Rides and Visits
[ April 8-12, 1839]
I still go on exploring, or rather surveying the estate, the aspect of which is changing every day with the unfolding of the leaves and the wonderful profusion of wild flowers. The cleared ground all round the new building is one sheet of blooming blue of various tints; it is perfectly exquisite. But in the midst of my delight at these new blossoms, I am most sorrowfully bidding adieu to that paragon of parasites, the yellow jasmine; I think I must have gathered the very last blossoms of it today. Nothing can be more lovely, nothing so exquisitely fragrant. I was surprised to recognize by their foliage today some fine mulberry trees by Jones's Creek; perhaps they are the remains of the silkworm experiment that Mr. C[ouper] persuaded Major [Butler] to try so ineffectually. While I was looking at some wild plum and cherry trees that were already swarming with blight in the shape of multitudinous caterpillars' nests, an ingenious Negro, by name Cudgie, asked me if I could explain to him why the trees blossomed out so fair, and then all "went off into a kind of dying." Having directed his vision and attention to the horrid white glistening webs, all lined with their brood of black devourers, I left him to draw his own conclusions.