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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 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


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and wondered at; strange ships had to be scrutinized through
opera-glasses, and sage decisions arrived at concerning them;
and more than that, every body 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 shuffle-board 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
any thing. 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 hop-scotch 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


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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?”


Page 41

“Oh, every thing. 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 every thing down. My father told me to keep that
journal. Father wouldn't take a thousand dollars for it when
I get it done.”

“No, Jack; it will be worth more than a thousand dollars—
when you get it done.”

“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

But it shortly became a most lamentable “slouch of a journal.”
One night in Paris, after a hard day's toil in sight-seeing,
I said:

“Now I'll go and stroll around the cafés 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 any more. 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 any thing 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, ain't they?”


Page 42

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 042. In-line Illustration. Image of couples dancing under a large tent. Lanterns hang above them. The floor is tilted to one side. The caption reads, "DANCING UNDER DIFFICULTIES."]

“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 million.”

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


Page 43
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,' (9, 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 skurrying down to the rail as if they meant to go overboard.
The Virginia reel, as performed on board the Quaker
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 state-room


Page 44
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 044. In-line Illustration. Image of a room arranged like a courtroom. There are many people sitting in the room. One man sits behind a raised podium like a judge, while others sit around a table. Still others are crowded along the sides of the room watching the proceeding. The caption reads, "MOCK TRIAL."] 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 subpœnaed, 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


Page 45
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 base, it was apt to fly off the handle and startle every
body 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 centre occasionally,
and gave him the lockjaw.

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


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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!”