ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC.
BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY TAGGARD AND THOMPSON M DCCC LXIV.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by JACOB ABBOTT, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
STEREOTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY. RIVERSIDE, CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY H. O. HOUGHTON.
In the series of narratives to which this volume pertains, we offer to the readers of the Rollo Books a continuation of the history of our little hero, by giving them an account of the adventures which such a boy may be supposed to meet with in making a tour in Europe. The books are intended to be books of instruction rather than of mere amusement; and in perusing them, the reader may feel assured that all the information which they contain, not only in respect to the countries visited, and to the customs, usages, and modes of life that are described, but also in regard to the general character of the incidents and adventures that the young travellers meet with, is in most strict accordance with fact. The main design of the narratives is, thus, the communication of useful knowledge; and every thing which they contain, except what is strictly personal, in relation to the actors in the story, may be depended upon as exactly and scrupulously true.
New York, September, 1853.
I.—TAKING PASSAGE 11
II.—THE EMBARKATION 28
IV.—GETTING SETTLED 62
V.—ON DECK 77
VI.—A CONVERSATION 91
VIII.—THE STORM 131
IX.—THE PASSENGERS' LOTTERY 154
X.—THE END OF THE LOTTERY 179
XI.—THE ARRIVAL 192
THE STEAMER AT THE WHARF 10
THE PIER 24
THE RESCUE 44
THE PILOT ON THE PADDLE BOX 54
THE SAILOR ON THE RIGGING 87
THE PASSENGER ON THE RIGGING 103
HILBERT AND THE BIRD 124
HILBERT IN THE SPRAY 152
HEAVING THE LOG 164
ROLLO'S TOUR IN EUROPE.
ORDER OF THE VOLUMES
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC. ROLLO IN PARIS. ROLLO IN SWITZERLAND. ROLLO IN LONDON. ROLLO ON THE RHINE. ROLLO IN SCOTLAND. ROLLO IN GENEVA. ROLLO IN HOLLAND. ROLLO IN NAPLES. ROLLO IN ROME.
PRINCIPAL PERSONS OF THE STORY.
ROLLO; twelve years of age.
MR. and MRS. HOLIDAY; Rollo's father and mother, travelling in Europe.
THANNY; Rollo's younger brother.
JANE; Rollo's cousin, adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Holiday.
MR. GEORGE; a young gentleman, Rollo's uncle.
ROLLO ON THE ATLANTIC.
When Rollo was about twelve years of age, he made a voyage to Europe under rather extraordinary circumstances. He went alone; that is to say, he had no one to take care of him. In fact, in addition to being obliged to take care of himself, he had also his little sister Jane to take care of; for she went with him.[A] The way it happened that two such children were sent to sea on such a long voyage, without any one to have them in charge, was this.
[Footnote A: It ought here to be stated, that Jane was not really Rollo's sister, though he always called her and considered her so. She was really his cousin. Her father and mother had both died when she was about six years old, and then Mr. and Mrs. Holiday had adopted her as their own child, so that ever since that time she had lived with Rollo and Nathan as their sister. She was very nearly of the same age with Nathan.]
Rollo's father and mother had gone to Europe to make a tour, a year before this time, and had taken Rollo's brother Nathan, or Thanny, as Rollo used most frequently to call him, with them. They had gone partly for pleasure, but more especially on account of Mr. Holiday's health, which was not good. It was thought that the voyage, and the recreation and pleasure of travelling in Europe, would be a benefit to him. In certain cases where a person's health is impaired, especially when one is slowly recovering from past sickness, nothing is found to have a more beneficial effect upon the patient than for him to go away somewhere and have a good time. It was determined to try the effect of this remedy upon Mr. Holiday, and so he went to Europe. Mrs. Holiday went with him. They took Thanny too, to be company for them on the way. Thanny was at this time about seven years old.
A child of that age, for a travelling companion, is sometimes a source of great pleasure, and sometimes, on the other hand, he is the means of great annoyance and vexation. This depends upon whether he is obedient, patient, quiet, and gentle in his manners and demeanor, or noisy, inconsiderate, wilful, and intractable. A great many children act in such a manner, whenever they take a journey or go out to ride with their parents, that their parents, in self-defence, are obliged to adopt the plan of almost always contriving to leave them behind.
It was not so, however, with Nathan. He was an excellent boy in travelling, and always made the ride or the journey more pleasant for those who took him with them. This was the reason why, when it was determined that Mr. and Mrs. Holiday should go to England, that Mrs. Holiday was very desirous that Nathan should go too. And so far as Nathan was concerned, the voyage and the tour proved to be all that Mr. and Mrs. Holiday expected or desired. In regard to other points, however, it was less successful. Mr. Holiday did not improve in health, and he did not have a good time. Mrs. Holiday was anxious about her husband's health, and she was uneasy too at being separated so long from her other two children,—Rollo and little Jane, especially little Jane,—whom she had learned to love as if she were really her daughter. So, before the year was ended, they both heartily wished themselves back in America again.
But now Mr. Holiday's health grew worse, and he seemed too ill to return. This was in the month of May. It was decided by the physician, that it would not be best for him to attempt to return until September, and perhaps not until the following spring. Mrs. Holiday was herself very much disappointed at this result. She, however, submitted to it very cheerfully. "I must be as good as Thanny," said she. "He submits patiently to his disappointments, and why should not I submit to mine. His are as great, I suppose, for him to bear as mine are for me."
When Mrs. Holiday found that she could not go to her children, she began to be very desirous that her children should come to her. She was at first almost afraid to propose such a thing to her husband, as she did not see how any possible plan could be formed for bringing Rollo and Jane across the wide and boisterous Atlantic alone. She, however, at length one day asked Mr. Holiday whether it would not be possible in some way to accomplish it.
Mr. Holiday seemed half surprised and half pleased when he heard this proposal. At first he did not appear to know exactly what to say, or even to think. He sat looking into the fire, which was blazing in the grate before him, lost apparently in a sort of pleasing abstraction. There was a faint smile upon his countenance, but he did not speak a word.
"That is an idea!" he said, at length, in a tone of satisfaction. "That is really an idea!"
Mrs. Holiday did not speak. She awaited in silence, and with no little anxiety, the result of her husband's meditations.
"That is really quite an idea!" he said at length. "Let us get Rollo and Jane here, and then we shall feel entirely easy, and can return to America whenever we get ready, be it sooner or later. We shall be at home at once where we are."
"I suppose it will cost something to have them come over," said Mrs. Holiday. She was not so anxious to have the children come as to desire that the question should be decided without having all the objections fully considered. Besides, she was afraid that if the question were to be decided hastily, without proper regard to the difficulties that were in the way, there would be danger that it would be reconsidered after more mature reflection, and the decision reversed. So she wished that every thing that could be brought against the project should be fully taken into the account at the outset.
"I suppose," said she, "that their expenses in coming out, and in returning, and in remaining here with us, in the interim, would amount to a considerable sum."
"Yes," said Mr. Holiday; "but that is of no consequence."
"I don't know what we should do about having them taken care of on the passage," added Mrs. Holiday.
"O, there would be no difficulty about that," said Mr. Holiday. "George could easily find some passenger coming out in the ship, who would look after them while at sea, I have no doubt. And if he should not find any one, it would be of no consequence. Rollo could take care of himself."
"And of Jane, too?" asked Mrs. Holiday.
"Yes," replied Mr. Holiday, "and of Jane, too; that is, with the help of the chambermaids. They have excellent chambermaids on board the Atlantic steamers."
So it was concluded to send for Rollo and Jane to embark on board the steamer at New York, and sail for Europe. Mr. Holiday wrote to Rollo's uncle George, requesting him to make the necessary arrangements for the voyage, and then to take the children to New York, and put them on board. He was to commit them, if possible, to the charge of some one of the passengers on board the ship. If, for any reason, he should not succeed in finding any passenger to take care of them, he was to state the case to the captain of the ship, that he might see to them a little from time to time; and, in addition to this, he was to put them under the special charge of one of the chambermaids, promising her that she should be well rewarded for her services, on the arrival of the ship in Liverpool.
The important tidings of the determination which had been made, that Rollo and Jane should actually cross the Atlantic, were first announced to the children one evening near the end of May. They were eating their supper at the time, seated on a stone seat at the bottom of the garden, where there was a brook. Their supper, as it consisted of a bowl of bread and milk for each, was very portable; and they had accordingly gone down to their stone seat to eat it, as they often did on pleasant summer evenings. The stone seat was in such a position that the setting sun shone very cheerily upon it. On this occasion, Rollo had finished his milk, and was just going down to the brook by a little path which led that way, in order to see if there were any fishes in the water; while Jane was giving the last spoonful of her milk to their kitten. On the stone near where Jane was sitting was a small birdcage. This cage was one which Jane used to put her kitten in. The kitten was of a mottled color, which gave to its fur somewhat the appearance of spots; and so Jane called the little puss her tiger. As it was obviously proper that a tiger should be kept in a cage, Jane had taken a canary birdcage, which she found one day in the garret, and had used it to put the kitten in. As she took the precaution never to keep the prisoner shut up long at a time, and as she almost always fed it in the cage, the kitten generally made no objections to going in whenever Jane desired it.
