The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"natural beauty," he said, "has been much diminished by the
improvements about them-the largest and hottest Springs
being covered with bath-houses." That was dull enough, but
worse was to follow. "Neither," he declares, "neither is the water
of the hottest as hot as I had contemplated. I put an egg in
one of the hottest and let it remain five minutes, and yet the
white was only a little curdled." He added that he supposed
it would take the wretched spring at least 15 or 20 minutes to
cook an egg hard. It was a geo-thermal fiasco. And the people!
Nearly a hundred visitors, including the usual "blacklegs for
gambling speculations" and curiosity-seekers.-There is some-
thing about him which prefers land to persons, and events to
individuals, and ideas to the instincts of human character. He
served his purpose so well that he became something of an
artist at it.
He was crossing fairly familiar country, apparently, on his
approach to Texas; for the entries are neither frequent nor full
until July 17th, 1841, when he marks his crossing the border:
I crossed the line two days ago [he was at his Uncle
John's] in the edge of Sulphur Creek Prairie, near
Clarksville in Red River County, Texas.
At once he launches upon a three thousand word essay de-
scribing the foreign country he is visiting. The character of
the country-its timber, its geology, the climate which is, he
says, "pleasant enough, but the country generally is sickly,
owing to the overflowings, and marshy valleys of the streams."
From the health of the people, he passes on the agricultural
chances of their lands, and incorporates a scheme he has for
raising grapes in the Mexican fashion, by keeping the vine
pruned to a stub so that it is a shrub rather than a vine, re-
quiring no scaffold props. "By this means both the flavor and
size of the grape are much improved, as the same root has
much less vine and grapes to support." Here he reveals him-
self as the protean American, the tinker of philosophies and
the doctor of devices. It reminds us of Franklin, and of Jef-
ferson, and of imaginary characters in our literature. Every-
thing reminds an American of something else, and usually he
has a de-vice for making it work, etc. I think this is a trait
of great value, when it is applied to something farther than
natural delight in technologies, folk or industrial. - Anyway,
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/6/: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.