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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 have come five hundred miles by rail through the
heart of France. What a bewitching land it is!—
What a garden! Surely the leagues of bright green lawns
are swept and brushed and watered every day and their
grasses trimmed by the barber. Surely the hedges are shaped
and measured and their symmetry preserved by the most
architectural of gardeners. Surely the long straight rows of
stately poplars that divide the beautiful landscape like the
squares of a checker-board are set with line and plummet, and
their uniform height determined with a spirit level. Surely
the straight, smooth, pure white turnpikes are jack-planed and
sandpapered every day. How else are these marvels of symmetry,
cleanliness and order attained? It is wonderful. There
are no unsightly stone walls, and never a fence of any kind.
There is no dirt, no decay, no rubbish any where—nothing
that even hints at untidiness—nothing that ever suggests
neglect. All is orderly and beautiful—every thing is charming
to the eye.

We had such glimpses of the Rhone gliding along between
its grassy banks; of cosy cottages buried in flowers and shrubbery;
of quaint old red-tiled villages with mossy mediæval
cathedrals looming out of their midst; of wooded hills with
ivy-grown towers and turrets of feudal castles projecting above
the foliage; such glimpses of Paradise, it seemed to us, such
visions of fabled fairy-land!

We knew, then, what the poet meant, when he sang of—

“—thy cornfields green, and sunny vines,
O pleasant land of France!”


Page 106

And it is a pleasant land. No word describes it so felicitously
as that one. They say there is no word for “home” in
the French language. Well, considering that they have the
article itself in such an attractive aspect, they ought to manage
to get along without the word. Let us not waste too much
pity on “homeless” France. I have observed that Frenchmen
abroad seldom wholly give up the idea of going back to
France some time or other. I am not surprised at it now.

We are not infatuated with these French railway cars,
though. We took first class passage, not because we wished
to attract attention by doing a thing which is uncommon in
Europe, but because we could make our journey quicker by so
doing. It is hard to make railroading pleasant, in any country.
It is too tedious. Stage-coaching is infinitely more delightful.
Once I crossed the plains and deserts and mountains of the
West, in a stage-coach, from the Missouri line to California,
and since then all my pleasure trips must be measured to that
rare holiday frolic. Two thousand miles of ceaseless rush and
rattle and clatter, by night and by day, and never a weary
moment, never a lapse of interest! The first seven hundred
miles a level continent, its grassy carpet greener and softer
and smoother than any sea, and figured with designs fitted to
its magnitude—the shadows of the clouds. Here were no
scenes but summer scenes, and no disposition inspired by them
but to lie at full length on the mail sacks, in the grateful
breeze, and dreamily smoke the pipe of peace—what other,
where all was repose and contentment? In cool mornings,
before the sun was fairly up, it was worth a lifetime of city
toiling and moiling, to perch in the foretop with the driver
and see the six mustangs scamper under the sharp snapping
of a whip that never touched them; to scan the blue distances
of a world that knew no lords but us; to cleave the wind with
uncovered head and feel the sluggish pulses rousing to the spirit
of a speed that pretended to the resistless rush of a typhoon!
Then thirteen hundred miles of desert solitudes; of limitless
panoramas of bewildering perspective; of mimic cities, of pinnacled
cathedrals, of massive fortresses, counterfeited in the




[Description: 500EAF. Illustration page. Image of the French countryside with trees in the foreground, large houses in the middleground, and neatly partitioned fields in the background.]

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eternal rocks and splendid with the crimson and gold of the
setting sun; of dizzy altitudes among fog-wreathed peaks and
never-melting snows, where thunders and lightnings and tempests
warred magnificently at our feet and the storm-clouds
above swung their shredded banners in our very faces!

But I forgot. I am in elegant France, now, and not skurrying
through the great South Pass and the Wind River
Mountains, among antelopes and buffaloes, and painted Indians
on the war path. It is not meet that I should make too
disparaging comparisons between hum-drum travel on a railway
and that royal summer flight across a continent in a
stage-coach. I meant in the beginning, to say that railway
journeying is tedious and tiresome, and so it is—though at the
time, I was thinking particularly of a dismal fifty-hour pilgrimage
between New York and St. Louis. Of course our
trip through France was not really tedious, because all its
scenes and experiences were new and strange; but as Dan
says, it had its “discrepancies.”

The cars are built in compartments that hold eight persons
each. Each compartment is partially subdivided, and so there
are two tolerably distinct parties of four in it. Four face the
other four. The seats and backs are thickly padded and cushioned
and are very comfortable; you can smoke, if you wish;
there are no bothersome peddlers; you are saved the infliction
of a multitude of disagreeable fellow-passengers. So far, so
well. But then the conductor locks you in when the train
starts; there is no water to drink, in the car; there is no
heating apparatus for night travel; if a drunken rowdy should
get in, you could not remove a matter of twenty seats from
him, or enter another car; but above all, if you are worn out
and must sleep, you must sit up and do it in naps, with
cramped legs and in a torturing misery that leaves you withered
and lifeless the next day—for behold they have not that culmination
of all charity and human kindness, a sleeping car, in
all France. I prefer the American system. It has not so
many grievous “discrepancies.”

In France, all is clockwork, all is order. They make no


Page 108
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 108. In-line Illustration. Image of a railroad worker taking a train ticke from a lady who is about to enter a compartment. The caption reads, "RAILROAD OFFICIAL IN FRANCE."] mistakes. Every third man wears a uniform, and whether he
be a Marshal of the Empire or a brakeman, he is ready and
perfectly willing to answer all your questions with tireless
politeness, ready to tell you which car to take, yea, and ready
to go and put you into it to make sure that you shall not
go astray. You can not pass into the waiting-room of the
depot till you have secured your ticket, and you can not pass
from its only exit till the train is at its threshold to receive
you. Once on board, the train will not start till your ticket
has been examined—till every passenger's ticket has been
inspected. This is chiefly for your own good. If by any
possibility you have managed to take the wrong train, you
will be handed over to a polite official who will take you
whither you belong, and bestow you with many an affable
bow. Your ticket will be inspected every now and then along
the route, and when it is time to change cars you will know it.
You are in the hands of officials who zealously study your
welfare and your interest, instead of turning their talents to
the invention of new methods of discommoding and snubbing
you, as is very often the main employment of that exceedingly
self-satisfied monarch, the railroad conductor of America.

But the happiest regulation in French railway government,


Page 109
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 109. In-line Illustration. Image of a crowded room filled with men sitting or standing at a lunch counter. Signs in the background say "Coffee $1.00" and "Pay before saving seats." The caption reads, "'FIVE MINUTES FOR REFRESHMENTS'—AMERICA."] is—thirty minutes to dinner! No five-minute boltings of
flabby rolls, muddy coffee, questionable eggs, gutta-percha
beef, and pies whose conception and execution are a dark and
bloody mystery to all save the cook that created them! No;
we sat calmly down—it was in old Dijon, which is so easy to
spell and so impossible to pronounce, except when you civilize
it and call it Demijohn—and poured out rich Burgundian
wines and munched calmly through a long table d'hote bill of
fare, snail-patties, delicious fruits and all, then paid the trifle
it cost and stepped happily aboard the train again, without
once cursing the railroad company. A rare experience, and
one to be treasured forever.

They say they do not have accidents on these French roads,
and I think it must be true. If I remember rightly, we passed
high above wagon roads, or through tunnels under them, but
never crossed them on their own level. About every quarter
of a mile, it seemed to me, a man came out and held up a club
till the train went by, to signify that every thing was safe
ahead. Switches were changed a mile in advance, by pulling
a wire rope that passed along the ground by the rail, from


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 110. In-line Illustration. Image of men and women seated around a large dining table with waiters attending them. The caption reads, "'THIRTY MINUTES FOR DINNER!'—FRANCE."] station to station. Signals for the day and signals for the night
gave constant and timely notice of the position of switches.

No, they have no railroad accidents to speak of in France.
But why? Because when one occurs, somebody has to hang for
it![1] Not hang, may be, but be punished at least with such
vigor of emphasis as to make negligence a thing to be shuddered
at by railroad officials for many a day thereafter. “No
blame attached to the officers”—that lying and disaster-breeding
verdict so common to our soft-hearted juries, is seldom
rendered in France. If the trouble occurred in the conductor's
department, that officer must suffer if his subordinate
can not be proven guilty; if in the engineer's department, and
the case be similar, the engineer must answer.

The Old Travelers—those delightful parrots who have
“been here before,” and know more about the country than
Louis Napoleon knows now or ever will know,—tell us these
things, and we believe them because they are pleasant things
to believe, and because they are plausible and savor of the


Page 111
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 111. In-line Illustration. Image of an elderly gentleman in glasses with one hand on his lapel and the other gesticulating. His mouth is in a frown. The caption reads, "THE OLD TRAVELER."] rigid subjection to law and order which we behold about us
every where.

But we love the Old Travelers. We love to hear them
prate, and drivel and lie. We can tell them the moment we
see them. They always throw out a few feelers; they never
cast themselves adrift till they have sounded every individual
and know that he has
not traveled. Then
they open their throttle-valves,
and how
they do brag, and
sneer, and swell, and
soar, and blaspheme
the sacred name of
Truth! Their central
idea, their grand
aim, is to subjugate
you, keep you down,
make you feel insignificant
and humble in
the blaze of their cosmopolitan
glory! They
will not let you know any thing. They sneer at your most
inoffensive suggestions; they laugh unfeelingly at your treasured
dreams of foreign lands; they brand the statements of
your traveled aunts and uncles as the stupidest absurdities;
they deride your most trusted authors and demolish the fair
images they have set up for your willing worship with the
pitiless ferocity of the fanatic iconoclast! But still I love the
Old Travelers. I love them for their witless platitudes; for
their supernatural ability to bore; for their delightful asinine
vanity; for their luxuriant fertility of imagination; for their
startling, their brilliant, their overwhelming mendacity!

By Lyons and the Saone (where we saw the lady of Lyons
and thought little of her comeliness;) by Villa Franca, Tonnere,
venerable Sens, Melun, Fontainebleau, and scores of other
beautiful cities, we swept, always noting the absence of hog-wallows,


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broken fences, cowlots, unpainted houses and mud,
and always noting, as well, the presence of cleanliness, grace,
taste in adorning and beautifying, even to the disposition of a
tree or the turning of a hedge, the marvel of roads in perfect
repair, void of ruts and guiltless of even an inequality of surface—we
bowled along, hour, that brilliant summer
day, and as nightfall approached we entered a wilderness of
odorous flowers and shrubbery, sped through it, and then,
excited, delighted, and half persuaded that we were only the
sport of a beautiful dream, lo, we stood in magnificent Paris!

What excellent order they kept about that vast depot!
There was no frantic crowding and jostling, no shouting and
swearing, and no swaggering intrusion of services by rowdy
hackmen. These latter gentry stood outside—stood quietly
by their long line of vehicles and said never a word. A kind
of hackman-general seemed to have the whole matter of transportation
in his hands. He politely received the passengers
and ushered them to the kind of conveyance they wanted, and
told the driver where to deliver them. There was no “talking
back,” no dissatisfaction about overcharging, no grumbling
about any thing. In a little while we were speeding through
the streets of Paris, and delightfully recognizing certain names
and places with which books had long ago made us familiar.
It was like meeting an old friend when we read “Rue de
on the street corner; we knew the genuine vast palace
of the Louvre as well as we knew its picture; when we passed
by the Column of July we needed no one to tell us what it
was, or to remind us that on its site once stood the grim Bastile,
that grave of human hopes and happiness, that dismal
prison-house within whose dungeons so many young faces put
on the wrinkles of age, so many proud spirits grew humble, so
many brave hearts broke.

We secured rooms at the hotel, or rather, we had three beds
put into one room, so that we might be together, and then we
went out to a restaurant, just after lamp-lighting, and ate a
comfortable, satisfactory, lingering dinner. It was a pleasure
to eat where every thing was so tidy, the food so well cooked,


Page 113
the waiters so polite, and the coming and departing company
so moustached, so frisky, so affable, so fearfully and wonderfully
Frenchy! All the surroundings were gay and enlivening.
Two hundred people sat at little tables on the sidewalk,
sipping wine and coffee; the streets were thronged with light
vehicles and with joyous pleasure seekers; there was music
in the air, life and action all about us, and a conflagration of
gaslight every where!

After dinner we felt like seeing such Parisian specialities as
we might see without distressing exertion, and so we sauntered
through the brilliant streets and looked at the dainty trifles in
variety stores and jewelry shops. Occasionally, merely for the
pleasure of being cruel, we put unoffending Frenchmen on the
rack with questions framed in the incomprehensible jargon of
their native language, and while they writhed, we impaled
them, we peppered them, we scarified them, with their own
vile verbs and participles.

We noticed that in the jewelry stores they had some of the
articles marked “gold,” and some labeled “imitation.” We
wondered at this extravagance of honesty, and inquired into
the matter. We were informed that inasmuch as most people
are not able to tell false gold from the genuine article, the
government compels jewelers to have their gold work assayed
and stamped officially according to its fineness, and their
imitation work duly labeled with the sign of its falsity. They
told us the jewelers would not dare to violate this law, and
that whatever a stranger bought in one of their stores might
be depended upon as being strictly what it was represented
to be.—Verily, a wonderful land is France!

Then we hunted for a barber-shop. From earliest infancy
it had been a cherished ambition of mine to be shaved some
day in a palatial barber-shop of Paris. I wished to recline at
full length in a cushioned invalid chair, with pictures about
me, and sumptuous furniture; with frescoed walls and gilded
arches above me, and vistas of Corinthian columns stretching
far before me; with perfumes of Araby to intoxicate my senses,
and the slumbrous drone of distant noises to soothe me to


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sleep. At the end of an hour I would wake up regretfully
and find my face as smooth and as soft as an infant's. Departing,
I would lift my hands above that barber's head and say,
“Heaven bless you, my son!”

So we searched high and low, for a matter of two hours, but
never a barber-shop could we see. We saw only wig-making
establishments, with shocks of dead and repulsive hair bound
upon the heads of painted waxen brigands who stared out from
glass boxes upon the passer-by, with their stony eyes, and
scared him with the ghostly white of their countenances. We
shunned these signs for a time, but finally we concluded that
the wig-makers must of necessity be the barbers as well,
since we could find no single legitimate representative of the
fraternity. We entered and asked, and found that it was
even so.

I said I wanted to be shaved. The barber inquired where
my room was. I said, never mind where my room was, I
wanted to be shaved—there, on the spot. The doctor said he
would be shaved also. Then there was an excitement among
those two barbers! There was a wild consultation, and afterwards
a hurrying to and fro and a feverish gathering up of
razors from obscure places and a ransacking for soap. Next
they took us into a little mean, shabby back room; they got
two ordinary sitting-room chairs and placed us in them, with
our coats on. My old, old dream of bliss vanished into thin

I sat bolt upright, silent, sad, and solemn. One of the wig-making
villains lathered my face for ten terrible minutes and
finished by plastering a mass of suds into my mouth. I expelled
the nasty stuff with a strong English expletive and said,
“Foreigner, beware!” Then this outlaw strapped his razor on
his boot, hovered over me ominously for six fearful seconds,
and then swooped down upon me like the genius of destruction.
The first rake of his razor loosened the very hide from
my face and lifted me out of the chair. I stormed and raved,
and the other boys enjoyed it. Their beards are not strong
and thick. Let us draw the curtain over this harrowing scene.


Page 115
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 115. In-line Illustration. Image of two barbers, each with a man in a chair in front of them. One of the barbers is messing up a man's hair, and the other is shaving his client. Both of the clients appear to be struggling. The room is bare except for a wood stove in the corner with a steaming kettle on the top of it. The caption reads, "A DECIDED SHAVE."] Suffice it that I submitted, and went through with the cruel
infliction of a shave by a French barber; tears of exquisite
agony coursed down my cheeks, now and then, but I survived.
Then the incipient assassin held a basin of water under my
chin and slopped its contents over my face, and into my
bosom, and down the back of my neck, with a mean pretense
of washing away the soap and blood. He dried my features
with a towel, and was going to comb my hair; but I asked to
be excused. I said, with withering irony, that it was sufficient
to be skinned—I declined to be scalped.

I went away from there with my handkerchief about my
face, and never, never, never desired to dream of palatial
Parisian barber-shops any more. The truth is, as I believe I
have since found out, that they have no barber shops worthy
of the name, in Paris—and no barbers, either, for that matter.
The impostor who does duty as a barber, brings his pans and


Page 116
napkins and implements of torture to your residence and
deliberately skins you in your private apartments. Ah, I
have suffered, suffered, suffered, here in Paris, but never mind
—the time is coming when I shall have a dark and bloody
revenge. Some day a Parisian barber will come to my room
to skin me, and from that day forth, that barber will never be
heard of more.

At eleven o'clock we alighted upon a sign which manifestly
referred to billiards. Joy! We had played billiards in the
Azores with balls that were not round, and on an ancient
table that was very little smoother than a brick pavement—
one of those wretched old things with dead cushions, and with
patches in the faded cloth and invisible obstructions that made
the balls describe the most astonishing and unsuspected angles
and perform feats in the way of unlooked-for and almost impossible
“seratches,” that were perfectly bewildering. We had
played at Gibraltar with balls the size of a walnut, on a table
like a public square—and in both instances we achieved far
more aggravation than amusement. We expected to fare
better here, but we were mistaken. The cushions were a good
deal higher than the balls, and as the balls had a fashion of
always stopping under the cushions, we accomplished very
little in the way of caroms. The cushions were hard and
unelastic, and the cues were so crooked that in making a shot
you had to allow for the curve or you would infallibly put the
“English” on the wrong side of the ball. Dan was to mark
while the doctor and I played. At the end of an hour neither
of us had made a count, and so Dan was tired of keeping tally
with nothing to tally, and we were heated and angry and
disgusted. We paid the heavy bill—about six cents—and
said we would call around some time when we had a week to
spend, and finish the game.

We adjourned to one of those pretty cafés and took supper
and tested the wines of the country, as we had been instructed
to do, and found them harmless and unexciting. They might
have been exciting, however, if we had chosen to drink a sufficiency
of them.


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 117. In-line Illustration. Image of a candle. The caption reads, "A GAS-TLY SUBSTITUTE."]

To close our first day in Paris cheerfully and pleasantly, we
now sought our grand room in the Grand Hotel du Louvre
and climbed into our sumptuous bed, to read and smoke—but

It was pitiful,
In a whole city-full,
Gas we had none.

No gas to read by—nothing but dismal candles. It was a
shame. We tried to map out excursions for the morrow; we
puzzled over French “Guides to Paris;” we talked disjointedly,
in a vain endeavor to make head or tail of the wild chaos of
the day's sights and experiences; we subsided to indolent
smoking; we gaped and yawned, and stretched—then feebly
wondered if we were really and truly in renowned Paris, and
drifted drowsily away into that vast mysterious void which
men call sleep.[2]


They go on the principle that it is better that one innocent man should suffer
than five hundred.


Joke by the Doctor.