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to forego the cigar and guide-book and take a volume on mind cure instead.
It seems a good ship, though, and I feel that we shall all learn to be proud of her, in time. In a little prospectus pamphlet I have here I find some of her measurements and capacities, and I have been comparing them with those of the Quaker City, the first steamer to set out on this Oriental cruise. If she were travelling along beside us to-day I suppose she would look like a private yacht. She must have had trouble with a sea like this. She was little more than two hundred feet long, I believe, and, as already mentioned, her tonnage was registered at eighteen hundred. The figures set down in the prospectus for this vessel are a good deal bigger than those, but they are still too modest. The figures quote her as being a trifle less than six hundred feet long, but I can see in both directions from where I sit, and I am satisfied that it would take me hours to get either to her bow or stern. I don't believe I could do it in that time. I am convinced that it is at least half a mile to my state-room.
The prospectus is correct, however, in one item. It says that the Kurfürst has a displacement of twentytwo thousand tons. That is handsome, and it is not too much; I realized that some moments ago. When I felt our noble vessel “sashay” in her slow majestic fashion toward Cuba, and then pause to revolve the matter a little, and after concluding to sink, suddenly set out in a long, slow, upward slide for the moon, I knew that her displacement was all that is claimed for it, and I prepared for the worst; so did Laura, and started for her state-room suddenly. ..
Later: I don't know how many of our party went down to dinner. I know one that did not go. The music is good, but I can hear it very well from where I am. No doubt the dinner is good, too, but I am satisfied to give it absent treatment.
There is a full-blown Scientist in the next room. She keeps saying “Mind is all. Mind is all. This is nothing. This is—this is just-” after which, the Earthquake.
What an amazing ocean it is to be able to toss this mighty ship about in such a way! I suppose there is no hope of her sinking. No hope!
Somebody sent me a basket of fruit. I vaguely wonder what it is like, and if I shall ever know? I suppose there are men who could untie that paper and look at it. I could stand in awe of a man like that. I could
However, it is no matter; there is no such man.
But it was bright next morning, though a heavy sea was still running. I was by no means perfectly happy, but I struggled on deck quite early, and found company. A stout youngish man was marching round and round vigorously as if the number of laps he might achieve was vital. He fetched up suddenly as I stepped on deck. He spoke with quick energy.
“Look here,” he said, earnestly, “perhaps you can tell me; it's important, and I want to know: is a seasick man better off if he walks or sits still? I'm seasick. I confess it, fully. My interior economy is all disqualified, and I want advice. Now tell me, is a seasick man better off when he walks or when he sits still ?"
I gave it up, and the Diplomat (we learned later that he was connected with the consular service) passed to the next possible source of information. I heard him propounding his inquiries several times during the morning as new arrivals appeared on deck.
He was the most honest man on the ship. The rest of us did not confess that we were seasick. We had a bad cold or rheumatism or dyspepsia or locomotorataxia or pleurisy—all sorts of things—but we were not seasick. It was remarkable what a floating hospital of miscellaneous complaints the ship had
become, and how suddenly they all disappeared that afternoon when the sea went down.
It was Lincoln's Birthday, and, inspired by the lively appearance of the deck, a kindly promoter of entertainment went among the passengers inviting them to take part in some sort of simple exercises for the evening. Our pleasure excursion seemed really to have begun now, and walking leisurely around the promenade-deck one could get a fair impression of our company and cast the horoscope. They were a fair average of Americans, on the whole, with a heavy percentage of foreign faces, mostly German. Referring to the passenger-list, one discovered that we hailed from many States; but when I drifted into the German purlieus of that register and found such prefixes as Herr Regierungs-präsident a. D., and Frau Regierungs-präsident a. D., and looking further discovered Herr Kommerzienrat, Herr Oberpräsidialrat von, and a few more high-power explosives like that, I said, “This is not an excursion, after all; it is a court assembly.” I did not know in the least what these titles meant, but I was uneasy. I had the feeling that the owner of any one of them could nod to the executioner and dismiss me permanently from the ship. The interpreter came along just then. He said:
"Do not excite yourself. They are not so dangerous as they look. It is only as one would say, “Mr. and Mrs. Councilmanofthethirdward Jones, or Mr. MayorofOshkosh Smith, or Mrs. Commissionerofhighways Brown.' It is pure decoration; nothing fatal will occur.” I felt better then, and set out to identify some of the owners of this furniture. It was as the interpreter had said—there was no danger. A man with a six-story title could hardly be distinguished from the rest of his countrymen except when he tried to sign it. But a thing like that must be valuable in Germany; otherwise he would not go to the trouble and expense of lugging such a burden around on a trip like this, when one usually wants to travel light.
The ship gave us a surprise that night, and it was worth while. When we got to the dining-room we found it decorated with the interwoven colors of two nations; the tables likewise radiant, and there were menus with the picture of Abraham Lincoln outside. We were far out in the blackness of the ocean now, but here was as brilliant a spot as you would find at Sherry's or Delmonico's, and a little company gathered from the world's end to do honor to the pioneer boy of Kentucky. I think many of us there had never observed Lincoln's Birthday before, and it was fitting enough that we should begin at such a time and place. I know we all rose and joined in America and the Star-Spangled Banner at the close, and we are not likely to forget that mid-ocean celebration of the birth of America's greatest, gentlest hero.