flesh – in our own lovely world, yet far from home. And thus passed the hours till after midnight, when I arrived at the mill lodging house. The watchman on his rounds found me lying on a heap of sawdust at the foot of the stairs. I asked him to assist me up steps to bed, but he thought my only difficulty was intoxication, a common trouble with the mill hands, especially on Saturday nights, and he refused to help me. I made out to climb the stairs on my hands and knees and tumble into bed after a desperate struggle, and was oblivious to everything except the painful delirious dreams. After many days I heard Mr. Hodgson ask a watcher beside me whether I had yet spoken, and when he replied that I had not he said, “Well you must keep on pouring in quinine.” How long I lay unconscious I never found out. Sometime or other I was moved on a horse from the mill quarters to the house, where I was nursed three months with unremitting kindness, and doubtless to the skill and care of Mr. and Mrs. H[odgson] I owe my life. Through quinine [and] calomel in sorry abundance with other lesser weapons my malarial fever became typhoid. I had night sweats. My legs became like posts, of the temper and consistence of clay on account of dropsy. And so on till January, a weary time. As soon as I was able to get out of bed I crept away to the edge of the woods, sat day by day beneath a live oak draped with moss watching birds feeding on the shore when the tide was low, or I sailed to some other of the many keys. Nearly all of the shrubs and trees here are evergreens, and a few of the smaller plants are in flower all winter. The principal trees on this Cedar Key are the juniper, long-leafed pine, and live oak. All of the latter, living and dead, are heavily draped with Tillandsia, like those of Bonventure. The leaf is oval, two inches long, ¾ in. wide, glossy and dark green above, rusty beneath.
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist