The Innocents Abroad
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Part 1 out of 10
Produced by David Widger
by Mark Twain
[From an 1869--1st Edition]
Popular Talk of the Excursion--Programme of the Trip--Duly Ticketed for
the Excursion--Defection of the Celebrities
Grand Preparations--An Imposing Dignitary--The European Exodus
--Mr. Blucher's Opinion--Stateroom No. 10--The Assembling of the Clans
--At Sea at Last
"Averaging" the Passengers--Far, far at Sea.--Tribulation among the
Patriarchs--Seeking Amusement under Difficulties--Five Captains in the
The Pilgrims Becoming Domesticated--Pilgrim Life at Sea
--"Horse-Billiards"--The "Synagogue"--The Writing School--Jack's "Journal"
--The "Q. C. Club"--The Magic Lantern--State Ball on Deck--Mock Trials
--Charades--Pilgrim Solemnity--Slow Music--The Executive Officer Delivers
Summer in Mid-Atlantic--An Eccentric Moon--Mr. Blucher Loses Confidence
--The Mystery of "Ship Time"--The Denizens of the Deep--"Land Hoh"
--The First Landing on a Foreign Shore--Sensation among the Natives
--Something about the Azores Islands--Blucher's Disastrous Dinner
--The Happy Result
Solid Information--A Fossil Community--Curious Ways and Customs
--JesuitHumbuggery--Fantastic Pilgrimizing--Origin of the Russ Pavement
--Squaring Accounts with the Fossils--At Sea Again
A Tempest at Night--Spain and Africa on Exhibition--Greeting a Majestic
Stranger--The Pillars of Hercules--The Rock of Gibraltar--Tiresome
Repetition--"The Queen's Chair"--Serenity Conquered--Curiosities of
the Secret Caverns--Personnel of Gibraltar--Some Odd Characters
--A Private Frolic in Africa--Bearding a Moorish Garrison (without loss
of life)--Vanity Rebuked--Disembarking in the Empire of Morocco
The Ancient City of Tangier, Morocco--Strange Sights--A Cradle of
Antiquity--We become Wealthy--How they Rob the Mail in Africa--The Danger
of being Opulent in Morocco
A Pilgrim--in Deadly Peril--How they Mended the Clock--Moorish
Punishments for Crime--Marriage Customs--Looking Several ways for Sunday
--Shrewd, Practice of Mohammedan Pilgrims--Reverence for Cats--Bliss of
being a Consul-General
Fourth of July at Sea--Mediterranean Sunset--The "Oracle" is Delivered
of an Opinion--Celebration Ceremonies--The Captain's Speech--France in
Sight--The Ignorant Native--In Marseilles--Another Blunder--Lost in
the Great City--Found Again--A Frenchy Scene
Getting used to it--No Soap--Bill of Fare, Table d'hote--"An American
Sir"--A Curious Discovery--The "Pilgrim" Bird--Strange Companionship
--A Grave of the Living--A Long Captivity--Some of Dumas' Heroes--Dungeon
of the Famous "Iron Mask."
A Holiday Flight through France--Summer Garb of the Landscape--Abroad
on the Great Plains--Peculiarities of French Cars--French Politeness
American Railway Officials--"Twenty Mnutes to Dinner!"--Why there
are no Accidents--The "Old Travellers"--Still on the Wing--Paris at
Last----French Order and Quiet--Place of the Bastile--Seeing the Sights
--A Barbarous Atrocity--Absurd Billiards
More Trouble--Monsieur Billfinger--Re-Christening the Frenchman--In the
Clutches of a Paris Guide--The International Exposition--Fine Military
Review--Glimpse of the Emperor Napoleon and the Sultan of Turkey
The Venerable Cathedral of Notre-Dame--Jean Sanspeur's Addition
--Treasures and Sacred Relics--The Legend of the Cross--The Morgue--The
Outrageious 'Can-Can'--Blondin Aflame--The Louvre Palace--The Great Park
--Showy Pageantry--Preservation of Noted Things
French National Burying--Ground--Among the Great Dead--The Shrine of
Disappointed Love--The Story of Abelard and Heloise--"English Spoken
Here"--"American Drinks Compounded Here"--Imperial Honors to an
American--The Over-estimated Grisette--Departure from Paris--A Deliberate
Opinion Concerning the Comeliness of American Women
Versailles--Paradise Regained--A Wonderful Park--Paradise Lost
War--The American Forces Victorious--" Home Again"--Italy in Sight
The "City of Palaces"--Beauty of the Genoese Women--The "Stub-Hunters"
--Among the Palaces--Gifted Guide--Church Magnificence--"Women not
Admitted"--How the Genoese Live--Massive Architecture--A Scrap of Ancient
History--Graves for 60,000
Flying Through Italy--Marengo--First Glimpse of the Famous Cathedral
--Description of some of its Wonders--A Horror Carved in Stone----An
Unpleasant Adventure--A Good Man--A Sermon from the Tomb--Tons of Gold
and Silver--Some More Holy Relics--Solomon's Temple
"Do You Wiz zo Haut can be?"--La Scala--Petrarch and Laura--Lucrezia
Borgia--Ingenious Frescoes--Ancient Roman Amphitheatre--A Clever
Delusion--Distressing Billiards--The Chief Charm of European Life--An
Italian Bath--Wanted: Soap--Crippled French--Mutilated English--The Most
Celebrated Painting in the World--Amateur Raptures--Uninspired Critics
--Anecdote--A Wonderful Echo--A Kiss for a Franc
Rural Italy by Rail--Fumigated, According to Law--The Sorrowing
Englishman--Night by the Lake of Como--The Famous Lake--Its Scenery
--Como compared with Tahoe--Meeting a Shipmate
The Pretty Lago di Lecco--A Carriage Drive in the Country--Astonishing
Sociability in a Coachman--Sleepy Land--Bloody Shrines--The Heart and
Home of Priestcraft--A Thrilling Mediaeval Romance--The Birthplace of
Night in Venice--The "Gay Gondolier"--The Grand Fete by Moonlight
--The Notable Sights of Venice--The Mother of the Republics Desolate
The Famous Gondola--The Gondola in an Unromantic Aspect--The Great Square
of St. Mark and the Winged Lion--Snobs, at Home and Abroad--Sepulchres of
the Great Dead--A Tilt at the "Old Masters"--A Contraband Guide
--The Conspiracy--Moving Again
Down Through Italy by Rail--Idling in Florence--Dante and Galileo--An
Ungrateful City--Dazzling Generosity--Wonderful Mosaics--The Historical
Arno--Lost Again--Found Again, but no Fatted Calf Ready--The Leaning
Tower of Pisa--The Ancient Duomo--The Old Original First Pendulum that
Ever Swung--An Enchanting Echo--A New Holy Sepulchre--A Relic of
Antiquity--A Fallen Republic--At Leghorn--At Home Again, and Satisfied,
on Board the Ship--Our Vessel an Object of Grave Suspicion--Garibaldi
Visited--Threats of Quarantine
The Works of Bankruptcy--Railway Grandeur--How to Fill an Empty
Treasury--The Sumptuousness of Mother Church--Ecclesiastical Splendor
--Magnificence and Misery--General Execration--More Magnificence
A Good Word for the Priests--Civita Vecchia the Dismal--Off for Rome
The Modern Roman on His Travels--The Grandeur of St. Peter's--Holy Relics
--Grand View from the Dome--The Holy Inquisition--Interesting Old Monkish
Frauds--The Ruined Coliseum--The Coliseum in the Days of its Prime
--Ancient Playbill of a Coliseum Performance--A Roman Newspaper Criticism
1700 Years Old
"Butchered to Make a Roman Holiday"--The Man who Never Complained
--An Exasperating Subject--Asinine Guides--The Roman Catacombs
The Saint Whose Fervor Burst his Ribs--The Miracle of the Bleeding Heart
--The Legend of Ara Coeli
Picturesque Horrors--The Legend of Brother Thomas--Sorrow Scientifically
Analyzed--A Festive Company of the Dead--The Great Vatican Museum
Artist Sins of Omission--The Rape of the Sabines--Papal Protection of
Art--High Price of "Old Masters"--Improved Scripture--Scale of Rank
of the Holy Personages in Rome--Scale of Honors Accorded Them
--Fossilizing--Away for Naples
Naples--In Quarantine at Last--Annunciation--Ascent of Mount Vesuvius--A
Two Cent Community--The Black Side of Neapolitan Character--Monkish
Miracles--Ascent of Mount Vesuvius Continued--The Stranger and the
Hackman--Night View of Naples from the Mountain-side---Ascent of Mount
Ascent of Mount Vesuvius Continued--Beautiful View at Dawn--Less
Beautiful in the Back Streets--Ascent of Vesuvius Continued--Dwellings a
Hundred Feet High--A Motley Procession--Bill of Fare for a Peddler's
Breakfast--Princely Salaries--Ascent of Vesuvius Continued--An Average of
Prices--The wonderful "Blue Grotto"--Visit to Celebrated Localities in
the Bay of Naples--The Poisoned "Grotto of the Dog"--A Petrified Sea of
Lava--Ascent of Mount Vesuvius Continued--The Summit Reached--Description
of the Crater--Descent of Vesuvius
The Buried City of Pompeii--How Dwellings Appear that have been
Unoccupied for Eighteen hundred years--The Judgment Seat--Desolation--The
Footprints of the Departed--"No Women Admitted"--Theatres, Bakeshops,
Schools--Skeletons preserved by the Ashes and Cinders--The Brave Martyr
to Duty--Rip Van Winkle--The Perishable Nature of Fame
At Sea Once More--The Pilgrims all Well--Superb Stromboli--Sicily by
Moonlight--Scylla and Charybdis--The "Oracle" at Fault--Skirting the
Isles of Greece Ancient Athens--Blockaded by Quarantine and Refused
Permission to Enter--Running the Blockade--A Bloodless Midnight
Adventure--Turning Robbers from Necessity--Attempt to Carry the Acropolis
by Storm--We Fail--Among the Glories of the Past--A World of Ruined
Sculpture--A Fairy Vision--Famous Localities--Retreating in Good Order
--Captured by the Guards--Travelling in Military State--Safe on Board
Modern Greece--Fallen Greatness--Sailing Through the Archipelago and the
Dardanelles--Footprints of History--The First Shoddy Contractor of whom
History gives any Account--Anchored Before Constantinople--Fantastic
Fashions--The Ingenious Goose-Rancher--Marvelous Cripples--The Great
Mosque--The Thousand and One Columns--The Grand Bazaar of Stamboul
Scarcity of Morals and Whiskey--Slave-Girl Market Report--Commercial
Morality at a Discount--The Slandered Dogs of Constantinople
--Questionable Delights of Newspaperdom in Turkey--Ingenious Italian
Journalism--No More Turkish Lunches Desired--The Turkish Bath Fraud
--The Narghileh Fraud--Jackplaned by a Native--The Turkish Coffee Fraud
Sailing Through the Bosporus and the Black Sea--"Far-Away Moses"
--Melancholy Sebastopol--Hospitably Received in Russia--Pleasant English
People--Desperate Fighting--Relic Hunting--How Travellers Form "Cabinets"
Nine Thousand Miles East--Imitation American Town in Russia--Gratitude
that Came Too Late--To Visit the Autocrat of All the Russias
Summer Home of Royalty--Practising for the Dread Ordeal--Committee on
Imperial Address--Reception by the Emperor and Family--Dresses of the
Imperial Party--Concentrated Power--Counting the Spoons--At the Grand
Duke's--A Charming Villa--A Knightly Figure--The Grand Duchess--A Grand
Ducal Breakfast--Baker's Boy, the Famine-Breeder--Theatrical Monarchs a
Fraud--Saved as by Fire--The Governor--General's Visit to the Ship
--Official "Style"--Aristocratic Visitors--"Munchausenizing" with Them
Return to Constantinople--We Sail for Asia--The Sailors Burlesque the
Imperial Visitors--Ancient Smyrna--The "Oriental Splendor" Fraud
--The "Biblical Crown of Life"--Pilgrim Prophecy-Savans--Sociable
Armenian Girls--A Sweet Reminiscence--"The Camels are Coming, Ha-ha!"
