Category Archives: 20th Century

Elephant Island Rescue – 1916

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A few days ago we covered the rescue of 22 men (of Ernest Shackletons Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition) stranded on Elephant Island in 1916 – there is much more material on this subject in our library – and we found the story so compelling we decided to publish another press clipping on the rescue.  This excerpt was published in Nature magazine taken from the Daily Chronicle 5th September 1916.

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) – Rescue

Ernest Shackleton – Ice FieldGREAT satisfaction is felt by everyone in the news published in the Daily Chronicle on September 5 that Sir Ernest Shackleton had succeeded in rescuing the twenty-two members of his Antarctic expedition marooned on Elephant Island since April 15.

Three previous attempts to reach the island were unsuccessful, but with characteristic persistence Sir Ernest continued his efforts to relieve the men, and sailed from Punta Arenas on August 26 in the Yelcho, a small Chilian steamer. On August 30, after steering in a fog through numerous stranded bergs, he reached Wild’s camp at 1 p.m., and at 2 p.m. the vessel was homeward bound.

On September 3 Punta Arenas was reached, and the message “All saved. All well,” was dispatched to the Daily Chronicle, from which the following summary of Mr. Frank Wild’s report is taken:

“On April 25, the day after the departure of the boat, the island was beset by dense pack-ice. The party was confined to a narrow spit of land, 250 yards long and 40 yards wide, surrounded by inaccessible cliffs and ice-laden seas. We were forced to abandon our ice-hole, which was made untenable by the snow.  We made a dwelling of our two boats, supported by rocks, and set up as far as practicable from the sea. The weather continued appalling.  In May a heavy blizzard swept much valuable gear into the sea.  Fortunately, owing to the low temperature, an icefoot formed on the seashore, and this protection was the means of saving us from total destruction.  From June onwards the weather was better as regards wind, but we were under a constant pall of fog and snow.  At the beginning of August we were able to collect seaweed and limpets, which formed a valuable change in our diet, but the deep water, heavy seas, and ice prevented us from fishing.  On August 28 the gale drove the ice-pack from the island, and on August 30, through the lifting fog, we caught sight of the Yelcho steering through a maze of stranded bergs.  An hour later we were homeward bound.”

Sir Ernest Shackleton has announced the safe return of the party in a telegram to the King, who has replied:

“Most heartily rejoice that you have rescued your twenty-two comrades all well. Congratulate you on the result of your determined efforts to save them, and that success crowned your third attempt. I greatly admire the conduct of their leader, Frank Wild, which was so instrumental in maintaining their courage and hope. I trust you will soon bring them all safely home. – GEORGE R.I.”

 

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Further Reading and External Links

Nimrod Expedition   The Endurance Expedition    Ernest Shackleton

Discovery Expedition   The Terra Nova Expedition   Robert Falcon Scott

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – Rescue

 

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Excerpt from The Outlook 13th September 1916 – about the plight and rescue of the men of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) – also know as the Endurance Expedition – stranded on Elephant Island.

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917) – Rescue

Welcome news came from Chile last week, of the success of Sir Ernest Shackleton in rescuing the twenty-two men of his party who have been isolated on Elephant Island, in the South Shetland group, since last April.

This was the fourth attempt made by their commander to save these men from starvation.  Previous attempts failed because of the impossibility of finding a suitable ship; the first was actually made in an eighty-ton whaling vessel.  Finally, the Chilean Government lent Shackleton a small Government steamer, the Yelcho, and he sailed in her on August 26 from Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, the southernmost town in the world.  The sea and ice must have been favorable, for a week sufficed for the rescue and return voyage.  Great fear had been felt for the lives of the men, who had only five weeks rations when Sir Ernest left them on the island.  The chief hope for sustaining life was that they might kill penguins; and that not very palatable bird, in fact, saved their lives.

The story of the early disasters which had befallen both sections of the Shackleton expedition to the Antarctic continent has already been told in The Outlook, as also of the terrible crushing in the ice of Sir Ernest’s own ship, the Endurance, its abandonment, the distressing journey in small boats driven through raging seas and dragged over ice to the inhospitable little bit of land called Elephant Island, and the further journey of Shackleton and five men in a single boat from Elephant Island to the coast of South Georgia to seek for help. 

When the full story is narrated, it will assuredly form one of the most thrilling tales of hardship, courage, and adventure in all the annals of polar exploration.

Excerpt from The Outlook 13th September 1916

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Further Reading and External Links

Nimrod Expedition   The Endurance Expedition    Ernest Shackleton

Discovery Expedition   The Terra Nova Expedition   Robert Falcon Scott

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917)

 

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Excerpt from The Outlook – Volume 113  – published on 12th July 1916 – about the plight of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (also know as the Endurance Expedition) (1914-1917).  It took Shackleton four attempts to return to Elephant Island to rescue the party stranded there, they were eventually rescued on 30th August 1916 – after more than three months.  This article was written while the men were still stranded – between the second and third rescue attempts.

Starving on Elephant Island

A few months ago The Outlook told of what it called “The Strange Plight of the Shackleton Expedition.”  The latter part of the story, then unknown, makes it still more strange and deepens one’s recognition of the many kinds of deadly dangers which surround the polar adventurers.

Shackletons first relief ship stuck in the ice on route to Elephant IslandIt will be remembered that the plan of the Shackleton expedition was that Sir Ernest in his ship Endurance should land on the Antarctic continent somewhere on the coast of the Weddell Sea, while his other ship, the Aurora, under Captain McIntosh, should land on the opposite side of the Antarctic continent at Ross Sea.  Both landings were made.  The plan was that the Aurora’s crew should stay where they were until the Shackleton party either made their way across the continent, perhaps actually reaching the South Pole midway (although that was not an essential design), or, should this fail, until the Endurance should skirt the continent and reach Ross Sea. But disaster attacked both parties, and in a most unexpected way.

First, the Aurora was suddenly caught in a pack of ice and borne out to sea, leaving part of her crew on shore.  She could not break away from the ice, was carried hundreds of miles away, and finally, in a seriously damaged condition, reached islands near New Zealand.  At first it was thought that the Aurora’s men on shore would starve unless Sir Ernest reached them, but later it was said that they had some provisions, and it is hoped that a relief ship which has been despatched to their aid will reach them.  

But what of Shackleton and the Endurance?  The attempt to cross the continent was abandoned.  The Endurance put to sea, was battered by great icebergs, crushed by ice-fields, tossed and strained beyond endurance.  The crew was forced to abandon her and to take to the ice, dragging their small boats with them.  They nearly starved; they were nearly frozen.  At last, after unprecedented struggles and sufferings, they reached Elephant Island, three hundred and forty-six miles away from the spot where they abandoned the ship.  When the story of this journey across the ice is told, it must certainly be one of the most thrilling of the many stirring tales of polar adventure.  

To reach Elephant Island was not to reach civilization.  No ship was likely to find its glacial shores.  Food for the twenty-two men of the party had fortunately been saved in considerable quantity, and they could kill penguins to eke out their rations.  But, looking at the future of months and possibly years before them, their case was desperate.  Shackleton believed the only chance was to open communication with inhabited islands.  He therefore set out in a small boat with five volunteers, hoping to reach South Georgia, seven hundred and fifty miles away.  The start was made on April 24 of this year amid blizzards and high seas.   Almost miraculously, the attempt succeeded.  Shackleton reached land on May 15.  Soon after a little whaler (eighty tons only) started south for Elephant Island.  This relief expedition failed utterly.  The whaler was too small to fight the terrible ice and weather conditions.  Then Sir Ernest himself organized a second relief expedition, and this in turn failed, as has quite recently been told in cabled despatches from Port Stanley, in the Falkland Islands, in which port the relief vessel was forced to take refuge.  That Shackleton did everything in his power no one can doubt who reads the despatches.   He still hopes – almost against hope – that his comrades on Elephant Island may be reached and that their desperate condition may not end in their starvation and physical collapse.

Excerpt from The Outlook – Volume 113  – published 12th July 1916

Picture Caption: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Relief Ship in the Ice-Pack.  The Outlook has already (issue of July 19) told the story of the misfortunes of the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition. Sir Ernest himself has twice headed relief expeditions to save his twenty-two comrades who reached Elephant Island with him after they had been forced to abandon their ship, the Endurance, at sea.  He is now engaged in a third effort to rescue his crew.  The ship above shown in the ice-pack is the small whaler in which the first attempt was made in vain.  The photograph comes from Sir Ernest, who says that the ship was often in even worse position than this.

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Further Reading and External Links

Nimrod Expedition The Endurance Expedition Ernest Shackleton

Discovery Expedition The Terra Nova Expedition Robert Falcon Scott

The Nimrod Expedition (1907-1909)

 

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This piece is the announcement in the March issue of The Scottish Geographic Magazine 1907 of a New Antarctic Expedition (later known as the Nimrod Expedition) headed by the Anglo-Irish Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton.  Shackleton was determined to make amends after he was sent home early from the Discovery Expedition (1901-1904) on health grounds.

 

The Nimrod Expedition (1907-1909)

New Antarctic Expedition.

Ernest Shackleton – Ice FieldMr. E . H. Shackleton, lately Secretary of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, is organising a new expedition to antarctic regions, which is to leave this country in October next.  The plans of the new expedition, as meantime outlined, are as follows:

On its departure the expedition will proceed to New Zealand, and thence will go down to the winter quarters of the Discovery in latitude 77 degrees 50′ S.  After landing a shore party of explorers, the ship will proceed back to Lyttelton, New Zealand, thus avoiding the risk of being frozen in like the Discovery, and in the following year she will return to pick up the explorers.  If funds permit, the expedition will land a party of men at Mount Melbourne, on the coast of Victoria Land, and will try to reach from that point, which is the most favourable, the south magnetic pole; but the main object of the explorers is to follow out the discoveries made on the southern sledge journey from the Discovery.

It is held that the southern sledge party of the Discovery would have reached a much higher altitude if they had been more adequately equipped for sledge work; and in the new expedition, in addition to dogs, Siberian ponies will be taken, as the surface of the land or ice over which the party will have to travel will be eminently suited for this mode of sledge travelling.  Further, a novel feature will be the taking of a special type of motor car suitable for use on the surface of the ice.  The members of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society will cordially wish that all success may attend Mr. Shackleton’s enterprise.

Excerpt from The The Scottish Geographical Magazine – Volume 23  – published in 1907

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Further Reading and External Links

Nimrod Expedition

Ernest Shackleton

Discovery Expedition

Robert Falcon Scott

Thomas Cook & Son Explain – 1903

Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 11th April 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – regarding  a trip to the Crimea aboard the ship Prinzessin organised through The Cook Company – Thomas Cook as we know them today. This is Thomas Cooks reply to a travellers letter published in the New Outlook on 14th February 1903.

Thomas Cook & Son Explain

To The Editors of The Outlook – Saturday 11th April 1903:

In the very interesting article entitled “The Impressions of a Careless Traveler,”  which appeared in your issue of February 14, a statement is made which has given a somewhat widespread impression that we are quite sure the writer never intended, and, as it is calculated to injure our business, we shall be glad of an opportunity to print a word of explanation giving our side of the incident.

The writer of the article says that but very little was seen of Cook’s representative in connection with the contretemps at Yalta.  We submitted the article to our conductor who had charge of the party, and he replies: “The statement of  ‘L.A.’ is correct so far as the details are concerned.  While the party was en route from Sevastopol to Yalta a letter was sent to me by the first officer of the steamship Prinzessin Luise stating that the passengers could not embark as per programme, and this letter was sent by a lady journalist, who, being a German, immediately advised all her fellow-countrymen who were in the party.  There were fifty-two carriages, and I naturally stayed at Sevastopol until all had left, and consequently arrived at Yalta somewhat behind the party.   Immediately the letter came into my possession I stood up in one of the carriages and, by reading it aloud, did my best to let everybody know the situation, and it was doubtless owing to there being so many carriages bunched together, and the attendant bustle and noise, that ‘L.A.’ failed to get the news correctly, and it was that which led to his going to the unsatisfactory hotel he describes in his article instead of a much better one, the Hotel de Russie, which I recommended, and to which, in company with many of the party, I subsequently went.”

The whole trouble arose through what maybe fairly described as “an act of God,” that is to say, it was raining, the wind was blowing hard, and it raised such a high sea that the captain and officers very properly decided that it would not be quite safe to embark the passengers until the weather moderated.  No responsible, reliable, or well-managed firm or company, except through an insurance policy, will make a contract providing against what is usually described all over the world as “an act of God,” and in all our public announcements everywhere, including the pamphlet describing the excursion from Sevastopol to Yalta, there will be found in a prominent position the following paragraph, and of course “L.A.” and everybody else on the boat were booked subject thereto:

Thomas Cook & Son are not responsible for loss of time or money consequent on the irregularity of steamship or railroad service, sickness, or any calamity or hindrance caused by circumstances over which they have no control;  and should delays or alterations occur through such causes, the passengers will have to pay any additional expenses for living and accommodation in hotels or on steamers which may be incurred beyond specified period. 

The liability of roads and railroads in the neighborhood of mountains to damage from storms and other influences beyond human control renders it necessary that we should announce that we cannot be responsible for detention or expenses incurred by deviation of routes occasioned by circumstances of this nature, nor for delays or deviation that may be caused through the railways being required for military purposes.  The most that companies will do under such circumstances is to repay the value of any ticket, or proportions of ticket not used for lines thus rendered impassable; and all claims in such cases must be sent in writing, accompanied by the unused tickets, within one month from the date for which such tickets were available.

At that season of the year the weather conditions are usually such that landings and embarkations can be freely made without difficulty, delay, or danger, and it was not an unreasonable thing to expect that the programme would be carried out in its entirety without change.  With regard to the possible refund on account of the party being unable to take the drive and a lunch on the third day, the weather conditions made this impossible, and, as that was no fault of ours and the carriages and lunch were all contracted, provided, and had to be paid for, we submit that it is not reasonable that we should be expected to lose a considerable sum of money on account of circumstances over which we could have absolutely no control. The whole arrangements for landing and embarkation in the Black Sea were entirely under the control of the captains and officers of the Prinzessin, and the boats required therefore were furnished by the owners of the vessel.

THOMAS COOK & SON,

per GEORGE EADE, Manager

Excerpt from The New Outlook Volume 73 1903 by Alfred Emanuel Smith

The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – 1903

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Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 14th February 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – regarding  a trip to the Crimea aboard the ship Prinzessin organised through The Cook Company – Thomas Cook as we know them today.

The Impressions of a Careless Traveler – 1903

The next morning the problem how we were to get on board our steamer presented itself.  The wind, rattling the shutters and blowing open the French windows of our room, gave us no hope of a quiet sea, and I was not surprised to see the yacht moving up and down – in more ways than one – a half-mile or more from the shore.  I succeeded by signs in getting from the landlord of the lodging house a glass of tea and some bread and butter for the ladies, and then started out to reconnoiter. 

At seven o’clock I was at the chief hotel, but no one knew what was to be done, and every new passenger I met had a new rumor to repeat or a new plan to propose.  We must ride back to Sevastopol; the horses were exhausted and the drivers would not take us; we must wait here until the sea goes down; we are going to be taken to the steamer in launches, etc., etc.  At length it began to be reported, though still no official notice was given, that there was a Russian local steamer inside the breakwater, that we were all to go on board of her, that she was to take us back to Sevastopol, and that we were to embark on the Prinzessin in the harbor there.  This arrangement was in fact made, I believe by the captain of our steamer through the intermediary of the first officer.  We had nothing to pay on the steamer, except for luncheon if we chose to take it. 

So far as I know, not till all the arrangements were consummated and most of the passengers had gotten word and were on board, or preparing to go on board, did the agents of the Cook Company appear again.  Whether they kept out of sight because they did not know what to do, or because they wanted to avoid for Cook all responsibility for the predicament in which we were placed, I do not know. 

Generalisations from a single experience or a brief series of experiences are not very safe; but the results of our experiences on this trip confirmed Mr.–‘s advice to me; before I left New York he said: “Buy your circular tickets of Cook; occasionally you can use him to advantage in especial carriage trips-but avoid the personally conducted tour.”   In fact, we paid a good price at Sevastopol in order to have all care taken off, and when the crisis came it all tumbled back on us again; we paid for a third day’s excursion-to the garden of the Czar-which we never had, and had not only to pay our bills at Yalta, to which I do not especially object, but had to shift for ourselves under circumstances of no little perplexity, while our personal conductors disappeared from the scene, not to appear again until all the trouble and perplexity were passed. 

To our surprise, the Russian steamer, though primarily for freight, had very comfortable provision for passengers, and we, with unexpected steadiness, steamed back over the water which we had looked down upon the day before, our “yacht” accompanying us all the way.  Although we lost our promised view of the palaces and the splendours they contain, we gained a new view of the marvellous cliffs along which we had driven.  We are now at home again on the Prinzessin.  Our time on the yacht is growing short, and we begin to wonder whether after the exchange to land traveling we shall be as comfortable.  But there is a pleasant thought in the idea of longer time in our stopping places and larger space for manipulating our luggage to compensate for the luxuries we shall leave. 

L.A.

Excerpt from the New Outlook Magazine – Saturday 14th February 1903 – The Impressions of a Careless Traveler.  Coming soon – read the response to this article from Thomas Cook & Son.

Key West Citizen

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Key West Citizen

Marcy Bradshaw Darnall

Thrown upon his own resources at the early age of fifteen years, Marcy B. Darnall has been printer, soldier, musician and editor, filing each station with credit to himself and taking up a new line only where his own best interests were thereby served.  His unremitting devotion to whatever work he was engaged in and inherent belief that only “by learning the business” could success be attained did much to smooth the pathway, and prepare him for grasping and handling opportunity when it became his so that it was an easy transition from bandmaster in the army to business manager of a daily newspaper. 

It was no unfamiliar field upon which he entered, nor was his natural ability to adapt himself to conditions as he found them his greatest help.  That lay in his preparedness acquired by reason of his devotion to his work in former years.  As business manager of  The Key West Citizen he seems to have “found his stride” as he has met with gratifying success and has plans full of promise for the future… 

…He was appointed chief musician or bandmaster in the regular army June 18, [1901], and assigned to the duty of organizing the newly authorized Ninth Artillery Band at Fort Riley, Kan.  While leader of this band he also edited the Fort Riley Guidon, a weekly paper devoted to the interests of the Garrison, at the same time continuing his writing for various musical journals.  His band was ordered to the Key West, Fla., barracks for duty and made the change of stations in July, 1904.  In November, [1905], he secured control of The Key West Citizen, a weekly newspaper, which he conducted with his wife’s assistance, for a year, and retained his army position.  In November, [1906], a consolidation was effected with The Daily InterOcean, and he resigned his position as bandmaster in the army to become business manager of the consolidated enterprise, which was incorporated as The Citizen Publishing Company, the paper retaining the name of The Key West Citizen.  Under Mr. Darnall’s management, with the assistance of his wife as circulation manager, the circulation of The Citizen has been increased nearly 100 per cent, the size of the paper has been doubled and the gross receipts have grown over 200 per cent, all in eighteen months.  His entry into business life was a distinct loss to the musical profession in which he was considered an authority, especially in band organization and management.

Excerpt from Makers of America Volume 3 by A B Caldwell – 1909

Further Reading and External Links

Marcy B Darnall on Google Books

Marcy B Darnall and The Florence Herald

The Earthquake at Port Royal Jamaica

 

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Encyclopedia of Latin America – 1917

 Port Royal Jamacia 1902Port Royal – That town, once a place of great wealth and importance, was ruined by repeated calamities.  “On 7 June 1692 happened that earthquake which swallowed up a great part of  Port Royal,” says Edwards, who explains that the town “was chiefly built on a bank of sand, adhering to a rock in the sea, and a very slight concussion, aided by the weight of the buildings, would probably have accomplished its destruction.  “Hurricanes in 1712 and 1722, and a conflagration 13 July 1815, completed the work of obliteration.

Toward the close of the 18th Century the island was occupied by large plantations, and was exceedingly productive.   Before that time 610,000 slaves had been landed at Port Royal.  The freeing of the negroes resulted in the abandonment of the island by many landlords.  The effort to regain the lost prosperity through diversified agriculture has already been mentioned.  In August 1903 a hurricane inflicted great injury at several points in Jamaica, and on the Cayman Islands. On 14 Jan. 1907 Jamaica was visited by a disastrous earthquake which (“in ten seconds,” Treves says) almost entirely destroyed Kingston.

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Across the Gulf by Rail to Key West

 

The National Geographic Magazine June 1896

Across the Gulf by Rail to Key West

by Jefferson B Browne – Collector of Customs of the Port of Key West

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Key West Railroad RouteAcross the Gulf by Rail to Key West – The Government is now engaged in deepening the northwest passage to 21 feet, and when this is completed ships trading in the gulf will pass through the harbor of Key West, coming in at one of the main channels and passing out over the northwest bar, thus saving 70 miles and avoiding the dangerous reefs around the Tortugas islands. 

That Key West will within a short time be connected with the mainland by a railroad, no one who has noted the trend of railroad building in Florida can doubt. The ultimate object of all railroad construction in this state is obviously to reach deep water at an extreme southern point, and Key West meets these requirements to the fullest degree.

The first survey of a railroad route to  Key West was made by Civil Engineer J.C. Bailey for the International Ocean Telegraph Company as long ago as 1866. General W.F. Smith, better known as “Baldy” Smith, at that time president of the company, obtained from the Spanish Government an exclusive landing for a cable on the coast of Cuba for forty years. The company had under consideration two plans for reaching Key West with its telegraph system. One contemplated a land line to Punta Rassa, Florida, and thence by cable to Key West;  the other a continuous land line along the keys.  It was proposed to drive iron piles into the coral rock in the waters separating the keys, and to socket them about 10 feet above high-water mark with wooden poles, and Mr Bailey was employed to make the survey.  While engaged in this work he surveyed the route for a railroad to Key West, and embodied in his report to the company his opinion of its feasibility and cheapness as compared with the popular idea of what such a road would cost. When the Western Union Telegraph Company obtained control of the International Ocean Telegraph Company this report came into its possession, and it is still on file in its offices in New York.

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Diary of a Freshman

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The Diary of a Freshman
by Charles Macomb Flandrau – 1901

Diary of a Freshman – On Saturday afternoons and Sundays we bicycled a great deal when the roads began to get into shape. The whole table would start off and explore the park system, and once we made a historical tour of Lexington and Concord, which Berri wrote up for the Lampoon. I think Berri will make the Lampoon next year if he keeps on. His way of going about it is killing. He writes things, and then comes into my room with a solemn, anxious face, and says “Do you think this is funny? Glance through it carelessly and tell me just how it strikes you. I think it’s perfectly side-splitting myself, I do really; but it mightn’t strike anybody else that way.” Then there was Riverside, where the Charles all but loses itself between steep, cool, shady banks, under trees that peer over the edges all through the long, drowsy summer, or flows brimming across a meadow where a man ploughs a rich black border and talks to his horses and sings. It takes just the amount of effort you like to make, to follow in a canoe the course of this lazy stream. Riverside is another place to which you like to take all the essentials for study except the power of will.

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