February 20th, 1891
Rock Ledge Fla.
Your welcome letter of Feb 15 and P.S Feb 16 is received. Your lecture I read through very complacently, resting easy under a clear conscience, having already sent 3 or 4 Postals and 2 letters.
This is truly a delightful spot and it being full moon renders the tropical scenery doubly beautiful under the bright moonlight. Have just returned from a boat ride, having borrowed one of the neighbor's boats. Took out Miss Bartlett and Fannie Hartwell and they soon tiring went to one of the neighbors for passengers, and spent balance of evening in the waters with a Mrs. McGruder (a young cracker) and a Miss Morse of
New Haven, and yesterday and day before we had a delightful sail in sail boat Papposse(?) belonging to a Mr. Warner, who is at present employed by Mr. Hartwell. Am becoming very fond of the water. Presume it will mean a yacht (a la Dr. Dewey) in Lake Mich.
Strange to say Mr. Hartwell has no kind of a boat. It seems to me they do not improve the chief and only pleasures of this resort.
They are right in orange picking season, and are all working themselves nearly to death. Of course I am helping somewhat, but they really overdo it.
Mr. Hartwell is hustling around from sunrise to sunset, and good old hard manual labor too. The folks do all they can to restrain him, but he goes right ahead in sultry atmosphere.
From what I hear I think they
are considered rather curiosities, in taking their winter vacations doing hard work. It being considered rather bad form for ladies to frequent the Packing Houses.
The growth, trees, etc are a continual wonder to me, can't seem to get used to the strange prospect. The orange and lemon trees are blossoming, a white flower strongly resembling a tube rose both in color and odor. There is one tree in grove, having green and ripe fruit and blossoms on it.
There are no flies or mosquitoes to speak of and I have had no trouble with ticks or sand burrs, but a couple of snake were killed yesterday and have seen a number of toads and lizards. A lady called yesterday having a chameleon, fastened to her by a cord, with freedom to
crawl around on her breast and shoulders. Ugh!!
We got some bait, "mullet" a fish about size of our perch and caught with a net, and putting one on a hook and long line, we threw it away out onto the river, and fastening the line to the small wharf, we went away and did a days work on the oranges, and coming back hauled in our line and lo and behold we had hooked a five lb. trout. A beauty too, his sides shining like silver and mottled beautifully. We eat him for tomorrow, so you see here one can go fishing without neglecting business.
One of the young ladies here is very nice, Miss Fanny. The other is very Bostonian raving about the motives in Faust and Gotterdammerung and other outlandish things, and Nellie I never could bear, with her mean disposition and caustic tongue. Don't think will stay many moons.
Yours as ever