Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/74

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

when they moved to Henderson, where Rozier did what business was done, and Audubon drew, fished, hunted, and rambled in the woods to his heart's content, but his purse's depletion. He describes this life in the episode "Fishing in the Ohio," and in these rushing times such an Arcadian existence seems impossible. Small wonder that his wife's relatives, with their English thrift, lost patience with him, could not believe he was aught but idle, because he did not work their way. I doubt not many would think, as they did, that he wasted his days, when in truth he was laying up stores of knowledge which later in life brought him a rich harvest. Waiting times are always long, longest to those who do not understand the silent inner growth which goes on and on, yet makes no outward sign for months and even years, as in the case of Audubon.

Henderson was then a tiny place, and gains being small if any, Rozier and Audubon, in December, 1810, started for St. Geneviève, spent their winter in camp, and reached their destination when the ice broke up. On April 11, 1811, they dissolved partnership, and wrote each as they felt, Audubon saying: "Rozier cared only for money and liked St. Geneviève;" Rozier writing: "Audubon had no taste for commerce, and was continually in the forest."

Once more, however, he went to St. Geneviève to try to get money Rozier owed him, and returned to Henderson on foot, still unpaid, in February or March of 1812. He had gone with a party of Osage Indians, but his journey back was made alone. He writes in his journal, simply with date of April, 1812:—

"Bidding Rozier good-bye, I whistled to my dog, crossed the Mississippi and went off alone and on foot, bent on reaching Shawanee Town as soon as possible; but little had I foreseen the task before me, for soon as I had left the river lands and reached the prairies, I found them covered with water, like large lakes; still nothing would have made me retrace my steps, and the thoughts of my