John Muir


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At night slept well under my net fanned by my little electric wind mill, that I had brought from New York. Many of the passengers were kept awake nearly all night. September 3, 2911. Mosquitoes this morning have vanished from the deck, swept off by a fine breeze from the sea. A few are still in the rooms below deck. A good many butterflies, moths, dragonflies, etc., are enlivening the air. Many extensive bright yellow-green meadows, with the lakes in the center of them, occur in lagoons cut off from the river, at time of high water. Several houses are visible on the higher portions of the margins of these lagoon meadows, belonging to Portuguese peddlers. Some of these houses seem quite large and substantial with red-tiled roofs, the tiles said to have been brought all the way from Lisbon. Some of these settlers keep large droves of cattle, and on the highest portion of the banks there are groves of the Theobroma and banana. We passed Santarem about ten o’clock last evening, and Obidos this morning. Both of these are old Portuguese villages situated on sandstone bluffs. The red-flowered tree is here less abundant. Some of them are very large and like most other trees grow round-headed in age. The slender, delicate little palm, abundant lower down the river, are now left far behind. Some of these species have only from three to six fronds and stems only about an inch or an inch and a half in diameter. Many white wasp nests are hanging on the branches of the trees like fruit. A few of the nests are very large, black in color, or grayish. Magnificent cumulus clouds adorned the sky last evening. There was but little rain or thunder. A very large tree, with smooth light gray trunk, with broad buttresses near the ground, was seen to fine advantage on the edge of openings. Probably ceibas.

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Original journal dimensions: 7.5 x 13 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist