out of sight. So smoothly were we sailing through the muddy estuary water, that I was not aware that we had left port. Dull, foggy, most all day, with blinks of sunlight and showers, and thus ends my long, memorable, successful South American trip, and begins my voyage for Africa. Nothing surprised me more , in looking back upon my long journies through South America, than the kindness that I have met almost everywhere, and from all kinds of people. The Brazilians seem naturally to be kind and polite, and all the Consuls and Ministers to whom I applied for information at once made me feel at home and offered their services in everything connected with my interests. I was much struck in crossing the Andes on my way to Chili by an old German lady beside whom I sat in the dining car at dinner. She could not speak a word of English, but she watched my plate, passed everything that she thought I would like, and when we came to the dessert of fine peaches she carefully pared and sliced them for me in that Trans-Andean dining car, pitying me, I suppose, because I could speak no German. Her husband, however, who sat opposite to me, told me at the beginning of dinner, told me to tell him what I wanted and he would order it in Spanish. Of the extraordinary kindness of everybody I met in Brazil I have already spoken. Dec. 11. Foggy most of the day. Water still showing trace of mud of the Great La Plata. Ship heaving over wide swells. Stars bright and crowded. Dec. 12. Fine, calm, clear morning. Few fluffy white clouds around horizon. Not a whitecap in sight, though wide waves keep our ship solemnly pitching. The small wrinkle-like wavelets and scallops which fret the surface of the large swelling waves are throwing off sunlight in myriads of sparkles and flashes delightfully enlivening. A few albatrosses, two species, are following the ship. Long, narrow-winged, birds. The larger, mostly white. The others, slate-colored. Flying scarce a wingbeat, in graceful loops, thirty or forty miles an hour. Ship heaving solemnly across the waves at a speed of eleven knots. The different kinds of birds that follow the ship seldom alight on the water, and increase in numbers toward land. Fine yellow sunset. Dec. 13. Dull sky. Dark, rainy-looking clouds overhead. Pale misty around horizon. 8:00 A.M. brightening gaps of blue overhead. White
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 17 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist