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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






WE passed the Fourth of July on board the Quaker City,
in mid-ocean. It was in all respects a characteristic
Mediterranean day—faultlessly beautiful. A cloudless sky; a
refreshing summer wind; a radiant sunshine that glinted
cheerily from dancing wavelets instead of crested mountains
of water; a sea beneath us that was so wonderfully blue, so
richly, brilliantly blue, that it overcame the dullest sensibilities
with the spell of its fascination.

They even have fine sunsets on the Mediterranean—a thing
that is certainly rare in most quarters of the globe. The evening
we sailed away from Gibraltar, that hard-featured rock
was swimming in a creamy mist so rich, so soft, so enchantingly
vague and dreamy, that even the Oracle, that serene,
that inspired, that overpowering humbug, scorned the dinner-gong
and tarried to worship!

He said: “Well, that's gorgis, ain't it! They don't have
none of them things in our parts, do they? I consider that
them effects is on account of the superior refragability, as you
may say, of the sun's diramic combination with the lymphatic
forces of the perihelion of Jubiter. What should you think?”

“Oh, go to bed!” Dan said that, and went away.

“Oh, yes, it's all very well to say go to bed when a man
makes an argument which another man can't answer. Dan
don't never stand any chance in an argument with me. And
he knows it, too. What should you say, Jack?”

“Now doctor, don't you come bothering around me with
that dictionary bosh. I don't do you any harm, do I? Then
you let me alone.”


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 091. In-line Illustration. Image of a man with wild hair writing with a quill pen. The caption reads, "PORT LARIAT."]

“He's gone, too. Well, them fellows have all tackled the old
Oracle, as they say, but the old man's most too many for 'em.
May be the Poet Lariat ain't satisfied with them deductions?”

The poet replied with a barbarous rhyme, and went below.

“'Pears that he can't
qualify, neither. Well,
I didn't expect nothing
out of him. I never see
one of them poets yet
that knowed any thing.
He'll go down, now,
and grind out about four
reams of the awfullest
slush about that old
rock, and give it to a
consul, or a pilot, or a
nigger, or any body he
comes across first which
he can impose on. Pity
but somebody'd take that poor old lunatic and dig all that
poetry rubbage out of him. Why can't a man put his intellect
onto things that's some value? Gibbons, and Hippocratus,
and Sarcophagus, and all them old ancient philosophers
was down on poets—”

“Doctor,” I said, “you are going to invent authorities, now,
and I'll leave you, too. I always enjoy your conversation,
notwithstanding the luxuriance of your syllables, when the
philosophy you offer rests on your own responsibility; but
when you begin to soar—when you begin to support it with
the evidence of authorities who are the creations of your own
fancy, I lose confidence.”

That was the way to flatter the doctor. He considered it a
sort of acknowledgment on my part of a fear to argue with
him. He was always persecuting the passengers with abstruse
propositions framed in language that no man could understand,
and they endured the exquisite torture a minute or two and
then abandoned the field. A triumph like this, over half a


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dozen antagonists was sufficient for one day; from that time
forward he would patrol the decks beaming blandly upon all
comers, and so tranquilly, blissfully happy!

But I digress. The thunder of our two brave cannon announced
the Fourth of July, at daylight, to all who were
awake. But many of us got our information at a later hour,
from the almanac. All the flags were sent aloft, except half a
dozen that were needed to decorate portions of the ship below,
and in a short time the vessel assumed a holiday appearance.
During the morning, meetings were held and all manner of
committees set to work on the celebration ceremonies. In the
afternoon the ship's company assembled aft, on deck, under the
awnings; the flute, the asthmatic melodeon, and the consumptive
clarinet crippled the Star Spangled Banner, the choir
chased it to cover, and George came in with a peculiarly lacerating
screech on the final note and slaughtered it. Nobody

We carried out the corpse on three cheers (that joke was not
intentional and I do not indorse it,) and then the President,
throned behind a cable-locker with a national flag spread over
it, announced the “Reader,” who rose up and read that same
old Declaration of Independence which we have all listened to
so often without paying any attention to what it said; and
after that the President piped the Orator of the Day to quarters
and he made that same old speech about our national
greatness which we so religiously believe and so fervently applaud.
Now came the choir into court again, with the complaining
instruments, and assaulted Hail Columbia; and when
victory hung wavering in the scale, George returned with his
dreadful wild-goose stop turned on and the choir won of course.
A minister pronounced the benediction, and the patriotic little
gathering disbanded. The Fourth of July was safe, as far as
the Mediterranean was concerned.

At dinner in the evening, a well-written original poem was
recited with spirit by one of the ship's captains, and thirteen
regular toasts were washed down with several baskets of champagne.
The speeches were bad—execrable, almost without


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exception. In fact, without any exception, but one. Capt.
Duncan made a good speech; he made the only good speech
of the evening. He said:

Ladies and Gentlemen:—May we all live to a green old
age, and be prosperous and happy. Steward, bring up another
basket of champagne.”

It was regarded as a very able effort.

The festivities, so to speak, closed with another of those
miraculous balls on the promenade deck. We were not used
to dancing on an even keel, though, and it was only a questionable
success. But take it altogether, it was a bright, cheerful,
pleasant Fourth.

Toward nightfall, the next evening; we steamed into the
great artificial harbor of this noble city of Marseilles, and saw
the dying sunlight gild its clustering spires and ramparts, and
flood its leagues of environing verdure with a mellow radiance
that touched with an added charm the white villas that flecked the
landscape far and near. [Copyright secured according to law.]

There were no stages out, and we could not get on the pier
from the ship. It was annoying. We were full of enthusiasm—we
wanted to see France! Just at nightfall our party
of three contracted with a waterman for the privilege of using
his boat as a bridge—its stern was at our companion ladder and
its bow touched the pier. We got in and the fellow backed
out into the harbor. I told him in French that all we wanted
was to walk over his thwarts and step ashore, and asked him
what he went away out there for? He said he could not understand
me. I repeated. Still, he could not understand.
He appeared to be very ignorant of French. The doctor tried
him, but he could not understand the doctor. I asked this
boatman to explain his conduct, which he did; and then I
couldn't understand him. Dan said:

“Oh, go to the pier, you old fool—that's where we want to go!”

We reasoned calmly with Dan that it was useless to speak
to this foreigner in English—that he had better let us conduct
this business in the French language and not let the stranger
see how uncultivated he was.


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“Well, go on, go on,” he said, “don't mind me. I don't
wish to interfere. Only, if you go on telling him in your kind
of French he never will find out where we want to go to.
That is what I think about it.”

We rebuked him severely for this remark, and said we never
knew an ignorant person yet but was prejudiced. The Frenchman
spoke again, and the doctor said:

“There, now, Dan, he says he is going to allez to the douain.
Means he is going to the hotel. Oh, certainly—we don't know
the French language.”

This was a crusher, as Jack would say. It silenced further
criticism from the disaffected member. We coasted past the
sharp bows of a navy of great steamships, and stopped at last
at a government building on a stone pier. It was easy to remember
then, that the douain was the custom-house, and not
the hotel. We did not mention it, however. With winning
French politeness, the officers merely opened and closed our
satchels, declined to examine our passports, and sent us on our
way. We stopped at the first café we came to, and entered.
An old woman seated us at a table and waited for orders.
The doctor said:

“Avez vous du vin?”

The dame looked perplexed. The doctor said again, with
elaborate distinctness of articulation:

“Avez-vous du—vin!”

The dame looked more perplexed than before. I said:

“Doctor, there is a flaw in your pronunciation somewhere.
Let me try her. Madame, avez-vous du vin? It isn't any use,
doctor—take the witness.”

“Madame, avez-vous du vin—ou fromage—pain—pickled
pigs' feet—beurre—des œfs—du beuf—horse-radish, sour-crout,
hog and hominy—any thing, any thing in the world that can
stay a Christian stomach!”

She said:

“Bless you, why didn't you speak English before?—I don't
know any thing about your plagued French!”

The humiliating taunts of the disaffected member spoiled


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 095. In-line Illustration. Image of a group of three men sitting around a table in a restaurant. The are being served by a woman. The caption reads, "FIRST SUPPER IN FRANCE."] the supper, and we dispatched it in angry silence and got away
as soon as we could. Here we were in beautiful France—in a
vast stone house of quaint architecture—surrounded by all
manner of curiously worded French signs—stared at by
strangely-habited, bearded French people—every thing gradually
and surely forcing upon us the coveted consciousness that
at last, and beyond all question we were in beautiful France and
absorbing its nature to the forgetfulness of every thing else,
and coming to feel the happy romance of the thing in all its
enchanting delightfulness—and to think of this skinny veteran
intruding with her vile English, at such a moment, to blow the
fair vision to the winds! It was exasperating.

We set out to find the centre of the city, inquiring the direction
every now and then. We never did succeed in making
any body understand just exactly what we wanted, and neither
did we ever succeed in comprehending just exactly what they


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 096. In-line Illustration. Image of a man giving directions to three other men. He is pointing in a direction away from the group of men. The caption reads, "POINTING."] said in reply—but then they always pointed—they always did
that, and we bowed politely and said “Merci, Monsieur,” and
so it was a blighting triumph over the disaffected member,
any way. He was restive under
these victories and often asked:

“What did that pirate say?”

“Why, he told us which way
to go, to find the Grand Casino.”

“Yes, but what did he say?

“Oh, it don't matter what he
said—we understood him. These
are educated people—not like that
absurd boatman.”

“Well, I wish they were educated
enough to tell a man a direction
that goes some where—
for we've been going around in
a circle for an hour—I've passed
this same old drug store seven times.”

We said it was a low, disreputable falsehood, (but we
knew it was not.) It was plain that it would not do to pass
that drug store again, though—we might go on asking directions,
but we must cease from following finger-pointings if we
hoped to check the suspicions of the disaffected member.

A long walk through smooth, asphaltum-paved streets bordered
by blocks of vast new mercantile houses of cream-colored
stone,—every house and every block precisely like all the other
houses and all the other blocks for a mile, and all brilliantly
lighted,—brought us at last to the principal thoroughfare. On
every hand were bright colors, flashing constellations of gasburners,
gaily dressed men and women thronging the side-walks—hurry,
life, activity, cheerfulness, conversation and
laughter every where! We found the Grand Hotel du Louvre
et de la Paix, and wrote down who we were, where we were
born, what our occupations were, the place we came from last,
whether we were married or single, how we liked it, how old
we were, where we were bound for and when we expected to


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get there, and a great deal of information of similar importance—all
for the benefit of the landlord and the secret police.
We hired a guide and began the business of sight-seeing immediately.
That first night on French soil was a stirring one.
I can not think of half the places we went to, or what we particularly
saw; we had no disposition to examine carefully into
any thing at all—we only wanted to glance and go—to move,
keep moving! The spirit of the country was upon us. We
sat down, finally, at a late hour, in the great Casino, and called
for unstinted champagne. It is so easy to be bloated aristocrats
where it costs nothing of consequence! There were about five
hundred people in that dazzling place, I suppose, though the
walls being papered entirely with mirrors, so to speak, one could
not really tell but that there were a hundred thousand.
Young, daintily dressed exquisites and young, stylishly dressed
women, and also old gentlemen and old ladies, sat in couples
and groups about innumerable marble-topped tables, and ate
fancy suppers, drank wine and kept up a chattering din of conversation
that was dazing to the senses. There was a stage
at the far end, and a large orchestra; and every now and then
actors and actresses in preposterous comic dresses came out
and sang the most extravagantly funny songs, to judge by
their absurd actions; but that audience merely suspended its
chatter, stared cynically, and never once smiled, never once
applauded! I had always thought that Frenchmen were ready
to laugh at any thing.