a country where but little grading is required for railroads but much bridging and long tunnels bored through the forests. I came to a cotton field to-day and some gardens and some tattered flecks of sugar cane, all of which are of the civilized useful inventions, living in fenced fields, plant cages, like birds. Observed a large tree-like cactus in a dooryard, and a small species was abundant on the sand hillocks. Reach[ed] Gainesville late in the night. When within three or four miles of the town I noticed a light off in the pine woods, and as I was very thirsty I thought I would venture towards it in hopes of obtaining water. In creeping cautiously and noiselessly through the grass and weeds to discover whether or no it was a camp of robber negroes, I suddenly came in full view of the best lighted and most primitive of all the domestic establishments I have yet seen anywhere in town or grove. There first of all was a big glowing log fire, lighting grandly the overleaning bushes and trees and flowers and grasses, bringing out leaf and spray with more than noonday distinctness, and making still darker the surrounding woods. In the center of this globe of light sat two negroes. I could see their ivory gleaming from the great lips of their smooth cheeks and face knobs that were flashing off light as if made of glass. Seen anywhere but in the South, the glossy pair would have been taken for twin devils, but there it was only a negroe and his wife at their
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist