An Englishman's Travels in America eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 184 pages of information about An Englishman's Travels in America.

I noticed that, during the impending storm, they hung down their heads in a listless manner, and sighed heavily, a circumstance that to our minds presaged calamity, and which, I may add, was altogether unlike the usual indication of fatigue in animals which have travelled a great distance.  Had the tornado burst upon us, instead of passing off as it did, it is very doubtful whether the hand that writes this would not have been mingled with its native dust, in the arid sands of Florida; for, as we rode on, we saw gigantic pine, cedar, and hiccory trees, torn up by the roots, and scattered over the surrounding country, by by-gone hurricanes, many of them hundreds of yards from the spot that nurtured their roots—­while the gnarled branches lying across our track, scorched black-with the lightning, or from long exposure to a burning sun, impeded our advance, and made the journey anything but pleasant.

The occurrence I have mentioned formed a topic of conversation for some miles as we journeyed to our destination; and one of my companions stated, that a few months before, when in the neighbourhood of Pensacola, a hurricane came on unexpectedly, and caused great devastation, unroofing the houses, tearing up trees, and filling the air with branches and fragments of property.  He happily escaped, although his little estate, situated at Mardyke Enclosure, some short distance from the town, was greatly injured, and some six or eight people were crushed to death by the falling trees and ruins of houses.

CHAPTER VI.

        “Before us visions come
    Of slave-ships on Virginia’s coast,
      Of mothers in their childless home,
    Like Rachel, sorrowing o’er the lost;
  The slave-gang scourged upon its way. 
  The bloodhound and his human prey.”—­WHITTIER.

Florida produces oranges, peaches, plums, a species of cocoa-nut, and musk and water-melons in abundance.  The more open portions of the country are dotted over with clumps of gnarled pines, of a very resinous nature, white and red oak, hiccory, cedar, and cypress, and is in general scantily clad with thin grass, fit only for deer to browse upon.  The dreary sameness of the interior of this desolate country is distressing to the traveller; and the journey from one settlement to another, through pine-forests, seems almost interminable.

One morning, a short time prior to my intended departure for Tallahassee, I was roused before daybreak by a rifle-shot, which was instantly followed by the cry of “Guard, turn out!” and much hubbub.  As this was no unusual occurrence, from the constant apprehension we were in of an attack by the Indians on the stockade, and as it had several times occurred before during my stay, I resolved to lie and listen awhile before I rose.  The earnest conversation and the noise of horses soon after satisfied me it was only a friendly arrival.  I, however, felt

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An Englishman's Travels in America from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.