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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 194 [11-17-1853]

              &c were rushed into in the accustomed go-ahead style; all to be utterly
swamped with dupes money, by the mighty, muddy Mississippi
waters, which overflowed the place repeatedly.   Now it consists of some
six or eight miserable wooden-frame huts, approached up a steep mud
bank, and scattered here and there, three or four barge houses moored
by the shore, and a long, dreary �hotel� which looks like a big ugly boat
stranded by the tide.     No paths, or attempts at any, no vegetation, (save
one tree I observed,) and all behind thick bare brushwood growing low in
what would be swamp were the river up.     Plenty of mangy, squalid hogs
about; some of whom sniffed carnivorously at my bear-skin, as I clambered
up to the mud bank to the hotel for breakfast.     An exceedingly bad one, costing
50 cents, dispatched, I had to wait for an expected Ohio steamboat.     And
wait I did, all the dismal day, at this delectable Cairo.    I was not
alone, for some twenty hapless wretches shared my misery.    They loafed about
under the ricketty piazza, they smoked villanously stinking cigars, they drank
more villanous liquors, they spat, chewed and swore; they rallied one
another of on last night�s drunkenness, they told anent newspaper stories,
and they cursed Cairo with all their hearts.       The expected boat should have
arrived at 10 in the morning: not at 10 in the evening had she made her
appearance: New Orlean�s boats & St Louis boats many had arrived about
nightfall, no �Cincinatti.�       At about 7 a false alarm of this kind brought
us all down to one of the big barge-stores; and here, for the most part we
stayed.       Boat after boat arrived at dreary intervals, at still no �Cincinat-
ti.�       Indeed from a New Orlean�s bound vessel we got news that the hoped-
for boat had been detained all night by fog, at St Louis.    Any amount of
fire glare, letting off steam, tumult & crowding, two men severally tumbling into
the river and being hauled out again.    A dismal procession of wharf hounds unloading
sacks of corn, tramping wearily along the barge�s margin.   Desperately hopeless
people, miserable people, drunken people; troubled sky and broad moon above.               
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