Florida–so named by its discoverers from the abundance, beauty and
fragrance of its flowers. The Land of Flowers–what a beautiful
sentiment. Alas, it was never called anything of the sort. Land
happening to be first seen by the brave and sturdy warrior but not
imaginative linguist, Juan Ponce de Leon, on Palm Sunday, his discovery
was called, with due and Catholic reverence, after the day and not after
any abundance of flowers, which were probably not abundant on the sand
spit where he planted his intrusive feet. But no matter about the origin
of the term, the epithet is more than justified, and the Peninsular
State is not only glorious in the endless beauty and variety of its
flowers–till in good old English it might be termed one huge
nosegay–but it is magnificent in the grandeur and originality of its
foliage. The jessamine climbs above the deep swamps and lights up their
darkness with its yellow stars; the magnolia towers in the open upland a
pyramid of vestal splendor; the cabbage palmetto waves its huge
fan-shaped leaves, seven feet long, like great green hands, and the moss
hangs and sways and covers the bare limbs with its ragged clothing.

To the rough, practical Northern mind, Florida is a land of dreams, a
strange country full of surprises, an intangible sort of a place, where
at first nothing is believed to be real and where finally everything is
considered to be possible. When the visitor first arrives he cannot be
convinced that the cows feed under water; before he leaves he is willing
to concede that alligators may live on chestnuts. The animals and birds
are as queer and unnatural as the herbage, or as a climate which
furnishes strawberries, green peas, shad, and roses at Christmas. There
is the Limpkin, the pursuit of which reminds one of hunting the Snark.
You are in continual terror of catching the Boojum. It is a bird about
the size of a fish-hawk, but it roars like a lion and screeches like a
wild-cat, although it occasionally whistles like a canary. It has a bill
like that of a curlew, adapted to probing in the sand, and yet it sits
on trees as though it were a woodpecker. It is conversational and talks
to you in a friendly way during daytime, but at night it harrows up your
soul and makes your blood run cold with the fearful noises it utters. If
you hear any charming note or awful sound, any pretty song or terrifying
scream, and ask a native Floridian, with pleased or trembling tongue,
“What is that?” he will calmly answer, “That? that is a Limpkin.” There
are no dangerous animals in Florida, only a few of Eve’s old enemies,
and the sportsman is safer in the woods at night under the moss-covered
trees and on his moss-constructed mattress than in his bed in the family
mansion on Fifth avenue. If he hears any unearthly noises, any
soul-curdling shrieks, he can turn to sleep again with the comfortable
assurance “that it is only a Limpkin.”

To the sportsman it is needless to say that Florida, when properly
investigated, is a Paradise. Birds and fish and game are only too
plentiful, till it has become a land of shameful slaughter. The brute
with a gun slays the less brutish animal for the mere pleasure of murder
when he cannot get, much less use, what he kills, till on most of the
pleasure steamers shooting has been prohibited; while the idiot with the
rod fills his boat with splendid fish that rot in the hot sun and have
to be thrown back, putrefying, into the water from which his
undisciplined passion hauled them. Sportsman should not come to this
land of promise and performance unless they can control their instincts,
for fear that they should degenerate into mere killers. In truth, the
excess of abundance takes away the keener zest of sport, which is
largely due to the difficulties that surround success. But for the
ordinary inhabitant of the rugged North, the quaintness of this border
land of the equator has an immense charm, while to the invalid the pure,
dry, warm air of both winter and summer brings balm and health. The
feeble and sickly, especially the consumptive, should seek Florida, for
to them it offers the fabled springs of perennial youth, which Ponce de
Leon sought more coarsely in vain. To the seeker after amusement, to the
man and woman of leisure, who wish to improve as well as enjoy
themselves, it is a very wonderland of delight. It has a store of
novelties which are absolutely exhaustless, and tracts of interesting
country which, while perfectly accessible, have never even been

To enjoy Florida, however, one must seek it aright. If the visitor
follows the beaten track, he will see the beaten things–well beaten by
many vulgar footsteps. If he takes the steamers and lives at the hotels,
he will make quick trips and have good, accommodations. If he wants
originality he must pursue original methods. There are many ways of
reaching this floral El Dorado–the ocean steamer will carry you to
Savannah, whence the steamboat will transport you through byways and
inside cuts to Jacksonville, or the railroad will drag and hurl you
through dust and dirt by day and night at headlong pace from the St.
Lawrence to the Gulf. But if you want to enjoy Florida, if you want to
go where no man has gone, and see what no eye has seen, and handle what
no hand has touched, then go there in a yacht–in a small yacht, just as
small and of as light draft of water as will accommodate comfortably the
party, that must be composed of individuals sufficiently accustomed to
one another to be sure they can live together for three months without
quarrelling. Then, indeed, will you learn what Florida is, will possess
its charms in close embrace and have experiences and pleasures never to
be forgotten and not otherwise to be obtained. How is this to be done,
you may ask, and the purpose of this chapter is to tell you exactly

A wealthy magnate may go in a big yacht to Florida, give good dinners
aboard and live in grandeur and luxury, and he will see about as
much–not quite–as if he had left his yacht at home; or the
hasty-plate-of-soup man may take a little steam launch and stave her in
on the first snag or oyster rock he runs her against. But if the
traveller and his friends hire or buy a light-draught sailing vessel,
they will require more time, but they can go almost everywhere and see
absolutely everything. It was just such a vessel that I had built for
use in the shoal Great South Bay of Long Island–a sharpie, to give its
nautical appellation–of sixty feet length and fifteen beam, with two
state-rooms, a cabin having four comfortable berths and over six feet
head-room, and a cuddy for the men and for cooking, although we had an
auxiliary cook stove in the cabin. This vessel was intended to carry six
passengers and two men; but boats of seventeen feet length and a
catamaran have safely made the passage to the St. John’s River and are
there now, so that a much smaller craft would do. The advantage of the
sharpie style of construction was that the yacht only drew two feet of
water, and as I proposed to run entirely by chart, and not to use the
services of a pilot, this was an inestimable advantage. We could have
braved the battle and the breeze of the Atlantic and gone outside all
the way, but those who know most of the ocean care least to have to do
with it unless equipped on the most thorough basis to encounter its
buffets. As an old sea captain said to me:–“When I go to sea I want to
go in a steamer, and the biggest and strongest steamer at that.”
Moreover, the inside route is much the more interesting; there is
nothing very novel about the sea but the danger of it, whereas the bays,
creeks, canals and rivers furnish a fresh and continually changing
panorama. There is a frequent encounter with strange people, with
vessels of queer rigs and builds, an alternation of scenery, the arrival
at and departure from cities, the chance to occasionally kill a bird or
catch a mess of fish–something new happening every day. At sea there is
the ocean–a great deal of ocean–and nothing else.

There exists a complete inside route from New York to the St. John’s
River, with the exception of about a hundred miles south of Beaufort,
North Carolina, and on this stretch there are many accessible inlets
only a few miles apart, so that no vessel need be caught out overnight
or can fail to make a safe harbor in case of necessity. The charts are
nearly complete and enable a person of ordinary intelligence, in a
vessel drawing not over four feet of water, to be entirely independent
of pilots. The lighter the draught, however, the better, and I should
not advise the use of any boat which requires more than three feet to
float in, two feet being greatly preferable.

Do not start for the South before the first day of November unless you
wish to encounter a multiplicity, variety and intensity of fever that
would be the delight of the medical profession. Until frost comes,
there is waiting for you a choice between fever and ague, intermittent,
remittent, typhoid, putrid, break-bone, yellow, and _d’engue_ fevers,
each of which, when you have it, seems a little worse than all the
others until you have one of them also, an event which is very likely to
happen, when you discover that your first conclusions were erroneous.
Then before you start get good and ready. Look over your fishing tackle;
be sure you have cartridges enough, and load them all with powder, but
not shot, so as to avoid unpleasant explosions. Use your five hundred
pounds of shot for ballast.

Lay in a tub of Northern butter and some white potatoes, but do not
imagine you are going to a land of barbarism. You can get better hams,
better hard-tack, and as good and cheap canned goods in Norfolk as you
can in New York. Fresh eggs are to be had everywhere, turkeys and
chickens are fair, and are sold in market cleaned, and if Southern beef
is tough it has a peculiar game flavor which is very agreeable. Take in
a good supply of coal; use it for ballast if there is no other place to
stow it, for you may get frozen in during a cold spell, and will surely
want plenty of extraneous warmth before you reach the “Sunny South.”
Then when you are ready, sail up Raritan Bay, get a tow through the
Raritan and Delaware Bay Canal, and even across to Delaware City if you
please, and so across to the Chesapeake Bay, where your journey may be
said really to commence, for thenceforth you will have to rely on your
sails and your brains, your motive power and your charts. There are
very thorough and complete charts of the Chesapeake, six in number,
carrying you the entire way to Norfolk and insuring you a good and safe
harbor whenever you need it. Do not forget that this is a big sheet of
water, and that you are on a pleasure trip, and will be much more
comfortable if at anchor during the night. Besides, there is time
enough; you have all winter before you, as you cannot get back until
spring if you wanted to, now that Jack Frost is about shutting the
gates. From Norfolk you can take a tow through the Albemarle and
Chesapeake Canal or not, as you please; much better not if you happen to
have a good northerly wind, as there is only one lock, and you can make
the distance more pleasantly and safely under sail. If your vessel draws
less than three feet, you leave the canal when you reach North Landing
River, of which there is a chart, and you go down through Currituck
Sound by Van Slyck’s Landing, and thence through the Narrows. Beyond
that for some distance, as the chart says, you “can only carry three
feet of water, and that with difficulty.” If your vessel is of greater
draught, you must take the extension of the canal which carries you to
North River, from which point there is plenty of water all the way. You
can get a condensed chart from the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal
Company, which will give you a general idea of the route from Norfolk to
Smithville, and which will be found very useful. But the Government
charts of Pamlico Sound, which were completed in the fall of 1883,
should by all means be taken also, as they are simply invaluable in case
of storm and the necessity of seeking harbor unexpectedly. Government
chart No. 40 or 140 (both numbers are used) will give you Currituck
Sound from just above Van Slyck’s, and also North River from the mouth
of the canal, all that is necessary of Albemarle Sound, Croatan and
Roanoke Sounds, either of which you may take, and the magnetic courses
and distances to steer by as far south as Roanoke Marshes Light. The
post office at Van Slyck’s Landing is called Poplar Branch Post Office,
Currituck County, N. C., and you can get your letters and coarse
supplies there, but no bread. The next good harbor is Kitty Hawk, where
there is also a store and post office. If you go through Roanoke Sound,
remember that below Shallowbag Bay the channel runs close along shore,
closer than it seems on the chart. You will have to feel your way
carefully across below Broad Creek. There is plenty of water if you find
it, but it is not easy to find. From the southerly end of Roanoke Island
to Long Shoal Light the course is south by west; from Roanoke Marshes
Light it is south, one half west. You can go a mile inside of this
light, but not further, as the shoal beyond has not a foot of water on
it. Just north of this light is Stumpy Point Bay, where you can make a
good harbor, carrying clear inside four feet of water. From Long Shoal
Light the course is south-west to a buoy on Bluff Shoal; but as there
is seven feet of water on the shoal, accuracy is not necessary, and the
same course continued will take you near Royal Shoal, which is easily
made out, as there are two lights on it. From this the course is south
by west to Harbor Island light, at the entrance of Core Sound. This
light is abandoned and is falling down, but during the day the building
is visible a long distance. If you can get a free wind, you can make the
run from Long Shoal to Harbor Island in a day, provided you get under
way early, which every sensible yachtsman is careful to do. If not, you
must hug the main shore and look out, as there are many shoals and no
tide to help you off if you get aground. The waters are salt and only
moved by the wind; and as Pamlico Sound is a miniature ocean and gets up
a big sea, it is well to be careful. If you are caught near Royal Shoal,
unless you are acquainted with the channels, steer for the beach, where
you can get holding ground if not much of a harbor. The charts of
Pamlico Sound are Nos. 42, 43, and 44.

There is a good chart of Core Sound, which is shallow but well staked
out, the stakes having hands on them to show on which side is the best
water. You can carry two feet of water close along the shore from the
buoy off the middle marshes, just west of Harker’s Island into Beaufort,
but the main channel is more to the southward and runs to the point of
Shackleford Banks. Then you go up Bulkhead Channel, keep along the north
shore of Town Marsh a hundred rods, and then northeast and keep the
lead going to Beaufort, N. C. From here you can either sail through
Bogue Sound, of which there is no chart, or go directly to sea. As the
land trends westward, it makes a lee even from a north-easter and is as
safe as any outside sailing can be.

There is a chart of Beaufort, N. C., which takes you a few miles into
Bogue Sound, but that is all. South of Bogue Inlet, New Topsail Inlet is
one of the best, then Masonboro, and from either of these a good wind
will carry you past Cape Fear, the only spot you have to dread and where
you must manage not to get caught. There is a good chart of Cape Fear,
but the rule of the local pilots is to follow the eighteen-foot shoal
down till you open Fort Caswell by the main Light on Bald Head, and then
steer straight for the Fort, which will give you six feet of water up to
the beach. But remember, there is shoal water outside of you, and you
must look out for breakers. The next harbor is Little River Inlet, and
then comes Winyah Bay, of which there is a chart, and then Bull’s Bay,
of which also you can get a chart.

From Bull’s Bay it is inside work and a shoal, but not a difficult
passage, to Charleston Harbor. Of this there is no chart yet printed,
and it ought to be run, if possible, in a tide which will help at both
ends by running up from Bull’s Bay and down into Charleston Harbor. You
come out at the cove near Fort Moultrie where it is well to stop, as
Charleston Harbor is a large place in rough weather for small boats.
Here you begin on Coast Chart No. 54 (or 154). Go up the Ashley River
till St. Michael’s Church (which has the whitest spire) opens to the
north of the rice mills, and steer into Wappoo Cut, which lies just
south of some prominent buildings on a point on the left shore. It will
carry you without trouble into the Stono River. Here the chart fails
you, you ascend the Stono, keeping a westerly course past the first
branch to the north which heads toward a railroad in full view. When a
large mill on the north side is reached a lead branches to the south.
This must be avoided, and a mill with a tower will soon be reached. This
is on Wadmelaw River, where the chart resumes its proper vocation.
Thence across the North Edisto, the Dawho River, thence into the South
Edisto, around Jehossee, but not through Wall’s Cut, which the natives
assured me was not open. Just at the south point of Jehossee Island,
Mosquito Creek enters the South Edisto; take the westerly lead where
they branch just inside the mouth, and then through Bull’s Cut into the
Ashepoo; down the Ashepoo and across St. Helena Sound and either up the
Coosaw and past Beaufort, S. C. The name of the town being pronounced
Bufort, which is about as short as any route, or across the Sound to
Harbor River and through it and Story and Station Creeks into Port Royal
Sound. This is a big place again and uncomfortable at night in a storm
with a heavy tide and sea.

You now take Coast Chart No. 55 (or 155). There is a special chart of
the route from St. Helena to Port Royal, but it is not necessary. You
steer nearly west from the buoys off the mouth of Station Creek to
Bobee’s Island at the mouth of Skull Creek. There is an oyster rock in
the middle of Skull Creek where it makes its first bend to the
southeast, and this is the only danger before reaching Calibogue Sound.
In crossing Tybee roads, keep well out to Red Buoy No. 2, whether you go
directly south or turn north to visit Savannah. If the latter, go by the
Light Beacon and to the westward of it, if the former, take Lazaretto
Creek into Tybee River and Warsaw Sound. Keep well out by the buoys
again and head for Romerly Marsh Creek.

If you have gone to Savannah, continue your journey by the way of
Wilmington River to the same place, unless your boat is small enough to
pole easily, in which case you can go through Skiddaway Narrows. Romerly
Marsh and Adams Creeks will bring you into Vernon River, when you steer
for Hell Gate, between Little Don Island and Raccoon Key. If you have
come through Skiddaway and down the Burnside and Vernon Rivers, you can
go inside of Little Don Island. Here you use chart No. 56 (or 156).
Cross the Ogeechee River, and follow up the west bank to Florida
Passage, through it and Bear River to St. Catharine’s Sound, across it
and up Newport River to Johnson’s Creek; thence down the South Newport
to Sapelo Sound.

There is good fishing in Barbour’s River, just above where the words
“Barbour’s Island” are on the chart. Continue across Sapelo Sound and
into Mud River; take the middle of this to New Teakettle Creek, which
will bring you into Doboy Sound. Keep to the north of Doboy town, which
is a prominent object on the flat meadows. Here chart No. 57 (or 157)
begins, and you go from Duboy straight through Little Mud River and the
same course across Altamaha Sound; then follow the channel northwesterly
into Buttermilk Sound; then either through Mackay’s or Frederica Rivers,
as the wind best serves, into St. Simon’s Sound. Here the water is
deeper and you can go directly across from the black buoy No. 7 to the
black buoy at the mouth of Jekyls Creek. There are two mouths to this
creek. Take the easterly one and run straight from the ranges on the
point. Follow across Jekyls and St. Andrew’s Sounds up Cumberland River.
At its head waters there are some islands; the channel is from a stake
on shore to the west of the eastermost island, then by ranges on the
point, which carry you past a little island with ranges which give you
the course south. Use the lead here. Thence down Cumberland Sound by
Dungeness, formerly the property of Gen. Nathaniel Green, and which is
much visited by tourist parties, across the St. Mary’s River and up the
Amelia to Fernandina.

Here chart No. 58 (or 158) begins. From the Amelia River you go to
Kingley’s Creek past two drawbridges. The railroad bridge is out of
order and will not open square with the bulkhead. Be careful here, as
several accidents have happened and the tide runs strong. Continue
across Nassau Sound to Sawpit Creek, at the mouth of which there is a
black buoy not laid down on the chart. Keep to the southward of this
buoy and run on through Gunnison’s Cut, which you will recognize by two
palmetto trees that look like gate-posts at a distance. Down Fort George
River to the Sisters Creek and thence to the St. John’s River where you
will find a dock–a watermark not to be forgotten on your return trip.
There are three charts of the St. John’s, which give it in full from its
mouth to Lake Harney; the points to remember are to cross from Hannah
Mills Creek to St. John’s Bluff, and thence back again to Clapboard
Creek, whence you follow up the north shore, keeping it as far as Dame
Point close aboard. Beyond this you can have no trouble as the St.
John’s has but one or two shoals where there is less than six feet of
water, and it is well marked out with buoys and beacons.

If this description sounds a little tedious to the reader, he will not
think it so when he makes the trip. If you want a pilot for any part of
the route, one can be had by applying to Captain Coste, of the
Lighthouse Service at Charleston; but there are few persons who know
what I have herein recorded, and none of those will tell. We have had a
long trip–for long as it has been on paper, it has been longer in
reality. Two weeks from New York to Beaufort, N. C.; ten days thence to
Charleston, and ten more to Jacksonville may be required, unless the
traveller is one of those lucky fellows who always have a free wind
through life. So he may want to rest, have his clothes washed, dress up
in “a boiled shirt” for a change, and revive the fact that he is one of
the aristocracy, not an ordinary seaman. He will soon tire of
civilization, however, and long for the pleasures of the chase. Then let
him ascend any of the tributaries of the St. John’s from San Pablo at
its mouth to Juniper Creek, which empties into the southerly end of Lake
George. It was on the latter stream that I nearly killed a Limpkin.

The man does not live who has actually caught or shot a Limpkin. There
are no Limpkins for sale in the curiosity shops, where almost every
other production of Florida is to be had. It is admitted that the
Limpkin, like the recognized ghost, is proof against powder and ball.
But the writer never misses–that is, on paper and when he is recording
his shots. All writers do the same. So when the Limpkin sat on a limb
and whistled and chuckled and bobbed and bowed and finally flew away
just before we were near enough, and I fired as he disappeared with
horrible screams through the forest, one leg dropped! I had not killed
him, but even a Limpkin was not quite proof against my aim. Mr. Seth
Green, who was with me at the time and can vouch for the truth of this
statement, remarked in a melancholy tone of voice that he wished he had
had his rifle. As he had not succeeded in hitting anything with his
rifle thus far since we started, although he had fired away half his
cartridges, there is a chance that he might have succeeded this time by
way of a change, and so I agreed with him heartily.

Alligators will not appear till warm weather–that is, till the middle
of January–by which time the tourists will think he has got into the
dog days, but fish are abundant in all the fresh-water streams. In that
very Juniper Creek we caught so many big-mouthed bass with fly and spoon
that we not only gave up fishing, but had to salt down dozens. And, by
the way, these fish are much more of game fish than they are at the
North; the smallest fight well, take the fly freely and jump out of
water as frequently and fiercely as the small-mouthed variety in our

Before leaving the instructive branch of my subject I wish to advise the
yachtsman against giving too much weight to the appearance of the
Southern sky. This will often cloud up toward evening in the most
threatening way. Such a heavenly monitor at the North would warn us to
make everything snug and get the best bower over, but in the South these
appearances signify nothing. After a most frightful-looking evening the
morning will break clear and warm and quiet. There are few storms in
Florida during the winter, a “norther” occasionally and possible a
thunder storm, but no fierce northeasters and no hurricanes. As to the
comparative advantages of working through the tortuous creeks with
changing tides, or running outside for short stretches, a preference
might be given to the latter were it not that the shoals off the mouths
of the inlets extend so far to sea. Many of the rivers have carried down
so much sediment that they have made shoals ten or fifteen miles off
shore. So that apart from questions of safety and comfort, the distance
by the inside passage is the shortest.

In going South the yachtsman will pass large and numerous flocks of bay
snipe on all the marshes south of Charleston. These marshes are muddy
islands and of a peculiar nature. On the surface when dry they are firm
enough for walking, but their shores are unfathomable ooze beneath which
a man would sink at once out of sight and into which an oar can be run
for its entire length without an effort. Curlew, willet, marlin, all
varieties down to the tiny ox-eye, and in immense flocks, frequent these
islands, where they seem to find food without stint. To stool them you
can set out your decoys in the thin grass and make a stand near by from
reeds or bushes. They are quite wary, however, and seem to have learned
the evil significance of a gun. These marshy islands are honeycombed
with the burrows of the fiddler crab, and mussels grow on their surface
in soft mounds of earth. They are covered by very high tides and are
always more or less damp. The bay snipe, however, do not seem to winter
here. They leave a small proportion of their numbers, but the main body
goes further South, possibly beyond the equator. There are no such
myriads as the Northern flight would require, and they grow fewer and
fewer as the season advances, till in March they are almost scarce. Let
the sportsman take his toll from them while he can; stopping amidst the
lonesomeness of these islands where it is certain death to pass a
summer, and few of which are inhabited, and where he may sail tens of
miles without seeing a man, white or black. Let him try the deep holes
alongside of bluffs or where two creeks meet for sheepshead, using for
bait the Southern prawn, that gigantic shrimp, with its body six inches
long and its feelers ten; and if he can catch no fish and misses the
birds, let him rejoice in knowing that there are millions of both in

In describing my trip to Florida, I do not intend to pursue any
consecutive plan, or follow the positive order of events. It is not
important to know that we turned out–to use the proper nautical
term–at a certain hour in the morning of a certain day, and that we
turned in again at night at some other division of mean sidereal or
solar time, nor that we went a certain course or made so many miles one
day and so many more or less the next. That is, the reader does not want
to have too much of this, although a little now and then may tend to
give a general idea of the trials, difficulties, and enjoyments of a
yachtman’s life. But whether we arrived at a place at five P.M. or five
A.M., important as it may have been to us at the time, cannot, so far as
I can judge, interest the reader as deeply as I hope to interest him.
For all such information I will refer him to the ordinary books of
travel. That we did occasionally make fast time in our little half scow,
half yacht, that I built on the scheme of putting a sail in a canal
boat, will be proved by this single event; when running across St.
Simon’s sound in a fog, we passed a large steamer yacht, called the
“Gleam,” one of the largest and finest of Herreschoff’s productions. We
found her again in Jacksonville when we reached there. She had left
Savannah on the second of January, we had left Charleston on the tenth;
she had arrived two days ahead of us, so that by being able to keep
inside out of the storms and fogs of the Atlantic, we had actually gone
nearly double the distance in six days less time.

The personnel of our party was made up of a sporting medical man, Mr.
Seth Green, the famous fish-culturist, the ladies of the families and
myself. We went without any restriction as to time, which is a most
essential point in a yachting trip, and we stopped where we pleased, and
as long as we pleased, we shot where there were birds to shoot, we
fished where there were fish to catch, and where there were neither, we
lay in the shade of the awning, if the weather was warm, and smoked, or
ate those globes of concentrated lusciousness, the grape fruit when we
felt too energetic to loaf, and not energetic enough to fish or shoot.
Our trip was something of an exploring expedition, and we had possible
dangers and inevitable inconveniences to encounter. Other parties had
gone to Florida in the same way, but they had left no record of their
adventures, no guide-posts for those who should come after them. So far
as we were concerned, the country from North Carolina to the Land of
Flowers was a _terra incognita_. We knew that there were birds, and
beasts, and fish, in that equatorial region, but where to find them, how
to reach them, and by what methods to catch and kill them, were wholly
unknown to us. No one, after reading this record, will have the same
complaint to make. Several of the Government charts were not completed,
notably those of Pamlico Sound, and the corrections of that from
Charleston south, so as to show the inside route had not been made in
the year 1882, which was the one I had selected for the expedition.

We had sent the “Heartsease” to Norfolk, and were to meet her there, as
by so doing we would save time that could be better utilized than by
going over ground with which we were pretty well familiar–that of New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. At Norfolk, after we had purchased
what hard-bread, cake, pies, and other stores and luxuries we needed,
and had been through the fish market, and selected an abundance of the
largest “spot,” which is regarded as the most delicious native fish,
although it is nothing more than what we call the Lafayette fish at the
North, we engaged a tow and started on our journey. We had to go through
the Albemarle and Chesapeake canal, and made our first mistake in
supposing that a tow was a necessity for the operation. The puffy,
dirty, fussy, little steamboat ran us against everything that she came
near, and were it not that she was unable to attain any considerable
rate of speed, our journey might have terminated before it fairly
began. She jammed us against the dock when we were starting, banged us
into the first vessel we met on our way, bumped us into the banks of the
canal when we had entered it, dashed us into the only lock there was to
get foul of, and then rammed us against a dredging scow so fiercely,
that there was a momentary doubt whether we should not be dredged out as
an impediment to travel.

However, in spite of all these misadventures, we made Currituck before
night. We determined to stay there some days for duck shooting, but I
shall not stop to describe the sport we had. It is enough, that we
loaded down our vessel with provisions, which, as the weather came out
cold, kept till they were all consumed, and saved us from recourse to
those last resources of the way-farer, the insipid canned meats, which,
somehow, the manufacturers manage to make taste so nearly alike, that
one will answer for the other, whether it is called mutton, beef, or
fowl. Then we sped away south, running into Kittyhawk Bay for a harbor
and a turkey, for no one must imagine that it is necessary to starve in
the South, even amid the desolation of the desolate Eastern Shore. Not
only does the proverbial hospitality of the Southern people still exist
as far as the effect of a desolating war has left it a possibility, but
there are certain kinds of food to be got there more readily than even
at the North. It has heretofore been a reproach to our Southern colored
brother, that the attractions of a hen-roost and lusciousness of a fat
turkey gobbler were too much for his virtue. But this state of facts
and morals is changing, the darkey is turning poultry fancier, he is
getting to raise chickens and sell eggs, he is fast becoming a bloated
fowl holder, and regular goose and turkey wing clipper; in his eyes the
chicken is assuming a different status, and hen-roost marauding is fast
becoming a heinous crime, than which there is none more unpardonable. He
will soon be the fowl monopolist, and when that day comes I predict that
the chicken will be regarded as a sacred bird, and placed in the same
category as the ibis of Egypt. As it is, eggs can be obtained almost
anywhere, and wherever there is a darkey’s hut, there the voice of the
cackling hen ascends in welcome and suggestive music to high heaven,
resonant of omelettes plain, omelettes _aux fines herbes_, with ham or
with onion, of scrambled eggs, boiled, roasted eggs, of pan cakes and
sweet cakes, of custards, egg-nog, and all the thousands delicacies
towards which the hen contributes with enthusiastic zeal, and greatly to
the happiness of man.

The course of the contraband can be exemplified by that of the milk
farmer, if the story which I once heard from an eminent retired
politician is true, as I think it may be. Many of the farmers living in
the neighborhood of Utica were in the habit of supplying that city with
milk from the herds of cows that the magnificent meadows of the vicinity
easily supported. Those careful and conscientious gentlemen, aware of
the heating properties of milk in its strong and crude state, felt it
was but a duty they owed their fellow beings, and especially their
customers, to make sure that they did not incur the evils which were
certain to arise from the unguarded use of so deleterious a beverage.
They mixed the dangerous fluid with a sufficient proportion of water to
kill the germs of disease, and lest their motives should be
misunderstood, they did not mention their thoughtfulness to the
consumers. Hence it was that Utica enjoyed unexampled health, and it
would no doubt have continued in the same enjoyment except for a change
in the methods of milk culture. Milk, instead of being converted into
butter or sold in its natural state, came in time to be manufactured
into cheese. Great cheese dairies were established, to which the farmers
sent their milk, in place of disposing of it by local trade. Now it was
essential that the milk so delivered should be absolutely pure, for the
excellence of the product not only depended on this, but also in order
that the amount might be fairly credited to each of the persons
furnishing a share of the supply. Then the bucolic view that had
heretofore obtained in that neighborhood was modified, and of all the
sins in the decalogue, none was quite so heinious as the adulteration of
milk. I do not vouch for this story, although a long course of lactic
experience in the city of New York gives it an air of possibility.
Certain it is that since the introduction of cheese factories, the
health of Utica has declined, but then no one can positively say that
this change is due entirely to the purity of the milk.

On our way to Kitty Hawk, we had passed a number of nets which the local
fishermen were hauling, and Mr. Green, who had a mania for interviewing
every one he met, had promptly boarded the first of the boats, obtained
all the statistics, and even helped make one haul. He found out that
they caught what they called chub, the big-mouthed bass (_Grystes
salmoides_), as large as eight pounds; white perch; the robin, which is
our sunfish; red fin, our yellow perch; bull sucker, our black sucker;
sucker-mullet, our mullet, which were taken in the creeks and up in the
swamps, and nanny shad, which seemed to be our gizzard shad, known in
Baltimore as bream. As they did not have all these varieties in the boat
at the time, we were not quite sure as to the last. The fishermen knew
nothing of the spawning season, but we found roe three inches long in a
seven-pound big-mouthed black bass.

There is a club house at Kitty Hawk Bay, belonging to the Kitty Hawk
Ducking Club, but it was deserted when we were there by the club, and
given over to the possession of Captain Cain, who runs the principal
fishery in that part of the country. He told us that the bass spawned in
March, and that the same kinds of fish were caught near there which I
have described. While we were ashore enjoying his hospitality, a sudden
squall came up and blew most of the water out of the bay, so that the
small boat in which we had come ashore was left a hundred feet from the
edge of the water.

The next day, which was December 8th, we passed Nag’s-head Hotel, and
came to anchor in a perfect little harbor in the lower part of Roanoke
Island, where Captain Cain once had a terrapin farm. It was a charming,
though deserted, spot, a bay just large enough for the yacht to swing
in, and completely land-locked, the buildings tumbling to pieces, the
terrapin ponds still there, but with not only their occupants departed,
but the very fences falling down or being used for firewood. The
speculation had failed, because even there, in the very home and abiding
place of the terrapin, he had grown so scarce that a sufficient business
could not be done to make it profitable. Terrapins are taken, as Mr.
Green soon found out, in bag or trawl nets, that are drawn along the
bottom, as we at the North use a dredge for oysters. On the front of the
net, which hangs loosely behind, is an iron bar, of sufficient weight to
lie close to the bottom as it is being dragged; this slips under the
terrapins, which are thus carried into the net. We readily understood
that they were not plenty, when we were informed that “count” terrapins,
that is, those over six inches in length, bring on the ground one dollar

The weather had become very cold for yachting. The thermometer fell to
eighteen degrees during the night, and we found that all the resources
of our vessel were hardly equal to keeping us warm in our berths. Early
next morning we obtained our first oysters. We had brought oyster tongs
with us; in fact, if there was any kind of rod, reel, line, net, hook,
sinker, swivel, or fishing device whatever that we had not brought I
should like to be informed of it. When Mr. Green joined the yacht and
produced from the bowels of an immense trunk, a luxury that in itself I
never knew him to allow himself before, and which was in our way the
entire journey till we got rid of it at Jacksonville, much to its
owner’s chagrin–first two breech-loaders, then a rifle and a hundred
weight of ammunition, then an immense bundle of sporting rods, next a
box of lines and reels, and finally an overgrown scrapbook filled with
all manner of gangs of hooks, the doctor and myself felt that the
sporting interest would not suffer. As I had sent him word that he need
bring neither guns, fishing tackle, nor ammunition, it was evident that
he intended we should not fall short. But now when our men began tonging
up the delicious bivalves which we had not seen for so many days, on
account of the freshness of the water, we felt thankful for one of our
precautions. Here let me warn the reader that he be sure to bring oyster
tongs with him. He will find it difficult to get them in the South at
all, and if he can they will be much heavier and more awkward than those
in use with us. Just South of the opening into our night’s harbor, and
in the main channel, we found a man at work oystering and we joined him
promptly, confident that where there was enough for one there was in
this matter enough for two. Either the oysters off the lower end of
Roanoke Island are very delicious, or else our appetites were sharp
from abstinence. For as fast as our man Charley brought them to the
surface and deposited them on the deck, we opened them with a skill
founded on some experience and more desire, and devoured them with
hearty gusto.

We loaded up with oysters and then started once more on our course, but
the wind fell off and we anchored in Stumpy Point Bay, some thirty miles
to the southward and on the main shore. At our last stopping place a
sick man had come aboard for advice, and here we not only found two
others, but were also informed that their mother was at the point of
death. There seemed to be a sublime faith in these people that all
Northerners must know something of medicine, as none of them had a
suspicion of our having a physician in the party. Indeed they came for
“a drawing of tea” as they called it, rather than for any special
medicine, for they appeared to consider sickness the natural condition
of man, as among those terribly unhealthy swamps and low lands it
probably is. After that almost everywhere we went we were asked for “a
drawing of tea” for some sick person.

Their ailments were evidently only too well founded, and as the people
were clearly not a complaining set, we were sorry that we had not
brought more of the coveted article with us. The whites of this coast
looked weazened, thin, yellow, and cadaverous, as if they had a
perpetual conflict with fever in which they invariably got the worst of
it. They had the shadow of death in their faces. In their motions they
exhibited a langour which strangers are apt to attribute to laziness,
but which I believe due to disease. Let a man once take the southern
fever, and it will be many months if not years before he feels like
himself again. Our latest patients were fishermen, and to Mr. Green’s
insatiable inquiries they explained that they caught in their seasons
shad; rock, our striped bass; trout, our weakfish; hickory shad, white
perch, mullet, spot, round-nosed shad and flat backs, though what these
latter were was more than we could guess. They said that the fishing had
fallen off greatly of late years, but that the prices had increased and
that now they were paid seventy five cents for a roe shad, and thirty
for bucks.

Next day was clear and cold, with a strong and favorable wind from the
north-west, so much so that even the imperturbable doctor was impatient
to be off, but Mr. Green had an idea, and when he has anything of that
sort he is the last man to part with it without full fruition. To our
proposal to get under weigh early he replied.

“Beyond this you tell me that we have a great stretch of open water?”

“Yes,” I answered, “the entire Pamlico Sound, which must be a hundred
and fifty miles long and fifty broad, so the more advantage we take of
this favorable wind the better.”

“Well, you expect to find ducks, don’t you, on the route?” he inquired
by way of response.

“I hardly know what we shall find,” I answered, “but I should like to
find ducks, and have heard that there are innumerable brant on the
ocean side.”

“That is just as I supposed,” was Mr. Green’s reply, as he took up the
axe that lay on the deck, “and as you have no battery, how do you expect
to kill them?”

The doctor and I had nothing to reply, and Mr. Green, carrying the axe,
called one of the men and rowed away to the shore in triumph. During his
absence the doctor, who is a _cordon bleu_, prepared the turkey that we
had purchased at Kitty Hawk for cooking, by stuffing it with the oysters
that we had tonged at Roanoke Island. By the time this culinary feat was
accomplished, our master of fish culture had returned. He had cut a
dozen stakes about eight feet long, which were to be used to improvise a
blind, by thrusting them into the bottom and tying strings around from
one to the other, and hanging reeds or grass tied in bunches over the

These precautionary measures being taken, we got under-way. The wind had
increased to almost a gale, and our brave little vessel fairly leaped
before it towards the South like a race horse. Quite a sea had made in
the broad expanse of Pamlico Sound, which can be stormy enough when in
the humor, and the waves rolled after us in vain and vindictive fury.
There were two large steamers going South, and we held them for some
time, and had hopes of keeping up with them, but they slowly drew ahead,
and left us alone in the waste of tumultuous waves.

[Illustration: ENGLISH SNIPE.]

We made one of our best runs that day. The weather was too perfect for
us to stop for fish or birds, although we saw clouds of the latter
rising up in the distance from the disturbed surface of the Sound. We
ought to have gone to Hatteras, or Roanoke Inlet, where we had been
assured by the residents the brant shooting was magnificent, but we
could not lose such unusually favorable weather, and sped on and on
through the seething waves, hour after hour, till when the sun was still
quite well above the horizon, we ran through the narrow channel into the
peaceful waters of Core Sound.

What a change came over the spirit of our sailing, from the boisterous
violence and rough seas that beat our vessel’s sides turbulently, or
followed us fiercely to the scarcely ruffled bosom of the small and
shallow bay, only a few miles wide, and shut in on all sides by the
land. We managed to reach Lewis’s Creek before sunset, where we saw a
number of working boats going to find security for the night. When we
had anchored among them, the fishermen told us that there were the usual
kinds of salt water fish, although there was no tide in Core Sound other
than that made by the wind. They said there was good oystering off the
point of Lewis’s Creek, and next day proved their words. It was a wild
spot. The only mark of human habitation being an old wind-mill, which
stood on the point. The weird effect was further heightened during the
darkness by the lighting of fires by the fishermen, who had no sleeping
accommodations on their boats, and who went ashore for the purpose.

“Would you like to kill an English snipe?” called out Seth Green to me
next morning from the shore, whither he had already gone with our
boatman, Charley. I had been busy, or perhaps, if the truth must be
confessed, sleepy, and had just come on deck.

“Of course,” was my instantaneous reply, the idea of any one not wanting
to kill an English snipe being too ridiculous to entertain for a moment.

“Then get your gun, and Charley will come for you in the boat.”

In five minutes the doctor and I were both ashore, and in less than as
many more we had put up and bagged our first bird. It seemed that
Charley, who, as I have already stated, was an old gunner, had heard the
bird as he flew over, and had seen him alight. He did not know that
there were more than one, but we found quite a flight of them. The spot
was not large, but it was evidently a favorite one. We had no dogs and
went floundering about through the mud, but at every few steps a bird
was flushed, and his appearance commemorated by the report of a gun or
the cheery cry of, “mark!” It was a delicious episode in our trip, for
no sport is more appreciated by the true sportsman than the killing of
our gamest of all game birds, the stylish English snipe. In two hours we
had bagged thirty-one. In fact we had killed them all, for if we did not
get them at the first rise, it was easy to follow them up, as they
seemed so fond of the place that they would not leave it. After we had
gone on board with our trophies, and while we were getting under way, we
saw new whisps arriving to take the place of those which we had killed,
as if they were informed of the event, and were anxious to profit by the
disasters of their friends, even at the peril of their own lives.

Core Sound was full of wild fowl, of which many were red-heads and
canvas-backs, and had we had a battery, we could have killed unlimited
numbers. We had to do as well as we could with Mr. Green’s substitute,
which, although better than nothing, was not at all equal to the proper
machine. Neither had we time to wait. Florida was a long way off, and
well we knew that, once there, we should have all the game we wanted; so
as we struck another favorable wind, we did not stop at Barker’s Island,
where the best shooting is to be had, but ran on to Beaufort. We had
actually dawdled not more than three or four unnecessary days in Core
Sound, before going into the narrow, shallow and difficult harbor of
what was once the watering place as well as business mart of that
section of the Southern country. The port dues are heavy, and I would
advise the yachtsman to avoid it altogether and go, if he needs must go
into any port, directly to Morehead City, which is rapidly appropriating
the trade and fashion of its older rival.

There is a large business in oysters at Beaufort, and the civilization
of moss-bunker factories has been introduced from the North. Fish were
scarce, but we purchased some very fair beef at very moderate prices,
eighteen pounds of porterhouse being sold to us for eight cents a pound.
The town is a pretty one, and the next day being Sunday, we went to the
colored Methodist Church, a thing that no visitor must fail to do, and
heard some very charming singing. This was our first experience of the
quaint, wild, and slightly barbaric harmony of the voices of the
negroes, of which we were to hear a great deal before our return to the

Beaufort was the first thoroughly Southern town, with its fig trees in
the open air, the Yupawn, or native Tea tree, the red-berried evergreen
bushes, whose name we could not ascertain, and its genial air of
Southern indolent happiness, which we had visited. We were sorry to
leave it, and had Florida been only placed where it ought to have been,
five hundred miles nearer New York, we should have stayed days if not
weeks longer. But the time was flitting by, and still we were a thousand
miles from our destination. So without more ado we put to sea. From
Beaufort to Cape Fear there is such a bend in the coast that it is laid
down on the charts as a bay. Being shielded from the terrible
northeasters of the Atlantic, which reach no farther than Cape Hatteras,
it is as safe for a small vessel as any part of the boisterous ocean
ever can be. But I was glad when Heartsease got through the voyage. With
care there is no danger, and the trip is not half as perilous a one as
we are accustomed to take at the North, where we are at home, without a
thought of fear. There are numerous and very practicable inlets, and
the yachtsman should make sure of getting into one of them at night. The
same may be said of the stretch beyond Cape Fear. Treat the mighty ocean
with the respect it deserves, and it will never illtreat you. On the
charts the northern or old inlet of Cape Fear is laid down as closed by
a bulkhead. This it is no doubt intended to be, to the discomfort of
small sailing craft, but at the time I speak of it was open. Possibly it
was only opened temporarily by a storm, and may be shut again now.

There were some birds in Bull’s Bay, but not enough to induce us to
pause, as we were anxious to get the yacht to Charleston as quickly as
we could. So we made the most of the wind and the tide, and anchored
over against Fort Moultrie early in January. Does any of my readers care
to hear how we enjoyed Christmas Day! If so, I will in that connection,
and with the happy sacredness of that day in my mind, make a confession.
In one of the opening paragraphs of this history I mentioned the fact
that we had a stove, a cooking as well as heating stove, in the main
saloon. I did not, however, acknowledge what I am now about to make
public, that every one of the party, from the state-rooms to the
forecastle, was a cook, and in the opinion of him or herself a most
sweet and dainty _chef de cuisine_. Aware of this divine afflatus, they
were none of them entirely content unless they were exhibiting their
skill, so both stoves were run to their utmost capacity, and as the
appetites of the party were good and daily growing better, a vast
consumption of provisions was continually taking place. While each was
at heart assured that their own productions were a little the best, and
tempted the others to admission of the fact by the offering of special
delicacies where delicacies were not needed, there was no one mean
enough to repudiate the work of a brother or sister artist, even if it
were ruined in the preparation or burned to tastlessness in the cooking.
Christmas was by common consent set apart as the day on which each and
every member of our briny household should cook whatever they found best
in their own eyes. The store-room was thrown open and free liberty of
selection was given to all.

To the male kitchen genius the most difficult article to prepare, is the
most necessary one, bread. Within the realms of civilization the staff
of life seems, as it were, to grow of itself. It can be found on every
corner; stares in fat complacency at you from the shop windows on every
block; there is never any dearth of bread so long as there is a penny to
purchase it; delicate-minded tramps scorn it, and in every
well-regulated household enough of it is thrown into the waste pail to
feed another household of equal numbers. But at sea this is different,
and when man, though he pride himself on the brilliant hue of his blue
ribbon, is required to make good the deficiency, he is apt to come to
grief. So the queen of our marine family announced that she would make a
big batch of bread for that special festivity.

While no one could or would dare to dispute the ability of that lady to
do well whatever she undertook, yet in the matter of bread making her
methods were peculiar. In the first place she had to have the cabin to
herself, and as bread has to be set over night, we were all turned out
on Christmas eve and left to shiver on the deck. Then she has a way of
strewing flour about in the operation till she covers the tables, the
chairs, the floor, even the sides of the saloon and sometimes the cabin
roof with dough or its ingredients. It was not five minutes after we
were allowed to return, the “rising” having been made an accomplished
fact and set away in a corner, before our hands, our clothes, our faces,
and our very hair were covered with incipient bread. But worse even than
that was the injunction that was solemnly laid on us under no
circumstances to presume to touch the “rising” which had been deposited
directly over the stove, and without moving which it would be impossible
to get breakfast. As our lady was a late riser herself, and would never
stir till she was assured through the state-room door that her breakfast
was ready and on the table, the question of having that important meal
was as complicated as getting the fox, the goose, and the corn over the

One of the associate lady patronesses devoted herself to making
biscuits, as the bread would not be cooked till dinner time. I evolved
pancakes, the doctor compounded a hash, and altogether we began
Christmas with such a breakfast as is rarely met with on the desert
surface of the inland water communication between the North and the
South. Seth Green had reserved himself till, as he politely remarked,
“the rest of you should be through your mussing,” then he began. But his
efforts did not last long unmolested, he had split open a duck, a fat
one had been especially selected for so unusual an occasion. This he had
laid between the wires of an oyster broiler, then he opened the entire
top of the stove and proceeded to broil it upon the hot coals. It is
unnecessary to remark that such a proceeding evolved an amount of smoke
that filled the cabin full in a moment. The rest of the party were busy
at their breakfast enjoying the delicacies which had already been
prepared, when they were fairly suffocated by this torrent of smoke and
began to realize as never before the sad fate of the inhabitants of

“Seth” I exclaimed, “can’t you keep part of the stove covered so as to
let some of the smoke go up the chimney?”

“Mr. Green, Mr. Green,” came from the ladies all at once, “please don’t
smother us.”

“Smoke and the gas of cooking” gasped the doctor, his philosophy almost
dissipated in it “are injurious at meal times, there is such a thing as
being asphyxiated.”

“For heaven’s sake,” I implored, for by this time the condition of the
atmosphere was unbearable, “do throw that duck out of the companion

“Oh Mr. Green do stop cooking that horrid duck,” exclaimed our
princess, “if you do not I shall have to leave the table.”

That last threat was too much, Seth could not bear to be ranked as an
obstructive when he was accomplishing a culinary triumph which was to
delight our gustatory nerves and establish forever his reputation as a
cookist. He turned a reproachful face towards the party without showing
the slightest sign of discontinuing his fell work, and with an air of
bitter rebuke retorted upon us.

“This is the first time that I have done any cooking. All the rest of
you have cooked as much as you liked. I have stood to one side and got
out of the way and never had a chance, and now the very instant I cook a
little duck you all make a fuss. I don’t think it’s fair. I did want a
piece of duck for my breakfast and I picked out the smallest one for
fear somebody would think I was greedy, and now you ask me to throw it
overboard; it is almost done, and if you will only have patience for a
few moments I will be through.”

His manner was more impressive than even his words, and no one had the
heart to reply. We tearfully held our napkins to our noses to keep out
the smoke and smell as well as we could, we coughed and choked, but we
allowed him to finish. Unfortunately Seth believes in cooking a duck to
a chip, and hence he was occupied longer than he had promised, but he
was through at last, and then not only was he happy in the vindication
of his culinary knowledge, but he had the satisfaction of bringing our
ingratitude home to us, by pressing on us choice morsels, which he
offered in a delicate and forgiving way upon his own fork, and which we
were fain to accept and swallow in the same fashion under pain of again
offending him.

Nevertheless the duck was good, the biscuits were good, the pancakes
were excellent, the hash was superb, every article of diet all day long,
from the gorgeous breakfast to the gorging at supper, when appetite had
been more than sated, were unsurpassable and we had a Christmas long to
be remembered.

We remained in Charleston for two weeks. If the reader asks what we were
doing all that time, let him go to the old time Queen City of the South,
now apparently being displaced by her enterprising rival, Savannah; let
him roam about her quaint streets and mingle with her hospitable people,
and he will find out. There is much of physical and human interest in
and around Charleston, from the live oaks on her Battery or White Point
Park, and the moss covered trees of her famous Magnolia cemetery, to the
oysters growing in thousands around her sea-wall, and which would
furnish unlimited sustenance to her citizens were they not oyster
surfeited. We stood and gawked at the tropical plants in full foliage,
and at the orange trees in full bearing, in the house door gardens till
the residents, unacquainted though they were personally with us, took
pity and gave us the names of the plants and told us that the oranges
were sour, none of the sweet varieties being able to grow so far north.
We loafed around the market which was an ever renewing delight to Mr.
Green, who, before we left, had established a personal bond of
admiration and friendship from every darkey fisherman who brought his
cargo there. We fed the turkey buzzards, we ascertained that the fish
about Charleston were, in their various seasons, mostly sheepshead,
bass, the drum of North Carolina and channel bass of Florida, _Corvina
Ocellata_; sea-bass, here called black fish, which are mostly caught by
the negroes outside the bar in their open boats; sea trout, our weak
fish; mullet, which they told us were becoming scarce; blue fish which
are never caught in winter, and which also were diminishing in numbers;
black drum; big porgees of four or five pounds; both the salt and fresh
water varieties of cat fish, which were very abundant; whiting, our king
fish, and their finest table delicacy; angel fish, crevalle; fresh water
trout, our black bass, and shad, which begin their run in January.

All around Charleston the negroes seem to be in possession of the
country. They are pleasant, polite, and lazy, are content to do the old
slave tasks even when working for themselves, and will never consent to
do more when working for others at any price of remuneration, as though
if they worked too hard the work would be exhausted and there would soon
be nothing more to do. They are paid fifty cents a cord, for instance,
to cut wood, and they stop when they have cut one cord, although they
are through at one o’clock. They look more healthy and happy than the
whites throughout the entire South, which is a probably a climacteric
result, but pregnant of many possibilities for the future. It is they
who supply Charleston market, it is they who do the fishing and the
work, and more important still, it is they who make all the Sea-island
cotton and bring it to the city in their boats from the shores where
inevitable death lurks for the superior race. That most valuable of
Southern products, the old time king of the world, arrives in driblets,
here a pound and there a pound. It is badly baled, but it comes and in
good order too. To day the negro controls the whilom king, which is
indeed putting the bottom rail on top.

The Charleston “Eagles,” as he called the buzzards, were a source of
infinite complacency to the philosophical soul of the doctor. He would
watch them by the hour, sympathizing with their metaphysically
thoughtful ways. He would study their awkward and ungainly motions on
the ground, and wonder that anything so ungraceful on foot could be so
exquisitely elegant and graceful in the air when on the wing. These
queer creatures stay around the market, and although the law forbids
their being fed, as it is found with them as with human buzzards that
necessity is the mother of scavengering, your butcher is always ready to
throw them a surreptitious piece of meat for your amusement. They are
the only street cleaners, and if they got their dinners gratuitously
they might cease their useful public labors.

On January tenth we tore ourselves away from Charleston, bidding good
bye to its pretty streets, its tall spires, its beautiful gardens, and
its pleasant inhabitants, among whom we must especially mention
Commander Merril Miller of the Light-house service, who was very kind in
furnishing us charts and assisting us in many ways. We bid a last
farewell to Forts Sumter and Moultrie, and all the historic memories
which are entwined with those names; to Sullivan’s Island, the Coney
Island of Charleston, to the Three Sisters, three palmettos which guard
the gate where once the confederate soldier stood sentry, and to the
tomb of Oceola close by, to the buzzards and the beauties of the city,
catching a last glimpse of White Point Park to which we waived a tender
adieu. We headed our course towards the creek which has received the
euphuistic appellation of “Wappoo Cut.” We carried away from Charleston
this one valuable piece of information: to make “Hop-in-John,” boil one
quart of cow peas (a sort of small bean), and one pound of bacon till
thoroughly cooked, then put in two quarts of rice, boil for about half
an hour longer and until well done, then add salt and pepper. This
recipe came from the colored _chef_ of the Charleston hotel and must be
correct. Hence hereafter no man or woman can claim to be so ignorant
that they cannot cook “Hop-in-John.”

Beyond Charleston we had our first disagreeable adventure; it occurred
when we were running through Wappoo Cut. We had been offered a volunteer
tow by a small steam tug that we met there, but had hardly hitched fast
to her, before a passenger steamer came in sight going the same way.
This vessel gradually gained on us, and when she was close at hand,
finding there was no room to pass, as the cut is extremely narrow near
its outlet where we were, ran deliberately between our yacht and the
tug, cutting our stern line away and nearly sinking us. This was an
occasion, in which we should have been justified in shooting the pilot
at his post, but we were in a foreign country, so to speak, and all we
did was to cast loose our lines and get clear the best we could. The
whole performance was the less excusable, because the wheelman saw there
were ladies on board our boat, and that we were strangers. As this was
the only piece of discourtesy shown us on our entire trip, I give the
name of the vessel which was guilty of it, and warn all passengers to
shun the “Pilot Boy.” It was by good luck alone that we escaped, for
hardly had we got clear, than the two steamers jammed together, filling
the cut from side to side, so that both were aground, and we heard the
crashing of timbers and saw them fast there for nearly an hour. Had the
“Heartsease” been between them, she would have been crushed. If any of
our readers go South by the inland passage from Charleston, and it is a
pleasant way of travel, we hope they will in a measure revenge our
wrongs, and give a brutal captain a lesson in decent behavior, by
refusing to patronize the “Pilot Boy.”

One of the most interesting features of the country we were now passing
was the rice fields. These were separated by dykes, and being nearly
rectangular, gave a novel appearance to the low, marshy land. Had we
known where to go, we could probably have had good English snipe
shooting. But we did not stop to give Mr. Green a chance to interview
any one to find out. We, however, saw numberless flocks of bay snipe on
the lower part of the South Edisto, where the wind left us one night,
and where Mr. Green killed a couple of dozen. On the following day, that
gentleman was so pleased with the performance of the yacht in crossing
St. Helena Sound in a squall, that he insisted on our putting to sea,
upon the ground that he was tired of such tame sailing. The rest of the
party were nothing loth, and the good little ship was soon across the
bar and on the broad bosom of old Mother Ocean, a very step-mother as
she can at times prove herself to be. Unfortunately, the wind died out,
and we were becalmed or nearly so, and crawled slowly past Fripp’s
Inlet. When we were just outside Port Royal breakers, which we reached
at sundown, there was a dead calm, and we drifted backwards till we came
to anchor in some four fathoms of water.

Our luck did not desert us, and before dark a nice breeze sprang up,
which carried us into the harbor and up to the mouth of Skull Creek,
where we passed the night in perfect comfort. Next morning the wind came
out strong from the northeast, blowing what sailors would call half a
gale of wind. We got under way as soon as we could, and were soon
slashing along at a good nine miles an hour. To be sure of our speed, I
proposed to make a log line. Now there is one point about Seth Green,
which is if possible more decidedly developed than another; while he is
perfectly satisfied that anything he does is better done than it ever
was, ever will, or ever can be, by any one else, he is equally well
convinced that no one else can do anything that he cannot, so when I
made this proposition he simply smiled an incredulous smile. Under the
force of that implication, a log line had to be made, and made to work,
if all hands had to swear that she was making ten miles an hour when she
was only making two.

It was an original species of a log. I knew the proper divisions for a
fourteen second glass, which was the one we had on board, but the “chip”
had to be manufactured out of the side of an old cigar box. I never
shall forget Seth’s air of triumph, when having driven in the pin too
hard, it did not slip out at the scientific jerk I gave when “time” was
called on the first trial, the result being that the line parted when I
was drawing it in. This merely encouraged me, as there was no difficulty
in curing that defect, the only danger having been that my improvised
“chip” would not hold well enough. So the log was soon in working order,
and informed us that we were running nine miles an hour, and repeated
the figure so often, that the skeptic was convinced, and asked me to
join him while he apologized.

More bay snipe of all sorts, little and big, but no time to shoot them.
They were flying about by twos, by threes, by dozens, by hundreds, but
the wind was too fair and too fresh for us to lose it. We might be
punished by being reduced to living on canned food, which, with the
exception of corned beef, vegetables, and preserves, was an abomination
to the entire party, and we did not stop voluntarily, till we reached
Jekyl’s Creek. In reference to Jekyl’s Creek, there is an entry in my
log, that is interesting to show how history repeats itself; “Oysters
Excellent.” Half a century before, Professor Bache, who made the very
charts by which we were sailing, had appreciated the excellence of the
Jekyl Creek oysters, and had them barrelled and sent to him every year.
I doubt, however, whether he knew how to cook them, at least in the
quantity necessary for a hungry yachting party, and with the limited
cooking appliances of a yacht.

They are called “Raccoon Oysters,” for the reason that the raccoons
exhibited so much human nature in first appreciating their excellence,
and in getting at their contents. They exist in immense mounds and
piles, and to the Northern eye seem inexhaustible in numbers, covering
hundreds, if not thousands of square miles, and averaging three feet
thick. They line the shores of the creeks and water courses like two
walls, and cling to branches of bushes, till it can be truly said of
them that they grow on trees. Their natural position is with their edges
upward, and these are nearly as sharp as razors, and will cut one’s
fingers or a raccoon’s paw terribly, unless care is taken in handling
them. The ’coon’s plan is to slyly watch at low tide, when the beds are
bare, till the unsuspicious bivalve, longing for a breath of the pure
air of heaven as a change from the insipid diet of salt water, opens his
mouth, when he quietly creeps forward and drops a piece of shell into
the opening. Master oyster endeavors to resume his natural closeness of
mouth, but in vain; the early closing movement has no reference to him.

My plan of treatment was different, although the final consequence to
the oyster was about the same. To open such sharp-edged creatures in the
ordinary way would soon have put our crew, experienced in oyster opening
though they were, _hors du combat_, or to state it in English, useless
for rope-hauling. Even to separate them from one another was a perilous
job, so I hit upon the simple plan of putting them in bunches just as
they grew into the ovens of the two stoves. There I let them roast till
they opened their mouths of their own accord, precisely as they had done
for the raccoon, but under a little more compulsion. Cooked in this way
they were so delicious as to be worth a trip to Jekyl’s Creek merely to
get. We almost lived on Jekyl Creek oysters, and if any one of the party
got out of spirits, if Mr. Green or the Doctor wanted to propitiate one
of the queens of the yacht, and the Doctor especially was continually
engaged in that way, he never failed with a roasted raccoon oyster.