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"...we heard once more the steam whistles of vessels that have long ceased to be..."

 In "A River Reverie" (1882), Lafcadio Hearn muses elegiacally on life along the Mississippi and other western rivers.

Wonder whether the old captain still sits there of bright afternoons, to watch the returning steamers panting with their mighty run from the Far South—or whether he has sailed away upon that other river, silent and colorless as winter's fog, to that vast and shadowy port where much ghostly freight is discharged from vessels that never return? He haunts us sometimes—even as he must have been haunted by the ghosts of dead years.

He goes on to invoke another former captain, now a literary sensation (presumably, Mark Twain), and ponders if the famous man wouldn't trade all of his success for the simple, long-ago days of his younger life. Lovely piece. 

October 1, 2017 in Books | Permalink

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