"Here comes uncle George," said Rollo.
Jane was so busy pouring the spoonful of milk through the bars of the cage into a little shallow basin, which she kept for the purpose within, that she could not look up.
"He is coming down through the garden," added Rollo; "and he has got a letter in his hand. It's from mother, I know."
So saying, Rollo began to caper about with delight, and then ran off to meet his uncle. Jane finished the work of pouring out the milk as soon as possible, and then followed him. They soon came back again, however, accompanying their uncle, and conducting him to the stone seat, where the children sat down to hear the letter.
"Rollo," said Mr. George, "how should you like to go to England?"
"To go to England?" said Rollo, in a tone of exultation; "very much indeed."
"Should you dare to go alone?" said Mr. George; "that is, with nobody to take care of you?"
"Yes, indeed!" said Rollo, emphatically. "I should not need any body to take care of me."
"I don't know but you will have to go," said Mr. George; "and not only take care of yourself, but of Jane besides."
"Why, am I to go too?" asked Jane. As she said this, she began to look quite alarmed.
"How should you like the plan?" said Mr. George.
"O, I should not dare to go," said Jane, shaking her head with a very serious air. "I should not dare to go at all, unless I had somebody to take care of me bigger than Rollo."
"Ha!" exclaimed Rollo, "I could take care of you perfectly well. I could buy the tickets and show you down to supper, and help you over the plank at the landings, and every thing else."
Rollo's experience of steamer life had been confined to trips on Long Island Sound, or up and down the Hudson River.
"I suppose you would be dreadfully sick on the way," said Mr. George.
"O, no," said Rollo, "I should not be sick. What's the use of being sick? Besides, I never am sick in a steamboat."
"No," said Jane, shaking her head and looking quite anxious; "I should not dare to go with you at all. I should not dare to go unless my mother were here to go with me; or my father, at least."
"I am afraid you will have to go," said Mr. George, "whether you are afraid to or not."
"That I shall have to go?" repeated Jane.
"Yes," replied Mr. George. "Your father has written me that he is not well enough to come home, and I am to send you and Rollo out in the next steamer. So that you see you have nothing to say or to do about it. All you have to do is to submit to destiny."
Jane did not know very precisely what was meant by the phrase, submitting to destiny; but she understood very well that, in this case, it meant that she must go to England to join her father and mother, whether she liked the plan or not. She was silent a moment, and looked very thoughtful. She then put forth her hand to her kitten, which was just at that moment coming out of the cage, having finished drinking the milk which she had put there for it, and took it into her lap, saying at the same time,—
"Well, then I will go; only you must let me take my Tiger with me."
"That you can do," said Mr. George. "I am very willing to compromise the matter with you in that way. You can take Tiger with you, if you choose."
"And the cage too?" said Jane, putting her hand upon the ring at the top of it.
"Yes," said Mr. George, "and the cage too."
"Well!" said Jane, speaking in a tone of great satisfaction and joyousness, "then I will go. Get into the cage, Tiger, and we'll go and get ready."
* * * * *
The steamer was to sail in about a week from this time. So Mr. George proceeded immediately to New York to engage passage. When Rollo's aunt, who had had the care of him and Jane during the absence of Mr. and Mrs. Holiday, heard how soon the steamer would sail, she said that she did not think that that would afford time enough to get the children ready.
"O, it takes no time," said Mr. George, "to get people ready to go to Europe. Put into a trunk plenty of plain common clothing for the voyage, and the work is done. As for the rest, people can generally find pretty much every thing they want on the other side."
Mr. George went to New York to engage the passage for the children. And inasmuch as many of the readers of this book who reside in the country may never have had the opportunity of witnessing the arrangements connected with Atlantic steamers, they may perhaps like to know how this was done. In the first place, it was necessary to get a permit to go on board the ship. The crowds of people in New York, who are always going to and fro, are so great, and the interest felt in these great steamships is so strong, that if every body were allowed free access and egress to them, the decks and cabins of the vessels would be always in confusion. So they build a barricade across the great pier at which the ships lie, with ponderous gates, one large one for carts and carriages, and another smaller one for people on foot, opening through it, and no one is admitted without a ticket. Mr. George went to the office in Wall Street and procured such a ticket, which one of the clerks in attendance there gave him, on his saying that he wished to go on board to select a state room for some passengers.
Provided with this ticket, Mr. George took an omnibus at Wall Street and rode up to Canal Street. At Canal Street he took another omnibus, which carried him nearly to the East River. There he left the omnibus, and proceeded the rest of the way on foot. The crowd of people on the sidewalks going and coming, and of carts, drays, wagons, and coaches in the street, was immense. There was one crossing where, for some time, Mr. George could not get over, so innumerable and closely wedged together were the vehicles of all descriptions that occupied the way. There were many people that were stopped with him on the sidewalk. Among them was a servant girl, with a little boy under her charge, whom she was leading by the hand. The girl looked very anxious, not knowing how to get across the street.
"Let me carry the child across for you," said Mr. George.
So saying he took the child up gently, but quickly, in his arms, and watching a momentary opening in the stream of carriages, he pressed through, the servant girl following him. He set the boy down upon the sidewalk. The girl said that she was very much obliged to him, indeed; and then Mr. George went on.
Just then a small and ragged boy held out his hand, and with a most woe-begone expression of countenance and a piteous tone of voice, begged Mr. George to give him a few pennies, to keep him from starving. Mr. George took no notice of him, but passed on. A moment afterward he turned round to look at the boy again. He saw him take a top out of his pocket, and go to spinning it upon the sidewalk, and then, suddenly seeing some other boys, the young rogue caught up his top and ran after them with shouts of great hilarity and glee. He was an impostor; Mr. George knew this when he refused to give him any money.
Mr. George then went on again. He came, at length, to the great gates which led to the pier. There was a man just within the gate, walking to and fro, near the door of a sort of office, or lodge, which he kept there. Mr. George attempted to open the gate.
"Please show your ticket, sir," said he.
Mr. George took out his ticket and gave it to the porter, whereupon the porter opened the gate and let him in.
Mr. George found himself under an enormous roof, which spread itself like a vast canopy over his head, and extended from side to side across the pier. Under this vast shed laborers were wheeling boxes and bales of merchandise to and fro, while small steam engines of curious forms and incessant activity were at work hoisting coal on board the ships from lighters alongside, and in other similar operations. There were two monstrous steamships lying at this pier, one on each side. Mr. George turned toward the one on the left. There was a long flight of steps leading up from the pier to the decks of this ship. It was formed by a staging, which extended from the pier to the bulwarks of the ship, like a stair-case, with a railing on each side. Mr. George ascended these steps to the bulwarks, and thence descended by a short flight of steps to the deck itself, and then went along the deck till he came to the door leading to the cabins.
He found within quite a number of cabins, arranged on different floors, like the different stories of a house. These cabins were very resplendent with gilding and carving, and were adorned with curtains and mirrors on every side. They presented to Mr. George, as he walked through them, a very imposing spectacle. Along the sides of them were a great many little bed rooms, called state rooms. These state rooms were all very beautifully finished, and were furnished with every convenience which passengers could require. Mr. George selected two of these state rooms. They were two that were adjoining to each other, and they were connected by a door. There were two beds, or rather bed places, in each state room, one above the other. Mr. George chose the lower berth in one state room for Rollo, and the lower one in the next state room for Jane. When he had chosen the berths in this manner, he wrote the name of each of the children on a card, and then pinned the cards up upon the curtains of the respective berths.
"There!" said he. "That is all right. Now perhaps some lady will take the other berth in Jane's room, and some gentleman that in Rollo's. Then they will both have company in their rooms. Otherwise I must find somebody to take care of them both."
Mr. George then left the ship and went back to the office in Wall Street, to engage the berths and pay the passage money. The office was spacious and handsomely furnished, and there were several clerks in it writing at desks. There were two rooms, and in the back room was a table, with large plans of the ship upon it, on which all the cabins and state rooms of the several decks were represented in their proper positions. The names of the various passengers that had engaged passage in the ship were written in the several state rooms which they had chosen. The clerk wrote the names, Master Holiday and Miss Holiday, in the state rooms which Mr. George pointed out to him, and, when he had done so, Mr. George looked over all the other names that had been written in before, to see if there were any persons whom he knew among them. To his great gratification he found that there were several such.
