Meet us on:
Welcome to Read Print! Sign in with
or
to get started!
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Chapter 34

    • Rate it:
    • 1 Favorite on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 35
    Previous Chapter
    Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand
    diamonds than none at all.
    --Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar.

    November 27. To-day we reached Gisborne, and anchored in a big bay;
    there was a heavy sea on, so we remained on board.

    We were a mile from shore; a little steam-tug put out from the land; she
    was an object of thrilling interest; she would climb to the summit of a
    billow, reel drunkenly there a moment, dim and gray in the driving storm
    of spindrift, then make a plunge like a diver and remain out of sight
    until one had given her up, then up she would dart again, on a steep
    slant toward the sky, shedding Niagaras of water from her forecastle--and
    this she kept up, all the way out to us. She brought twenty-five
    passengers in her stomach--men and women mainly a traveling dramatic
    company. In sight on deck were the crew, in sou'westers, yellow
    waterproof canvas suits, and boots to the thigh. The deck was never
    quiet for a moment, and seldom nearer level than a ladder, and noble were
    the seas which leapt aboard and went flooding aft. We rove a long line
    to the yard-arm, hung a most primitive basketchair to it and swung it out
    into the spacious air of heaven, and there it swayed, pendulum-fashion,
    waiting for its chance--then down it shot, skillfully aimed, and was
    grabbed by the two men on the forecastle. A young fellow belonging to
    our crew was in the chair, to be a protection to the lady-comers. At
    once a couple of ladies appeared from below, took seats in his lap, we
    hoisted them into the sky, waited a moment till the roll of the ship
    brought them in overhead, then we lowered suddenly away, and seized the
    chair as it struck the deck. We took the twenty-five aboard, and
    delivered twenty-five into the tug--among them several aged ladies, and
    one blind one--and all without accident. It was a fine piece of work.

    Ours is a nice ship, roomy, comfortable, well-ordered, and satisfactory.
    Now and then we step on a rat in a hotel, but we have had no rats on
    shipboard lately; unless, perhaps in the Flora; we had more serious
    things to think of there, and did not notice. I have noticed that it is
    only in ships and hotels which still employ the odious Chinese gong, that
    you find rats. The reason would seem to be, that as a rat cannot tell
    the time of day by a clock, he won't stay where he cannot find out when
    dinner is ready.

    November 29. The doctor tells me of several old drunkards, one
    spiritless loafer, and several far-gone moral wrecks who have been
    reclaimed by the Salvation Army and have remained staunch people and hard
    workers these two years. Wherever one goes, these testimonials to the
    Army's efficiency are forthcoming . . . . This morning we had one of
    those whizzing green Ballarat flies in the room, with his stunning
    buzz-saw noise--the swiftest creature in the world except the
    lightning-flash. It is a stupendous force that is stored up in that
    little body. If we had it in a ship in the same proportion, we could spin
    from Liverpool to New York in the space of an hour--the time it takes to
    eat luncheon. The New Zealand express train is called the Ballarat Fly
    . . . . Bad teeth in the colonies. A citizen told me they don't have
    teeth filled, but pull them out and put in false ones, and that now and
    then one sees a young lady with a full set. She is fortunate. I wish I
    had been born with false teeth and a false liver and false carbuncles.
    I should get along better.

    December 2. Monday. Left Napier in the Ballarat Fly the one that goes
    twice a week. From Napier to Hastings, twelve miles; time, fifty-five
    minutes--not so far short of thirteen miles an hour . . . . A perfect
    summer day; cool breeze, brilliant sky, rich vegetation. Two or three
    times during the afternoon we saw wonderfully dense and beautiful
    forests, tumultuously piled skyward on the broken highlands--not the
    customary roof-like slant of a hillside, where the trees are all the same
    height. The noblest of these trees were of the Kauri breed, we were told
    the timber that is now furnishing the wood-paving for Europe, and is the
    best of all wood for that purpose. Sometimes these towering upheavals of
    forestry were festooned and garlanded with vine-cables, and sometimes the
    masses of undergrowth were cocooned in another sort of vine of a delicate
    cobwebby texture--they call it the "supplejack," I think. Tree ferns
    everywhere--a stem fifteen feet high, with a graceful chalice of
    fern-fronds sprouting from its top--a lovely forest ornament. And there
    was a ten-foot reed with a flowing suit of what looked like yellow hair
    hanging from its upper end. I do not know its name, but if there is such
    a thing as a scalp-plant, this is it. A romantic gorge, with a brook
    flowing in its bottom, approaching Palmerston North.

    Waitukurau. Twenty minutes for luncheon. With me sat my wife and
    daughter, and my manager, Mr. Carlyle Smythe. I sat at the head of the
    table, and could see the right-hand wall; the others had their backs to
    it. On that wall, at a good distance away, were a couple of framed
    pictures. I could not see them clearly, but from the groupings of the
    figures I fancied that they represented the killing of Napoleon III's son
    by the Zulus in South Africa. I broke into the conversation, which was
    about poetry and cabbage and art, and said to my wife--

    "Do you remember when the news came to Paris----"

    "Of the killing of the Prince?"

    (Those were the very words I had in my mind.) "Yes, but what Prince?"

    "Napoleon. Lulu."

    "What made you think of that?"

    "I don't know."

    There was no collusion. She had not seen the pictures, and they had not
    been mentioned. She ought to have thought of some recent news that came
    to Paris, for we were but seven months from there and had been living
    there a couple of years when we started on this trip; but instead of that
    she thought of an incident of our brief sojourn in Paris of sixteen years
    before.

    Here was a clear case of mental telegraphy; of mind-transference; of my
    mind telegraphing a thought into hers. How do I know? Because I
    telegraphed an error. For it turned out that the pictures did not
    represent the killing of Lulu at all, nor anything connected with Lulu.
    She had to get the error from my head--it existed nowhere else.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 35
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Mark Twain essay and need some advice, post your Mark Twain essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?