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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 181 [12-24-1860]

              165
Meeting to Broad street, where I met Hartley
and parted with him, probably for evermore.
Here are some of the observations I made sub-
sequently, when better acquainted with Charleston,
they apply however mostly to the suburbs and older
portion of the city:

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
  Charleston is an old-fashioned city; the most an-
tique in appearance�I was about to ignore seces-
sion by saying in the United States�any way, the
oldest-looking town on this continent north of
Mexico.  If Charles Dickens, who, in illustration of
the newness of New England, mentions that while
passing through a down-east village he found him-
self involuntarily speculating where a baby seen at
a house door, in its mother�s arms, had come from,
never supposing it could have been born there�if,
I say, Dickens had journeyed hither, he might have
witnessed the antipodes of Yankee novelty, in
architectural as in social characteristics.  Visiting
Charleston is going back at least half a century.  So
colonial is its aspect, and in many respects the in-
stincts of its people, that you wonder how their an-
cestors ever revolted from Great Britain.  Indeed,
they did so not too willingly; as you assert, from
want of patriotism, as they say, moved to it from
sympathy with you, against their direct interests.
Perhaps their inherent love of a fight was the prin-
cipal reason, for your true South Carolinian is like
Job�s war-horse, who �neigheth ha! ha! at the
thunder of the battle and the shouting.�  I have
forgotten the rest of the quotation.
  I have never been in England except after the
fashion of the Honorable Lafayette Kettle, in �Mar-
tin Chuzzlewit,� �in imagination,� but I think
Charleston must resemble hugely an English coun-
try town, with a dash of Spanish America thrown
in by way of giving it a semi-tragicalx flavor appro-
priate to its meridian.  The transatlantic repre-
sentatives of wealthy and honorable British compa-
nies in Queen Anne�s days, dealers in �colonial
produce,� (not to mention negroes,) might have
established such a city.  De Foe�s Colonel Jack,
when a wealthy planter, could have ridden consist-
ently into its narrow streets to inquire when the 
half-yearly ship from England was due, bringing
that scarlet cloth to make a riding-coat, and that
handsome gold-mounted sword that we read of.  (I 
know he lived in Virginia, but that doesn�t matter.)
And I can imagine another resident of the old Do-
	x tropical

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
minion and Colonel of the reign of Queen Anne,
one Henry Esmond, Esquire, having a town abode
very similar to the Pinckney House, which illustra-
tion brings me to more direct consideration of my
subject.
  Charleston, then, is an old-fashioned town, with-
out broad streets, its general aspect quiet, respect-
able, sombre and unprogressive.  Many of its best
houses are solidly and sometimes heavily built, of
diverse material, often weather-stained, and even
dilapidated in appearance, almost always the re-
verse of showy or pretentious.  No dazzling white
marble, six stories in height, inflicts temporary
ophthalmia on the spectator; no arrogant sharply-
carven and heavily corniced �brown stone� an-
nounces recently and rapidly-acquired opulence.
Pepetuity, competence, gentility�the latter rather
decayed in some instances, but therefore the more
inclined to stand on their dignity�these are the
attributes involuntarily suggested by the better
class of Charleston houses.  There are new-looking
ones, of course, and mean abodes of various de-
grees of shabbiness; of these we shall speak here-
after.
  The private residences of the colonial period (I
give the precedence due to their seniority) have, as
implied, a very Queen-Annish look; generally they
stand apart from others, their privacy secured by a
walled, railed or boarded enclosure adjacent to a
carriage entrance, guarded, perhaps, by heavy 
columns or battered pilasters surmounted by a big
stone globe or fantastic iron-work  Peeping inside
you obtain glimpses of broad flights of stone steps
leading upwards to a central door�of mansions of
dark brick, with stone dressings of a lighter color 
defaed by green stains; sometimes of neglected,
often of trimly-kept gardens, almost monastic in
their seclusion, where the sunlight shines idly and
pleasantly upon bright evergreens, clipped hedges
of box and laurel-leaved magnolia trees, perhaps
with a great cracked stone urn nestling under the
latter.  In some cases later additions, generally
of wooden balconies and piazzas, (to which Charles-               
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