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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 177 [10-28-1853]

              it.   Not very imposing at first sight, the banks are all low lying, and at
this part it was certainly not over a mile wide.  Its color was a yellowish
brown, dirtyish looking.     There was a wide space now, from levee to river
bank, all overflowed in winter.   It must look very grand, and very dreary
then.     My companions were naturally exhilarated at the conclusion of the
journey, nor was I sorry.     Everybody was heartily worried of it, and pro-
nounced �Going down the River by land� to be a dismal business. / And
now riding southwards awhile, for perhaps two miles, we stop at the
house of an acquaintance; and resisting the hospitable entreaties of the over-
seers handsome wife, to tarry all night, we leave our horses there, and
turn out into the cold gloomy night with the resolve to cross the Mississippi.
Maurice Keene had found a boat and boatman, and we having walked
for half a mile or so, over the dreary wet flat, descend a steep muddy
declivity of perhaps thirty feet to where lies the boat on the muddy, rushing,
eddying river.           It was a very crazy boat, and the started planks ad-
mitted a line of light to be seen half way round her; also there were holes,
and already water in her.   I did not comprehend the whole of the danger, not
espying it in the gloom, and fancying it only a leak or so.   But Keene Richards
did, and he was loud in his objurgations of Maurice for having hired such an 
ark, and his indifference to the risk.   So much so, as we put off, and the
two boatmen rowed out into the middle of the stream, they began in a rough
way to make merry with what they considered his imaginary terrors.   We had
about two miles distance to make, or rather three, going slantwise south-
wards across the river to what was called Tompkins Bend.    I felt chilly,
and dismal, and sate by Maurice Keene in the storm part of the boat, look-
ing up to the myriads of stars, unusually bright to my ken.    A desultory
conversation was kept up, varied by Richards comments on the folly of crossing
in such a boat.   Moved by this the boatman, � they were two, quite young
fellows, crossed more immediately over, so as to have the coast nearer.   We               
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