By: Oliver Optic
"Down South" is the fifth and last volume but one of the "Great Western Series." The action of the story is confined entirely to Florida; and this fact may seem to belie the title of the Series. But the young yachtsman still maintains his hold upon the scenes of his earlier life in Michigan, and his letters come regularly from that State. If he were old enough to vote, he could do so only in Michigan; and therefore he has not lost his right to claim a residence there during his temporary sojourn in the South. Besides, half his ship's company are Western boys, who carry with them from "The Great Western" family of States whatever influence they possess in their wanderings through other sections of the grand American Union.
The same characters who have figured in other volumes of the Series are again presented, though others are introduced. The hero is as straightforward, resolute, and self-reliant as ever. His yacht adventures consist of various excursions on the St. Johns River, from its mouth to a point above the head of ordinary navigation, with a run across to Indian River, on the sea-coast, a trip up the Ocklawaha, to the Lake Country of Florida, and shorter runs up the smaller streams. The yachtmen and his passengers try their hand at shooting alligators as well as more valuable game in the "sportsman's paradise" of the South, and find excellent fishing in both fresh and salt water.
Apart from the adventures incident to the cruise of the yacht in so interesting a region as Florida, the volume, like its predecessors in the Series, has its own story, relating to the life-history of the hero. But his career mingles with the events peculiar to the region in which he journeys, and many of his associates are men of the "sunny South." In any clime, he is the me young man of high aims and noble purposes. The remaining volume will follow him in his cruise the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Mississippi.
DORCHESTER, MASS., August 25, 1880. (Introduction by the Author)The illustrations can be found in the on line text.