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COPYRIGHT, 1917, BY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
Printed in the United States of America
AMELY to state that the sun was shining hotly upon the boat landing at Perseverance City
(city!) does not even begin to express an idea of the blazing, panting, almost shriveling radiance which poured over it and over the rest of central Florida that unwinking September noon.
The placidly rotting wharf, which seemed more to be tumbling into the river than rearing out of it, actually gave forth a charred smell
as if it intended to break into a flame presently—a warm, piney, sociable smell. “Heat's healthy and it's free” was the suggestion thrown broadcast.
In spite of hosts of queer trees, nowhere was there a shadow. For the palmettos-not being even umbrellas but only umbrella-skeletons-did not cast more of a shade than a skeleton would decently be supposed to cast, and the pine trees poled themselves so gauntly high in the air before condescending to stick out their bare pins of leaves that such shadow as they cast became all hopelessly mixed up with the scorching sunlight again before it ultimately reached the ground.
For a positive fact, the gasoline tank of the “General Store,” that was hitched, either for society or support, to the back of the wharf, far excelled the tropical shrubbery in shade-casting ability, as a thankful,
loosely put together pig-mother of eight restless pigbabies, all wallowing at the tank's base in grunting contentment, plainly testified.
Take it all in all, the site and sight of Perseverance City—and by the time the title had covered the wharf, store, and prospective pork, its work was wholly overwere not as attractive advertisements for Seminole County as the county really deserves. Except for the glare there was nothing else to attract an observer's attention but a few straggling, writhing roads of sand that was whiter and deader than table salt. The unworthiest thing about Seminole County is its wasteful habit of having half a dozen poor roads all gregariously rambling together to one place.
Just at present the land's life, its breeze, was having a stuffy fit of sulks, and nothing in sight moved, not even those usually swaying cobwebs of the Florida forest, the funereally streaming moss which the stark pines held up by every maimed arm they owned. Lest the uninitiated associate any idea of cool greenness with this moss, let them be told at once that it is as gray and dry as kitchen sage. It hangs from the trees in dismal festoons of untidiness, looking like mildewed excelsior pitched down from Olympus by the gods after royal unpacking day.
A prodigal array of palms palisaded both sides of the river, sticking up stiffly like vegetable feather dusters, exactly as if they too had been pitched out by the gods and had landed handle-end down. The few of them that had not been thrown straight and lurched tipsily sideways, growing at right-angles to the scenery, had the eminently appropriate appearance of being in the act of swooning from sunstroke. To sum up the locality, this drowsing part of pros