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    Chapter 61

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    Chapter 62
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    In this place I will print an article which I wrote for the New York
    Herald the night we arrived. I do it partly because my contract with my
    publishers makes it compulsory; partly because it is a proper, tolerably
    accurate, and exhaustive summing up of the cruise of the ship and the
    performances of the pilgrims in foreign lands; and partly because some of
    the passengers have abused me for writing it, and I wish the public to
    see how thankless a task it is to put one's self to trouble to glorify
    unappreciative people. I was charged with "rushing into print" with
    these compliments. I did not rush. I had written news letters to the
    Herald sometimes, but yet when I visited the office that day I did not
    say any thing about writing a valedictory. I did go to the Tribune
    office to see if such an article was wanted, because I belonged on the
    regular staff of that paper and it was simply a duty to do it. The
    managing editor was absent, and so I thought no more about it. At night
    when the Herald's request came for an article, I did not "rush." In
    fact, I demurred for a while, because I did not feel like writing
    compliments then, and therefore was afraid to speak of the cruise lest I
    might be betrayed into using other than complimentary language. However,
    I reflected that it would be a just and righteous thing to go down and
    write a kind word for the Hadjis--Hadjis are people who have made the
    pilgrimage--because parties not interested could not do it so feelingly
    as I, a fellow-Hadji, and so I penned the valedictory. I have read it,
    and read it again; and if there is a sentence in it that is not fulsomely
    complimentary to captain, ship and passengers, I can not find it. If it
    is not a chapter that any company might be proud to have a body write
    about them, my judgment is fit for nothing. With these remarks I
    confidently submit it to the unprejudiced judgment of the reader:



    The steamer Quaker City has accomplished at last her extraordinary
    voyage and returned to her old pier at the foot of Wall street.
    The expedition was a success in some respects, in some it was not.
    Originally it was advertised as a "pleasure excursion." Well,
    perhaps, it was a pleasure excursion, but certainly it did not look
    like one; certainly it did not act like one. Any body's and every
    body's notion of a pleasure excursion is that the parties to it will
    of a necessity be young and giddy and somewhat boisterous. They
    will dance a good deal, sing a good deal, make love, but sermonize
    very little. Any body's and every body's notion of a well conducted
    funeral is that there must be a hearse and a corpse, and chief
    mourners and mourners by courtesy, many old people, much solemnity,
    no levity, and a prayer and a sermon withal. Three-fourths of the
    Quaker City's passengers were between forty and seventy years of
    age! There was a picnic crowd for you! It may be supposed that the
    other fourth was composed of young girls. But it was not. It was
    chiefly composed of rusty old bachelors and a child of six years.
    Let us average the ages of the Quaker City's pilgrims and set the
    figure down as fifty years. Is any man insane enough to imagine
    that this picnic of patriarchs sang, made love, danced, laughed,
    told anecdotes, dealt in ungodly levity? In my experience they
    sinned little in these matters. No doubt it was presumed here at
    home that these frolicsome veterans laughed and sang and romped all
    day, and day after day, and kept up a noisy excitement from one end
    of the ship to the other; and that they played blind-man's buff or
    danced quadrilles and waltzes on moonlight evenings on the
    quarter-deck; and that at odd moments of unoccupied time they jotted
    a laconic item or two in the journals they opened on such an
    elaborate plan when they left home, and then skurried off to their
    whist and euchre labors under the cabin lamps. If these things were
    presumed, the presumption was at fault. The venerable excursionists
    were not gay and frisky. They played no blind-man's buff; they
    dealt not in whist; they shirked not the irksome journal, for alas!
    most of them were even writing books. They never romped, they
    talked but little, they never sang, save in the nightly
    prayer-meeting. The pleasure ship was a synagogue, and the pleasure
    trip was a funeral excursion without a corpse. (There is nothing
    exhilarating about a funeral excursion without a corpse.) A free,
    hearty laugh was a sound that was not heard oftener than once in
    seven days about those decks or in those cabins, and when it was
    heard it met with precious little sympathy. The excursionists
    danced, on three separate evenings, long, long ago, (it seems an
    age.) quadrilles, of a single set, made up of three ladies and five
    gentlemen, (the latter with handkerchiefs around their arms to
    signify their sex.) who timed their feet to the solemn wheezing of a
    melodeon; but even this melancholy orgie was voted to be sinful, and
    dancing was discontinued.

