• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 I
 II
 III
 IV
 V
 VI
 VII
 VIII
 IX
 XI
 XII
 XIII
 XIV
 XV
 XVI
 XVII
 XVIII
 XIX
 XX
 XXI
 XXII
 XXIII
 XXIV
 XXV
 Index














Title: Florida trails as seen from Jacksonville to Key West and from November to April inclusive
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055598/00001
 Material Information
Title: Florida trails as seen from Jacksonville to Key West and from November to April inclusive
Physical Description: 7 p. : l., 300 p. front., plates. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Packard, Winthrop, 1862-1943
Publisher: Small, Maynard and company
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: [c1910]
 Subjects
Subject: Natural history -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055598
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000599395
notis - ADC8380
lccn - 10030092

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page 1
    Frontispiece
        Front page 2
    Title Page
        Front page 3
    Copyright
        Front page 4
    Dedication
        Front page 5
        Front page 6
        Front page 7
        Front page 8
    Table of Contents
        Front page 9
        Front page 10
    List of Illustrations
        Front page 11
        Front page 12
        Front page 13
        Front page 14
    I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
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        Page 11a
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    II
        Page 13
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    III
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    V
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    VII
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    VIII
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    XI
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    XII
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    XV
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    XVII
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    XX
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Full Text










FLORIDA TRAILS

















































" The road down Indian River winds always southward
toward the sun [Page so08







FLORIDA


TRAILS


AS SEEN FROM JACKSONVILLE TO KEY WEST
AND FROM NOVEMBER TO APRIL
INCLUSIVE
BY
WINTHROP PACKARD /o 3ooc.
Asthr of"* Wild Pastures," *:Wd WlFaderiugs," etc.

ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY
THE AUTHOR AND OTHERS


BOSTON
SMALL, MAYNARD AND COMPANY
PUBLISHERS





%)7, 59

p\\







Copyright, z1zo
BY SMALL, MAYNARD AND COMPANY
(INCORPORATID)
Entered at Stationers' Hall


THi UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.




















TO MY MOTHER



















THi author washes to express his thanks to the editors of
the "Boston Evening Transcript" for permission to reprint in
this volume matter originalycontributed to the colhmms of
that paper; to Mr. H. E. Hll of Fort Pierce, Florida, and to
Mr. J. D. Rahner of St Augustine, Florida, for peminion to
use certain photographs which so ably supplement his own;
and to very many Florida people, through whose failing
hospitality and friendly guidance he was able to see and
know many things which otherwise he would have been unable
to find or understand. This spirit of courtly hospitality and
neighborly good wil seems to be a unfailing as the Florida sun-
shine, and is characteristic alike of the native and the adopted
citizen. It adds one more delight to the many to be found in
this beautiful region.


















CONTENTS

Cuarrs PAst
I GOwe SourmTH THE WARBLE .
II CRTAW SOUTHERN BurrmU .... 3
III ALOm Tro RIn MAO . *6
IV Bams or A MoNeu . ... 38
V 'Twnr OAro Gaovz AND SWArM ... 49
VI JAsmMI *AM CuKmu Roe. . 61
VII A Fwnmc MoanmIfo Fwum ... .7
VIII CHmm AT S. Aum .\ . 86
IX IN a FLoRDA FaRz= . .. 96
X Down THs INum N 7. o
XI SPmO U THr SavaNmA . .. 8
XII SvuN THOUSAND PuCASu ... is9
XIII Jou Fmei . . . 4o
XIV Puzrrrs or Tim ST. LanO ... Iss
XV INTmmum oN WAiN's Hnms .. 63
XVI ON ROAD TO PA B . 75
XVII Moawourr am MARC MORNGmm .. .. z86
XVIII IN GAmurrr Gaor . g97
XIX BurzaUrmu or Tm lNmI RIVm ... 0o8
XX AzurAmo AND Wu.D Tuoumr ... 0to








CONTENTS
cugmA
33I Lunt TMm AT PAim Bhai
XXU INM HRo MMACULWW SEA.
XXIII Dox THE Sr. Joims..
XXIV HOLLY Ibknu TIm..
XXV IN A Tuiapzmz C*w.
ImDU .


PAOG
231
243
253
264
s76
s87

















ILLUSTRATIONS


"The road down Indian River winds alwam southward
toward the s ". ... . Fri'dfit#m
"They line the paths on either side with the gray columns of
their trunks". . . . T ~i e
PASn
"Profuse draperies of mos pendant from each branch and
twi . . . to10
"To march along this water is to promenade a river side and
a sea beach in one" ........... 30
"LeHer camp ducks are very tame in Florida water all
winter" .............. .. 34
" In the grateful shadow of an orange tree facing sunward in
thegrove" .......... .... o
" Under the long robes of gray moss at the foot of the ancient
cypress trees" .. .......... 58
" A wilderne where deer and bear still linger" .. .. 78
"Razor-backs do not think it good to live alone" 84
Cortof "TheAlcauar"atSt.Augustine. . 88
Cathedr Pac, St. Augutine ... .... .9
"The fort that waits in crumbling beauty the obliterating
had of the comincentres" . 94
"The irst fr ot turned the pper leaves of the banana tree
a UlghtbrlO . . o10
The banana tree in bloom . . .. o6
"The southeast trade-winds here pass a long Ine of the
islands which bar off the Indian River from the ocean" 1o8






ILLUSTRATIONS

PAW
"This i a country of pineapple plantatio .. 114
"Spring and autumn issed yesterday in the savannas east
ofLakeOkeechobee". . . 118
"All must know when spring comes, whether in the Ever-
glades or the New e ngland pastures" . I24
"The others began nest building and placed some fifteen
hundred nests on the three re island" .. 34
A little group of half-grown young pelicans on the edge of
Pelican Island . . 138
"Up with the full tide come sometimes the tarpon, rolling
silvery bodies n the dark water . .. 144
"A manatee,rare ndeednowadays" . 148
"Sabal palmettos whose cabbage heads tower often as high
asthepines". .......... 154
"As quick night glooms the river the passing ,sun cares
the pametts last". . . ... 6
"A superb dignity of pose, states of frozen alertness" 164
A tdie blue heron and her nest, the commonest Florida
heron.................168
A Seminole village deep in the flat woods of Southern
Florida. ................. 78
The gray of dawn on the Indian River. . .. 92
"The tree is lavish to its friends and will produce fruit
almost beyond belie . . 98
"Thirty miles across the barrens these have come, from
groves out at Fort Drum" . . oo
"A rubber tree twined its roots about a palmetto till it crushed
the trunk to a debris of rotten wood". ..... 210
"The river is screened from your view by dense growth of
palmett" . . . 12
SMy first glimpse came at one of these places" ... 222






ILLUSTRATIONS

"The heat and stem other ropcal swamp hatches the
es witboot father trMble" . 224
"Thee, too, is the mingling of a score of we, wild set
from the jongle".. . . 3
The utrveler'tree in a Palm Beachgard . 234
SIt is the cocoant palms that put the touch of picturesqe
advetr on the place . . .. 238
Into the maculousea . . . 244
By and by the road leaves the embankment and winds tot-
teringly out on plit" . . .. 248
"As one holds his breath in suspense the road comes to a
top at the rester tp of Kniht' Key .... 250
Gatbeg turtle's eggs on a Florida beach ... 252













FLORIDA TRAILS


CHAPTER I
GOING SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS

When I left New York, I thought that I had
said good-by to the smaller migrating birds for
three days. My steamer's keel was to furrow
nearly a thousand miles of rough sea before it
landed me in Florida, where among live-oak and
palmetto, bamboo and sugar cane, I might hope
to meet tiny friends that I had loved and lost
a while. I rather expected flocks of migrating
sea birds, and in this I was disappointed. The
usual gulls whirled and cackled in our wake, kitti-
wakes and herring gulls, brown backs and black
backs, a horde that thinned with each steamer
we met, taking return tickets to port, seemingly
loath to have the fascinating region of Coney
Island.
The hundreds had dwindled to almost a lone
specimen before, just off Charleston, the pelicans
came out to look us over. Not a duck did I see
till the pelicans had approved us. Then we be-
gan to drive out scattered flocks. Perhaps the






FLORIDA TRAILS


northwester that had chased us all the way had
something to do with it. For it was almost a
blizzard out of New York. Up in Central Park
the English sparrow, like Keats's St Agnes' Eve
owl, for all his feathers was a-cold. The little
children of the rich, parading the walks with bare
knees, and nurse maids, were blue with the chill
and might well envy the little children.of the poor
for whom the charitable provide stockings. Even
out at sea the wind and cold seemed to chill the
water till it was made of blue shivers and goose-
flesh combers.
Yet I had reckoned without my host, so far as
the little migrants are concerned, for, waking
the next morning some two hundred miles or
more farther south and far out of sight of any
land, the first sound that I heard was the tchip of
a myrtle warbler. Verily, thought I, this is some
trick of the vibrating rigging, quivering under
the thrust of the screw. Then I looked up and
saw the bird himself, sitting on the rail, whence
he flew serenely to a passenger's hat. Then I
was quite convinced that it was high time that I
had a change, found fresh woods and pastures
new. Too steady a pursuit of a subject is apt to
end in hallucination, as many a latter day theoso-
phist ought to be able to testify.
However, this specimen of Dendroica coro-
nata was not materialized through concentrated







SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS 3
thought, but was a real myrtle warbler, and there
were a dozen, more or less, hopping about the
ship. During the next thirty-six hours the num-
ber of bird passengers carried, summed up,
would, I am sure, far exceed the paying passenger
list. We identified pine warblers, robins, song
sparrows, chipping sparrows, fox sparrows, Wil-
son's warblers, juncos, golden-crowned kinglets,
ruby-crowned kinglets, bay-winged buntings and
a white-bellied swallow.
With a few exceptions these seemed to be
young birds, rather storm-buffeted and we ry.
Whether they lighted on the ship as a convene ent
resting-place in the regular course of their mi-
gration, or whether they had been blown of to
sea by the strong westerly wind, it is impossible
to say. I think the former. The wind was
blustering but by no means a gale, and they could
easily fly against it. They seemed most numer-
ous at daybreak, and I think they were attracted
by the ship's lights during the night, and stopped
on it to feed and rest at morning, as they do on
land. Possibly, also, the younger generation of
birds is finding that it is a good deal easier to go
South by steam power than it is to get there by
main strength. Why not? In a century or so
chimney swallows have learned to build in chim-
neys rather than in caves and hollow trees. Blue-
birds, martins and white-bellied swallows have







FLORIDA TRAILS


learned the uses of bird boxes. Why should n't
they adopt steamships? The wireless operator
who pulls all sorts of information out of the
circumambient atmosphere tells me that they
have; that at this season of the year the ships
are apt to swarm with tiny songsters, and the
young lady from up the State who sits at the
piano in the social hall and coquettishly sings
about "the saucy little bird on Nellie's hat," is
now able to do it with illustrations.
This lighting of the myrtle warbler on the
passenger's hat is not persiflage, either. Several
times it happened. Along in the afternoon a
negro, sitting in a sunny corer of the steerage
deck, held nevertheless the very center of the
stage for several minutes with a junco perched
on the crown of a well-brushed black soft hat
that might have been as old as he was. It made
a rather pretty picture and the old man's eyes
shone with delight long after the junco had
flown. Ya-as," he drawled to his companions
after the bird had gone, dem birds, dey always
does like dat hat. One day down in Souf
Ca'lina ah was sitting in de field a long time an'
one of dem cuckoo birds des came along and laid
an aig in dat hat. Yessir, it done did." This
may be true. I -tell it as I heard it.
All these free passengers seemed far tamer on
shipboard than on shore, and manifested it in






SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS 5
other ways than lighting on people's hats. They
hopped chirping about the decks almost under
foot, to the delight of the ship's cat, which
caught one and escaped the wrath to come by
dodging to some hole below decks with it They
even invaded the dining-room and picked up
crumbs from the carpet, and it was no uncom-
mon thing for one to flutter from under foot
as passengers came along the corridors. Now
and then one would leave his comfortable perch,
flit in a wide circle about the ship, and come back
as if loath to leave so firm a foundation and
such good fellowship. I missed the white-bellied
swallow first Surely his wings should take him
to land without serious effort. One by one the
others departed, many remaining until the ship
was off the Hatteras Shoals and the land not
more than a dozen miles away.
Even then it seemed as if the little warblers
and tiny kinglets were taking long chances with
the stiff wind and the foam-crested billows. In
starting off they flitted down toward these as if
they intended to light on them, swerving upward
from the very imminent crest of many a wave
and dipping into the long hollows again in flight
that matched the undulations of the sea. I hope
they all reached land. Probably in migrating
time the sea takes toll of all flocks and thus helps
nature in her ruthless weeding out of the weak-






FLORIDA TRAILS


lings. There were no small migrants remaining
by the time the pelicans came out to inspect ship.
I have great respect for the pelican, a respect
which increases each time I see him, he is
such a venerable gaffer of a bird. Even in the
confines of his hen-fenced enclosure at the ostrich
farm in Jacksonville, he does not lose this aspect
of dignity. The group sitting and flitting about
their tiny tank always reminds me of the delinea-
tions of the Hebrew prophets in the mural deco-
rations of the Boston Public Library. They (the
pelicans) have a faintly straw-colored top to the
head which reminds one of a bald and massive
dome of thought, and they draw their beaks back
against their necks till they are for all the world
like long beards. Then there is an intellectual
solemnity about them that I am sure their char-
acter does not belie. Even when they play at
leap-frog, clumsily flopping one over another in
the pool, they do it in a way that convinces you
that they have it all reasoned out and are not
entering into it lightly or without due consider-
ation. They are a clean bird in captivity and
are so quaintly awkward in their movements that
one loves them at sight.
But the pelicans are best seen as they fly
in an orderly line from somewhere shoreward,
out to the ship inspection. Several flocks of ten
or a dozen came alternately flapping and sailing,







SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS 7
their wings all beating time with those of the
leader as if in a careful drill movement. They
sailed over the ship and then settled upon the
water, still in an orderly row, and I thought I
saw each flock confer after sitting and wag bald
heads and long beards as if in approval. As we
steamed up te St. Johns we left them there, for
the pelican fishes only at sea and disdains the
brackish water of the river which flows miles
wide from the interior of Florida.
As a first glimpse of Florida bird life they are
satisfying and of unusual interest. I recommend
them to any who may sail in my wake.
The cormorants came next. The viking bird
of which Longfellow jingled,
Tnas with wis uaslat,
ls& the fne cormeasat,
Sekl -g roeky h1uat,
With his prey laden,"
may have been all that the poet's fancy painted
him, but the Florida cormorant certainly does
not fill up to the measure of the poem. Fierce
he may be to little fishes, but to the eye of the
passer up the river his chief characteristic is
purely dole far niete. Hardly a river buoy or
a sand-bar marker post but has a cormorant,
looking as much 1ke a black carving at the top
of a totem pole as anything else. Usually he is as
motionless. He stretches his slim, snake-like neck






FLORIDA TRAILS


as the boat goes by, sometimes even moves it un-
easily, but his body keeps up the statuesque pose
to perfection. No doubt the cormorant dives and
swims, flies and fishes, but so far I have found
him only as the topmost carving on the buoys and
marker posts. This Florida variety is slightly
smaller and otherwise different from the birds
of the Northern coast. Chapman describes him
as a shy bird. A cursory glance would seem to
indicate that the only thing he is shy of is energy.
The first Florida land bird that I saw was the
buzzard. If the cormorant is the statue of repose,
the buzzard is the poet of motion. I suspect
that this bird was the original mental scientist.
He moves by thought-power alone. I am always
reminded, in watching his progress, of the ancient
story of the Chinaman -watching his first elec-
tric car. The buzzard certainly has no visible
pushee or any observable pullee." But how
silently and beautifully he goes. Never a flap of
the broad black wings and never a quiver of the
widespread primary tips. He just thinks himself
along, against the wind or with it, up or down.
His broad wings are like the prayer rug of the
Arabian tale. He adjusts himself upon them,
stretches forth his bald red neck and just wishes
himself in some place, near or far, and forthwith
he sails swiftly to it. In what as yet unexplained
principle of progress he finds his power no pres-


I1 I-






SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS 9
ent-day aeroplanist can say. When he finds out,
the flying man of the future may dp away
with the motor which so frequently fails to mote
and the propellers which break in mid-air and spill
the passenger. Go to the buzzard, thou Bleriot;
consider his ways and be wise.
The little river steamer that takes you up the
St. Johns froni Jacksonville to Orange Park soon
leaves the uproar of the city, the skyscrapers
and drawbridges, tugs, lighters, and coastwise
steamships behind, and puffs onward into placid
reaches that to the eye have changed little since
the days of De Soto. If plantations and villages
exist ashore there is but little indication of them.
The banks are lined with verdure, green and gray,
green with the foliage of century-old live-oaks
and tall, long-leaved pines, gray with exquisite
festoons and dangling draperies of the moss that
decorates every tree and fairly smothers some of
them. There is a crinkly grace, an elderly virility
about it that is most engaging. It takes but little
effort of the imagination to see the red cheeks and
twinkling eyes of a myriad disciples of Santa
Claus peering through it ready to bring gifts to
all good children. I have yet to see with what
costume they simulate the good saint in this coun-
try. If they do not make his beard of this softly
beautiful, crinkly, fatherly gray moss I shall feel
that they miss an excellent opportunity. Here






zo FLORIDA TRAILS
and there through the moss and among the big,
rough tree-trunks a tiny road winds down through
the needle-carpeted sand and leads to a slender
long pier, built far out over the shallow reaches
of the river to a landing for the river boats. The
stream is miles wide in its lower course, but only
in its channel is it deep. Shallows stretch far
from either bank and fleets of water hyacinths
voyaging seaward with the current strand some-
times far from shore. The fifteen-mile trip is
thus like one into a sub-tropical wilderness un-
touched by the chill of approaching winter, little
marred by the hand of man. The miracles of
gorgeous autumn coloring which we left behind
in the Massachusetts woods find no echo here.
Now and then a sumac leaf shows dull crimson or
the wild grape takes on a somber yellow, yet these
tiny dots of color are no more to be noticed in a
general survey of the forest than the bright hues
of the butterflies that swarm at midday in the
bright sun and a temperature of eighty in the
shade.
It is a new land, yet it has beauties that are all
its own. The full moon was rising over the east-
ern shore of the river as I climbed its west bank,
lighting up the broad central street of the little
town with golden radiance. Here for a moment
with the soft sand underfoot and the stately live-
oaks arching overhead I might have thought my-
























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SOUTH WITH THE WARBLERS Ix
self in a Cape Cod village The neat white fences
were the same, the sand was the same with,sparse
grass growing from sidewalk to wheel trades,
and the live-oaks that arched till their limb tips
touched and made play of soft shadows and softer
light underfoot might well have been the Massa-
chusetts elms. Only the profuse draperies of the
moss pendant from every branch and twig were
new, informing the place with a golden glamor
of grace and mystery.
Is n't it wonderful! exclaimed the lady from
Boston.
"Ye-es," replied the lady from Philadelphia,
doubtfully, I think it 's nice; all but that ragged
moss all over everything. It reminds me of un-
tidy housekeeping." Thus points of view differ.
It was perfectly conventional and exactly
proper that the first bird I heard singing here the
next morning should be the mocking bird. It is
little wonder either, for these beautiful songsters
infest the place, as numerous and familiar as
robins on a Northern lawn I have an idea that
the mocking bird is just a catbird gone to heaven.
He seems a lttle slenderer and more graceful.
His tail is a bit longer and the catbird's earthly
color of slate pencil has become a paler, lovelier
gray in which the white of celestial robes is fast
growing. Already it has touched his wing bars,
and his tail feathers, and all his'under parts. So






FLORIDA TRAILS


a bit of celestial beauty has been added to his
song, which is rounder and more golden, yet holds
much of the catbird's phrasing still. People may
say what they will about the catbird at home.
With all his faults I love him still, and it pleases
me to fancy that he becomes a mocking bird as he
becomes good and noble.
After the mocking bird's whistle came a second
melodious note, the tinkle of passing cow-bells,
recalling to mind once more quiet elm-shaded New
England streets and rock-walled pasture lanes.
Yet in this tinkle was a puzzling note as the cattle
passed and the sound faded into the distance, a
bubbling change of tone, a liquid drowning alto-
gether new and delightful I followed its siren
call to find myself led, as by the sirens of old, to
water. Down the streets of a morning wander
the scrub cows of the place, munching live-oak
acorns as they pass to their grazing grounds, the
shallow waters of the St. Johns. Into this they
wade fearlessly, often neck deep and a quarter-
mile from the shore, sinking their heads to the
bottom to feed on the tender herbage of aquatic
plants. The tinkle of the cow-bells catches its
bubbling pote and its drowning fall in its contin-
ual submergence and resurgence. It is as charac-
teristic of a St. Johns River town as the melody of
the mocker, different, but perhaps equally delight-
ful in its musical quaintness.











CHAPTER II


CERTAIN SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES

I had not expected to find a zebra so far north,
yet he galloped by the door one torrid day show-
ing his black and yellow stripes most tantalizingly.
He was so near that the brilliant red dots which
are a part of his color scheme showed plainly and
added to his beauty. I have said galloped; I
might better perhaps have written loped in de-
scribing his flight, for the zebra of this story is
not a quadruped, but a butterfly. It was I who
ilid the galloping, net in hand, finding his easy
lope hard to rival in speed. Soon, however, he
fluttered to a live-oak branch and lighted while I
put the net over him, or thought I did. I hauled
him in with careful glee only to find a yellow oak
leaf as my prize and the butterfly nowhere to be
seen. Down here many people call the Heliconius
charitonus the convict." I had thought this be-
cause of his stripes. I begin to think it is because
of his ability to escape imprisonment.
The zebra came as a sort of climax to two or
three days of butterfly hunting extraordinary.






FLORIDA TRAILS


The first came on my first full day at Orange
Park. There are years when August lasts well
into November in northern Florida, and this is
one. For two months, up to and including the
tenth of November, there has been no rain, and
in cloudless skies the fervent sun has set the mer-
cury in the thermometer toying with the eighty
mark. So it was on this first day of mine. The
wind blew gently from the south, and by nine
o'clock countless swarms of butterflies were flying
against it, a vast migration in progress toward
the tip of the peninsula.
The principal street of the town runs east and
west from the boat landing to the railroad station.
It is laid out so wide that the wagon tracks rather
get lost in it and wander uncertainly from side to
side, so wide that it takes three rows of stately,
moss-bearded oaks to shade it, two between the
broad sidewalks and the street, a third down the
middle. There is room for a trolley line each
side of this central row and plenty of space for
a city's wagon traffic between that and the side-
walk. The trolley line is not here, however.
Only an occasional lazy horse scuffs through the
sand. Somebody planned Orange Park for a
metropolis, and it may be that yet, but the time
has been long in coming.
But if human traffic was scarce in this street
the butterfly highway which led across it any-






SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES


where east or west was filled with eager motion.
Black, yellow, red, silver, and orange and gold
little and big, they were in the air all the time.
The only effort necessary to collect specimens
in variety was that of standing, net in hand, in
any spot and taking what came within reach.
Long-tailed skippers shot like buzzing black bul-
lets out of the vivid sunshine to northward, under
the flickering shadow of the live-oaks, and over
the paling and through the vivid sunshine to
southward again. The skipper is really dark
brown, lighted with a few yellow spots, his body
prettily furred with green, but he looks black on
the wing. He is only a little fellow, spreading
little more than an inch and a half from tip to tip,
the long tails of his after-wings being his most
conspicuous mark, but he is as hot footed in his
motions as a Northern white-faced hornet.
Why a butterfly whose main colors are dark
brown and green evolves from the red-headed
yellow worm that feeds upon wistaria, pea vines
and various other plants of the pulse family is not
for me to say. I think but little of the worm, but
I have a great admiration for the skipper. His
flight is vivid, if his coloring is not, and he is as
full of energy and enthusiasm as a newly arrived
Northern real-estate agent. I shall always feel a
special friendship for Edsmws proteus. He was
my first Florida capture. In the cool of dawn I






FLORIDA TRAILS


found, one sitting on the pillow of my bed that
very first morning and I took him on the spot. It
is a good butterfly country where new specimens
come to you while you sleep.
To-day the sky is overcast, there is a hint of
rain in the air and the temperature is low enough
to suggest a sweater. Not a butterfly is in sight.
All are under shelter, waiting for the sun and
the warmth again.
Certainly millions of them must have passed
through Orange .Park on this day of which I
write. There was not a moment from nine until
four that I could not count a score crossing the
main street. I wandered from the river bank to
the railroad station, a matter of a mile, and al-
ways it was the same. In the length and breadth
of the town a thousand a minute must have moved
on across that street, all day long. There were
eddies and swirls in the current, but during the
day I saw only one butterfly going against it.
That was a skipper, and by his rate of movement
I fancy he had forgotten something and was just
hurrying back after it.
One of the eddies in this current was over a
sweet potato field just south of the road. The
ancient ditty about the grasshopper sitting on
the sweet potato vine is true enough these days.
The long drought has bred him in numbers, but
that day the golden yellow butterflies rather






SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES


crowded him off. The Florida sweet potato is
delicious. There is a nice golden yellow taste
to its well-cooked pulp that crosses the word
"enough" out of a Northerner's gastronomic
dictionary. I remember as a boy studying his-
tory unwillingly, yet reading with pleasure of the
part taken by the Southern troops under Ma ion,
"the swamp fox," in defying the British under
Tarleton and thus helping win the war o the
Revolution. The legend ran that an embassy of
British officers came to Marion's camp to discuss
certain matters with them and found them mak-
ing a meal of sweet potatoes only. Whereupon
the embassy went back and told Tarleton that he
could never conquer men who could fight so well
on so meager a diet. At the time I sympathized
with Marion and his men. Now, having tasted
the Southern sweet potato in its native wilds, I
sympathize with the British who did not know
how well fed their enemies were.
The vine is not so delicious as all this, but it is
pretty in its way, being much like our Northern
morning glory. In fact, they are both ipomeas,
and the purple, tubular blossoms are almost inden-
tical. The Northern morning glory should take
shame to itself that it does not grow a root like
that of its Southern sister-in-law. This sweet
potato field was dotted with purple blossoms that
morning, and above them whirled swarms of






FLORIDA TRAILS


what I think is really the loveliest butterfly of the
South, the cloudless sulphur. The little sulphur
with the black-bordered wings is common enough
at the North, as it is down here, and a very pretty
butterfly it is, too, but it pales into insignificance
beside this great lemon-yellow fellow with wing
expanse of two and a half inches, the whole upper
side one rich clear color that flashes in the sun.
The under side is almost as rich, having but one
or two insignificant eye spots to vary it, and the
swarms of these great golden creatures came
down on the purple blossoms like a scurrying
snow-storm whose great flakes were embodied
sunshine.
The caterpillar which is the grub form of this
beautiful creature is yellow, too I cannot think
of Catopsilia ebule as being born of a grub of
any other color and feeds on the leaves of the
wild senna, whose blossoms are also yellow.
Thus, for once, anyway, we have a sequence of
color culminating in the superlative. The cloud-
less sulphur is very fond of all flowers, and is
said to be especially partial to orange blossoms.
I can think of nothing more beautiful than the
glossy green leaves of this delightful tree, inter-
spersed with the waxy white fragrant blooms, the
whole glorified with the hovering wings of this
great golden yellow butterfly.
The cloudless sulphurs did not have the sweet






-SOUTHERN BUTTIERFUJES


potato patch all to themselves, though they
swirled there most conspicuously. I picked out
of it, as I watched, occasional flecks of deep red
which I took at first for monarchs, and so many
of them were. The monarch is a common butter-
fly in the North, one of our most conspicuous va-
rieties from early summer until the low swung
sun beckons them South, whither they migrate
in accumulating swarms from September until
frost In Massachusetts these migrations never
contain enough members to make them conspicu-
ous. Farther south the numbers increase until
from New Jersey south we hear almost yearly
accounts of the swarms. I took one of these
monarchs as he sailed by me across the Orange
Park boulevard. He was just Anosia plesipps,
but such a splendid fellow Never before had I
seen a butterfly of this species quite so large or
so richly colored. There was a velvety quality
about all his markings and a sumptuousness of
outline and development that made him far supe-
rior to the Northern monarchs which I have ex-
amined closely. Other specimens have confirmed
this impression, and I begin to think that the
Southern-born Anosia pleippus, developing
under stronger sun and from a chrysalis un-
chilled by frost, excels in beauty his Northern
brother. I wonder if other butterfly hunters can
confirm or disprove this.






FLORIDA TRAILS


Along with the monarch came now and then
the viceroy. This too is a common enough North-
ern butterfly, so much like the monarch, though
of another genus, that in flight neither I nor the
insect-eating birds are likely to tell the two apart.
The monarch is beautiful but not tasty, and the
insect-eaters let him fly by on this account.
Something about him does not agree with them.
On the other hand, Basilarchia disippus, the vice-
roy, is delectable from the flycatcher's point of
taste. But he escapes because he resembles the
monarch. Hence many scientists say that the
viceroy "imitates" the monarch for protection.
In this I take it that they mean that he escapes
because he resembles, not that he consciously as-
sumes the colors of, the other insect. The sur-
vival of the fittest works inexorably, but without
the consciousness of the individual. At any rate,
the viceroy resembles the monarch very closely,
though as a rule he is not so large.
The magnificence of the Florida monarch I
find somewhat reflected in his viceroy, neverthe-
less, for the Florida viceroys seem to me larger
and more richly colored than those of New Eng-
land. This difference has led one authority on
Southern butterflies to adopt a new name for this
dissembler, calling the local Basilarchia disippus,
Basilarchia roridensis. Then another came
along and called him Basilarchia eros. But why?






SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES


The insect is in all respects the same as the
disippus except that he is a wee bit bigger and
richer in coloration. But so, I believe, is the mon-
arch, down here. It seems to me like classifying
Bill Jones as of a different family from his brother
Sam Jones, just because Bill has browner whisk-
ers and weighs forty pounds more.
But while I aIptured and examined monarchs
and viceroys and released them with vain specu-
lations as to what other people thought of them
and why, Dione vanilla came along, and away
went thoughts of potentates and of hair-splitting
classifiers. She soared low as if to alight at my
feet, and I saw the rich orange yellow of the
upper sides of her aristocratic wings. She hov-
ered and danced up by my eyes, and she seemed
robed in shimmering silver, so profusely are the
metallic moons scattered over her under wings,
and through it all she seemed to blush a vivid red.
This butterfly I had never seen, and though
for two or three days she and her bewitching
sisters seemed to swarm I have not yet disen-
tangled my soul from her fascinations. No one
of the dancing sisterhood passes me but I pursue
with the net for the joy of looking closely at so
beautiful a creature, though I handle with tender-
ness and release after gloating. The lovely, ful-
vous orange which marks the fritillaries seems in
Dione to be just a shade richer, but toward the






FLORIDA TRAILS


bases of the wings it blushes into a rich wine red,
a pellucid crimson, while beneath, the after wings
are as studded with glittering silver spots as a
Nautch girl with silver bangles. I do not wonder
that Dione soars demurely for only a moment,
then seems to have to dance in pure abandon-
ment of joy in her own dainty, beautiful com-
pleteness. I have said the cloudless sulphur is the
loveliest of Southern butterflies, and in spite of
temptation I cling to the statement, but Dione
vanillae is the most bewitching.
Of the other varieties of demure, delightful,
sedate, serene, fascinating or frivolous butter-
flies that passed within reach of my net as I
simply stood and watched them that most won-
derful day I might name a dozen. The numbers,
of all varieties, were countless, and all were mov-
ing south. I do not think it a conscious migra-
tion. Yet it has all the effect of that. A butter-
fly, like a migrating bird, flies best against a
gentle wind. It is time now for the first of the
wild geese to be on their way down from the
Arctic, flying and feeding across the Northern
States. You will find them feeding or resting
when the wind is out of the north. When it
blows in the higher atmosphere from the south
the long harrows breast it with ease, high up, and
seem to make their way as rapidly and as far as
possible while it lasts.






SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES


On days when the wind blows from the north
down here there is a bit of the northern chill in
the air. No more than enough to give a needed
stimulus to a Northern man, to make him wish to
tramp far and see all things, but to the Southern
sun-born butterfly this chill spells no thorough-
fare. All traffic is suspended on such days, and
though in sunny sheltered corners you may find
many or all varieties, only such vigorous fellows
as the monarchs fly high or far. In other words,
on sunny days with a southern wind there is a
steady southward migration of all strong-winged
butterflies, a movement that sends literally thou-
sands upon thousands in the course of a day
across miles of country. This is not conscious or
purposeful migration as is the movement of the
birds at this time of year, but the aggregate result
is much the same. Nor is the rate of passage of
individuals at all slow. I find when I sweep at
one of these southbound fellows with the net and
then, missing him, attempt to follow his flight,
I migrate southward at a jog trot that would
mean five or six miles an hour. The butterflies
that started out earliest on that sunny November
morning were a dozen miles nearer the head-
waters of the St. Johns when the chill of late
afternoon overtook them.
I have named the, to me, loveliest and most
fascinating of these November migrants. So far






FLORIDA TRAILS


I have found two others most interesting. One
of these is Anosia berenice, which, according to
my reading of butterfly authorities, has no busi-
ness here at all. Berenice, surnamed the queen,
is of the same genus as the monarch, the only
other species of the genus found in the United
States. The color is a livid brown, not differing
much from that of the monarch to the casual
glance. The white spots on the wings are simi-
larly placed but the black veining is absent on the
upper sides.
I had supposed the queen was found only in
the southwest, in Arizona and New Mexico, and
was greatly delighted to find many specimens
floating about, feeding on the same blossoms as
the monarch, and in many ways seeming worthy
to be a consort. Like Anosia plexippus Anosia
berenice has some quality which makes insect-
eating birds shun it In the southwest Basilarchia
hulsti mimics the queen as the viceroy mimics
the monarch. The two mimics are quite similar
in'appearance, and I shall look with care at each
viceroy which passes in hopes of finding him the
imitator of the queen.
The other most interesting variety is the zebra.
In shape this insect differs from all the other
butterflies found here, or indeed in the eastern
United States. His wings are long and narrow,
giving him somewhat the appearance of a gaudily






SOUTHERN BUTTERFLIES 25
painted dragon fly. But his flight is serene and
seemingly slow. It was two days after his dis-
appearance before I saw him again, and then I
did not recognize him. The richly contrasting
black and gold of hisqupper side I did not then see,
for he floated above me. J only knew that here
was a peculiarly shaped brown fellow going easily
by. This time he was easily captured. Not till
I hab him in the net did I see his upper side and
recognize my escaped convict.












'CHAPTER III


ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN *

One of the sweetest of Southern trees at this
time of the year is the loquat, which is not by
right of birth a Southern tree at all, being trans-
planted from Japan. However the loquats have
been here long enough to be naturalized and seem
Southern with that extra fillip of fervor which
marks, often, the adopted citizen. Their odor
was the first to greet me on landing at the long
dock at Orange Park, floating on the amorous
air with sure suggestion of paradise just beyond.
At the time I thought it just the "spicy tropic
smell" that always comes off shore to greet one
in low latitudes, whether on the road to Manda-
lay or Trinidad or Honolulu. Usually it is born
of Southern pines whose resinous distillation
bears on its rough shoulders breath of jasmine,
tuberose or such other climber or bulb bearer as
happens to be in bloom.
Off shore in the West Indies the froth of the
brine seems to play ball with these odors, tossing
them on the trade winds leagues to leeward, till






ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN


one wonders if Columbus might not have hunted
the new world by scent. Later in the year, say
February or March, this perfume might well be
compounded of orange blossoms, but just now,
when the oranges, hereabouts at least, are wait-
ing for the winter frosts to be over before they
bloom, it is the loquat trees which take up the
burden of sceit. The loquat is a handsome tree,
suggesting in its shape and dark green leaves
the horse-chestnut. The blooms are in corymbs,
and their cotton-downy, yellowish-white flowers
are not so very different to the casual glance
from those of the buckeye. With one of those
fairy-like surprises that the South constantly
gives you the tree however does not produce
horse-chestnuts, but an edible, yellow, plum-like
fruit, whence its other, common name of Japa-
nese plum.
All night the loquat blooms send their rich
perfume questing off shore along the banks of
the St. Johns, and the big yellow stars swing so
low that it is hard to tell which is the heavenly
illumination and which the trawl aMarks of the
fishermen, lanterns hung from poles where the
trawls lie in wait for channel cats. In the gray of
sudden dawn you find these fishermen rowing
home again, black silhouettes against a black
river, and I often wonder if the scent of the lo-
quats, slipping riverward in the lee of the long






FLORIDA TRAILS


dock does not unconsciously guide them, they
find port so surely without beacon.
It is very sudden, this gray of dawn. It is
as if some one turned a switch, paused for a
moment only to see that the first turn had taken
effect, then turned another which released the
spring beneath the sun, after which it is all over.
Daybreak I am convinced is a word coined be-
tween the tropics. No man born north of latitude
forty would speak of day as breaking. There the
dawn comes as leisurely as a matinee girl to
breakfast; here it pops like popcorn. With the
coming of day on this bank of the St. Johns the
pungent odor of wood smoke cuts off the scent
of the November blooming loquats. The smoke
of a Southern pine fire is an aroma decorated
with perfume. To me the smell of wood smoke
of any kind is always delightful. It sniffs of
campfires and the open road, of blankets beneath
boughs and the long peace of the stars. The fire
whence it comes may be guiltless of any outdoor
hearth. It may be half-smothered among brick
chimneys, built to cook porridge for life prisoners
in a city jail, for all I know, but the smoke is free.
It was born of the woods, where it gathered all
spices to its bosom, and though the log crumbles
to ashes in durance, the smoke is the spirit of
freedom and can mean nothing else to him who
has once smelled it in the wild. If I am ever a






ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN 29
life prisoner, I hope they will not let me get scent
of wood smoke. If they do, on that day I shall
break jail or die in the attempt.
The wood burned here for breakfast fires is the
Southern pitch pine, whose smoke seems to carry
in its free pungency a finer spiciness than comes
with the smoke of other woods. One born to it
ought to be sdre he is home again by the first
whiff. It differs from that of white pine, fir or
spruce, this long-leaf pine smoke, and I am sure
that if you brought me magically from the Adi-
rondacks or the Aroostook in my sleep and landed
me in the barrens I should know my location,
however dark the night, the very moment the
wind blew the campfire smoke my way.
Every Southern backyard seems to hold the
big, black, three-legged iron pot for boiling
clothes, and I know not what other incantatory
purposes. Beneath this, too, they burn an open
fire of pitch wood, so often I may walk all day
long with this subtle essence of freedom in my
nostrils, a tonic to neutralize the languor that
comes down river with the breeze out of the tropic
heart of the peninsula. I walked south to meet
this breeze this morning, with the morning sun
on my left shoulder, the blue sea of the broad
river stretching five or six miles beneath it to the
haze of the distant bank. On my right was the
ten-foot sand bluff of the bank and I waded with






FLORIDA TRAILS


the aquatic cows, now knee-deep in shallows on a
sandy bottom, now following their paths through
margins of close-cropped water hyacinths, over
mangrove roots and through the mud of marsh
edges, and again along a dry bank of clean white
sand. To know a river takes many expeditions,
and one of these should surely be afoot along its
shallows.
The brackish tides that swirl up from the sea
to the deep water off the Jacksonville wharves
speed with little loss of vigor on, many broad miles
into the heart of Florida. To march along this
water is to promenade a river side and'a sea beach
in one. Splashing through the shallows I find
the water as full of fish life as the woods are of
birds, or the air of butterflies. You can look no-
where without seeing one, usually all forms in
numbers. The mullet leap sometimes six feet in
the air from the river surface, gleaming silver in
the sun. A blue crab scuttles, left side foremost,
from the margin toward deep water, his blue
claws conspicuous and marking the species,
which is Southern in its habitat though found in
numbers as far north as the Jersey coast. This
crab is very plentiful here, the neighbors catch-
ing him with ease by the simple expedient of
tying a piece of ancient meat to a string which
they drop from the wharf and occasionally draw
up. The crab will be found feeding on and so
















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ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN 31
gripping the meat with those blue claws that he
may be dropped on- the dock or in a pail by shak-
ing him off.
By the river at night may be seen a fine ex-
ample of the continuance of a trade not taught in
schools or in books, but handed down from father
to son for countless generations. The fishing for
channel cats in the St Johns is a-good business.
The fish run from a few pounds in weight up to
thirty or thirty-five. They sell in the rough for
two and a half cents a pound. Nobody about
here will eat cats and they are shipped north, I
suspect to become boneless cod. But the cat fish-
ing is not what I mean, it is the shrimping. These
curious, bug-like creatures infest the river, and
the negro fishermen capture them at night in
primitive circular nets which have lead weights
about the circumference and are held by a rope
from the center. The fishermen cast these upon
the surface by a peculiar motion which spreads
them out flat. Then they sink and are drawn
up by the central rope, looking for all the world
like a dangling lace petticoat with shrimps and
small fishes entangled in the lace. The water laps
in ghostly fashion under the piers and the lan-
tern light makes grotesque creatures out of an
elder world of the fishermen.
Here, I suspect, is a fine survival. Were not
the nets that Peter and his brethren cast into






FLORIDA TRAILS


Galilee of this fashion? Did not the fishermen
of an ancient legend who drew up the bottle which
contained an afreet, find its cork entangled in a
net like one of these? The slippers of Abu Kas-
sim, in the Persian story, desperately thrown
away and brought back again always by most
untimely rescue were not these hauled from
the Euphrates once by a fisherman with just
such a net? I believe so. But our thought,
tangled like the shrimp in the net, has traveled
a long way.
The name of the water hyacinth is linked for
all time with Florida's broad river. Here where
the tide flows in the main stream I see but little
of it. Now and then a fleet of tiny green boats
floats boldly down as if piratically planning to
take the open sea, with green halberds pointed
bravely over blunt, round bows. I fancy the salt
of the real sea is too much for these bold voy-
ageurs, but they line the river bank everywhere,
rarely a leaf showing along the main river, so
closely are they cropped by the roaming aquatic
cattle. These whet appetites of a morning on the
hyacinths as they step over the green blanket of
them that hides the sand. They breakfast far
from shore on the homely waterweed, Anarcharis
canadensis I take it to be, that grows so plenti-
fully in water a few feet deep. Then they wade
in again and give the hyacinths another crop as






ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN


they go by to rest beneath the live-oaks and chew
the cud of contentment.
This makes the hyacinths which blanket the
shore but squat agglomerations of green-air
bulbs that give one little idea of the real plant.
These grow persistently, however, and now and
then blossom out of season because of this prun-
ing, showing'a wonderful blue, hyacinth-like
bloom that one might almost take for a translu-
cent blue orchid, the standard petal larger and
deeper blue with a mark like a yellow fleur-de-lis
on it, a blossom that makes the banks of the St.
Johns in spring a blue sheen of dainty color.
But you need to get away from the frequented
banks of the river to see the water hyacinth in
full growth. There, uncropped by cattle and un-
molested, the plants crowd creeks from bank to
bank with serried ranks of leaves whose deep
green gives a fine color but whose culms effectu-
ally stop all navigation.
I was splashing along through the shallows
that border this riverbank hyacinth blanket,
headed toward a great bed of pied-billed grebes
that were resting and feeding in a shallow near
the entrance to Doctor's Lake, when I had my
first tiny adventure of the day. Right among the
hyacinths near my feet I heard a scream of pain
and terror. Very human it was, but tiny and
with an elfin quality about it. I stepped to the






FLORIDA TRAILS


right and it was at my left I stepped to the left
and it was at my right. I looked down, but it
sounded twice before I located it.
Then I saw a small green frog, one with a body
an inch and a half long, whose hind leg was
caught beneath the water hyacinths. He it was
that was giving these most human-like little
screeches. Almost I reached to disentangle his
foot with my finger. Then I bethought me what
country I was in and poked with the handle of a
net that I had with me, instead. This was just
as well, for the poking disclosed the arrow-shaped
head and baleful eyes of a young water moccasin.
A blow or two broke his hold on the frog, that
stopped his yelling forthwith and hopped eagerly
away. The snake was soon despatched. He was
only nine inches long, and how he hoped to
swallow a frog so big I cannot say. Common re-
port says he could stretch his rubber neck four
times its usual size and accomplish his dinner.
Sitting in a clean sandbank, and safe, no doubt,
I soon got intent on my birds. Never before had
I seen so many grebes. There were easily half
a thousand of them swimming about in such close
communion that they jostled one another, all
pied-bills. I saw no alien among them. Some
rocked on the wavelets, their heads down between
their shoulders, seeming half asleep. Others fed
industriously. The water of the shallows along




























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ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN


here is so full of small fish that they had little
trouble in getting their fill. Some seemed to suc-
ceed by merely dipping the head and picking up
what came within reach. Others swam sedately,
then of a sudden leapt into the air and curled
below in a lightning-like plunge that often
brought up a big one.
Before long I began to see that the great com-
munity was made up of families or associates, of
two to five, oftenest three, as if this year's father
and mother kept the young still in charge. Now
and then one grebe seemed to rush to another that
had just come up and receive something from the
resurgent bill, as if the mother had captured a
special titbit which was passed over to the young.
Sometimes, too, the would-be recipient was chided
away with a sharp dab of the bill instead of the
reached-for refreshment. Here no doubt was a
bunco child, and the parent was too keen to be
thus swindled. In that case the dab that rebuffed
the impostor was followed by a swallow that set-
tied the matter as far as that particular young
mullet was concerned. There was, however, al-
ways a strong community spirit. The most of the
five hundred coursed the shallows in one direc-
tion, swimming all heads one way with something
like army discipline. The leader of this company
had but to turn and swim back and the whole
array turned front and made in the opposite direc-






FLORIDA TRAILS


tion. Yet there were squads under secondary
leadership, for now and then a flock of twenty or
so would rise and fly swiftly up or down stream
without drawing the others. At such times a
quaint little croaking cry was exchanged by many
birds.
I might have learned more had I not happened
to look sharp at the sand not far from my elbow.
Something rather indistinct there took shape after
a little, and a troubled conscience sent me up in the
air, perhaps not so high as the top of the bay-
berry shrubs, but if not it was not my fault. I
certainly had a strong desire to sit on top of them.
The nearer grebes squawked and fled, but little
did I care for them, for there in the sand at my
feet as I came down I saw the ghost of my little
moccasin, a stubby little nine-inch gray creature
whose curious black mottlings left him still indis-
tinct among his surroundings.
After all, it was but a ghost of a little gray
snake, probably dead, for he did not move.
Grown bold I turned him over with the toe of my
. big boot. He lay motionless. Then I gave him
an extra poke and suddenly moved away some
yards, for he turned back upon his belly, raised
a threatening head and began to grow. All the
cobras in India, concentrated, could not have
looked more venomous. His markings became
distinct and glowed. Two black loops far down






ALONG THE RIVER MARGIN 37
on his neck became like great eyes, and the whole
snake became so big of head that I looked for
legs, thinking he must be some sort of lizard
after all. Never have I seen a nine-inch creature
look so portentous, and when I whacked him on
the head with my net pole and stretched him out,
undoubtedly dead, I had vague feelings that I
was dealing with a magical creature that might
at the next move become a dragon like those of
King Arthur's time and take me down at one
fiery gulp.
It was my first encounter with a harmless in-
habitant of the sandy barrens, the hog-nosed
snake. The reptile may grow to a length of three
feet. He has neither fangs nor venom, but he
does not need them. When cornered he simply
swells up to thrice his usual size, hisses, and acts
generally as if built out of mowing machines and
loaded with cyanide of potassium. I am still con-
gratulating myself that this sand baby was not
full-grown. If he had been, and terror can kill,
the tiny frog-chaser of the water hyacinths
would surely have been avenged.













CHAPTER IV


BIRDS OF A MORNING

An early December bird student in northern
Florida suffers from embarrassment of riches.
Never elsewhere have I seen so many varieties of
birds in such numbers. Never elsewhere have I
seen such abundant opportunities for watched
birds to hide themselves. The live-oaks range
from shrubs to huge trees, their dense, glossy
leaves reflecting the sunlight and making the
spaces behind them vague with shadows. These
may be full of birds; except for a twitter
or the flirt of a wing you would never know it.
One after another draws away the drapery of
Spanish moss from an entrance and slips in, or
a flock may whirl out and into another tree, por-
tieres of gray lace opening to let them out, and
closing behind them as they enter.
I have spent many mornings trying to deter-
mine which bird is the first up. During the hot
spell of two weeks ago, when the thermometer
danced in the shade with the eighties all day and






BIRDS OF A MORNING


sank to sweet slumber with the sixties at night
I was quite convinced that it must be the mocking-
bird, just because I heard him first. Then
quite a few mockers used to greet the coming of
the sun with melody, rolling golden notes of de-
lightful song over the dew-wet sands from some
topmost twig. Just in front of the house on the
river bank is a group of yuccas, fifteen feet tall
or so, stabbing the soft air in all directions with
their needle-pointed Spanish bayonets.
I fancy every Northerner has to learn the full
stabbing power of these bayonets by experience.
A thicket of them is beautiful in its dark green
setting of slim-pointed rosettes and is impassable
to a white man as the outer rim of a British
square. It would take a Fuzzy-wuzzy of the
Soudanese tribes to break through in the one case
as in the other. I once read in a novel of a lover
who followed the desire of his heart to Florida,
and at the critical moment forced his way to her
"penetrating a thicket of Spanish bayonet." I
now realize that this lover was a man of steel,
else the thicket had penetrated him. Inadvert-
ently I leaned a little closer to one of these yucca
groups the other day, and went to the repair
shop with nineteen punctures, being fortunate
that I did not permanently remain hung in the
larder of the butcher bird of whom more anon.
The top of a yucca is crowned each summer






FLORIDA TRAILS


with a most beautiful pyramid of waxy, pale yel-
low flowers, a spike several feet tall with droop-
ing blooms most delightful to behold, followed by
pods that are now approaching maturity, looking
much like stubby green bananas ripening to a
glossy brownish red. On the top of one of these
pod-pyramids a mocking bird used to sit during
the warm spell, greeting the dawn with golden
uproar. He and his fellows were most lively
then, filling the thickets with harsh chirps when
not singing. The songs of different mockers
vary much, but their chirps are alike and are cer-
tainly most unmusical They are loud, harsh and
guttural. The mia-u-w of a catbird is a burst
of melody in comparison.
But that singing was all for the hot weather.
Suddenly the other night the wind came up out
of the north, the mercury fell in the thermome-
ter to the late forties, and we all froze to death
not as to our bodies, which simply grew goose-
flesh, but in our minds. Singular thing, the
Northern mind. It comes down to Florida from
a country where the winter mercury dandles the
zero mark on its knee mornings. It finds the jas-
mine in bloom and butterflies flitting from flower
to flower. A few mornings later it finds the mer-
cury at thirty-eight and frost on the jasmine.
This does not specially trouble the jasmine, but it
so freezes the Northern mind that the Northern






BIRDS OF A MORNING


body has to sit over roaring fires and rub its
goose-flesh until the temperature rises again.
But that is Florida.
After a second or third forty-degrees-above
cold snap the visitor from frozen climes gets his
balance and forgets to shiver, finding the chill
a tonic and the mid-day warmth delightful. So
I fancy it is with the mocking birds. They seem
livelier now that cool weather has come, they
chirp and flutter about with much more energy,
but not one of them has opened his mouth in song
since the mercury hit fifty. My front-door friend
still sits on his yucca pod part of the day, how-
ever, and still I am puzzled to know when he
leaves it and his double comes on duty.
He is a rather interesting fellow, this double,
whom I need not have mistaken for the mocker
at all, he is so different a bird. Yet he is about
the same size, white beneath and with a good deal
of gray in his upper works. Bill and tail differ
from those of the mocker; still, at a distance of a
hundred feet a casual glance did not enlighten
me. I am still wondering if there is method in
this quiet substitution. The double is a logger-
head shrike, the Southern butcher-bird. He
feeds upon small birds, and he might well choose
the perch which the mocker had just vacated as
a most desirable hunting stand. Small birds flit-
ting back and forth in the early morning would






FLORIDA TRAILS


hear the mocker singing and know that he would
never harm them. Then an hour or two later,
flying by in perfect confidence, they would find
themselves in the crooked beak of the logger-
head, to be impaled on one of the thorns of the
yucca beneath the perch and there dissected
at leisure, or left to wait while the loggerhead
takes his ease, "hung" as we say of ducks and
snipe.
Does the loggerhead take the mocking bird's
perch with forethought, bearing the opportunity
in mind and trusting to the resemblance, or is it
just a case of a convenient perch with both birds?
He who can read the loggerhead's mind may be
able to tell me. So far I have failed to catch the
butcher bird at his butchery, and though I look
doubtfully at those convenient Spanish bayonet
tips as I pass, I find I am the only innocent thus
far impaled on them.
Of these small birds that the loggerhead might
capture the very name is legion. All warblers
seem to be here, and if they are difficult to keep
track of in the North, here they are well nigh im-
possible. I find a live-oak tree full of uncount-
able flocks. I get the glass on one bird, and before
I can begin to note his characteristics he has
flitted like a shadow and another with far differ-
ent markings is in his place. Birds that one
knows at a glance may thus be noted at a glance,






BIRDS OF A MORNING


but the rarer varieties crowd in upon these until
the mind in trying to distinguish and remember
becomes inextricably confused and finally gives
up in despair. I am beginning to believe that
every small bird in Chapman's Birds of Eastern
North America" is in convention on the west
bank of the St. Johns. Some wiser and more far-
sighted man than I will have to tell how many
varieties of warblers, finches, sparrows, and fly-
catchers may be seen on one good day in early
December on the lower banks of the big river of
Florida.
It is a relief to cross the trails of some more
easily seen songsters. Take the Florida crows,
for instance. These are a relaxation rather than
a study. They lack the sardonic virility of their
Northern cousins, these fish crows. They are
smaller, not so strong of flight, and their call has
none of the deep "caw, caw, caw" of our bird
of canny humor. Their flight is flappy and less
certain, and their cries have a humorous gurgle
in them that seems hardly grown up. They seem
like boys that have just reached the age when
the voice breaks with a queer croak in it that
makes you laugh. Corms americana seems most
of the time to be on definite business. In Massa-
chusetts I have found him in the main forceful,
dignified, and seemingly doing something worth
while. Corus ossifragus just straggles along






FLORIDA TRAILS


with his fellows, having a mighty good time, and
croaking hysterically about it.
It is a poor half-hour for birds when I do not
find one of these flaming fellows the cardinals set-
ting the thicket on fire. In the warm weather the
cardinals were accustomed to whistle to me. The
call, loud and clear, has a round cheeriness in it
that should drive away all melancholy. The car-
dinal does not seem in the least afraid of me. If
I approach him he may fly away at the last mo-
ment, but more often he simply sidles around the
tree in a stiff, wooden sort of way that he has,
remaining quiet if just a few strands of moss are
between us. He seems to do this with depreca-
tory awkwardness, as if he knew he dazzled and
tried to be humble about it. I do not think it can
be to get out of sight altogether. If so it is a mis-
taken caution, for his flame will burn through
quite a bit of gray moss, and where it is shielded
by the deep, shiny green of live-oak leaves it flares
only the brighter by the contrast.
His wife is even more beautifully clad, and
though her olive green and ashy gray ought to
make her less conspicuous the telltale cardinal
blazes on crest, wings and tail, and I am likely to
see her about as far as her flaming consort. I
have not heard the female sing, though in defi-
ance to the usual custom among song birds she is
said to, a softer and even prettier song than that






BIRDS OF A MORNING


of her vivid mate. But even the male cardinal
does not sing when it is cold, and I have not heard
a note from any of them since the mercury got
down to the forty neighborhood.
Passing from the puzzling opacity of live-oak
groves and palmetto scrub I found myself later
in a country far better fitted for hunting birds by
sight. That was one of the interminable stretches
of long-leaved pine forest of which this part of
Florida is largely made. Here are trees that
shoot up straight as arrows, sixty to a hundred
feet high. Rarely is there a limb in the first fifty
feet and the plumed tops seem to intercept the
vivid sunlight but little. Under foot the carpet
of twelve to fifteen inch needles is well called pine
straw. It is a place of singular silence and a be-
wildering sameness. Along interminable levels
you may look for what seem endless miles be-
tween these straight trunks till they draw together
in the gray distance and, in kindness, shut off the
view. One needs a compass and provisions to
plunge, a wandering submarine, beneath this sea
of similarity, and I skirted its edge only, lest I
get lost and spend my days in an unending circuit.
Slipping along this polishing carpet of needles
I heard what I at first took to be the familiar note
of chickadees. Yet it was not that either. It was
too throaty and lacked the gleeful definiteness of
the chickadee. In fact it was a poor.attempt.






FLORIDA TRAILS


Soon I saw the birds, gleaning in a gray group,
hanging this way and that just as chickadees do.
They had decided crests and I quite readily recog-
nized them for the tufted titmouse which in this
country takes the place of the chickadee.
The flock passed busily on and for a moment
the silence of the place was impressive. A gentle
wind was slightly swaying the tops of these tall
trees, but there was no song of the pines to be
heard. Underfoot partridge berry and pipsis-
sewa, pyrola and club moss, which by right
should always grow under pines, were not to be
seen. Only the rich brown of the pine straw
and the dark mould of decaying fallen trunks
was there. Here and there a tiny shrub, usu-
ally a scrub live-oak, put out a feeble green, but
it was not enough to break the monotony of
melancholy that seemed to pervade the place. It
was broken, though, in another moment. There
was a whirr of wings and half-a-dozen birds
'dived, seemingly out of heaven, each on his own
route, whirled with a whirrup of wings and
lighted lightly as an athlete each on his chosen
tree trunk.
It was like a circus act. For a moment each
bird remained motionless, his stiff tail feathers
jammed into the trunk below him, his head
.drawn back as if awaiting a signal, and through
the melancholy silence came a creaking "k-r-r-k,


46 '






BIRDS OF A MORNING


kr-r-r-k." It might have been a weather-
vane swaying in the wind or it might have
been tree toads. But it was neither. It was
simply the voice of a flock of red-headed wood-
peckers. These birds are rare in my local-
ity North, but they seem here to be familiar
spirits of the wood. Smaller and less beautiful
than partridge'woodpeckers, they seem much like
them in their antics, which are always clown-like
and amusing. They tap wood and pull grubs as
if they knew I was looking at them and wanted
to make the little farce as funny as possible.
The circus clown might well take the spirit of
his antics from the actions of red-headed wood-
peckers in a Southern pine forest. After scram-
bling in a jerky ludicrousness up a stub one
would pause on the top of it motionless for a
time, reminding me of an awkward boy trying
to pose as Ajax defying the lightning. Then
another would dive at him in full flight, driving
him from his perch at the last moment, only to
take it and assume the exact pose of the former,
the whole thing done with the alert precision of
a pair of good circus performers. Then the sub-
stitute, still motionless, would give his little
treetoad-like creak, as if saying in humorous
humility, How's that for an act? Taine, the
historian, has written of the immense loneliness
of the pine barrens. But it is to be supposed






FLORIDA TRAILS


that Taine was never entertained there by a flock
of red-headed woodpeckers. But then, there are
people whom vaudeville makes lonely.
I have not named the half of the birds I can
identify of a morning in this great aviary, nor
have I named the two that pleased me most.
One was just plain bluebird, a young bird of a
silent flock that slipped through the trees of the
town. This young bird had not yet his mature
plumage, anl he hung behind and peered about
in an uncertain way as if much impressed with
the wonders of this new place to which mother
had brought him, but still a bit lonesome and
unsettled. I was right glad to see bluebirds.
I have looked in vain so far for robins. The
other is a bird that came with the cold snap and
hangs about the tip of the Orange Park dock
almost a quarter of a mile out in the river, with-
out visible means of support. He hides under
the stringers when I approach him, but I have
had several good views, and if I know a snow
bunting when I see one, this is he. What busi-
ness he has so far South is more than I can tell,
and he seems to feel an alien by the way he
clings to the seclusion of the dock. Perhaps he
came on the wrong boat and is only waiting for
a return ticket. At any rate I was glad to see
him and I wish him a safe return.












CHAPTER V


TWIXTT ORANGE GROVE AND SWAMP

The old Greek myth-makers sang with poetic
fervor of the golden apples of the Hesperides,
which no doubt were oranges, nor do I blame
them for their fervor. Apples they knew, and
knew, too, that nothing could be more beautiful
than an apple tree, holding its dappled fruit
bravely up to the pale October sun. But oranges
came to them out of the misty west, a region
that the setting sun set glowing with romance
each night, and then swathed in the purple eva-
nescence of darkness. Something of this delight
of mystery has flavored the fruit ever since, and
we taste it with mental palate before its pulp
passes the lips.
I had thought all the orange trees of northern
Florida killed by the great cold of a decade ago,
and so in the main they were. But there are
spots on the east bank of the lower St. Johns
where the miles of warm water tempered the
cold somewhat, so that though the trees were cut
to the ground the life in the roots remained and







FLORIDA TRAILS


has since burgeoned in reborn groves. The trees
sprouted from the stump as oaks and chestnuts
do in a Northern woodland, and now the sprouts
bear fruit. At Mandarin, a dozen miles from
Jacksonville, are such groves through one of
which I delight to take my way to the branch."
It is literally a branch of the level river into
which it so smoothly glides with never a ripple
on its black surface or a clot of foam to cloud
its mirror.
Swamp and grove meet but do not mingle, the
dividing line being firmly drawn by the teeth
of the harrow that all summer long vexes the
sand beneath the orange trees. With all its
persistence this harrow barely keeps down the
scutch and dog fennel and a score or two of
other weeds that under soaking shower and fer-
vid sun continually rise rampant. Even now
that the almanac has decreed winter rosettes of
seedlings of a score of nascent annuals spangle
the gray with green that softens its glare to the
eye and tempts the knight-errant grasshoppers.
These zip from glare to glare, and seem to creak
a bit as the tiny coolness of the northern breeze
touches the joints of their machinery.
Sitting in the grateful shadow of an orange
tree, facing sunward in the grove, the world be-
comes an expanse of glistening white sand,
blotched with the deep green masses of foliage,






















































"In the grateful shadow of an orange tree facing sunward
in the grove "


;$;
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i






TWIXTT GROVE AND SWAMP 51
dappled with the gold of as yet unpicked fruit
Over yonder a short ladder spires above a tree
and I can hear the snip-snip of the picker's shears
and the soft thud of fruit dropped into big bags.
The noise fits in with the rampant listlessness of
the creaking grasshopper machinery, a busy,
drowsy blurring of staccato sounds that has a
sleepy insistence. It fits the gray glitter of the
sand and the shining sun. I note an orange
sulphur butterfly, just the color of the fruit on
which he seems to linger, where in the sun he
may match his own shade. I have a fancy that
he does this consciously, the dark tips of his
wings contrasting harmoniously, as the black-
green, glossy foliage does, with the golden fruit.
Something of this semi-conscious matching up
of colors seems to exist in other insect life of the
grove. The "orange puppy" that feeds on the
young leaves is black with the same quality of
blackness and curiously mottled with a cool gray
of lichens and gray moss. When he rests quietly
on a twig he is part of its growth, simply a
gnarled excrescence, but no caterpillar. When by
and by he tucks himself up for slumber in silk
homespun and later, joyous, emerges, he has still
the colors of the orange grove, the pale yellow
of ripening fruit, barred with the dark shadows
that are set by linear leaves on all that flits be-
neath them. One finds many happy insects







52 FLORIDA TRAILS
among the oranges, too many perhaps for the joy
of the grower, the perfection of whose product
they mar. None should be happier than this
Papilio cresphontes butterfly that is hatched on
an orange twig, fattened on the crisp green
leaves, falls asleep in their shadow and finally
wakes, a spike-tailed fairy with shimmering black
and gold wings, to drink deep of the honeyed dew
in the gold hearts of odorous orange blossoms.
On the edge of the grove, at the very mark of
the harrow, rises the tangle of the swamp margin.
On the higher ground is the sumac, the leaves
still green, though ripening in the margins to a
dull red, holding none of the vivid flame that
burns the Northern sumac leaves to ashes before
October is over. It is December, indeed, and the
wind out of the north has sometimes a wire edge
of northern ice on it, but the first margin of
dense trees that lines the river bank takes off
this edge and the sun floods all the sheltered
places with warmth that bids one seek the shade
for shelter. There still he finds a sniff of tonic
ozone in the air, expanding the exultant spirit
while yet the body revels in a genial glow. The
day seems a child of June, with October for its
father. Elder crowds the sumac and blackberry
canes tangle the two. The scuppernong grape
twines supple vines all about and hangs its crinkly
pale green leaves in festoons to the tops of the






TWIXT GROVE AND SWAMP 53
sweet-gum trees in the swamp behind. The pale
amber wine of the scuppernong grape seems to
hold in its depths something of the golden delight
of this December sun, and just a tang of the
vigor of the north wind.
The sweetgum tree fills the swampy ground
along the St Johns "branches" and sheds its
maple-like leaves in December. Sailing up the
broad river you may trace the swampy spots now
by the soft gray of bare twigs of the sweet gum,
in beautiful contrast to the glossy dark green of
live-oak and the paler silkiness of plumy tops of
the long-leaved pines of the barrens. Its roots
dispute the very black depths of the flowing
waters with those of the cypress, and its purpling
autumn leaves seem like those of a Massachusetts
swamp maple that have by some mischance
ripened without vividness. The sour-gum tree,
which is nothing more than the tupelo which
grows on the swamp edges at home, thrives as
well in Florida and is true to its colors. The rich
red of its leaves makes the most vivid blotches
of autumn coloring I have yet found here. Along
with the scuppernong grows its cousin vine, the
Virginia creeper. This too holds much of its
Northern red in the passing leaves. The home-
sick Northerner in Florida at this time of year
win do well to take to the swamps. The pinky
gray of baring sweet-gum twigs, the rich red of






FLORIDA TRAILS


the bordering tupelos and the festooning ampe-
lopsis will do much to make him feel at home.
Just beyond the mark of the harrow tooth the
goldenrod has bloomed and the fluffy plumes of
brown seed pappus mound into obese, inverted
cornucopias for the seed-eating birds that flock
along the swamp margin. The grapes and the
Virginia creepers have been high-minded and
have not rested without topping the tallest trees,
but the greenbrier seems to have had less ambi-
tion. It has been content to help the blackberries
tousle the close-set margin of the field, and its
glossy green leaves and purple berries add their
colors to the rest. The greenbrier here is gentler
in its ways than our Northern representative.
That well merits the name of horsebrier which is
often given it. It is as strong as a horse and the
kick-back of its stretched sinews will drive its
numerous thorns to the hilt in your obtruding
flesh. This vine has hardly thorns enough to be
felt, and its leaves instead of ovate are hastate or
halberd-shaped, whence I take the plant to be the
'Smila auriculata.
I doubt if I would change Northern thickets in
any particular, but if I would it should be to
suggest gently to the horsebrier that its Southern
cousin's ways are most admirable and might be
imitated to advantage. The auriculata does grip
you valiantly and even scratch your legs when you






TWIXTT GROVE AND SWAMP 55
would penetrate it with undue haste, but it is such
a polite and lady-like scratch in comparison with
some that might be mentioned that you feel like
saying thank you rather than other things. In
the wetter spots big purple asters which I take to
be Aster elottii, out of all the maze of scores of
varieties of Southern asters, toss their corymbed
heads in the bleeze and still invite the passing
butterfly. Cool weather has thinned out the
butterflies, only the strongest remaining. About
the asters flit a big and little sulphur and a lone
zebra. But there are a half-dozen monarchs
coming and going. These seem to be the strong-
est and most able to withstand cool weather of
all butterflies. I see them out earliest in the
morning and latest at night, often soaring in
shade on days when the December wind has a
Northern nip in it and when no other varieties
are visible.
Loveliest of all old friends that help to make
this thicket-borderland homelike is the Andropo-
gon, the purple wood-grass, that holds the dryer
corners with its brave wine-red culms and its gray
mist of bearded blooms. The pampas grass is
cultivated in gardens here in Florida for its feath-
ery plumes. These are beautiful, no doubt, but
their beauty cannot compare with that of the
clumps of purple wood-grass that grow in the
neglected border between this dark orange grove







56 FLORIDA TRAILS
with its glistening white sands and the black
depths of the swamp that borders the little
branch. The Andropogon scoparius of our sandy
fields north is less robust than this buxom beauty
of the barrens. It grows but a scant knee high
and seems to me now but slender and rather pale.
This, which is I think the Andropogon arctatus,
grows to my chin, and its culms seem as red as the
skin of a ripening baldwin apple, a rich wine red
that intoxicates the eye and makes it see in the
misty beard of the tips a frothing as of bubbles
rising to the top of a glass but now filled. With
this the Florida fields seem to have as much of the
joy of autumn as they can hold, and in it to drink
deep to the passing of the purple year.
Through this border tangle one goes to enter
the solemn silence of the swamp where the black
water seems to listen as it glides breathlessly by
to the river. In the steaming warmth of mid-
summer the place must drip with purple shadows.
Now, because the sweet gums and swamp maples
are losing their leaves it holds only a sun-flecked
twilight that soothes after the black shadows be-
neath the orange trees and the glare of the sand.
Here one may draw a long breath and let the
bustle of a busy world slip from him. I have the
same feeling on entering a church of a week day
and hearing the heavy ticking of the clock. The
silence broods. The maples are already bare, the






TWIXTT GROVE AND SWAMP 57
gum trees partly, and the feathery fronds of cy-
press have grown brown on the trees and in part
fallen, slipping one by one to the placid surface
where they add their color to the purple of the
other thick-strewn leaves.
In these fleets of dead and gone one gets the
nearest approach to a Northern autumn that I
have found as' yet in all the woods. The small
birds that frequent the groves do not seem to
enter here and there is no sound of their twitter.
Only the leaves are noisy within the place. Those
which touch limp margins on the water have
found a quiet that is finality. But their fellows,
saying a final good-by to the twig, do it with little
glad chirps as if the spirit within each joyed at
its release. Nor is this the last cry. Many
chuckle at each touch of limb and trunk on the
way down and reach the water with an audible
pat. Poets to the contrary notwithstanding,
autumn is a joyous time with the leaves, at least
those of deciduous trees. The maples, the syca-
mores, and the sweet gums all seem to give the
laugh to the evergreens as they pass. The bare
limbs stretch skyward with a relieved resurgence
as of those who have done good work and wel-
come rest. Compared with them now the live-
oaks seem over-tasked. They are as somber as
Northern pines in winter, burdened with a never-
ending routine of business.







FLORIDA TRAILS


I cannot say that the swamp cypresses seem
glad. They are so weighted and surpliced with
vestments of gray moss, priestly robes that sweep
from upraised arms to the very water, that they
are like weird priests of a lonely world mumbling
perpetual incantations deep in their swaying gray
beards.
The only bird of the swamp to-day was a great
heron that looked white as he stood facing me,
his chin in somber meditation on his breast, as if
he might be a carving in stone, that suddenly
took flight on tremendous wings, flapping sol-
emnly out into the river sunshine and taking a
post far out on an ancient, decaying dock. I
might better have said becoming a post, for had
I not seen him light I might have sworn he was
part of the structure. He hunched himself up
there till he had no more form than a decaying
timber and his big beak, crossed at a wooden right
angle to the rest of him, was exactly as if it had
been nailed on. Only with the bird glass did I
make sure that he was not a post after all. Then
I discovered that instead of being the great blue
heron, as I at first supposed, it was the Florida
form, known as Ward's heron, a bird much like
the great blue but even greater, the lower part
lighter and the legs olive instead of black.
I think Ward's heron more lonesome and pre-
ternaturally solemn than any other, and he seems


























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CU
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TWIXTT GROVE AND SWAMP 59
to belong under the long robes of gray moss at
the foot of the ancient cypress trees. He is
as grotesque and wooden in his make-up as
they.
The passing sun dropped the cool garment of
December night lightly down through the bare
limbs. The heron came flapping noiselessly back
to his pech, to sway away like a gray ghost
when he saw me still there. The low latitudes
have summer and winter in each twenty-four
hours, midsummer in the fervid warmth of the
afternoon sun, midwinter in the black chill that
comes between midnight and dawn. I passed re-
luctantly from the swamp while yet the level rays
shone in long shafts of light through the mystic
aisles. The heron was waiting to come back. It
was time to be gone, yet I lingered lovingly where
in one spot on the very margin of the black swamp
water grew a single plant of Andropogon arc-
tatus. It stood ankle deep in the water, a perfect
plume of misty softness that had none of the
wine-red radiance of its brothers of the open
border. In the gray twilight it was a slender
spirit of wood-grass, pale and sweet, the dearest
creature of the day.
As I came along the western border of the
orange grove with the placid river reflecting the
crimson of the sunset between the great live-oak
boles and the dripping streamers of gray moss,






6o FLORIDA' TRAILS
the full moon walked with me over the eastern
border, seeming to stand a moment on tree after
tree, a rounder and more perfect orange than any
tree has yet borne, a symbol, let us believe, of a
golden total of crops yet to come.













CHAPTER VI
JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES

Almost a half century ago Harriet Beecher
Stowe lived e the banks of the St. Johns River
and wrought f!r noble ideals in her own brave,
cheery way. Iz Palmetto Leaves" she tells of
the beautiful country round about her home, of
the three greativeoaks that sheltered it, and of
a caged cardinal grosbeak that used to sit on his
perch by her door and sing enthusiastically,
"What cheer I What cheer The slaves for
whom she wrote and wrought are now but a
memory, and the State of Florida itself forbids
the caging of wild birds, however sweetly they
sing or however cheerily they bear their captivity.
The fine old house that nestled beneath the live-
oaks so confidingly that its broad veranda partly
clasped one of them has long since been torn
down; and its very foundations obliterated by
the tangle of wild verdure that rises here so soon
from the unvexed earth; but the live-oaks
remain, towering with rounded heads still







FLORIDA TRAILS


higher and stretching noble arms in still wider
benediction.
From the very tip of one of them this morning
a tiny crimson flame burned in the sun as if a
spirit of clear fire had grown up from the earth
her feet had pressed, traversing all the arteries
of the noble oak and finally lingering a moment
poised for celestial flight, and from the flame fell
the voice of a cardinal grosbeak shouting in clear
mellow notes, "What cheer! What cheer A
half-century is but a breath carved out of time,
yet in it both birds and men have found freedom,
and still spirits of clear flame poise upon the
heights and bravely call, What cheer For all
I know this cardinal may be a lineal descendant
of that other and have caught a voice of joyous
prophecy from the place.
I have yet to see nobler specimens of the live-
oak than these trees that still hold their ground
where the old-time battle was so bravely and
cheerily fought. To the cardinal as he swam
into the morning glow and vanished they must
have seemed three mighty domes of dense green.
To me standing below they were the pillars and
arches of a cool cathedral in whose dim upper
recesses the mystic mistletoe hangs its strange,
yellowish-green leaves and its pearl-white berries.
More is born of thought than we are yet willing
to acknowledge. Who knows what exaltation






JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 63
has come down the ages wrapped within the fiber
of these druidical plants, to be subtly distilled on
all beneath?
As the oaks are green above, so are they ghostly
gray below with the long swaying draperies of
Spanish moss that drip deep from every limb,
These make prophets of eld of the great trees, and
one stands beneath as in the inner council of the
Sanhedrim. Great ideals could have found no
braver setting than this, and the cool north wind
that sings across the river seems to make one
feel here the very breath of Puritanical austerity,
of renunciation of self for the sake of others, and
perhaps too of the Puritan's scorn for any other
method than his own. The sweetly surgent life '
of blossoming vines that climb in friendly embrace
over all wild things here at Mandarin caresses
and wooes with perfume all the spot and dares the
rugged trunks of the great oaks themselves, yet
it may not touch the cathedral mystery and
majesty of their shadowy arches a half-hundred
feet up. The high, clear spirit of the place is
still regnant.
Round about Mandarin sweeps Florida, which "
has been touched and in tiny spots remodeled by
alien hands ever since the days of De Soto, yet
remains Florida still, wayward, lavish, wild and
loving all things with sunny, sensuous profusion. J
It has been the scene of one experiment after






FLORIDA TRAILS


another, and has obliterated the remains. Its
tangle of vivid growth sweeps over many a ruin,
from Fernandino to Biscayne Bay, the very build-
ing of which has been forgotten save perhaps in
musty archives of some distant and less sunny
clime in which the scheme originated. Just at
this corner of the State, a quarter-century ago,
the sweep of the river on one side and of untram-
meled Florida on the other, inclosed a bit of Old
England in a tiny colony of English people who
had settled here, cleared the jungle and the level
stretches of tall, long-leaved pine, and planted
orange groves.
They brought with them sturdy English thrift
and unchanging English ways, and soon the
orange groves were everywhere, filling the spring
air with the rich scent of their waxy white
blooms and making the autumn days yellow
with golden fruit. Docks sprang in narrow
white lines far over the shallows to the deep
waters where ships might load with the precious
cargo for Northern ports, and English lanes and
hedgerows divided and connected the groves.
In English gardens bloomed roses and lilies and
violets, and English ivy climbed over wide
porches and set a somber background for all the
odorous tropic and semi-tropic wild vines that
loving hands planted with it. I can fancy the
jungle leaning in wild gorgeousness over the






JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 65
outermost hegerows and biding its time. For
fifty years, since 1835, no harmful cold had
reached this portion of Florida, but the jungle
knew. Fifty years was but as a diay in its
experience.
It was on a February day in 1886 that it came.
That noon the mercury stood at eighty degrees
and all the gorgeous profusion of semi-tropical
spring growth filled the air about with perfume
of flowers that spangled all things. The kind sun
steeped the land in content and the negroes sang
at their work, knowing and loving its fervor on
their bent backs. By mid-afternoon clouds had
come up out of the southwest and much rain
fell bringing a chill in the air such as may often
be felt here in February, or indeed at any time
between November and April. But this chill
instead of passing with the clouds grew with the
setting sun and when his last red light came
across the river the rain had turned to icicles
that hung in alien glory from all the trees.
There they swayed and clashed in the keen north-
west wind all night, and before morning the
astonished glass had registered the temperature
of a Northern winter night, fifteen above or
thereabouts.
The very jungle itself must have been black
in the face with dismay and a thousand acres
of orange groves that were bearing five to fifteen '


a






66 FLORIDA TRAILS
boxes of noble fruit to the tree were frozen to
the very roots. It was a black day for the little
English colony, a day from which it has never
recovered. The trees sprang from the roots,
were rebudded by the more courageous only to
be cut to the ground again about ten years later.
A second time the more tenacious spirits began
their work over again, but the courage of the
colony was gone and though there are still groves
of five hundred to a thousand trees here that
for a third time are beginning to bear well, all
faith in the prosperity of orange growing so far
north in the peninsula is gone.
New prosperity is growing up in the little
town and another type of people are making
good here, but the fine houses of the orange
growers stand for the most part tenantless, some
for almost a score of years. The ancient gar-
dens have taken pattern frpm the jungle and
grown with all its lawless luxuriance, and the
once trim hedgerows riot in a profusion that is
as bewildering as it is beautiful.
Sometimes at night I think the tenants have
come back. In the slender light of the new
moon I seem to see white hands reaching out to
refasten blinds that swing drunkenly from one
hinge, and desisting in despair as the rude wind
snatches them away and slams them. Some-
times in the full glare of day, peering through


.1





JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 67
a broken pane I seem to see an old-time owner
moving about in a room that a second later holds
but long-forgotten furniture and a transparent
form' that dissolves in dancing motes of sun-
smitten dust.
I find the ghosts nearest and friendliest, how-
ever, in the tangled growth of the old gardens.
One that! I love best lies far from the present
town and I like to come to it from the jungle
side, lured by the spicy breath of oleander blos-
soms. The north wind loses the salt breath of
the river tides as he passes the house and draws
deep on these rosy blooms, taking such store
that he spills it through the foot-long needles
of every pine that he passes. Coming from the
swamp tangle beneath the sweet-gums and cy-
press, pushing through chin-high purple wood-
grass, I let it lead me to-day straight to a huge
ridge of wild cherokee rose plants that had once,
no doubt, been an orderly hedge. It is winter
now and sometimes the night brings frost, but
the wild cherokee roses do not seem to mind that.\
The life vigor in them is such that it pushes out
pointed white buds even now, and these open into
five broad petals of pure white with a golden
heart of close-pressed stamens.
The plant is so rough with its stubborn, hooked
thorns set shoulder to shoulder along its stout
interlacing stems that no finer hedge plant could





68 FLORIDA TRAILS
bi imagined. Not the deepest-flanked wild bull
could push through this tangle were it devoid
of thorns. Not the toughest-hided one could
attempt those thorns without being torn and
repulsed. And out of these stout stems, from
among the defiant thorns spring these dainty
white blooms bearing in their gold hearts a faint,
fine perfume that is too modest to sail forth as
does that of the oleanders on the errant wind.
You must put your face close to the bloom and
ldare the thorns as you sniff deep before you
know its fineness; but it is worth the trouble.
In and out among the cherokee thorns the wan-
ton jasmine climbs. There is no place that it
does not caress. Along the sand, amid brown
/ leaves of deciduous trees, it creeps. It slips under
porches and puts bud noses up through the
cracked floors of long-disused buildings. It
climbs trees and swings boldly from their topmost
boughs, and later it blows yellow trumpets of
invitation to the whole world and sends a sen-
suous perfume far and wide that all who pass may
breathe their fill. The jasmine is common to all
of the Florida world, yet withal it is so friendly
sweet to each that none may have the'heart to dis-
approve. The cherokee rose is different. He
who would win the perfume of its heart of gold
must bleed a bit, perchance, and wear an individ-
ual bloom very close before he gets it.






JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 69
Coasting the thorn hedge, swinging the an-
cient gate on rusty hinge, a roadway leads me
beneath sweet-gum and live-oak to the tennis
court. Its level rectangle is still bare and close
turfed with flat-bladed grass and a tiny, stem-
less plant whose reniform leaves are no bigger
than my little finger nail, and help hold the even
level of Hclose green. Only in one spot has this
turf been invaded. There a lawless honeysuckle
has made a patch of its own glossy with green
leaves.' All elss is as it stood when the last ten-
nis ball bounded freely from its elastic surface.
The sun steeps all this rectangle till it is one deep
pool ot golden light where silence and forgetful-
ness bathe.
The wilderness noises which come to the edge
of this space but emphasize its silence and forget-
fulness. In the trees that rim the court about
ever-changing flocks of birds flit and chatter.
Blue jays clang tintinnabulations, woodpeckers
tap and croak tree-toad notes, warblers and spar-
rows and titmice and fly-catchers twinkle and
chirp, and often try a half song of almost for-
gotten melody. Cardinals cry tut, tut much
as uneasy robins do, but in softer and more
cooing tones. A Carolina wren grows nervously
cuious in the cedar beneath which I sit, and flirts
and quivers and scolds as only a wren can, com-
ing nearer and nearer till I might almost put up






FLORIDA TRAILS


my hand and touch his vibrating brown body.
Then he withdraws a little and whistles till the
cardinals lift their crested heads and listen and a
tufted titmouse answers. "Teakettle, teakettle,
teakettle," he cries, and the very spirit of an
English garden descends into the golden air.
Gossamer threads of spider-web float silverly
from tree to tree, argent ghosts of the old-time
net, till I hear in the bird notes the chatter of
laughing voices, and for a moment the place is
peopled with gay young folk in flannels and the
game goes merrily on.
It may have been that the lady of the house
served the tea for which the wren called so
lustily in the shade of the garden tangle which
now rises twenty feet on the house side and com-
pletely hides it, though it is but a stone-toss away.
Here cedar, spice bush, bayberry and oleander
crowd one another in a struggle for upward
supremacy in which the oleanders win, their
trunks, as large as a man's thigh at the base,
dividing into long, aspiring branches that are pin-
nacled with pointed leaves and sprays of fragrant
bloom. The jasmine climbs here, too, twining
and straggling, loving and leaving, but the gar-
den cherokees shoot upward in clean, noble
sweeps that carry their brave stems almost to
the oleander tops, whence they bound in long
exultation, arching to the ground again.






JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 71
I do not find these in bloom out of season, but
the roses that crowd the crumbling arbor within
toss up sprays of pink whose scent intertwines
with that of the oleanders. It is a sad garden
now, for all its riot of growth, for the ground be-
neath is dank with shade and decay and its once
prim palings fall this way and that in a snarl of
rough weeds where the sesbania opens its two-
beaned pods and rattles in every passing breeze.
The old house itself, once so prim and erect, seems
to droop wearily, in round-shouldered senility, to
the ground which already claims corners of the
wide verandas. The pinnate-leaved stems of a
twining vine, starred with white blooms, reach up
to it lovingly and climb wistfully, only to drag it
down with the tiny weight which it once held up
so unconsciously. Within, the wind which sighs
through broken panes carries light footfalls from
room to room and as it sways long unlatched
doors these grumble one to another, mumbling like
uneasy sleepers-who wait long for the cockcrow
of dawn.
Down on the waterfront an ancient cement
breakwater still guards smooth sands and the
waves lap patiently at this, wearing it away in-
finitesimally and talking to one another in liquid
undertones. They alone of all the voices of the
place are oblivious of tenants past and present, of
growth or decay, telling in changeless tones the






FLORIDA TRAILS


tales the waters have told since long before man
began, a primordial cell in their unending depths.
The waterfront of the old place seems most mel-
ancholy of all, for there nature has failed most to
hide the swift decay of man's work. Yet there I
notice with satisfaction one thing. That is the
defiant erectness and primness of the English ivy
that climbs one side of the house. This neither
straggles nor retreats, but goes squarely upward
as it was long ago set to do. It seems to hold the
house up rather than to drag it down, an epitome
of that: British sturdiness from which it was
transplanted but from which it may not swerve.
The low swinging sun faded into dun clouds to
westward, letting a winter chill fall upon the
place and bringing thoughts of the open fire at
home with the big pitch logs shooting crimson
flames up the wide chimney. Yet through all the
chill air the oleanders held their rosy blooms
proudly aloft and the pink roses sent their per-
fume too, following me along the sandy, hedge-
bordered road on the homeward way. After all,
the memory of the old place which always fol-
lows farthest is that of perfume and golden sun-
shine and the ghosts of merry voices echoing
through the garden tangle and down the golden
depths of the forgotten tennis court Dearest
of all is the heart of the wild cherokee rose, hold-
ing its faint, elusive perfume for those only who






JASMINE AND CHEROKEE ROSES 73
care enough to 'are the stab of its keen, defen-
sive thorns.
Dark clouds gloomed the west as I passed the
Stowe place. It seemed inexpressibly gloomy
and lonesome under the great arching oaks where
the wild tangle of grape and jasmine, greenbrier,
and I know not what other vines and .shrubs
cloaks 'the crumbling foundations and makes a
thorny and inipenetrable jungle of the walks the
gracious lady's feet once trod, and crowds and
smothers the plants and shrubs she once tended.
The sheltering oaks seemed to brood a silence
of sorrow, failure, and forgetfulness. Of the
chapel, the school, and the work she nobly tried
to do among the poor and ignorant, what traces
here remained? And then the sun shone low
under the western clouds and sent red beams in
beneath the brooding live-oak limbs and touched
all the swaying moss with fire, lighting up the
cathedral arches with a golden warmth and radi-
ance that glorified the pace and ilthoughts con-
nected with it. Over on the darkening lane a
negro boy, born free, whistled on his way home,
a little cadenced fragment of a tune without be-
ginning, or end a whistle like that of the car-
dinal that had flown, a crimson flame, into the
morning air. I knew then that whatever
crumbles, the spirit of cheer and devotion and
self-sacrifice lives on unquenched. The jungle






74 FLORIDA TRAILS
may ride over and obliterate the Stowe place and
the lovely English gardens, but the spirit of de-
votion that burned in the one and of home-
making hospitality that glowed in the other can
never be quenched.











CHAPTER VII


A FROSTY MORNING IN FLORIDA

It was out of a moonless night that the frost
came a night whose sky was velvety black
and seemed to hold no stars. Instead they had
slipped moorings and on slender cables, I do not
know how many thousand million miles long,
were swung down toward the earth, quivering
with friendly yellow fires as if to warm as well
as light it In a Northern December night the
stars are diamond dust, splintered in keen glints
from a matrix of black onyx Their shine is that
of scintillant spears of electricity. Here they
are radiant golden globes swung just above the
treetops. The wind out of the north was hushed
and in the stillness the frost sprites that had
soared gleefully upon it far beyond their usual
habitat fell to earth, motionless. They were very
young and adventurous frost sprites, and the
sudden 'dawn found only their feathery white
garments resting on exposed surfaces; the
sprites themselves had already evaporated into
invisible mists in terror of the coming fervid sun.
The first rays of'the sun licked up these gray,






FLORiDA TRAILS


feathery frost garments and only in the shadows
did you still feel the chill the night had brought
Only the sweet potato vines seem to have been
harmed by this wee frost Down on the river's
brink the tangle of convolvulus still shows great
white blooms as large as the palm of the hand.
The river radiates warmth all night and it is a
bitter cold that reaches the blossoms on its brim.
In the gardens the roses, red and white and yel-
low, did not seem to mind. Dense walls of thick
foliage had kept the cold from them and the jas-
mine whose yellow blooms seem to glow with
their own warmth. The slim, pointed buds of
the jasmine are to the open flowers now as a mil-
lion to one, and not a bud even had been harmed.
The sweet,potato vines, however, were not so
fortunate. Their heart-shaped leaves turned
black and shriveled when the sun struck them.
Out of the sudden gray of dawn came the sun,
a glowing ruby in a sky of clear gold. To look
at this sky was to forget the chill and bathe in
a rich warmth which seemed to distill from it in-
visible gold dust as the day advanced. By nine
o'clock summer had come back, and all the open
spaces in the wood were wells of this sky-distilled
gold, through which you saw all things in a subtle
haze of romance, as if the frost sprites had
brought in their train all the joyous people out
of fairyland. To walk through narrow forest






A FROSTY MORNING IN FLORIDA 77
roads where the sand made all footfalls noiseless
was to glide forward without seeming effort, and
in this rich atmosphere of vaporous gold surprise
Oberon and Titania kissing beneath the mistle-
toe, to note the quiver of oak leaves as elves frol-
icked along their mossy boughs, and to see Puck
starting forth to put a girdle round the earth in
forty minutes.
To be sure, if I watch Oberon and Titania long
enough with the glass I shall perchance find them
but a pair of redbirds, beauteous in crimson and
olive green. The elfin train may become a flock
of kinglets and warblers quivering in and out
along the limbs in search of breakfast, and Puck
be but a roguish red-headed woodpecker. These
December birds are as elusive and as full of van-
ishings and roguish tricks as any fairy train in
Christendom.
Florida roads have the same elusive quality.
They part and bow to one another, meet and
touch hands and glide away again as if dancing
a minuet, leading you in a mazy dance hither
and thither to the most delightful surprises.
Here a tree has fallen before the wind or under
the ax of a careless woodman, and blocks the
way. Little does the road care for that. It leaves
itself with an airy flourish of sandy ruts for
good-bye as if just to avoid the obstruction. Then
it may wander a dozen rods among slim trunks






FLORIDA TRAILS


or along catbrier tangle, quietly seeking stray
blue gentians or golden tufts of St. Peter's wort,
and saunter gently back to itself, or it may swing
a wide corner and leave you at some man's front
gate, to admire his cherokee roses and negotiate
with his dogs as best you may. To the traveler
eager for some definite destination this quality
may have its vexations. To the wood wanderer
seeking but to find the true heart of a golden
haze, conscious most of the mystic quality of all
untrammeled nature and unexplored places, it is
but an added delight.
If on such a day the birds of the bush have
their elfin quality most strongly evident, those
always fay-like creatures the short-horned grass-
hoppers are not to be forgotten. In the still haze
of the yellow pine forest their shrill voices seem
to make the stillness audible, to give it pitch and
quality. Here on a leaf sits one, catching the full
heat of the sun twice, once direct and again as it
is reflected from the leaf's gloss. His antennae
are short and brown, arched most delicately from
a straight brow that seems to denote dignity of
thought. His long, brown wings fit neatly to his
brown abdomen and his legs have the same shade.
He seems cloaked in the soft, delicate color from
head to foot, yet you can but suspect that this is
a 'domino, which he will later cast aside and ap-
pear a glittering sprite.




































l 1






A FROSTY MORNING IN FLORIDA 79
Of those fairy creatures which attended Pros-
pero on his island of shipwreck this well might
be one in a fitting disguise. None of the flitting
bird-fays is more beautifully cloaked than he in
this exquisite brown. As I watch him the sun
glints in a lenticular eye, and I know by this that
he is full of laughter at my ignorance. Not one
of the airy sprites that plagued Prospero's guests
could be more demure or more full of roguery
than he. From the bushes beside the path as I
pass, other fays of the true locust clan flip into the
air on long, shimmering, silver wings and van-
ish after flying along in level flight for a hundred
yards. And here in the grass at my feet is
Caliban.
He is a clumsy and stupid lout, this Caliban
whom some people call the lubber grasshopper;
the very dolt of his class. He is huge, longer
than a man's finger and bigger than his thumb,
and he has ridiculous short wings that I am sure
he cannot use. They are beautifully mottled and
gauzy with pinkish shadows, these wings, and
seem as much out of place as those of the loveliest
tiny fairy of the Christmas pantomime would on
a pig. He moves his greenish-yellow body as
slowly as Caliban did his when going sulkily to
his heaviest task and Trinculo and his fellow
must needs be very drunk indeed before they
would sleep beneath the same cloak with him.






FLORIDA TRAILS


On first seeing the lubber grasshopper I won-
dered that anything so fat and clumsy should con-
tinue to exist in a country swarming with insect-
eating birds, but even the barnyard fowls will
have none of him.
At the start on this morning of gold born of
white frost my path led me down the river bank
under arching live-oaks. All to northward the
pearl river was of glass that softened and melted
into a blue haze where, miles beyond, the farther
bank hung as indistinct and unreal as a dream,
an illusion through which glided a white phan-
tom of a turpentine steamer, kicking up frothing
hills of water behind it, a sea-serpentlike line of
humps whose head was the great stern wheel.
There is a quiet and solemnity in these high-
vaulted paths beneath the river oaks that seems
to withdraw on the one hand from the witchery
of the pine forest and the glamour of the river
on the other.
Something of the England of the middle ages
seems to have drifted over seas and down the
years to this spot. A monastery should be just
beyond, and, though perhaps he does not know
it, Jones, the postmaster, traversed monastic
aisles as he walked his mile this morning to the
tiny post office. Far beyond in the open beneath
the big pines I hear blue jays blowing clarion calls
of challenge to the lists and the tramp of hoofs as




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