are Deceitful by
There are a great many good jokes told of the false notions formed
as to the character and standing of persons, as judged by their dress
and other outward signs. It is asserted, that a fine coat and silvery
tone of voice, are no evidence of the gentleman, and few people of the
present day will have the hardihood to assert that a blunt address, or
shabby coat, are infallible recommendations for putting, however
honest, or worthy, a man in a prominent attitude before the world, or
the community he moves in. Some men of wealth, for the sake of variety,
sometimes assume an eccentric or coarseness of costume, that answers
all very well, as long as they keep where they are known; but to find
out the levelling principles of utter nothingness among your fellow
mortals, only assume a shabby apparel and stroll out among strangers,
and you'll be essentially knocked by the force of these facts.
However, in this or almost any other Christian community, there is
little, if any excuse, for a man, woman, or child going about or being
shabby. Let your garments, however coarse, be made clean and whole,
and keep them so; if you have but one shirt and that minus sleeves and
body, have the fragments washed, and make not your face and hands a
stranger to the refreshing and purifying effects of water.
General Pinckney was one of the old school gentlemen of South
Carolina. A man he was of the most punctilious precision in manners and
customs, in courtesy, and cleanliness of dress and person; a man of
brilliant talents, and, in every sense of the word, a perfect
gentleman! Mr. Pinckney was one of the members of the first Congress,
and during his sojourn in Philadelphia, boarded with an old lady by the
name of Hall, I thinkMrs. Hall, a staid, prim and precise dame of the
old regime. Mistress Hall was a widow; she kept but few boarders in her
fine old mansion, on Chestnut street, and her few boarders were mostly
members of Congress, or belonged to the Continental army. Never, since
the days of that remarkable lady we read of in the books, who made her
servant take her chair out of doors, and air it, if any body by chance
sat down on it, and who was known to empty her tea-kettle, because
somebody crossed the hearth during the operation of boiling water for
tea,exceeded Mistress Hall in domestic prudery and etiquette; hence
it may be well imagined that shabby people and the small fry
generally, found little or no favor in the eyes of the Quaker landlady
of ye olden time.
General Pinckney having served out his term or resigned his place,
it was filled by another noted individual of Charleston, General
Lowndes, one of the most courteous and talented men of his day, but the
slovenliest and most shockingly ill-accoutred man on record. But for
the care and watchfulness of one of the most superb women in existence
at the timeMrs. Lowndes,the General would probably have frequently
appeared in public, with his coat inside out, and his shirt over all!
General Lowndes, in starting for Philadelphia, was recommended by
his friend Pinckney, to put up at Mistress Hall's; General P. giving
General Lowndes a letter of introduction to that lady. Travelling was a
slow and tedious, as well as fatiguing and dirty operation, at that
day, so that after a journey from Charleston to Philadelphia, even a
man with some pretensions to dress and respectable contour,
would be apt to look a little mussy; but for the poor General's part,
he looked hard enough, in all conscience, and had he known the
effect such an appearance was likely to produce upon Mistress Hall,
he would not have had the temerity of invading her premises. But the
General's views were far above buttons, leather, and prunella. Such a
thing as paying deferential courtesies to a man's garments, was
something not dreamed of in his philosophy.
Mrs. Hall's, I believe? said the General, to a servant answering
the ponderous, lion-headed knocker.
Yes, sah, responded the sable waiter. Walk dis way, sah, into de
The General stalked in, leisurely; around the fire-place were seated
a dozen of the boarders, the aforesaid big bugs of the olden time.
Not one moved to offer the stranger a seat by the fire, although his
warm Southern blood was pretty well congealed by the frosty air of the
evening. The General pulled off his gloves, laid down his great heavy
and dusty valice, and quietly took a remote seat to await the presence
of the landlady. She came, lofty and imposing; coming into the parlor,
with her astute cap upon her majestic head, her gold spectacles upon
her nose, as stately as a stage queen!
Good evening, said the gallant General, rising and making a very
polite bow. Mrs. Hall, I presume?
Yes, sir, she responded, stiffly, and eyeing Lowndes with
considerable diffidence. Any business with me, sir?
Yes, madam, responded the General, Iapurpose remaining in the
city some time, andaI shall be pleased to put up with you.
That's impossible, sir, was the ready and decisive reply. My
house is full; I cannot accommodate you.
Well, really, that will be a disappointment, indeed, said
the General, for I'm quite a stranger in the city, and may find it
difficult to procure permanent lodgings.
I presume not, sir, said she; there are taverns enough,
where strangers are entertained.
The gentlemen around the fire, never offered to tender the stranger
any information upon the subject, but several eyed him very hard, and
doubtless felt pleased to see the discomfitted and ill-accoutred
traveller seize his baggage, adjust his dusty coat, and start out,
which he was evidently very loth to do.
Just as Lowndes had reached the parlor door, it occurred to him that
Pinckney had recommended him to put up at the widow's, and also had
given him a letter of introduction to Mrs. Hall. This reminiscence
caused the General to retrace his steps back into the parlor, where,
placing his portmanteau on the table, he applied the key and opened it,
and began fumbling around for his letters, to the no small wonder of
the landlady and her respectable boarders.
I have here, I believe, madam, a letter for you, blandly said the
General, still overhauling his baggage.
A letter for me, sir? responded the lady.
Yes, madam, from an old friend of yours, who recommended me to stop
with you. Ah, here it is, from your friend General Pinckney, of South
General Pinckney! echoed the landlady, all the gentlemen present
cocking their eyes and ears! The widow tore open the letter, while
Lowndes calmly fastened up his portmanteau, and all of a sudden, quite
an incarnation spread its roseate hues over her still elegant features.
Lowndes seized his baggage, and, with a good evening, madam, good
evening, gentlemen, was about to leave the institution, when the lady
arrested him with:
Stop, if you please, sir; this is General Lowndes, I believe?
General Lowndes, madam, at your service, said he, with a dignified
According to all accounts, just then, there was a very sudden rising
about the fire-place, and a twinkling of chairs, as if they had all
just been struck with the idea that there was a stranger about!
Keep your seats, gentlemen, said the General; I don't wish to
disturb any of you, as I'm about to leave.
General Lowndes, said the widow, any friend of Mr. Pinckney is
welcome to my house. Though we are full, I can make room for you, sir.
The General stopped, and the widow and he became first-rate friends,
when they became better acquainted.