Smyrna's Lions--The Martyr Polycarp--The "Seven Churches"--Remains of the
Six Smyrnas--Mysterious Oyster Mine Oysters--Seeking Scenery--A Millerite
Tradition--A Railroad Out of its Sphere
Journeying Toward Ancient Ephesus--Ancient Ayassalook--The Villanous
Donkey--A Fantastic Procession--Bygone Magnificence--Fragments of
History--The Legend of the Seven Sleepers
Vandalism Prohibited--Angry Pilgrims--Approaching Holy Land!--The "Shrill
Note of Preparation"--Distress About Dragomans and Transportation
--The "Long Route" Adopted--In Syria--Something about Beirout--A Choice
Specimen of a Greek "Ferguson"--Outfits--Hideous Horseflesh--Pilgrim
"Style"--What of Aladdin's Lamp?
"Jacksonville," in the Mountains of Lebanon--Breakfasting above a Grand
Panorama--The Vanished City--The Peculiar Steed, "Jericho"--The Pilgrims
Progress--Bible Scenes--Mount Hermon, Joshua's Battle Fields, etc.
--The Tomb of Noah--A Most Unfortunate People
Patriarchal Customs--Magnificent Baalbec--Description of the Ruins
--Scribbling Smiths and Joneses--Pilgrim Fidelity to the Letter of the Law
--The Revered Fountain of Baalam's Ass
Extracts from Note-Book--Mahomet's Paradise and the Bible's--Beautiful
Damascus the Oldest City on Earth--Oriental Scenes within the Curious Old
City--Damascus Street Car--The Story of St. Paul--The "Street called
Straight"--Mahomet's Tomb and St. George's--The Christian Massacre
--Mohammedan Dread of Pollution--The House of Naaman
--The Horrors of Leprosy
The Cholera by way of Variety--Hot--Another Outlandish Procession--Pen
and-Ink Photograph of "Jonesborough," Syria--Tomb of Nimrod, the Mighty
Hunter--The Stateliest Ruin of All--Stepping over the Borders of
Holy-Land--Bathing in the Sources of Jordan--More "Specimen" Hunting
--Ruins of Cesarea--Philippi--"On This Rock Will I Build my Church"--The
People the Disciples Knew--The Noble Steed "Baalbec"--Sentimental Horse
Idolatry of the Arabs
Dan--Bashan--Genessaret--A Notable Panorama--Smallness of Palestine
--Scraps of History--Character of the Country--Bedouin Shepherds--Glimpses
of the Hoary Past--Mr. Grimes's Bedouins--A Battle--Ground of Joshua
--That Soldier's Manner of Fighting--Barak's Battle--The Necessity of
Unlearning Some Things--Desolation
"Jack's Adventure"--Joseph's Pit--The Story of Joseph--Joseph's
Magnanimity and Esau's--The Sacred Lake of Genessaret--Enthusiasm of the
Pilgrims--Why We did not Sail on Galilee--About Capernaum--Concerning the
Saviour's Brothers and Sisters--Journeying toward Magdela
Curious Specimens of Art and Architecture--Public Reception of the
Pilgrims--Mary Magdalen's House--Tiberias and its Queer Inhabitants
--The Sacred Sea of Galilee--Galilee by Night
The Ancient Baths--Ye Apparition--A Distinguished Panorama--The Last
Battle of the Crusades--The Story of the Lord of Kerak--Mount Tabor
--What one Sees from its Top--Memory of a Wonderful Garden--The House of
Deborah the Prophetess
Toward Nazareth--Bitten By a Camel--Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth
--Noted Grottoes in General--Joseph's Workshop--A Sacred Bowlder
--The Fountain of the Virgin--Questionable Female Beauty
Boyhood of the Saviour--Unseemly Antics of Sober Pilgrims--Home of the
Witch of Endor--Nain--Profanation--A Popular Oriental Picture--Biblical
Metaphors Becoming steadily More Intelligible--The Shuuem Miracle
--The "Free Son of The Desert"--Ancient Jezrael--Jehu's Achievements
--Samaria and its Famous Siege
Curious Remnant of the Past--Shechem--The Oldest "First Family" on Earth
--The Oldest Manuscript Extant--The Genuine Tomb of Joseph--Jacob's Well
--Shiloh--Camping with the Arabs--Jacob's Ladder--More Desolation
--Ramah, Beroth, the Tomb of Samuel, The Fountain of Beira--Impatience
--Approaching Jerusalem--The Holy City in Sight--Noting Its Prominent
Features--Domiciled Within the Sacred Walls
"The Joy of the Whole Earth"--Description of Jerusalem--Church of the
Holy Sepulchre--The Stone of Unction--The Grave of Jesus--Graves of
Nicodemus and Joseph of Armattea--Places of the Apparition--The Finding
of the There Crosses----The Legend--Monkish Impostures--The Pillar of
Flagellation--The Place of a Relic--Godfrey's Sword--"The Bonds of
Christ"--"The Center of the Earth"--Place whence the Dust was taken of
which Adam was Made--Grave of Adam--The Martyred Soldier--The Copper
Plate that was on the Cross--The Good St. Helena--Place of the Division
of the Garments--St. Dimas, the Penitent Thief--The Late Emperor
Maximilian's Contribution--Grotto wherein the Crosses were Found, and the
Nails, and the Crown of Thorns--Chapel of the Mocking--Tomb of
Melchizedek--Graves of Two Renowned Crusaders--The Place of the
The "Sorrowful Way"--The Legend of St. Veronica's Handkerchief
--An Illustrious Stone--House of the Wandering Jew--The Tradition of the
Wanderer--Solomon's Temple--Mosque of Omar--Moslem Traditions--"Women not
Admitted"--The Fate of a Gossip--Turkish Sacred Relics--Judgment Seat of
David and Saul--Genuine Precious Remains of Solomon's Temple--Surfeited
with Sights--The Pool of Siloam--The Garden of Gethsemane and Other
Rebellion in the Camp--Charms of Nomadic Life--Dismal Rumors--En Route
for Jericho and The Dead Sea--Pilgrim Strategy--Bethany and the Dwelling
of Lazarus--"Bedouins!"--Ancient Jericho--Misery--The Night March
--The Dead Sea--An Idea of What a "Wilderness" in Palestine is--The Holy
hermits of Mars Saba--Good St. Saba--Women not Admitted--Buried from the
World for all Time--Unselfish Catholic Benevolence--Gazelles--The Plain
of the Shepherds--Birthplace of the Saviour, Bethlehem--Church of the
Nativity--Its Hundred Holy Places--The Famous "Milk" Grotto--Tradition
--Return to Jerusalem--Exhausted
Departure from Jerusalem--Samson--The Plain of Sharon--Arrival at Joppa
--Horse of Simon the Tanner--The Long Pilgrimage Ended--Character of
Palestine Scenery--The Curse
The Happiness of being at Sea once more--"Home" as it is in a Pleasure
Ship--"Shaking Hands" with the Vessel--Jack in Costume--His Father's
Parting Advice--Approaching Egypt--Ashore in Alexandria--A Deserved
Compliment for the Donkeys--Invasion of the Lost Tribes of America--End
of the Celebrated "Jaffa Colony"--Scenes in Grand Cairo--Shepheard's
Hotel Contrasted with a Certain American Hotel--Preparing for the
"Recherche" Donkeys--A Wild Ride--Specimens of Egyptian Modesty--Moses in
the Bulrushes--Place where the Holy Family Sojourned--Distant view of the
Pyramids--A Nearer View--The Ascent--Superb View from the top of the
Pyramid--"Backsheesh! Backsheesh!"--An Arab Exploit--In the Bowels of the
Pyramid--Strategy--Reminiscence of "Holiday's Hill"--Boyish Exploit--The
Majestic Sphynx--Things the Author will not Tell--Grand Old Egypt
Going Home--A Demoralized Note-Book--A Boy's Diary--Mere Mention of Old
Spain--Departure from Cadiz--A Deserved Rebuke--The Beautiful Madeiras
--Tabooed--In the Delightful Bermudas--An English Welcome--Good-by to
"Our Friends the Bermudians"--Packing Trunks for Home--Our First
Accident--The Long Cruise Drawing to a Close--At Home--Amen
Thankless Devotion--A Newspaper Valedictory--Conclusion
This book is a record of a pleasure trip. If it were a record of a
solemn scientific expedition, it would have about it that gravity, that
profundity, and that impressive incomprehensibility which are so proper
to works of that kind, and withal so attractive. Yet notwithstanding it
is only a record of a pic-nic, it has a purpose, which is to suggest to
the reader how he would be likely to see Europe and the East if he looked
at them with his own eyes instead of the eyes of those who traveled in
those countries before him. I make small pretense of showing anyone how
he ought to look at objects of interest beyond the sea--other books do
that, and therefore, even if I were competent to do it, there is no need.
I offer no apologies for any departures from the usual style of
travel-writing that may be charged against me--for I think I have seen with
impartial eyes, and I am sure I have written at least honestly, whether
wisely or not.
In this volume I have used portions of letters which I wrote for the
Daily Alta California, of San Francisco, the proprietors of that journal
having waived their rights and given me the necessary permission. I have
also inserted portions of several letters written for the New York
Tribune and the New York Herald.
For months the great pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land was
chatted about in the newspapers everywhere in America and discussed at
countless firesides. It was a novelty in the way of excursions--its like
had not been thought of before, and it compelled that interest which
attractive novelties always command. It was to be a picnic on a gigantic
scale. The participants in it, instead of freighting an ungainly steam
ferry--boat with youth and beauty and pies and doughnuts, and paddling up
some obscure creek to disembark upon a grassy lawn and wear themselves
out with a long summer day's laborious frolicking under the impression
that it was fun, were to sail away in a great steamship with flags flying
and cannon pealing, and take a royal holiday beyond the broad ocean in
many a strange clime and in many a land renowned in history! They were to
sail for months over the breezy Atlantic and the sunny Mediterranean;
they were to scamper about the decks by day, filling the ship with shouts
and laughter--or read novels and poetry in the shade of the smokestacks,
or watch for the jelly-fish and the nautilus over the side, and the
shark, the whale, and other strange monsters of the deep; and at night
they were to dance in the open air, on the upper deck, in the midst of a
ballroom that stretched from horizon to horizon, and was domed by the
bending heavens and lighted by no meaner lamps than the stars and the
magnificent moon--dance, and promenade, and smoke, and sing, and make
love, and search the skies for constellations that never associate with
the "Big Dipper" they were so tired of; and they were to see the ships of
twenty navies--the customs and costumes of twenty curious peoples--the
great cities of half a world--they were to hob-nob with nobility and hold
friendly converse with kings and princes, grand moguls, and the anointed
lords of mighty empires! It was a brave conception; it was the offspring
of a most ingenious brain. It was well advertised, but it hardly needed
it: the bold originality, the extraordinary character, the seductive
nature, and the vastness of the enterprise provoked comment everywhere
and advertised it in every household in the land. Who could read the
program of the excursion without longing to make one of the party? I will
insert it here. It is almost as good as a map. As a text for this book,
nothing could be better:
EXCURSION TO THE HOLY LAND, EGYPT,
THE CRIMEA, GREECE, AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS OF INTEREST.
BROOKLYN, February 1st, 1867
The undersigned will make an excursion as above during the coming
season, and begs to submit to you the following programme:
A first-class steamer, to be under his own command, and capable of
accommodating at least one hundred and fifty cabin passengers, will
be selected, in which will be taken a select company, numbering not
more than three-fourths of the ship's capacity. There is good
reason to believe that this company can be easily made up in this
immediate vicinity, of mutual friends and acquaintances.
The steamer will be provided with every necessary comfort,
including library and musical instruments.
An experienced physician will be on board.
Leaving New York about June 1st, a middle and pleasant route will
be taken across the Atlantic, and passing through the group of
Azores, St. Michael will be reached in about ten days. A day or two
will be spent here, enjoying the fruit and wild scenery of these
islands, and the voyage continued, and Gibraltar reached in three or
A day or two will be spent here in looking over the wonderful
subterraneous fortifications, permission to visit these galleries
being readily obtained.
From Gibraltar, running along the coasts of Spain and France,
Marseilles will be reached in three days. Here ample time will be
given not only to look over the city, which was founded six hundred
years before the Christian era, and its artificial port, the finest
of the kind in the Mediterranean, but to visit Paris during the
Great Exhibition; and the beautiful city of Lyons, lying
intermediate, from the heights of which, on a clear day, Mont Blanc
and the Alps can be distinctly seen. Passengers who may wish to
extend the time at Paris can do so, and, passing down through
Switzerland, rejoin the steamer at Genoa.
From Marseilles to Genoa is a run of one night. The excursionists
will have an opportunity to look over this, the "magnificent city of
palaces," and visit the birthplace of Columbus, twelve miles off,
over a beautiful road built by Napoleon I. From this point,
excursions may be made to Milan, Lakes Como and Maggiore, or to
Milan, Verona (famous for its extraordinary fortifications), Padua,
and Venice. Or, if passengers desire to visit Parma (famous for
Correggio's frescoes) and Bologna, they can by rail go on to
Florence, and rejoin the steamer at Leghorn, thus spending about
three weeks amid the cities most famous for art in Italy.
From Genoa the run to Leghorn will be made along the coast in one
night, and time appropriated to this point in which to visit
Florence, its palaces and galleries; Pisa, its cathedral and
"Leaning Tower," and Lucca and its baths, and Roman amphitheater;
Florence, the most remote, being distant by rail about sixty miles.
From Leghorn to Naples (calling at Civita Vecchia to land any who
may prefer to go to Rome from that point), the distance will be made
in about thirty-six hours; the route will lay along the coast of
Italy, close by Caprera, Elba, and Corsica. Arrangements have been
made to take on board at Leghorn a pilot for Caprera, and, if
practicable, a call will be made there to visit the home of
Rome [by rail], Herculaneum, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Vergil's tomb, and
possibly the ruins of Paestum can be visited, as well as the
beautiful surroundings of Naples and its charming bay.
The next point of interest will be Palermo, the most beautiful
city of Sicily, which will be reached in one night from Naples. A
day will be spent here, and leaving in the evening, the course will
be taken towards Athens.
Skirting along the north coast of Sicily, passing through the
group of Aeolian Isles, in sight of Stromboli and Vulcania, both
active volcanoes, through the Straits of Messina, with "Scylla" on
the one hand and "Charybdis" on the other, along the east coast of
Sicily, and in sight of Mount Etna, along the south coast of Italy,
the west and south coast of Greece, in sight of ancient Crete, up
Athens Gulf, and into the Piraeus, Athens will be reached in two and
a half or three days. After tarrying here awhile, the Bay of
Salamis will be crossed, and a day given to Corinth, whence the
voyage will be continued to Constantinople, passing on the way
through the Grecian Archipelago, the Dardanelles, the Sea of
Marmora, and the mouth of the Golden Horn, and arriving in about
forty-eight hours from Athens.
After leaving Constantinople, the way will be taken out through
the beautiful Bosphorus, across the Black Sea to Sebastopol and
Balaklava, a run of about twenty-four hours. Here it is proposed to
remain two days, visiting the harbors, fortifications, and
battlefields of the Crimea; thence back through the Bosphorus,
touching at Constantinople to take in any who may have preferred to
remain there; down through the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles,
along the coasts of ancient Troy and Lydia in Asia, to Smyrna, which
will be reached in two or two and a half days from Constantinople.
A sufficient stay will be made here to give opportunity of visiting
Ephesus, fifty miles distant by rail.
From Smyrna towards the Holy Land the course will lay through the
Grecian Archipelago, close by the Isle of Patmos, along the coast
of Asia, ancient Pamphylia, and the Isle of Cyprus. Beirut will be
reached in three days. At Beirut time will be given to visit
Damascus; after which the steamer will proceed to Joppa.
From Joppa, Jerusalem, the River Jordan, the Sea of Tiberias,
Nazareth, Bethany, Bethlehem, and other points of interest in the
Holy Land can be visited, and here those who may have preferred to
make the journey from Beirut through the country, passing through
Damascus, Galilee, Capernaum, Samaria, and by the River Jordan and
Sea of Tiberias, can rejoin the steamer.
Leaving Joppa, the next point of interest to visit will be
Alexandria, which will be reached in twenty-four hours. The ruins
of Caesar's Palace, Pompey's Pillar, Cleopatra's Needle, the
Catacombs, and ruins of ancient Alexandria will be found worth the
visit. The journey to Cairo, one hundred and thirty miles by rail,
can be made in a few hours, and from which can be visited the site
of ancient Memphis, Joseph's Granaries, and the Pyramids.
From Alexandria the route will be taken homeward, calling at
Malta, Cagliari (in Sardinia), and Palma (in Majorca), all
magnificent harbors, with charming scenery, and abounding in fruits.
A day or two will be spent at each place, and leaving Parma in the
evening, Valencia in Spain will be reached the next morning. A few
days will be spent in this, the finest city of Spain.
From Valencia, the homeward course will be continued, skirting
along the coast of Spain. Alicant, Carthagena, Palos, and Malaga
will be passed but a mile or two distant, and Gibraltar reached in
about twenty-four hours.
A stay of one day will be made here, and the voyage continued to
Madeira, which will be reached in about three days. Captain
Marryatt writes: "I do not know a spot on the globe which so much
astonishes and delights upon first arrival as Madeira." A stay of
one or two days will be made here, which, if time permits, may be
extended, and passing on through the islands, and probably in sight
of the Peak of Teneriffe, a southern track will be taken, and the
Atlantic crossed within the latitudes of the northeast trade winds,
where mild and pleasant weather, and a smooth sea, can always be
A call will be made at Bermuda, which lies directly in this route
homeward, and will be reached in about ten days from Madeira, and
after spending a short time with our friends the Bermudians, the
final departure will be made for home, which will be reached in
about three days.
Already, applications have been received from parties in Europe
wishing to join the Excursion there.
The ship will at all times be a home, where the excursionists, if
sick, will be surrounded by kind friends, and have all possible
comfort and sympathy.
Should contagious sickness exist in any of the ports named in the
program, such ports will be passed, and others of interest
The price of passage is fixed at $1,250, currency, for each adult
passenger. Choice of rooms and of seats at the tables apportioned
in the order in which passages are engaged; and no passage
considered engaged until ten percent of the passage money is
deposited with the treasurer.
Passengers can remain on board of the steamer, at all ports, if
they desire, without additional expense, and all boating at the
expense of the ship.
All passages must be paid for when taken, in order that the most
perfect arrangements be made for starting at the appointed time.
Applications for passage must be approved by the committee before
tickets are issued, and can be made to the undersigned.
Articles of interest or curiosity, procured by the passengers
during the voyage, may be brought home in the steamer free of
Five dollars per day, in gold, it is believed, will be a fair
calculation to make for all traveling expenses onshore and at the
various points where passengers may wish to leave the steamer for
days at a time.
The trip can be extended, and the route changed, by unanimous vote
of the passengers.
CHAS. C. DUNCAN, 117 WALL STREET, NEW YORK R. R. G******,
Committee on Applications J. T. H*****, ESQ. R. R. G*****,
ESQ. C. C. Duncan
Committee on Selecting Steamer CAPT. W. W. S* * * *, Surveyor
for Board of Underwriters
C. W. C******, Consulting Engineer for U.S. and Canada J. T.
H*****, Esq. C. C. DUNCAN
P.S.--The very beautiful and substantial side-wheel steamship
"Quaker City" has been chartered for the occasion, and will leave
New York June 8th. Letters have been issued by the government
commending the party to courtesies abroad.
What was there lacking about that program to make it perfectly
irresistible? Nothing that any finite mind could discover. Paris,
England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy--Garibaldi! The Grecian
Archipelago! Vesuvius! Constantinople! Smyrna! The Holy Land! Egypt and
"our friends the Bermudians"! People in Europe desiring to join the
excursion--contagious sickness to be avoided--boating at the expense of
the ship--physician on board--the circuit of the globe to be made if the
passengers unanimously desired it--the company to be rigidly selected by
a pitiless "Committee on Applications"--the vessel to be as rigidly
selected by as pitiless a "Committee on Selecting Steamer." Human nature
could not withstand these bewildering temptations. I hurried to the
treasurer's office and deposited my ten percent. I rejoiced to know that
a few vacant staterooms were still left. I did avoid a critical personal
examination into my character by that bowelless committee, but I referred
to all the people of high standing I could think of in the community who
would be least likely to know anything about me.
Shortly a supplementary program was issued which set forth that the
Plymouth Collection of Hymns would be used on board the ship. I then
paid the balance of my passage money.
I was provided with a receipt and duly and officially accepted as an
excursionist. There was happiness in that but it was tame compared to
the novelty of being "select."
This supplementary program also instructed the excursionists to provide
themselves with light musical instruments for amusement in the ship, with
saddles for Syrian travel, green spectacles and umbrellas, veils for
Egypt, and substantial clothing to use in rough pilgrimizing in the Holy
Land. Furthermore, it was suggested that although the ship's library
would afford a fair amount of reading matter, it would still be well if
each passenger would provide himself with a few guidebooks, a Bible, and
some standard works of travel. A list was appended, which consisted
chiefly of books relating to the Holy Land, since the Holy Land was part
of the excursion and seemed to be its main feature.
Reverend Henry Ward Beecher was to have accompanied the expedition, but
urgent duties obliged him to give up the idea. There were other
passengers who could have been spared better and would have been spared
more willingly. Lieutenant General Sherman was to have been of the party
also, but the Indian war compelled his presence on the plains. A popular
actress had entered her name on the ship's books, but something
interfered and she couldn't go. The "Drummer Boy of the Potomac"
deserted, and lo, we had never a celebrity left!
However, we were to have a "battery of guns" from the Navy Department (as
per advertisement) to be used in answering royal salutes; and the
document furnished by the Secretary of the Navy, which was to make
"General Sherman and party" welcome guests in the courts and camps of the
old world, was still left to us, though both document and battery, I
think, were shorn of somewhat of their original august proportions.
However, had not we the seductive program still, with its Paris, its
Constantinople, Smyrna, Jerusalem, Jericho, and "our friends the
Bermudians?" What did we care?
Occasionally, during the following month, I dropped in at 117 Wall Street
to inquire how the repairing and refurnishing of the vessel was coming
on, how additions to the passenger list were averaging, how many people
the committee were decreeing not "select" every day and banishing in
sorrow and tribulation. I was glad to know that we were to have a little
printing press on board and issue a daily newspaper of our own. I was
glad to learn that our piano, our parlor organ, and our melodeon were to
be the best instruments of the kind that could be had in the market. I
was proud to observe that among our excursionists were three ministers of
the gospel, eight doctors, sixteen or eighteen ladies, several military
and naval chieftains with sounding titles, an ample crop of "Professors"
of various kinds, and a gentleman who had "COMMISSIONER OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA TO EUROPE, ASIA, AND AFRICA" thundering after his name
in one awful blast! I had carefully prepared myself to take rather a
back seat in that ship because of the uncommonly select material that
would alone be permitted to pass through the camel's eye of that
committee on credentials; I had schooled myself to expect an imposing
array of military and naval heroes and to have to set that back seat
still further back in consequence of it maybe; but I state frankly that I
was all unprepared for this crusher.
I fell under that titular avalanche a torn and blighted thing. I said
that if that potentate must go over in our ship, why, I supposed he must
--but that to my thinking, when the United States considered it necessary
to send a dignitary of that tonnage across the ocean, it would be in
better taste, and safer, to take him apart and cart him over in sections
in several ships.
Ah, if I had only known then that he was only a common mortal, and that
his mission had nothing more overpowering about it than the collecting of
seeds and uncommon yams and extraordinary cabbages and peculiar bullfrogs
for that poor, useless, innocent, mildewed old fossil the Smithsonian
Institute, I would have felt so much relieved.
During that memorable month I basked in the happiness of being for once
in my life drifting with the tide of a great popular movement. Everybody
was going to Europe--I, too, was going to Europe. Everybody was going to
the famous Paris Exposition--I, too, was going to the Paris Exposition.
The steamship lines were carrying Americans out of the various ports of
the country at the rate of four or five thousand a week in the aggregate.
If I met a dozen individuals during that month who were not going to
Europe shortly, I have no distinct remembrance of it now. I walked about
the city a good deal with a young Mr. Blucher, who was booked for the
excursion. He was confiding, good-natured, unsophisticated,
companionable; but he was not a man to set the river on fire. He had the
most extraordinary notions about this European exodus and came at last to
consider the whole nation as packing up for emigration to France. We
stepped into a store on Broadway one day, where he bought a handkerchief,
and when the man could not make change, Mr. B. said:
"Never mind, I'll hand it to you in Paris."
"But I am not going to Paris."
"How is--what did I understand you to say?"
"I said I am not going to Paris."
"Not going to Paris! Not g---- well, then, where in the nation are you
"Nowhere at all."
"Not anywhere whatsoever?--not any place on earth but this?"
"Not any place at all but just this--stay here all summer."
My comrade took his purchase and walked out of the store without a word
--walked out with an injured look upon his countenance. Up the street
apiece he broke silence and said impressively: "It was a lie--that is my
opinion of it!"
In the fullness of time the ship was ready to receive her passengers.
I was introduced to the young gentleman who was to be my roommate, and
found him to be intelligent, cheerful of spirit, unselfish, full of
generous impulses, patient, considerate, and wonderfully good-natured.
Not any passenger that sailed in the Quaker City will withhold his
endorsement of what I have just said. We selected a stateroom forward of
the wheel, on the starboard side, "below decks." It bad two berths in
it, a dismal dead-light, a sink with a washbowl in it, and a long,
sumptuously cushioned locker, which was to do service as a sofa--partly
--and partly as a hiding place for our things. Notwithstanding all this
furniture, there was still room to turn around in, but not to swing a cat
in, at least with entire security to the cat. However, the room was
large, for a ship's stateroom, and was in every way satisfactory.
The vessel was appointed to sail on a certain Saturday early in June.
A little after noon on that distinguished Saturday I reached the ship and
went on board. All was bustle and confusion. [I have seen that remark
before somewhere.] The pier was crowded with carriages and men;
passengers were arriving and hurrying on board; the vessel's decks were
encumbered with trunks and valises; groups of excursionists, arrayed in
unattractive traveling costumes, were moping about in a drizzling rain
and looking as droopy and woebegone as so many molting chickens. The
gallant flag was up, but it was under the spell, too, and hung limp and
disheartened by the mast. Altogether, it was the bluest, bluest
spectacle! It was a pleasure excursion--there was no gainsaying that,
because the program said so--it was so nominated in the bond--but it
surely hadn't the general aspect of one.
Finally, above the banging, and rumbling, and shouting, and hissing of
steam rang the order to "cast off!"--a sudden rush to the gangways--a
scampering ashore of visitors-a revolution of the wheels, and we were
off--the pic-nic was begun! Two very mild cheers went up from the
dripping crowd on the pier; we answered them gently from the slippery
decks; the flag made an effort to wave, and failed; the "battery of guns"
spake not--the ammunition was out.
We steamed down to the foot of the harbor and came to anchor. It was
still raining. And not only raining, but storming. "Outside" we could
see, ourselves, that there was a tremendous sea on. We must lie still,
in the calm harbor, till the storm should abate. Our passengers hailed
from fifteen states; only a few of them had ever been to sea before;
manifestly it would not do to pit them against a full-blown tempest until
they had got their sea-legs on. Toward evening the two steam tugs that
had accompanied us with a rollicking champagne-party of young New Yorkers
on board who wished to bid farewell to one of our number in due and
ancient form departed, and we were alone on the deep. On deep five
fathoms, and anchored fast to the bottom. And out in the solemn rain, at
that. This was pleasuring with a vengeance.
It was an appropriate relief when the gong sounded for prayer meeting.
The first Saturday night of any other pleasure excursion might have been
devoted to whist and dancing; but I submit it to the unprejudiced mind if
it would have been in good taste for us to engage in such frivolities,
considering what we had gone through and the frame of mind we were in.
We would have shone at a wake, but not at anything more festive.
However, there is always a cheering influence about the sea; and in my
berth that night, rocked by the measured swell of the waves and lulled by
the murmur of the distant surf, I soon passed tranquilly out of all
consciousness of the dreary experiences of the day and damaging
premonitions of the future.
All day Sunday at anchor. The storm had gone down a great deal, but the
sea had not. It was still piling its frothy hills high in air "outside,"
as we could plainly see with the glasses. We could not properly begin a
pleasure excursion on Sunday; we could not offer untried stomachs to so
pitiless a sea as that. We must lie still till Monday. And we did. But
we had repetitions of church and prayer-meetings; and so, of course, we
were just as eligibly situated as we could have been any where.
I was up early that Sabbath morning and was early to breakfast. I felt a
perfectly natural desire to have a good, long, unprejudiced look at the
passengers at a time when they should be free from self-consciousness
--which is at breakfast, when such a moment occurs in the lives of human
beings at all.
I was greatly surprised to see so many elderly people--I might almost
say, so many venerable people. A glance at the long lines of heads was
apt to make one think it was all gray. But it was not. There was a
tolerably fair sprinkling of young folks, and another fair sprinkling of
gentlemen and ladies who were non-committal as to age, being neither
actually old or absolutely young.
The next morning we weighed anchor and went to sea. It was a great
happiness to get away after this dragging, dispiriting delay. I thought
there never was such gladness in the air before, such brightness in the
sun, such beauty in the sea. I was satisfied with the picnic then and
with all its belongings. All my malicious instincts were dead within me;
and as America faded out of sight, I think a spirit of charity rose up in
their place that was as boundless, for the time being, as the broad ocean
that was heaving its billows about us. I wished to express my feelings
--I wished to lift up my voice and sing; but I did not know anything to
sing, and so I was obliged to give up the idea. It was no loss to the
ship, though, perhaps.
It was breezy and pleasant, but the sea was still very rough. One could
not promenade without risking his neck; at one moment the bowsprit was
taking a deadly aim at the sun in midheaven, and at the next it was
trying to harpoon a shark in the bottom of the ocean. What a weird
sensation it is to feel the stem of a ship sinking swiftly from under you
and see the bow climbing high away among the clouds! One's safest course
that day was to clasp a railing and hang on; walking was too precarious a
By some happy fortune I was not seasick.--That was a thing to be proud
of. I had not always escaped before. If there is one thing in the world
that will make a man peculiarly and insufferably self-conceited, it is to
have his stomach behave itself, the first day it sea, when nearly all his
comrades are seasick. Soon a venerable fossil, shawled to the chin and
bandaged like a mummy, appeared at the door of the after deck-house, and
the next lurch of the ship shot him into my arms. I said:
"Good-morning, Sir. It is a fine day."
He put his hand on his stomach and said, "Oh, my!" and then staggered
away and fell over the coop of a skylight.
Presently another old gentleman was projected from the same door with
great violence. I said:
"Calm yourself, Sir--There is no hurry. It is a fine day, Sir."
He, also, put his hand on his stomach and said "Oh, my!" and reeled away.
In a little while another veteran was discharged abruptly from the same
door, clawing at the air for a saving support. I said:
"Good morning, Sir. It is a fine day for pleasuring. You were about to
I thought so. I anticipated him, anyhow. I stayed there and was
bombarded with old gentlemen for an hour, perhaps; and all I got out of
any of them was "Oh, my!"
I went away then in a thoughtful mood. I said, this is a good pleasure
excursion. I like it. The passengers are not garrulous, but still they
are sociable. I like those old people, but somehow they all seem to have
the "Oh, my" rather bad.
I knew what was the matter with them. They were seasick. And I was glad
of it. We all like to see people seasick when we are not, ourselves.
Playing whist by the cabin lamps when it is storming outside is pleasant;
walking the quarterdeck in the moonlight is pleasant; smoking in the
breezy foretop is pleasant when one is not afraid to go up there; but
these are all feeble and commonplace compared with the joy of seeing
people suffering the miseries of seasickness.
I picked up a good deal of information during the afternoon. At one time
I was climbing up the quarterdeck when the vessel's stem was in the sky;
I was smoking a cigar and feeling passably comfortable. Somebody
"Come, now, that won't answer. Read the sign up there--NO SMOKING ABAFT
It was Captain Duncan, chief of the expedition. I went forward, of
course. I saw a long spyglass lying on a desk in one of the upper-deck
state-rooms back of the pilot-house and reached after it--there was a
ship in the distance.
"Ah, ah--hands off! Come out of that!"
I came out of that. I said to a deck-sweep--but in a low voice:
"Who is that overgrown pirate with the whiskers and the discordant
"It's Captain Bursley--executive officer--sailing master."
I loitered about awhile, and then, for want of something better to do,
fell to carving a railing with my knife. Somebody said, in an
insinuating, admonitory voice:
"Now, say--my friend--don't you know any better than to be whittling the
ship all to pieces that way? You ought to know better than that."
I went back and found the deck sweep.
"Who is that smooth-faced, animated outrage yonder in the fine clothes?"
"That's Captain L****, the owner of the ship--he's one of the main
In the course of time I brought up on the starboard side of the
pilot-house and found a sextant lying on a bench. Now, I said, they
"take the sun" through this thing; I should think I might see that vessel
through it. I had hardly got it to my eye when someone touched me on the
shoulder and said deprecatingly:
"I'll have to get you to give that to me, Sir. If there's anything you'd
like to know about taking the sun, I'd as soon tell you as not--but I
don't like to trust anybody with that instrument. If you want any
figuring done--Aye, aye, sir!"
He was gone to answer a call from the other side. I sought the
"Who is that spider-legged gorilla yonder with the sanctimonious
"It's Captain Jones, sir--the chief mate."
"Well. This goes clear away ahead of anything I ever heard of before.
Do you--now I ask you as a man and a brother--do you think I could
venture to throw a rock here in any given direction without hitting a
captain of this ship?"
"Well, sir, I don't know--I think likely you'd fetch the captain of the
watch may be, because he's a-standing right yonder in the way."
I went below--meditating and a little downhearted. I thought, if five
cooks can spoil a broth, what may not five captains do with a pleasure
We plowed along bravely for a week or more, and without any conflict of
jurisdiction among the captains worth mentioning. The passengers soon
learned to accommodate themselves to their new circumstances, and life in
the ship became nearly as systematically monotonous as the routine of a
barrack. I do not mean that it was dull, for it was not entirely so by
any means--but there was a good deal of sameness about it. As is always
the fashion at sea, the passengers shortly began to pick up sailor terms
--a sign that they were beginning to feel at home. Half-past six was no
longer half-past six to these pilgrims from New England, the South, and
the Mississippi Valley, it was "seven bells"; eight, twelve, and four
o'clock were "eight bells"; the captain did not take the longitude at
nine o'clock, but at "two bells." They spoke glibly of the "after
cabin," the "for'rard cabin," "port and starboard" and the "fo'castle."
At seven bells the first gong rang; at eight there was breakfast, for
such as were not too seasick to eat it. After that all the well people
walked arm-in-arm up and down the long promenade deck, enjoying the fine
summer mornings, and the seasick ones crawled out and propped themselves
up in the lee of the paddle-boxes and ate their dismal tea and toast, and
looked wretched. From eleven o'clock until luncheon, and from luncheon
until dinner at six in the evening, the employments and amusements were
various. Some reading was done, and much smoking and sewing, though not
by the same parties; there were the monsters of the deep to be looked
after and wondered at; strange ships had to be scrutinized through
opera-glasses, and sage decisions arrived at concerning them; and more
than that, everybody took a personal interest in seeing that the flag was
run up and politely dipped three times in response to the salutes of
those strangers; in the smoking room there were always parties of
gentlemen playing euchre, draughts and dominoes, especially dominoes,
that delightfully harmless game; and down on the main deck, "for'rard"
--for'rard of the chicken-coops and the cattle--we had what was called
"horse billiards." Horse billiards is a fine game. It affords good,
active exercise, hilarity, and consuming excitement. It is a mixture of
"hop-scotch" and shuffleboard played with a crutch. A large hop-scotch
diagram is marked out on the deck with chalk, and each compartment
numbered. You stand off three or four steps, with some broad wooden
disks before you on the deck, and these you send forward with a vigorous
thrust of a long crutch. If a disk stops on a chalk line, it does not
count anything. If it stops in division No. 7, it counts 7; in 5, it
counts 5, and so on. The game is 100, and four can play at a time. That
game would be very simple played on a stationary floor, but with us, to
play it well required science. We had to allow for the reeling of the
ship to the right or the left. Very often one made calculations for a
heel to the right and the ship did not go that way. The consequence was
that that disk missed the whole hopscotch plan a yard or two, and then
there was humiliation on one side and laughter on the other.
When it rained the passengers had to stay in the house, of course--or at
least the cabins--and amuse themselves with games, reading, looking out
of the windows at the very familiar billows, and talking gossip.
By 7 o'clock in the evening, dinner was about over; an hour's promenade
on the upper deck followed; then the gong sounded and a large majority of
the party repaired to the after cabin (upper), a handsome saloon fifty or
sixty feet long, for prayers. The unregenerated called this saloon the
"Synagogue." The devotions consisted only of two hymns from the Plymouth
Collection and a short prayer, and seldom occupied more than fifteen
minutes. The hymns were accompanied by parlor-organ music when the sea
was smooth enough to allow a performer to sit at the instrument without
being lashed to his chair.
After prayers the Synagogue shortly took the semblance of a writing
school. The like of that picture was never seen in a ship before.
Behind the long dining tables on either side of the saloon, and scattered
from one end to the other of the latter, some twenty or thirty gentlemen
and ladies sat them down under the swaying lamps and for two or three
hours wrote diligently in their journals. Alas! that journals so
voluminously begun should come to so lame and impotent a conclusion as
most of them did! I doubt if there is a single pilgrim of all that host
but can show a hundred fair pages of journal concerning the first twenty
days' voyaging in the Quaker City, and I am morally certain that not ten
of the party can show twenty pages of journal for the succeeding twenty
thousand miles of voyaging! At certain periods it becomes the dearest
ambition of a man to keep a faithful record of his performances in a
book; and he dashes at this work with an enthusiasm that imposes on him
the notion that keeping a journal is the veriest pastime in the world,
and the pleasantest. But if he only lives twenty-one days, he will find
out that only those rare natures that are made up of pluck, endurance,
devotion to duty for duty's sake, and invincible determination may hope
to venture upon so tremendous an enterprise as the keeping of a journal
and not sustain a shameful defeat.
One of our favorite youths, Jack, a splendid young fellow with a head
full of good sense, and a pair of legs that were a wonder to look upon in
the way of length and straightness and slimness, used to report progress
every morning in the most glowing and spirited way, and say:
"Oh, I'm coming along bully!" (he was a little given to slang in his
happier moods.) "I wrote ten pages in my journal last night--and you
know I wrote nine the night before and twelve the night before that.
Why, it's only fun!"
"What do you find to put in it, Jack?"
"Oh, everything. Latitude and longitude, noon every day; and how many
miles we made last twenty-four hours; and all the domino games I beat and
horse billiards; and whales and sharks and porpoises; and the text of the
sermon Sundays (because that'll tell at home, you know); and the ships we
saluted and what nation they were; and which way the wind was, and
whether there was a heavy sea, and what sail we carried, though we don't
ever carry any, principally, going against a head wind always--wonder
what is the reason of that?--and how many lies Moult has told--Oh, every
thing! I've got everything down. My father told me to keep that
journal. Father wouldn't take a thousand dollars for it when I get it
"No, Jack; it will be worth more than a thousand dollars--when you get it
"Do you?--no, but do you think it will, though?
"Yes, it will be worth at least as much as a thousand dollars--when you
get it done. May be more."
"Well, I about half think so, myself. It ain't no slouch of a journal."
But it shortly became a most lamentable "slouch of a journal." One night
in Paris, after a hard day's toil in sightseeing, I said:
"Now I'll go and stroll around the cafes awhile, Jack, and give you a
chance to write up your journal, old fellow."
His countenance lost its fire. He said:
"Well, no, you needn't mind. I think I won't run that journal anymore.
It is awful tedious. Do you know--I reckon I'm as much as four thousand
pages behind hand. I haven't got any France in it at all. First I
thought I'd leave France out and start fresh. But that wouldn't do,
would it? The governor would say, 'Hello, here--didn't see anything in
France? That cat wouldn't fight, you know. First I thought I'd copy
France out of the guide-book, like old Badger in the for'rard cabin,
who's writing a book, but there's more than three hundred pages of it.
Oh, I don't think a journal's any use--do you? They're only a bother,
"Yes, a journal that is incomplete isn't of much use, but a journal
properly kept is worth a thousand dollars--when you've got it done."
"A thousand!--well, I should think so. I wouldn't finish it for a
His experience was only the experience of the majority of that
industrious night school in the cabin. If you wish to inflict a
heartless and malignant punishment upon a young person, pledge him to
keep a journal a year.
A good many expedients were resorted to to keep the excursionists amused
and satisfied. A club was formed, of all the passengers, which met in
the writing school after prayers and read aloud about the countries we
were approaching and discussed the information so obtained.
Several times the photographer of the expedition brought out his
transparent pictures and gave us a handsome magic-lantern exhibition.
His views were nearly all of foreign scenes, but there were one or two
home pictures among them. He advertised that he would "open his
performance in the after cabin at 'two bells' (nine P.M.) and show the
passengers where they shall eventually arrive"--which was all very well,
but by a funny accident the first picture that flamed out upon the canvas
was a view of Greenwood Cemetery!
On several starlight nights we danced on the upper deck, under the
awnings, and made something of a ball-room display of brilliancy by
hanging a number of ship's lanterns to the stanchions. Our music
consisted of the well-mixed strains of a melodeon which was a little
asthmatic and apt to catch its breath where it ought to come out strong,
a clarinet which was a little unreliable on the high keys and rather
melancholy on the low ones, and a disreputable accordion that had a leak
somewhere and breathed louder than it squawked--a more elegant term does
not occur to me just now. However, the dancing was infinitely worse than
the music. When the ship rolled to starboard the whole platoon of
dancers came charging down to starboard with it, and brought up in mass
at the rail; and when it rolled to port they went floundering down to
port with the same unanimity of sentiment. Waltzers spun around
precariously for a matter of fifteen seconds and then went scurrying down
to the rail as if they meant to go overboard. The Virginia reel, as
performed on board the Quaker City, had more genuine reel about it than
any reel I ever saw before, and was as full of interest to the spectator
as it was full of desperate chances and hairbreadth escapes to the
participant. We gave up dancing, finally.
We celebrated a lady's birthday anniversary with toasts, speeches, a
poem, and so forth. We also had a mock trial. No ship ever went to sea
that hadn't a mock trial on board. The purser was accused of stealing an
overcoat from stateroom No. 10. A judge was appointed; also clerks, a
crier of the court, constables, sheriffs; counsel for the State and for
the defendant; witnesses were subpoenaed, and a jury empaneled after much
challenging. The witnesses were stupid and unreliable and contradictory,
as witnesses always are. The counsel were eloquent, argumentative, and
vindictively abusive of each other, as was characteristic and proper.
The case was at last submitted and duly finished by the judge with an
absurd decision and a ridiculous sentence.
The acting of charades was tried on several evenings by the young
gentlemen and ladies, in the cabins, and proved the most distinguished
success of all the amusement experiments.
An attempt was made to organize a debating club, but it was a failure.
There was no oratorical talent in the ship.
We all enjoyed ourselves--I think I can safely say that, but it was in a
rather quiet way. We very, very seldom played the piano; we played the
flute and the clarinet together, and made good music, too, what there was
of it, but we always played the same old tune; it was a very pretty tune
--how well I remember it--I wonder when I shall ever get rid of it. We
never played either the melodeon or the organ except at devotions--but I
am too fast: young Albert did know part of a tune something about
"O Something-Or-Other How Sweet It Is to Know That He's His
What's-his-Name" (I do not remember the exact title of it, but it was
very plaintive and full of sentiment); Albert played that pretty much
all the time until we contracted with him to restrain himself. But
nobody ever sang by moonlight on the upper deck, and the congregational
singing at church and prayers was not of a superior order of
architecture. I put up with it as long as I could and then joined in
and tried to improve it, but this encouraged young George to join in
too, and that made a failure of it; because George's voice was just
"turning," and when he was singing a dismal sort of bass it was apt to
fly off the handle and startle everybody with a most discordant cackle
on the upper notes. George didn't know the tunes, either, which was
also a drawback to his performances. I said:
"Come, now, George, don't improvise. It looks too egotistical. It will
provoke remark. Just stick to 'Coronation,' like the others. It is a
good tune--you can't improve it any, just off-hand, in this way."
"Why, I'm not trying to improve it--and I am singing like the others
--just as it is in the notes."
And he honestly thought he was, too; and so he had no one to blame but
himself when his voice caught on the center occasionally and gave him the
There were those among the unregenerated who attributed the unceasing
head-winds to our distressing choir-music. There were those who said
openly that it was taking chances enough to have such ghastly music going
on, even when it was at its best; and that to exaggerate the crime by
letting George help was simply flying in the face of Providence. These
said that the choir would keep up their lacerating attempts at melody
until they would bring down a storm some day that would sink the ship.
There were even grumblers at the prayers. The executive officer said the
pilgrims had no charity:
"There they are, down there every night at eight bells, praying for fair
winds--when they know as well as I do that this is the only ship going
east this time of the year, but there's a thousand coming west--what's a
fair wind for us is a head wind to them--the Almighty's blowing a fair
wind for a thousand vessels, and this tribe wants him to turn it clear
around so as to accommodate one--and she a steamship at that! It ain't
good sense, it ain't good reason, it ain't good Christianity, it ain't
common human charity. Avast with such nonsense!"
Taking it "by and large," as the sailors say, we had a pleasant ten days'
run from New York to the Azores islands--not a fast run, for the distance
is only twenty-four hundred miles, but a right pleasant one in the main.
True, we had head winds all the time, and several stormy experiences
which sent fifty percent of the passengers to bed sick and made the ship
look dismal and deserted--stormy experiences that all will remember who
weathered them on the tumbling deck and caught the vast sheets of spray
that every now and then sprang high in air from the weather bow and swept
the ship like a thunder-shower; but for the most part we had balmy summer
weather and nights that were even finer than the days. We had the
phenomenon of a full moon located just in the same spot in the heavens at
the same hour every night. The reason of this singular conduct on the
part of the moon did not occur to us at first, but it did afterward when
we reflected that we were gaining about twenty minutes every day because
we were going east so fast--we gained just about enough every day to keep
along with the moon. It was becoming an old moon to the friends we had
left behind us, but to us Joshuas it stood still in the same place and
remained always the same.
Young Mr. Blucher, who is from the Far West and is on his first voyage,
was a good deal worried by the constantly changing "ship time." He was
proud of his new watch at first and used to drag it out promptly when
eight bells struck at noon, but he came to look after a while as if he
were losing confidence in it. Seven days out from New York he came on
deck and said with great decision:
"This thing's a swindle!"
"What's a swindle?"
"Why, this watch. I bought her out in Illinois--gave $150 for her--and I
thought she was good. And, by George, she is good onshore, but somehow
she don't keep up her lick here on the water--gets seasick may be. She
skips; she runs along regular enough till half-past eleven, and then, all
of a sudden, she lets down. I've set that old regulator up faster and
faster, till I've shoved it clear around, but it don't do any good; she
just distances every watch in the ship, and clatters along in a way
that's astonishing till it is noon, but them eight bells always gets in
about ten minutes ahead of her anyway. I don't know what to do with her
now. She's doing all she can--she's going her best gait, but it won't
save her. Now, don't you know, there ain't a watch in the ship that's
making better time than she is, but what does it signify? When you hear
them eight bells you'll find her just about ten minutes short of her
The ship was gaining a full hour every three days, and this fellow was
trying to make his watch go fast enough to keep up to her. But, as he
had said, he had pushed the regulator up as far as it would go, and the
watch was "on its best gait," and so nothing was left him but to fold his
hands and see the ship beat the race. We sent him to the captain, and he
explained to him the mystery of "ship time" and set his troubled mind at
rest. This young man asked a great many questions about seasickness
before we left, and wanted to know what its characteristics were and how
he was to tell when he had it. He found out.
We saw the usual sharks, blackfish, porpoises, &c., of course, and by and
by large schools of Portuguese men-of-war were added to the regular list
of sea wonders. Some of them were white and some of a brilliant carmine
color. The nautilus is nothing but a transparent web of jelly that
spreads itself to catch the wind, and has fleshy-looking strings a foot
or two long dangling from it to keep it steady in the water. It is an
accomplished sailor and has good sailor judgment. It reefs its sail when
a storm threatens or the wind blows pretty hard, and furls it entirely
and goes down when a gale blows. Ordinarily it keeps its sail wet and in
good sailing order by turning over and dipping it in the water for a
moment. Seamen say the nautilus is only found in these waters between
the 35th and 45th parallels of latitude.
At three o'clock on the morning of the twenty-first of June, we were
awakened and notified that the Azores islands were in sight. I said I
did not take any interest in islands at three o'clock in the morning.
But another persecutor came, and then another and another, and finally
believing that the general enthusiasm would permit no one to slumber in
peace, I got up and went sleepily on deck. It was five and a half
o'clock now, and a raw, blustering morning. The passengers were huddled
about the smoke-stacks and fortified behind ventilators, and all were
wrapped in wintry costumes and looking sleepy and unhappy in the pitiless
gale and the drenching spray.
The island in sight was Flores. It seemed only a mountain of mud
standing up out of the dull mists of the sea. But as we bore down upon
it the sun came out and made it a beautiful picture--a mass of green
farms and meadows that swelled up to a height of fifteen hundred feet and
mingled its upper outlines with the clouds. It was ribbed with sharp,
steep ridges and cloven with narrow canyons, and here and there on the
heights, rocky upheavals shaped themselves into mimic battlements and
castles; and out of rifted clouds came broad shafts of sunlight, that
painted summit, and slope and glen, with bands of fire, and left belts of
somber shade between. It was the aurora borealis of the frozen pole
exiled to a summer land!
We skirted around two-thirds of the island, four miles from shore, and
all the opera glasses in the ship were called into requisition to settle
disputes as to whether mossy spots on the uplands were groves of trees or
groves of weeds, or whether the white villages down by the sea were
really villages or only the clustering tombstones of cemeteries. Finally
we stood to sea and bore away for San Miguel, and Flores shortly became a
dome of mud again and sank down among the mists, and disappeared. But to
many a seasick passenger it was good to see the green hills again, and
all were more cheerful after this episode than anybody could have
expected them to be, considering how sinfully early they had gotten up.
But we had to change our purpose about San Miguel, for a storm came up
about noon that so tossed and pitched the vessel that common sense
dictated a run for shelter. Therefore we steered for the nearest island
of the group--Fayal (the people there pronounce it Fy-all, and put the
accent on the first syllable). We anchored in the open roadstead of
Horta, half a mile from the shore. The town has eight thousand to ten
thousand inhabitants. Its snow-white houses nestle cosily in a sea of
fresh green vegetation, and no village could look prettier or more
attractive. It sits in the lap of an amphitheater of hills which are
three hundred to seven hundred feet high, and carefully cultivated clear
to their summits--not a foot of soil left idle. Every farm and every
acre is cut up into little square inclosures by stone walls, whose duty
it is to protect the growing products from the destructive gales that
blow there. These hundreds of green squares, marked by their black lava
walls, make the hills look like vast checkerboards.
The islands belong to Portugal, and everything in Fayal has Portuguese
characteristics about it. But more of that anon. A swarm of swarthy,
noisy, lying, shoulder-shrugging, gesticulating Portuguese boatmen, with
brass rings in their ears and fraud in their hearts, climbed the ship's
sides, and various parties of us contracted with them to take us ashore
at so much a head, silver coin of any country. We landed under the walls
of a little fort, armed with batteries of twelve-and-thirty-two-pounders,
which Horta considered a most formidable institution, but if we were ever
to get after it with one of our turreted monitors, they would have to
move it out in the country if they wanted it where they could go and find
it again when they needed it. The group on the pier was a rusty one--men
and women, and boys and girls, all ragged and barefoot, uncombed and
unclean, and by instinct, education, and profession beggars. They
trooped after us, and never more while we tarried in Fayal did we get rid
of them. We walked up the middle of the principal street, and these
vermin surrounded us on all sides and glared upon us; and every moment
excited couples shot ahead of the procession to get a good look back,
just as village boys do when they accompany the elephant on his
advertising trip from street to street. It was very flattering to me to
be part of the material for such a sensation. Here and there in the
doorways we saw women with fashionable Portuguese hoods on. This hood is
of thick blue cloth, attached to a cloak of the same stuff, and is a
marvel of ugliness. It stands up high and spreads far abroad, and is
unfathomably deep. It fits like a circus tent, and a woman's head is
hidden away in it like the man's who prompts the singers from his tin
shed in the stage of an opera. There is no particle of trimming about
this monstrous capote, as they call it--it is just a plain, ugly
dead-blue mass of sail, and a woman can't go within eight points of the
wind with one of them on; she has to go before the wind or not at all.
The general style of the capote is the same in all the islands, and will
remain so for the next ten thousand years, but each island shapes its
capotes just enough differently from the others to enable an observer to
tell at a glance what particular island a lady hails from.
The Portuguese pennies, or reis (pronounced rays), are prodigious. It
takes one thousand reis to make a dollar, and all financial estimates are
made in reis. We did not know this until after we had found it out
through Blucher. Blucher said he was so happy and so grateful to be on
solid land once more that he wanted to give a feast--said he had heard it
was a cheap land, and he was bound to have a grand banquet. He invited
nine of us, and we ate an excellent dinner at the principal hotel. In
the midst of the jollity produced by good cigars, good wine, and passable
anecdotes, the landlord presented his bill. Blucher glanced at it and
his countenance fell. He took another look to assure himself that his
senses had not deceived him and then read the items aloud, in a faltering
voice, while the roses in his cheeks turned to ashes:
"'Ten dinners, at 600 reis, 6,000 reis!' Ruin and desolation!
"'Twenty-five cigars, at 100 reis, 2,500 reis!' Oh, my sainted mother!
"'Eleven bottles of wine, at 1,200 reis, 13,200 reis!' Be with us all!
"'TOTAL, TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED REIS!' The suffering Moses!
There ain't money enough in the ship to pay that bill! Go--leave me to
my misery, boys, I am a ruined community."
I think it was the blankest-looking party I ever saw. Nobody could say a
word. It was as if every soul had been stricken dumb. Wine glasses
descended slowly to the table, their contents untasted. Cigars dropped
unnoticed from nerveless fingers. Each man sought his neighbor's eye,
but found in it no ray of hope, no encouragement. At last the fearful
silence was broken. The shadow of a desperate resolve settled upon
Blucher's countenance like a cloud, and he rose up and said:
"Landlord, this is a low, mean swindle, and I'll never, never stand it.
Here's a hundred and fifty dollars, Sir, and it's all you'll get--I'll
swim in blood before I'll pay a cent more."
Our spirits rose and the landlord's fell--at least we thought so; he was
confused, at any rate, notwithstanding he had not understood a word that
had been said. He glanced from the little pile of gold pieces to Blucher
several times and then went out. He must have visited an American, for
when he returned, he brought back his bill translated into a language
that a Christian could understand--thus:
10 dinners, 6,000 reis, or . . .$6.00
25 cigars, 2,500 reis, or . . . 2.50
11 bottles wine, 13,200 reis, or 13.20
Total 21,700 reis, or . . . . $21.70
Happiness reigned once more in Blucher's dinner party. More refreshments
I think the Azores must be very little known in America. Out of our
whole ship's company there was not a solitary individual who knew
anything whatever about them. Some of the party, well read concerning
most other lands, had no other information about the Azores than that
they were a group of nine or ten small islands far out in the Atlantic,
something more than halfway between New York and Gibraltar. That was
all. These considerations move me to put in a paragraph of dry facts
The community is eminently Portuguese--that is to say, it is slow, poor,
shiftless, sleepy, and lazy. There is a civil governor, appointed by the
King of Portugal, and also a military governor, who can assume supreme
control and suspend the civil government at his pleasure. The islands
contain a population of about 200,000, almost entirely Portuguese.
