99+ Peter Matthiessen Quotes on Life, Reincarnation and Life - Quotes.pub

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This bold energetic man of rare intelligence and enterprise must also be understood as a man undone by his own deep flaws. He was known to drink to grievous excess, for example, which often turned him volatile and violent. On the other hand, his evil repute has been wildly exaggerated by careless journalists and their local informants, who seek to embellish their limited acquaintance with a “desperado”; with the result that the real man has been virtually entombed by tale and legend which since his death has petrified as myth. The most lurid view of Mr. Watson is the one perpetuated by the Islanders themselves, for as Dickens observed after his visit to this country, “These Americans do love a scoundrel.” Because his informants tend to imagine that the darkest interpretation is the one the writer wishes to hear, the popular accounts (until now, there have been no others) are invariably sensational as well as speculative: the hard facts, not to speak of “truth,” are missing. Also, this “Bloody Watson” material relates only to his final years in southwest Florida; one rarely encounters any reference to South Carolina, where Edgar Artemas Watson passed his boyhood, nor to the years in the Indian Country (always excepting his alleged role in the slaying of Belle Starr), nor even to the Fort White district of Columbia County in north Florida where he farmed in early manhood, married all three of his wives, and spent almost half of the fifty-five years of his life.