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    Chapter 7

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    Chapter 8
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    A week of buffeting a tempestuous and relentless sea; a week of
    seasickness and deserted cabins; of lonely quarterdecks drenched with
    spray--spray so ambitious that it even coated the smokestacks thick with
    a white crust of salt to their very tops; a week of shivering in the
    shelter of the lifeboats and deckhouses by day and blowing suffocating
    "clouds" and boisterously performing at dominoes in the smoking room at
    night.

    And the last night of the seven was the stormiest of all. There was no
    thunder, no noise but the pounding bows of the ship, the keen whistling
    of the gale through the cordage, and the rush of the seething waters.
    But the vessel climbed aloft as if she would climb to heaven--then paused
    an instant that seemed a century and plunged headlong down again, as from
    a precipice. The sheeted sprays drenched the decks like rain. The
    blackness of darkness was everywhere. At long intervals a flash of
    lightning clove it with a quivering line of fire that revealed a heaving
    world of water where was nothing before, kindled the dusky cordage to
    glittering silver, and lit up the faces of the men with a ghastly luster!

    Fear drove many on deck that were used to avoiding the night winds and
    the spray. Some thought the vessel could not live through the night, and
    it seemed less dreadful to stand out in the midst of the wild tempest and
    see the peril that threatened than to be shut up in the sepulchral
    cabins, under the dim lamps, and imagine the horrors that were abroad on
    the ocean. And once out--once where they could see the ship struggling
    in the strong grasp of the storm--once where they could hear the shriek
    of the winds and face the driving spray and look out upon the majestic
    picture the lightnings disclosed, they were prisoners to a fierce
    fascination they could not resist, and so remained. It was a wild night
    --and a very, very long one.

    Everybody was sent scampering to the deck at seven o'clock this lovely
    morning of the thirtieth of June with the glad news that land was in
    sight! It was a rare thing and a joyful, to see all the ship's family
    abroad once more, albeit the happiness that sat upon every countenance
    could only partly conceal the ravages which that long siege of storms had
    wrought there. But dull eyes soon sparkled with pleasure, pallid cheeks
    flushed again, and frames weakened by sickness gathered new life from the
    quickening influences of the bright, fresh morning. Yea, and from a
    still more potent influence: the worn castaways were to see the blessed
    land again!--and to see it was to bring back that motherland that was in
    all their thoughts.

    Within the hour we were fairly within the Straits of Gibraltar, the tall
    yellow-splotched hills of Africa on our right, with their bases veiled in
    a blue haze and their summits swathed in clouds--the same being according
    to Scripture, which says that "clouds and darkness are over the land."
    The words were spoken of this particular portion of Africa, I believe.
    On our left were the granite-ribbed domes of old Spain. The strait is
    only thirteen miles wide in its narrowest part.

    At short intervals along the Spanish shore were quaint-looking old stone
    towers--Moorish, we thought--but learned better afterwards. In former
    times the Morocco rascals used to coast along the Spanish Main in their
    boats till a safe opportunity seemed to present itself, and then dart in
    and capture a Spanish village and carry off all the pretty women they
    could find. It was a pleasant business, and was very popular. The
    Spaniards built these watchtowers on the hills to enable them to keep a
    sharper lookout on the Moroccan speculators.

    The picture on the other hand was very beautiful to eyes weary of the
    changeless sea, and by and by the ship's company grew wonderfully
    cheerful. But while we stood admiring the cloud-capped peaks and the
    lowlands robed in misty gloom a finer picture burst upon us and chained
    every eye like a magnet--a stately ship, with canvas piled on canvas till
    she was one towering mass of bellying sail! She came speeding over the
    sea like a great bird. Africa and Spain were forgotten. All homage was
    for the beautiful stranger. While everybody gazed she swept superbly by
    and flung the Stars and Stripes to the breeze! Quicker than thought,
    hats and handkerchiefs flashed in the air, and a cheer went up! She was
    beautiful before--she was radiant now. Many a one on our decks knew then
    for the first time how tame a sight his country's flag is at home
    compared to what it is in a foreign land. To see it is to see a vision
    of home itself and all its idols, and feel a thrill that would stir a
    very river of sluggish blood!

    We were approaching the famed Pillars of Hercules, and already the
    African one, "Ape's Hill," a grand old mountain with summit streaked with
    granite ledges, was in sight. The other, the great Rock of Gibraltar,
    was yet to come. The ancients considered the Pillars of Hercules the
    head of navigation and the end of the world. The information the
    ancients didn't have was very voluminous. Even the prophets wrote book
    after book and epistle after epistle, yet never once hinted at the
    existence of a great continent on our side of the water; yet they must
    have known it was there, I should think.

    In a few moments a lonely and enormous mass of rock, standing seemingly
    in the center of the wide strait and apparently washed on all sides by
    the sea, swung magnificently into view, and we needed no tedious traveled
    parrot to tell us it was Gibraltar. There could not be two rocks like
    that in one kingdom.

    The Rock of Gibraltar is about a mile and a half long, I should say, by
    1,400 to 1,500 feet high, and a quarter of a mile wide at its base. One
    side and one end of it come about as straight up out of the sea as the
    side of a house, the other end is irregular and the other side is a steep
    slant which an army would find very difficult to climb. At the foot of
    this slant is the walled town of Gibraltar--or rather the town occupies
    part of the slant. Everywhere--on hillside, in the precipice, by the
    sea, on the heights--everywhere you choose to look, Gibraltar is clad
    with masonry and bristling with guns. It makes a striking and lively
    picture from whatsoever point you contemplate it. It is pushed out into
    the sea on the end of a flat, narrow strip of land, and is suggestive of
    a "gob" of mud on the end of a shingle. A few hundred yards of this flat
    ground at its base belongs to the English, and then, extending across the
    strip from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, a distance of a quarter of
    a mile, comes the "Neutral Ground," a space two or three hundred yards
    wide, which is free to both parties.

    "Are you going through Spain to Paris?" That question was bandied about
    the ship day and night from Fayal to Gibraltar, and I thought I never
    could get so tired of hearing any one combination of words again or more
    tired of answering, "I don't know." At the last moment six or seven had
    sufficient decision of character to make up their minds to go, and did
    go, and I felt a sense of relief at once--it was forever too late now and
    I could make up my mind at my leisure not to go. I must have a
    prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to
    make it up.

    But behold how annoyances repeat themselves. We had no sooner gotten rid
    of the Spain distress than the Gibraltar guides started another--a
    tiresome repetition of a legend that had nothing very astonishing about
    it, even in the first place: "That high hill yonder is called the Queen's
    Chair; it is because one of the queens of Spain placed her chair there
    when the French and Spanish troops were besieging Gibraltar, and said she
    would never move from the spot till the English flag was lowered from the
    fortresses. If the English hadn't been gallant enough to lower the flag
    for a few hours one day, she'd have had to break her oath or die up
    there."

    We rode on asses and mules up the steep, narrow streets and entered the
    subterranean galleries the English have blasted out in the rock. These
    galleries are like spacious railway tunnels, and at short intervals in
    them great guns frown out upon sea and town through portholes five or six
    hundred feet above the ocean. There is a mile or so of this subterranean
    work, and it must have cost a vast deal of money and labor. The gallery
    guns command the peninsula and the harbors of both oceans, but they might
    as well not be there, I should think, for an army could hardly climb the
    perpendicular wall of the rock anyhow. Those lofty portholes afford
    superb views of the sea, though. At one place, where a jutting crag was
    hollowed out into a great chamber whose furniture was huge cannon and
    whose windows were portholes, a glimpse was caught of a hill not far
    away, and a soldier said:

    "That high hill yonder is called the Queen's Chair; it is because a queen
    of Spain placed her chair there once when the French and Spanish troops
    were besieging Gibraltar, and said she would never move from the spot
    till the English flag was lowered from the fortresses. If the English
    hadn't been gallant enough to lower the flag for a few hours one day,
    she'd have had to break her oath or die up there."

    On the topmost pinnacle of Gibraltar we halted a good while, and no doubt
    the mules were tired. They had a right to be. The military road was
    good, but rather steep, and there was a good deal of it. The view from
    the narrow ledge was magnificent; from it vessels seeming like the
    tiniest little toy boats were turned into noble ships by the telescopes,
    and other vessels that were fifty miles away and even sixty, they said,
    and invisible to the naked eye, could be clearly distinguished through
    those same telescopes. Below, on one side, we looked down upon an
    endless mass of batteries and on the other straight down to the sea.

