Hard Times, La., the river is two miles west of the region it used to
occupy. As a result, the original SITE of that settlement is not now in
Louisiana at all, but on the other side of the river, in the State of
Mississippi. NEARLY THE WHOLE OF THAT ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED MILES
OF OLD MISSISSIPPI RIVER WHICH LA SALLE FLOATED DOWN IN HIS CANOES, TWO
HUNDRED YEARS AGO, IS GOOD SOLID DRY GROUND NOW. The river lies to the
right of it, in places, and to the left of it in other places.
Although the Mississippi's mud builds land but slowly, down at the
mouth, where the Gulfs billows interfere with its work, it builds fast
enough in better protected regions higher up: for instance, Prophet's
Island contained one thousand five hundred acres of land thirty years
ago; since then the river has added seven hundred acres to it.
But enough of these examples of the mighty stream's eccentricities for
the present - I will give a few more of them further along in the book.
Let us drop the Mississippi's physical history, and say a word about its
historical history - so to speak. We can glance briefly at its slumbrous
first epoch in a couple of short chapters; at its second and wider-awake
epoch in a couple more; at its flushest and widest-awake epoch in a good
many succeeding chapters; and then talk about its comparatively tranquil
present epoch in what shall be left of the book.