked into the piazza, and commenced a conversation with a traveller, a young man, the only one about the house. He lived some distance up the country; had been to Alexandria; was on foot, and was waiting for a waggon, which he expected from Alexandria that evening, to ride on to his residence. While conversing with this stranger, I discovered sufficient matter of amusement for the remainder of the evening. This was a bank of oyster shells, at the end of the porch; the first I had seen. I suspected what they were at first sight, when it was confirmed by the young man. These shells are very like muscle shells; they are, however, much longer in proportion to the width; much thicker, and differ from a muscle shell in this, viz: they have a protuberance on the inside; nor is the cavity of the shell as deep as that of the latter. The extremity of each end is not so pointed as that of a muscle shell; they differ in size from one to seven inches in length; they are broad at one end, in the shape of a negro child's foot. Whilst I was admiring those shells, a waggon drove up to the door, which proved to

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be the one in which the young man was to take his pas-
sage, and to my infinite delight it was loaded with oys-
ters! Curiosity was now fully gratified. We soon had
a quantity produced from the waggon and laid on the
fire in the shell, which is called roasting oysters. A lit-
tle time serves to make them sufficiently done ; we next
had them fryed, stewed, &c. From what I had heard
respecting oysters, I made up my mind, that either I
would be immoderately fond of them, or dislike them al-
together; but neither these conclusions proved the re-
sult. For, although I could eat them very well, I was
by no means enamoured with them; and was at a loss
to account for that enthusiastic admiration on the one
hand, and that violent dislike on the other, expressed on
the subject of oysters, as an article of food. That fond-
ness which many attain, must be acquired from habit
I have since been told, that they are esteemed for their
flavor; but I did not find it agreeable, or the contrary.
I heard a great deal said about the appearance of fresh
oysters, (pickled oysters are common in the west.) I
had heard them compared sometimes to one thing, and
sometimes to another; and amongst other things, to a
piece of fat meat; but no comparison I had heard was
a just illustration of the oyster. If it be like any thing,
it is like one of those tendons, or large gristles, which
are attached to beef-shins, when boiled very tender. It
resembles this more than any thing else, both in color
and substance; it is flexible like the gristle, when hot
but differs from it in this: it has a hard substance re-
sembling a kernal towards one end; the largest is, in
size, something like a man's thumb; but to those who
have seen pickled oysters, this last is needless.


At length night arrived, and with it came O'Neal, the landlord, and likewise a troop of rough looking men, who had, like him, been at the sale. O'Neal as well as his companions, had been sacrificing to Bacchus, which rendered them rather unwelcome guests. A little while after their arrival, supper, which consisted of coffee, chickens, butter, cheese, and biscuit, was placed on the table; (in a different room from the bar room.) I had not the courage, however, to sup with such a savage

looking group: and felt no very pleasing sensations,
while I from the fire beheld the party at the table in the
same room where I was seated. Their conversation
was not absolutely without sense; but so loud and so
mingled with oaths and horse-laughs, added to their
fierce eyes, and red faces, that it put my western cour-
age to the test. To my infinite joy the whole group de-
parted after they had supped; and I sat to supper my-
self. Before I was done, however, I was interrupted by
the entrance of waggoners, who drove up to the door,
and entered the supper room without ceremony. They
called for supper, and for leave to spend the night.'
This added to my perplexity again; as it had grown
late, and I wished to lie down, but my bed being in the
same room where the waggoners must eat, I had anoth-
er opportunity of exercising patience, a virtue of so
much service to us in this uncertain world. In about
an hour, the supper affair being over, I located myself
upon a pallet before the fire, and slept sound till morn-
ing. Next day I derived no little amusement from
looking at the great number of waggons which (though
Sunday) were going and returning from Alexandria; the
road, which passed near the door, was full from morning
till long after dark. These waggons were conveying
flour to Alexandria, which affords a good market for
that article. I had met upwards of an hundred the pre-
ceding day; and it appeared that it was to have no end.
The road from Berry's ferry to Alexandria is paved the
whole way; which, though it facilitates the transporta-
tion of flour in these waggons, is not very pleasant to
travel on at the rate of seventy miles per day; it is the
roughest pavement I ever was on; it would not be bad
policy to have one's life and limbs insured, before under-
taking the trip. The toll I am told is very high; but
waggons with broad tire pass free, on account of the
service they are to the road. At the end of every mile,
there is a broad stone set up near the road.