    While I was resting ever so comfortably on a rampart, and cooling my
    baking head in the delicious breeze, an officious guide belonging to
    another party came up and said:

    "Senor, that high hill yonder is called the Queen's Chair--"

    "Sir, I am a helpless orphan in a foreign land. Have pity on me. Don't
    --now don't inflict that most in-FERNAL old legend on me anymore today!"

    There--I had used strong language after promising I would never do so
    again; but the provocation was more than human nature could bear. If you
    had been bored so, when you had the noble panorama of Spain and Africa
    and the blue Mediterranean spread abroad at your feet, and wanted to gaze
    and enjoy and surfeit yourself in its beauty in silence, you might have
    even burst into stronger language than I did.

    Gibraltar has stood several protracted sieges, one of them of nearly four
    years' duration (it failed), and the English only captured it by
    stratagem. The wonder is that anybody should ever dream of trying so
    impossible a project as the taking it by assault--and yet it has been
    tried more than once.

    The Moors held the place twelve hundred years ago, and a staunch old
    castle of theirs of that date still frowns from the middle of the town,
    with moss-grown battlements and sides well scarred by shots fired in
    battles and sieges that are forgotten now. A secret chamber in the rock
    behind it was discovered some time ago, which contained a sword of
    exquisite workmanship, and some quaint old armor of a fashion that
    antiquaries are not acquainted with, though it is supposed to be Roman.
    Roman armor and Roman relics of various kinds have been found in a cave
    in the sea extremity of Gibraltar; history says Rome held this part of
    the country about the Christian era, and these things seem to confirm the
    statement.

    In that cave also are found human bones, crusted with a very thick, stony
    coating, and wise men have ventured to say that those men not only lived
    before the flood, but as much as ten thousand years before it. It may be
    true--it looks reasonable enough--but as long as those parties can't vote
    anymore, the matter can be of no great public interest. In this cave
    likewise are found skeletons and fossils of animals that exist in every
    part of Africa, yet within memory and tradition have never existed in any
    portion of Spain save this lone peak of Gibraltar! So the theory is that
    the channel between Gibraltar and Africa was once dry land, and that the
    low, neutral neck between Gibraltar and the Spanish hills behind it was
    once ocean, and of course that these African animals, being over at
    Gibraltar (after rock, perhaps--there is plenty there), got closed out
    when the great change occurred. The hills in Africa, across the channel,
    are full of apes, and there are now and always have been apes on the rock
    of Gibraltar--but not elsewhere in Spain! The subject is an interesting
    one.

    There is an English garrison at Gibraltar of 6,000 or 7,000 men, and so
    uniforms of flaming red are plenty; and red and blue, and undress
    costumes of snowy white, and also the queer uniform of the bare-kneed
    Highlander; and one sees soft-eyed Spanish girls from San Roque, and
    veiled Moorish beauties (I suppose they are beauties) from Tarifa, and
    turbaned, sashed, and trousered Moorish merchants from Fez, and
    long-robed, bare-legged, ragged Muhammadan vagabonds from Tetuan and
    Tangier, some brown, some yellow and some as black as virgin ink--and
    Jews from all around, in gabardine, skullcap, and slippers, just as they
    are in pictures and theaters, and just as they were three thousand years
    ago, no doubt. You can easily understand that a tribe (somehow our
    pilgrims suggest that expression, because they march in a straggling
    procession through these foreign places with such an Indian-like air of
    complacency and independence about them) like ours, made up from fifteen
    or sixteen states of the Union, found enough to stare at in this
    shifting panorama of fashion today.

