I. Launching of My Life Boat
II. My First Voyage
III. Near to Nature’s Heart
IV. Joys and Sorrows of School-Days
V. Career of a Dominie-Pedagogue
vi. Dreams of My Youth
VII. A Disenchanted Collegian-Preacher
VIII. In Shadow Land
IX. Sunlight and Darkness in Palace and Cottage
XI. Adventures in Mosquito Land
XI. In Arcadie
XII. From Philistine to Benedict and a Honeymoon
XIII. The Angels of Life and Death
XIV. Tribulations of a Widower
XV. Faith Sees a Star
XVI. On the Political Stump
XVII. That Eddyfying Christian Science
XVIII. In the Land of Flowers
XIX. Sunbeam, The Seminole
XX. A Founder of Towns and Clubs
XXI. A Million Dollar Business with a One Dollar Capital
XXII. Pendulum ’twixt Smiles and Tears
XXIII. Monarch of all He Surveyed: Then Deposed,
XXIV. Foregleams of Immortality
XXV. A Practical Socialist and Colonizer
XXVI. Hand in Hand with Angels
XXVII. Among the Law-Sharks
XXVIII. Campaigning in Wonderland
XXIX. Among the Clouds
XXX. Disenchanted: Home Again
XXXI. The Florida Crackers
XXXII. Looking Forward
[Illustration: [cursive] Your friend, the Author James H. Foss]
Launching of my life-boat.
Wild was the night, yet a wilder night
Hung around o’er the mother’s pillow;
In her bosom there waged a fiercer fight
Than the fight on the wrathful billow.
Already there were more children than potatoes in her hut of logs, and yet, another unwelcome guest was coming, to whom fate had ordained that it would have been money in his pocket had he never been born.
A sympathizing neighbor held over the suffering woman an umbrella to shield her from the rain which poured through the dilapidated roof, and when the dreary light of that Sunday morning dawned, my frail bark was launched on the stormy, sullen sea of life.
My father, a good man, but a ne’er-do-well financially, had loaned his best clothes, watch and pocketbook to a friend to enable him to call on his best girl in captivating style, and said friend expressed his gratitude by eloping with the girl and all the borrowed finery.
That same night the boom broke, and allowed all the savings of our family invested in logs, cut by my father and his lumbermen, to float down the river and be lost in the sea.
Thus storm, flood, calamity and sorrow, far in advance heralded the future of myself, the fourth son of a fourth son who, on that Sunday, in the dog-days of 1841, reluctantly came into this world.
The howling of the wolves in the surrounding wild-woods, the screaming of the catamounts in the near-by tree-tops, the sterile dog-star drying up the crops, the marching of my father to fight in the threatened Aroostook war, all conspired for months before this fateful night to awaken a restlessness, discontent, and gloomy forebodings in the lonely mother’s heart which prenatal influences impressed upon the mind of the baby yet unborn.