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of the passengers gathered upon the steps of the car, and the usual bevy
of young negroes came alongside. "Stand on my head for a nickel?" said
one. A passenger put his hand into his pocket; the boy did as he had
promised, - in no very professional style, be it said, - and with a grin
stretched out his hand. The nickel glistened in the sun, and on the
instant a second boy sprang forward, snatched it out of the sand, and
made off in triumph amid the hilarious applause of his fellows. The
acrobat's countenance indicated a sense of injustice, and I had no doubt
that my younger eagle was similarly affected. "Where is our boasted
honor among thieves?" I imagined him asking. The bird of freedom is a
great bird, and the land of the free is a great country. Here, let us
hope, the parallel ends. Whether on the banks of Newfoundland or
elsewhere, it cannot be that the great republic would ever snatch a fish
that did not belong to it.

I admired the address of the fish-hawks until I saw the gannets. Then I
perceived that the hawks, with all their practice, were no better than
landlubbers. The gannets kept farther out at sea. Sometimes a scattered
flock remained in sight for the greater part of a forenoon. With their
long, sharp wings and their outstretched necks, - like loons, but with a
different flight, - they were rakish-looking customers. Sometimes from a
great height, sometimes from a lower, sometimes at an incline, and
sometimes vertically, they plunged into the water, and after an absence
of some seconds, as it seemed, came up and rested upon the surface. They
were too far away to be closely observed, and for a time I did not feel
certain what they were. The larger number were in dark plumage, and it
was not till a white one appeared that I said with assurance, "Gannets!"
With the bright sun on him, he was indeed a splendid bird, snowy white,
with the tips of his wings jet black. If he would have come inshore like
the ospreys, I think I should never have tired of his evolutions.

The gannets showed themselves only now and then, but the brown pelicans
were an every-day sight. I had found them first on the beach at St.
Augustine. Here at Daytona they never alighted on the sand, and seldom
in the water. They were always flying up or down the beach, and, unless
turned from their course by the presence of some suspicious object, they
kept straight on just above the breakers, rising and falling with the
waves; now appearing above them, and now out of sight in the trough of
the sea. Sometimes a single bird passed, but commonly they were in small
flocks. Once I saw seventeen together, - a pretty long procession; for,
whatever their number, they went always in Indian file. Evidently some
dreadful thing would happen if two pelicans should ever travel abreast.
It was partly this unusual order of march, I suspect, which gave such an
air of preternatural gravity to their movements. It was impossible to
see even two of them go by without feeling almost as if I were in
church. First, both birds flew a rod or two with slow and stately
flappings; then, as if at some preconcerted signal, both set their wings
and scaled for about the same distance; then they resumed their wing
strokes; and so on, till they passed out of sight. I never heard them
utter a sound, or saw them make a movement of any sort (I speak of what
I saw at Daytona) except to fly straight on, one behind another. If
church ceremonials are still open to amendment, I would suggest, in no
spirit of irreverence, that a study of pelican processionals would be
certain to yield edifying results. Nothing done in any cathedral could
be more solemn. Indeed, their solemnity was so great that I came at last
to find it almost ridiculous; but that, of course, was only from a want
of faith on the part of the beholder. The birds, as I say, were _brown_
pelicans. Had they been of the other species, in churchly white and
black, the ecclesiastical effect would perhaps have been heightened,
though such a thing is hardly conceivable.

Some beautiful little gulls, peculiarly dainty in their appearance
("Bonaparte's gulls," they are called in books, but "surf gulls" would
be a prettier and apter name), were also given to flying along the
breakers, but in a manner very different from the pelicans'; as
different, I may say, as the birds themselves. They, too, moved steadily
onward, north or south as the case might be, but fed as they went,
dropping into the shallow water between the incoming waves, and rising
again to escape the next breaker. The action was characteristic and
graceful, though often somewhat nervous and hurried. I noticed that the
birds commonly went by twos, but that may have been nothing more than a
coincidence. Beside these small surf gulls, never at all numerous, I
usually saw a few terns, and now and then one or two rather large gulls,
which, as well as I could make out, must have been the ring-billed. It
was a strange beach, I thought, where fish-hawks invariably outnumbered
both gulls and terns.

Of beach birds, properly so called, I saw none but sanderlings. They
were no novelty, but I always stopped to look at them; busy as ants,
running in a body down the beach after a receding wave, and the next
moment scampering back again with all speed before an incoming one. They
tolerated no near approach, but were at once on the wing for a long
flight up or down the coast, looking like a flock of snow-white birds as
they turned their under parts to the sun in rising above the breakers.
Their manner of feeding, with the head pitched forward, and a quick,
eager movement, as if they had eaten nothing for days, and were fearful
that their present bit of good fortune would not last, is strongly
characteristic, so that they can be recognized a long way off. As I have
said, they were the only true beach birds; but I rarely failed to see
one or two great blue herons playing that rôle. The first one filled me
with surprise. I had never thought of finding him in such a place; but
there he stood, and before I was done with Florida beaches I had come to
look upon him as one of their most constant _habitués_. In truth, this
largest of the herons is well-nigh omnipresent in Florida. Wherever
there is water, fresh or salt, he is certain to be met with sooner or
later; and even in the driest place, if you stay there long enough, you
will be likely to see him passing overhead, on his way to the water,
which is nowhere far off. On the beach, as everywhere else, he is a
model of patience. To the best of my recollection, I never saw him catch
a fish there; and I really came to think it pathetic, the persistency
with which he would stand, with the water half way to his knees, leaning
forward expectantly toward the breakers, as if he felt that this great
and generous ocean, which had so many fish to spare, could not fail to
send him, at last, the morsel for which he was waiting.

But indeed I was not long in perceiving that the Southern climate made
patience a comparatively easy virtue, and fishing, by a natural
consequence, a favorite avocation. Day after day, as I crossed the
bridges on my way to and from the beach, the same men stood against the
rail, holding their poles over the river. They had an air of having been
there all winter. I came to recognize them, though I knew none of their
names. One was peculiarly happy looking, almost radiant, with an
educated face, and only one hand. His disability hindered him, no doubt.
I never saw so much as a sheep-head or a drum lying at his feet. But
inwardly, I felt sure, his luck was good. Another was older, fifty at
least, sleek and well dressed. He spoke pleasantly enough, if I
addressed him; otherwise he attended strictly to business. Every day he
was there, morning and afternoon. He, I think, had better fortune than
any of the others. Once I saw him land a large and handsome "speckled
trout," to the unmistakable envy of his brother anglers. Still a third
was a younger man, with a broad-brimmed straw hat and a taciturn habit;
no less persevering than Number Two, perhaps, but far less successful. I
marveled a little at their enthusiasm (there were many beside these),
and they, in their turn, did not altogether conceal their amusement at
the foibles of a man, still out of Bedlam, who walked and walked and
walked, always with a field-glass protruding from his side pocket, which
now and then he pulled out suddenly and leveled at nothing. It is one of
the merciful ameliorations of this present evil world that men are thus
mutually entertaining.

These anglers were to be congratulated. Ordered South by their
physicians, - as most of them undoubtedly were, - compelled to spend the
winter away from friends and business, amid all the discomforts of
Southern hotels, they were happy in having at least one thing which they
loved to do. Blessed is the invalid who has an outdoor hobby. One man,
whom I met more than once in my beach rambles, seemed to devote himself
to bathing, running, and walking. He looked like an athlete; I heard him
tell how far he could run without getting "winded;" and as he sprinted
up and down the sand in his scanty bathing costume, I always found him a
pleasing spectacle. Another runner there gave me a half-hour of
amusement that turned at the last to a feeling of almost painful
sympathy. He was not in bathing costume, nor did he look particularly
athletic. He was teaching his young lady to ride a bicycle, and his
pupil was at that most interesting stage of a learner's career when the
machine is beginning to steady itself. With a very little assistance she
went bravely, while at the same time the young man felt it necessary not
to let go his hold upon her for more than a few moments at once. At all
events, he must be with her at the turn. She plied the pedals with
vigor, and he ran alongside or behind, as best he could; she excited,
and he out of breath. Back and forth they went, and it was a relief to
me when finally he took off his coat. I left him still panting in his
fair one's wake, and hoped it would not turn out a case of "love's
labor's lost." Let us hope, too, that he was not an invalid.

While speaking of these my companions in idleness, I may as well mention
an older man, - a rural philosopher, he seemed, - whom I met again and
again, always in search of shells. He was from Indiana, he told me with
agreeable garrulity. His grandchildren would like the shells. He had
perhaps made a mistake in coming so far south. It was pretty warm, he
thought, and he feared the change would be too great when he went home
again. If a man's lungs were bad, he ought to go to a warm place, of
course. _He_ came for his stomach, which was now pretty well, - a capital
proof of the superior value of fresh air over "proper" food in dyspeptic
troubles; for if there is anywhere in the world a place in which a
delicate stomach would fare worse than in a Southern hotel, - of the
second or third class, - may none but my enemies ever find it. Seashell
collecting is not a panacea. For a disease like old age, for instance,
it might prove to be an alleviation rather than a cure; but taken long
enough, and with a sufficient mixture of enthusiasm, - a true _sine qua
non_, - it will be found efficacious, I believe, in all ordinary cases of

My Indiana man was far from being alone in his cheerful pursuit. If
strangers, men or women, met me on the beach and wished to say something
more than good-morning, they were sure to ask, "Have you found any
pretty shells?" One woman was a collector of a more businesslike turn.
She had brought a camp-stool, and when I first saw her in the distance
was removing her shoes, and putting on rubber boots. Then she moved her
stool into the surf, sat upon it with a tin pail beside her, and,
leaning forward over the water, fell to doing something, - I could not
tell what. She was so industrious that I did not venture to disturb her,
as I passed; but an hour or two afterward I overtook her going homeward
across the peninsula with her invalid husband, and she showed me her
pail full of the tiny coquina clams, which she said were very nice for
soup, as indeed I knew. Some days later, I found a man collecting them
for the market, with the help of a horse and a cylindrical wire roller.
With his trousers rolled to his knees, he waded in the surf, and
shoveled the incoming water and sand into the wire roller through an
aperture left for that purpose. Then he closed the aperture, and drove
the horse back and forth through the breakers till the clams were washed
clear of the sand, after which he poured them out into a shallow tray
like a long bread-pan, and transferred them from that to a big bag. I
came up just in time to see them in the tray, bright with all the colors
of the rainbow. "Will you hold the bag open?" he said. I was glad to
help (it was perhaps the only useful ten minutes that I passed in
Florida); and so, counting quart by quart, he dished them into it. There
were thirty odd quarts, but he wanted a bushel and a quarter, and again
took up the shovel. The clams themselves were not, canned and shipped,
he said, but only the "juice."

Many rudely built cottages stood on the sand-hills just behind the
beach, especially at the points, a mile or so apart, where the two
Daytona bridge roads come out of the scrub; and one day, while walking
up the beach to Ormond, I saw before me a much more elaborate Queen Anne
house. Fancifully but rather neatly painted, and with a stable to match,
it looked like an exotic. As I drew near, its venerable owner was at
work in front of it, shoveling a path through the sand, - just as, at
that moment (February 24), thousands of Yankee householders were
shoveling paths through the snow, which then was reported by the
newspapers to be seventeen inches deep in the streets of Boston. His
reverend air and his long black coat proclaimed him a clergyman past all
possibility of doubt. He seemed to have got to heaven before death, the
place was so attractive; but being still in a body terrestrial, he may
have found the meat market rather distant, and mosquitoes and sand-flies
sometimes a plague. As I walked up the beach, he drove by me in an open
wagon with a hired man. They kept on till they came to a log which had
been cast up by the sea, and evidently had been sighted from the house.
The hired man lifted it into the wagon, and they drove back, - quite a
stirring adventure, I imagined; an event to date from, at the very

The smaller cottages were nearly all empty at that season. At different
times I made use of many of them, when the sun was hot, or I had been
long afoot. Once I was resting thus on a flight of front steps, when a
three-seated carriage came down the beach and pulled up opposite. The
driver wished to ask me a question, I thought; no doubt I looked very
much at home. From the day I had entered Florida, every one I met had
seemed to know me intuitively for a New Englander, and most of them - I
could not imagine how - had divined that I came from Boston. It gratified
me to believe that I was losing a little of my provincial manner, under
the influence of more extended travel. But my pride had a sudden fall.
The carriage stopped, as I said; but instead of inquiring the way, the
driver alighted, and all the occupants of the carriage proceeded to do
the same, - eight women, with baskets and sundries. It was time for me to
be starting. I descended the steps, and pulled off my hat to the first
comer, who turned out to be the proprietor of the establishment. With a
gracious smile, she hoped they were "not frightening me away." She and
her friends had come for a day's picnic at the cottage. Things being as
they were (eight women), she could hardly invite me to share the
festivities, and, with my best apology for the intrusion, I withdrew.

Of one building on the sand-hills I have peculiarly pleasant
recollections. It was not a cottage, but had evidently been put up as a
public resort; especially, as I inferred, for Sunday-school or parish
picnics. It was furnished with a platform for speech-making (is there
any foolishness that men will not commit on sea beaches and mountain
tops?), and, what was more to my purpose, was open on three sides. I
passed a good deal of time there, first and last, and once it sheltered
me from a drenching shower of an hour or two. The lightning was vivid,
and the rain fell in sheets. In the midst of the blackness and
commotion, a single tern, ghostly white, flew past, and toward the close
a bunch of sanderlings came down the edge of the breakers, still looking
for something to eat. The only other living things in sight were two
young fellows, who had improved the opportunity to try a dip in the
surf. Their color indicated that they were not yet hardened to open-air
bathing, and from their actions it was evident that they found the ocean
cool. They were wet enough before they were done, but it was mostly with
fresh water. Probably they took no harm; but I am moved to remark, in
passing, that I sometimes wondered how generally physicians who order
patients to Florida for the winter caution them against imprudent
exposure. To me, who am no doctor, it seemed none too safe for young
women with consumptive tendencies to be out sailing in open boats on
winter evenings, no matter how warm the afternoon had been, while I saw
one case where a surf bath taken by such an invalid was followed by a
day of prostration and fever. "We who live here," said a resident,
"don't think the water is warm enough yet; but for these Northern folks
it is a great thing to go into the surf in February, and you can't keep
them out."

The rows of cottages of which I have spoken were in one sense a
detriment to the beach; but on the whole, and in their present deserted
condition, I found them an advantage. It was easy enough to walk away
from them, if a man wanted the feeling of utter solitude (the beach
extends from Matanzas Inlet to Mosquito Inlet, thirty-five miles, more
or less); while at other times they not only furnished shadow and a
seat, but, with the paths and little clearings behind them, were an
attraction to many birds. Here I found my first Florida jays. They sat
on the chimney-tops and ridgepoles, and I was rejoiced to discover that
these unique and interesting creatures, one of the special objects of my
journey South, were not only common, but to an extraordinary degree
approachable. Their extreme confidence in man is one of their oddest
characteristics. I heard from more than one person how easily and "in
almost no time" they could be tamed, if indeed they needed taming. A
resident of Hawks Park told me that they used to come into his house and
stand upon the corners of the dinner table waiting for their share of
the meal. When he was hoeing in the garden, they would perch on his hat,
and stay there by the hour, unless he drove them off. He never did
anything to tame them except to treat them kindly. When a brood was old
enough to leave the nest, the parents brought the youngsters up to the
doorstep as a matter of course.

The Florida jay, a bird of the scrub, is not to be confounded with the
Florida _blue_ jay (a smaller and less conspicuously crested duplicate
of our common Northern bird), to which it bears little resemblance
either in personal appearance or in voice. Seen from behind, its aspect
is peculiarly striking; the head, wings, rump, and tail being dark blue,
with an almost rectangular patch of gray set in the midst. Its beak is
very stout, and its tail very long; and though it would attract
attention anywhere, it is hardly to be called handsome or graceful. Its
notes - such of them as I heard, that is - are mostly guttural, with
little or nothing of the screaming quality which distinguishes the blue
jay's voice. To my ear they were often suggestive of the Northern

On the 23d of February I was standing on the rear piazza of one of the
cottages, when a jay flew into the oak and palmetto scrub close by. A
second glance, and I saw that she was busy upon a nest. When she had
gone, I moved nearer, and waited. She did not return, and I descended
the steps and went to the edge of the thicket to inspect her work: a
bulky affair, - nearly done, I thought, - loosely constructed of pretty
large twigs. I had barely returned to the veranda before the bird
appeared again. This time I was in a position to look squarely in upon
her. She had some difficulty in edging her way through the dense bushes
with a long, branching stick in her bill; but she accomplished the feat,
fitted the new material into its place, readjusted the other twigs a bit
here and there, and then, as she rose to depart, she looked me suddenly
in the face and stopped, as much as to say, "Well, well! here's a pretty
go! A man spying upon me!" I wondered whether she would throw up the
work, but in another minute she was back again with another twig. The
nest, I should have said, was about four feet from the ground, and
perhaps twenty feet from the cottage. Four days later, I found her
sitting upon it. She flew off as I came up, and I pushed into the scrub
far enough to thrust my hand into the nest, which, to my disappointment,
was empty. In fact, it was still far from completed; for on the 3d of
March, when I paid it a farewell visit, its owner was still at work
lining it with fine grass. At that time it was a comfortable-looking and
really elaborate structure. Both the birds came to look at me as I stood
on the piazza. They perched together on the top of a stake so narrow
that there was scarcely room for their feet; and as they stood thus,
side by side, one of them struck its beak several times against the beak
of the other, as if in play. I wished them joy of their expected
progeny, and was the more ready to believe they would have it for this
little display of sportive sentimentality.

It was a distinguished company that frequented that row of narrow back
yards on the edge of the sand-hills. As a new-comer, I found the jays
(sometimes there were ten under my eye at once) the most entertaining
members of it, but if I had been a dweller there for the summer, I
should perhaps have altered my opinion; for the group contained four of
the finest of Floridian songsters, - the mocking-bird, the brown
thrasher, the cardinal grosbeak, and the Carolina wren. Rare morning and
evening concerts those cottagers must have. And besides these there were
catbirds, ground doves, red-eyed chewinks, white-eyed chewinks, a song
sparrow (one of the few that I saw in Florida), savanna sparrows, myrtle
birds, redpoll warblers, a phoebe, and two flickers. The last-named
birds, by the way, are never backward about displaying their tender
feelings. A treetop flirtation is their special delight (I hope my
readers have all seen one; few things of the sort are better worth
looking at), and here, in the absence of trees, they had taken to the
ridgepole of a house.

More than once I remarked white-breasted swallows straggling northward
along the line of sand-hills. They were in loose order, but the movement
was plainly concerted, with all the look of a vernal migration. This
swallow, the first of its family to arrive in New England, remains in
Florida throughout the winter, but is known also to go as far south as
Central America. The purple martins - which, so far as I am aware, do not
winter in Florida - had already begun to make their appearance. While
crossing the bridge, February 22, I was surprised to notice two of them
sitting upon a bird-box over the draw, which just then stood open for
the passage of a tug-boat. The toll-gatherer told me they had come "from
some place" eight or ten days before. His attention had been called to
them by his cat, who was trying to get up to the box to bid them
welcome. He believed that she discovered them within three minutes of
their arrival. It seemed not unlikely. In its own way a cat is a pretty
sharp ornithologist.

One or two cormorants were almost always about the river. Sometimes they
sat upon stakes in a patriotic, spread-eagle (American eagle) attitude,
as if drying their wings, - a curious sight till one became accustomed to
it. Snakebirds and buzzards resort to the same device, but I cannot
recall ever seeing any Northern bird thus engaged. From the south bridge
I one morning saw, to my great satisfaction, a couple of white pelicans,
the only ones that I found in Florida, though I was assured that within
twenty years they had been common along the Halifax and Hillsborough
rivers. My birds were flying up the river at a good height. The brown
pelicans, on the other hand, made their daily pilgrimages just above the

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