Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/77

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47
AUDUBON

and a half feet thick. For those days it was built on a large scale, and did the sawing for the entire country."[1]

It has been said that the inside walls had many drawings of birds on them, but this, while quite likely, has never been proved; what was proved conclusively is that, from his woodcutters, whose labors were performed on a tract of forest land of about 1200 acres, which Audubon purchased from the government, to those who were his partners, by far the greater number had the advantage of him. The New Orleans venture has a similar record; money left him by his father was lost by the failure of the merchant who held it until Audubon could prove his right to it, and finally he left Henderson absolutely penniless. He writes: "Without a dollar in the world, bereft of all revenues beyond my own personal talents and acquirements, I left my dear log house, my delightful garden and orchards with that heaviest of burdens, a heavy heart, and turned my face toward Louisville. This was the saddest of all my journeys, —the only time in my life when the Wild Turkeys that so often crossed my path, and the thousands of lesser birds that enlivened the woods and the prairies, all looked like enemies, and I turned my eyes from them, as if I could have wished that they had never existed."

From Louisville Audubon went almost at once to Shippingport, where he was kindly received by his friends Nicholas Berthoud, who was also his brother-in-law, and the Tarascon family. Here he was joined by his wife and two sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse, and again I quote from Audubon's own words: "As we were straitened to the very utmost, I undertook to draw portraits at the low price of five dollars per head, in black chalk. I drew a few gratis, and succeeded so well that ere many days had elapsed I had an abundance of work;

  1. From "History of Henderson County, Kentucky," by E. L. Starling, page 794.