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Mostly Mississippi

A Very Damp Adventure

2004
Author:

Harold Speakman

Mostly Mississippi

The charming classic of river travel—now back in print!

A classic American travel narrative that captures the soul of the river, Mostly Mississippi features lyrical descriptions of encounters with archetypal characters, landscapes, and experiences. The Speakmans meet lumberjacks in northern Minnesota and Mormons at Nauvoo, Illinois, as well as roustabouts, hoboes, farmers, drifters, Southern grandees, Native Americans, collegians thirsting for the real world, and convicts.

In 1925, Harold Speakman and his new wife, Frances “Russell” Lindsay Speakman, journeyed down the entire Mississippi River, from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, on a twenty-foot houseboat.

A classic American travel narrative that captures the soul of the river, Mostly Mississippi features lyrical descriptions of encounters with archetypal characters, landscapes, and experiences. The Speakmans meet lumberjacks in northern Minnesota and Mormons at Nauvoo, Illinois, as well as roustabouts, hoboes, farmers, drifters, Southern grandees, Native Americans, collegians thirsting for the real world, and convicts. They also meet William Alexander Percy, the “Poet of the Delta”; Laura Frazer, the inspiration for Mark Twain’s Becky Thatcher; and the prototypical “lady from Dubuque” as described by the New Yorker.

Illustrated by Harold Speakman’s paintings and sketches and Russell Speakman’s delightful drawings, Mostly Mississippi captures the deepening emotional bond of a newly married couple embarked on a grand adventure.

Mostly Mississippi

Harold Speakman (1888—1928) was a writer, poet, and artist. He wrote eight books, including the travel narratives Hilltops in Galilee (1923), Beyond Shanghai (1922), and Here’s Ireland (1925).

Mostly Mississippi

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I DUCKS & PERSONAE
II THE YOUNG RIVER
III THE THICKET
IV LADY INTO CATFISH
V SSS-BANG!
VI SOME WHO STRAY
VII GOOD-BY CANOE
VIII SHANTYBOAT
IX OFF
X A WRECK OR Two
XI "YOU'LL TIE UP—"
XII SLOUGH, BIRD, MODEL
XIII CITIES
XIV MORMONS
XV BECKY AND IGNITION
XVI THE SMOKY SAINT
XVII LAND OF EGYPT
XVIII HERE'S DIXIE
XIX ALONG THE LEVEES
XX COLOR OF THE SOUTH
XXI BUGLE ECHO
XXII MEMORY LANE
XXIII HOBO JUNGLE
XXIV DRIFT
XXV THE TIDE
XXVI THE BAYOUS
XXVII THE JOYOUS CITY