"Yes," said he, as he rose up from the examination of the plan, "there are several gentlemen there who will be very ready, under the circumstances of the case, to do Mr. Holiday the favor of looking after his children during the voyage."
Being thus, in a measure, relieved of all solicitude, Mr. George walked about the room a few minutes, examining the pictures of the several steamers of the line which were hanging on the walls, and then went away.
The time fixed for the sailing of the steamer was on Tuesday morning; and Mr. George, in order to have time to communicate with some of the gentlemen to whose care he intended to intrust the two children, planned his journey to New York so as to arrive there in good season on Monday. He supposed that he should be able, without any difficulty, to find one or the other of them in the afternoon or evening of that day.
"And if worst comes to the worst," added he to himself, in his reflections on the subject, "I can certainly find them at the ship, by going on board an hour or two before she sails, and watching the plank as the passengers come up from the pier."
Worst did come to the worst, it seems; for when Mr. George came home at nine o'clock in the evening, on Monday, and Rollo came up to him very eagerly in the parlor of the boarding house, to ask him whom he had found to take charge of them, he was forced to confess that he had not found any one.
"I am glad of it!" exclaimed Rollo, joyfully. "I am glad of it! I like it a great deal better to take care of ourselves."
He then began dancing about the room, and finally ran off in great glee, to inform Jane of the prospect before them. Rollo was very ambitious of being considered a man.
He found Jane sitting on the stairs with another child of her own age, that she had become acquainted with at the boarding house; for it was at a boarding house, and not at a hotel, that Mr. George had taken lodgings for his party. This child's name was Lottie; that is, she was commonly called Lottie, though her real name was Charlotte. She was a beautiful child, with beaming black eyes, a radiant face, and dark glossy curls of hair hanging down upon her neck. Jane and Lottie were playing together in a sort of recess at a landing of the stairs, where there was a sofa and a window. They had tiger and the cage with them. The door was open and tiger was playing about the cage, going in and out at her pleasure.
"Jane," said Rollo, "uncle George cannot find any body to take care of you, and so I am going to take care of you."
Jane did not answer.
"Are you going to England?" asked Lottie.
"Yes," replied Jane, mournfully; "and there is nobody to go with us, to take care of us."
"I went to England once," said Lottie.
"Did you?" asked Jane; "and did you go across the Atlantic Ocean?"
"Yes," said Lottie.
"Of course she did," said Rollo; "there is no other way."
"And how did you get along?" said Jane.
"O, very well," said Lottie; "we had a very good time playing about the decks and cabins."
Jane felt somewhat reassured by these declarations of Lottie, and she even began to think that if there was nothing to be done in crossing the Atlantic but to play about the decks and cabins all the way, there was a possibility that Rollo might be able to take care of her.
"My uncle is going on a voyage, too, to-morrow," added Lottie.
"What uncle?" asked Jane.
"My uncle Thomas," said Lottie. "He lives in this house. He is packing up his trunk now. He is going to Charleston. I wish I were going with him."
"Do you like to go to sea?" asked Jane.
"Yes," said Lottie, "pretty well. I like to see the sailors climb up the masts and rigging; and I like the cabins, because there are so many sofas in them, and so many places to hide."
Little Jane felt much less uneasiness at the idea of going to sea after hearing Lottie give such favorable accounts of her own experience. Still she was not entirely satisfied. As for Rollo, his eagerness to go independent of all supervision did not arise wholly from vanity and presumption. He was now twelve years of age, and that is an age which fairly qualifies a boy to bear some considerable burdens of responsibility and duty. At any rate, it is an age at which it ought to be expected that the powers and characteristics of manhood should, at least, begin to be developed. It is right, therefore, that a boy at that age should begin to feel something like a man, and to desire that opportunities should arise for exercising the powers which he finds thus developing themselves and growing stronger every day within him.
The fact that Lottie's uncle Thomas was going to embark for Charleston on the same day that had been fixed for Rollo's embarkation for Europe might seem at first view a very unimportant circumstance. It happened, however, that it led, in fact, to very serious consequences. The case was this. It is necessary, however, first to explain, for the benefit of those readers of this book who may never have had opportunities to become acquainted with the usages of great cities, that there are two separate systems in use in such cities for the transportation respectively of baggage, and of persons, from place to place. For baggage and parcels, there are what are called expresses. The owners of these expresses have offices in various parts of the city, where books are kept, in which a person may go and have an entry made of any trunk, or bag, or other package which he may wish to have conveyed to any place. He enters in the book what the parcel is, where it is, and where he wishes to have it taken. The express man then, who has a great number of wagons employed for this purpose, sends for the parcel by the first wagon that comes in.
For persons who wish to be conveyed from place to place, there are carriages all the time standing at certain points by the sides of the streets, ready for any one who calls them, and there are also stables where carriages are always in readiness. Now, it so happened that Lottie's uncle Thomas had concluded to have his trunk taken down to the Charleston ship by the express, intending to walk to the pier himself from his office, which was in the lower part of the city not far from the pier where his ship was lying. So he went to an express office, and there, at his dictation, the clerk made the following entry in his book:—
Trunk at 780 Broadway, to steamer Carolina, Pier No. 4 North River. To-morrow, at half past nine o'clock.
On the other hand, Mr. George, as he required a carriage to take the children down, did not go to the express office at all. He intended to take their trunk on the carriage. So he went to the stable, and there, at his dictation, the clerk made on the book there the following entry:—
Carriage at 780 Broadway. To-morrow, at half past nine o'clock.
In accordance with this arrangement, therefore, a little after nine o'clock both the trunks were got ready at the boarding house, each in its own room. The chambermaid in Rollo's room, when she saw that the trunk was ready, offered to carry it down, which, as she was a good strong Irish girl, she could very easily do. She accordingly took it up in her arms and carried it down stairs to the front entry, and put it down near the door. One of the waiters of the house was standing by when she did this.
"What is that, Mary?" said he.
"It is a trunk to go to the steamer," said Mary. "There is a man coming for it pretty soon."
She meant, of course, that it was to go to the Liverpool steamer, and the man who was to come for it was the driver of the carriage that Mr. George had engaged. She knew nothing about any other trunk, as the room which Lottie's uncle occupied was attended by another chambermaid.
Mary, having deposited the trunk in its place, returned up stairs, to assist in getting Rollo and Jane ready. A moment afterward the express man, whom Lottie's uncle had sent for his trunk, rang the door bell. The waiter opened the door.
"I came for a trunk," said the man, "to take to the steamer."
"Yes," said the waiter. "Here it is, all ready. They have just brought it down."
So the express man took up the trunk, and carrying it out, put it on his wagon; then, mounting on his seat, he drove away.
Five minutes afterward, the carriage which Mr. George had engaged arrived at the door. Mr. George and the children came down the stairs. Mr. George, as soon as he reached the lower hall, inquired,—
"Where is the trunk?"
"The man has taken it, sir," said he.
"Ah, he has, has he? That is all right."
So Mr. George and the children got into the carriage, the driver holding the door open for them as they did so. As the driver was about to shut the door, Mr. George said,—
"Steamer Pacific, foot of Canal Street."
The driver, taking this for his direction, mounted his box, and drove rapidly away.
When the party arrived at the gates which led to the pier, they found a great concourse of people and a throng of carts and carriages blocking up the way. The great gate was open, and a stream of carriages containing passengers, and of carts and express wagons conveying baggage, was pouring in. Mr. George's carriage was admitted, at length, in its turn, and drove on until it came opposite the long stairway which led on board the ship. Here it stopped, and Mr. George and the children got out.
"Where is the trunk?" said Mr. George, looking before and behind the carriage. "Why, where is the trunk? You have lost the trunk off of the carriage, driver, in coming down."
"No, sir," said the driver; "there was no trunk."
"There certainly was," said Mr. George; "and they told me that you had put it on."
"No, sir," said the driver. "This is the first time I have heard any thing about any trunk."
Mr. George was now quite seriously alarmed. He looked about this way and that, and did not seem to know what to do. In the mean time the line of carriages from behind pressed on, and the drivers of them began to call out to clear the way. Mr. George found himself compelled to decide upon something very promptly.
"Drive over to the other side of the pier," said he, "and wait there till I come."
Then, taking the two children by the hand, he began to lead them up the long plank by which the people were going on board.
Mr. George said nothing, but continued to lead the children along, the throng before and behind them being so dense that they could not see at all where they were going. When they reached the top of the stairway, they descended by a few steps, and so came on board. The children then found themselves moving along what seemed a narrow passage way, amid crowds of people, until at length they came to a short and steep flight of steps, which led up to what seemed to Jane a sort of a roof. The balustrade, or what served as balustrade for these steps, was made of rope, and painted green. By help of this rope, and by some lifting on the part of Mr. George, Rollo and Jane succeeded in getting up, and, at length, found themselves in a place where they could see.
They were on what was called the promenade deck. There were masts, and a great smoke-pipe, and a great amount of ropes and rigging rising up above them, and there were many other curious objects around. The children had, however, no time to attend to these things, for Mr. George led them rapidly along to that part of the promenade deck which was opposite to the long plank, where the people were coming up from the pier. Mr. George left the children here for a minute or two, while he went and brought two camp stools for them to sit upon. He placed these stools near the edge of the deck. There was a railing to keep them from falling off.
"There, children," said he. "Now you can sit here and see the people come on board. It is a very funny thing to see. I am going after the trunk. You must not mind if I don't come back for a long time. The ship will not sail yet for two hours. You must stay here, however, all the time. You must not go away from this place on any consideration."
So saying, Mr. George went away. A moment afterward the children saw him going down the plank to the pier. As soon as he reached the pier he forced his way through the crowd to the other side of it, where the carriage was standing. The children watched him all the time. When he reached the carriage, they saw that he stopped a moment to say a few words to the driver, and then hastily got into the carriage. The driver shut the door, mounted upon the box, and then drove out through the great gate and disappeared.
What Mr. George said to the driver was this.
"Now, driver, we have got just two hours to find that trunk. I pay you full fare for the carriage for the two hours at any rate, and if we find the trunk and get it on board that ship before she sails, I pay you five dollars over. Now take me up to 780 Broadway as quick as you can go."
When the children found themselves thus left, they could not help feeling for a moment a very painful sensation of loneliness, although they were, in fact, surrounded with crowds, and were in the midst of a scene of the greatest excitement. Even Rollo found his courage and resolution ebbing away. He sat for a little time without speaking, and gazed upon the scene of commotion which he saw exhibited before him on the pier with a vague and bewildered feeling of anxiety and fear. Presently he turned to look at Jennie. He saw that she was trying to draw her handkerchief from her pocket, and that tears were slowly trickling down her cheek.
"Jennie," said he, "don't cry. Uncle George will find the trunk pretty soon, and come back."
It might, perhaps, be supposed that Rollo would have been made to feel more dispirited and depressed himself from witnessing Jennie's dejection; but the effect was really quite the contrary of this. In fact, it is found to be universally true, that nothing tends to nerve the heart of man to greater resolution and energy in encountering and struggling against the dangers and ills that surround him, than to have woman near him and dependent upon him, and to see her looking up to him for protection and support. It is true that Rollo was not a man, nor was Jennie a woman. But even in their early years the instincts and sympathies, which exercise so powerful a control over the human heart in later periods of life, began to develop themselves in embryo forms. So Rollo found all his courage and confidence coming back again when he saw Jennie in tears.
Besides, he reflected that he had a duty to perform. He perceived that the time had now come for him to show by his acts that he was really able to do what he had been so eager to undertake. He determined, therefore, that instead of yielding to the feelings of fear and despondency which his situation was so well calculated to inspire, he would nerve himself with resolution, and meet the emergencies of the occasion like a man.
The first thing to be done, as he thought, was to amuse Jane, and divert her attention, if possible, from her fears. So he began to talk to her about what was taking place before them on the pier.
"Here comes another carriage, Jennie," said he. "Look, look! See what a parcel of trunks they have got on behind. That passenger has not lost his trunks, at any rate. See all these orange women, too, Jennie, standing on the edge of the pier. How many oranges they have got. Do you suppose they will sell them all? O Jennie, Jennie, look there! See that great pile of trunks going up into the air."
Jane looked in the direction where Rollo pointed, and saw a large pile of trunks and boxes, eight or ten in all, slowly rising into the air, being drawn up by means of a monstrous rope, which descended from a system of pulleys and machinery above. After attaining a considerable height, the whole mass slowly moved over toward the ship, and after reaching the centre of the deck it began to descend again, with a great rattling of chains and machinery, until it disappeared from view somewhere on board.
"That is the way they get the baggage on board, Jennie," said Rollo. "I never should have thought of getting baggage on board in that way; should you, Jennie? I wonder where the trunks go to when the rope lets them down. It is in some great black hole, I have no doubt, down in the ship. The next load of trunks that comes I have a great mind to go and see."
"No, no!" said Jane, "you must not go away. Uncle George said that we must not move away from here on any account."
"So he did," said Rollo. "Well, I won't go."
After a short time, Jennie became so far accustomed to her situation as to feel in some degree relieved of her fears. In fact, she began to find it quite amusing to watch the various phases which the exciting scene that was passing before her assumed. Rollo endeavored still more to encourage and cheer her, by frequently assuring her that their uncle would soon come back. He did this, indeed, from the best of motives; but it was not wise or even right to do so, for he could not possibly know when his uncle would come back, or even whether he would come back at all.
In the mean time, the crowd of carriages and people coming and going on the pier was continually increasing as the time for the departure of the ship drew nigh. There were more than one hundred passengers to come on board, and almost every one of these had many friends to come with them, to bid them good by; so that there was a perpetual movement of carriages coming and going upon the pier, and the long plank which led up to the ship was crowded with people ascending and descending in continuous streams. The paddle wheels were all the time in motion, though the ship, being yet fastened to the shore, could not move away. The wheels, however, produced a great commotion in the water, covering the surface of it with rushing foam, and at the same time the steam was issuing from the escape-pipe with a roaring sound, which seemed to crown and cover, as it were, without at all subduing the general din.
Rollo had one very extraordinary proof of the deep and overwhelming character of the excitement of this scene, in an accident that occurred in the midst of it, which, for a moment, frightened him extremely. The pier where the steamer was lying was surrounded by other piers and docks, all crowded with boats and shipping. It happened that not very far from him there lay a small vessel, a sloop, which had come down the North River, and was now moored at the head of the dock. There was a family on board this sloop, and while Rollo was by chance looking that way, he saw a small child, perhaps seven or eight years old, fall off from the deck of the sloop into the water. The child did not sink, being buoyed up by her clothes; and as the tide was flowing strong at that time, an eddy of the water carried her slowly along away from the sloop toward the shore. The child screamed with terror, and Rollo could now and then catch the sound of her voice above the roaring of the steam. The sailors on board the sloop ran toward the boat, and began to let it down. Others on the shore got ready with poles and boat hooks, and though they were probably shouting and calling aloud to one another, Rollo could hear nothing but now and then the scream of the child. At length a man came running down a flight of stone steps which led from the pier to the water in a corner of the dock, throwing off his coat and shoes as he went down. He plunged into the water, swam out to the child, seized her by the clothes with one hand, and with the other swam back with her toward the steps, and there they were both drawn out by the bystanders together.
This scene, however, exciting as it would have been under any other circumstances, produced very little impression upon the great crowd that was engaged about the steamer. A few boys ran that way to see how the affair would result. Some others, standing on the decks of the ship or on the pier, turned and looked in the direction of the child. Otherwise every thing went on the same. The carriages went and came, the people walked eagerly about among each other, exchanging farewells. The paddle wheels continued their motion, the steam pipe kept up its deafening roar, and the piles of trunks continued to rise into the air and swing over into the ship, without any interruption.
The time passed rapidly on, and Mr. George did not return. At length but few new carriages came, and the stream of people on the great plank seemed to flow all one way, and that was from the ship to the pier; while the crowd upon the pier had increased until it had become a mighty throng. At length the officer in command gave orders to rig the tackle to the great plank stair, with a view to heaving it back upon the pier. The last, lingering visitors to the ship, who had come to take leave of their friends, hastily bade them farewell and ran down the plank. The ship, in fact, was just on the point of casting off from the pier, when suddenly Mr. George's carriage appeared at the great gate. It came in among the crowd at a very rapid rate; but still it was so detained by the obstructions which were in the way, that before it reached its stopping-place the plank had begun slowly to rise into the air, and the men on the pier had begun to throw off the fastenings.
"You are too late, sir," said a man to Mr. George. "You cannot get on board."
"Put the trunk on board," said Mr. George. "That's all."
The man took up the trunk, which was by no means heavy, and just succeeded in passing it through into a sort of porthole, near the engine, which happened to be open. Mr. George then looked up to the place where he had left the children, and shouted out to them,—
"Good by, children; don't be afraid. Your father will come to the ship for you at Liverpool. Good by, Jennie. Rollo will take excellent care of you. Don't be afraid."
By this time the ship was slowly and majestically moving away from the pier; and thus it happened that Rollo and Jennie set out on the voyage to Europe, without having any one to take them in charge.
The moving away of the steamer from the pier had the effect of producing a striking illusion in Jane's mind.
"Why, Rollo!" she exclaimed, looking up to Rollo, quite alarmed. "The pier is sailing away from us, and all the people on it."
"O, no," said Rollo, "the pier is not sailing away. We are sailing away ourselves."
Jane gazed upon the receding shore with a look of bewildered astonishment. Then she added in a very sorrowful and desponding tone,—
"O Rollo! you told me that uncle George would certainly come back; and now he is not coming back at all."
"Well, I really thought he would come back," said Rollo. "But never mind, Jennie, we shall get along very well. We shall not have to get out of this ship at all till we get to Liverpool; and we shall find father at Liverpool. He will come on board for us at Liverpool, I am sure, before we land; and mother, too, I dare say. Just think of that, Jennie! Just think of that!"
This anticipation would doubtless have had considerable influence in calming Jennie's mind, if she had had any opportunity to dwell upon it; but her thoughts were immediately diverted to the spectacle which was exhibiting itself on the pier. The great throng of people which had assembled there seemed to be pressing on toward the end of the pier, accompanying the ship, as it were, in its motion, as it glided smoothly away. As they thus crowded forward, all those who had opportunity to do so climbed up upon boxes and bales of merchandise, or on heaps of wood or coal, or on posts or beams of wood, wherever they could find any position which would raise them above the general level of the crowd. This scene, of course, strongly attracted the attention both of Rollo and of Jane.
And here it must be remarked, that there are three distinct scenes of bidding farewell that an Atlantic steamer passes through in putting to sea. In the first place, the individual voyagers take leave of their several friends, by words of good by and other personal greetings, on the decks and in the cabins of the ship, before she leaves the pier. Then, secondly, the company of passengers, as a whole, give a good by to the whole company of visitors, who have come to see the ship sail, and who remain standing on the pier as the vessel goes away. This second good by cannot be given by words, for the distance is too great to allow of words being used. So they give it by huzzas, and by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs.
This second farewell was now about to be given. The gentlemen on the pier took off their hats, and, waving them in the air, shouted hurrah in concert, three times, with great energy. The company of passengers on board the ship then responded, by shouting and waving their hats in return. The ladies, both on the pier and in the ship, performed their part in this ceremony by waving their handkerchiefs and clapping their hands. By this time the steamer, which had been rapidly increasing the speed of its motion all the while, was now getting quite out into the stream, and was turning rapidly down the river. This change in the direction in which the steamer was going carried the pier and all the people that were upon it entirely out of the children's view and they saw themselves gliding rapidly along the shore of the river, which was formed of a long line of piers, with forests of masts surmounting them, and long ranges of stores and warehouses beyond. Nearer to the steamer, on the water of the river, and on either hand, were to be seen sloops, ships, ferry boats, scows, and every other species of water craft, gliding to and fro in all directions. While gazing with great interest on this scene, as the steamer moved along, Jane was suddenly startled and terrified at the sound of a heavy gun, which seemed to be fired close to her ear. It was soon evident that the gun had been fired from on board the steamer, for a great puff of smoke rose up into the air from the bows of the vessel, and slowly floated away. Immediately afterward another gun was fired, louder than the first.
I have said that there were three farewells. The first is that of the individual passengers to their individual friends. The second is that of the whole company of passengers to the company of spectators on the pier. The third is the ship's farewell to the city. Of course, for a ship to speak to a city, a very loud voice is required. So they provide her with a gun. In fact, a great steamer proceeding to sea may be considered as, in some respects, like a mighty animal. The engine is its heart; the paddle wheels are its limbs; the guns are its voice; the captain is its head; and, finally, there is a man always stationed on the lookout in the extreme forward part of the ship, who serves the monster for eyes.
Jane was quite terrified at the sound of the guns.
"O Rollo!" exclaimed she, "I wish they would not fire any more of those dreadful guns."
"I don't think they will fire any more," said Rollo. "In fact, I am sure they will not, for they have fired two now, and they never fire more than two."
Rollo was mistaken in this calculation, though he was right in the general principle that the number of guns usually discharged by a steamer going to sea, as its parting salute, is two. In this case, however, the steamer, in passing on down the river, came opposite to a place in Jersey City, where a steamer of another line was lying moored to her pier, waiting for her own sailing day. Now, as the Pacific passed by this other steamer, the men on board of the latter, having previously made every thing ready for the ceremony, fired two guns as a salute to her, by way of bidding her farewell and wishing her a good voyage. Of course, it was proper to respond to the compliment, and this called for two guns more. This made, in fact, a fourth farewell, which having been spoken, the firing was over. The Pacific, having thus taken leave of the city, and also of her sister steamer on the Jersey shore, had now nothing to do but to proceed as fast as possible down the harbor and out to sea.
The scenes which are presented to view on every hand in passing down New York Harbor and Bay are very magnificent and imposing. Ships, steamers, long ferry boats, tugs, sloops, sail boats, and every other species of water craft, from the little skiff that bobs up and down over the waves made by the steamboat swell to the man-of-war riding proudly at anchor in the stream, are seen on every hand. The shores, too, present enchanting pictures of rich and romantic beauty. There are villas and cottages, and smooth grassy lawns, and vast fortifications, and observatories, and lighthouses, and buoys, and a great many other objects, which strongly attract the attention and excite the curiosity of the voyager, especially if he has been previously accustomed only to travelling on land.
While the children were looking at these scenes with wonder and admiration, as the ship passed down the harbor, a young-looking man, who appeared to belong to the ship, came to them and told them that, if they wished to remain on deck, they had better go and sit upon the settees. So saying, he pointed to several large and heavy-looking settees, which were placed near the middle of the deck, around what seemed to be a sort of skylight. These settees were all firmly secured to their places with strong cords, by means of which they were tied by the legs to some of the fixtures of the skylights. In obedience to this suggestion, the children went and took their places upon a settee. Jane carried the cage, containing Tiger, which she had kept carefully with her thus far, and put it down upon the settee by her side. The man who had directed the children to this place, and who was a sort of mate, as they call such officers at sea, looked at the kitten with an expression of contempt upon his countenance, but said nothing. He took the camp stools which the children had left, and carried them away.
"I am sure I don't know what we are to do next," said Jane, mournfully, after sitting for a moment in silence.
"Nor I," rejoined Rollo, "and so I am going to follow uncle George's rules."
Mr. George had given Rollo this rule, as a sort of universal direction for young persons when travelling alone:—
1. Do as you see other people do.
2. When you cannot find out in this or in any other way what to do, do nothing.
In accordance with this advice, Rollo concluded to sit still upon the settee, where the ship's officer had placed him, and do nothing. In the mean time, however, he amused himself in watching the ships and steamers which he saw sailing to and fro about the harbor, and in pointing out to Jane all the remarkable objects which he observed from time to time along the shores.
Among other things which attracted his attention, he noticed and watched the movements of a man who stood upon the top of one of the paddle boxes on the side of the ship, where he walked to and fro very busily, holding a speaking trumpet all the time in his hand. Every now and then he would call out, in a loud voice, a certain word. Sometimes it was port, sometimes it was starboard, and sometimes it was steady. Rollo observed that it was always one or the other of those three words. And what was still more curious, Rollo observed that, whenever the man on the paddle box called out the word, the officer on the deck, who kept walking about there all the time to and fro, would immediately repeat it after him, in a loud but in a somewhat singular tone. While he was wondering what this could mean, a gentleman, who seemed to be one of the passengers, came and sat down on the settee close by his side. Rollo had a great mind to ask him who the man on the paddle box was.
"Well, my boy," said the gentleman, "you are rather young to go to sea. How do you like it?"
"Pretty well, sir," said Rollo.
"We are going out in fine style," said the gentleman. "We shall soon be done with the pilot."
"The pilot?" said Rollo, inquiringly.
"Yes," said the gentleman. "There he is, on the paddle box."
"Is that the pilot?" asked Rollo. "I thought the pilot was the man who steered."
"No," replied the gentleman, "he is the man who gives directions how to steer. He does not steer himself. The man who steers is called the helmsman. There he is."
So saying, the gentleman pointed toward the stern of the ship where there was a sort of platform raised a little above the deck, with a row of panes of glass, like a long narrow window, in front of it. Through this window Rollo could see the head of a man. The man was standing in a recess which contained the wheel by means of which the ship was steered.
"The pilot keeps a lookout on the paddle box," continued the gentleman, "watching the changes in the channel, and also the movements of the vessels which are coming and going. When he wishes the helm to be put to the right, he calls out Starboard! When he wishes it to be put to the left, he calls out Port! And when he wishes the ship to go straight forward as she is, he calls out Steady!"
Just then the pilot, from his lofty lookout on the paddle box, called out, "Port!"
The officer on the deck repeated the command, in order to pass it along to the helmsman, "Port!"
The helmsman then repeated it again, by way of making it sure to the officer that he had heard it and was obeying it, "Port!"
There were two or three dashing-looking young men walking together up and down the dock, and one of them, on hearing these commands, called out, not very loud, but still in such a manner as that all around him could hear, and imitating precisely the tones in which the pilot's order had been given, "Sherry!"
Whereupon there was a great laugh among all the passengers around. Even the stern and morose-looking countenance of the officer relaxed into a momentary smile.
"Now look forward at the bows of the ship," said the gentleman, "and you will see her change her course in obedience to the command of the pilot to port the helm."
Rollo did so, and observed the effect with great curiosity and pleasure.
"I thought the captain gave orders how to steer the ship," said Rollo.
"He does," said the gentleman, "after we get fairly clear of the land. It is the captain's business to navigate the ship across the ocean, but he has nothing to do with directing her when she is going in and out of the harbor." The gentleman then went on to explain that at the entrances of all rivers and harbors there were usually rocks, shoals, sand bars, and other obstructions, some of which were continually shifting their position and character, and making it necessary that they should be studied and known thoroughly by some one who is all the time upon the spot. The men who do this are called pilots. The pilots of each port form a company, and have established rules and regulations for governing all their proceedings. They go out to the mouth of the harbor in small vessels called pilot boats, where they wait, both in sunshine and storm, for ships to come in. When a ship approaches the coast and sees one of these pilot boats, it makes a signal for a pilot to come on board. The pilot boat then sails toward the ship, and when they get near enough they let down a small boat, and row one of the pilots on board the vessel, and he guides the ship in. In the same manner, in going out of port, the pilot guides the ship until they get out into deep water, and then a pilot boat comes up and takes him off the ship. The ship then proceeds to sea, while the pilot boat continues to sail to and fro about the mouth of the harbor, till another ship appears.
"And will this pilot get into a pilot boat and go back to New York?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," replied the gentleman, "and the passengers can send letters back by him, if they wish. They often do."
"And can I?" asked Rollo.
"Yes," replied the gentleman. "Write your letter, and I will give it to him."
Rollo had a small inkstand in his pocket, and also a pocket book with note papers folded up and envelopes in it. This was an apparatus that he always carried with him when he travelled. He took out one of his sheets of note paper, and wrote upon it the following letter:—
DEAR UNCLE GEORGE:
This is to inform you that we have found a good seat, and are getting along very well.
Your affectionate nephew, R. HOLIDAY.
Rollo made his letter shorter than he otherwise would have done, on account of having been informed by the gentleman, when he had just written the first line, that the pilot boat was coming in sight. So he finished his writing, and then folded his note and put it in its envelope. He sealed the envelope with a wafer, which he took out of a compartment of his pocket book. He then addressed it to his uncle George in a proper manner, and it was all ready. The gentleman then took it and carried it to the pilot, who was just then coming down from the paddle box and putting on his coat.
By this time the pilot boat had come pretty near to the ship, and was lying there upon the water at rest, with her sails flapping in the wind. The engine of the ship was stopped. A small boat was then seen coming from the pilot boat toward the ship. The boat was tossed fearfully by the waves as the oarsmen rowed it along. When it came to the side of the ship a sailor threw a rope to it, and it was held fast by means of the rope until the pilot got on board. The rope was then cast off, and the boat moved away. The engine was now put in motion again, and the great paddle wheels of the ship began to revolve as before. Rollo watched the little boat as it went bounding over the waves, afraid all the time that it would be upset, in which case his letter would be lost. At length, however, he had the satisfaction of seeing the skiff safely reach the pilot boat, and all the men climb up safely on board.
"There!" exclaimed Rollo, in a tone of great satisfaction, "now he will go up to the city safe, and I am very glad he has got that letter for uncle George."
In the mean time the captain mounted the paddle box where the pilot had stood, and, with his speaking trumpet in his hand, began to give the necessary orders for the vigorous prosecution of the voyage. The sails were spread, the engines were put into full operation, the helmsman was directed what course to steer, and the ship pressed gallantly forward out into the open sea.
The gentleman who had so kindly explained the pilot system to Rollo did not return to the settee after having given the pilot the letter, but went away, and for a few minutes Rollo and Jane were left alone. They observed, too, that a great many of the passengers had disappeared, and now there were very few about the deck. Rollo wondered where they had gone. He soon received some light on the subject, by overhearing one gentleman say to another, as they passed the settee on their promenade,—
"Come, Charley, let us go down and get some lunch."
"They are going to lunch," said Rollo. "We will go too. I am beginning to be hungry."
"So am I hungry," said Jane. "I did not think of it before; but I am, and I have no doubt that Tiger is hungry too."
So Jane took up her cage, and then she and Rollo, walking along together, followed the gentlemen who had said that they were going down to lunch. They walked forward upon the promenade deck till they came to the short flight of stairs, with the green rope balustrade, which led down to the deck below. These stairs were so steep that the children were obliged to proceed with great caution in descending them, in order to get down in safety. They, however, at length succeeded; and then, passing along where they saw that the gentlemen went who preceded them, they entered into a long and narrow passage way, with doors leading to state rooms on either hand. Following this passage way, they came at length to a sort of entry or hall, which was lighted by a skylight above. In the middle of this hall, and under the skylight, was a pretty broad staircase, leading down to some lower portion of the ship. As the men whom they were following went down these stairs, the children went down too. When they got down, they found themselves in a perfect maze of cabins, state rooms, and passage ways, the openings into which were infinitely multiplied by the large and splendid mirrors with which the walls were every where adorned.
"Put Tiger down there," said Rollo, pointing to a place near the end of the sofa, "and we will bring her something to eat when we come from lunch."
Jane was very anxious to take the kitten with her; but she knew that, under the circumstances in which she was placed, it was proper that she should follow implicitly all of Rollo's directions. So she put the cage down, and then she and Rollo went on together through a door where the gentlemen who had preceded them had gone.
They found themselves in another long and narrow passage way, which led toward the forward part of the ship. The passage way was so narrow that they could not walk together. So Rollo went first, and Jane came behind. The vessel was rocking gently from the motion of the waves, and Jane had to put her hands out once or twice, first to one side and then to the other of the passage way, in order to steady herself as she passed along. Presently they came to a place where they had to go up five or six steps, and then to go immediately down again. It was the place where the main shaft passed out from the engine to the paddle wheel. After getting over this obstruction, they went on a a little farther, and then came into a large dining saloon, where several long tables were spread, and a great many passengers were seated, eating their luncheons.
There were a number of waiters in different parts of the room, standing behind the guests at the tables; and one of these waiters, as soon as he saw Rollo and Jane come in, went to them, and said that he would show them where to sit. So they followed him, and he gave them a good seat at one of the tables. As soon as the children were seated, the waiter said, addressing Rollo,—
"Will you have soup?"
"Yes," said Rollo.
"And will the young lady take soup, too?" he asked again.
"Yes," said Rollo; "both of us."
While the waiter was gone to get the soup, Rollo and Jane had an opportunity of looking around the room and observing how very different it was in its fixtures and furniture from a dining room on land. Instead of windows, there were only round holes in the sides of the ship, about a foot in diameter. For a sash, there was only one round and exceedingly thick and strong pane of glass, set in an iron frame, and opening inwards, on massive hinges. On the side of this frame, opposite the hinges, was a strong clamp and screw, by means of which the frame could be screwed up very tight, in order to exclude the water in case of heavy seas. The tables were fitted with a ledge all around the outside, to keep the dishes from sliding off. Above each table, and suspended from the ceiling, was a long shelf of beautiful wood, with racks and sockets in it of every kind, for containing wineglasses, tumblers, decanters, and such other things as would be wanted from time to time upon the table. Every one of these glasses was in a place upon the shelf expressly fitted to receive and retain it; so that it might be held securely, and not allowed to fall, however great might be the motion of the ship.
There were no chairs at the tables. The seats consisted of handsomely cushioned settees, with substantial backs to them. It was upon one of these settees, and near the end of it, that Rollo and Jane were seated.
When the soup was brought, the children ate it with great satisfaction. They found it excellent; and, besides that, they had excellent appetites. After the soup, the waiter brought them some roasted potatoes and butter, and also some slices of cold roast beef. When the roast beef came, Jane exclaimed to Rollo,—
"Ah! I am very glad to see that. It is just the thing for Tiger."
Then she turned round and said to the waiter,—
"Can I take a piece of this meat to give to my kitten?"
"Your kitten?" said the waiter. "Have you got a kitten on board?"
"Yes," said Jane.
"Where is she?" asked the waiter.
"I left her in the cabin," said Jane, "by the end of a sofa. She is in her cage."
The waiter smiled to hear this statement. Jane had been, in fact, a little afraid to ask for meat for her kitten, supposing it possible that the waiter might think that she ought not to have brought a kitten on board. But the truth was, the waiter was very glad to hear of it. He was glad for two reasons. In the first place, the monotony and dulness of sea life are so great, that those who live in ships are usually glad to have any thing occur that is extraordinary or novel. Then, besides, he knew that it was customary with passengers, when they gave the waiters any unusual trouble, to compensate them for it fully when they reached the end of the voyage; and he presumed, therefore, that if he had a kitten to take care of, as well as the children themselves, their father, whom he had no doubt was on board would remember it in his fee. So, when Jane told him where the kitten was, he said he would go and bring her out into the dining saloon, and give her some of the meat there, as soon as the passengers had finished their luncheon, so that he could be spared from the table.
Accordingly, when the proper time arrived, the waiter went aft, to the cabin, and very soon returned, bringing the cage with him.
He seemed quite pleased with his charge; and several of the passengers, who met him as they were going out of the saloon, stopped a moment to see what he had got in the cage, and Jane was much gratified at hearing one of them say,—
"What a pretty kitten! Whose is it, waiter?"
The waiter put the cage down upon a side table, and then carried a plate of meat to the place, and put it in the cage. Jane and Rollo went to see. While the kitten was eating her meat, the waiter said that he would go and get some milk for her. He accordingly went away again; but he soon returned, bringing a little milk with him in a saucer. The kitten, having by this time finished eating her meat, set herself eagerly at the work of lapping up the milk, which she did with an air of great satisfaction.
"There!" said the waiter, "bring her out here whenever she is hungry, and I will always have something for her. When you come at meal times, you will see me at the table. If you come at any other time, and you don't see me, ask for Alfred. My name is Alfred."
Jane and Rollo both said to Alfred that they were very much obliged to him, and then, observing that nearly all the passengers had left the dining saloon and had returned to the cabin, they determined to go too. So they went back through the same passage way by which they had come.
There were two principal cabins in the ship, the ladies' cabin and the gentlemen's cabin. The ladies' cabin was nearest to the dining saloon, the gentlemen's cabin being beyond. A number of ladies and gentlemen turned into the ladies' cabin, and so Rollo and Jane followed them. They found themselves, when they had entered, in quite a considerable apartment, with sofas and mirrors all around the sides of it, and a great deal of rich carving in the panels and ceiling. Several splendid lamps, too, were suspended in different places, so hung that they could move freely in every direction, when the ship was rolling from side to side in rough seas. Rollo and Jane took their seats upon one of the sofas.
"Well, Rollo," said Jane, "I don't know what we are going to do next."
"Nor I," said Rollo; "but we can sit here a little while, and perhaps somebody will come and speak to us. It must be right for us to sit here, for other ladies and gentlemen are sitting in this cabin."
Jane looked about the cabin on the different sofas to see if there were any persons there that she had ever seen before. But there were none.
Among the persons in the cabin, there were two who particularly attracted Jane's attention. They were young ladies of, perhaps, eighteen or twenty years of age, but they were remarkably different from each other in appearance. One was very beautiful indeed. Her hair was elegantly arranged in curls upon her neck, and she was dressed quite fashionably. Her countenance, too, beamed with an expression of animation and happiness.
The other young lady, who sat upon the other end of the same sofa, was very plain in her appearance, and was plainly dressed. Her countenance, too, had a sober and thoughtful expression which was almost stern, and made Jane feel quite disposed to be afraid of her. The beautiful girl she liked very much.
While the children were sitting thus upon the sofa, waiting to see what was next going to happen to them, several persons passed along that way, taking a greater or less degree of notice of them as they passed. Some merely stared at them, as if wondering how they came there, and what they were doing. One lady looked kindly at them, but did not speak. Another lady, apparently about forty years of age, walked by them with a haughty air, talking all the time with a gentleman who was with her. Jane heard her say to the gentleman, as soon as she had passed them,—
"What a quantity of children we have on board this ship! I hate children on board ship, they are so noisy and troublesome."
Jane did not say any thing in reply to this, but she thought that she and Rollo, at least, did not deserve such censures, for they had certainly not been noisy or troublesome.
Presently Jane saw the beautiful girl, who has been already spoken of, rise and come toward them. She was very glad to see this, for now, thought she, we have a friend coming. The young lady came walking along carelessly toward them, and when she came near she looked at them a moment, and then said, in a pert and forward manner,—
"What are you sitting here for, children, so long, all alone? Where is your father?"
"My father is in Liverpool, I suppose," said Rollo.
"Well, your mother, then," said the young lady, "or whoever has the care of you?"
"My mother is in Liverpool, too," said Rollo "and there is nobody who has the care of us on board this ship."
"Why, you are not going to cross the Atlantic all by yourselves, are you?" said the young lady, in a tone of great astonishment.
"Yes," said Rollo, "unless we find somebody to be kind enough to help us."
"La! how queer!" said the young lady. "I am sure I'm glad enough that I am not in your places."
So saying, the beautiful young lady walked on.
All the beauty, however, which she had before possessed in Jane's eyes was entirely dissipated by this heartless behavior. Both Jane and Rollo, for all the rest of the voyage, thought her one of the ugliest girls they had ever seen.
It was some minutes after this before any other person approached the children. Jane observed, however, that the other young lady—the one who had appeared to her so plain—looked frequently toward her and Rollo, with an expression of interest and kindness upon her countenance. At length she rose from her seat, and came across the cabin, and sat down by Jane's side.
"May I come and sit by you?" said she to Jane. "You seem to be all alone."
"Yes," said Jane; "we don't know any body in this ship."
"Not any body?" said the young lady. "Then you may know me. My name is Maria. But your father and mother are on board the ship, are they not?"
"No," said Rollo. "There is not any body on board this ship that belongs to us."
Maria seemed very much astonished at hearing this, and she asked the children how it happened that they were sent across the Atlantic alone. Upon which Rollo, in a very clear and lucid manner, explained all the circumstances of the case to her. He told her about his father being sick in England, and about his having sent for him and Jane to go to England and meet him there. He also explained what Mr. George's plan had been for providing them with a protector on the voyage, and how it had been defeated by the accident of the loss of the trunk. He also told her how narrowly they had escaped having the trunk itself left behind. He ended by saying that there were several of his father's friends on board, only he did not know of any way by which he could find out who they were.
"Never mind that," said Maria. "I will take care of you. You need not be at all afraid; you will get along very well. Have you got any state room?"
"No," said Rollo.
"Well, I will go and find the chambermaid, and she will get you one. Then we will have your trunk sent to it, and you will feel quite at home there."
So Maria went away, and presently returned with one of the chambermaids.
When the chambermaid learned that there were two children on board without any one to take care of them, she was very much interested in their case. Rollo heard her say to Maria, as they came up together toward the sofa where the children were sitting,—
"O, yes, I will find them a state room, if they have not got one already. Children," she added, when she came near, "are you sure you have not got any state room?"
"Yes," said Rollo. "I did not know where the captain's office was."
"O, you don't go to the captain's office," said the chambermaid. "They pay for the passage and get the tickets in Wall Street."
"Perhaps this is it, then," said Rollo. And so saying, he took out his wallet, and there, from one of the inner compartments, where his uncle George had placed it away very carefully, he produced a paper. The chambermaid opened it, saying, "Yes, this is all right. Berths sixteen and eighteen. Come with me, and I'll show you where they are."
So the two children, accompanied by Maria, followed the chambermaid, who led the way across the cabin, and there, entering a passage way, she opened a door, by means of a beautiful porcelain knob which was upon it. They all went in. They found themselves in a small room, no bigger than a large closet, but they saw at a glance that it was very beautifully finished and furnished. On the front side was a round window like those they had seen in the dining saloon. Under this window was a couch, with a pillow at the head of it. On the back side were two berths, one above the other, with very pretty curtains before them.
"There!" said the chambermaid, "sixteen. That lower berth is yours."
"And whose is the upper berth?" asked Maria.
"That is not taken, I think," said the chambermaid.
"Then I will take it," said Maria. "I will come into this state room, and then I can look after Jennie all the time. But where is Rollo's berth?"
"In the next state room," said the chambermaid.
So saying, she opened a door in the end of the room, and found another state room communicating with the first, where she pointed out Rollo's berth. There was another entrance to Rollo's state room from the passage leading into the cabin, on the farther side of it.
"There," said the chambermaid, "now you can settle yourselves here as soon as you please. Nobody can come in here to trouble you, for you have these little rooms all to yourselves. I'll go and find a porter, and get him to look up your trunk and send it in."
So Rollo went into his state room, and Jane sat down upon the couch in hers, by the side of Maria, looking very much pleased. She opened the door of the cage, and let the kitten out. The kitten walked all about the room, examining every thing with great attention. She jumped up upon the marble washstand, and from that she contrived to get into the round window, where she stood for a few minutes looking out very attentively over the wide sea. Not knowing, however, what to make of so extraordinary a prospect, she presently jumped down again, and, selecting a smooth place at the foot of the couch, she curled herself up into a ring upon the soft covering of it, and went to sleep.
