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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






HOME, again! For the first time, in many weeks, the
ship's entire family met and shook hands on the
quarter-deck. They had gathered from many points of the
compass and from many lands, but not one was missing; there
was no tale of sickness or death among the flock to dampen
the pleasure of the reunion. Once more there was a full
audience on deck to listen to the sailors' chorus as they got the
anchor up, and to wave an adieu to the land as we sped away
from Naples. The seats were full at dinner again, the domino
parties were complete, and the life and bustle on the upper
deck in the fine moonlight at night was like old times—old
times that had been gone weeks only, but yet they were weeks
so crowded with incident, adventure and excitement, that they
seemed almost like years. There was no lack of cheerfulness
on board the Quaker City. For once, her title was a misnomer.

At seven in the evening, with the western horizon all golden
from the sunken sun, and specked with distant ships, the full
moon sailing high over head, the dark blue of the sea under
foot, and a strange sort of twilight affected by all these different
lights and colors around us and about us, we sighted
superb Stromboli. With what majesty the monarch held his
lonely state above the level sea! Distance clothed him in a
purple gloom, and added a veil of shimmering mist that so
softened his rugged features that we seemed to see him through
a web of silver gauze. His torch was out; his fires were
smoldering; a tall column of smoke that rose up and lost


Page 338
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 338. In-line Illustration. Image of a smoking volcano seen from the sea. It is night and the moon is out. The caption reads, "STROMBOLI."] itself in the growing moonlight was all the sign he gave that
he was a living Autocrat of the Sea and not the spectre of a
dead one.

At two in the morning we swept through the Straits of
Messina, and so bright was the moonlight that Italy on the
one hand and Sicily on the other seemed almost as distinctly
visible as though we looked at them from the middle of a
street we were traversing. The city of Messina, milk-white,
and starred and spangled all over with gaslights, was a fairy
spectacle. A great party of us were on deck smoking and
making a noise, and waiting to see famous Scylla and Charybdis.
And presently the Oracle stepped out with his eternal
spy-glass and squared himself on the deck like another Colossus
of Rhodes. It was a surprise to see him abroad at such an
hour. Nobody supposed he cared anything about an old fable
like that of Scylla and Charybdis. One of the boys said:


Page 339

“Hello, doctor, what are you doing up here at this time of
night?—What do you want to see this place for?”

“What do I want to see this place for? Young man, little
do you know me, or you wouldn't ask such a question. I wish
to see all the places that's mentioned in the Bible.”

“Stuff—this place isn't mentioned in the Bible.”

“It ain't mentioned in the Bible!—this place ain't—well
now, what place is this, since you know so much about it?”

“Why it's Scylla and Charybdis.”

“Scylla and Cha—confound it, I thought it was Sodom and

And he closed up his glass and went below. The above is
the ship story. Its plausibility is marred a little by the fact
that the Oracle was not a biblical student, and did not spend
much of his time instructing himself about Scriptural localities.
—They say the Oracle complains, in this hot weather, lately,
that the only beverage in the ship that is passable, is the
butter. He did not mean butter, of course, but inasmuch as
that article remains in a melted state now since we are out of
ice, it is fair to give him the credit of getting one long word in
the right place, anyhow, for once in his life. He said, in
Rome, that the Pope was a noble-looking old man, but he
never did think much of his Iliad.

We spent one pleasant day skirting along the Isles of
Greece. They are very mountainous. Their prevailing tints
are gray and brown, approaching to red. Little white villages
surrounded by trees, nestle in the valleys or roost upon the
lofty perpendicular sea-walls.

We had one fine sunset—a rich carmine flush that suffused
the western sky and cast a ruddy glow far over the sea.—Fine
sunsets seem to be rare in this part of the world—or at least,
striking ones. They are soft, sensuous, lovely—they are exquisite,
refined, effeminate, but we have seen no sunsets here
yet like the gorgeous conflagrations that flame in the track of
the sinking sun in our high northern latitudes.

But what were sunsets to us, with the wild excitement upon
us of approaching the most renowned of cities! What cared


Page 340
we for outward visions, when Agamemnon, Achilles, and a
thousand other heroes of the great Past were marching in
ghostly procession through our fancies? What were sunsets
to us, who were about to live and breathe and walk in actual
Athens; yea, and go far down into the dead centuries and bid
in person for the slaves, Diogenes and Plato, in the public
market-place, or gossip with the neighbors about the siege of
Troy or the splendid deeds of Marathon? We scorned to consider

We arrived, and entered the ancient harbor of the Piræus at
last. We dropped anchor within half a mile of the village.
Away off, across the undulating Plain of Attica, could be seen
a little square-topped hill with a something on it, which our
glasses soon discovered to be the ruined edifices of the citadel
of the Athenians, and most prominent among them loomed the
venerable Parthenon. So exquisitely clear and pure is this
wonderful atmosphere that every column of the noble structure
was discernible through the telescope, and even the smaller
ruins about it assumed some semblance of shape. This at a
distance of five or six miles. In the valley, near the Acropolis,
(the square-topped hill before spoken of,) Athens itself could
be vaguely made out with an ordinary lorgnette. Every body
was anxious to get ashore and visit these classic localities as
quickly as possible. No land we had yet seen had aroused
such universal interest among the passengers.

But bad news came. The commandant of the Piræus came
in his boat, and said we must either depart or else get outside
the harbor and remain imprisoned in our ship, under rigid
quarantine, for eleven days! So we took up the anchor and
moved outside, to lie a dozen hours or so, taking in supplies,
and then sail for Constantinople. It was the bitterest disappointment
we had yet experienced. To lie a whole day in
sight of the Acropolis, and yet be obliged to go away without
visiting Athens! Disappointment was hardly a strong enough
word to describe the circumstances.

All hands were on deck, all the afternoon, with books and
maps and glasses, trying to determine which “narrow rocky


Page 341
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 341. In-line Illustration. Image of the Acropolis from a distance. The caption reads, "VIEW OF THE ACROPOLIS, LOOKING WEST."] ridge” was the Areopagus, which sloping hill the Pnyx, which
elevation the Museum Hill, and so on. And we got things
confused. Discussion became heated, and party spirit ran
high. Church members were gazing with emotion upon a hill
which they
said was the
one St. Paul
from, and another
claimed that
that hill was
and another
that it was
After all the
trouble, we
could be certain
of only one thing—the square-topped hill was the Acropolis,
and the grand ruin that crowned it was the Parthenon,
whose picture we knew in infancy in the school books.

We inquired of every body who came near the ship, whether
there were guards in the Piræus, whether they were strict,
what the chances were of capture should any of us slip ashore,
and in case any of us made the venture and were caught, what
would be probably done to us? The answers were discouraing:
There was strong guard or police force; the Piræus
was a small town, and any stranger seen in it would surely
attract attention—capture would be certain. The commandant
said the punishment would be “heavy;” when asked “how
heavy?” he said it would be “very severe”—that was all we
could get out of him.

At eleven o'clock at night, when most of the ship's company
were abed, four of us stole softly ashore in a small boat, a
clouded moon favoring the enterprise, and started two and two,
and far apart, over a low hill, intending to go clear around the


Page 342
Piræous, out of the range of its police. Picking our way so
stealthily over that rocky, nettle-grown eminence, made me
feel a good deal as if I were on my way somewhere to steal
something. My immediate comrade and I talked in an undertone
about quarantine laws and their penalties, but we found
nothing cheering in the subject. I was posted. Only a few
days before, I was talking with our captain, and he mentioned
the case of a man who swam ashore from a quarantined ship
somewhere, and got imprisoned six months for it; and when
he was in Genoa a few years ago, a captain of a quarantined
ship went in his boat to a departing ship, which was already
outside of the harbor, and put a letter on board to be taken to
his family, and the authorities imprisoned him three months
for it, and then conducted him and his ship fairly to sea, and
warned him never to show himself in that port again while he
lived. This kind of conversation did no good, further than to
give a sort of dismal interest to our quarantine-breaking expedition,
and so we dropped it. We made the entire circuit of
the town without seeing any body but one man, who stared at
us curiously, but said nothing, and a dozen persons asleep on
the ground before their doors, whom we walked among and
never woke—but we woke up dogs enough, in all conscience—
we always had one or two barking at our heels, and several
times we had as many as ten and twelve at once. They made
such a preposterous din that persons aboard our ship said they
could tell how we were progressing for a long time, and where
we were, by the barking of the dogs. The clouded moon still
favored us. When we had made the whole circuit, and were
passing among the houses on the further side of the town, the
moon came out splendidly, but we no longer feared the light.
As we approached a well, near a house, to get a drink, the
owner merely glanced at us and went within. He left the
quiet, slumbering town at our mercy. I record it here proudly,
that we didn't do any thing to it.

Seeing no road, we took a tall hill to the left of the distant
Acropolis for a mark, and steered straight for it over all obstructions,
and over a little rougher piece of country than


Page 343
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 343. In-line Illustration. Image of men walking through grape vines in the dark. The caption reads, "'HO!'"] exists any where else outside of the State of Nevada, perhaps.
Part of the way it was covered with small, loose stones—we
trod on six at a time, and they all rolled. Another part of it
was dry, loose, newly-ploughed ground. Still another part of
it was a long stretch of low grape-vines, which were tanglesome
and troublesome, and which we took to be brambles.
The Attic Plain, barring the grape-vines, was a barren, desolate,
unpoetical waste—I wonder what it was in Greece's Age
of Glory, five hundred years before Christ?

In the neighborhood of one o'clock in the morning, when
we were heated with fast walking and parched with thirst,
Denny exclaimed, “Why, these weeds are grape-vines!” and
in five minutes we had a score of bunches of large, white, delicious
grapes, and were reaching down for more when a dark
shape rose mysteriously up out of the shadows beside us and
said “Ho!” And so we left.

In ten minutes more we struck into a beautiful road, and
unlike some
others we
had stumbled
upon at
intervals, it
led in the
right direction.
followed it.
It was broad,
and smooth,
and white—
and in perfect
and shaded
on both sides
for a mile or
so with single
ranks of
trees, and also with luxuriant vineyards. Twice we entered


Page 344
and stole grapes, and the second time somebody shouted at us
from some invisible place. Whereupon we left again. We
speculated in grapes no more on that side of Athens.

Shortly we came upon an ancient stone aqueduct, built upon
arches, and from that time forth we had ruins all about us—
we were approaching our journey's end. We could not see
the Acropolis now or the high hill, either, and I wanted to
follow the road till we were abreast of them, but the others
overruled me, and we toiled laboriously up the stony hill immediately
in our front—and from its summit saw another—
climbed it and saw another! It was an hour of exhausting
work. Soon we came upon a row of open graves, cut in the
solid rock—(for a while
one of them served Socrates
for a prison)—we
passed around the shoulder
of the hill, and the
citadel, in all its ruined
magnificence, burst upon
us! We hurried across
the ravine and up a
winding road, and stood
on the old Acropolis, with
the prodigious walls of
the citadel towering
above our heads. We
did not stop to inspect
their massive blocks of
marble, or measure their
height, or guess at their
extraordinary thickness,
but passed at once
through a great arched
passage like a railway
tunnel, and went straight to the gate that leads to the ancient
temples. It was locked! So, after all, it seemed that we were
not to see the great Parthenon face to face. We sat down and


Page 345
held a council of war. Result: the gate was only a flimsy
structure of wood—we would break it down. It seemed like
desecration, but then we had traveled far, and our necessities
were urgent. We could not hunt up guides and keepers—we
must be on the ship before daylight. So we argued. This
was all very fine, but when we came to break the gate, we
could not do it. We moved around an angle of the wall and
found a low bastion—eight feet high without—ten or twelve
within. Denny prepared to scale it, and we got ready to follow.
By dint of hard scrambling he finally straddled the top,
but some loose stones crumbled away and fell with a crash
into the court within. There was instantly a banging of doors
and a shout. Denny dropped from the wall in a twinkling,
and we retreated in disorder to the gate. Xerxes took that
mighty citadel four hundred and eighty years before Christ,
when his five millions of soldiers and camp-followers followed
him to Greece, and if we four Americans could have remained
unmolested five minutes longer, we would have taken it too.

The garrison had turned out—four Greeks. We clamored
at the gate, and they admitted us. [Bribery and corruption.]

We crossed a large court, entered a great door, and stood
upon a pavement of purest white marble, deeply worn by fool-prints.
Before us, in the flooding moonlight, rose the noblest
ruins we had ever looked upon—the Propylæ; a small Temple
of Minerva; the Temple of Hercules, and the grand Parthenon.
[We got these names from the Greek guide, who
didn't seem to know more than seven men ought to know.]
These edifices were all built of the whitest Pentelic marble,
but have a pinkish stain upon them now. Where any part is
broken, however, the fracture looks like fine loaf sugar. Six
caryatides, or marble women, clad in flowing robes, support
the portico of the Temple of Hercules, but the porticos and
colonnades of the other structures are formed of massive Doric
and Ionic pillars, whose flutings and capitals are still measurably
perfect, notwithstanding the centuries that have gone
over them and the sieges they have suffered. The Parthenon,
originally, was two hundred and twenty-six feet long, one hundred


Page 346
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 346. In-line Illustration. Image of statues holding up the frame for a roof with no actual roof. The caption reads, "CARYATIDES."] wide, and seventy high, and had two rows of great columns,
eight in each, at either end, and single rows of seventeen
each down the sides, and was one of the most graceful and
beautiful edifices ever erected.

Most of the Parthenon's imposing columns are still standing,
but the roof is gone. It was a perfect building two hundred
and fifty years ago, when a shell dropped into the Venetian
magazine stored here, and the explosion which followed
wrecked and unroofed it. I remember but little about the
Parthenon, and I have put in one or two facts and figures for
the use of other people with short memories. Got them from
the guide-book.

As we wandered thoughtfully down the marble-paved length
of this stately temple, the scene about us was strangely impressive.
Here and there, in lavish profusion, were gleaming
white statues of men and women, propped against blocks of


Page 347
marble, some of them armless, some without legs, others headless—but
all looking mournful in the moonlight, and startlingly
human! They rose up and confronted the midnight
intruder on every side—they stared at him with stony eyes
from unlooked-for nooks and recesces; they peered at him
over fragmentary heaps far down the desolate corridors; they
barred his way in the midst of the broad forum, and solemnly
pointed with handless arms the way from the sacred fane; and
through the roofless temple the moon looked down, and banded
the floor and darkened the scattered fragments and broken
statues with the slanting shadows of the columns.

What a world of ruined sculpture was about us! Set up in
rows—stacked up in piles—scattered broadcast over the wide
area of the Acropolis—were hundreds of crippled statues of all
sizes and of the most exquisite workmanship; and vast fragments
of marble that once belonged to the entablatures, covered
with bas-reliefs representing battles and sieges, ships of
war with three and four tiers of oars, pageants and processions
—every thing one could think of. History says that the temples
of the Acropolis were filled with the noblest works of
Praxiteles and Phidias, and of many a great master in sculpture
besides—and surely these elegant fragments attest it.

We walked out into the grass-grown, fragment-strewn court
beyond the Parthenon. It startled us, every now and then, to
see a stony white face stare suddenly up at us out of the grass
with its dead eyes. The place seemed alive with ghosts. I
half expected to see the Athenian heroes of twenty centuries
ago glide out of the shadows and steal into the old temple
they knew so well and regarded with such boundless pride.

The full moon was riding high in the cloudless heavens,
now. We sauntered carelessly and unthinkingly to the edge
of the lofty battlements of the citadel, and looked down—a
vision! And such a vision! Athens by moonlight! The
prophet that thought the splendors of the New Jerusalem
were revealed to him, surely saw this instead! It lay in the
level plain right under our feet—all spread abroad like a picture—and
we looked down upon it as we might have looked


Page 348
from a balloon. We saw no semblance of a street, but every
house, every window, every clinging vine, every projection,
was as distinct and sharply marked as if the time were noonday;
and yet there was no glare, no glitter, nothing harsh or
repulsive—the noiseless city was flooded with the mellowest
light that ever streamed from the moon, and seemed like some
living creature wrapped in peaceful slumber. On its further
side was a little temple, whose delicate pillars and ornate front
glowed with a rich lustre that chained the eye like a spell; and
nearer by, the palace of the king reared its creamy walls out
of the midst of a great garden of shrubbery that was flecked
all over with a random shower of amber lights—a spray of
golden sparks that lost their brightness in the glory of the
moon, and glinted softly upon the sea of dark foliage like the
pallid stars of the milky-way. Overhead the stately columns,
majestic still in their ruin—under foot the dreaming city—in
the distance the silver sea—not on the broad earth is there another
picture half so beautiful!

As we turned and moved again through the temple, I wished
that the illustrious men who had sat in it in the remote ages
could visit it again and reveal themselves to our curious eyes
—Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Socrates, Phocion, Pythagoras,
Euclid, Pindar, Xenophon, Herodotus, Praxiteles and
Phidias, Zeuxis the painter. What a constellation of celebrated
names! But more than all, I wished that old Diogenes,
groping so patiently with his lantern, searching so zealously
for one solitary honest man in all the world, might meander
along and stumble on our party. I ought not to say it, may
be, but still I suppose he would have put out his light.

We left the Parthenon to keep its watch over old Athens, as
it had kept it for twenty-three hundred years, and went and
stood outside the walls of the citadel. In the distance was the
ancient, but still almost perfect Temple of Theseus, and close
by, looking to the west, was the Bema, from whence Demosthenes
thundered his philippies and fired the wavering patriotism
of his countrymen. To the right was Mars Hill, where
the Areopagus sat in ancient times, and where St. Paul defined



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Page 349
his position, and below was the market-place where he “disputed
daily” with the gossip-loving Athenians. We climbed
the stone steps St. Paul ascended, and stood in the square-cut
place he stood in, and tried to recollect the Bible account of
the matter—but for certain reasons, I could not recall the
words. I have found them since:

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him,
when he saw the city wholly given up to idolatry.

“Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout
persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

“And they took him and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know
what this new doctrine whereof thou speakest is?

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive
that in all things ye are too superstitious;

“For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription:
To the Unknown God. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him
declare I unto you.”—Acts, ch. xvii.”

It occurred to us, after a while, that if we wanted to get
home before daylight betrayed us, we had better be moving.
So we hurried away. When far on our road, we had a parting
view of the Parthenon, with the moonlight streaming through
its open colonnades and touching its capitals with silver. As
it looked then, solemn, grand, and beautiful it will always
remain in our memories.

As we marched along, we began to get over our fears, and
ceased to care much about quarantine scouts or any body else.
We grew bold and reckless; and once, in a sudden burst of
courage, I even threw a stone at a dog. It was a pleasant
reflection, though, that I did not hit him, because his master
might just possibly have been a policeman. Inspired by this
happy failure, my valor became utterly uncontrollable, and at
intervals I absolutely whistled, though on a moderate key.
But boldness breeds boldness, and shortly I plunged into a
vineyard, in the full light of the moon, and captured a gallon
of superb grapes, not even minding the presence of a peasant
who rode by on a mule. Denny and Birch followed my example.


Page 350
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 350. In-line Illustration. Image of three men hurrying away from two shadowy figures carrying guns in the background. The caption reads, "WE SIDLED, NOT RAN."] Now I had grapes enough for a dozen, but then
Jackson was all swollen up with courage, too, and he was
obliged to enter a vineyard presently. The first bunch he
seized brought trouble. A
frowsy, bearded brigand
sprang into the road with
a shout, and flourished a
musket in the light of the
moon! We sidled toward
the Piræus—not running,
you understand, but only
advancing with celerity. The brigand shouted again, but still
we advanced. It was getting late, and we had no time to fool
away on every ass that wanted to drivel Greek platitudes to us.
We would just as soon have talked with him as not if we had
not been in a hurry. Presently Denny said, “Those fellows
are following us!”

We turned, and, sure enough, there they were—three fantastic
pirates armed with guns. We slackened our pace to let
them come up, and in the meantime I got out my cargo of
grapes and dropped them firmly but reluctantly into the shadows
by the wayside. But I was not afraid. I only felt that
it was not right to steal grapes. And all the more so when the
owner was around—and not only around, but with his friends
around also. The villains came up and searched a bundle Dr.


Page 351
Birch had in his hand, and scowled upon him when they found
it had nothing in it but some holy rocks from Mars Hill, and
these were not contraband. They evidently suspected him of
playing some wretched fraud upon them, and seemed half inclined
to scalp the party. But finally they dismissed us with
a warning, couched in excellent Greek, I suppose, and dropped
tranquilly in our wake. When they had gone three hundred
yards they stopped, and we went on rejoiced. But behold,
another armed rascal came out of the shadows and took their
place, and followed us two hundred yards. Then he delivered
us over to another miscreant, who emerged from some mysterious
place, and he in turn to another! For a mile and a half
our rear was guarded all the while by armed men. I never
traveled in so much state before in all my life.

It was a good while after that before we ventured to steal
any more grapes, and when we did we stirred up another
troublesome brigand, and then we ceased all further speculation
in that line. I suppose that fellow that rode by on the
mule posted all the sentinels, from Athens to the Piræus,
about us.

Every field on that long route was watched by an armed
sentinel, some of whom had fallen asleep, no doubt, but were
on hand, nevertheless. This shows what sort of a country
modern Attica is—a community of questionable characters.
These men were not there to guard their possessions against
strangers, but against each other; for strangers seldom visit
Athens and the Piræus, and when they do, they go in daylight,
and can buy all the grapes they want for a trifle. The
modern inhabitants are confiscators and falsifiers of high repute,
if gossip speaks truly concerning them, and I freely
believe it does.

Just as the earliest tinges of the dawn flushed the eastern
sky and turned the pillared Parthenon to a broken harp hung
in the pearly horizon, we closed our thirteenth mile of weary,
round-about marching, and emerged upon the sea-shore abreast
the ships, with our usual escort of fifteen hundred Piræan dogs
howling at our heels. We hailed a boat that was two or three


Page 352
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 352. In-line Illustration. Image of a city with some buildings on a high hill. The caption reads, "ANCIENT ACROPOLIS."] hundred yards from shore, and discovered in a moment that it
was a police-boat on the lookout for any quarantine-breakers
that might chance to be abroad. So we dodged—we were
used to that by this time—and when the scouts reached the
spot we had so lately occupied, we were absent. They cruised
along the shore, but in the wrong direction, and shortly our
own boat issued from the gloom and took us aboard. They
had heard our
signal on the
ship. We
rowed noiselessly
and before
the police-boat
came in
sight again,
we were safe
at home once

Four more
of our passengers
anxious to
visit Athens,
and started
half an hour
after we returned;
they had not been ashore five minutes till the police discovered
and chased them so hotly that they barely escaped to their boat
again, and that was all. They pursued the enterprise no further.

We set sail for Constantinople to-day, but some of us little
care for that. We have seen all there was to see in the old
city that had its birth sixteen hundred years before Christ was
born, and was an old town before the foundations of Troy were
laid—and saw it in its most attractive aspect. Wherefore,
why should we worry?


Page 353

[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 353. In-line Illustration. Image of the ruins of a building, with an arch and a few columns still standing.]

Two other passengers ran the blockade successfully last
night. So we learned this morning. They slipped away so
quietly that they were not missed from the ship for several
hours. They had the hardihood to march into the Piræus in
the early dusk and hire a carriage. They ran some danger of
adding two or three months' imprisonment to the other novelties
of their Holy Land Pleasure Excursion. I admire
“cheek.”[1] But they went and came safely, and never walked
a step.


Quotation from the Pilgrims.