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Title: Florida sketch-book
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Title: Florida sketch-book
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Creator: Torrey, Bradford
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin and Company
Place of Publication: Boston
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Manufacturer: Riverside Press
Publication Date: 1894
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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Full Text








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BIRDS IN THE BUSH 16mor.25.
A RAMBLER'S LEASE. r6mo,$-.23
THE FOOT-PATH WAY. 16mo, gilt top,
$1.25.
A FLORIDA SKETCH-BOOK. 16mo, .25.
HOiU(SGIIION, MIFFLIN & CO.
BosTO nAn New YORK.










A FLORIDA SKETCH-BOOK


BY

BRADFORD TORREY


irn vu.







aulrr. pl_


BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
Rbt tle rib9e I rEB, Cambribje
1894


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Copyright, 1894,
BY BRAUDORD TORREY.

All rights reserved.


The RiWTers1e Prs, Cmbridg9, M a., 1U A.
UElctrotyped a d Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co.

























CONTENTS




IN THE FLAT- OODS .
BESIDE TN E MARSH .

ON TE BEACH AT DAYTONA 41
ALONG THE IIILLSBOUOUGH 86
A MhOINING mE OLD SUGARn ILL 102
ON THE UIfPPE ST. JoN's . 121
ON THE ST. AGUSTI ROAD 151
OINITHOLOGY ON A COTTON PLANTATION 180
A FroDA SRINE 193
WALKS AIIOUT TALLAHASSEE . 204















A FLORIDA SKETCH-BOOK.


IN THE FLAT-WOODS.

IN approaching Jacksonville by rail, the
nTaveler rides hour after hour 11.... 1.. ,,,-
iigly endless pine barrens, otherwise known
.,. low pine-woods and flat-woods, till he
earies of the sight. It would be hard, he
rinks, to imagine a region more unwhole-
-ome looking and uninteresting, more pov-
-rty-stricken and God-forsaken, in its entire
,, pect. Surely, men who wouhl risk life in
halff of such a country deserved to win
t lieir cause.
Monotonous as the flat-woods were, how-
S.ver, and malarious as they looked, arid
tastes and stretches (- I i .,.t r. I t ',;i.
list the car window in perpetual alternation,
- I was impatient to get into them. They
i.ere a world the like of which I had
never seen; and wherever I went in eastern
Florida, I made it one of my earliest concerns
to seek them out.









2 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
My first impression was one of disappoint-
ment, or perhaps I should rather say, of
bewilderment. In fact, I returned from my
first visit to the flat-woods under the delusion
that I had not been into them at all. This
was at St. Ai-.,-l,... whither I had gone
after a night onlyin Jacksonville. I looked
about the quaint little city, of course, and
went to the South Beach, on St. Anastasia
Island; then I wished to see the pine lands.
They were to be found, I was told, on the
other side of the San Sebastian. The sun
was hot (or so it seemed to a man fresh
from the rigors of a New England winter),
and the sand was deep; but I sauntered
through New _\ .ri,.. and pushed on up
the road toward Moultrie (I believe it was),
till the last houses were passed and I came
to the edge of the pine-woods. Here, pres-
ently, the roads began to fork in a very
confusing manner. The first man I met-
a kindly cracker cautioned me against
getting lost; but I had no thought of taking
the slightest risk of that kind. I was not
going to explore the woods, but only to enter
them, sit down, look about me, and listen.
The difficulty was to get into them. As I


__ I










IN THE FLAT-WOODS. d

adlv.iiced, they receded. It was still only
The Te-ginning of a wood; the trees far apart
anil comparativelyy small, the ground covered
thli. kly with saw palmetto, interspersed here
and there with patches of brown grass or
nclgr.
In many places the roads were under
nwater, and as I seemed to be making little
I"' i ss, I pretty soon sat down in a pleas-
antily shaded spot. Wagons came along at
int rl als, all going toward the city, most of
tli n, with loads of wood ; ridiculously small
l:i:nli, such as a Yankee boy would put upon
a hlielbarrow. "A fine day," said I to the
drii..r of such a cart. "Yes, sir," he an-
c,. r d, "it's a pretty day." He spoke with
an .isiphasis which seemed to imply that he
ne.c-|ietd my remark as well meant, but
ht lily adequate to the occasion. Perhaps,
if tie- day had been a few shades brighter,
In- n%,uld have called it handsome," or even
." ..,:.' looking." Expressions of this kind,
Il.a,.-ver, are matters of local or individual
r.. rI. and as such are not to be disputed
ali.,t.. Thus, a man stopped me in Talla-
1aI--ie to inquire what time it was. I told
hiim. and he said, Ah, a little sooner than


I









4 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
I thought." And why not "sooner" as
well as "earlier "? But when, on the same
road, two white girls in an ox-cart hailed me P
with the question, What time 't is?" I
thought the interrogative idiom little queer;
almost as queer, shall we say, as How do
you do ? may have sounded to the first
man who heard it, -if the reader is able
to imagine such a person.
Meanwhile, let the morning be fine or
pretty," it was all one to the birds. The
woods were vocal with the cackling of robins,
the warble of bluebirds, and the trills of
pine warblers. Flickers were shouting- or
laughing, if one pleased to hear it so with
true flickerish prolixity, and a single downy
woodpecker called sharply again and again.
A mocking-bird near me (there is always a
mocking-bird near you, in Florida) added
his voice for a time, but soon relapsed into
silence. The fact was characteristic; for,
wherever I went, I found it true that the
mocker grew less musical as the place grew
wilder. By instinct he is a public performer,
he demands an audience; and it is only in
cities, like St. Augustine and Tallahassee,
that he is heard at his freest and best. A


1 I I


I M









IN THE FLAT WOODS. 5
I.l,, .erhead shrike now close at my elbow,
In.i- farther away -was 1.1:n. i;. ;i. his ex-
tuii -ive vocabulary with perseverance, if not
witi enthusiasm. Like his relative the
" ,reat northern," though perhaps in a less
,l, ree, the loggerhead is commonly at an
extreme, either loquacious or dumb ; as if he
c,.1 ld not let his moderation he known unto
an:y man. Sometimes I fancied him pos-
..-ed with an insane ambition to match the
n..-r:king-bird in song as well as in personal
Ii'|'earance. If so, it is not surprising that
hI -hould be subject to fits of discourage-
ii. it and silence. Aiming at the sun,
ti...igh a good and virtuous exercise, as we
I,.I'i all heard, is apt to prove dispiriting to
-1l-ible marksmen. Crows (fish crows, in
all probability, but at the time I did not
kitw it) uttered strange, hoarse, flat-sound-
ii- caws. Every bird of them must have
1.. i born without a palate, it seemed to me.
W1 ite-eyed chewinks were at home in the
d,-,,.e palmetto scrub, whence they announced
th.in selves unmistakably by sharp whistles.
N. iv and then one of them mounted a leaf,
ai.1 allowed me to see his pale yellow iris.
E\. ept for this mark, recognizable almost as









6 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
far as the bird could be distinguished at all,
he looked exactly like our common New
England towhee. Somewhere behind me
was a kingfisher's rattle, and from a savanna
in the same direction came the songs of
meadow larks; familiar, but with something
unfamiliar about them at the same time,
unless my ears deceived me.
More interesting than any of the birds yet
named, because more strictly characteristic
of the place, as well as more strictly new to
me, were the brown-headed nuthatches. I
was on the watch for them: they were one
of the three novelties which I knew were to
be found in the pine lands, and nowhere else,
the other two being the red-cockaded
woodpecker and the pine-wood sparrow; and
being thus on the lookout, I did not expect
to be taken by surprise, if such a paradox
(it is ii..'rt1 \..I-.. maybe allowed to pass.
But when I heard them twittering in the
distance, as I did almost immediately, I had
no suspicion of what they were. The voice
had nothing of that nasal quality, that Yan-
kee twang, as some people would call it,
which I had always associated with the nut-
hatch family. On the contrary, it was de-


t M









IN THE FLAT- WOODS. 7
cidedly finchlike, so much so that some of
the notes, taken by themselves, would have
been ascribed without hesitation to the gold-
finch or the pine finch, had I heard them in
New El,._l I1 ; and even as things were, I
was more than once deceived for the moment.
As for the birds themselves, they were evi-
dently a cheerful and thrifty race, much
more numerous than the red-cockaded wood-
peckers, and much less easily overlooked
than the pine-wood sparrows. I seldom
entered the flat-woods anywhere without
finding them. They seek their food largely
about the leafy ends of the pine branches,
S-...i,1li,.:' ili, Canadian nuthatches in this
respect, so that it is only on rare occasions
that one sees them creeping about the trunks
or larger limbs. Unlike their two Northern
relatives, they are eminently social, often
traveling in small flocks, even in the breed-
ing season, and keeping up an almost inces-
sant chorus of shrill twitters as they flit
hither and thither through the woods. The
first one to come near me was full of inquisi-
tiveness ; lie flew back and forth past my head,
exactly as chickadees do in a similar mood,
and once seemed almost ready to alight on


I.


L. .









8 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
my hat. "Let us have a look at this
stranger," he appeared to be saying. Pos-
sibly his nest was not far off, but I made no
search for it. Afterwards I found two nests,
one in a low stump, and one in the trunk of
a pine, fifteen or twenty feet from the ground.
Both of them contained young ones (March
31 and April 2), as I knew by the continual
goings-in-and-out of the fathers and mothers.
In dress the brown-head is dingy, with little
or nothing of the neat and attractive appear-
ance of our New England nuthatches.
In this pine-wood on the road to Moultrie
I found no sign of the new woodpecker or
the new sparrow. Nor was I greatly disap-
pointed. The place itself was a sufficient
novelty,-the place and the summer weather.
The pines murmured overhead, and the pal-
mettos rustled all about. Now a butterfly
fluttered past me, and now a dragonfly.
More than one little flock of tree swallows
went over the wood, and once a pair of
phoebes amused me by an uncommonly pretty
lover's quarrel. Truly it was a pleasant
hour. In the midst of it there came along
a man in a cart, with a load of wood. We
exchanged the time of day, and I remarked


a


El




.-U.. --r


IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 9
upon the smallness of his load. Yes, he said;
but it was a pretty heavy load to drag seven
or eight miles over such roads. Possibly he
understood me as implying that he seemed
to be in rather small business, although I had
no such purpose, for he went on to say: In
1861, when this beautiful war broke out be-
tween our countries, my father owned nig-
gers. We didn't have to do this. But I
don't complain. If I had n't got a bullet in
me, I should do pretty well."
Then you were in the war? I said.
"Oh, yes, yes, sir! I was in the Confed-
erate service. Yes, sir, I'm a Southerner
to the backbone. My grandfather was a
(I missed the patronymic), and com-
manded St. \ i. ,-I;i.."
The name had a foreign sound, and the
man's complexion was -'..1ithL, and in all
simplicity I asked if he was a Minorcan. I
might as well have touched a lighted match
to powder. His eyes flashed, and he came
round the tail of the cart, ,- -t; i ai itl, % ith
his stick.
"Minorcan! he broke out. "Spain and
the island of Minorca are two places, ain't
they ?"
,,.. .









10 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
I admitted meekly that they were.
You are English, ain't you ? he went on.
"You are English, Yankee born, ain't
you?"
I owned it.
"Well, I'm Spanish. That ain't Minor-
can. My grandfather was a and com-
manded St. Augustine. He could n't have
done that if he had been Minorcan."
By this time he was quieting down a bit.
His father remembered the Indian war.
The son had heard him tell about it.
Those were dangerous times," he re-
marked. "You couldn't have been stand-
ing out here in the woods then."
There is no danger here now, is there ?"
said I.
"No, no, not now." But as he drove
along he turned to say that he was n't afraid
of -.. lii .',. he wasn't that kind of a man.
Then, with a final turn, he added, what I
could not dispute, "A man's life is always
in danger."
After he was gone, I regretted that I had
offered no apology for my unintentionally
offensive question; but I was so taken by
surprise, and so much interested in the man


I-









IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 11
as a specimen, that I quite forgot my man-
ners till it was too late. One thing I learned:
that it is not prudent, in these days, to judge
a Southern man's blood, in either sense of
the word, by his dress or occupation. This
man had brought seven or eight miles a load
of wood that might possibly be worth sev-
enty-five cents (I questioned the owner of
what looked like just such a load afterward,
and found his asking price half a dollar), and
for clothing had on a pair of trousers and a
blue cotton shirt, the latter full of holes,
through which the skin was visible ; yet his
father was a and had owned niggers."
A still more picturesque figure in this pro-
cession of wood-carters was a boy of perhaps
ten or eleven. He rode his horse, and was
barefooted and barelegged; but he had a
cigarette in his mouth, and to each brown
heel was fastened an enormous spur. Who
was it that infected the world with the fool-
ish and disastrous notion that work and play
are two different i nlh ? And was it Em-
erson, or some other wise man, who said that
a boy was the true philosopher ?
When it came time to think of returning
to St. Augustine for dinner, I appreciated


SE


1 _









12 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
my cracker's friendly warning against losing
my way; for though I had hardly so much
as entered the woods, and had taken, as I
li...ithr. ....1 heed to my steps, I was almost
at once in a quandary as to my road. There
was no occasion for worry, with the sun
out, and my general course perfectly plain;
but here was a fork in the road, and whether
to bear to the left or to the right was a sim-
ple matter of guess-work. I made the best
guess I could, and guessed wrong, as was
apparent after a while, when I found the
road under deep water for several rods. I
objected to wading, and there was no ready
way of going round, since the oak and pal-
metto scrub crowded close up to the road-
side, and just here was all but impenetrable.
What was still more conclusive, the road
was,the wrong one, as the inundation proved,
and, for aught I could tell, might carry me
far out of my course. I turned back, there-
fore, under the midday sun, and by good
luck a second attempt brought me out of the
woods very near where I had entered them.
I visited this particular piece of country
but once afterward, having in the mean
time discovered a better place of the same


_ El










IN THE FLAT WOODS. 13
sort along the railroad, in the direction of
Palatka. There, on a Sunday morning, I
heard my first pine-wood sparrow. Time
and tune could hardly have been in truer
accord. The hour was of the quietest, the
strain was of the simplest, and the bird sang
as if he were dreaming. For a long time I
let him go on without attempting to make
certain who he was. He seemed to be rather
far off: if I waited his pleasure, he would
perhaps move toward me ; if I disturbed him,
he would probably become silent. So I sat
on the end of a sleeper and listened. It was
not great music. It made me think of the
swamp sparrow; and the swamp sparrow is
far from being a great singer. A single pro-
longed, drawling note (in that respect un-
like the swamp sparrow, of course), followed
by a succession of softer and sweeter ones, -
th it was all, when I came to analyze it; but
lii it is no fair description of what I heard.
'I 1.e quality of the song is not there; and it
n the quality, the feeling, the soul of it,
if I may say what I mean, that made it, in
th- true sense of a much-abused word,
,ih ringn.
There could be little doubt that the bird was


I.









14 IN THE FLAT WOODS.
a pine-wood sparrow; but such things are not
to be taken for granted. Once or twice, in-
deed, the thought of some unfamiliar warbler
had crossed my mind. At last, therefore, as
the singer still kept out of sight, I leaped the
ditch and pushed into the scrub. Happily I
had not far to go; he had been much nearer
than I thought. A small bird flew up before
me, and dropped almost immediately into a
clump of palmetto. I edged toward the spot
and waited. Then the song began again,
this time directly in front of me, but still far-
away-sounding and dreamy. I find that last
word in my hasty note penciled at the time,
and can think of no other that expresses the
effect half so well. I looked and looked, and
all at once there sat the bird on a palmetto
leaf. Once again he sang, putting up his
head. Then lie dropped out of sight, and I
heard nothing more. I had seen only his
head and neck, enough to show him a spar-
row, and almost of necessity the pine-wood
sparrow. No other strange member of the
finch family was to be looked for in such a
place.
On further acquaintance, let me say at
once, Pucaea wstivalis proved to be a more


--El


C










IN THE FLAT WOODS. 15

versatile singer than the performances of my
first bird would have led me to suppose.
He varies his tune freely, but always within
a pretty narrow compass; as is true, also, of
the field sparrow, with whom, as I soon came
to feel, he has not a little in common. It is
in musical form only that he suggests the
swamp sparrow. In tone and spirit, in the
qualities of sweetness and expressiveness,
he is nearly akin to Spizella pusilla. One
does for the Southern pine barren what the
other does for the Northern berry pasture.
And this is high praise; for though in New
England we have many singers more brilliant
than the field sparrow, we have none that
are sweeter, and few that in the long run
give more pleasure to sensitive hearers.
I found the pine-wood sparrow afterward
in New Smyrna, Port Orange, Sanford, and
Tallahassce. So far as I could tell, it was
always the same bird; but I shot no speci-
mens, and speak with no authority.1 Living

1 Two races of the pine-wood sparrow are recognized
by ornithologists, P'ucea eastivalis and P. cstivalis bach-
,loani, and both of them have been found in Florida; but,
if I understand the matter right, IPuca stivalis is the
common and typical Florida bird.









16 IN TIE FLAT-WOODS.
always in the pine lands, and haunting the
dense nl';i'.l ,. tli, it is heard a hundred
times where it is seen once, a point greatly
in favor of its effectiveness as a musician.
Mr. Brewster speaks of it as singing always
from an elevated perch, while the birds that
I saw in the act of song, a very limited num-
ber, were invariably perched low. One that
I watched in New Smyrna (one of a small
chorus, the others being invisible) sang for
a quarter of an hour from a stake or stump
which rose perhaps a foot above the dwarf
palmetto. It was the same song that I had
heard in St. Augustine ; only the birds here
were in a livelier mood, and sang out instead
of sotto voce. The long introductory note
sounded sometimes as if it were indrawn, and
often, if not always, had a considerable burr
in it. Once in a while the strain was caught
up at the end and sung over again, after the
manner of the field sparrow, one of that
bird's prettiest tricks. At other times the
song was delivered with full voice, and then
repeated almost under the singer's breath.
This was done beautifully in the Port Orange
flat-woods, the bird being almost at my feet.
I had seen him a moment before, and saw him


-E










IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 17

again half a minute later, but at that in-
stant he was out of sight in the scrub, and
seemingly on the ground. This feature of
the song, one of its chief merits and its most
striking peculiarity, is well described by Mr.
Brewster. Now," he says," it has a full,
1., II.lil:. i ii_ tIh .1 -..i.- to fill the air around;
next it is soft and low and inexpressibly ten-
der; now it is clear again, but so modulated
that the sound seems to come from a great
distance." 1
Not many other birds, I think (I cannot
recall any), habitually vary their song in this
manner. Other birds sing almost inaudibly
at times, especially in the autumnal season.
Even the brown thrasher, whose ordinary
performance is so full-voiced, not to say bois-
terous, will sometimes soliloquize, or seem to
soliloquize, in the faintest of undertones.
The formless autumnal warble of the song
sparrow is familiar to every one. And in
this connection I remember, and am not
likely ever to forget, a winter wren who
favored me with what I 1 ....l_.r the most
bewitching bit of vocalism to which I had
I Bul tin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, vol. vii.
p. 98.


U'


I I









18 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.

ever listened. He was in the bushes close
at my side, in the Franconia Notch, and de-
livered his whole song, with all its customary
length, intricacy, and speed, in a tone a
whisper, I may almost say that ran along
the very edge of silence. The unexpected
proximity of a stranger may have had some-
thing to do with his conduct, as it often
appears to have with the thrasher's; but,
however that may be, the cases are not
parallel with that of the pine-wood sparrow,
inasmuch as the latter bird not merely sings
under his breath on special occasions, whether
on account of the nearness of a listener or
for any other reason, but in his ordinary sing-
ing uses louder and softer tones interchange-
ably, almost exactly as human singers and
players do; as if, in the practice of his art,
he had learned to appreciate, consciously or
unconsciously (and practice naturally goes
before theory), the expressive value of what
I believe is called musical dynamics.
I spent many half-days in the pine lands
(how gladly now would I spend another ),
but never got far into them. (" Into their
depths," my pen was on the point of making
me say; but that would have been a false


I


J









r


IN THE -FLAT-WOODS.


I


note. The flat-woods have no depths.")
Whether I followed the railway, in many
respects a pretty satisfactory method, or
some roundabout, aimless carriage road, a
mile or two was generally enough. The
country offers no temptation to pedestrian
feats, nor does the imagination find its ac-
count in going farther and farther. For the
reader is not to think of the flat-woods as in
the'least resembling a Northern forest, which
at every turn opens before the visitor and
beckons him forward. Beyond and behind,
and on either side, the pine-woods are ever
the same. It is this monotony, by the bye,
this utter absence of landmarks, that makes
it so unsafe for the. stranger to wander far
from the beaten track. The sand is deep,
the sun is hot; one place is as good as an-
other. What use, then, to tire yourself ?
And so, unless tie traveler is going some-
where, as I seldom was, he is continually
stopping by the way. Now a shady spot
entices him to put down his umbrella, for
there is a shady spot, here and there, even
in a Florida pine-wood; or blossoms are to
be plucked; or a butterfly, some gorgeous
and nameless creature, brightens the wood


I a


-- -- --------------


-- ... .i









20 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
as it passes; or a bird is singing; or an
eagle is soaring far overhead, and must be
watched out .of sight; or a buzzard, with
upturned wings, floats suspiciously near the
wanderer, as if with sinister intent (buzzard
shadows are a regular feature of the flat-
wood landscape, just as cloud shadows are
in a mountainous country); or a snake lies
stretched out in the sun, a whip snake,"
perhaps, that frightens the unwary stroller
by the amazing swiftness with which it runs
away from him; or some strange invisible
insect is making uncanny noises in the
underbrush. One of my recollections of
the railway woods at St. Augustine is of
a cricket, or locust, or something else,- I
never saw it, that amused me often with
a formless rattling or drumming sound. I
could think of nothing but a boy's first les-
son upon the bones, the rhythm of the beats
was so comically mistimed and bungled.
One fine morning, it was the 18th of
February,- I had gone down the railroad
a little farther than usual, attracted by the
encouraging appearance of a swampy patch
of rather large deciduous trees. Some of
them, I remember, were red maples, already


..









IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 21
full of handsome, high-colored fruit. As I
drew near,' heard indistinctly from among
them what might have been the song of a
black-throated green warbler, a bird that
would have made a valued addition to my
Florida list, especially at that early date.1
No sooner was the song repeated, however,
than I saw that I had been deceived; it was
something I had never heard before. But
it certainly had much of the black-throated
green's quality, and without question was
the note of a warbler of some kind. What
a shame if the bird should give me the slip !
Meanwhile, it kept on singing at brief inter-
vals, and was not so far away but that, with
my glass, I should be well able to make it
out, if only I could once get my eyes on it.
That was the difficulty. Something stirred
among the branches. Yes, a yellow-throated
warbler (Dendroica dominica), a bird of
which I had seen my first specimens, all
of them silent, during the last eight days.
Probably he was the singer. I hoped so, at
any rate. That would be an ideal case of a

1 As it was, I did not find Dendroica virens in Florida.
On my way home, in Atlanta, April 20, I saw one bird in
a dooryard shade-tree.


- ~C, i









IN THE FLAT-WOODS.


beautiful bird with a song to match. I kept
him under my glass, and presently the strain
was repeated, but not by him. Then it
ceased, and I was none the wiser. Perhaps
I never should be. It was indeed a shame.
Such a taking song; so simple, and yet so
pretty, and so thoroughly distinctive. I
wrote it down thus: tee-koi, tee-oo, two
couplets, the first syllable of each a little
emphasized and dwelt upon, not drawled,
and a little higher in pitch than its fellow.
Perhaps it might be.expressed thus: -



I cannot profess to be sure of that, however,
nor have I unqualified confidence in the
adequacy of musical notation, no matter
how skillfully employed, to convey a truthful
idea of any bird song.
The affair remained a mystery till, in
Daytona, nine days afterward, the same
notes were heard again, this time in lower
trees that did not stand in deep water. Then
it transpired that my mysterious warbler was
not a warbler at all, but the Carolina chicka-
dee. That was an outcome quite unexpected,


I








SIN THE FLAT-WOODS. 23
although I now remembered that chickadees
were in or near the St. Augustine swamp;
and what was more to the purpose, I could
now discern sone relationship between the
tee-koi, tee-koo (or, as I now wrote it, see-toi,
see-too), and the familiar so-called phoebe
whistle of the black-capped titmouse. The
Southern bird, I am bound to acknowledge,
is much the more accomplished singer of the
two. Sometimes he repeats the second dis-
syllable, making six notes in all. At other
times he breaks out with a characteristic
volley of fine chickadee notes, and runs with-
out a break into the see-toi, see-too, with a
highly pleasing effect. Then if, on the top
of this, he doubles the see-too, we have a really
prolonged and elaborate musical effort, quite
putting into the shade our.New England
bird's hear, hear me, sweet and welcome as
that always is.
The Southern chickadee, it should be said,
is not to be distinguished from its Northern
relative in the bush, I mean except by
its notes. It is slightly smaller, like South-
ern birds in general, but is practically iden-
tical in plumage. Apart from its song, what
most impressed me was its scarcity. It was









IN THE FLAT-WOODS.


found, sooner or later, wherever I went, I be-
lieve, but always in surprisingly small num-
bers, and I saw only one nest. That was
built in a roadside china-tree in Tallahassee,
and contained young ones (April 17), as was
clear from the conduct of its owners.
It must not be supposed that I left St.
Augustine without another search for my
unknown warbler." The very next morn-
ing found me again at the swamp, where for
at least an hour I sat and listened. I heard
no tee-koi, tee-koo, but was rewarded twice
over for my walk. 'In the first place, before
reaching the swamp, I found the third of my
flat-wood novelties, the red-cockaded wood-
pecker. As had happened with the nuthatch
and the sparrow, I heard him before seeing
him: first some notes, which by themselves
would hardly have suggested a woodpecker
origin, and then a noise of hammering.
Taken together, the two sounds left little
doubt as to their author; and presently I
saw him, or rather them, for there were
two birds. I learned nothing about them,
either then or afterwards (I saw perhaps
eight individuals during my ten weeks'
visit), but it was worth something barely to


-~~,~,,~~~,~,~,,~__________ 'I








IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 25
see and hear them. Henceforth Dryobates
borealis is a bird, and not merely a name.
This, as I have said, was among the
pines, before reaching the swamp. In the
swamp itself, there suddenly appeared from
somewhere, as if by magic (a dramatic en-
trance is not without its value, even out-of-
doors), a less novel but far more impressive
figure, a pileated woodpecker; a truly splen-
did fellow, with the scarlet cheek-patches.
When I caught sight of him, he stood on one
of the upper branches of a tall pine, look-
ing wonderfully alert and wide-awake; now
stretching out his scrawny neck, and now
drawing it in again, his long crest all the
while erect and flaming. After a little he
dropped into the underbrushh, out of which
came at intervals a succession -of raps. I
would have given something to have had
him under my glass just then, for I had long
felt curious to see him in the act of chiseling
out those big, oblong, clean-cut, sharp-angled
" peck-holes which, close to the base of the
tree, make so common and notable a feature
of Vermont and New Hampshire forests; but,
though I did my best, I could not find him,
till all at once he came up again and took to


I


---









26 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
a tall pine, the tallest in the wood, where
he pranced about for a while, striking sundry
picturesque but seemingly aimless attitudes,
and then made off for good. All in all, he
was a wild-looking bird, if ever I saw one.
I was no sooner in St. Augustine, of course,
than my eyes were open for wild flowers.
Perhaps I felt a little disappointed. Cer-
tainly the land was not ablaze with color.
In the grass about the old fort there was
plenty of the yellow oxalis and the creeping
white houstonia; and from a crevice in the
wall, out of reach, leaned a stalk 'of- golden-
rod in full bloom. The reader may smile,
if he will, but this last flower was a surprise
and a stumbling-block. A vernal goldenrod!
Dr. Chapman's Flora made no mention of
such an anomaly. Sow thistles, too, looked
strangely anachronistic. I had never thought
of them as harbingers of springtime. The
truth did not break upon me till a week
or so afterward. Then, on the way to the
beach at Daytona, where the pleasant penin-
sula road traverses a thick forest of short-
leaved pines, every tree of which leans heav-
ily inland at the same angle ("the leaning
pines of Daytona," I always said to myself,


I









IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 27
as I passed), I came upon some white beg-
gar's-ticks, like daisies; and as I stopped
to see what they were, I noticed the presence
of ripe seeds. The plant had been in flower
a longtime. And then I laughed at my own
dullness. It fairly deserved a medal. As
if, even in Massachusetts, autumnal flowers
-the groundsel, at least did not some-
times persist in blossoming far into the win-
ter A dayor two after this, I saw a mullein
stalk still presenting arms, as it were (the
mullein, always looks the soldier to me), with
one bright flower. If I had found that in
St. Augustine, I flatter myself I should have
been less easily fooled.
There were no such last-year relies in the
flat-woods, so far as I remember, but spring
blossoms were beginning to make their
appearance there by the middle of February,
particularly along the railroad, violets in
abundance (Viola cucullata), dwarf orange-
colored dandelions' (Krigia), the Judas-
tree, or redbud, St. Peter's-wort, blackberry,
the yellow star-flower (Hypoxisjuncea), and
butterworts. I recall, too, in a swampy spot,
a fine fresh tuft of the golden club, with its
gorgeous yellow spadix, -a plant that I had


s~L~r. ______ct~-----~--r~-Lu









28 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
never seen in bloom before, although I had
once admired a Cape Cod hollow full of
the rank tropical leaves. St. Peter's-wort,
a low shrub, thrives everywhere in the pine
barrens, and, without being especially attrac-
tive, its rather sparse yellow flowers not
unlike the St. John's-wort do something to
enliven the general waste. The butterworts
are beauties, and true children of the spring.
I picked my first ones, which by chance were
of the smaller purple species (Pinguictla
pumila), on my way down from the woods,
on a moist bank. At that moment a white
man came up the road. "What do you call
this flower ?" said I. Valentine's flower,"
he answered at once. "Ah," said I, be-
cause it is in bloom on St. Valentine's Day,
I suppose ? " No, sir," he said. "Do you
speak Spanish ?" I had to shake nmy head.
"Because I could explain it better in Span-
ish," he continued, as if by way of apology;
but he went on in perfectly good English:
"If you put one of them under your pillow,
and think of some one you would like very
much to see, some one who has been dead
a long time, you will be likely to dream of
him. It is a very pretty flower," he added.








IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 29
And so it is; hardly prettier, however, to my
thinking, than the blossoms of the early
creeping blackberry (Rubus trivialis). With
them I fairly fell in love: true white roses,
I called them, each with its central ring of
dark purplish stamens; as beautiful as the
'cloudberry, which once, ten years before, I
had found.on the summit of Mount Clinton,
in New Hampshire, and refused to believe
a Rubus, though Dr. Gray's key led me to
that genus again and again. There is some-
thing in a name, say what you will.
Some weeks later, and a little farther
south, in the flat-woods behind New
Smyrna, I saw other flowers, but never
anything of that tropical exuberance at which
the average Northern tourist expects to find
himself staring. Boggy places were full of
blue fis (the common Iris versicolor of New
England, but of ranker growth), and here
and there a pool was yellow with bladder-
wort. I was taken also with the larger
and taller (yellow) butterwort, which I
used never to see as I went through the
woods in the morning, but was sure to find
standing in the tall dry grass along the
border of the sandy road, here one and


I I 1 111


---I" ' ---









30 IN THE FLAT-WOODS.
there one, on my return at noon. In simi-
lar places grew a "yellow daisy" (Lepto-
poda), a single big head, of a deep color,
at the top of a leafless stem. It seemed to
be one of the most abundant of Florida
spring flowers, but I could not learn that it
went by any distinctive vernacular name.
Beside the railway track were blue-eyed
grass and pipewort, and a dainty blue lobelia
(L. Feayana), with once in a while an ex-
tremely pretty coreopsis, having a purple
centre, and scarcely to be distinguished from
one that is common in gardens. No doubt
the advancing season brings an increasing
wealth of such beauty to the flat-woods.
No doubt, too, I missed the larger half of
what might have been found even at the
time of my visit; for I made no pretense
of doing any real botanical work, having
neither the time nor the equipment. The
birds kept me busy, for the most part, when
the country itself did not absorb my at-
tention.
More interesting, and a thousand times
more memorable, than any flower or bird
was the pine barren itself. I have given no
true idea of it, I am perfectly aware: open,


-- i - -, - -, - -_ - , 4__,_,___ I


IEI_.. _ _









IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 31
parklike, flooded with sunshine, level as a
floor. "What heartache," Lanier breaks
out, poor exile, dying of consumption,-
" what heartache Ne'er a hill!" A dreary
country to ride through, hour after hour; an
impossible country to live in, but most
pleasant for a half-day winter stroll. Not-
withstanding I never went far into it, as I
have already said, I had always a profound
sensation of remoteness; as if I might go
on forever, and be no farther away.
Yet even here I had more than one re-
minder that the world is a small place. I
met a burly negro in a cart, and fell into
talk with him about the Florida climate, an
endless topic, out of' which a cynical traveler
may easily extract almost endless amuse-
ment. How about the summers here? I
inquired. Were they really as paradisaical
(I did not use that word) as some reports
would lead one to suppose? The man smiled,
as if he had heard something like that before.
He did not think the Florida summer a dream
of delight, even on the east coast. "I'm
tellin' you the truth, sah; the mosquiters an'
sandflies is awful." Was he born here? I
asked. No; he came from B- Ala-


_ _~__ I ~ __










32 IN THE FLAT WOODS.
bama. Everybody in eastern Florida came
from somewhere, as well as I could make out.
" Oh, from B-," said I. Did you know
Mr. W- of the-- Iron Works?"
He smiled again. "Yes, sah; I used to
work for him. He's a nice man." He spoke
the truth that time beyond a peradventure.
He was healthier here than in the other
place, he thought, and wages were higher;
but he liked the other place better "for
pleasure." It was an odd coincidence, was
it not, that I should meet in this solitude a
man who knew the onljr citizen 'of Alabama
with whom I was ever acquainted.
At another time I fell in with an oldish
colored man, who, like myself, had taken to
the woods for a quiet Sunday stroll. lie was
from Mississippi, he told me. Oh, yes, he
remembered the war; he was a slave, twenty-
one years old, when it broke out. To his
mind, the present generation of" "niggers "
were a pretty poor lot, for all their "edica-
tion." He had seen them crowding folks off
the sidewalk, and puffing smoke in their
faces. All of which was nothing new; I had
found that story more or less common among
negroes of his age. He did n't believe much


~-----~T---z-~--r~0~ c'








IN THE FLAT-WOODS. 33
in educationn;" but when I asked if he
thought the'blacks were better off in slavery
times, he answered quickly, "I 'd rather be
a free man, I had." He was n't married;
he had plenty to do to take care of himself.
We separated, he going one way and I the
other; but he turned to ask, with much
seriousness (the reader must remember that
this was only three months after a national
election), "Do you think they'll get free
trade ?" "Truly," said I to myself, the
world is too much with us.' Even in the
fiat-woods there is no escaping the tariff ques-
tion." But I answered,in what was meant
to be a reassuring tone, "Not yet awhile.
Some time." "I hope not," he said, as if
liberty to tuy and sell would be a dreadful
blow to a man living in a shanty in a Florida
pine barren! He was taking the matter
rather too much to heart, perhaps; but
surely it was encouraging to see such a man
interested in broad economical questions, and
I realized as never before the truth of what
the newspapers so continually tell us, that
political campaigns are educational.


...j














BESIDE THE MARSH.

I A sitting upon the upland bank of a
narrow winding creek. Before me is a sea
of grass, brown and green of many shades.
To the north the marsh is bounded by live-
oak woods, a line with numberless inden-
tations,- beyond which runs the Matanzas
River, as I know by the passing and repass-
ing of sails behind, the trees. Eastward are
sand-hills, dazzling -white in the' sun, with a
ragged green fringe along their tops. Then
comes a stretch of the open sea, and then,
more to the south, St. Anastasia Island, with,
its tall black-and-white lighthouse and the
cluster of lower buildings at its base. Small
sailboats, and now and then a tiny steamer,
pass up and down thd river to and from St.
Augustine.
A delicious south wind is blowing (it is
the 15th of February), and I sit in the shade
of a cedar-tree and enjoy the air and the
scene. A contrast, this, to the frozen world
I was living in, less than a week ago.


U








BESIDE THE MARSH. 35
As I approached the creek, a single spotted
sandpiper was teetering along the edge of
the water, and the next moment a big blue
heron rose just beyond him and went flap-
ping away to the middle of the marsh. Now,
an hour afterward, he is still standing there,
towering above the tall grass. Once when I
turned that way I saw, as I thought, a stake,
and then something moved upon it, a bird
of somejind. And what an enormous beak!
I raised my field-glass. It was the heron.
His body was the post, and his head was the
bird. Meanwhile, the sandpiper has stolen
away, I know not when or where. He must
have omitted the tweet, tweet, with which
ordinarily he signalizes his flight. He is the
first of his kind that"I have seen during my
brief stay in these parts.
Now a multitude of crows pass over; fish
crows, I think they must be, from their small
size and their strange, ridiculous voices. And
now a second great blue heron comes in sight,
and keeps on over the marsh and over the
live-oak wood, on his way to the San Sebas-
tian marshes, or some point still more remote.
A fine show he makes, with his wide expanse
of wing, and his feet drawn up and standing


J








36 BESIDE THE MARSH.
out behind him. Next a marsh hawk in
brown plumage comes skimming over the
grass. This way and that he swerves in ever
graceful lines. For one to whom ease and
grace come by nature, even the chase of
meadow mice is an act of beauty, while an-
other goes awkwardly though in pursuit of a
goddess.
Several times I have noticed a kingfisher N
hovering above the grass (so it looks, but no
doubt he is over an arm of the creek), strik-
ing the air with quick strokes, and keeping
his head pointed downward, after the manner
of a tern. Then he disappeared while I was
looking at something else. Now I remark
him sitting motionless upon the top of a post
in the midst of the marsh.
A third blue heron appears, and he too
flies over without stopping. Number One
still keeps his place; through the glass I can
see him dressing his feathers with his clumsy
beak. The lively strain of a white-eyed vireo,
pertest of songsters, comes to me from some-
where on my right, and the soft chipping of
myrtle warblers is all but incessant. I look
up from my paper to see a turkey buzzard
sailing majestically northward. I watch him






Biec.- -









BESIDE THE MARSH. 37
till he fades in the distance. Not once does
he flap his wings, but sails and sails, going
with the wind, yet turning again and again
to rise against it, -helping himself thus to
its adverse, uplifting pressure in the place of
wing-strokes, perhaps, and passing onward
all the while in beautiful circles. He, too,
scavenger though he is, has a genius for be-
ing graceful. One might almost be willing
to be a buzzard, to fly like that!
The kingfisher and the heron are still at
their posts. An exquisite yellow butterfly,
of a sort strange to my Yankee eyes, flits
past, followed by a red admiral. The marsh
hawk is on the wing again, and while look-
ing at him' I descry a second hawk, too far
away to be made out. Now the air behind
me is dark with crows, a hundred or two,
at least, circling over the low cedars. Some
motive they have for all their clamor, but it
passes my owlish wisdom to guess what it
can.be. A fourth blue heron appears, and
drops into the grass out of sight.
Between my feet is a single blossom of the
yellow oxalis, the only flower to be seen; and
very pretty it is, each petal with an orange
spot at the base.


rpR--.-."--7~--.-.-I--- II









38 BESIDE THE MARSH.
Another buzzard, another marsh hawk,
another yellow butterfly, and then a smaller
one, darker, almost orange. It passes too
quickly over the creek and away. The marsh
hawk comes nearer, and I see the strong yel-
low tinge of his plumage, especially under-
neath. He will grow handsomer as he grows
older. A pity the same could not be true of
men. Behind me are sharp cries of titlarks.
From the direction of the river come frequent
reports of guns. Somebody is doing his best
to be happy All at once I prick up my ears.
From the grass just across the creek rises the
brief, hurried song of a'long-billed marsh
wren. So he is in Florida, is he? Already
I have heard confused noises which I feel
sure are the work of rails of some kind. No
doubt there is abundant life concealed in
those acres on acres of close grass.
The heron and the kingfisher are still quiet.
Their morning hunt was successful, and for
to-day Fate cannot harm them. A buzzard,
with nervous, rustling beats, goes directly
above the low cedar under which I am rest-
ing.
At last, after a siesta of two hours, the
heron has changed his place. I looked up


L;--








BESIDE THE MARSH. 89
just in season to see him sweeping over the
grass, into which he dropped the next instant.
The tide is falling. The distant sand-hills
are winking in the heat, but the breeze is
deliciously cool, the very perfection of tem-
perature, if a man is to sit still in the shade.
It is eleven o'clock. I have a mile to go in
the hot sun, and turn away. But first I sweep
the line once more with my glass. Yonder
to the south are two more blue herons stand-
ing in the grass. Perhaps there are more
still. I sweep the line. Yes, far, far away
I can see four heads in a row. Heads and
necks rise above the grass. But so far away I
Are they birds, or only posts made alive by
my imagination? I look again. I believe I
was deceived. Thej are nothing but stakes.
See how in a row they stand. I smile at my-
self. Just then one of them moves, and an-
other is pulled down suddenly into the grass.
I smile again. "Ten great blue herons," I
say to myself.
All this has detained me, and meantime
the kingfisher has taken wing and gone noisily
up the creek. The marsh hawk appears once
more. A killdeer's sharp, rasping, note a
familiar sound in St. Augustine--comes


--- ...J








40 RESIDE THE MARSH.
from I know not where. A procession of
more than twenty black vultures passes over
my head. I can see their feet drawn up
under them. My own I must use in plodding
homeward.




























S..















ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.

THE first eight days of my stay in Day-
tona were so delightful that I felt as if I
had never before seen fine weather, even in
my dreams. My east window looked across
the Halifax River to the peninsula woods.
Beyond them was the ocean. Immediately
after breakfast, therefore, I made toward the
north bridge, and in half an hour or less was
on the beach. Beaches are much the same
the world over, and there is no need to de-
scribe this one Silver Beach, I think I
heard it called- except to say that it is
broad, hard, and, for a pleasure-seeker's
purpose, endless. It is backed by low sand-
hills covered with impenetrable scrub,--
oak and palmetto, -beyond which is a
dense growth of short-leaved pines. Per-
fect weather, a perfect beach, and no throng
of people: here were the conditions of hap-
piness; and here for eight days I found it.
The ocean itself was a solitude. Day after
day not a sail was in sight. Looking up


a
"I~f' ''


I In;Yiui~a;uiiL..









42 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
and down the beach, I could usually see
somewhere in the distance a carriage or two,
and as many foot passengers; but I often
walked a mile, or sat for half an hour, with-
out being within hail of any one. Never
were airs more gentle or colors more exqui-
site.
As for birds, they were surprisingly
scarce, but never wanting altogether. If
everything else failed, a few fish-hawks
were sure to be in sight. I watched them
at first with eager interest. Up and down
the beach they w6nt, each by himself, with
heads pointed downward, scanning the shal-
low water. Often they stopped in their
course, and by means of laborious flappings
held themselves poised over a certain spot.
Then, perhaps, they set their wings and shot
downward clean under water. If the plunge
was unsuccessful, they shook their feathers
dry and were ready to begin again. They
had the fisherman's gift. The second, and
even the third attempt might fail, but no
matter; it was simply a question of time
and patience. If the fish was caught, their
first concern seemed to be to shift their hold
upon it, till its head pointed to the front.


II I


-------~, -- LP~









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 43
That done, they shook themselves vigorously
and started landward, the shining white vic-
tim wriggling vainly in the clutch of the tal-
ons. I took it for granted that they retired
with their quarry to some secluded spot on
the peninsula, till one day I happened to be
standing upon a sand-hill as one passed
overhead. Then I perceived that he kept
on straight across the peninsula and the
river. More than once, however, I saw one
of them in no haste to go inland. On my
second visit, a hawk came circling about my
head, carrying a fish. I was surprised at
the action, but gave it no second thought,
nor once imagined that he was making me
his protector, till suddenly a large bird
dropped rather awkwardly upon the sand,
not far before me. He stood for an instant
on his long, ungainly legs, and then, showing
a white head and a white tail, rose with a
fish in his talons, and swept away landward
out of sight. Here was the osprey's para-
site, the bald eagle, for which I had beeh
on the watch. Meantime, the hawk too
had disappeared. Whether it was his fish
which the eagle had picked up (having
missed it in the air) I cannot say. I did


I


-









44 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
not see it fall, and knew nothing of the
eagle's presence until he fluttered to the
beach.
Some days later, I saw the big thief -
emblem of American liberty--play his
sharp game to the finish. I was crossing
the bridge, and by accident turned and
looked upward. (By accident, I say, but I
was always doing it.) High in the air were
two birds, one chasing the other, a fish-
hawk and a young eagle with dark head
and tail. The hawk meant to save his din-
ner if he could. Round and round he went,
ascending at every turn, his pursuer after
him hotly. For aught I could see, he stood
a good chance of escape, till all at once
another pair of wings swept into the field
of my glass.
"A third is in the race I Who is the third,
Speeding away swift as the eagle bird ? "
It was an eagle, an adult, with head and
tail white. Only once more the osprey cir-
cled. The odds were against him, and he
let go the fish. As it fell, the old eagle
swooped after it, missed it, swooped again,
and this time, long before it could reach
the water, had it fast in his claws. Then









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 45
off he went,- the younger one in pursuit.
They passed out of sight behind the trees
of an island, one close upon the other, and
I do not know how the controversy ended;
but I would have wagered a trifle on the
old white-head, the bird of Washington.
The scene reminded me of one I had wit-
nessed in Georgia a fortnight before, on my
way south. The train stopped at a back-
woods station; some of the passengers gath-
ered upon the steps of the car, and the
usual bevy of young negroes came alongside.
"Stand on my head for a nickel ?" said
one. A passenger put his hand into his
pocket; the boy did as he had promised,-
in no very professional style, be it said, -
and with a grin stretched out his hand.
The nickel glistened in the sun, and on
the instant a second boy sprang forward,
snatched it out of the sand, and made off
in triumph amid the hilarious applause of
his fellows. The acrobat's countenance in-
dicated a sense of injustice, and I had no
doubt that my younger eagle was similarly
affected. Where is our boasted honor
among thieves ? I imagined him asking.
The bird of freedom is a great bird, and the


""









46 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
land of the free is a great country. Here,
let us hope, the parallel ends. Whether
on the banks of Newfoundland or elsewhere,
it cannot be that the great republic would
ever snatch a fish that did not belong to it.
I admired the address of the fish-hawks
until I saw the gannets. Then I perceived
that the hawks, with all their practice, were
no better than landlubbers. The gannets
kept farther out at sea. Sometimes a scat-
tered flock remained in sight for the greater
part of a forenoon. With their long, sharp
wings and their outstretched ,necks,- like
loons, but with a different flight, -they
were rakish-looking customers. Sometimes
from a great height, sometimes from a lower,
sometimes at an incline, and sometimes ver-'
tically, they plunged into the water, and
after an absence of some seconds, as it
seemed, came up and' rested upon the sur-
face. They were too far away-to be closely
observed, and for a time I did not feel cer-
tain what they were. The larger number
were in dark plumage, and it was not till
a white one appeared that I said with as-
surance, "Gannets !" With the bright
sun on him, he was indeed a splendid bird,


ist









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 47
snowy white, with the tips of his wings jet
black. If he would have come inshore like
the ospreys, I think I should never have
tired of his evolutions.
The gannets showed themselves only now
and then, but the brown pelicans were an
every-day sight. I had found them first
on the beach at St. Augustine. Here at
Daytona they never alighted on the sand,
and seldom in the water. They were always
flying up or down the beach, and, unless
turned from their course by the presence of
some suspicious object, they kept straight on
just above the breakers, rising and falling
with the waves; now appearing above them,
and now out of sight in the trough of the
sea. Sometimes a single bird -passed, but
commonly they were in small flocks. Once
I saw seventeen together, a pretty long
procession; for, whatever their number, they
went always in Indian file. Evidently some
dreadful thing would happen if two pelicans
should ever travel abreast. It was partly
this unusual order of march, I suspect, which
gave such an air of preternatural gravity
to their movements. It was impossible to
see even two of them go by without feeling


II


P6iw.










