But now at the seaside I was in difficulty. I had reached a point that I could not ford, and Cedar Keys had an empty harbor. Would I proceed down the peninsula to Key West where I could be sure to find a vessel for Cuba, or would I wait here, like Crusoe, and pray for a ship. Full of these thoughts I stepped into a little store, which had a considerable trade in quinine, and alligator and rattlesnake skins, and enquired about the shipping travel, etc. The proprietor informed me that one of many sawmills was running and that a schooner chartered for Galveston, Texas, was expected soon at the mills to load lumber. This mill was situated on a tongue of land a few miles along the coast, and I determined to see Mr. Hodgson, the owner, to find out the particulars about the coming schooner, the time she would take to load, whether I would be likely to obtain passage on her, etc. Found Mr. H. at his mill, stated my case and was kindly furnished with the necessary information, and I determined to wait the two weeks that would elapse ere she sailed, and go to the flowery plains of Texas, from many of whose ports I fancied I could easily find vessels for the West Indies. Agreed to work for Mr. H. in the mill until I sailed, as I had but little money. Was invited by Mr. Hodgson to his spacious house, which occupies a shell hillock commanding a fine view of the Gulf and many palmy gems of islets called Keys which fringe the shores like a lot of huge bouquets, but not too big for the spacious waters. Was kindly welcomed by Mr. H’s family with that open unconstrained cordiality which is characteristic of the better class of southern people.
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist