Visit Scenic Cairo, Illinois!

I’m going to send this passage from Charles Dickens American Notes to the Cairo, Illinois Tourism Bureau; they may want to use it in some of their promotional material:

“The scenery as we approached the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, was not at all inspiring in its influence. The trees were stunted in their growth; the banks were low and flat; the settlements and log cabins fewer in number; their inhabitants more wan and wretched than any we had encountered yet.

“No songs of birds were in the air, no pleasant scents, no moving lights and shadows from swift-passing clouds. Hour after hour, the changeless glare of the hot, unwinking sky shone upon the same monotonous objects. Hour after hour, the river rolled along as wearily and slowly as the time itself.”

But then it gets a lot better, right Chuck?

“At length, upon the morning of the third day, we arrived at a spot so much more desolate than any we had yet beheld that the forlornest places we had passed were, in comparison with it, full of interest.

“At the junction of the two rivers, on ground so flat and low that at certain seasons of the year it is inundated to the housetops, lies a breeding place of fever, ague, and death.

“A dismal swamp, on which the half-built houses rot away; cleared here and there for the space of a few yards; and teeming then with rank, unwholesome vegetation, in whose baleful shade the wretched wanderers who are tempted hither droop, and die, and lay their bones.

“The hateful Mississippi circling and eddying before it, and turning off upon its southern course, a slimy monster hideous to behold; a hotbed of disease, an ugly sepulchre, a grave uncheered by any gleam of promise: a place without one single quality, in earth or air or water to commend it: such is this dismal Cairo.”