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The innocents abroad, or, The new Pilgrim's progress

being some account of the steamship Quaker City's pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy land ; with descriptions of countries, nations, incidents and adventures, as they appeared to the author






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 per cent. 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


Page 48
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 on shore, 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 any way. 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 score, sure.”

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, propoises, &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


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 049. In-line Illustration. Image of people standing on the deck of a ship and looking at a landmass in the distance. The caption reads, "'LAND, HO!'"] 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 21st 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.


Page 50

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 canons, and here and there on
the heights, rocky upheavals shaped themsleves 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 sombre 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 any body 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 amphitheatre 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


Page 51
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 checker-boards.

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


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 052. In-line Illustration. Image of a woman wearing a hooded cape, or a capote. The caption reads, "CAPOTE."] 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. No
body could say a word. It was as if every soul had been


Page 53
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 053. In-line Illustration. Image of six men around a table smoking cigars. One man is standing behind them talking to the landlord. The caption reads, "'RUIN AND DESOLATION!'"] 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

“Landlord, this is a low, mean swindle, and I'll never,
never stand it. Here's hundred and fifty dollars, Sir, and
it's all you'll get—I'll swim in blood, before I'll pay a cent

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


Page 54
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 were ordered.