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two large beds lodge all the family. In summer, the children think it no hardship to sleep on the ground, wrapped in a blanket; though they have been accustomed in winter to sleep on a feather-bed. Drawers are conveniencies not often seen in these log-houses: the clothing of the family is hung round the room on pegs, or over a long pole. Though these buildings are not very elegant, I can assure you the inside of a log-house, blazing with a large wood fire, is a comfortable sight to a weary traveller on a cold evening.
We scarcely pass ten or twelve miles without seeing a tavern, as they call inns in this country. They are all built with wood, and resemble one another, having a porch in front, the length of the house, almost covered with handbills; they have no sign, but take their name from the person that keeps the house, who is often a man of consequence; for the profession of an innkeeper is far more respected in America than in England. Instead of supplying their guests as soon as they arrive, they make every body conform to one hour, for the different meals; so that you must often go without your dinner, or delay your journey till the innkeeper pleases to lay the cloth. . The accommodations are very indifferent in many places; at breakfast, you must be contented with bad tea or coffee, and small slices of ham fried, to which are sometimes added eggs and a broiled fowl. At dinner, salt beef and roast fowls is the common fare, with rum and water to drink; and at night you are regaled with coffee, tea, and ham. There are always several beds in one room, and strangers are sometimes obliged to sleep together; the sheets are mostly brown, and seldom changed till they are dirty, whether few or many people have slept in them.
In some places we have travelled through woods for miles together : these woods are composed of oaks, of every species; black walnut trees, used much by the cabinet-makers; tulip trees; the Kalmia with red blossoms; and, in marshy land, cypresses and cedars abound. The appearance of vines creeping up some of the trees, induced me to look for grapes; but I found it was only a poisonous weed, that caused my hands to blister and swell very much. Indian corn is frequently cultivated by the farmers: its tall yellow heads, when near ripe, look beautiful; but I feel more pleasure in the sight of wheat fields, because they remind me of Old England.
In whatever quarter of the world I am, believe me always,
Your affectionate brother,
Arthur Middleton to his Sister Catharine.
Washington, MY DEAR GIRL,
THOUGH I generally address my letters to Edwin, yet I think the objects we have seen, in an excursion to Monticello, so particu. larly adapted to your taste, that you have a claim to this letter.
The respect Mr. Franklin had for Mr. Jefferson, as a gentleman, a man of worth, and a scholar, induced him to accept his invitation to spend a week or two at his house, and see some of the na. tural curiosities of the mountains which surround it. Mr. Jefferson is thought an able statesman; he took an active part in the revolution, and was the man who proposed the declaration of American independence. He was the first ambassador sent by the United States to the court of France, and has avowed himself a staunch republican. But politics are a subject that Mr. Franklin never discusses in this country, as his sentiments differ from the Americans, and he is neither willing to give offence, nor relinquish his own principles. He esteems Mr. Jefferson as a philosopher, and ada mires his Notes upon Virginia, which have established his character as a man of sense and a good writer. He farms his own estate, which lies amongst the south-west mountains, a few miles from Charlottesville, near the head waters of Ri. vanna river. The house is built on a small plain, upon the top of a mountain that is not very high, and is thought one of the most elegant private ha. bitations in the United States. A fine library and museum extend the entire breadth of the building, and open into a large green-house and aviary. In the centre is a spacious octagon apartment, the depth of the house, with folding glass doors at each end, that lead to a portico. On one side of the mountain on which it stands are fine roads, with walks cut through them in different directions; on the other is the garden, and a luxuriant vineyard that produces plenty of fine fruit. To complete this charming residence, it commands at one view a magnificent prospect over the Blue Ridge, for nearly forty miles; and from another, the low country covered with trees. The high situation of Monticello affords an opportnnity of seeing a phenomenon that is very rare on land, though often seen at sea : the sailors call it looming. It is not accounted for on any principles of philosophy; but it makes distant objects appear larger than they are, and changes their form into many whimsical shapes, which gives great variety to the views.
On going abroad towards sun set, whilst here, and in other parts of Virginia, I was sometimes
enveloped for an instant in a column of warm air, that seemed driven towards me by the wind. I enquired the cause of it, but could get no information.
Our visit at this place was rendered extremely agreeable, not only by the elegance and hospitality of our entertainment, but by several rides in the neighbouring mountains, which abound with natural wonders.
The principal of these, is the Rock Bridge. Oh! how I wished for you and Louisa, to have shared the pleasure and astonishment I felt at beholding it. Some violent convulsion of nature is supposed to have suddenly cleft a mighty mountain asunder, from top to bottom; and, by some extraordina. ry and unaccountable circumstance, to have formed this magnificent arch of solid stone across it. Our friendly guide, wishing to give us the first impression of the Rock Bridge in all its glory, conducted us to the foot of the mountain, where we had a full view of this stupendous arch, which seems to touch the very skies. The height of the bridge to the top of the parapet is two hundred and thirteen feet, measured with a line. At the bottom it is forty-five feet wide, and at top ninety. It is about forty feet thick: part of this thickness is formed by a coat of earth, which affords growth to many large trees, principally cedars and pines. After gratifying ourselves some time with this sublime spectacle, we ascended the steep crags