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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




Page 609


IT was worth a kingdom to be at sea again. It was a relief
to drop all anxiety whatsoever—all questions as to where
we should go; how long we should stay; whether it were worth
while to go or not; all anxieties about the condition of the
horses; all such questions as “Shall we ever get to water?”
“Shall we ever lunch?” “Ferguson, how many more million
miles have we got to creep under this awful sun before we
camp?” It was a relief to cast all these torturing little anxieties
far away—ropes of steel they were, and every one with a separate
and distinct strain on it—and feel the temporary contentment
that is born of the banishment of all care and responsibility.
We did not look at the compass: we did not care, now, where
the ship went to, so that she went out of sight of land as quickly
as possible. When I travel again, I wish to go in a pleasure
ship. No amount of money could have purchased for us, in a
strange vessel and among unfamiliar faces, the perfect satisfaction
and the sense of being at home again which we experienced
when we stepped on board the “Quaker City,”—our
own ship
—after this wearisome pilgrimage. It is a something
we have felt always when we returned to her, and a something
we had no desire to sell.

We took off our blue woollen shirts, our spurs, and heavy
boots, our sanguinary revolvers and our buckskin-seated pantaloons,
and got shaved and came out in Christian costume once
more. All but Jack, who changed all other articles of his
dress, but clung to his traveling pantaloons. They still preserved
their ample buckskin seat intact; and so his short peajacket
and his long, thin legs assisted to make him a picturesque


Page 610
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 610. In-line Illustration. Image of a man smoking a pipe. He is depicted with his back to the viewer, and there is a large patch in the seat of his pants. The caption reads, "REAR ELEVATION OF JACK."] object whenever he stood on the forecastle looking abroad
upon the ocean over the bows. At such times his father's last
injunction suggested itself to me. He said:

“Jack, my boy, you are about to go among a brilliant company
of gentlemen and ladies, who are refined and cultivated,
and thoroughly accomplished in the manners and customs of
good society. Listen to their conversation, study their habits
of life, and learn. Be polite and obliging to all, and considerate
towards every one's opinions, failings and prejudices. Command
the just respect of all your fellow-voyagers, even though you
fail to win their friendly regard. And Jack—don't you ever
dare, while you live, appear in public on those decks in fair
weather, in a costume unbecoming your mother's drawing-room!”

It would have been
worth any price if the
father of this hopeful
youth could have stepped
on board some time, and
seen him standing high
on the fore-castle, peajacket,
tasseled red fez,
buckskin patch and all,
—placidly contemplating
the ocean—a rare
spectacle for any body's

After a pleasant voyage
and a good rest, we drew
near to Egypt and out of
the mellowest of sunsets
we saw the domes and
minarets of Alexandria
rise into view. As soon
as the anchor was down,
Jack and I got a boat and went ashore. It was night by this
time, and the other passengers were content to remain at home


Page 611
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 611. In-line Illustration. Image of a city street filled with people and camels. The building are all multi-story. The caption reads, "STREET IN ALEXANDRIA."] and visit ancient Egypt after breakfast. It was the way they
did at Constantinople. They took a lively interest in new
countries, but their school-boy impatience had worn off, and
they had learned that it was wisdom to take things easy and
go along comfortably—these old countries do not go away in
the night; they stay till after breakfast.

When we reached the pier we found an army of Egyptian
boys with donkeys no larger than themselves, waiting for passengers—for
donkeys are the omnibuses of Egypt. We preferred
to walk, but we could not have our own way. The
boys crowded about us, clamored around us, and slewed their
donkeys exactly across our path, no matter which way we
turned. They were good-natured rascals, and so were the
donkeys. We mounted, and the boys ran behind us and kept
the donkeys in a furious gallop, as is the fashion at Damascus.
I believe I would rather ride a donkey than any beast in the
world. He goes briskly, he puts on no airs, he is docile, though


Page 612
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 612. In-line Illustration. Image of a man in casual military dress and a fez hat. The caption reads, "VICEROY OF INDIA."] opinionated. Satan himself could not scare him, and he is convenient—very
convenient. When you are tired riding you can
rest your feet on the ground and let him gallop from under you.

We found the hotel and secured rooms, and were happy to
know that the Prince of Wales had stopped there once. They
had it every where on signs. No other princes had stopped
there since, till Jack and I came. We went abroad through
the town, then, and found it a city of huge commercial buildings,
and broad, handsome streets brilliant with gas-light. By
night it was a sort of reminiscence of Paris. But finally Jack
found an ice-cream saloon, and that closed investigations for
that evening. The weather was very hot, it had been many a
day since Jack had seen ice-cream, and so it was useless to
talk of leaving the saloon till it shut up.

In the morning the lost tribes of America came ashore and
infested the hotels and took possession of all the donkeys and
other open barouches that offered. They went in picturesque
procession to the American Consul's; to the great gardens; to
Cleopatra's Needles; to
Pompey's Pillar; to the
palace of the Viceroy of
Egypt; to the Nile; to
the superb groves of datepalms.
One of our most
inveterate relic-hunters
had his hammer with
him, and tried to break a
fragment off the upright
Needle and could not do
it; he tried the prostrate
one and failed; he borrowed
a heavy sledge
hammer from a mason
and failed again. He
tried Pompey's Pillar, and
this baffled him. Scattered all about the mighty monolith were
sphinxes of noble countenance, carved out of Egyptian granite as


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hard as blue steel, and whose shapely features the wear of five
thousand years had failed to mark or mar. The relic-hunter
battered at these persistently, and sweated profusely over his
work. He might as well have attempted to deface the
moon. They regarded him serenely with the stately smile
they had worn so long, and which seemed to say, “Peck
away, poor insect; we were not made to fear such as you;
in ten-score dragging ages we have seen more of your kind
than there are sands at your feet: have they left a blemish
upon us?”

But I am forgetting the Jaffa Colonists. At Jaffa we had
taken on board some forty members of a very celebrated community.
They were male and female; babies, young boys and
young girls; young married people, and some who had passed a
shade beyond the prime of life. I refer to the “Adams Jaffa
Colony.” Others had deserted before. We left in Jaffa Mr.
Adams, his wife, and fifteen unfortunates who not only had no
money but did not know where to turn or whither to go. Such
was the statement made to us. Our forty were miserable
enough in the first place, and they lay about the decks seasick
all the voyage, which about completed their misery, I take it.
However, one or two young men remained upright, and by
constant persecution we wormed out of them some little information.
They gave it reluctantly and in a very fragmentary
condition, for, having been shamefully humbugged by their
prophet, they felt humiliated and unhappy. In such circumstances
people do not like to talk.

The colony was a complete fiasco. I have already said that
such as could get away did so, from time to time. The
prophet Adams—once an actor, then several other things, afterward
a Mormon and a missionary, always an adventurer—remains
at Jaffa with his handful of sorrowful subjects. The
forty we brought away with us were chiefly destitute, though
not all of them. They wished to get to Egypt. What might
become of them then they did not know and probably did not
care—any thing to get away from hated Jaffa. They had little
to hope for. Because after many appeals to the sympathies of


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[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 614. In-line Illustration. Image of a bearded man in a hooded cloak. There are many decorative medals on his chest. The caption reads, "EASTERN MONARCH."] New England, made by strangers of Boston, through the newspapers,
and after the establishment of an office there for the
reception of moneyed contributions for the Jaffa colonists,
One Dollar was subscribed.
The consul-general
for Egypt
showed me the newspaper
which mentioned the
circumstance and mentioned
also the discontinuance
of the effort
and the closing of the
office. It was evident
that practical New
England was not sorry
to be rid of such visionaries
and was not
in the least inclined
to hire any body to
bring them back to
her. Still, to get to Egypt, was something, in the eyes of the
unfortunate colonists, hopeless as the prospect seemed of ever
getting further.

Thus circumstanced, they landed at Alexandria from our
ship. One of our passengers, Mr. Moses S. Beach, of the New
York Sun, inquired of the consul-general what it would cost
to send these people to their home in Maine by the way of
Liverpool, and he said fifteen hundred dollars in gold would
do it. Mr. Beach gave his check for the money and so the
troubles of the Jaffa colonists were at an end.[1]

Alexandria was too much like a European city to be novel,
and we soon tired of it. We took the cars and came up here


Page 615
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 615. In-line Illustration. Image of a dark-haired man in a suit. The caption reads, "MOSES S. BEACH."] to ancient Cairo, which is an Oriental city and of the completest
pattern. There is little about it to disabuse one's mind
of the error if he should
take it into his head that
he was in the heart of Arabia.
Stately camels and
dromedaries, swarthy
Egyptians, and likewise
Turks and black Ethiopians,
turbaned, sashed,
and blazing in a rich variety
of Oriental costumes
of all shades of flashy
colors, are what one sees
on every hand crowding
the narrow streets and
the honeycombed bazaars.
We are stopping
at Shepherd's Hotel,
which is the worst on earth except the one I stopped at once
in a small town in the United States. It is pleasant to read
this sketch in my note-book, now, and know that I can stand
Shepherd's Hotel, sure, because I have been in one just like it
in America and survived:

I stopped at the Benton House. It used to be a good hotel, but that proves
nothing—I used to be a good boy, for that matter. Both of us have lost character
of late years. The Benton is not a good hotel. The Benton lacks a very great
deal of being a good hotel. Perdition is full of better hotels than the Benton.

It was late at night when I got there, and I told the clerk I would like plenty
of lights, because I wanted to read an hour or two. When I reached No. 15 with
the porter (we came along a dim hall that was clad in ancient carpeting, faded,
worn out in many places, and patched with old scraps of oil cloth—a hall that sank
under one's feet, and creaked dismally to every footstep,) he struck a light—two
inches of sallow, sorrowful, consumptive tallow candle, that burned blue, and sputtered,
and got discouraged and went out. The porter lit it again, and I asked if that
was all the light the clerk sent. He said, “Oh no, I've got another one here,” and
he produced another couple of inches of tallow candle. I said, “Light them both
—I'll have to have one to see the other by.” He did it, but the result was drearier
than darkness itself. He was a cheery, accommodating rascal. He said he would


Page 616
go “somewheres” and steal a lamp. I abetted and encouraged him in his criminal
design. I heard the landlord get after him in the hall ten minutes afterward.

“Where are you going with that lamp?”

Fifteen wants it, sir.”

“Fifteen! why he's got a double lot of candles—does the man want to illuminate
the house?—does he want to get up a torch-light procession?—what is he up
to, any how?”

“He don't like them candles—says he wants a lamp.”

“Why what in the nation does—why I never heard of such a thing? What on
earth can he want with that lamp?”

“Well, he only wants to read—that's what he says.”

“Wants to read, does he?—ain't satisfied with a thousand candles, but has to
have a lamp!—I do wonder what the devil that fellow wants that lamp for? Take
him another candle, and then if—”

“But he wants the lamp—says he'll burn the d—d old house down if he don't
get a lamp!” (a remark which I never made.)

“I'd like to see him at it once. Well, you take it along—but I swear it beats
my time, though—and see if you can't find out what in the very nation he wants
with that lamp.”

And he went off growling to himself and still wondering and wondering over the
unaccountable conduct of No. 15. The lamp was a good one, but it revealed some
disagreeable things—a bed in the suburbs of a desert of room—a bed that had hills
and valleys in it, and you'd have to accommodate your body to the impression left
in it by the man that slept there last, before you could lie comfortably; a carpet
that had seen better days; a melancholy washstand in a remote corner, and a dejected
pitcher on it sorrowing over a broken nose; a looking-glass split across the
centre, which chopped your head off at the chin and made you look like some
dreadful unfinished monster or other; the paper peeling in shreds from the walls.

I sighed and said: “This is charming; and now don't you think you could get
me something to read?”

The porter said, “Oh, certainly; the old man's got dead loads of books;” and he
was gone before I could tell him what sort of literature I would rather have. And
yet his countenance expressed the utmost confidence in his ability to execute the
commission with credit to himself. The old man made a descent on him.

“What are you going to do with that pile of books?”

“Fifteen wants 'em, sir.”

“Fifteen, is it? He'll want a warming-pan, next—he'll want a nurse! Take
him every thing there is in the house—take him the bar-keeper—take him the baggage-wagon—take
him a chamber-maid! Confound me, I never saw any thing like
it. What did he say he wants with those books?”

“Wants to read 'em, like enough; it ain't likely he wants to eat 'em, I don't

“Wants to read 'em—wants to read 'em this time of night, the infernal lunatic!
Well, he can't have them.”

“But he says he's mor'ly bound to have 'em; he says he'll just go a-rairin' and
a-chargin' through this house and raise more—well, there's no tellin' what he


Page 617
[ILLUSTRATION] [Description: 500EAF. Page 617. In-line Illustration. Image of a cracked washbasin and pitcher and a broken chair. The caption reads, "ROOM NO. 15."] won't do if he don't get 'em; because he's drunk and crazy and desperate, and
nothing'll soothe him down but them cussed books.” [I had not made any threats,
and was not in the condition
ascribed to me by the

“Well, go on; but I will
be around when he goes to
rairing and charging, and
the first rair he makes I'll
make him rair out of the
window.” And then the
old gentleman went off,
growling as before.

The genius of that porter
was something wonderful.
He put an armful
of books on the bed and
said “Good night” as confidently
as if he knew perfectly
well that those books
were exactly my style of
reading matter. And well
he might. His selection covered the whole range of legitimate literature. It comprised
“The Great Consummation,” by Rev. Dr. Cummings—theology; “Revised
Statutes of the State of Missouri”—law; “The Complete Horse-Doctor”—medicine;
“The Toilers of the Sea,” by Victor Hugo—romance; “The works of
William Shakspeare”—poetry. I shall never cease to admire the tact and the
intelligence of that gifted porter.

But all the donkeys in Christendom, and most of the Egyptian
boys, I think, are at the door, and there is some noise
going on, not to put it in stronger language.—We are about
starting to the illustrious Pyramids of Egypt, and the donkeys
for the voyage are under inspection. I will go and select one
before the choice animals are all taken.


It was an unselfish act of benevolence; it was done without any ostentation,
and has never been mentioned in any newspaper, I think. Therefore it is refreshing
to learn now, several months after the above narrative was written, that
another man received all the credit of this rescue of the colonists. Such is life.