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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






A WEEK of buffeting a tempestuons and relentless sea; a
week of seasickness and deserted cabins; of lonely
quarter-decks drenched with spray—spray so ambitious that it
even coated the smoke-stacks thick with a white crust of salt
to their very tops; a week of shivering in the shelter of the
life-beats and deck-houses by day, and blowing suffocating
“clouds” and boisterously performing at dominoes in the
smoking room at night.

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 every where. 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 lustre!

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


Page 63
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.

Every body was sent scampering to the deck at seven o'clock
this lovely morning of the 30th 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 mother-land 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 bye and bye the ship's company


Page 64
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 064. In-line Illustration. Image of a three-masted sailing ship. The caption reads, "BEAUTIFUL STRANGER."] 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 every body 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,

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Page 65
standing seemingly in the centre 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

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. Every where—on hillside, in the
precipice, by the sea, on the heights,—every where 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


Page 66
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 there.”

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 port-holes 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 any how. Those lofty port-holes 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 port-holes, 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


Page 67
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 067. In-line Illustration. Image of a gentleman sitting on a wall talking to a native guide who is gesturing to some hills in the distance. There is a cannon in the foreground. The caption reads, "'QUEEN'S CHAIR.'"] 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 any more to-day!”

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,


Page 68
spread abroad at your feet, and wanted to gaze,
and enjoy, and surfeit yourself with its beauty in silence,
you might have even burst into stronger language than I

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 any body 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
stanch 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 statement.

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 any
more, 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


Page 69
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 trowsered Moorish merchants from Fez, and long-robed,
bare-legged, ragged Mohammedan vagabonds from Tetouan
and Tangier, some brown, some yellow and some as black as
virgin ink—and Jews from all around, in gaberdine, skull-cap
and slippers, just as they are in pictures and theatres, 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 to-day.

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 cats 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


Page 70
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 070. In-line Illustration. Image of an old man in glasses holding his hat and cane in his hand. The caption reads, "THE ORACLE."] reads a chapter in the guide-books, 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 Guide

“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
done that when
he got stuck—
but there is Rolampton,
does he say?
Why, he says
that they was both on the same side, and Trinculian, and
Sobaster, and Syraccus, and Langomarganbl—”

“Oh, that will do—that's enough. If you have got your
hand in for inventing authors and testimony, I have nothing
more to say—let them be on the same side.”

We don't mind the Oracle. We rather like him. We can
tolerate the Oracle very easily; but we have a poet and a
good-natured enterprising idiot on board, and they do distress


Page 71
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 071. In-line Illustration. Image of the head and shoulders of man seen in profile. The caption reads, "'INTERROGATION POINT.'"] the company. The one gives copies of his verses to Consuls,
commanders, hotel keepers, Arabs, Dutch,—to any body, in
fact, who will submit to a grievous infliction most kindly
meant. His poetry is all very well on shipboard, notwithstanding
when he wrote an “Ode to the Ocean in a Storm”
in one half-hour, and an “Apostrophe to the Rooster in the
Waist of the Ship” in the next, the transition was considered
to be rather abrupt; but when he sends an invoice of rhymes
to the Governor of Fayal and another to the commander-in-chief
and other dignitaries in Gibraltar, with the compliments
of the Laureate of the Ship, it is not popular with the passengers.

The other personage I have mentioned is young and green,
and not bright, not learned and not wise. He will be, though,
some day, if he recollects the answers
to all his questions. He is known
about the ship as the “Interrogation
Point,” and this by constant use has
become shortened to “Interrogation.”
He has distinguished himself twice already.
In Fayal they pointed out a
hill and told him it was eight hundred
feet high and eleven hundred
feet long. And they told him there
was a tunnel two thousand feet long
and one thousand feet high running
through the hill, from end to end.
He believed it. He repeated it to every body, discussed it,
and read it from his notes. Finally, he took a useful hint from
this remark which a thoughtful old pilgrim made:

“Well, yes, it is a little remarkable—singular tunnel altogether—stands
up out of the top of the hill about two hundred
feet, and one end of it sticks out of the hill about nine hundred!”

Here in Gibraltar he corners these educated British officers
and badgers them with braggadocio about America and the
wonders she can perform. He told one of them a couple of
our gunboats could come here and knock. Gibraltar into the
Mediterranean Sea!


Page 72

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 072. In-line Illustration. Image of a soldier wrapped in a tattered cloak and carrying a long rifle. The caption reads, "GARRISON AT MALABAT."]

At this present moment, half a dozen of us are taking a
private pleasure excursion of our own devising. We form
rather more than half the list of white passengers on board a
small steamer bound for the venerable Moorish town of Tangier,
Africa. Nothing could be more absolutety certain
than that we are enjoying ourselves. One can not do otherwise
who speeds over these sparkling waters, and breathes the
soft atmosphere of this sunny land. Care can not assail us
here. We are out of its jurisdiction.

We even steamed recklessly by the frowning fortress of
Malabat, (a stronghold of the Emperor of Morocco,) without a
twinge of fear. The whole garrison
turned out under arms, and assumed
a threatening attitude—yet still we
did not fear. The entire garrison marched and counter-marched,
within the rampart, in full view—yet notwithstanding
even this, we never flinched.


Page 73

I suppose we really do not know what fear is. I inquired
the name of the garrison of the fortress of Malabat, and they
said it was Mehemet Ali Ben Sancom. I said it would be a
good idea to get some more garrisons to help him; but
they said no; he had nothing to do but hold the place, and
he was competent to do that; had done it two years already.
That was evidence which one could not well refute. There is
nothing like reputation.

Every now and then, my glove purchase in Gibraltar last
night intrudes itself upon me. Dan and the ship's surgeon
and I had been up to the great square, listening to the music
of the fine military bands, and contemplating English and
Spanish female loveliness and fashion, and, at 9 o'clock, were
on our way to the theatre, when we met the General, the
Judge, the Commodore, the Colonel, and the Commissioner of
the United States of America to Europe, Asia, and Africa,
who had been to the Club House, to register their several
titles and impoverish the bill of fare; and they told us to go
over to the little variety store, near the Hall of Justice, and
buy some kid gloves. They said they were elegant, and very
moderate in price. It seemed a stylish thing to go to the
theatre in kid gloves, and we acted upon the hint. A very
handsome young lady in the store offered me a pair of blue
gloves. I did not want blue, but she said they would look
very pretty on a hand like mine. The remark touched me
tenderly. I glanced furtively at my hand, and somehow it
did seem rather a comely member. I tried a glove on my
left, and blushed a little. Manifestly the size was too small
for me. But I felt gratified when she said:

“Oh, it is just right!”—yet I knew it was no such thing.

I tugged at it diligently, but it was discouraging work.
She said:

“Ah! I see you are accustomed to wearing kid gloves—but
some gentlemen are so awkward about putting them on.”

It was the last compliment I had expected. I only understand
putting on the buckskin article perfectly. I made
another effort, and tore the glove from the base of the thumb


Page 74
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 074. In-line Illustration. Image of two gentleman talking to a pretty sales girl and trying on gloves. The caption reads, "ENTERTAINING AN ANGEL."] into the palm of the hand—and tried to hide the rent. She
kept up her compliments, and I kept up my determination to
deserve them or die:

“Ah, you have had experience!” [A rip down the back
of the hand.] “They are just right for you—your hand is
very small—if they
tear you need not
pay for them.” [A
rent across the
middle.] “I can
always tell when a
gentleman understands
putting on
kid gloves. There
is a grace about it
that only comes
with long practice.
[The whole afterguard
of the glove
“fetched away,” as
the sailors say, the
fabric parted across the knuckles, and nothing was left but a
melancholy ruin.]

I was too much flattered to make an exposure, and throw
the merchandise on the angel's hands. I was hot, vexed, confused,
but still happy; but I hated the other boys for taking
such an absorbing interest in the proceedings. I wished they
were in Jericho. I felt exquisitely mean when I said cheerfully,—

“This one does very well; it fits elegantly. I like a glove
that fits. No, never mind, ma'am, never mind; I'll put the
other on in the street. It is warm here.”

It was warm. It was the warmest place I ever was in. I
paid the bill, and as I passed out with a fascinating bow, I
thought I detected a light in the woman's eye that was gently
ironical; and when I looked back from the street, and she was
laughing all to herself about something or other, I said to myself,


Page 75
with withering sarcasm, “Oh, certainly; you know how
to put on kid gloves, don't you?—a self-complacent ass, ready
to be flattered out of your senses by every petticoat that
chooses to take the trouble to do it!”

The silence of the boys annoyed me. Finally, Dan said,

“Some gentlemen don't know how to put on kid gloves at
all; but some do.”

And the doctor said (to the moon, I thought,)

“But it is always easy to tell when a gentleman is used to
putting on kid gloves.”

Dan solilopuized, after a pause:

“Ah, yes; there is a grace about it that only comes with
long, very long practice.”

“Yes, indeed, I've noticed that when a man hauls on a kid
glove like he was dragging a cat out of an ash-hole by the
tail, he understands putting on kid gloves; he's had ex—”

“Boys, enough of a thing's enough! You think you are
very smart, I suppose, but I don't. And if you go and tell
any of those old gossips in the ship about this thing, I'll never
forgive you for it; that's all.”

They let me alone then, for the time being. We always let
each other alone in time to prevent ill feeling from spoiling a
joke. But they had bought gloves, too, as I did. We threw
all the purchases away together this morning. They were
coarse, unsubstantial, freckled all over with broad yellow
splotches, and could neither stand wear nor public exhibition.
We had entertained an angel unawares, but we did not take
her in. She did that for us.

Tangier! A tribe of stalwart Moors are wading into the
sea to carry us ashore on their backs from the small boats.