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THE PLANTER'S HOME IN FLORIDA. 149
safe, as if sheltered in the hollow of His hand, who notices the fall of a sparrow, and locked in each other's arms, were Robert and Mary !
LESSON LXXI. I 'm saddest when I sing.
1. You think I have a merry heart
Because my songs are gay,
By friends now far away.
Though bondage binds her wing, -
I'm saddest when I sing!
2. I heard them first in that sweet home
song of joy has got
To mock the songs of spring,
I'm saddest when I sing !
3. Of all the friends I used to love,
My harp remains alone;
An echo to my own.
Will fall upon its string,
I'm saddest when I sing !
The Planter's Home in Florida.
1. From this point, our journey to St. Augustine was to be prosecuted over land. Throughout this southern tour, few things had afforded me a greater fund of amusement
than the singularly hap-hazard and disorderly way of living observable on the farms and plantations; and I cannot convey to you a better idea of what I mean, than by referring to what I saw here; and accordingly beg you, while the carriage in which we are to pursue our journey is preparing, to take a quiet peep upon the arrangements, both within and without.
2. The main dwelling was a frame house, supported above the level of the ground on stones or logs at the corners. It stood alone, without a single casement, but with a little covered gallery in front, from which you could cast your eye over an extended marshy flat, with an occasional oasis of tall cabbage-tree palmettos, or brushwood.
3. The interior was divided into two or three dwelling and sleeping apartments, and so furnished, as to admit of a degree of comfort in hot weather, but comfortless enough else.
4. The necessary adjuncts to a large dwelling-house and plantation, instead of being in orderly and convenient, contiguity to the principal mansion, were dispersed within or about the fenced enclosure as follows. The safe and the pantry stood about five paces from the front door, overshadowed by a fine mulberry tree.
5. The smoke-house was three paces further to the right; the log-built kitchen as far, but rather more in front, to the left; the four-mill and cart.shed still further in the rear under a palmetto thatch; the sugar-mill and boiling-house, and seven other sheds and out-houses, of all forms and dimensions, were to be seen scattered about, as though they had been shaken together in a blanket, and suffered to fall at random on the earth, at a moderate distance from each other.
6. Then there was the dove-cote,, and a quadrangular paled enclosure overshadowed by trees, formed the place of a family sepulture at some distance beyond the outer gate. The vice and the anvil were each lying in a different place; the step-ladder was lodged in a fork of the mulberry tree; the wheelbarrow and chopping-machine were half hidden in the rank grass in a corner of the yard, where a fine figtree overhung the angle of the fence; the axe and choppingblock reposed in one corner, and the carpenter's table in another.
7. Bridles and a grease-pot hung in a tree, and the plough
was thrust behind the house under the flooring. A brokendown gig, without wheels, peered out from under the shed.
8. As to the rest, cocks and hens, and Muscovy-ducks, crowded the enclosure, and walked and waddled in and out of the house. Five or six dogs are still to be added to my inventory. They all seemed bitten beyond bearing by the musquetoes and sand-flies, and now and then came together to whine and to scratch each other.
9. Lastly, before the open gate to the south, stood our vehicle, the simplicity of whose springs would certainly have excluded it from paying the tax in England, with the two beasts of draught, the one a stallion called Pound-cake, and the other a mule, who wagged his long ears at the call of John !
10. In this we took our seats, and, after a long and wearisome day's journey of forty miles, over horrible roads, through a wilderness of saw-palmetto, swamps, and groves of cabbage-palm, jolted almost to dislocation of our bones, and bitten by musquetoes to the utter loss of patience, we found ourselves rumbling, after dark, through the ruined gateways and narrow streets of St. Augustine.
1. Beside the attachment of the Irish to old customs, their acknowledged pugnacity, and that improvident restlessness, which helps them rather to get into scrapes than out of them, common fame assigns to them another peculiar and striking characteristic. I mean a laughable confusion of ideas, which is expressed by the word " bull," a term derived from the Dutch, and signifying a blunder.
2. Whether or not the Irish are more addicted than others to this species of faux pas, there cannot be a doubt, that much of what is attributed to them is imaginary, and, so far as it might seem to imply any intellectual imperfection, that it is the mere invention of ill-natured prejudice.
3. A person, in using another language than his own, frequently makes mistakes, and it should be remembered that English is not the mother tongue of an Irishman. A Frenchman once speaking to Dr. Johnson, and intending
to pay him a compliment by alluding to the Rambler, which at that time was the theme of universal admiration, addressed hiin as Monsieur Vagabond, - the word vagabond in French being synonymous with rambler. An Italian gentleman in speaking to an American lady, and intending to say that she had grown somewhat fleshy, since he had seen her, said, “Madam, you have gained very much beef since I saw you !"
4. Such mistakes as these are often made by foreigners; but good taste dictates, that they should be passed over without remark, or in that polite manner, in which a Frenchman is said to have noticed a blunder of Dr. Moore's. “I am afraid,” said the Doctor, “ that the word I have used is not French." No," said the Frenchman, " it is not, but it deserves to be."
5. Such is the tolerance we extend to the blunders of foreigners, speaking a language with which they are imperfectly acquainted, unless, forsooth, they chance to be Hibernians. In that case the rule is reversed, of course. Irishman, once being called upon to testify in court, was suddenly asked by the judge, • Who and what are you?” Pat was fresh from Ballymony, and his knowledge of English was limited, but he did the best he could.
« Plase your honor,” said he, “I am a poor widow," meaning wid
6. Now this mistake was no worse than what we hear from others in similar situations; but, considering that the blunder was from an Irishman, who would consider himself restrained from laughter by any polite regard to the man's feelings, or fail to discover in this instance, an unquestion. able specimen of the genuine Irish bull? If a large portion of imputed Irish bulls are thus mere common-place blunders, such as all foreigners are liable to make in speaking any other than their native tongue, there is a still larger portion that are attributed to the Irish, which may claim a different paternity.
7. Many of our common proverbs, to which we have given a local habitation and a name, are in fact borrowed from other countries; “You carry coals to Newcastle," might seem to claim John Bull for its father ; but the sentiment had existed for ages before. John Bull himself was born. “ You carry oil to a city of olives," is a Hebrew
proverb, that has been in use for three thousand years, and “ You carry pepper to Hindostan,” is an Eastern adage of perhaps as great antiquity.
8. The fact is nearly the same in regard to many of the pithy sayings, smart jokes, and witty repartees, which are in common use among us, and are attributed to well-known individuals. A large part of Joe Miller's jokes, pretending to have originated with Englishmen, are told in France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Persia, and China, and in like manner descend from generation to generation, being successively attributed to such characters as they may suit. Some scandalous story being told of Dr. Bellamy, a person asked him if it were true. “ No; " said the Doctor ; fellow invented it and laid it to me; but the rascal knew
9. It is this suitableness of an anecdote to an individual, that often gives it much additional point. The discreet story-teller, therefore, always seeks to find some hero, to whom he may impute his tale, in the hope, that he may give to it this adventitious zest. An American was once telling some anecdote of Ethan Allen of Vermont, to a German, remarking, by the way, that it must be true, for his grandfather was present, and witnessed the fact.
" It's a good story, certainly," said the German, “ but I have heard the same told of my great-grandfather, Baron von Hottingen, ever since I was a boy.”
10. This incident throws a great deal of light upon our subject. Let any one acquire a reputation for any particular thing, and every anecdote from the time of Confucius down to the present day, that may seem to be illustrative of the qualities of this individual, is told of him. Thus it is, that Ethan Allen is the hero of many wild adventures that he never achieved, and the witty Lord Norbury is credited for many a good joke, which he never uttered.
11. There is nothing like starting with a character beforehand, even though it may be the outright invention of ignorant prejudice. It is to this circumstance, that the New England Yankee is indebted for the credit among our Southern brethren of inventing wooden nutmegs, oak-leaf cigars, horn flints, and other ingenious modes of cheating in trade. It is from this circumstance, that the Irish are credited for every ludicrous blunder, to whomsoever it may properly belong.