It is a question we need to ask as scenes like this in the South, and elsewhere in the world, are becoming more and more rare.
Brunswick, Ga., April 18, 1875.
My dear Mrs. Peacock: Such a three days' dolce far niente as I'm
having! With a plenty of love, — wife's, bairns', and brother's, — and no
end of trees and vines, what more should a work-battered man desire, in
this divine atmosphere which seems like a great sigh of pleasure from
some immense Lotos in the vague South? The little house, by one of whose
windows I am writing, stands in one corner of an open square which is
surrounded by an unbroken forest of oaks, of all manner of clambering
and twining things, and of pines, — not the dark, gloomy pines of the
Pennsylvania mountains, but tall masses of vivid emerald all in a glitter
with the more brilliant green of the young buds and cones; the sun is
shining with a hazy and absent-minded face, as if he were thinking of some
quite other star than this poor earth; occasionally a little wind comes
along, not warm, but unspeakably bland, bringing strange scents rather of
leaves than of flowers; the mocking-birds are all singing, but singing sotto
voce, and a distant cock crows as if he didn't mean to crow, but only to
yawn luxuriously; an old mauma over in the neighborhood is singing, as
she sets about washing in her deliberate way, something like this: —
13, for Mr Lanier’s music bars, which we were not able to include here--
persistently rejecting all the semitones of the D minor in which she is
singing (as I have observed all the barbaric music does, as far as it can),
and substituting the stronger C♮ for the C#; and now my little four-year-
old comes in from feeding the pony and the goat, and writhes into my lap,
and inquires with great interest, "Papa, can you whistle backwards?" by
which I find, after a puzzled inquiry, that he means to ask if I can whistle
by drawing my breath in, instead of forcing it out, — an art in which he
proceeds to instruct me with a great show of superiority: and now he
leaves, and the whole world is still again, except the bird's lazy song and
old mauma's monotonous crooning.
. . .
Source: Letters of Sidney Lanier, https://archive.org/stream/cu31924014393908/cu31924014393908_djvu.txt, opened 7 Feb. 2017
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð!
Anathema to the Union!