Page:A Thousand-Mile Walk To The Gulf.djvu/23

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Introduction

It was not, therefore, a new species of adventure upon which Mr. Muir embarked when he started on his Southern foot-tour. It was only a new response to the lure of those favorite studies which he had already pursued over uncounted miles of virgin Western forests and prairies. Indeed, had it not been for the accidental injury to his right eye in the month of March, 1867, he probably would have started somewhat earlier than he did. In a letter written to Indianapolis friends on the day after the accident, he refers mournfully to the interruption of a long-cherished plan. “For weeks,” he writes, “I have daily consulted maps in locating a route through the Southern States, the West Indies, South America, and Europe a botanical journey studied for years. And so my mind has long been in a glow with visions of the glories of a tropical flora; but, alas, I am half blind. My right eye, trained to minute analysis, is lost and I have scarce heart to open the other. Had this journey been accomplished, the stock of varied beauty acquired would have

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