" Samyule," says I, holding fast to my candle-box, "don't it seem to you that this lightning-train sways a little in going around the corners?"
" You must be highly inedicated," says Samyule, instructively, "or you would know that this is a wide-gauge road, and can go as near to the rail-fences on either side as the engineer chooses".
Just then the locomotive sheered at something, and we struck a tree, which caused me to rise suddenly in the air from my candle-box, and come down upon the lap of a haughty planter, dressed in a rag-carpet surtout, who occupied an opposite seat. Having (as I learned afterward) received seven dollars and a quarter that day for his plantation from a Northern capitalist, this planter was unusually arrogant, and scowled upon me, as I sat on his knee, with dreadful malevolence.
"Sir," said he, grinding his teeth, "I do not wish to associate with one of your birth, and must request you to fly in some other direction when we have our next accident. I had an apple in my pocket for lunch, and you have crushed it".
"Do you think, then," said I, noticing that the next car was on fire, "that we shall live-"
But, at that moment, all the passengers shot from their candle-boxes toward the top of the vehicle, and we collectively began a series of swift aerial revolutions around the conductor and the stove. For our particular car had broken loose from the rest of the train by striking a telegraph-pole, and was turning over and over on its way to the nearest pile of stones. Luckily for Samyule and myself our fur caps and padded suits, saved us from the usual fate of American railroad-excursionists, and, after picking ourselves out from the remains of the planters, we walked hastily from the ruins to a bouse near by.
This building, like the finer Southern mansions generally, had large white pillars on the front, and a heavy mortgage on the rest; and, when we rang the bell, it was answered by a tall, proud-looking man, who wore white kid gloves, a green gingham overcoat, and a pair of flannel drawers altered into pantaloons.
Samyule touched his cap, and says he, -
" Can you tell us, my worthy Count D'Orsay, how far we are from Taikachor Court House, and the residence of Pendragon Penruthers, Esquire?"
Perceiving that he was a Northern man by his good clothes, the embarrassed Virginian made a pass at him with an axe-handle which had been standing behind the door, and says he, -
"This place is Taikachor Court House, and I am Pen-dragon Penruthers, Esquire".
"Why, really," says Samyule, smiling agreeably, and drawing a pistol, "if that is the case, we have been expelled from the train at the right spot. Learning from all the reliable morning journals that the South now offers great inducements for the investments of capitalists, we have come down here to see how villages are selling. What could you say for this house ?"
The Southerner brightened up, and says he, -
"Seven dollars and a quarter without the grounds; eight dollars with them." *
"And then," said Samyule, musingly, "I'd have to put two coats of paint on this villa".
"Two coats!" exclaimed Pendragon Penruthers, Esq. "One coat and a pair of pants would do".
"How so?" says Samyule, earnestly.
P. Penruthers smiled at his ignorance, and says he, -
" Why, you'd put the one coat on the house, and the pair of pants on the pillars".
"True," says Samyule, thankfully; "I should never have thought of that. Is that church yonder on your estate?"
" It is".
"How much for it?"
" Three dollars and a half".
"I'll take it," says Samyule. "Eight dollars and three and a half are eleven and a half. Here's the money".
