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It was a party of eight, arranged by Aunt Diana. She is only my aunt by marriage, and she had with her a bona fide niece, Iris Carew, a gay school-girl of seventeen, while I, Niece Martha, as Aunt Diana always calls me, own to full forty years. Professor Macquoid went for two reasons—his lungs, and the pleasure of imparting information. It was generally understood that Professor Macquoid was engaged upon a Great Work. John Hoffman went for his own amusement; with us, because he happened to sail on the same steamer. He had spent several winters in Florida, hunting and fishing, and was in his way something of a Thoreau, without Thoreau's love of isolation. Mr. Mokes went because Aunt Diana persuaded him, and Sara St. John because I made her. These, with Miss Sharp, Iris Carew's governess, composed our party.

We left New York in a driving January snow-storm, and sailed three days over the stormy Atlantic, seeing no land from the winter desolation of Long Branch until we entered the beautiful harbors of Charleston and Savannah, a thousand miles to the south. The New York steamer went no farther; built to defy Fear, Lookout, and the terrible Hatteras, she left the safe, monotonous coast of Georgia and Upper Florida to a younger sister, that carried us on to the south over a summer sea, and at sunrise one{2} balmy morning early in February entered the broad St. Johns, whose slow coffee-colored tropical tide, almost alone among rivers, flows due north for nearly its entire course of four hundred miles, a peculiarity expressed in its original name, given by the Indians, Il-la-ka—"It hath its own way, is alone, and contrary to every other."...

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