We now drive through the dusty roads of St Jo, the observed of all observers, and presently find ourselves in the steam ferry which is to convey us from the right to the left bank of the Missouri River. The Big Muddy, as it is now called, the Yellow River of old writers, venerable sire of snag and sawyer displays at this point the source whence it has drawn for ages the dirty brown silt which pollutes below their junction the pellucid waters of the Big Drink. It runs like the lower Indus through deep walls of stiff clayey earth and like that river its supplies when filtered they have been calculated to contain one eighth of solid matter are sweet and wholesome as its brother streams. The Plata of this region it is the great sewer of the prairies the main channel and common issue of the water courses and ravines which have carried on the work of denudation and degradation for days dating beyond the existence of Egypt.
Landing in Bleeding Kansas, she still bleeds, we fell at once into Emigration Road, a great thoroughfare broad and well worn as a European turnpike or a Roman military route and undoubtedly the best and the longest natural highway in the world . For five miles the line bisected a bottom formed by a bend in the river with about a mile's diameter at the neck. The scene was of a luxuriant vegetation. A deep tangled wood, rather a thicket or a jungle than a forest, of oaks and elms, hickory, basswood and black walnut, poplar and hackberry, Celtis crassifolia, box elder and the common willow, Salix longifolia, clad and festooned, bound and anchored by wild vines creepers and huge llianas and sheltering an undergrowth of white alder and red sumach whose pyramidal flowers were about to fall rested upon a basis of deep black mire strongly suggestive of chills fever and ague. After an hour of burning sun and sickly damp, the effects of the late storms, we emerged from the waste of vegetation passed through a straggling neck o the woods, whose yellow inmates reminded me of Mississippian descriptions in the days gone by, and after spanning some very rough ground we bade adieu to the valley of the Missouri and emerged upon the region of the Grand Prairie which we will pronounce perrairey.