The bargain being concluded, Mr. Penruthers invited us into the fine private residence, where we were presently dining with him upon an inexpensive Indian pudding, wherein bits of alpaca were made to do duty for raisins, and a fruity claret wine, manufactured from boiled corks and coffin shavings, was served. At the termination of this sumptuous meal, the still arrogant Virginian notified us that he should retire to the hen-house until ready to depart for some other place, as he could not endure any noticeable length of existence under the same roof with those who, in military attire, had so recently ravaged the sunny South. Thus were Samyule and myself left alone in the purchased villa, and, after noticing that much of the furniture was in the style of Louis Quatorze,-supposing Louis Quatorze to have been much affected at that time by a taste for chairs with three legs,-we proceeded to calculate what income the estate was likely to produce toward paying its taxes. Looking forth upon the arable lands which he had purchased, through a bow-window which must have had a few whole panes of glass in it at some time during the previous century, Samyule estimated his coming grain-crop at about one straw-bed an acre; although one fine piece of meadow was so richly dressed with necks of bottles, old shoes, and discarded hoop-skirts, that it gave great promise as a fashionable building-lot for a junk-shop. At the conclusion of this survey, I volunteered to seek a grocery-store not far off and obtain something for supper; but when I got there, the Southern merchant in charge (attired in a coffee-bag) haughtily refused to sell anything to those who came to profit by the necessities of the sunny South, and I was obliged to return empty-handed. Furthermore, upon regaining the villa, I found that Captain Samyule Sa-mith had been waited upon in my absence by four members of the Ku-Klux Klan for cold victuals and small change; by a strong delegation of the freed-ne-gro race for six dollars and a quarter, to start a Constitutional Convention; and that Pendragon Penruthers, Esq., had sent him word that there were five mortgages for thirty thousand dollars on the estate, and had trained a duck-gun from the hen-house to shoot him whenever he should look out of the window.
* Fine real estate is really selling at absurdly low rates in some parts of the South, and persons of limited capital, who are willing to be shot or starved to death for the sake of having homes of their own, should hasten down.
"I think," said Samyule, in great agitation, "that we bad. better flee while yet there is one whole car left on the Grand Southern Trunk Railroad. A meeting of Southern Conservative Democrats," says Samyule, uneasily, "is now being held on a lawn at the back of this chateau, to consider the advisability of hanging us this evening for the benefit of the Stonewall-Jackson-Monument Fund; and I really think we had better make a wicked flee while no man pursueth".
And we fled, my boy. We retired hastily to the nearest broken culvert; and when the next train ran off the track there, we got on board the one freight car left unde-molished, and returned safely with the wounded to this city.
Is Southern property really being sold, with great sacrifice, to Northern capitalists at this present time? I think it is; I should say it was; the great sacrifice always going with the property and causing the Northern capitalist to wish he hadn't!
Not to dwell longer upon a subject which is bo mercenary that I should show "nary"" mercy for you did I pursue it longer, allow me to digress abruptly to the theatre of Impeachment, where another soliloquy for the defence is being delivered by the venerable Andrew Nelson.
"Mr. Chief Justice and Senators," says this aged man, while slumber settles upon all around, " I have been busy in my profession of lawyer for twenty years, and have argued cases involving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
'How doth the little busy bee,
Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day,
From ev'ry opening flower!'
But I feel that all cases sink into insignificance when compared with this one. I am really too old, and have lived too much in the country, to argue this case. But I implore help from On High to make my mind, heart, and tongue, capable of keeping you awake for a few moments.
"Tis the voice of the sluggard,
I hear him complain; ' You have woke me too soon,
I must slumber again'.
If the President of the United States is indeed guilty of one tithe that has been charged against him, then I am willing to admit that he is a monster of such hideous mien that each particular hair does stand on end when he is seen. But who is this Andrew Johnson ? Who is he, that you all come down upon him like quills upon a fretful porcupine? Who is he,-
' Come riddle me, riddle me rye, Two long ears and one great " I" ?'
Go to the village of Greenville, East Tennessee, and inquire. See him a poor boy, unable to read or write, but yet industrious. He becomes a tailor, then an alderman, then a Congressman, and then a President. This is the man whom I hear accused of being apparently under the influence of Old Rye; of not caring sixpence for the Constitution; of betraying the blacks; of almost aspiring to be king,-
'Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye, • Four and twenty blackbirds,
Cooked into a pie. When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing; Isn't this a pretty dish,
To set before a king,
Thus went on this aged man, introducing all the popular airs in order to secure attention; but none listened to his lay. *
* Appendix, 4.
When I came forth from the Capitol and looked upward again, there loomed the mighty Stomach once more in the sunset; there it was, my boy, as predominant as ever. Still repelling the thought that its immediate self could possibly be responsible for any ailing of the body-politic; still referring the Doctor with his harsh nostrums to the head, or the lungs, and permitting no ministrations to itself, save those of the Butler.
Orpheus C. Kerr.