Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/667

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REMEDIAL VALUE OF THE CLIMATE OF FLORIDA.

chilling the blood till stasis occurs in some vital organ, and inflammation and death result. There, the old man pursues out-door life fearless of frost or intense heat, and, in a prolonged and painless existence, forgets that his summer is gone, and the snows of winter are upon his head.

In closing this paper, some reference to places in Florida most suitable for invalids may be of interest.

Leaving Jacksonville in the afternoon of any day, by one of the beautiful side-wheel steamers, the passenger, sitting on the forward guard, sees unrolled before him a semi-tropical scene. The vessel makes its way in the midst of a broad stream of placid stillness, whose shoaling shores are curved and fretted by inlet and headland, bearing above them the rich luxuriance of evergreen foliage, like a broad mirror festooned with myrtle and vine. Often, so far away from the course of the boat are the distant shores that one may with difficulty descry the towns and houses which are indicated in the distance. For seventy-five miles and more to the southward the river retains this similitude to a broad and extended lake. Indeed, it seems but a long arm of the sea, the rise and fall of the tide being perceptible even at that distance. Night closes on the journey. During the time you pass through an expanse of the river twelve miles wide and eighteen miles long (Lake George), and when you awake you find the boat in a narrow stream, running beneath the shade-of overhanging vines and palmettos, the waters bearing upon their surface a strange, floating, bright-green vegetation, well described by the popular name water-lettuce. Along the shore acres of broad-leaved water-lilies rise and fall with the rapidly-running waves, which surge along the course of the steamer. Here the stream is exceedingly tortuous, and the greatest care is needed on the part of the pilot lest, in turning the acute agles of low-lying land which project to the right and left like alternating narrow blades, his boat will shoot forward beyond his control and fasten itself amid the tangled boughs of a partially submerged forest. This is the paradise of the sportsman, the home of wild ducks and turkeys, and pelicans, and pink curlews.

At a distance of one hundred and ninety miles from Jacksonville another broad expanse of water is entered—Lake Monroe—five miles wide and twelve miles long. On the shore of this lake the boat lands at Sanford, Orange County, which is the head of navigation for large steamers. Beyond this lake the river again diminishes in depth, and is navigable only for very light-draught boats. The origin of the river is in Lake Washington, amid the marshes of the Everglades, two hundred and fourteen miles farther to the south.

There are but few places on the course of the river that are desirable for invalids, on account of the proximity of swamps and danger from malaria. At Sanford I was somewhat amused to see the proprietor of a prominent hotel, which solicits the patronage of invalids, taken with a severe chill while at the desk receiving his guests.