These waggons, and the history of O'Neal, helped to beguile the time, which nevertheless was very heavy. O'Neal is a native of North-Carolina; he is a man of gigantic size, six feet in height, weighing about two hun







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dred, strong and muscular. His manners were blunt, but sincere; his countenance open-his face showed intemperance; he was forty-seven years of age, and plainly clad; but under this disguise, I could discern something generous, something like noble independence. He had six uncles, besides his father, in the revolutionary war-two of his mother's brothers, and four of his father's! One of his uncles was wounded at the battle of the Cowpens; as he stated, the bullet went in at his breast and came out at the point of his shoulder. He placed his back against a tree and fired his piece, which he had never let fall, and then desired some of the men to take him off the field. This man, whose family coutributed so large a share in securing the independence of his country, is now, with a large and helpless family, struggling with poverty; while others, of perhaps not half his deserts, who never contributed to the amount of one cent towards this great event, and who never saw the face of an enemy, are enjoying the benefit achieved by those worthy patriots. But thisi s the way with this too ungrateful world.

Productions of the Country. The principal growth consists of black oak, black jack, hickory, sassafras, box, ash, pine, and persimon. Good wheat is reared in the counties near the Blue Ridge, in some places as high as thirty-eight bushels to the acre. Some of the land brings good tobacco, maize does not succeed well, timothy succeeds well as low down as O'Neal's. Some limestone too, is found in places-good water is scarce.

On Monday evening I bid adieu to Cobrun and Marous O'Neal, and undertook a journey of twenty-five miles about sunset, in the worst carriage I ever was in! Once more patience. One distinguishing trait in the character of these lowlanders, is a fondness for drink; besides the evidence already mentioned, I witnessed a few in the course of the evening. When we drew near Fairfax court-house, we met numbers of gentlemanly looking men on horseback, reeling in the saddle, their red faces and bloated bodies, proved them to be old veterans of the bottle. As we passed the court-house,

where the mail had to be opened, such was the press
and clamour of the crowd, (court was sitting,) that the
mail was not opened at all! The driver (though a good
hand at the bottle himself,) was so overawed by the
crowd, which really had a formidable appearance, that
he was glad to be off, and so was I. It is much to be la-
mented that the blessings of liberty should arrive at such
a pass, that it is dangerous to open the mail at the seats
of justice! Alas for my country, has it come to this!
The swords of your enemies were unable to conquer
you, but like Alexander, you are vanquished by your
vices! No longer, it appears, can sober men be found
to transact public bnsiness-even in transporting the
mail, a business which demands the highest trust: from
Nashville to this place, I have seen but one driver who
would not drink! My present driver is bold in it; he
carries his bottle in the box; this is soon emptied, but
grog shops abound on the road, to these he has re-
course. Several times to-night, has he left the stage in
the road, without any one to attend it, and went, God
knows where, to buy whiskey; absent sometimes thirty
minutes. It was well the horses were sober! The risk
is not only in the mismanagement of the stage, and hor-
ses, by these drunken drivers, but in matters of much
greater consequence. Although I am not much of a
coward, I must confess, I felt rather uneasy in the stage,
while this fellow was absent, particularly in a country
where mail robbery was not unknown. A little before
ten o'clock, I arrived in Alexandria, the first town I ev-
cr set foot in, in the eastern country.






















Alexandria.-Having been whirled here in the night, I had no opportunity of seeing the city. Upon going to the window next morning, which faces the street, and market-square, I was shocked at a sight entirely new to me. The street and market-square presented groups of men, women, and children, combining every shade of but colour, from the fairest white, down to the deepest black. White and black people I had been accustomed to see, and a few mulattoes, but such a multifarious mixture, bursting upon the sight at once, was as novel,



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