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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 are getting foreignized rapidly, and with facility.
We are getting reconciled to halls and bed-chambers
with unhomelike stone floors, and no carpets—floors that ring
to the tread of one's heels with a sharpness that is death to
sentimental musing. We are getting used to tidy, noiseless
waiters, who glide hither and thither, and hover about your
back and your elbows like butterflies, quick to comprehend
orders, quick to fill them; thankful for a gratuity without regard
to the amount; and always polite—never otherwise than
polite. That is the strangest curiosity yet—a really polite
hotel waiter who isn't an idiot. We are getting used to driving
right into the central court of the hotel, in the midst of a
fragrant circle of vines and flowers, and in the midst, also, of
parties of gentlemen sitting quietly reading the paper and
smoking. We are getting used to ice frozen by artificial process
in ordinary bottles—the only kind of ice they have here.
We are getting used to all these things; but we are not getting
used to carrying our own soap. We are sufficiently civilized
to carry our own combs and tooth-brushes; but this thing of
having to ring for soap every time we wash is new to us, and
not pleasant at all. We think of it just after we get our
heads and faces thoroughly wet, or just when we think we
have been in the bath-tub long enough, and then, of course, an
annoying delay follows. These Marseillaise make Marseillaise
hymns, and Marseilles vests, and Marseilles soap for all the
world; but they never sing their hymns, or wear their vests,
or wash with their soap themselves.


Page 99

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 099. In-line Illustration. Image of a man standing in front of a washbasin yanking on a bellpull. The caption reads, "RINGING FOR SOAP."]

We have learned to go through the lingering routine of the
table d'hote with patience, with serenity, with satisfaction.
We take soup; then
wait a few minutes
for the fish; a few
minutes more and
the plates are changed,
and the roast
beef comes; another
change and we take
peas; change again
and take lentils;
change and take
snail patties (I prefer
change and take
roast chicken and salad;
then strawberry
pie and ice cream;
then green figs,
pears, oranges, green
almonds, &c.; finally
coffee. Wine with
every course, of course, being in France. With such a cargo
on board, digestion is a slow process, and we must sit long in
the cool chambers and smoke—and read French newspapers,
which have a strange fashion of telling a perfectly straight
story till you get to the “nub” of it, and then a word drops in
that no man can translate, and that story is ruined. An embankment
fell on some Frenchmen yesterday, and the papers
are full of it to-day—but whether those sufferers were killed,
or crippled, or bruised, or only scared, is more than I can possibly
make out, and yet I would just give any thing to know.

We were troubled a little at dinner to-day, by the conduct
of an American, who talked very loudly and coarsely, and
laughed boisterously where all others were so quiet and well-behaved.
He ordered wine with a royal flourish, and said:


Page 100
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 100. In-line Illustration. Image of a man seated in a chair. The caption reads, "WINE, SIR!"] “I never dine without wine, sir,” (which was a pitiful falsehood,)
and looked around upon the company to bask in the
admiration he expected to find in their faces. All these airs
in a land where they would
as soon expect to leave the
soup out of the bill of fare
as the wine!—in a land
where wine is nearly as
common among all ranks
as water! This fellow
said: “I am a free-born
sovereign, sir, an American,
sir, and I want every
body to know it!” He
did not mention that he
was a lineal descendant of
Balaam's ass; but every
body knew that without
his telling it.

We have driven in the Prado—that superb avenue bordered
with patrician mansions and noble shade-trees—and have
visited the Chateau Boarely and its curious museum. They
showed us a miniature cemetery there—a copy of the
first graveyard that was ever in Marseilles, no doubt. The
delicate little skeletons were lying in broken vaults, and had
their household gods and kitchen utensils with them. The
original of this cemetery was dug up in the principal street of
the city a few years ago. It had remained there, only twelve
feet under ground, for a matter of twenty-five hundred years,
or thereabouts. Romulus was here before he built Rome, and
thought something of founding a city on this spot, but gave
up the idea. He may have been personally acquainted with
some of these Phoenicians whose skeletons we have been examining.

In the great Zoölogical Gardens, we found specimens of all
the animals the world produces, I think, including a dromedary,
a monkey ornamented with tufts of brilliant blue and


Page 101
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 101. In-line Illustration. Image of a long-legged bird with a large beak and wings like the tails of a dress coat. He is standing in the water with his eyes closed. The caption reads, "THE PILGRIM."] carmine hair—a very gorgeous monkey he was—a hippopotamus
from the Nile, and a sort of tall, long-legged bird with a
beak like a powder-horn, and close-fitting wings like the tails
of a dress coat. This fellow stood up with his eyes shut and
his shoulders stooped forward a little, and looked as if he had
his hands under his coat tails. Such tranquil stupidity, such
supernatural gravity, such self-righteousness, and such ineffable
self-complacency as were in the countenance and attitude
of that gray-bodied, dark-winged, bald-headed, and preposterously
uncomely bird! He was so ungainly, so pimply
about the head, so scaly about the legs; yet so serene, so unspeakably
satisfied! He was the most comical looking creature
that can be imagined. It
was good to hear Dan and
the doctor laugh—such natural
and such enjoyable
laughter had not been heard
among our excursionists
since our ship sailed away
from America. This bird
was a god-send to us, and I
should be an ingrate if I
forgot to make honorable
mention of him in these
pages. Ours was a pleasure
excursion; therefore we
stayed with that bird an
hour, and made the most of
him. We stirred him up
occasionally, but he only
unclosed an eye and slowly
closed it again, abating no
jot of his stately piety of
demeanor or his tremendous
seriousness. He only seemed to say, “Defile not Heaven's
anointed with unsanctified hands.” We did not know his
name, and so we called him “The Pilgrim.” Dan said:


Page 102

“All he wants now is a Plymouth Collection.”

The boon companion of the colossal elephant was a common
cat! This cat had a fashion of climbing up the elephant's
hind legs, and roosting on his back. She would sit
up there, with her paws curved under her breast, and sleep in
the sun half the afternoon. It used to annoy the elephant at
first, and he would reach up and take her down, but she would
go aft and climb up again. She persisted until she finally
conquered the elephant's prejudices, and now they are inseparable
friends. The cat plays about her comrade's forefeet or
his trunk often, until dogs approach, and then she goes aloft
out of danger. The elephant has annihilated several dogs
lately, that pressed his companion too closely.

We hired a sail-boat and a guide and made an excursion to
one of the small islands in the harbor to visit the Castle d'If.
This ancient fortress has a melancholy history. It has been
used as a prison for political offenders for two or three hundred
years, and its dungeon walls are scarred with the rudely
carved names of many and many a captive who fretted his
life away here, and left no record of himself but these sad
epitaphs wrought with his own hands. How thick the names
were! And their long-departed owners seemed to throng the
gloomy cells and corridors with their phantom shapes. We
loitered through dungeon after dungeon, away down into the
living rock below the level of the sea, it seemed. Names
every where!—some plebeian, some noble, some even princely.
Plebeian, prince, and noble, had one solicitude in common—they
would not be forgotten! They could suffer solitude, inactivity,
and the horrors of a silence that no sound ever disturbed;
but they could not bear the thought of being utterly
forgotten by the world. Hence the carved names. In one
cell, where a little light penetrated, a man had lived twenty-seven
years without seeing the face of a human being—lived
in filth and wretchedness, with no companionship but his own
thoughts, and they were sorrowful enough, and hopeless
enough, no doubt. Whatever his jailers considered that he
needed was conveyed to his cell by night, through a wicket.


Page 103
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 103. In-line Illustration. Image of an old man sitting shackeld in a cell. He is wearing rags and there is only a bench in the room. The window is a small slit, there is straw on the floor and a pitcher for water in a alcove in the wall. The caption reads, "THE PRISONER."] This man carved the walls of his prison-house from floor to
roof with all manner of figures of men and animals, grouped
in intricate designs. He had
toiled there year after year, at
his self-appointed task, while
infants grew to boyhood—to vigorous youth—idled through
school and college—acquired a profession—claimed man's mature
estate—married and looked back to infancy as to a thing


Page 104
of some vague, ancient time, almost. But who shall tell how
many ages it seemed to this prisoner? With the one, time
flew sometimes; with the other, never—it crawled always.
To the one, nights spent in dancing had seemed made of
minutes instead of hours; to the other, those self-same nights
had been like all other nights of dungeon life, and seemed
made of slow, dragging weeks, instead of hours and minutes.

One prisoner of fifteen years had scratched verses upon his
walls, and brief prose sentences—brief, but full of pathos. These
spoke not of himself and his hard estate; but only of the shrine
where his spirit fled the prison to worship—of home and the
idols that were templed there. He never lived to see them.

The walls of these dungeons are as thick as some bed-chambers
at home are wide—fifteen feet. We saw the damp, dismal
cells in which two of Dumas' heroes passed their confinement—heroes
of “Monte Christo.” It was here that the
brave Abbé wrote a book with his own blood; with a pen
made of a piece of iron hoop, and by the light of a lamp made
out of shreds of cloth soaked in grease obtained from his food;
and then dug through the thick wall with some trifling instrument
which he wrought himself out of a stray piece of iron or
table cutlery, and freed Dantés from his chains. It was a pity
that so many weeks of dreary labor should have come to
naught at last.

They showed us the noisome cell where the celebrated
“Iron Mask”—that ill-starred brother of a hard-hearted king
of France—was confined for a season, before he was sent to
hide the strange mystery of his life from the curious in the
dungeons of St. Marguerite. The place had a far greater
interest for us than it could have had if we had known beyond
all question who the Iron Mask was, and what his history
had been, and why this most unusual punishment had been
meted out to him. Mystery! That was the charm. That
speechless tongue, those prisoned features, that heart so
freighted with unspoken troubles, and that breast so oppressed
with its piteous secret, had been here. These dank walls had
known the man whose dolorous story is a sealed book forever!
There was fascination in the spot.