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The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain

Part 10 out of 10

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that in the overshadowing majesty of this eternal figure of stone, with
its accusing memory of the deeds of all ages, which reveals to one
something of what he shall feel when he shall stand at last in the awful
presence of God.

There are some things which, for the credit of America, should be left
unsaid, perhaps; but these very things happen sometimes to be the very
things which, for the real benefit of Americans, ought to have prominent
notice. While we stood looking, a wart, or an excrescence of some kind,
appeared on the jaw of the Sphynx. We heard the familiar clink of a
hammer, and understood the case at once. One of our well meaning
reptiles--I mean relic-hunters--had crawled up there and was trying to
break a "specimen" from the face of this the most majestic creation the
hand of man has wrought. But the great image contemplated the dead ages
as calmly as ever, unconscious of the small insect that was fretting at
its jaw. Egyptian granite that has defied the storms and earthquakes of
all time has nothing to fear from the tack-hammers of ignorant
excursionists--highwaymen like this specimen. He failed in his
enterprise. We sent a sheik to arrest him if he had the authority, or to
warn him, if he had not, that by the laws of Egypt the crime he was
attempting to commit was punishable with imprisonment or the bastinado.
Then he desisted and went away.

The Sphynx: a hundred and twenty-five feet long, sixty feet high, and a
hundred and two feet around the head, if I remember rightly--carved out
of one solid block of stone harder than any iron. The block must have
been as large as the Fifth Avenue Hotel before the usual waste (by the
necessities of sculpture) of a fourth or a half of the original mass was
begun. I only set down these figures and these remarks to suggest the
prodigious labor the carving of it so elegantly, so symmetrically, so
faultlessly, must have cost. This species of stone is so hard that
figures cut in it remain sharp and unmarred after exposure to the weather
for two or three thousand years. Now did it take a hundred years of
patient toil to carve the Sphynx? It seems probable.

Something interfered, and we did not visit the Red Sea and walk upon the
sands of Arabia. I shall not describe the great mosque of Mehemet Ali,
whose entire inner walls are built of polished and glistening alabaster;
I shall not tell how the little birds have built their nests in the
globes of the great chandeliers that hang in the mosque, and how they
fill the whole place with their music and are not afraid of any body
because their audacity is pardoned, their rights are respected, and
nobody is allowed to interfere with them, even though the mosque be thus
doomed to go unlighted; I certainly shall not tell the hackneyed story of
the massacre of the Mamelukes, because I am glad the lawless rascals were
massacred, and I do not wish to get up any sympathy in their behalf; I
shall not tell how that one solitary Mameluke jumped his horse a hundred
feet down from the battlements of the citadel and escaped, because I do
not think much of that--I could have done it myself; I shall not tell of
Joseph's well which he dug in the solid rock of the citadel hill and
which is still as good as new, nor how the same mules he bought to draw
up the water (with an endless chain) are still at it yet and are getting
tired of it, too; I shall not tell about Joseph's granaries which he
built to store the grain in, what time the Egyptian brokers were "selling
short," unwitting that there would be no corn in all the land when it
should be time for them to deliver; I shall not tell any thing about the
strange, strange city of Cairo, because it is only a repetition, a good
deal intensified and exaggerated, of the Oriental cities I have already
spoken of; I shall not tell of the Great Caravan which leaves for Mecca
every year, for I did not see it; nor of the fashion the people have of
prostrating themselves and so forming a long human pavement to be ridden
over by the chief of the expedition on its return, to the end that their
salvation may be thus secured, for I did not see that either; I shall not
speak of the railway, for it is like any other railway--I shall only say
that the fuel they use for the locomotive is composed of mummies three
thousand years old, purchased by the ton or by the graveyard for that
purpose, and that sometimes one hears the profane engineer call out
pettishly, "D--n these plebeians, they don't burn worth a cent--pass out
a King;"--[Stated to me for a fact. I only tell it as I got it. I am
willing to believe it. I can believe any thing.]--I shall not tell of
the groups of mud cones stuck like wasps' nests upon a thousand mounds
above high water-mark the length and breadth of Egypt--villages of the
lower classes; I shall not speak of the boundless sweep of level plain,
green with luxuriant grain, that gladdens the eye as far as it can pierce
through the soft, rich atmosphere of Egypt; I shall not speak of the
vision of the Pyramids seen at a distance of five and twenty miles, for
the picture is too ethereal to be limned by an uninspired pen; I shall
not tell of the crowds of dusky women who flocked to the cars when they
stopped a moment at a station, to sell us a drink of water or a ruddy,
juicy pomegranate; I shall not tell of the motley multitudes and wild
costumes that graced a fair we found in full blast at another barbarous
station; I shall not tell how we feasted on fresh dates and enjoyed the
pleasant landscape all through the flying journey; nor how we thundered
into Alexandria, at last, swarmed out of the cars, rowed aboard the ship,
left a comrade behind, (who was to return to Europe, thence home,) raised
the anchor, and turned our bows homeward finally and forever from the
long voyage; nor how, as the mellow sun went down upon the oldest land on
earth, Jack and Moult assembled in solemn state in the smoking-room and
mourned over the lost comrade the whole night long, and would not be
comforted. I shall not speak a word of any of these things, or write a
line. They shall be as a sealed book. I do not know what a sealed book
is, because I never saw one, but a sealed book is the expression to use
in this connection, because it is popular.

We were glad to have seen the land which was the mother of civilization--
which taught Greece her letters, and through Greece Rome, and through
Rome the world; the land which could have humanized and civilized the
hapless children of Israel, but allowed them to depart out of her borders
little better than savages. We were glad to have seen that land which
had an enlightened religion with future eternal rewards and punishment in
it, while even Israel's religion contained no promise of a hereafter.
We were glad to have seen that land which had glass three thousand years
before England had it, and could paint upon it as none of us can paint
now; that land which knew, three thousand years ago, well nigh all of
medicine and surgery which science has discovered lately; which had all
those curious surgical instruments which science has invented recently;
which had in high excellence a thousand luxuries and necessities of an
advanced civilization which we have gradually contrived and accumulated
in modern times and claimed as things that were new under the sun; that
had paper untold centuries before we dreampt of it--and waterfalls before
our women thought of them; that had a perfect system of common schools so
long before we boasted of our achievements in that direction that it
seems forever and forever ago; that so embalmed the dead that flesh was
made almost immortal--which we can not do; that built temples which mock
at destroying time and smile grimly upon our lauded little prodigies of
architecture; that old land that knew all which we know now, perchance,
and more; that walked in the broad highway of civilization in the gray
dawn of creation, ages and ages before we were born; that left the
impress of exalted, cultivated Mind upon the eternal front of the Sphynx
to confound all scoffers who, when all her other proofs had passed away,
might seek to persuade the world that imperial Egypt, in the days of her
high renown, had groped in darkness.

CHAPTER LIX.

We were at sea now, for a very long voyage--we were to pass through the
entire length of the Levant; through the entire length of the
Mediterranean proper, also, and then cross the full width of the
Atlantic--a voyage of several weeks. We naturally settled down into a
very slow, stay-at-home manner of life, and resolved to be quiet,
exemplary people, and roam no more for twenty or thirty days. No more,
at least, than from stem to stern of the ship. It was a very comfortable
prospect, though, for we were tired and needed a long rest.

We were all lazy and satisfied, now, as the meager entries in my note-
book (that sure index, to me, of my condition,) prove. What a stupid
thing a note-book gets to be at sea, any way. Please observe the style:

"Sunday--Services, as usual, at four bells. Services at night,
also. No cards.

"Monday--Beautiful day, but rained hard. The cattle purchased at
Alexandria for beef ought to be shingled. Or else fattened. The
water stands in deep puddles in the depressions forward of their
after shoulders. Also here and there all over their backs. It is
well they are not cows--it would soak in and ruin the milk. The
poor devil eagle--[Afterwards presented to the Central Park.]--from
Syria looks miserable and droopy in the rain, perched on the forward
capstan. He appears to have his own opinion of a sea voyage, and if
it were put into language and the language solidified, it would
probably essentially dam the widest river in the world.

"Tuesday--Somewhere in the neighborhood of the island of Malta. Can
not stop there. Cholera. Weather very stormy. Many passengers
seasick and invisible.

"Wednesday--Weather still very savage. Storm blew two land birds to
sea, and they came on board. A hawk was blown off, also. He
circled round and round the ship, wanting to light, but afraid of
the people. He was so tired, though, that he had to light, at last,
or perish. He stopped in the foretop, repeatedly, and was as often
blown away by the wind. At last Harry caught him. Sea full of
flying-fish. They rise in flocks of three hundred and flash along
above the tops of the waves a distance of two or three hundred feet,
then fall and disappear.

"Thursday--Anchored off Algiers, Africa. Beautiful city, beautiful
green hilly landscape behind it. Staid half a day and left. Not
permitted to land, though we showed a clean bill of health. They
were afraid of Egyptian plague and cholera.

"Friday--Morning, dominoes. Afternoon, dominoes. Evening,
promenading the deck. Afterwards, charades.

"Saturday--Morning, dominoes. Afternoon, dominoes. Evening,
promenading the decks. Afterwards, dominoes.

"Sunday--Morning service, four bells. Evening service, eight bells.
Monotony till midnight.--Whereupon, dominoes.

"Monday--Morning, dominoes. Afternoon, dominoes. Evening,
promenading the decks. Afterward, charades and a lecture from Dr.
C. Dominoes.

"No date--Anchored off the picturesque city of Cagliari, Sardinia.
Staid till midnight, but not permitted to land by these infamous
foreigners. They smell inodorously--they do not wash--they dare not
risk cholera.

"Thursday--Anchored off the beautiful cathedral city of Malaga,
Spain.--Went ashore in the captain's boat--not ashore, either, for
they would not let us land. Quarantine. Shipped my newspaper
correspondence, which they took with tongs, dipped it in sea water,
clipped it full of holes, and then fumigated it with villainous
vapors till it smelt like a Spaniard. Inquired about chances to run
to blockade and visit the Alhambra at Granada. Too risky--they
might hang a body. Set sail--middle of afternoon.

"And so on, and so on, and so forth, for several days. Finally,
anchored off Gibraltar, which looks familiar and home-like."

It reminds me of the journal I opened with the New Year, once, when I was
a boy and a confiding and a willing prey to those impossible schemes of
reform which well-meaning old maids and grandmothers set for the feet of
unwary youths at that season of the year--setting oversized tasks for
them, which, necessarily failing, as infallibly weaken the boy's strength
of will, diminish his confidence in himself and injure his chances of
success in life. Please accept of an extract:

"Monday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Tuesday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Wednesday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Thursday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Friday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Next Friday--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Friday fortnight--Got up, washed, went to bed.
"Following month--Got up, washed, went to bed."

I stopped, then, discouraged. Startling events appeared to be too rare,
in my career, to render a diary necessary. I still reflect with pride,
however, that even at that early age I washed when I got up. That
journal finished me. I never have had the nerve to keep one since. My
loss of confidence in myself in that line was permanent.

The ship had to stay a week or more at Gibraltar to take in coal for the
home voyage.

It would be very tiresome staying here, and so four of us ran the
quarantine blockade and spent seven delightful days in Seville, Cordova,
Cadiz, and wandering through the pleasant rural scenery of Andalusia, the
garden of Old Spain. The experiences of that cheery week were too varied
and numerous for a short chapter and I have not room for a long one.
Therefore I shall leave them all out.

CHAPTER LX.

Ten or eleven o'clock found us coming down to breakfast one morning in
Cadiz. They told us the ship had been lying at anchor in the harbor two
or three hours. It was time for us to bestir ourselves. The ship could
wait only a little while because of the quarantine. We were soon on
board, and within the hour the white city and the pleasant shores of
Spain sank down behind the waves and passed out of sight. We had seen no
land fade from view so regretfully.

It had long ago been decided in a noisy public meeting in the main cabin
that we could not go to Lisbon, because we must surely be quarantined
there. We did every thing by mass-meeting, in the good old national way,
from swapping off one empire for another on the programme of the voyage
down to complaining of the cookery and the scarcity of napkins. I am
reminded, now, of one of these complaints of the cookery made by a
passenger. The coffee had been steadily growing more and more execrable
for the space of three weeks, till at last it had ceased to be coffee
altogether and had assumed the nature of mere discolored water--so this
person said. He said it was so weak that it was transparent an inch in
depth around the edge of the cup. As he approached the table one morning
he saw the transparent edge--by means of his extraordinary vision long
before he got to his seat. He went back and complained in a high-handed
way to Capt. Duncan. He said the coffee was disgraceful. The Captain
showed his. It seemed tolerably good. The incipient mutineer was more
outraged than ever, then, at what he denounced as the partiality shown
the captain's table over the other tables in the ship. He flourished
back and got his cup and set it down triumphantly, and said:

"Just try that mixture once, Captain Duncan."

He smelt it--tasted it--smiled benignantly--then said:

"It is inferior--for coffee--but it is pretty fair tea."

The humbled mutineer smelt it, tasted it, and returned to his seat. He
had made an egregious ass of himself before the whole ship. He did it no
more. After that he took things as they came. That was me.

The old-fashioned ship-life had returned, now that we were no longer in
sight of land. For days and days it continued just the same, one day
being exactly like another, and, to me, every one of them pleasant. At
last we anchored in the open roadstead of Funchal, in the beautiful
islands we call the Madeiras.

The mountains looked surpassingly lovely, clad as they were in living,
green; ribbed with lava ridges; flecked with white cottages; riven by
deep chasms purple with shade; the great slopes dashed with sunshine and
mottled with shadows flung from the drifting squadrons of the sky, and
the superb picture fitly crowned by towering peaks whose fronts were
swept by the trailing fringes of the clouds.

But we could not land. We staid all day and looked, we abused the man
who invented quarantine, we held half a dozen mass-meetings and crammed
them full of interrupted speeches, motions that fell still-born,
amendments that came to nought and resolutions that died from sheer
exhaustion in trying to get before the house. At night we set sail.

We averaged four mass-meetings a week for the voyage--we seemed always in
labor in this way, and yet so often fallaciously that whenever at long
intervals we were safely delivered of a resolution, it was cause for
public rejoicing, and we hoisted the flag and fired a salute.

Days passed--and nights; and then the beautiful Bermudas rose out of the
sea, we entered the tortuous channel, steamed hither and thither among
the bright summer islands, and rested at last under the flag of England
and were welcome. We were not a nightmare here, where were civilization
and intelligence in place of Spanish and Italian superstition, dirt and
dread of cholera. A few days among the breezy groves, the flower
gardens, the coral caves, and the lovely vistas of blue water that went
curving in and out, disappearing and anon again appearing through jungle
walls of brilliant foliage, restored the energies dulled by long drowsing
on the ocean, and fitted us for our final cruise--our little run of a
thousand miles to New York--America--HOME.

We bade good-bye to "our friends the Bermudians," as our programme hath
it--the majority of those we were most intimate with were negroes--and
courted the great deep again. I said the majority. We knew more negroes
than white people, because we had a deal of washing to be done, but we
made some most excellent friends among the whites, whom it will be a
pleasant duty to hold long in grateful remembrance.

We sailed, and from that hour all idling ceased. Such another system of
overhauling, general littering of cabins and packing of trunks we had not
seen since we let go the anchor in the harbor of Beirout. Every body was
busy. Lists of all purchases had to be made out, and values attached, to
facilitate matters at the custom-house. Purchases bought by bulk in
partnership had to be equitably divided, outstanding debts canceled,
accounts compared, and trunks, boxes and packages labeled. All day long
the bustle and confusion continued.

And now came our first accident. A passenger was running through a
gangway, between decks, one stormy night, when he caught his foot in the
iron staple of a door that had been heedlessly left off a hatchway, and
the bones of his leg broke at the ancle. It was our first serious
misfortune. We had traveled much more than twenty thousand miles, by
land and sea, in many trying climates, without a single hurt, without a
serious case of sickness and without a death among five and sixty
passengers. Our good fortune had been wonderful. A sailor had jumped
overboard at Constantinople one night, and was seen no more, but it was
suspected that his object was to desert, and there was a slim chance, at
least, that he reached the shore. But the passenger list was complete.
There was no name missing from the register.

At last, one pleasant morning, we steamed up the harbor of New York, all
on deck, all dressed in Christian garb--by special order, for there was a
latent disposition in some quarters to come out as Turks--and amid a
waving of handkerchiefs from welcoming friends, the glad pilgrims noted
the shiver of the decks that told that ship and pier had joined hands
again and the long, strange cruise was over. Amen.

CHAPTER LXI.

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:

RETURN OF THE HOLY LAND EXCURSIONISTS--THE STORY OF THE CRUISE.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD:

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
dishes.

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!

MARK TWAIN.

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.

CONCLUSION.

Nearly one year has flown since this notable pilgrimage was ended; and as
I sit here at home in San Francisco thinking, I am moved to confess that
day by day the mass of my memories of the excursion have grown more and
more pleasant as the disagreeable incidents of travel which encumbered
them flitted one by one out of my mind--and now, if the Quaker City were
weighing her anchor to sail away on the very same cruise again, nothing
could gratify me more than to be a passenger. With the same captain and
even the same pilgrims, the same sinners. I was on excellent terms with
eight or nine of the excursionists (they are my staunch friends yet,) and
was even on speaking terms with the rest of the sixty-five. I have been
at sea quite enough to know that that was a very good average. Because a
long sea-voyage not only brings out all the mean traits one has, and
exaggerates them, but raises up others which he never suspected he
possessed, and even creates new ones. A twelve months' voyage at sea
would make of an ordinary man a very miracle of meanness. On the other
hand, if a man has good qualities, the spirit seldom moves him to exhibit
them on shipboard, at least with any sort of emphasis. Now I am
satisfied that our pilgrims are pleasant old people on shore; I am also
satisfied that at sea on a second voyage they would be pleasanter,
somewhat, than they were on our grand excursion, and so I say without
hesitation that I would be glad enough to sail with them again. I could
at least enjoy life with my handful of old friends. They could enjoy
life with their cliques as well--passengers invariably divide up into
cliques, on all ships.

And I will say, here, that I would rather travel with an excursion party
of Methuselahs than have to be changing ships and comrades constantly, as
people do who travel in the ordinary way. Those latter are always
grieving over some other ship they have known and lost, and over other
comrades whom diverging routes have separated from them. They learn to
love a ship just in time to change it for another, and they become
attached to a pleasant traveling companion only to lose him. They have
that most dismal experience of being in a strange vessel, among strange
people who care nothing about them, and of undergoing the customary
bullying by strange officers and the insolence of strange servants,
repeated over and over again within the compass of every month. They
have also that other misery of packing and unpacking trunks--of running
the distressing gauntlet of custom-houses--of the anxieties attendant
upon getting a mass of baggage from point to point on land in safety.
I had rasher sail with a whole brigade of patriarchs than suffer so.
We never packed our trunks but twice--when we sailed from New York, and
when we returned to it. Whenever we made a land journey, we estimated
how many days we should be gone and what amount of clothing we should
need, figured it down to a mathematical nicety, packed a valise or two
accordingly, and left the trunks on board. We chose our comrades from
among our old, tried friends, and started. We were never dependent upon
strangers for companionship. We often had occasion to pity Americans
whom we found traveling drearily among strangers with no friends to
exchange pains and pleasures with. Whenever we were coming back from a
land journey, our eyes sought one thing in the distance first--the ship--
and when we saw it riding at anchor with the flag apeak, we felt as a
returning wanderer feels when he sees his home. When we stepped on
board, our cares vanished, our troubles were at an end--for the ship was
home to us. We always had the same familiar old state-room to go to, and
feel safe and at peace and comfortable again.

I have no fault to find with the manner in which our excursion was
conducted. Its programme was faithfully carried out--a thing which
surprised me, for great enterprises usually promise vastly more than they
perform. It would be well if such an excursion could be gotten up every
year and the system regularly inaugurated. Travel is fatal to prejudice,
bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on
these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can
not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's
lifetime.

The Excursion is ended, and has passed to its place among the things that
were. But its varied scenes and its manifold incidents will linger
pleasantly in our memories for many a year to come. Always on the wing,
as we were, and merely pausing a moment to catch fitful glimpses of the
wonders of half a world, we could not hope to receive or retain vivid
impressions of all it was our fortune to see. Yet our holyday flight has
not been in vain--for above the confusion of vague recollections, certain
of its best prized pictures lift themselves and will still continue
perfect in tint and outline after their surroundings shall have faded
away.

We shall remember something of pleasant France; and something also of
Paris, though it flashed upon us a splendid meteor, and was gone again,
we hardly knew how or where. We shall remember, always, how we saw
majestic Gibraltar glorified with the rich coloring of a Spanish sunset
and swimming in a sea of rainbows. In fancy we shall see Milan again,
and her stately Cathedral with its marble wilderness of graceful spires.
And Padua--Verona--Como, jeweled with stars; and patrician Venice, afloat
on her stagnant flood--silent, desolate, haughty--scornful of her humbled
state--wrapping herself in memories of her lost fleets, of battle and
triumph, and all the pageantry of a glory that is departed.

We can not forget Florence--Naples--nor the foretaste of heaven that is
in the delicious atmosphere of Greece--and surely not Athens and the
broken temples of the Acropolis. Surely not venerable Rome--nor the
green plain that compasses her round about, contrasting its brightness
with her gray decay--nor the ruined arches that stand apart in the plain
and clothe their looped and windowed raggedness with vines. We shall
remember St. Peter's: not as one sees it when he walks the streets of
Rome and fancies all her domes are just alike, but as he sees it leagues
away, when every meaner edifice has faded out of sight and that one dome
looms superbly up in the flush of sunset, full of dignity and grace,
strongly outlined as a mountain.

We shall remember Constantinople and the Bosporus--the colossal
magnificence of Baalbec--the Pyramids of Egypt--the prodigious form, the
benignant countenance of the Sphynx--Oriental Smyrna--sacred Jerusalem--
Damascus, the "Pearl of the East," the pride of Syria, the fabled Garden
of Eden, the home of princes and genii of the Arabian Nights, the oldest
metropolis on earth, the one city in all the world that has kept its name
and held its place and looked serenely on while the Kingdoms and Empires
of four thousand years have risen to life, enjoyed their little season of
pride and pomp, and then vanished and been forgotten!

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