The Gentleman from Everywhere eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 216 pages of information about The Gentleman from Everywhere.

  “We have passed funereal glooms,
  Cypress caverns, haunted rooms,
  Halls of gray moss starred with blooms—­
  Slowly, slowly, in these straits,
  Drifting towards the cypress gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.

  “In the towers of green o’erhead
  Watch the vultures for the dead,
  And below the egrets red
  Eye the mossy pools like fates,
  In the shadowy cypress gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.

  “Clouds of palm crowns lie behind,
  Clouds of gray moss in the wind,
  Crumbling oaks with jessamines twined,
  Where the ring-doves meet their mates,
  Cooing in the cypress gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.

  “High the silver ibis flies—­
  Silver wings in silver skies;
  In the sun the Saurian lies: 
  Comes the mockingbird and prates
  To the boatman at the gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.

  “Now the broader waters gleam—­
  Seems my voyage upon the stream
  Like a semblance of a dream,
  And the dream my Soul elates;
  Life flows through the cypress gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.

  “Ibis, thou wilt fly again,
  Ring-dove, thou wilt sigh again,
  Jessamines bloom in golden rain;
  And a loving song-bird waits
  Me beyond the cypress gates
  Of the Ocklawaha.”



When I had concluded the recitation of the poem which closes the preceding chapter, a fine-looking gentleman sitting near us arose, and lifting his hat very gracefully, said: 

“Pardon me.  As a native Floridian, I have much enjoyed hearing you repeat that poem relating to my State.”

This led to a pleasant conversation, during which he introduced us to his wife as being one of the aborigines.  We expressed much interest in this statement, and finally persuaded him to give us an account of his courtship, which, with some amplifications, was substantially as follows: 

It is midnight in the vast everglades of Florida.  The mammoth forest trees seem to support the arch of heaven as the pillars uphold the great dome of the nation’s capitol.  Here and there the century-old orange trees are resplendent with the golden globes of the luscious fruit, and millions of flowering vines beautify even the dead monarchs of the woods.

All these tropical splendors are illumined by the rays of the full hunter’s moon, which transforms the trailing streamers of dewy Spanish moss into long-drawn chains of sparkling silver.  From swamp and foliage the voices of the night fill the balmy air with quavering wailings, punctured by the occasional screams of wild-cats and hootings of the melancholy owls.  Here in this forest primeval, mid the murmuring pines and star-eyed magnolias, nature rules supreme, uncontaminated by the trammels of civilization.

But what is that?  Surely human forms swinging noiselessly from limb to limb over dark pools where the deadly moccasins and ferocious alligators slumber, over stagnant lagoons beautified by great lilies, and densely populated with rainbow colored fishes, and gaily decorated by water-fowl now all motionless in the embrace of sleep, the brother of death.

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The Gentleman from Everywhere from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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