Everything is staid and settled, for the country was one hundred years
old when Columbus discovered America. The principal crop is corn, and
they raise it and grind it just as their great-great-great-grandfathers
did. They plow with a board slightly shod with iron; their trifling
little harrows are drawn by men and women; small windmills grind the
corn, ten bushels a day, and there is one assistant superintendent to
feed the mill and a general superintendent to stand by and keep him from
going to sleep. When the wind changes they hitch on some donkeys and
actually turn the whole upper half of the mill around until the sails are
in proper position, instead of fixing the concern so that the sails could
be moved instead of the mill. Oxen tread the wheat from the ear, after
the fashion prevalent in the time of Methuselah. There is not a
wheelbarrow in the land--they carry everything on their heads, or on
donkeys, or in a wicker-bodied cart, whose wheels are solid blocks of
wood and whose axles turn with the wheel. There is not a modern plow in
the islands or a threshing machine. All attempts to introduce them have
failed. The good Catholic Portuguese crossed himself and prayed God to
shield him from all blasphemous desire to know more than his father did
before him. The climate is mild; they never have snow or ice, and I saw
no chimneys in the town. The donkeys and the men, women, and children of
a family all eat and sleep in the same room, and are unclean, are ravaged
by vermin, and are truly happy. The people lie, and cheat the stranger,
and are desperately ignorant, and have hardly any reverence for their
dead. The latter trait shows how little better they are than the donkeys
they eat and sleep with. The only well-dressed Portuguese in the camp
are the half a dozen well-to-do families, the Jesuit priests, and the
soldiers of the little garrison. The wages of a laborer are twenty to
twenty-four cents a day, and those of a good mechanic about twice as
much. They count it in reis at a thousand to the dollar, and this makes
them rich and contented. Fine grapes used to grow in the islands, and an
excellent wine was made and exported. But a disease killed all the vines
fifteen years ago, and since that time no wine has been made. The
islands being wholly of volcanic origin, the soil is necessarily very
rich. Nearly every foot of ground is under cultivation, and two or three
crops a year of each article are produced, but nothing is exported save a
few oranges--chiefly to England. Nobody comes here, and nobody goes
away. News is a thing unknown in Fayal. A thirst for it is a passion
equally unknown. A Portuguese of average intelligence inquired if our
civil war was over. Because, he said, somebody had told him it was--or
at least it ran in his mind that somebody had told him something like
that! And when a passenger gave an officer of the garrison copies of the
Tribune, the Herald, and Times, he was surprised to find later news in
them from Lisbon than he had just received by the little monthly steamer.
He was told that it came by cable. He said he knew they had tried to lay
a cable ten years ago, but it had been in his mind somehow that they
It is in communities like this that Jesuit humbuggery flourishes. We
visited a Jesuit cathedral nearly two hundred years old and found in it a
piece of the veritable cross upon which our Saviour was crucified. It
was polished and hard, and in as excellent a state of preservation as if
the dread tragedy on Calvary had occurred yesterday instead of eighteen
centuries ago. But these confiding people believe in that piece of wood
In a chapel of the cathedral is an altar with facings of solid silver--at
least they call it so, and I think myself it would go a couple of hundred
to the ton (to speak after the fashion of the silver miners)--and before
it is kept forever burning a small lamp. A devout lady who died, left
money and contracted for unlimited masses for the repose of her soul, and
also stipulated that this lamp should be kept lighted always, day and
night. She did all this before she died, you understand. It is a very
small lamp and a very dim one, and it could not work her much damage, I
think, if it went out altogether.
The great altar of the cathedral and also three or four minor ones are a
perfect mass of gilt gimcracks and gingerbread. And they have a swarm of
rusty, dusty, battered apostles standing around the filagree work, some
on one leg and some with one eye out but a gamey look in the other, and
some with two or three fingers gone, and some with not enough nose left
to blow--all of them crippled and discouraged, and fitter subjects for
the hospital than the cathedral.
The walls of the chancel are of porcelain, all pictured over with figures
of almost life size, very elegantly wrought and dressed in the fanciful
costumes of two centuries ago. The design was a history of something or
somebody, but none of us were learned enough to read the story. The old
father, reposing under a stone close by, dated 1686, might have told us
if he could have risen. But he didn't.
As we came down through the town we encountered a squad of little donkeys
ready saddled for use. The saddles were peculiar, to say the least.
They consisted of a sort of saw-buck with a small mattress on it, and
this furniture covered about half the donkey. There were no stirrups,
but really such supports were not needed--to use such a saddle was the
next thing to riding a dinner table--there was ample support clear out to
one's knee joints. A pack of ragged Portuguese muleteers crowded around
us, offering their beasts at half a dollar an hour--more rascality to the
stranger, for the market price is sixteen cents. Half a dozen of us
mounted the ungainly affairs and submitted to the indignity of making a
ridiculous spectacle of ourselves through the principal streets of a town
of 10,000 inhabitants.
We started. It was not a trot, a gallop, or a canter, but a stampede,
and made up of all possible or conceivable gaits. No spurs were
necessary. There was a muleteer to every donkey and a dozen volunteers
beside, and they banged the donkeys with their goad sticks, and pricked
them with their spikes, and shouted something that sounded like
"Sekki-yah!" and kept up a din and a racket that was worse than Bedlam
itself. These rascals were all on foot, but no matter, they were always
up to time--they can outrun and outlast a donkey. Altogether, ours was
a lively and a picturesque procession, and drew crowded audiences to the
balconies wherever we went.
Blucher could do nothing at all with his donkey. The beast scampered
zigzag across the road and the others ran into him; he scraped Blucher
against carts and the corners of houses; the road was fenced in with high
stone walls, and the donkey gave him a polishing first on one side and
then on the other, but never once took the middle; he finally came to the
house he was born in and darted into the parlor, scraping Blucher off at
the doorway. After remounting, Blucher said to the muleteer, "Now,
that's enough, you know; you go slow hereafter."
But the fellow knew no English and did not understand, so he simply said,
"Sekki-yah!" and the donkey was off again like a shot. He turned a comer
suddenly, and Blucher went over his head. And, to speak truly, every
mule stumbled over the two, and the whole cavalcade was piled up in a
heap. No harm done. A fall from one of those donkeys is of little more
consequence than rolling off a sofa. The donkeys all stood still after
the catastrophe and waited for their dismembered saddles to be patched up
and put on by the noisy muleteers. Blucher was pretty angry and wanted
to swear, but every time he opened his mouth his animal did so also and
let off a series of brays that drowned all other sounds.
It was fun, scurrying around the breezy hills and through the beautiful
canyons. There was that rare thing, novelty, about it; it was a fresh,
new, exhilarating sensation, this donkey riding, and worth a hundred worn
and threadbare home pleasures.
The roads were a wonder, and well they might be. Here was an island with
only a handful of people in it--25,000--and yet such fine roads do not
exist in the United States outside of Central Park. Everywhere you go,
in any direction, you find either a hard, smooth, level thoroughfare,
just sprinkled with black lava sand, and bordered with little gutters
neatly paved with small smooth pebbles, or compactly paved ones like
Broadway. They talk much of the Russ pavement in New York, and call it a
new invention--yet here they have been using it in this remote little
isle of the sea for two hundred years! Every street in Horta is
handsomely paved with the heavy Russ blocks, and the surface is neat and
true as a floor--not marred by holes like Broadway. And every road is
fenced in by tall, solid lava walls, which will last a thousand years in
this land where frost is unknown. They are very thick, and are often
plastered and whitewashed and capped with projecting slabs of cut stone.
Trees from gardens above hang their swaying tendrils down, and contrast
their bright green with the whitewash or the black lava of the walls and
make them beautiful. The trees and vines stretch across these narrow
roadways sometimes and so shut out the sun that you seem to be riding
through a tunnel. The pavements, the roads, and the bridges are all
The bridges are of a single span--a single arch--of cut stone, without a
support, and paved on top with flags of lava and ornamental pebblework.
Everywhere are walls, walls, walls, and all of them tasteful and
handsome--and eternally substantial; and everywhere are those marvelous
pavements, so neat, so smooth, and so indestructible. And if ever roads
and streets and the outsides of houses were perfectly free from any sign
or semblance of dirt, or dust, or mud, or uncleanliness of any kind, it
is Horta, it is Fayal. The lower classes of the people, in their persons
and their domiciles, are not clean--but there it stops--the town and the
island are miracles of cleanliness.
We arrived home again finally, after a ten-mile excursion, and the
irrepressible muleteers scampered at our heels through the main street,
goading the donkeys, shouting the everlasting "Sekki-yah," and singing
"John Brown's Body" in ruinous English.
When we were dismounted and it came to settling, the shouting and jawing
and swearing and quarreling among the muleteers and with us was nearly
deafening. One fellow would demand a dollar an hour for the use of his
donkey; another claimed half a dollar for pricking him up, another a
quarter for helping in that service, and about fourteen guides presented
bills for showing us the way through the town and its environs; and every
vagrant of them was more vociferous, and more vehement and more frantic
in gesture than his neighbor. We paid one guide and paid for one
muleteer to each donkey.
The mountains on some of the islands are very high. We sailed along the
shore of the island of Pico, under a stately green pyramid that rose up
with one unbroken sweep from our very feet to an altitude of 7,613 feet,
and thrust its summit above the white clouds like an island adrift in a
We got plenty of fresh oranges, lemons, figs, apricots, etc., in these
Azores, of course. But I will desist. I am not here to write Patent
We are on our way to Gibraltar, and shall reach there five or six days
out from the Azores.
A week of buffeting a tempestuous and relentless sea; a week of
seasickness and deserted cabins; of lonely quarterdecks drenched with
spray--spray so ambitious that it even coated the smokestacks thick with
a white crust of salt to their very tops; a week of shivering in the
shelter of the lifeboats and deckhouses by day and blowing suffocating
"clouds" and boisterously performing at dominoes in the smoking room at
And the last night of the seven was the stormiest of all. There was no
thunder, no noise but the pounding bows of the ship, the keen whistling
of the gale through the cordage, and the rush of the seething waters.
But the vessel climbed aloft as if she would climb to heaven--then paused
an instant that seemed a century and plunged headlong down again, as from
a precipice. The sheeted sprays drenched the decks like rain. The
blackness of darkness was everywhere. At long intervals a flash of
lightning clove it with a quivering line of fire that revealed a heaving
world of water where was nothing before, kindled the dusky cordage to
glittering silver, and lit up the faces of the men with a ghastly luster!
Fear drove many on deck that were used to avoiding the night winds and
the spray. Some thought the vessel could not live through the night, and
it seemed less dreadful to stand out in the midst of the wild tempest and
see the peril that threatened than to be shut up in the sepulchral
cabins, under the dim lamps, and imagine the horrors that were abroad on
the ocean. And once out--once where they could see the ship struggling
in the strong grasp of the storm--once where they could hear the shriek
of the winds and face the driving spray and look out upon the majestic
picture the lightnings disclosed, they were prisoners to a fierce
fascination they could not resist, and so remained. It was a wild night
--and a very, very long one.