48 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
almost as if I were in church. First, both
birds flew a rod or two with slow and stately
flappings; then, as if at some preconcerted
signal, both set their wings and scaled for
about the same distance; then they resumed.
their wing strokes; and so on, till they passed
out of sight. I never heard them utter a
sound, or saw them make a movement of any
sort (I speak of what I saw at Daytona) ex-
cept to fly straight on, one behind another.
If church ceremonials are still open to amend-
ment, I would suggest, in no spirit of irrev-
erence, that a study of pelican processionals
would be certain to yield edifying results.
Nothing done in any cathedral could be more
solemn. Indeed, their solemnity was so great
that I came at last to find it almost ridiculous;
but that, of course, was only from a want of
faith on the part of the beholder. The birds,
as I say, were brown pelicans. Had they
been of the other species, in churchly white
and black, the ecclesiastical effect would per-
haps have been heightened, though such a
thing is hardly conceivable.
Some beautiful little gulls, peculiarly dainty
in their appearance ("Bonaparte's gulls,"
they are called in books, but "surf gulls"


I




N__ _____


ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 49
would be a prettier and apter name), were
also given to flying along the breakers, but
in a manner very different from the pelicans';
as different, I may say, as the birds them-
.selves. They, too, moved steadily onward,
north or south as the case might be, but fed
as they went, dropping into the shallow wa-
ter between the incoming waves, and rising
again to escape the next breaker. The ac-
tion was characteristic and graceful, though
often somewhat nervous and hurried. I no-
ticed that the birds commonly went by twos,
but that may have been nothing more than
a coincidence. Beside these small surf gulls,
never at all numerous, I usually saw a few
terns, and now and then bne or two rather
large gulls, which, as well as I oould make
out, must have been the ring-billed. It was
a strange beach, I thought, where fish-hawks
invariably outnumbered both gulls and terns.
Of beach birds, properly so called, I saw
none but sanderlings. They were no novelty,
but I always stopped to look at them; busy
as ants, running in a body down the beach
after a receding wave, and the next moment
scampering back again with all speed before
an incoming one. They tolerated no near


I.









50 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
approach, but were at once on the wing for a
long flight up or down the coast, looking like
a flock of snow-white birds as they turned
their under parts to the sun in rising above
the breakers. Their manner of feeding, with
the head pitched forward, and a quick, eager
movement, as if they had eaten nothing for
days, and were fearful that their present bit
of good fortune would not last, is strongly
characteristic, so that they can be recognized
a long way off. As I have said, they were
the only true beach birds; but I rarely failed
to see one or two great blue herons playing
that rble. The first one filled me with sur-
prise. I had never thought of finding him
in such a place; but there he stood, and be-
fore I was done with Florida beaches I had
come to look upon him as one of their most
constant habitues. In truth, this largest
of the herons is well-nigh omnipresent in
Florida. Wherever there is water, fresh or
salt, he is certain to be met with sooner or
later; and even in the driest place, if you
stay there long enough, you will be likely
to see him passing overhead, on his way
to the water, which is nowhere far off. On
the beach, as everywhere else, he is a model


I I .5


El









ON THE BEA. CH .IT DAYTONA. 51
of patience. To the best of my recollection,
I never saw him catch a tish there; and I
really came to think it pathetic, the persis-
tency with which he would stand, with the
water half way to his knees, leaning for-
ward expectantly toward the breakers, as
if he felt that this great and generous ocean,
which had so many fish to spare, could not
fail to send him, at last, the morsel for which
he was waiting.
But indeed I was not long. in perceiving
that the Southern climate made patience a
comparatively enay virtue, and fishing, by a
natural conseiquenee, a favorite avocation.
Day after day, as I crossed the bridges on
my way to and from the beach, the same men
stood against the rail, holding their poles over
the river. They nhad an air of having been
there all winter. I came to recognize them,
though I knew none of their names. One
wa-< peculiarly happy looking. almost radiant,
with an educated faci anl only one hand.
His disability hindered him, no doubt. I
never saw so much as a sheep-head or a drum
lying at his feet. But inwardly. I felt sure,
his luck wa-s good. Another was older, fifty
at leat, sleek anld w.ll dre-.ed. He spoke









52 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
pleasantly enough, if I addressed him; other-
wise he attended strictly to business. Every
day he was there, morning and afternoon.
He, I think, had better fortune than any of
the others. Once I saw him land a large
and handsome speckled trout," to the un-
mistakable envy of his brother anglers. Still
a third was a younger man, with a broad-
brimmed straw hat and a taciturn habit;
no less persevering than Number Two, per-
haps, but far less successful. I marveled a
little at their enthusiasm (there were many
beside these), and they, in their turn, did
not altogether conceal their amusement at
the foibles of a man, still out of Bedlam, who
walked and walked and walked, always with
a field-glass protruding from his side pocket,
which now and then he pulled out suddenly
and leveled at nothing. It is one of the
merciful ameliorations of this present evil
world that men are thus mutually entertain-
ing.
These anglers were to be congratulated.
Ordered South by their physicians, as most
of them undoubtedly were, -compelled to
spend the winter away from friends and busi-
ness, amid all the discomforts of Southern


ilII


El










ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 53
hotels, they were happy in having at least
one thing which they loved to do. Blessed
is the invalid who has an outdoor hobby.
One man, whom I met more than once in
my beach rambles, seemed to devote himself
to bathing, running, and walking. He looked
like an athlete; I heard him tell how far
he could run without getting winded ;" and
as he sprinted up and down the sand in his
scanty bathing costume, I always found him
a pleasing spectacle. Another runner there
gave me a half-hour of amusement that turned
at the last to a feeling of almost painful
sympathy. He was not in bathing costume,
nor did he look particularly athletic. He
was teaching his young lady to ride a bicycle,
and his pupil was at that most interesting
stage of a learner's career when the machine
is beginning to steady itself. With a very
little assistance she went bravely, while at the
same time the young man felt it necessary
not to let go his hold upon her for more than
a few moments at once. At all events, he
must be with her at the turn. She plied the
pedals with vigor, and he ran alongside or
behind, as best he could; she excited, and
he out of breath. Back and forth they went,









54 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
and it was a relief to me when finally he took
off his coat. I left him still panting in his
fair one's wake, and hoped it would not turn
out a case of "love's labor 's lost." Let us
hope, too, that he was not an invalid.
While speaking of these my companions
in idleness, I may as well mention an older
man, a rural philosopher, he seemed, -
whom I met again and again, always in search
of shells. He was from Indiana, he told me
with agreeable garrulity. His grandchildren
would like the shells. He had perhaps made
a mistake in coming so far south. It was
pretty'warm, he thought, and he feared the
change would be too great when he went
home again. If a man's lungs were bad, he
ought to go to a warm place, of course. He
came for his stomach, which was now pretty
well, a capital proof of the superior value
of fresh air over "proper food in dyspeptic
troubles; for if there is anywhere in the
world a place in which a delicate stomach
would fare worse than in a Southern hotel,
- of the second or third class, may none
but my enemies ever find it. Seashell col-
lecting is not a panacea. For a disease like
old age, for instance, it might prove to be an










ON THE BEACUI AT DAYTONA. 55
alleviation rather than a cure; but taken
long enough, and with a sufficient mixture of
enthusiasm, a true sine qua non, it will
be found efficacious, I believe, in all ordinary
cases of dyspepsia.
My Indiana man was far from being alone
in his cheerful pursuit. If strangers, men or
women, met me on the beach and wished to
say something more than good-morning, they
were sure to ask, Have you found any
pretty shells ?" One woman was a collector
of a more businesslike turn. She had
brought a camp-stool, and when I first saw
her in the distance was removing her shoes,
and putting on rubber boots. Then she
moved her stool into the surf, sat upon it
with a tin pail beside her, and, leaning for-
ward over the water, fell to doing something,
--I could not tell what.. She was so indus-
trious that I did not venture to disturb her,
as I passed ; hut an hour or two afterward
I overtook her going homeward across the
peninsula with her invalid husband, and she
showed me her pail full of the tiny coquina
clams, which she said were very nice for soup,
a- indeed I knew. Some days later, I found
a man collecting them for the market, with


FM









56 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
the help of a horse and a cylindrical wire
roller. With his trousers rolled to his knees,
he waded in the surf, and shoveled the in-
coming water and sand into the wire roller
through an aperture left for that purpose.
Then he closed the aperture, and drove the
horse back and forth through the breakers
till the clams were washed clear of the sand,
after which he poured them out into a shal-
low tray like a long bread-pan, and trans-
ferred them from that to a big bag. I came
up just in time to see them in the tray, bright
with all the colors of the rainbow. "Will
you hold the bag open?" he said. I was
glad to help (it was perhaps the only useful
ten minutes that I passed in Florida); and
so, counting quart by quart, he dished them
into it. There were thirty odd quarts, but
he wanted a bushel and a quarter, and again
took up the shovel. The clams themselves
were not, canned and shipped, he said, but
only the juice."
Many rudely built cottages stood on the
sand-hills just behind the beach, especially
at the points, a mile or so apart, where
the two Daytona bridge roads come out of
the scrub; and one day, while walking up the









OV THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 57
bench to Ormond, I saw before me a much
more elaborate Queen Anne house. Fanci-
fully but rather neatly painted, and with a
-ta ble to match, it looked like an exotic. As
I drew near, its venerable owner was at work
in front of it, shoveling a path through the
sand.- just as, at that moment (February
24.), thousands of Yankee householders were
shoveling paths through the snow, which
then wan. reported by the newspapers to be
seveiteen inches deep in the streets of Boston.
HsI rivi-re-nd air and his long black coat pro-
claimed lil a clergyman past all possibility
of d eubt. He seemed to have'got to heaven
before death, the place was so attractive; but
bein;' till in a body terrestrial, he may have
found the meat market rather distant, and
iosj u itnes and sand-flies sometimes a plague.
A-. I walked up the beach, he drove by me
in an open wagon with a hired man. They
kept on till they came to a log which had
1-eni cast up by the sea, and evidently had
Il.en 'iiighted from the house. Thehiredman
lifted it into the wagon, and they drove
I.ack, quite a stirring adventure, I im-
aginid: an event to date from, at the very
lea.st.









