A Warm Drizzling Rain Had Obscured The
Morning, And Threatened To Delay Our Voyage, But At Length The
Leaves And Grass Were Dried, And It Came Out A Mild Afternoon, As
Serene And Fresh As If Nature Were Maturing Some Greater Scheme
Of Her Own.
After this long dripping and oozing from every pore,
she began to respire again more healthily than ever.
So with a
vigorous shove we launched our boat from the bank, while the
flags and bulrushes courtesied a God-speed, and dropped silently
down the stream.
Our boat, which had cost us a week's labor in the spring, was in
form like a fisherman's dory, fifteen feet long by three and a
half in breadth at the widest part, painted green below, with a
border of blue, with reference to the two elements in which it
was to spend its existence. It had been loaded the evening before
at our door, half a mile from the river, with potatoes and melons
from a patch which we had cultivated, and a few utensils, and was
provided with wheels in order to be rolled around falls, as well
as with two sets of oars, and several slender poles for shoving
in shallow places, and also two masts, one of which served for a
tent-pole at night; for a buffalo-skin was to be our bed, and a
tent of cotton cloth our roof. It was strongly built, but heavy,
and hardly of better model than usual. If rightly made, a boat
would be a sort of amphibious animal, a creature of two elements,
related by one half its structure to some swift and shapely fish,
and by the other to some strong-winged and graceful bird.
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