From Chap. 43, 1828

I reached Saint Louis after dark on December 24, but Dr. Todson was nowhere to be found. My frustration grew as I searched for my mail, weaving my way through ghostly white capotes on ill-lighted streets. I even ventured down to the water-front and peeked into the taverns. John Peck had told me the boast was often made in Saint Louis that God had not crossed the Mississippi and would never be allowed to cross the Mississippi. I remembered something about nightly orgies in which were mocked prayers, hymns, and the Lord's Supper; clearings being raked out of fires so a Bible could be buried in the hot coals, then a cheer going up when it ignited.

The lack of a police force never left my mind either, while I prowled around with the thugs in the dark shadows of the towering market house. Give me Indians anytime, I grumbled, hurrying past another of the rickety gambling parlors where the rattle of cues and billiard balls could be heard twenty-four hours a day. Nearly knocking me down, two drunks came charging out of a grogshop. They glared at me and pronounced a few Irish blessings before staggering off, singing as loudly as they could to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy":

Father and I went down to camp

Along with Cap'n Goodin',

And there we saw the red-cheeked gals

As thick as hasty puddin'.

I was growing more and more concerned about finding Dr. Todson and my mail. The next stage eastward--no steamboats were near Saint Louis right now--would board the ferry at sunrise. With ice accumulating on the Mississippi, I knew that if I missed that stage I could be detained for days, perhaps weeks.