58 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
The smaller cottages were nearly all empty
at that season. At different times I made
use of many of them, when the sun was hot,
or I had been long afoot. Once I was rest-
ing thus on a flight of front steps, when a
three-seated carriage came down the beach
and pulled up opposite. The driver wished
to ask me a question, I thought; no doubt I
looked very much at home. From the day I
had entered Florida, every one I met had
seemed to know me intuitively for a New
Englander, and most of them I could not
imagine how -had divined that I came from
Boston. It gratified me to believe that I
was losing a little of my provincial manner,
under the influence of more extended travel.
But my pride had a sudden fall. The car-
riage stopped, as I said; but instead of in-
quiring the way, the driver alighted, and all
the occupants of the carriage proceeded to
do the same, eight women, with baskets
and sundries. It was time for me to be start-
ing. I descended the steps, and pulled off
my hat to the first comer, who turned out to
be the proprietor of the establishment. With
a gracious smile, she hoped they were not
frightening me away." She and her friends









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTON.. 59
had come for a day's1. pinic at the cottage.
Things being as they were (eight womenn,
she. could hardly invite me to share the fes-
tivities, and. with my best apology for the
intrusion, I withdrew.
Of one building on the sand-hills I have
peculiarly pleasant recollectionis. It was not
a cottage, but had evidently heen put up as
a public resort: especially, as I inferred,
for Suuday-school or parish picnics. It was
furnished with a platform for speec-h-making
(is there any foolishnlnes that men will not
commit on vea l -aIriii:i, and inountain tops? ),
and, what was more to my, purpoiUse, was
open on thvee sids. I pas~rwd a good deal
of time: there, tir-t an: la.t., andu once it
sheltered ine from a .drenching shiwir of
an hour or two. The lightning was vivid,
and the rain fell in sheets. In the midst of
the blackness. and comnu:tion, a single tern,
ghostly white, fli:ew past, and toward the
close a bunch of sanderlings camee down the
edge of the Ineakel-, still looking for ,imnie-
thing to eat. The only other living things
in sight were two young tellows, who had
improved the opportunity to try a dip in the
surf. Their color indicated that they were




11Th_


60 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
not yet hardened to open-air bathing, and
from their actions it was evident that they
found the ocean cool. They were wet enough
before they were done, but it was mostly
with fresh water. Probably they took no
harm; but I am moved to remark, in pass-
ing, that I sometimes wondered how gen-
erally physicians who order patients to
Florida for the winter caution them against
imprudent exposure. To me, who am no
doctor, it seemed none too safe for young
women with consumptive tendencies to be out
sailing in open boats on winter evenings, no
matter how warm the afternoon had been,
while I saw one case where a surf bath taken
by such an invalid was followed by a day of
prostration and fever. We who live here,"
said a resident, "don't think the water is
warm enough yet; but for these Northern
folks it is a great thing to go into the surf
in February, and you can't keep them out."
The rows of cottages of which I have
spoken were in one sense a detriment to the
beach; but on the whole, and in their pres-
ent deserted condition, I found them an
advantage. It was easy enough to walk
away from them, if a man wanted the feel-









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 61
ing of utter solitude (the beach extends
frlno Matanzas Inlet to Mosquito Inlet,
thirty-five miles, more or less); while at
other times they not only furnished shadow
ani a seat, but, with the paths and little
clearings behind them, were an attraction
to many birds. Here I found my first
Florida jays. They sat on the chimney-
tops and ridgepoles, and I was rejoiced to
discover that these unique and interesting
creature., one of the special objects of my
journey South, were not only common, but
to an extraordinary degree approachable.
Their extreme confidence in man is one of
their oddest characteristics. I heard from"
more than one person how easily and "in
anlnot no time they could be tamed, if
indeed they needed taming. A resident of
Hawk?. Park told me that they used to come
into his ihouie and stand upon the corners
of the dinner table waiting for their share
of the meal. When he was hoeing in the
garden, they would perch on his hat, and
stay there by the hour, unless he drove them
off. He never did anything to tame them
except to treat them kindly. When a brood
was old enough to leave the nest, the parents









62 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
brought the youngsters up to the doorstep
as a matter of course.
The Florida jay, a bird of the scrub, is
not to be confounded with the Florida blue
jay (a smaller and less conspicuously crested
duplicate of our common Northern bird),
to which it bears little resemblance either
in personal appearance or in voice. Seen
from behind, its aspect is peculiarly strik-
ing; the head, wings, rump, and tail being
dark blue, with an almost rectangular patch
of gray set in the midst. Its beak is very
stout, and its tail very long; and though it
would attract attention anywhere, it is hardly
to be called handsome or graceful. Its
notes such of them as I heard, that is -
are mostly guttural, with little or nothing of
the screaming quality which distinguishes
the blue jay's voice. To my ear they were
often suggestive of the Northern shrike.
On the 23d of February I was standing
on the rear piazza of one of the cottages,
when a jay flew into the oak and palmetto
scrub close by. A second glance, and I saw
that she was busy upon a nest. When she
had gone, I moved nearer, and waited. She
did not return, and I descended the steps


11 113~


_









ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 63
and went to the edge of the thicket to in-
spect her work: a bulky affair, nearly
done, I thought, loosely constructed of
pretty large twigs. I had barely returned
to the veranda before the bird appeared
again. This time I was in a position to
look squarely in upon her. She had some
difficulty in edging her way through the
dense bushes with a long, branching stick
in her bill: but she accomplished the feat,
fitted the new material into its place, re-
adjusted the other twigs a bit here and
there, and then, as she rose to depart, sihe
looked me suddenly in the face and stopped,
as much as to say, Well, well! here's a
pretty go! A man spying upon me!" I
wondered whether she would throw up the
work, but in another minute she was back
again with another twig. The nest, I should
have said, was about four feet from the
ground, and perhaps twenty feet from the
cottage. Four days later. I found her sit-
ting upon it. She flew off as I came up,
and I pushed into the scrub far enough to
thrust my hand into the nest, which, to my
disappointment, was empty. In fact, it was
still far from completed; for on the 31 of









64 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
March, when I paid it a farewell visit, its
owner was still at work lining it with fine
grass. At that time it was a comfort-
able-looking and really elaborate structure.
Both the birds came to look at me as I stood
on the piazza. They perched together on
the top of a stake so narrow that there was
scarcely room for their feet; and as they
stood thus, side by side, one of them struck
its beak several times against the beak of
the other, as if in play. I wished them joy
of their expected progeny, and was the more
ready to believe they would have it for this
little display of sportive sentimentality.
It was a distinguished company that fre-
quented that row of narrow back yards on
the edge of the sand-hills. As a new-comer,
I found the jays (sometimes there were ten
under my eye at once) the most entertain-
ing members of it, but if I had been a
dweller there for the summer, I should per-
haps have altered my opinion ; for the group
contained four of the finest of Floridian
songsters, the mocking-bird, the brown
thrasher, the cardinal grosbeak, and the
Carolina wren. Rare morning and evening
concerts those cottagers must have. And


U


AEl










ON THE BE.ICH .T DA.YTIVxA. 65
besides these there were eatbirds, ground
doves, red-eyed chewinks, white-eyed che-
i winks, a song sparrow (one of the few that
I -aw in Florida), savanna sparrow-s, myrtle
birds, redpoll warblers, a plhobe, and two
flickers. The last-named thirds, by the way,
are never backward about displaying their
tender feelings. A treetop flirtation is their
special delight (I hope my readers have all
seen one u few things of the sort are better
worth looking at i, and heie, in the absence
of trees, they had taken to the ridgepole of
a houe.
More than once I remarked white-breasted
swallows straggling northward along the line
of sand-hills. They were in llooe order, but
thel movement Iwa- plainly concerted, with
all the look of a vernal migration. This
swallow, the first of it- family to arrive in
New England, remains in Florida through-
out the winter, Ibut is known al.o to go a
far south as Central America. The purple
martins which, so far as I am aware, do
not winter in Florida had already hegun
to make their appearance. While crossing
the bridge. February 22, I was surprised to
notice two of thlit-um hitting upon a bird-box









66 ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA.
over the draw, which just then stood open
for the passage of a tug-boat. The toll-
gatherer told me they had come" from some
place" eight or ten days before. His atten-
tion had been called to them by his cat, who
was trying to get up to the box to bid them
welcome. He believed that she discovered
them within three minutes of their arrival.
It seemed not unlikely. In its own way a
cat is a pretty sharp ornithologist.
One or two cormorants were almost al-
ways about the river. Sometimes they sat
upon stakes in a patriotic, spread eagle
(American eagle) attitude, as if drying
their wings,- a curious sight till one be-
came accustomed to it. Snakebirds and
buzzards resort to the same device, but I
cannot recall ever seeing any Northern bird
thus engaged. From the south bridge I one
morning saw, to my great satisfaction, a
couple of white pelicans, the only ones that
I found in Florida, though I was assured
that within twenty years they had been com-
mon along the Halifax and Hillsborough
rivers. My birds were flying up the river
at a good height. The brown pelicans, on
the other hand, made their daily pilgrimages


E


L. -I










ON THE BEACH AT DAYTONA. 67

just above the level of the water, as has
been already described, and were never over
the river, but off the beach.
All in all, there are few pleasanter walks
in Florida, I believe, than the beach-round
at Daytona, out by one bridge and back by
the other. An old hotel-keeper -a rural
Yankee. if one could tell anything by his
look and speech said to me in a burst of
confidence, "Yes, we've got a climate, and
that 's a bout all we have got, climate and
sandl." I could not entirely agree with him.
For myself, I found not oly'fine'days, but
fine lpr)opects. But there was no denying
the sand.















ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.

WHEREVER a walker lives, he finds sooner
or later one favorite road. So it was with
me at New Smyrna, where I lived for three
weeks. I had gone there for the sake of
the river, and my first impulse was to take
the road that runs southerly along its bank.
At the time I thought it the most beautiful
road I had found in Florida, nor have I seen
any great cause since to alter that opinion.
With many pleasant windings (beautiful
roads are never straight, nor unnecessarily
wide, which is perhaps the reason why our
rural authorities devote themselves so madly
to the work of straightening and widening),
with many pleasant windings, I say,
The grace of God made manifest in curves,"
it follows the edge of the hammock, having
the river on one side, and the forest on the
other. It was afternoon when I first saw it.
Then it is shaded from the sun, while the
river and its opposite bank have on them a


1]1 I IE


,..U.










ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 69
light more beautiful than can be described
or imagined; a light-with reverence for
the poet of nature be it spoken a light
* that never was except on sea or land. The
poet's dream was never equal to it.
In a flat country stretches of water are
doubly welcome. They take the place of
hills, and give the eye what it craves, dis-
tnuce; which softens angles, conceals details,
and heightens colors, -in short, trans-
figures the world with its romancer's touch,
aud blesses us with illusion. So, as I loi-
tered along the south road, I never tired of
looking across the riyer to the long, wooded
island, and over that to the'line of'sand-hills
that marked the eastern rim of the East
Peninsula, beyond which was the Atlantic.
The white crests of the hills made the
sharper points of the horizon line. Else-
where clumps of nearer pine-trees intervened,
while here and there a tall palmetto stood,
or seemed to stand, on the highest and far-
thest ridge looking seaward. But particu-
lars mattered little. The blue water, the
pale, changeable grayish-green of the low
island woods, the deeper green of the pines,
the unnamable hues of the sky, the sun-


U'- .


