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The Lion and the Eagle shall
Have done with senseless wrath,
THE MECHANICIAN AND UNCLE SIMON. About the period of what “I am gaun to tell,” the ancient aristocracy of Virginia bad passed through its death struggle; the times when the rich were every thing, and the poor nothing, had passed away; and the high pretensions of the sons of the Cavaliers had yielded to the more levelling opinions of the Roundheads. The badges of distinction, such as coats of arms and liveries, bad become too odious to be generally kept up; occasionally the latter were seen, but so rarely that they looked like the spectres of departed greatness, and excited a feeling of contempt or pity for the weakness of the master, rather than respect for his wealth and rank. There was once a class of people, nevertheless, who retained all their attachment to these distinctive marks; and indeed they do so to this day: I mean the class of servants who belonged to the old families. They were the veriest aristocrats upon earth, and hated with the most unrelenting hatred, all the ignoble blood of the land, and deeply deplored the transition of property from the nobles to the serfs. Though their own "ancient but ignoble blood” had literally almost “crept through scoundrels ever since the flood,” they detested the poor
and adored the rich. I shall never forget the fall of the year I had just graduated at one of our northern colleges, and received my two diplomas, with their red ribbons and seals attached. They were deposited by my good friend, Andrew McMackin, the most expert diploma rigger in all the village, in a plain cylindrical pasteboard, for safe keeping, and would have remained there probably to this day, unmolested, had not the rats made an inroad upon them, and in a single night demolished sigillum and signature all that it had cost me years of
hard labor to obtain-aye, and twenty dollars to boot, Not satisfied, I suppose, with the attestation of the president and venerable board of trustees, they were desirous of adding their own ratification to my pretensions to science. Be that as it may, full of delightful anticipation at the prospect of returning to my native state, after an absence of four years, I took my seat in the mail stage, and travelled three hundred miles without going to bed. Such a journey at this day of steamboat and railroad car, would be nothing, but at that time it was a great undertaking, and attended with much fatigue. The vehicles were crazy, and often broke down, and the passengers had the pleasure of paying dearly for the privilege of walking many a mile through the mud.
At length I arrived at the little town of F the end of my journey on the great mail route, where I expected to meet with some kind of conveyance to take me into the country to my uncle's. As I leaped from the carriage to the pavement, where many loiterers were gathered to witness the arrival of the stage, I found myself suddenly locked in the arms of some one who exclaimed, “There he is, the very moral of his grandpapa! God bless your honor, how do ye do? I'm so glad to see you.” Extricating myself with some degree of embarrassment, because of the crowd around me, I perceived that the salutation proceeded from one of our old servants, who stood gazing upon me with the most benevolent smile. His appearance was quite outrē to one who had lived so long at the north. His old and faded livery was blue, turned up with yellow; he held in his hand a horseman's cap, without the bear-skin; his boots had once been white-topped, but could no longer claim that distinctive epithet; like Sir Hudibras, he wore but one spur, though probably for a different reason; his high forehead glistened in the sun, and his slightly grey hair was combed neatly back, and queued behind with an eеlskin so tight that he could hardly wink his eyes, exhibiting a face remarkably intelligent and strongly marked, with a nose uncommonly high and hawkbilled for a negro. Per
ceiving my embarrassment, he drew back with a very courtly bow, declaring he was so glad to see me, he had forgotten himself and made too free. I made haste to assure him that he had not-gave him a hearty shake by the hand-called him Uncle Simon, a name he had always been accustomed to from me, and drawing him aside, overwhelmed him with questions about every body and everything at home. “Tell me,” said I, “how is my uncle?" “I thank you, sir, quite hearty, and much after the old sort-full of his projjecks, heh! heh! perpechil motion, and what not." •What,” said I, “is he at that still?“Oh yes oh yes—and carridges to go without horses; God love you, Mass Ned, I don't think they can go without animel nater.” “And how does my aunt like all this?" “Ah!” said he, putting up his hands with an air of disgust, “she can't abide it-things go on badly. You ’member my four greys ? so beautiful!-my four in hand!—all gone, all sold. Why, sir, I could whistle them hawses to the charrut jest as easy as snap my finger. Our fine London charrut, too! that's gone, and my poor Missis, your aunt, has nothin to ride in but a nasty pitiful park phæton.” “I am sorry to hear it, Simon." "Why, Mass Ned, what mek you all let dem Demmy Cats sarve you so ? What you call 'em ? Publicans ? yes, I'd cane 'em as old master used to do.” “But Simon, how is Cousin Mary?” “Miss Mary? oh, Miss Mary is a beauty; gay as a young filly, and she walks upon her pasterns."
“Well, well,” said I, interrupting him, “Simon let us be off; what have you brought for me to ride ?" “Old Reglus, sir, your old favorite.” Having taken some refreshment, and transferred my clothes to the portmanteau, I mounted Regulus, who still showed his keeping. He was a bright bay, and his hair was as glossy as silk, under Simon's management; his eye still glanced its fire, and his wide nostrils gave token of his wind. He knew me, I shall ever believe it, for my voice made him prick his ears, as if listening to the music of former days. It seemed to inspire him with new life; he flew like an arrow, and Simon found it
impossible to keep up with me, mounted as he was on a high trotting, raw boned devil, that made the old man bound like a trap ball, whenever he missed his up-anddown-postilion movement. His figure, thus bobbing in front of a monstrous portmanteau and bearskin, was so ludicrous I could not forbear laughing; and reining up my steed, I told him I would ride slower, for the sake of conversation with him. “Do, my good sir,” cried he, "for this vile garran will knock the breath out of my body. If I had but my old hawse, Grey Dick, alive agin—that hawse, Mass Ned, was the greatest hawse upon the face of the yearth; I rod him ninety miles the hottest day that ever came from heaven; when I got through our outer gate, he seized the bit between bis teeth, and run away with me, and never stopped till he got clean into the stable. Whenever I fed him, I was "bliged to shet the stable door and go away, for if he heard me move, or a stirrup jingle, he wouldn't eat another mouthful, but stood with his head up, and his eyes flying about, impatient for me to
I knew this was a moment to put in a leading question to bring out a story I had heard a thousand times. “That was not the horse that ran away with you when a boy ?" "No—10—that was Whalebone; your grandpapa used always to go to court in his coach and six; I can see him now, in his great big wig, hanging down upon his shoulders, and powdered as white as a sheet. I was then a little shaver, and always went behind the carriage to open the gates. Waitinman George rod the old gentleman's ridin hawse Bearskin, and led Mass Bobby's hawse Whalebone; Mass Bobby rod in the carriage with old master. . Well, one day, what should George do but put me up upon Whalebone, as big a devil as ever was; soonever I got upon him, off he went by the coach as hard as he could stave; old master hallooed and bawled-he'll kill him-he'll kill him-George, how dare you put Simon upon Whalebone? Pshey! the more he hallooed the more Whalebone run. I pulled and pulled until I got out of sight, and turned down the quarter stretch, and then I did
give him the timber-Flying Childers was nothing to him. When old master got home, there I was, with Whalebone as cool as a curcumber. I made sure I should get a caning, but all he said was ‘D-n the fellow! I blieve he could ride old Whalebone's tail off'-heh! heh! heh!” I am sorry I cannot do more justice to the eloquence of Simon, who excelled in all the arts of oratory. His eyes spoke as much as his tongue; his gestures were vehement, but quite appropriate; he uttered some words in as startling, a voice as Henry Clay, and his forefinger did as much execution as John Randolph's. As to his political opinions, he was the most confirmed aristocrat, and thought it the birthright of his master's family to ride over the poor, booted and spurred. It was his delight to tell of his meeting one day, as he swept along the road with his smoking four in hand, a poor man on horseback, whom he contemptuously styled a Johnny. He ordered the man to give the road, but as he did not obey him as readily as he desired, he resolved to punish him. By a dexterous wheel of his leaders, he brought the chariot wheel in contact with the fellow's knee, and shaved every button off as nicely as he could have shaved his beard with a razor.
But enough of Simon. I beguiled the way by drawing him out upon his favorite topics, until we got within sight of my uncle's house, a fine old mansion, with an avenue of cedars a mile in length. They had been kept for several generations neatly trimmed, and he who had dared to mar their beauty with an axe, would have been considered a felon, and met his fate without benefit of clergy. I have lived to see them all cut down by the ruthless hand of an overseer, who sees no beauty in any thing but a cornstalk. However, this is wandering from my present theme. Then they were in all their evergreen loveliness, and I hailed them as my ancient friends, as I galloped by them, with a joyous
feeling at approaching the scene of my childhood. The } folding doors soon flew wide open, and the whole
family rushed out to meet me, with true-hearted, old fashioned Virginia promptitude. I must not attempt