George W. Cable: His Life and Letters

George W. Cable: His Life and Letters

George W. Cable: His Life and Letters

George W. Cable: His Life and Letters

Excerpt

"Happy they Who in the fresh and dawning time of youth Have dwelt in such a land."

HENRY ALFORD.

In a part of New Orleans which at that time was practically a suburb, occupied by the homes of planters and their families, there stood in the year 1844 a low-built, long-roofed, two-storied house, which had once been the "Big House" of a colonial plantation. A wide galérie across its entire front and along one side was massed with roses and passion-flowers, while broad-spreading liveoaks, hung with Spanish moss, shaded the lawns.

"The house's garden and grounds were bounded foursquare by an unbroken line -- a hedge, almost -- of orangetrees, in which the orchard-oriole sang by day and the mocking-bird all night. Along the garden walks grew the low, drooping trees of that kindest -- to good children -- of all tree-fruits, the fig. The house stood, without any special history of its own, on a very small fraction of the lands given to [the French Jesuit Fathers] by the French king. In front of it is Annunciation Square, from whose northern gate one looked down a street of the same name.

"From New Orleans' earliest days, Annunciation Street was a country road, fronted along its western side by large colonial villas standing in their orangeries and figorchards, and looking eastward, from their big windows, across the Mississippi River. Though they stood well back from the river-bank, they were whole squares nearer it than they are, or would be, now: the river has moved off . . .

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