1 II I










70 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
shine that flooded it all, these were beauty
enough; -beauty all the more keenly en-
joyed because for much of the way it was
seen only by glimpses, through vistas of pal-
metto and live-oak. Sometimes the road
came quite out of the woods, as it rounded a
turn of the hammock. Then I stopped to
gaze long at the scene. Elsewhere I pushed
through the hedge at favorable points, and
sat, or stood, looking up and down the river.
A favorite seat was the prow of an old row-
boat, which lay, falling to pieces, high and
dry upon the sand. It had made its last
S cruise, but I found it still useful.
The river is shallow. At low tide sand-
bars and oyster-beds occupy much of its
S breadth; and even when it looked full, a
great blue heron would very likely be wad-
ing in the middle of it. That was a sight
to which I had grown accustomed in Florida,
where this bird, familiarly known as "the
major," is apparently ubiquitous. Too big
to be easily hidden, it is also, as a general
thing, too wary to be approached within
gunshot. I am not sure that I ever came
within sight of one, no matter how suddenly
or how far away, that it did not give evi-









ALONG THE HILLSBOE OUGH. 71
dence of having seen me first. Long legs,
loug inugs, a long bill and long sight and
long patience: such is the tall bird's dowry.
Good and useful qualities, all of them.
Long may they avail to put off the day of
their owner's extermination.
The major is scarcely a bird of which you
can make a pet in your mind, as you may
of the chickadee, for instance, or the blue-
bird, or the hermit thrush. He does not
lend himself naturally to such imaginary en-
dearments. But it is pleasant to have him
on one's daily beat. I should count it one
compensation for having to live in Florida
instead of in Massachusetts (but I might
requclir a good many others) that I should
see him a hundred times as often. In walk-
ing down the river road I seldom saw less
than half a dozen; not together (the major,
like fishermen in general, is of an unsocial
turn'), but here one and there one,-on a
sand-bar far out in the river, or in some
shallow bay, or on the submerged edge of
anu oystr-flat. Wherever he was, he always
lo,,kel a. if he might be going to do some-
thing presently; even now, perhaps, the
matter was on his mind; but at this mo-


I. I I I


II




.3


72 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
ment well, there are times when a heron's
strength is to stand still. Certainly he
seemed in no danger of overeating. A
cracker told me that the major made an
excellent dish if killed on the full of the
moon. I wondered at that qualification,
but my informant explained himself. The
bird, he said, feeds mostly at night, and
fares best with the moon to help him. If
the reader would dine off roast blue heron,
therefore, as I hope I never shall, let him
mind the lunar phases. But think of the
gastronomic ups and downs of a bird that is
fat and lean by turns twelve times a year!
Possibly my informant overstated the case;
but in any event I would trust the major to
bear himself like a philosopher. If there is
any one of God's creatures that can wait for
what he wants, it must be the great blue
heron.
I have spoken of his caution. If he was
patrolling a shallow on one side of an
oyster-bar, at the rate, let us say, of two
steps a minute, and took it into his head
(an inappropriate phrase, as conveying an
idea of something like suddenness) to try
the water on the other side, he did not









ALONG THE HILLSBORO.GH. 73
spread his wings, as a matter of course, and
fly over. First lie put up his head -an
operation that makes another bird of him-
and looked in all directions. How could he
tell what enemy might be lying in wait?
And having alighted on the other side (his
manner of alighting is one of his prettiest
characteristics), he did not at once draw in
his neck till his bill protruded on a level
with his body, and resume his labors, but
tirst he looked once more all ahout him. It
was a good An bit to do that, anyhow, and
he meant to run no risk-. If the race
of birds wa- created out of innocent, light-
minded men, whose thought, weie directed
toward heaven," according to the word of
Plato, then .i'Ardea. h.rol.t ui mist long ago
have fallen from grace. I imagine his state
of mind to be always like that of our pil-
grim fathers in times 4-f Indian massacres.
When they went after the cows or to hoe the
corn, they took their guns with them, and
turned no ;ornllr without a sharp lookout
against anl lii. h. N, doubt such a condi-
tion of affairs has thi- advantage, that it
makes ennui impo-,ile. There is always
something to li\e for, if it be only to avoid
getting killed..









74 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
After this manner did the Hillsborough
River majors all behave themselves until my
very last walk beside it. Then I found the
exception, the exception that is as good
as inevitable in the case of any bird, if
the observation be carried far enough. He
(or she; there was no telling which it was)
stood on the sandy beach, a splendid crea-
ture in full nuptial garb, two black plumes
nodding jauntily from its crown, and masses
of soft elongated feathers draping its back
and lower neck. Nearer and nearer I ap-
proached, till I must have been within a
hundred feet; but it stood as if on dress
parade, exulting to be looked at. Let us
hope it never carried itself 'thus gayly when
the wrong man came along.
Near the major not keeping him com-
pany, but feeding in the same shall6ws
and along the same oyster-bars were con-
stantly to be seen two smaller relatives
of his, the little blue heron and the Louisi-
ana. The former is what is called a dichro-
matic species; some of the birds are blue,
and others white. On the Hillsborough,
it seemed to me that white specimens pre-
dominated; but possibly that was because






r


.LONG THE HILLSBOBOUGI. 75
they were si- much more conspicuous. Sun-
light favors the white feather ; no other color
.hows .so quicldy or so far. If you are on
tlhe leach and catch sight of a bird far
out at -ea, a gull or a tern, a gannet or
a loon. it i, invariably the white parts
that are -een tirst. And so the little white
heron might stand never so closely against
the grass or the bLshes on the further shore
of the river, atnd the eye could not miss him.
If he had been a llue one, at that distance,
ten to one he \\iuld have escaped me. Be-
idles, I "va- mi,:r- on the alert for white ones,
lilt-ai. I inas always hoping to find one of
tlheinm ith Ihla.k legs. In other words, I
\ :I loo-kiiin for the little white egret, a bird
c,-ii:eriilng which, thanks to the murderous
\\:,rk of Ilhnite-hunters,- thanks, also, to
tho..e ,g'd \ow:,ol u who pay for having the
\\i k doi.-, I must confess that I went
to Floiida and .came home again without
certainly -eeinug it.
The heron \ith which I found myself es-
p.ieially taken was the Louisiana; a bird of
al..iot tlhe sna,- ize as the little blue, but
with an air of itintiness and lightness that
i, quite, its own, and quite indescribable.




-I I II r


76 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
When it rose upon the wing, indeed, it
seemed almost too light, almost unsteady, as
if it lacked ballast, like a butterfly. It was
the most numerous bird of its tribe along
the river, I think, and, with one exception,
the most approachable. That exception was
the green heron, which frequented the flats
along the village front, and might well have
been mistaken for a domesticated bird; let-
ting you walk across a plank directly over
its head while it squatted upon the mud, and
when disturbed flying into a fig-tree before
the hotel piazza, just as the dear little ground
doves were in the habit of doing. To me,
who had hitherto seen the green heron in
the wildest of places, this tameness was an
astonishing sight. It would be hard to say
which surprised me more, the New Smyrna
green herons or the St. Augustine sparrow-
hawks, which latter treated me very much
as I am accustomed to being treated by vil-
lage-bred robins in Massachusetts.
The Louisiana heron was my favorite, as
I say, but incomparably the handsomest
member of the family (I speak of such as I
saw) was the great white egret. In truth,
the epithet handsome seems almost a


:. ~









.LON(, THE IIILLsBOrOUGH. 77
vulgarism as applied, to a creature so superb,
so utterly and tranncenldeutly splendid. I
saw it in a way to be sure of it -only
once. Then. on an island in the Hillslor-
ough. two birds stood in the dead tops of
low shrubby trees, fully exposed in the
most favorable of lights, their long dorlsal
trains drooping behind them and swaying
gently in the wind. I had never seen any-
thing -o magnificent. And when I returned,
two or tluhre hour, afterward, from a jaunt
upI the bealh to Mo.quito Inlet, there they
still were, as if they'had not stirred in all
that time. The reader .hould understand
that this egret is bItween t'onr and five feet
in length, and mteasures nearly live feet from
wing tip to wing tip, and that its plunge
t.hroughlo'uLt is of spOtless white. It is pitiful
to think how constantly a bird of that size
and color nmunt l1e in danger of it, life.
Happily, the lawmakers of the State have
dne .ometlhinrg of re-ent years for the pro-
teetion of suih ilefensele-' beauties. Hap-
pily, ti.o, shooting from the river I.oats is no
longer permitted.- onl the regular lines,
that i.,. I myself saw a young' gentleman
stand OU thle dleck o.f a11 exci.Ll-io1 sttcaler,










78 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
with a rifle, and do his worst to kill or maim
every living thing that came in sight, from
a spotted sandpiper to a turkey buzzard I
call him a "gentleman;" he was in gentle
company, and the fact that he chewed gum
industriously would, I fear, hardly invali-
date his claim to that title. The narrow
river wound in and out between low, densely
wooded banks, and the beauty of the shift-
ing scene was enough almost to take one's
breath away; but the crack of the rifle
was not the less frequent on that account.
Perhaps the sportsman was a Southerner,
to whom river scenery of that enchanting
kind was an old story. More likely he was
a Northerner, one of the men who thank
Heaven they are "not sentimental."
In my rambles up and down the river
road I saw few water birds beside the her-
ons. Two or three solitary cormorants would
be shooting back and forth at a furious rate,
or swimming in midstream; and sometimes
a few spotted sandpipers and killdeer plov-
ers were feeding along the shore. Once in
a great while a single gull or tern made its
appearance, just often enough to keep
me wondering why they were not there


II


~$--TS --










ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 79
oftener, and one day a water turkey went
suddenly over my head and dropped into
the river on the farther side of the island.
I was glad to see this interesting creature
for once in salt water; for the Hillsbor-
ough, like the Halifax and the Indian rivers,
is a river in name only, a river by brevet,
- being, in fact, a salt-water lagoon or
sound between the mainland and the eastern
peninsula.
Fish-hawks were always in sight, and
bald eagles were seldom absent altogether.
Sometimes an eagle stood perched on a dead
tree on an island. Oftener I heard a
scream, and looked up to see one sailing far
overhead, or chasing an osprey. On one
such occasion, when the hawk seemed to be
making.a losing fight, a third bird suddenly
intervened, and the eagle, as I thought, was
driven away. "Good for the brotherhood
of fish-hawks !" I exclaimed. But at that
moment I put my glass on the new-comer;
and behold, he was not a hawk, but another
eagle. Meanwhile the hawk had disap-
peared with his fish, and I was left to pon-
der the mystery.
As for the wood, the edge of the ham-










80 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
mock, through which the road passes, there
were no birds in it. It was one of those
places (I fancy every bird-gazer must have
had experience of such) where it is a waste
of time to seek them. I could walk down
the road for two miles and back again, and
then sit in my room at the hotel for fifteen
minutes, and see more wood birds, and more
kinds of them, in one small live-oak before
the window than I had seen in the whole
four miles; and that not once and by acci-
dent, but again and again. In affairs of this
kind it is useless to contend. The spot looks
favorable, you say, and nobody can deny it;
there must be birds there, plenty of them;
your missing them to-day was a matter of
chance; you will try again. And you try
again and again and yet again. But
in the end you have to acknowledge that,
for some reason unknown to you, the birds
have agreed to give that place the go-by.
One bird, it is true, I found in this ham-
mock, and not elsewhere: a single oven-bird,
which, with one Northern water thrush and
one Louisiana water thrush, completed my
set of Florida Seiuri. Besides him I recall
one hermit thrush, a few cedar-birds, a


b~









ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 81
house wren, chattering at a great rate
among the bootjackss" (leaf-stalks) of an
overturned palmetto-tree, with an occasional
mocking-bird, cardinal grosbeak, prairie
warbler, yellow redpoll, myrtle bird, ruby-
crowned kinglet, phoebe, and flicker. In
short, there were no birds at all, except now
and then an accidental straggler of a kind
that could be found almost anywhere else in
indefinite numbers.
And as it was not the presence of birds
that made the river road attractive, so nei-
ther was it any unwonted display of blos-
soms. Beside a similar road along the
bank of the Halifax, m Daytona, grew mul-
titudes of violets, and goodly patches of pur-
ple verbena (garden plants gone wild, per-
haps), and a fine profusion of spiderwort,
-a pretty flower, the bluest of the blue,
thrice welcome to me as having been one of
the treasures of the very first garden of
which I have any remembrance. "Indigo
plant," we called it then. Here, however,
on the way from New Smyrna to Hawks
Park, I recall no violets, nor any verbena
or spiderwort. Yellow wood-sorrel (oxalis)
was here, of course, as it was everywhere.




:.:';listIsIIUI l


82 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
It dotted the grass in Florida very much as
five-fingers do in Massachusetts, I sometimes
thought. And the creeping, round-leaved
houstonia was here, with a superfluity of a
weedy blue sage (Salvia lyrata). Here,
also, as in Daytona, I found a strikingly
handsome tufted plant, a highly varnished
evergreen, which I persisted in taking for
a fern the sterile fronds in spite of
repeated failures to find it described by
Dr. Chapman under that head, until at last
an excellent woman came to my help with
the information that it was coontie (Za-
mia integrifolia), famous as a plant out
of which the Southern people made bread
in war time. This confession of botanical
amateurishness and incompetency will be
taken, I hope, as rather to my credit than
otherwise; but it would be morally worth-
less if I did not add the story of another
plant, which, in this same New Smyrna
hammock, I frequently noticed hanging in
loose bunches, like blades of flaccid deep
green grass, from the trunks of cabbage
palmettos. The tufts were always out of
reach, and I gave them no particular
thought; and it was not until I got home


a II 1









ALONG THE HILLSBOBOUGH. 88
to Massachusetts, and then almost by acci-
dent, that I learned what they were. They,
it turned out, were ferns (Vittaria lineata
- grass fern), and my discomfiture was
complete.
This comparative dearth of birds and flow-
erls was not in all respects a disadvantage.
On the contrary, to a naturalist blessed now
nnd then with a supernaturalistic mood, it
made the place, on occasion, a welcome re-
t great. Thus, one afternoon, as I remember,
I had been reading Keats, the only book I
had brought with me, --not counting man-
utas, of course, which come under another
head, -and by and by started once more
for the pine lands by the way of the cotton-
,hed hammock, "to see what I could see."
But poetry had spoiled me just then for
anything like scientific research, and as I
waded through the ankle-deep sand I said
to myself all at once, "No, no! What do
I care for another new bird? I want to
see the beauty of the world." With that I
faced about, arid, taking a side track, made
as directly as possible for the river road.
There I should have a mind at ease, with no
unfamiliar, tantalizing bird note to set my


__









84 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
curiosity on edge, nor any sand through
which to be picking my steps.
The river road is paved with oyster-shell,.
If any reader thinks that statement prosaic
or unimportant, then he has never lived in
southern Florida. In that part of the world
all new-comers have to take walking-lessons:
unless, indeed, they have already served an
apprenticeship on Cape Cod, or in some other
place equally arenarious. My own lesson I
got at second hand, and on a Sunday. It
was at New Smyrna, in the village. Two
women were, behind me, on their way home
from church, and one of,them was complain-
ing of the sand, to which she was not yet
used. "Yes," said the other, "I found it
pretty hard walking at first, but I learned
after a while that the best way is to set the
heel down hard, as hard as you can; then
the sand does n't give under you so much,
and you get along more comfortably." I
wonder whether she noticed, just in front
of her, a man who began forthwith to bury
his boot heel at every step?
In such a country (the soil is said to be
good for orange-trees, but they do not have
to walk) roads of powdered shell are veri-


-m-1 nrow









ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 85
talle uIixuries, and land agents are quite
ilght in laying all stress upon them as in-
d iuemenuts to possible settlers. If the author
if the Apoealypse had been raised in Florida,
we should never have had the streets of the
New Jerui-alem paved with gold. His idea
.,f heaven, would have been different from
that: more personal and home-felt, we may
be certain.
The river road, then, as I have said, and
am glad to iay again, was shell-paved. And
well it might be; for the hammock, along
the edge of which it meandered, seemed, in
1n11ne place- at least,to be little more than a
pile I if o yster-shells, on which soil had some-
how been deposited, and over which a forest
wai growing. Florida Indians have left an
evil miemnory. I heard a philanthropic visitor
la ir-renting that she had talked with many of
the people about them, and had yet to hear
a -iuogle word said in their favor. Somebody
might have been good enough to say that,
with all their faults, they had given to
ea:-tern Flirida a few hills, such as they are,
ran1 at present are supplying it, indirectly,
w ith cmnfotrtable highways. How they must
have fea-ted, to leave such heaps of shells





rrrrvm


86 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
behind them! They came to the coast on
purpose, we may suppose. Well, the red-
men are gone, but the oyster-beds remain;
and if winter refugees continue to pour in
this direction, as doubtless they will, they
too will eat a heap of oysters (it is easy
to see how the vulgar Southern use of that
word may have originated), and in the
course of time, probably, the shores of the
Halifax and the Hillsborough will be a fine
mountainous country! And then, if this
ancient, nineteenth-century prediction is re-
membered, the highest peak of the range
will perhaps be named in a way which the
innate modesty of the prophet restrains him
from specifying with greater particularity.
Meanwhile it is long to wait, and tourists
and residents alike must find what comfort
they can in the lesser hills which, thanks to
the good appetite of their predecessors, are
already theirs. For my own part, there is
one such eminence of which I cherish the
most grateful recollections. It stands (or
stood; the road-makers had begun carting
it away) at a bend in the road just south of
one of the Turnbull canals. I climbed it
often (it can hardly be less than fifteen or


LUL










ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.


twenty feet above the level of the sea), and
spent more than one pleasant hour upon its
grassy summit. Northward was New Smyrna,
a village in the woods, and farther away
towered the lighthouse of Mosquito Inlet.
Along the eastern sky stretched the long
line of the peninsula sand-hills, between the
white crests of which could be seen the rude
cottages of Coronado beach. To the south
and west was the forest, and in front, at my
feet, lay the river with its woody islands.
Many times have I climbed a mountain
and felt myself abundantly repaid by an off-
look less beautiful. This was the spot to
which I turned when I had been reading
Keats, and wanted to see the beauty of the
world. Here were a grassy seat, the shadow
of orange-trees, and a wide prospect. In
Florida, I found no better place in which a
man who wished to be both a naturalist and
a nature-lover, who felt himself heir to a
double inheritance,
The clear eye's moiety and the dear heart's part,"

could for the time sit still and be happy.
The orange-trees yielded other things be-
side shadow, though perhaps nothing better









88 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
than that. They were resplendent with
fruit, and on my earlier visits were also in
bloom. One did not need to climb the hill
to learn the fact. For an out-of-door sweet-
ness it would be hard, I think, to improve
upon the scent of orange blossoms. As for
the oranges themselves, they seemed to be
in little demand, large and handsome as they
were. Southern people in general, I fancy,
look upon wild fruit of this kind as not ex-
actly edible. I remember asking two colored
men in Tallahassee whether the oranges still
hanging conspicuously from a tree just over
the wall (a sight not so very common in
that part of the State) were sweet or sour.
I have forgotten just what they said, but I
remember how they looked. I meant the
inquiry as a mild bit of humor, but to them
it was a thousandfold better than that: it
was wit ineffable. What Shakespeare said
about the prosperity of a jest was never more
strikingly exemplified. In New Smyrna,
with orange groves on every hand, the wild
fruit went begging with natives and tourists
alike; so that I feel a little hesitancy about
confessing my own relish for it, lest I should
be accused of affectation. Not that I de-


I









ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 89
voured wild oranges by the dozen, or in
place of sweet ones; one sour orange goes
a good way, as the common saying is; but I
ate them, nevertheless, or rather drank them,
and found them, in a thirsty hour, decidedly
refrl thing.
The unusual coldness of the past season
(Florida winters, from what I heard about
them, muit have fallen of late into a queer
habit of being regularly exceptional) had
made it difficult to buy sweet oranges that
were not dry and "punky" 1 toward the stem;
hut the hirdier wild fruit had weathered the
frost, and was so juicy that; as I say, you
did n,.,t ~o, much eat one as drink it. As for
thi taste, it was a wholesome bitter-sour, as
if a lemon had been flavored with quinine;
not quite -o sour as a lemon, perhaps, nor
gqui I, bitter as Peruvian bark, but, as
it vwe:re, an agreeable compromise between
the tuo. When I drank one, I not only
qtuenclhed my thirst, but felt that I had
taken an infallible prophylactic against the
malarial fver. Better still, I had surprised
myn-elf. For one who had' felt a lifelong
!I h i I.j rd this useful word all my life, and now
ii .irl;i-. t. w find it wanting in the dictionaries.









90 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
distaste, unsocial and almost unmanly, for
the bitter drinks which humanity in general
esteems so essential to its health and comfort,
I was developing new and unexpected capa-
bilities; than which few things can be more
encouraging as years increase upon a man's
head, and the world seems to be closing in
about him.
Later in the season, on this same shell
mound, I might have regaled myself with
fresh figs. Here, at any rate, was a thrifty-
looking fig-tree, though its crop, if it bore
one, would perhaps not have waited my com-
ing so patiently as the oranges had done.
Here, too, was a red cedar; and to me, who,
in my ignorance, had always thought of
this tough little evergreen as especially at
home on my own bleak and stony hillsides,
it seemed an incongruous trio, fig-tree,
orange-tree, and savin. In truth, the cedars
of Florida were one of my liveliest surprises.
At first I refused to believe that they were
red cedars, so strangely exuberant were they,
so disdainful of the set, cone-shaped, toy-tree
pattern on which I had been used to seeing
red cedars built. And when at last a study
of the flora compelled me to admit their


111 1 II II 1










ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.


identity,1 I turned about and protested that
I had never seen red cedars before. One,
in St. Augustine, near San Marco Avenue,
I had the curiosity to measure. The girth
of the trunk at the smallest place was six
feet five inches, and the spread of the
branches was not less than fifty feet.
The stroller in this road suffered few dis-
tractions. The houses, two or three to the
mile, stood well back in the woods, with
little or no cleared land about them. Picnic
establishments they seemed to a Northern
eye, rather than permanent' dwellings. At
one point, in the hammock, a rude camp was
occupied by a group of rough-looking men
and several small children, who seemed to
be getting on as best they could none too
well, to judge from appearances without
1 I speak as if I had accepted my own study of the
manual as conclusive. I did for the time being, but
while writing this paragraph I bethought myself that
I might be in error, after all. I referred the question,
therefore, to a friend, a botanist of authority. No won-
der the red cedars of Florida puzzled you," he replied.
"No one would suppose at first that they were of the
same species as our New England savings. The habit is
entirely different; but botanists have found no characters
by which to separate them, and you are safe in consider-
ing them as Juniperus Virginiana."









92 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
feminine ministrations. What they were
there for I never made out. They fished,
I think, but whether by way of amusement
or as a serious occupation I did not learn.
Perhaps, like the Indians of old, they had
come to the river for the oyster season.
They might have done worse. They never
paid the slightest attention to me, nor once
gave me any decent excuse for engaging
them in talk. The best thing I remember
about them was a tableau caught in passing.
A northerr had descended upon us unex-
pectedly (Florida is not a whit behind the
rest of the world in sudden changes of tem-
perature), and while hastening homeward,
toward nightfall, hugging myself to keep
warm, I saw, in the woods, this group of
campers disposed about a lively blaze.
Let us be thankful, say I, that memory
is so little the servant of the will. Chance
impressions of this kind, unforeseen, invol-
untary, and inexplicable, make one of the
chief delights of traveling, or rather of hav-
ing traveled. In the present case, indeed,
the permanence of the impression is perhaps
not altogether beyond the reach of a plau-
sible conjecture. We have not always lived


II ..


iM









ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH. 93
in houses; and if we love the sight of a fire
out-of-doors, a camp-fire, that is to say,
-as we all do, so that the burning of a
brush-heap in a neighbor's yard will draw
us to the window, the feeling is but part of
an ancestral inheritance. We have come
by it honestly, as the phrase is. And so I
need not scruple to set down another remi-
niscence of the same kind, an early morn-
ing street scene, of no importance in itself,
in the village of New Smyrna. It may
have been on the morning next after the
northerr" just mentioned. I cannot say.
We had two or three such'touches'of winter
in early March; none of them at all distress-
ing, be it understood, to persons in ordinary
health. One night water froze, -" as thick
as a silver dollar," and orange growers
were alarmed for the next season's crop, the
trees being just ready to blossom. Some
men kept fires burning in their orchards
overnight; a pretty spectacle, I should think,
especially where the fruit was still ungath-
ered. On one of these frosty mornings,
then, I saw a solitary horseman, not wend-
ing his way," but warming his hands over a
fire that he had built for that purpose in









94 ALONG THE HILLSBOROUGH.
the village street. One might live and die
in a New England village without seeing
such a sight. A Yankee would have be-
taken himself to the corner grocery. But
here, though that adjunct of civilization "
was directly across the way, most likely it
had never had a stove in it. The sun would
give warmth enough in an hour,- by nine
o'clock one would probably be glad of a
sunshade; but the man was chilly after his
ride; it was still a bit early to go about the
business that had brought him into town:
what more natural than to hitch his horse,
get together a few sticks, and kindle a blaze ?
What an insane idea it would have seemed
to him that a passing stranger might re-
member him and his fire three months
afterward, and think them worth talking
about in print! But then, as was long ago
said, it is the fate of some men to have
greatness thrust upon them.
This main street of the village, by the
way, with its hotels and shops, was no other
than my river road itself, in its more civil-
ized estate, as I now remember with a sense
of surprise. In my mind the two had never
any connection. It was in this thorough-


I II I MR


"~~-C~ _




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