Everybody was sent scampering to the deck at seven o'clock this lovely
morning of the thirtieth of June with the glad news that land was in
sight! It was a rare thing and a joyful, to see all the ship's family
abroad once more, albeit the happiness that sat upon every countenance
could only partly conceal the ravages which that long siege of storms had
wrought there. But dull eyes soon sparkled with pleasure, pallid cheeks
flushed again, and frames weakened by sickness gathered new life from the
quickening influences of the bright, fresh morning. Yea, and from a
still more potent influence: the worn castaways were to see the blessed
land again!--and to see it was to bring back that motherland that was in
all their thoughts.
Within the hour we were fairly within the Straits of Gibraltar, the tall
yellow-splotched hills of Africa on our right, with their bases veiled in
a blue haze and their summits swathed in clouds--the same being according
to Scripture, which says that "clouds and darkness are over the land."
The words were spoken of this particular portion of Africa, I believe.
On our left were the granite-ribbed domes of old Spain. The strait is
only thirteen miles wide in its narrowest part.
At short intervals along the Spanish shore were quaint-looking old stone
towers--Moorish, we thought--but learned better afterwards. In former
times the Morocco rascals used to coast along the Spanish Main in their
boats till a safe opportunity seemed to present itself, and then dart in
and capture a Spanish village and carry off all the pretty women they
could find. It was a pleasant business, and was very popular. The
Spaniards built these watchtowers on the hills to enable them to keep a
sharper lookout on the Moroccan speculators.
The picture on the other hand was very beautiful to eyes weary of the
changeless sea, and by and by the ship's company grew wonderfully
cheerful. But while we stood admiring the cloud-capped peaks and the
lowlands robed in misty gloom a finer picture burst upon us and chained
every eye like a magnet--a stately ship, with canvas piled on canvas till
she was one towering mass of bellying sail! She came speeding over the
sea like a great bird. Africa and Spain were forgotten. All homage was
for the beautiful stranger. While everybody gazed she swept superbly by
and flung the Stars and Stripes to the breeze! Quicker than thought,
hats and handkerchiefs flashed in the air, and a cheer went up! She was
beautiful before--she was radiant now. Many a one on our decks knew then
for the first time how tame a sight his country's flag is at home
compared to what it is in a foreign land. To see it is to see a vision
of home itself and all its idols, and feel a thrill that would stir a
very river of sluggish blood!
We were approaching the famed Pillars of Hercules, and already the
African one, "Ape's Hill," a grand old mountain with summit streaked with
granite ledges, was in sight. The other, the great Rock of Gibraltar,
was yet to come. The ancients considered the Pillars of Hercules the
head of navigation and the end of the world. The information the
ancients didn't have was very voluminous. Even the prophets wrote book
after book and epistle after epistle, yet never once hinted at the
existence of a great continent on our side of the water; yet they must
have known it was there, I should think.
In a few moments a lonely and enormous mass of rock, standing seemingly
in the center of the wide strait and apparently washed on all sides by
the sea, swung magnificently into view, and we needed no tedious traveled
parrot to tell us it was Gibraltar. There could not be two rocks like
that in one kingdom.
The Rock of Gibraltar is about a mile and a half long, I should say, by
1,400 to 1,500 feet high, and a quarter of a mile wide at its base. One
side and one end of it come about as straight up out of the sea as the
side of a house, the other end is irregular and the other side is a steep
slant which an army would find very difficult to climb. At the foot of
this slant is the walled town of Gibraltar--or rather the town occupies
part of the slant. Everywhere--on hillside, in the precipice, by the
sea, on the heights--everywhere you choose to look, Gibraltar is clad
with masonry and bristling with guns. It makes a striking and lively
picture from whatsoever point you contemplate it. It is pushed out into
the sea on the end of a flat, narrow strip of land, and is suggestive of
a "gob" of mud on the end of a shingle. A few hundred yards of this flat
ground at its base belongs to the English, and then, extending across the
strip from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, a distance of a quarter of
a mile, comes the "Neutral Ground," a space two or three hundred yards
wide, which is free to both parties.
"Are you going through Spain to Paris?" That question was bandied about
the ship day and night from Fayal to Gibraltar, and I thought I never
could get so tired of hearing any one combination of words again or more
tired of answering, "I don't know." At the last moment six or seven had
sufficient decision of character to make up their minds to go, and did
go, and I felt a sense of relief at once--it was forever too late now and
I could make up my mind at my leisure not to go. I must have a
prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to
make it up.
But behold how annoyances repeat themselves. We had no sooner gotten rid
of the Spain distress than the Gibraltar guides started another--a
tiresome repetition of a legend that had nothing very astonishing about
it, even in the first place: "That high hill yonder is called the Queen's
Chair; it is because one of the queens of Spain placed her chair there
when the French and Spanish troops were besieging Gibraltar, and said she
would never move from the spot till the English flag was lowered from the
fortresses. If the English hadn't been gallant enough to lower the flag
for a few hours one day, she'd have had to break her oath or die up
We rode on asses and mules up the steep, narrow streets and entered the
subterranean galleries the English have blasted out in the rock. These
galleries are like spacious railway tunnels, and at short intervals in
them great guns frown out upon sea and town through portholes five or six
hundred feet above the ocean. There is a mile or so of this subterranean
work, and it must have cost a vast deal of money and labor. The gallery
guns command the peninsula and the harbors of both oceans, but they might
as well not be there, I should think, for an army could hardly climb the
perpendicular wall of the rock anyhow. Those lofty portholes afford
superb views of the sea, though. At one place, where a jutting crag was
hollowed out into a great chamber whose furniture was huge cannon and
whose windows were portholes, a glimpse was caught of a hill not far
away, and a soldier said:
"That high hill yonder is called the Queen's Chair; it is because a queen
of Spain placed her chair there once when the French and Spanish troops
were besieging Gibraltar, and said she would never move from the spot
till the English flag was lowered from the fortresses. If the English
hadn't been gallant enough to lower the flag for a few hours one day,
she'd have had to break her oath or die up there."
On the topmost pinnacle of Gibraltar we halted a good while, and no doubt
the mules were tired. They had a right to be. The military road was
good, but rather steep, and there was a good deal of it. The view from
the narrow ledge was magnificent; from it vessels seeming like the
tiniest little toy boats were turned into noble ships by the telescopes,
and other vessels that were fifty miles away and even sixty, they said,
and invisible to the naked eye, could be clearly distinguished through
those same telescopes. Below, on one side, we looked down upon an
endless mass of batteries and on the other straight down to the sea.
While I was resting ever so comfortably on a rampart, and cooling my
baking head in the delicious breeze, an officious guide belonging to
another party came up and said:
"Senor, that high hill yonder is called the Queen's Chair--"
"Sir, I am a helpless orphan in a foreign land. Have pity on me. Don't
--now don't inflict that most in-FERNAL old legend on me anymore today!"
There--I had used strong language after promising I would never do so
again; but the provocation was more than human nature could bear. If you
had been bored so, when you had the noble panorama of Spain and Africa
and the blue Mediterranean spread abroad at your feet, and wanted to gaze
and enjoy and surfeit yourself in its beauty in silence, you might have
even burst into stronger language than I did.
Gibraltar has stood several protracted sieges, one of them of nearly four
years' duration (it failed), and the English only captured it by
stratagem. The wonder is that anybody should ever dream of trying so
impossible a project as the taking it by assault--and yet it has been
tried more than once.
The Moors held the place twelve hundred years ago, and a staunch old
castle of theirs of that date still frowns from the middle of the town,
with moss-grown battlements and sides well scarred by shots fired in
battles and sieges that are forgotten now. A secret chamber in the rock
behind it was discovered some time ago, which contained a sword of
exquisite workmanship, and some quaint old armor of a fashion that
antiquaries are not acquainted with, though it is supposed to be Roman.
Roman armor and Roman relics of various kinds have been found in a cave
in the sea extremity of Gibraltar; history says Rome held this part of
the country about the Christian era, and these things seem to confirm the
In that cave also are found human bones, crusted with a very thick, stony
coating, and wise men have ventured to say that those men not only lived
before the flood, but as much as ten thousand years before it. It may be
true--it looks reasonable enough--but as long as those parties can't vote
anymore, the matter can be of no great public interest. In this cave
likewise are found skeletons and fossils of animals that exist in every
part of Africa, yet within memory and tradition have never existed in any
portion of Spain save this lone peak of Gibraltar! So the theory is that
the channel between Gibraltar and Africa was once dry land, and that the
low, neutral neck between Gibraltar and the Spanish hills behind it was
once ocean, and of course that these African animals, being over at
Gibraltar (after rock, perhaps--there is plenty there), got closed out
when the great change occurred. The hills in Africa, across the channel,
are full of apes, and there are now and always have been apes on the rock
of Gibraltar--but not elsewhere in Spain! The subject is an interesting
There is an English garrison at Gibraltar of 6,000 or 7,000 men, and so
uniforms of flaming red are plenty; and red and blue, and undress
costumes of snowy white, and also the queer uniform of the bare-kneed
Highlander; and one sees soft-eyed Spanish girls from San Roque, and
veiled Moorish beauties (I suppose they are beauties) from Tarifa, and
turbaned, sashed, and trousered Moorish merchants from Fez, and
long-robed, bare-legged, ragged Muhammadan vagabonds from Tetuan and
Tangier, some brown, some yellow and some as black as virgin ink--and
Jews from all around, in gabardine, skullcap, and slippers, just as they
are in pictures and theaters, and just as they were three thousand years
ago, no doubt. You can easily understand that a tribe (somehow our
pilgrims suggest that expression, because they march in a straggling
procession through these foreign places with such an Indian-like air of
complacency and independence about them) like ours, made up from fifteen
or sixteen states of the Union, found enough to stare at in this
shifting panorama of fashion today.
Speaking of our pilgrims reminds me that we have one or two people among
us who are sometimes an annoyance. However, I do not count the Oracle in
that list. I will explain that the Oracle is an innocent old ass who
eats for four and looks wiser than the whole Academy of France would have
any right to look, and never uses a one-syllable word when he can think
of a longer one, and never by any possible chance knows the meaning of
any long word he uses or ever gets it in the right place; yet he will
serenely venture an opinion on the most abstruse subject and back it up
complacently with quotations from authors who never existed, and finally
when cornered will slide to the other side of the question, say he has
been there all the time, and come back at you with your own spoken
arguments, only with the big words all tangled, and play them in your
very teeth as original with himself. He reads a chapter in the
guidebooks, mixes the facts all up, with his bad memory, and then goes
off to inflict the whole mess on somebody as wisdom which has been
festering in his brain for years and which he gathered in college from
erudite authors who are dead now and out of print. This morning at
breakfast he pointed out of the window and said:
"Do you see that there hill out there on that African coast? It's one of
them Pillows of Herkewls, I should say--and there's the ultimate one
alongside of it."
"The ultimate one--that is a good word--but the pillars are not both on
the same side of the strait." (I saw he had been deceived by a
carelessly written sentence in the guidebook.)
"Well, it ain't for you to say, nor for me. Some authors states it that
way, and some states it different. Old Gibbons don't say nothing about
it--just shirks it complete--Gibbons always done that when he got stuck
--but there is Rolampton, what does he say? Why, be says that they was
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