    Speaking of our pilgrims reminds me that we have one or two people among
    us who are sometimes an annoyance. However, I do not count the Oracle in
    that list. I will explain that the Oracle is an innocent old ass who
    eats for four and looks wiser than the whole Academy of France would have
    any right to look, and never uses a one-syllable word when he can think
    of a longer one, and never by any possible chance knows the meaning of
    any long word he uses or ever gets it in the right place; yet he will
    serenely venture an opinion on the most abstruse subject and back it up
    complacently with quotations from authors who never existed, and finally
    when cornered will slide to the other side of the question, say he has
    been there all the time, and come back at you with your own spoken
    arguments, only with the big words all tangled, and play them in your
    very teeth as original with himself. He reads a chapter in the
    guidebooks, mixes the facts all up, with his bad memory, and then goes
    off to inflict the whole mess on somebody as wisdom which has been
    festering in his brain for years and which he gathered in college from
    erudite authors who are dead now and out of print. This morning at
    breakfast he pointed out of the window and said:

    "Do you see that there hill out there on that African coast? It's one of
    them Pillows of Herkewls, I should say--and there's the ultimate one
    alongside of it."

    "The ultimate one--that is a good word--but the pillars are not both on
    the same side of the strait." (I saw he had been deceived by a
    carelessly written sentence in the guidebook.)

    "Well, it ain't for you to say, nor for me. Some authors states it that
    way, and some states it different. Old Gibbons don't say nothing about
    it--just shirks it complete--Gibbons always done that when he got stuck
    --but there is Rolampton, what does he say? Why, he says that they was
    both on the same side, and Trinculian, and Sobaster, and Syraccus, and
    Langomarganbl----"

    "Oh, that will do--that's enough. If you have got your hand in for
    inventing authors and testimony, I have nothing more to say--let them be
    on the same side."

    We don't mind the Oracle. We rather like him. We can tolerate the
    Oracle very easily, but we have a poet and a good-natured enterprising
    idiot on board, and they do distress the company. The one gives copies
    of his verses to consuls, commanders, hotel keepers, Arabs, Dutch--to
    anybody, in fact, who will submit to a grievous infliction most kindly
    meant. His poetry is all very well on shipboard, notwithstanding when he
    wrote an "Ode to the Ocean in a Storm" in one half hour, and an
    "Apostrophe to the Rooster in the Waist of the Ship" in the next, the
    transition was considered to be rather abrupt; but when he sends an
    invoice of rhymes to the Governor of Fayal and another to the commander
    in chief and other dignitaries in Gibraltar with the compliments of the
    Laureate of the Ship, it is not popular with the passengers.

    The other personage I have mentioned is young and green, and not bright,
    not learned, and not wise. He will be, though, someday if he recollects
    the answers to all his questions. He is known about the ship as the
    "Interrogation Point," and this by constant use has become shortened to
    "Interrogation." He has distinguished himself twice already. In Fayal
    they pointed out a hill and told him it was 800 feet high and 1,100 feet
    long. And they told him there was a tunnel 2,000 feet long and 1,000
    feet high running through the hill, from end to end. He believed it. He
    repeated it to everybody, discussed it, and read it from his notes.
    Finally, he took a useful hint from this remark, which a thoughtful old
    pilgrim made:

    "Well, yes, it is a little remarkable--singular tunnel altogether--stands
    up out of the top of the hill about two hundred feet, and one end of it
    sticks out of the hill about nine hundred!"

    Here in Gibraltar he corners these educated British officers and badgers
    them with braggadocio about America and the wonders she can perform! He
    told one of them a couple of our gunboats could come here and knock
    Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea!

    At this present moment half a dozen of us are taking a private pleasure
    excursion of our own devising. We form rather more than half the list of
    white passengers on board a small steamer bound for the venerable Moorish
    town of Tangier, Africa. Nothing could be more absolutely certain than
    that we are enjoying ourselves. One can not do otherwise who speeds over
    these sparkling waters and breathes the soft atmosphere of this sunny
    land. Care cannot assail us here. We are out of its jurisdiction.

    We even steamed recklessly by the frowning fortress of Malabat
    (a stronghold of the Emperor of Morocco) without a twinge of fear.
    The whole garrison turned out under arms and assumed a threatening
    attitude--yet still we did not fear. The entire garrison marched and
    counter-marched within the rampart, in full view--yet notwithstanding
    even this, we never flinched.

    I suppose we really do not know what fear is. I inquired the name of the
    garrison of the fortress of Malabat, and they said it was Mehemet Ali Ben
    Sancom. I said it would be a good idea to get some more garrisons to
    help him; but they said no, he had nothing to do but hold the place, and
    he was competent to do that, had done it two years already. That was
    evidence which one could not well refute. There is nothing like
    reputation.

