For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Swamp Fever

From chapter 14 of The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp:

I don't know what possessed me to walk out of this town, instead of taking a train, but this I did, to my regret. For I became too weak to move, and, coming to a large swamp, I left the railroad and crawled into it, and for three days and the same number of nights, lay there without energy to continue my journey. Wild hungry hogs were there, who approached dangerously near, but ran snorting away when my body moved. A score or more buzzards had perched waiting on the branches above me, and I knew that the place was teeming with snakes. I suffered from a terrible thirst, and drank of the swamp-pools, stagnant water that was full of germs, and had the colours of the rainbow, one dose of which would have poisoned some men to death. When the chill was upon me, I crawled into the hot sun, and lay there shivering with the cold; and when the hot fever possessed me, I crawled back into the shade. Not a morsel to eat for four days, and very little for several days previous ...

Now I thought I felt bad earlier this year camping wet and bedraggled in a rainswept Borrowdale having eaten a dodgy pie in Keswick! But this graphic account of the Mississippi swamplands puts it all in perspective, even if Davies was known for embellishing his tales somewhat ...

No comments: