Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion

Here’s a brief passage from this book:

At dinner, six o’clock, the same people assembled whom we had talked with
on deck and seen at luncheon and breakfast this second day out, and at
dinner the evening before.  That is to say, three journeying
ship-masters, a Boston merchant, and a returning Bermudian who had been
absent from his Bermuda thirteen years; these sat on the starboard side.
On the port side sat the Reverend in the seat of honor; the pale young
man next to him; I next; next to me an aged Bermudian, returning to his
sunny islands after an absence of twenty-seven years.  Of course, our
captain was at the head of the table, the purser at the foot of it.  A
small company, but small companies are pleasantest.

No racks upon the table; the sky cloudless, the sun brilliant, the blue
sea scarcely ruffled; then what had become of the four married couples,
the three bachelors, and the active and obliging doctor from the rural
districts of Pennsylvania?–for all these were on deck when we sailed
down New York harbor.  This is the explanation.  I quote from my
note-book:

Thursday, 3.30 P.M.  Under way, passing the Battery.  The large
party, of four married couples, three bachelors, and a cheery,
exhilarating doctor from the wilds of Pennsylvania, are evidently
traveling together.  All but the doctor grouped in camp-chairs on
deck.

Passing principal fort.  The doctor is one of those people who has
an infallible preventive of seasickness; is flitting from friend to
friend administering it and saying, “Don’t you be afraid; I know
this medicine; absolutely infallible; prepared under my own
supervision.”  Takes a dose himself, intrepidly.

4.15 P.M.  Two of those ladies have struck their colors,
notwithstanding the “infallible.”  They have gone below.  The other
two begin to show distress.

5 P.M.  Exit one husband and one bachelor.  These still had their
infallible in cargo when they started, but arrived at the
companionway without it.

5.10.  Lady No. 3, two bachelors, and one married man have gone
below with their own opinion of the infallible.

5.20.  Passing Quarantine Hulk.  The infallible has done the
business for all the party except the Scotchman’s wife and the
author of that formidable remedy.

Nearing the Light-Ship.  Exit the Scotchman’s wife, head drooped on
stewardess’s shoulder.

Entering the open sea.  Exit doctor!

Read the rest of Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion.

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