    The pilgrims played dominoes when too much Josephus or Robinson's
    Holy Land Researches, or book-writing, made recreation necessary
    --for dominoes is about as mild and sinless a game as any in the
    world, perhaps, excepting always the ineffably insipid diversion
    they call croquet, which is a game where you don't pocket any balls
    and don't carom on any thing of any consequence, and when you are
    done nobody has to pay, and there are no refreshments to saw off,
    and, consequently, there isn't any satisfaction whatever about it
    --they played dominoes till they were rested, and then they
    blackguarded each other privately till prayer-time. When they were
    not seasick they were uncommonly prompt when the dinner-gong
    sounded. Such was our daily life on board the ship--solemnity,
    decorum, dinner, dominoes, devotions, slander. It was not lively
    enough for a pleasure trip; but if we had only had a corpse it would
    have made a noble funeral excursion. It is all over now; but when I
    look back, the idea of these venerable fossils skipping forth on a
    six months' picnic, seems exquisitely refreshing. The advertised
    title of the expedition--"The Grand Holy Land Pleasure Excursion"
    --was a misnomer. "The Grand Holy Land Funeral Procession" would have
    been better--much better.

    Wherever we went, in Europe, Asia, or Africa, we made a sensation,
    and, I suppose I may add, created a famine. None of us had ever
    been any where before; we all hailed from the interior; travel was a
    wild novelty to us, and we conducted ourselves in accordance with
    the natural instincts that were in us, and trammeled ourselves with
    no ceremonies, no conventionalities. We always took care to make it
    understood that we were Americans--Americans! When we found that a
    good many foreigners had hardly ever heard of America, and that a
    good many more knew it only as a barbarous province away off
    somewhere, that had lately been at war with somebody, we pitied the
    ignorance of the Old World, but abated no jot of our importance.
    Many and many a simple community in the Eastern hemisphere will
    remember for years the incursion of the strange horde in the year of
    our Lord 1867, that called themselves Americans, and seemed to
    imagine in some unaccountable way that they had a right to be proud
    of it. We generally created a famine, partly because the coffee on
    the Quaker City was unendurable, and sometimes the more substantial
    fare was not strictly first class; and partly because one naturally
    tires of sitting long at the same board and eating from the same

    The people of those foreign countries are very, very ignorant. They
    looked curiously at the costumes we had brought from the wilds of
    America. They observed that we talked loudly at table sometimes.
    They noticed that we looked out for expenses, and got what we
    conveniently could out of a franc, and wondered where in the
    mischief we came from. In Paris they just simply opened their eyes
    and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in
    making those idiots understand their own language. One of our
    passengers said to a shopkeeper, in reference to a proposed return
    to buy a pair of gloves, "Allong restay trankeel--may be ve coom
    Moonday;" and would you believe it, that shopkeeper, a born
    Frenchman, had to ask what it was that had been said. Sometimes it
    seems to me, somehow, that there must be a difference between
    Parisian French and Quaker City French.

    The people stared at us every where, and we stared at them. We
    generally made them feel rather small, too, before we got done with
    them, because we bore down on them with America's greatness until we
    crushed them. And yet we took kindly to the manners and customs,
    and especially to the fashions of the various people we visited.
    When we left the Azores, we wore awful capotes and used fine tooth
    combs--successfully. When we came back from Tangier, in Africa, we
    were topped with fezzes of the bloodiest hue, hung with tassels like
    an Indian's scalp-lock. In France and Spain we attracted some
    attention in these costumes. In Italy they naturally took us for
    distempered Garibaldians, and set a gunboat to look for any thing
    significant in our changes of uniform. We made Rome howl. We could
    have made any place howl when we had all our clothes on. We got no
    fresh raiment in Greece--they had but little there of any kind. But
    at Constantinople, how we turned out! Turbans, scimetars, fezzes,
    horse-pistols, tunics, sashes, baggy trowsers, yellow slippers--Oh,
    we were gorgeous! The illustrious dogs of Constantinople barked
    their under jaws off, and even then failed to do us justice. They
    are all dead by this time. They could not go through such a run of
    business as we gave them and survive.

    And then we went to see the Emperor of Russia. We just called on
    him as comfortably as if we had known him a century or so, and when
    we had finished our visit we variegated ourselves with selections
    from Russian costumes and sailed away again more picturesque than
    ever. In Smyrna we picked up camel's hair shawls and other dressy
    things from Persia; but in Palestine--ah, in Palestine--our splendid
    career ended. They didn't wear any clothes there to speak of. We
    were satisfied, and stopped. We made no experiments. We did not
    try their costume. But we astonished the natives of that country.
    We astonished them with such eccentricities of dress as we could
    muster. We prowled through the Holy Land, from Cesarea Philippi to
    Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, a weird procession of pilgrims, gotten
    up regardless of expense, solemn, gorgeous, green-spectacled,
    drowsing under blue umbrellas, and astride of a sorrier lot of
    horses, camels and asses than those that came out of Noah's ark,
    after eleven months of seasickness and short rations. If ever those
    children of Israel in Palestine forget when Gideon's Band went
    through there from America, they ought to be cursed once more and
    finished. It was the rarest spectacle that ever astounded mortal
    eyes, perhaps.

    Well, we were at home in Palestine. It was easy to see that that
    was the grand feature of the expedition. We had cared nothing much
    about Europe. We galloped through the Louvre, the Pitti, the
    Ufizzi, the Vatican--all the galleries--and through the pictured and
    frescoed churches of Venice, Naples, and the cathedrals of Spain;
    some of us said that certain of the great works of the old masters
    were glorious creations of genius, (we found it out in the
    guide-book, though we got hold of the wrong picture sometimes,) and
    the others said they were disgraceful old daubs. We examined modern
    and ancient statuary with a critical eye in Florence, Rome, or any
    where we found it, and praised it if we saw fit, and if we didn't we
    said we preferred the wooden Indians in front of the cigar stores of
    America. But the Holy Land brought out all our enthusiasm. We fell
    into raptures by the barren shores of Galilee; we pondered at Tabor
    and at Nazareth; we exploded into poetry over the questionable
    loveliness of Esdraelon; we meditated at Jezreel and Samaria over
    the missionary zeal of Jehu; we rioted--fairly rioted among the holy
    places of Jerusalem; we bathed in Jordan and the Dead Sea, reckless
    whether our accident-insurance policies were extra-hazardous or not,
    and brought away so many jugs of precious water from both places
    that all the country from Jericho to the mountains of Moab will
    suffer from drouth this year, I think. Yet, the pilgrimage part of
    the excursion was its pet feature--there is no question about that.
    After dismal, smileless Palestine, beautiful Egypt had few charms
    for us. We merely glanced at it and were ready for home.

    They wouldn't let us land at Malta--quarantine; they would not let
    us land in Sardinia; nor at Algiers, Africa; nor at Malaga, Spain,
    nor Cadiz, nor at the Madeira islands. So we got offended at all
    foreigners and turned our backs upon them and came home. I suppose
    we only stopped at the Bermudas because they were in the programme.
    We did not care any thing about any place at all. We wanted to go
    home. Homesickness was abroad in the ship--it was epidemic. If the
    authorities of New York had known how badly we had it, they would
    have quarantined us here.

    The grand pilgrimage is over. Good-bye to it, and a pleasant memory
    to it, I am able to say in all kindness. I bear no malice, no
    ill-will toward any individual that was connected with it, either as
    passenger or officer. Things I did not like at all yesterday I like
    very well to-day, now that I am at home, and always hereafter I
    shall be able to poke fun at the whole gang if the spirit so moves
    me to do, without ever saying a malicious word. The expedition
    accomplished all that its programme promised that it should
    accomplish, and we ought all to be satisfied with the management of
    the matter, certainly. Bye-bye!


    I call that complimentary. It is complimentary; and yet I never have
    received a word of thanks for it from the Hadjis; on the contrary I speak
    nothing but the serious truth when I say that many of them even took
    exceptions to the article. In endeavoring to please them I slaved over
    that sketch for two hours, and had my labor for my pains. I never will
    do a generous deed again.
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