    Every now and then my glove purchase in Gibraltar last night intrudes
    itself upon me. Dan and the ship's surgeon and I had been up to the
    great square, listening to the music of the fine military bands and
    contemplating English and Spanish female loveliness and fashion, and at
    nine o'clock were on our way to the theater, when we met the General, the
    Judge, the Commodore, the Colonel, and the Commissioner of the United
    States of America to Europe, Asia, and Africa, who had been to the Club
    House to register their several titles and impoverish the bill of fare;
    and they told us to go over to the little variety store near the Hall of
    Justice and buy some kid gloves. They said they were elegant and very
    moderate in price. It seemed a stylish thing to go to the theater in kid
    gloves, and we acted upon the hint. A very handsome young lady in the
    store offered me a pair of blue gloves. I did not want blue, but she
    said they would look very pretty on a hand like mine. The remark touched
    me tenderly. I glanced furtively at my hand, and somehow it did seem
    rather a comely member. I tried a glove on my left and blushed a little.
    Manifestly the size was too small for me. But I felt gratified when she
    said:

    "Oh, it is just right!" Yet I knew it was no such thing.

    I tugged at it diligently, but it was discouraging work. She said:

    "Ah! I see you are accustomed to wearing kid gloves--but some gentlemen
    are so awkward about putting them on."

    It was the last compliment I had expected. I only understand putting on
    the buckskin article perfectly. I made another effort and tore the glove
    from the base of the thumb into the palm of the hand--and tried to hide
    the rent. She kept up her compliments, and I kept up my determination to
    deserve them or die:

    "Ah, you have had experience! [A rip down the back of the hand.] They
    are just right for you--your hand is very small--if they tear you need
    not pay for them. [A rent across the middle.] I can always tell when a
    gentleman understands putting on kid gloves. There is a grace about it
    that only comes with long practice." The whole after-guard of the glove
    "fetched away," as the sailors say, the fabric parted across the
    knuckles, and nothing was left but a melancholy ruin.

    I was too much flattered to make an exposure and throw the merchandise on
    the angel's hands. I was hot, vexed, confused, but still happy; but I
    hated the other boys for taking such an absorbing interest in the
    proceedings. I wished they were in Jericho. I felt exquisitely mean
    when I said cheerfully:

    "This one does very well; it fits elegantly. I like a glove that fits.
    No, never mind, ma'am, never mind; I'll put the other on in the street.
    It is warm here."

    It was warm. It was the warmest place I ever was in. I paid the bill,
    and as I passed out with a fascinating bow I thought I detected a light
    in the woman's eye that was gently ironical; and when I looked back from
    the street, and she was laughing all to herself about something or other,
    I said to myself with withering sarcasm, "Oh, certainly; you know how to
    put on kid gloves, don't you? A self-complacent ass, ready to be
    flattered out of your senses by every petticoat that chooses to take the
    trouble to do it!"

    The silence of the boys annoyed me. Finally Dan said musingly:

    "Some gentlemen don't know how to put on kid gloves at all, but some do."

    And the doctor said (to the moon, I thought):

    "But it is always easy to tell when a gentleman is used to putting on kid
    gloves."

    Dan soliloquized after a pause:

    "Ah, yes; there is a grace about it that only comes with long, very long
    practice."

    "Yes, indeed, I've noticed that when a man hauls on a kid glove like he
    was dragging a cat out of an ash hole by the tail, he understands putting
    on kid gloves; he's had ex--"

    "Boys, enough of a thing's enough! You think you are very smart, I
    suppose, but I don't. And if you go and tell any of those old gossips in
    the ship about this thing, I'll never forgive you for it; that's all."

    They let me alone then for the time being. We always let each other
    alone in time to prevent ill feeling from spoiling a joke. But they had
    bought gloves, too, as I did. We threw all the purchases away together
    this morning. They were coarse, unsubstantial, freckled all over with
    broad yellow splotches, and could neither stand wear nor public
    exhibition. We had entertained an angel unawares, but we did not take
    her in. She did that for us.

    Tangier! A tribe of stalwart Moors are wading into the sea to carry us
    ashore on their backs from the small boats.
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