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though it was the first (and I trust the last) time I was
In the course of the day, I passed the former dwelling of Col. Grattan, on north river. I spent the night at Mr. Grattan's, and often saw his daughters at balls and partics on Middle river, where I lived. But the appearance of this place had no resemblance of its former likeness, owing to the erection of new buildings. The son, I am told, resides at the old farm, and has improved in wealth. Old Mr. Grattan, the father, had a daughter married to Col. Gamble, formerly of Staunton, and latterly of Richmond, in Virginia; another daughter of his, married Col. Brown, of Greenbriar county, who was one of the first settlers of that county; he and his wife are still living, though both her and Mrs. Gamble must be very old. This day was likewise distinguished by two natural curiosities; one was a natural canal, which conveyed the waters of North river to the merchant-mills, e Peter belonging to Mr. Grattan; the road runs with it some The other was a place where the road was by the North river, on our sight, and a large creek, on our left, to a narrow space which forms a pre
Valley, a, and
left us, doctor,
cipice on each side, that would prove a lovers' leap to the unwary traveller, who might miss his track. It is frightfully sublime to look at those streams as you drive over them, upon a road but barely wide enough for the carriage.
The road to Winchester from Staunton as observed before, lies through the celebrated lime-stone valley. This valley is about two hundred miles in length from Fincastle, to the place where we cross the Shenandoah, where it ends. It is diversified with neat and beautiful villages, from one end to the other. The duke of Rochefocault passing through this valley, some years back, observed that he could not discern such beauties in it, as had been ascribed to it by travellers. This remark from him surprises us the more, knowing his taste as we do. I cannot see how it could be improved; it is one continued effusion of rural beauties, relieved at short intervals by handsome villages. It runs between two mountains of moderate height, which, with the Shenandoah to your right, keeps pace with the traveller, who makes his way through the middle of this fertile valley, which is in a high state of cultivation, presenting endless farms, indicative at once of wealth and industry. The stage makes the trip between Staunton and Winchester in two days, one hundred miles. I stopped, however, at Newtown, a small village eight miles on the west of Winchester, and spent a day at Mr. Helm's tavern, where good cheer and the most studied attention, in some degree restored my almost dislocated limbs. 'The road runs over a rock of limestone the whole route. This and the rough constructed stage in which one is conveyed, goes near to take a person's life, unless they are made of iron. On the evening of the second day, took the road again, and spent the night at Winchester. Lord Fairfax was the proprietor of Winchester, and laid out the town. Mr. M'Guire, one of the finest old men in the world, lent me a coach to go as far as theic, L river, which is twenty five miles from Winchester. We Weself i arrived at Berry's ferry about day-light in the morning, she is just in time to see the Shenandoah, which we forded, though it was very wide. A family by the name of tions,
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Berry lives on the east side of the river, on the best farm on the road. Accustomed to travelling as I am, it may be supposed my opportunies of observing the character and manners of people are numerous, but as much as I have mingled in the world, I never witnessed a kinder family than Berry's. Their parents were both dead; the family consisted of several young men and women. I had but a few minutes to breakfast, which was partly ready when I arrived, but the kindness and assiduity of these people was actually painful. The weather being cold, they would not suffer me to move from the fire, but placed the table with my breakfast on it upon the hearth. My wishes were consulted on the dishes, and gratified to the utmost; and when I come to pay the bill it was only twenty-five cents! But this was nothing to what followed when I set out; I was loaded with cheese, biscuit, ham and apples, enough to have lasted me a week, and this was accompanied with a thousand smiles, and good wishes at parting; this was the last house in West Vir ginia.
In a few yards from Berry's we begin to ascend the Blue Ridge, which at this place is nothing but an almost imperceivable ascent of two or three miles. Now and then I could perceive, at a distance, on the right and left, a rocky spur, covered with pine, stretching down to the road in sharp points, and sometimes throwing rocks of defiance athwart the travellers course. The road passes through a gap of the mountain, which, nevertheless, produces a scanty subsistence of maize and small grain, to those few inhabitants who live on the road. On the top of the Blue Ridge you have a handsome view of East Virginia, for miles distant: another mountain, too, shows itself at a distance; the driver said it was called the Bull mountain. On the top of the mountain r, and stands a large poplar tree, near the road, on the right of est old which, three counties of Virginia corner; viz: Freder as theic, Loudon, and Jefferson. Virginia now presents herWe self in a new guise, different in all respects, from what orning, she is west of the Blue Ridge; this change is as sudden forded, as it is complete. The face of the country, the producme of the manner of cultivating, the appearance of the
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people, and the live stock, are no longer the same. No
lette: eers, an
slow, these speak quick; the first say little, the latter fort, no s a great deal. These remarks are, however, the result whose co
of a few hours observation, but they must strike those
the road, while the eastern waggoner shows no prefer provved tha
ence but for himself.
The distance from Winchester to Alexandria is sev
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ed li the
ghas hadd reduce what that w
days; a gle
enty miles; which journey is accomplished in a day by the stage. But, whether fortunately or otherwise, our stage broke down about half a mile from Cob-run. The driver, by leading the horses, made out to get it to a tavern, kept at the Run, twenty-five miles from Alexandria; and here I had to stay from Saturday till Monday evening. The accommodation was wretched as words can describe. The tavern was kept by one O'Neal, of Irish descent, as his name bespeaks; he appertains to the old nobility of Ireland. But unfortunately for him and myself, the name was all that remained of his noble family. The house was open and cold; the family, which was no small one, had been sick and looked like ghosts, and they had but two wretched beds in the house, with not more furniture than ought to serve for one; this, however, I found out by degrees. The appearance of the house out side, was certainly the greatest take in, in the world. It was a spacious frame building, painted white, with a long piazza. But upon the interior I was struck with horror. The first thing I saw was a squalid young woman, who upon our approach, jumped into the bar, and stood with her head thrust through a small window in the same, and with a ghastly smile seemed to signify her business, viz: she had whiskey to sell. O poverty, to what shifts art thou reduced! I looked at her and shuddered! I then looked, what was the prospect? the family, which consisted of three other women and as many children, were sitting by a poor fire; the room was wretchedly furnished; the only thing in it was a large sign-board, which the wind had blown down, with Marcus O'Neal, painted in large letters, and entertainment for waggoners. All to my comfort, (no small one,) was the appearance of the landlady, whose countenance bespoke every thing I wished. She was sadly dressed indeed; but she had a sweet countenance, and evidently showed she had seen better days; a glance at her assured me I was safe; and I felt as happy as though I were in a palace; the event O'Neal was proved that I had not mistaken her.
from home, he was at a sale. I took a seat by the fire; converted the misfortune into a subject of amusement ;