nearly an hour in riding from one house to another enquiring the way. Many of the inhabitants did not understand a word of English. Encountered several parties of men and women going to a ball. One young man pressingly invited me to go with them. About sunset came in sight of the Teche, at the foot of a fine lake, which is said to be two miles broad and five or six long. There is a peculiarity about it; a large part of it is covered by a floating marsh, consisting of a thick growth of grass and weeds, in a stratum of soil of some inches, and tenacious enough to bear men and sometimes horses, under which there is deep water. Sportsmen cut holes through this surface of soil and vegetation and angle through there for fish, which are abundant and fine.
Here begins the sugar plantations for which the Teche is famous. The planters are wealthy, and live in pine houses. The first to which I came belonged to a Madame Cigout and her son, the next to Caesar Dublanc, where I saw a large flock of sheep, and some little boys, who were penning them, rode on the sheep with dexterity. Also the beautiful mansion of Lt. Mark Darby. Here I made another attempt to sell a horse, but young Darby apologized for not making a negotiation on account of his brother-in-law, Dr. Smith, who was lying in the house ill -- in extremis. Arrived at New Iberia (or New Town) at dark. Stopt at Guyon's a neat, small, rural looking house, in the midst of a garden, so unlike a house of entertainment that I was fearful I had been misdirected. The fare corresponded with the entertainment. Found here Mr. Loyd Wilcoxen, a fine looking, gentlemanly man, whose parents emigrated soon after the Revolution from Maryland to Kentucky. He has been twenty-seven years at Attacapas; a cotton and sugar planter. Says he has enjoyed fine health, and his appearance corroborates the declaration. He lives on the Vermillion. Has a place on the Teche, a few miles below Franklin, 730 or 740 acres, which he offers for $10,000, half cash, balance one and two years.
The steamboat Velocipede, for New Orleans went down the river soon after my arrival.
Sunday, May 1, 1836
Fine, clear morning. Mr. John D. Wilkins,
Dr. Neblett's friend, arrived this
morning from St. Martinsville, and stayed till after dinner. Mr. Wilcoxen
also stayed. It rained hard at noon.
The steamboat Plough Boy went
down on the way to New Orleans. If I had sold my horses I should have
gone in her. Wilkins expecting Dr. Neblett at his house, invited me to go
home with him, which I did. He lives in the prairie, seven miles from New
Iberia. He is uncle to Henry Peebles, with whom I travelled in
Mississippi last fall. Is a widower, has a daughter, now at school in
Kentucky, and a son who is absent, intending to go to the University of
Virginia; one son with him, who is deaf and dumb.