Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/82

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AUDUBON

that he must make money. He had had to use strong persuasions to induce Mrs. Audubon to join him in New Orleans. She had relatives in Cincinnati, as well as many friends, and several pupils brought her a small income. Who, recalling her early married life, can wonder that she hesitated before leaving this home for the vicissitudes of an unknown city? She and her husband were devotedly attached to each other, but she thought more of the uncertainty for her sons than for herself. They were now boys of twelve and nine years old, and their mother, whose own education was far beyond the average, realized how unwise a thing for them the constant change was. Audubon was most anxious also that his "Kentucky lads," as he often called them, should be given every advantage, but he had the rare quality of being able to work equally well in any surroundings, in doors or out, and he failed to understand why others could not, just as he failed to see why his wife should ever doubt the desirability of going anywhere, at any time, under any conditions. He thus writes to her in a letter, dated New Orleans, May 3, 1821: "Thou art not, it seems, as daring as I am about leaving one place to go to another, without the means. I am sorry for that. I never will fear want as long as I am well; and if God will grant me health with the little talents I have received from Nature, I would dare go to England or anywhere, without one cent, one single letter of introduction to any one."

This, as we know, was no empty boast, but the principle on which Audubon proceeded numberless times in his life. His own courage, or persuasions, brought his wife, as has been said, to join him in the Crescent City, and here as elsewhere that noble woman proved her courage and endurance fully equal to his, although perhaps in another line.

Under the date of January 1, 1822, Audubon writes: "Two months and five days have elapsed before I could