Although it is usually impossible to obtain any comment on his own work from Mr. Steinbeck, the following excerpt from Sea of Cortez, a Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research, is the author's own selection of his writing which in his estimation best represents his style and thought. Sea of Cortez is a large book, part of it containing a scientific appendix of the marine animals of the Panamic Faunal Province compiled by E. F. Ricketts, the biologist with whom Steinbeck joined in a unique scientific fishing expedition, the details of which constituted Sea of Cortez.
THE BEACH was hot and yellow. We swam, and then walked along on the sand and went inland along the ridge between the beach and a large mangrove-edged lagoon beyond. On the lagoon side of the ridge there were thousands of burrows, presumably of large landcrabs, but it was hopeless to dig them out. The shores of the lagoon teemed with the little clicking, bubbling fiddler crabs and estuarian snails. Here we could smell the mangrove flowers without the foul root smell, and the odor was fresh and sweet, like that of new-cut grass. From where we waded there was a fine picture, still reflecting water and the fringing green mangroves against the burnt redbrown of the distant mountains, all like some fantastic Doré drawing of a pressed and embattled heaven. The air was hot and still and the lagoon rippleless. Now and then the surface was ringed as some lagoon fish came to the air. It was a curious quiet resting-place and perhaps because of the quiet we heard in our heads the children singing in the church at La Paz. We did not collect strongly or very efficiently, but rather we half dozed through the day, thinking of old things, each one in himself. And later we discussed manners of