As soon as Rollo and Jane found themselves thus established in their state rooms, they began to examine the furniture and fixtures around them with great curiosity. They were particularly interested in observing the precautions which had been taken in securing every thing which the state rooms contained, from the danger of being thrown about by the motion of the ship. The wash basin was made of marble, and was firmly set in its place, so as to be absolutely immovable. There was a hole in the bottom of it, with a plug in it, so that, by drawing out the plug, the water could be let off into a pipe which conveyed it away. There was a small chain attached to this plug, by means of which it could be drawn up when any one wished to let the water off. The pitcher was made broad and flat at the bottom, and very heavy, so that it could not be easily upset; and then there was a socket for it in the lower part of the wash stand, which confined it effectually, and prevented its sliding about when the ship was rolling in a heavy sea.
The tumbler was secured in a more curious manner still. It was placed in a brass ring, which projected from the wall in a corner over the wash stand, and which was made just large enough to receive it. The soap dish and the brush tray were also placed in sockets cut to receive them in the marble slab, which formed the upper part of the wash stand. The looking glass was round, and was screwed to the wall by means of a stem and a ball or socket joint, in such a manner that it could be set in any position required, according to the height of the observer, and yet it could not by any possibility fall from its place. There were very few pegs or pins for hanging clothes upon, because, when clothes are thus hung, they are found to swing back and forth whenever the ship is rolling in a heavy sea, in a manner that is very tiresome and disagreeable for sick passengers to see. Nor were there many shelves about the state room; for if there had been, the passengers would be likely to put various articles upon them when the sea was smooth; and then, when the ship came to pitch and roll in gales of wind, the things would all slide off upon the floor. So instead of shelves there were pockets made of canvas or duck, several together, one above another. These pockets formed very convenient receptacles for such loose articles as the passengers might have in their state rooms, and were, of course, perfectly secure.
There were two shelves, it is true, in Jennie's state room,—one over each of the two wash stands,—but they were protected by a ledge about the edges of them, which would effectually prevent such things as might be placed upon them from sliding off.
By the time that Rollo and Jane had examined these things, a porter came into the state room, bringing their trunk upon his shoulder. Maria told the children that they had better open the trunk and take out all that they would be likely to require while on board, and then stow the trunk itself away under the lower berth, in one of the state rooms.
"Because," said she, "as soon as we get out upon the heavy seas we shall all be sick, and then we shall not wish to move to do the least thing."
"When will that be?" asked Jane.
"I don't know," replied Maria. "Sometimes we have it smooth for a good many days, and then there comes a head wind and makes it rough, and all the passengers get sick and very wretched."
"I don't think that I shall be sick," said Rollo.
"You can't tell," said Maria. "Nobody can tell any thing about it beforehand."
In obedience to Maria's directions, Rollo opened the trunk and took out from it all the clothing, both for day and night, which he thought that he and Jennie would require during the voyage. The night dresses he put under the pillows in the berths. The cloaks, and coats, and shawls which might be required on deck in the day he placed on the couches. Those which belonged to him he put in his state room, and those that belonged to Jennie in hers. While engaged in these operations, he pulled up from one of the lower corners of his trunk a small leather purse or bag full of money.
"What shall I do with this?" he asked, holding it up to Maria.
"What is it?" asked Maria.
"Money," said Rollo.
"How much is there?" said Maria.
"I don't know," replied Rollo. "Uncle George put it in here. He said I ought to have some money to carry with me, in case of accidents. I don't suppose it is much."
"You had better count it, then," said Maria, "so as to ascertain how much it is. You and Jane may count it together."
So Rollo and Jane sat down upon the couch, and Rollo poured out the money into Jennie's lap. It was all gold. Maria said that the coins were sovereigns and half sovereigns. The large ones were sovereigns, and the small ones were half sovereigns. Rollo proposed that he should count the sovereigns, and that Jennie might count the half sovereigns. It proved, when the counting was completed, that there were thirty sovereigns and twenty half sovereigns.
"That makes forty sovereigns in all," said Maria. "That is a great deal of money."
"How much is it?" asked Rollo.
"Why, in American money," said Maria, "it makes about two hundred dollars."
"Two hundred dollars!" repeated Rollo, with astonishment. "What could uncle George think I could want of all this money?"
"It was in case of accidents," said Maria. "For example, suppose this ship should be cast away on the coast of Nova Scotia, and all the passengers and baggage be saved, what could you do there without any money."
"Why, I should think that somebody there would take care of us," replied Rollo.
"Yes," said Maria, "I suppose they would; but it is a great deal better to have money of your own. Besides, suppose that when you get to Liverpool, for some reason or other, your father should not be there. Then, having plenty of money, you could go to a hotel and stay there till your father comes. Or you could ask some one of the passengers who is going to London to let you go with him, and you could tell him that you had plenty of money to pay the expenses."
"Yes," said Rollo, "though I don't think there is any doubt that my father will be in Liverpool when we arrive."
"I hope he will be, I am sure," said Maria. "But now, put up the money again in the purse, tie it up securely, and replace it in the trunk. Then you must keep the trunk locked all the time, and keep the key in your pocket."
Rollo felt quite proud of being intrusted with so much money; so he replaced the bag in the trunk with great care, and locked it safely.
"Now," said Maria, "this is your home while you are on board this ship. When you choose, you can come here and be alone; and you can lie down and rest here whenever you are tired. At other times you can ramble about the ship, in all proper places."
"How shall I know what the proper places are?" asked Rollo.
"Why, you will see where the other passengers go," replied Maria; "and wherever you see them go, you can go yourself. That is as good a rule as you can have."
"Well," said Rollo. "And now, Jane, let us go up on deck and see what we can see."
Jane was pleased with this proposal; so she followed Rollo to the deck. Maria said that she would come by and by, but for the present she wished to go and see her brother. She said that she had a brother on board who was quite out of health. He was going to Europe in hopes that the voyage would restore him. At present, however, he was very unwell, and was confined to his berth, and she must go and see him.
So Rollo and Jane went to see if they could find their way up on deck alone. Rollo went before, and Jane followed. They ascended the steep stairs where they had gone up at first, and then walked aft upon the deck until they came to the settees where they had been sitting before the luncheon. They sat down upon one of these settees, where they had a fine view, not only of the wide expanse of sea on every hand, but also of the whole extent of the decks of the ship. They remained here nearly two hours, observing what was going on around them, and they saw a great many things that interested them very much indeed.
The first thing that attracted their attention was the sound of a bell, which struck four strokes very distinctly, and in a very peculiar manner, near where the helmsman stood in steering the ship. This bell has already been mentioned. It hung directly before the helmsman's window, and it had a short rope attached to the clapper of it. The helmsman, or the man at the wheel, as he is sometimes called, from the fact that he steers the ship by means of a wheel, with handles all around the periphery of it, had opened his window just after Rollo and Jane had taken their seats, and had pulled this clapper so as to strike four strokes upon the bell, the strokes being in pairs, thus:—
In a minute afterward, Rollo and Jane heard the sound repeated in precisely the same manner from another bell, that seemed to be far in the forward part of the ship.
"I wonder what that means?" said Rollo.
"I expect it means that it is four o'clock," said Jane.
"I should not think it could be so late as four o'clock," said Rollo.
"I have a great mind to go and ask the helmsman what it means," he added, after a moment's pause.
"No," said Jane, "you must not go."
It is difficult to say precisely why Jane did not wish to have Rollo go and ask the helmsman about the bell, but she had an instinctive feeling that it was better not to do it. So Rollo sat still. His attention was very soon turned away from the bell by Jane's calling out to him to see some sailors go up the rigging. There were regular shrouds, as they are called, that is, ladders formed of ropes, which led up on each side of the masts part way to where the sailors seemed to wish to go. Above the top of the shrouds there were only single ropes, and Rollo wondered what the sailors would do when they came to these. They found no difficulty, however, for when they reached the top of the shrouds they continued to mount by the ropes with very little apparent effort. They would take hold of two of the ropes that were a little distance apart with their hands, and then, curling their legs round them in a peculiar manner below, they would mount up very easily. They thus reached the yard, as it is called, which is a long, round beam, extending along the upper edge of the sail, and, spreading themselves out upon it in a row, they proceeded to do the work required upon the sail, leaning over upon the yard above, and standing upon a rope, which was stretched for the purpose along the whole length of it below.
"I wonder if I could climb up there," said Rollo. "Do you suppose they would let me try?"
"No, indeed!" said Jane, very earnestly; "you must not try, by any means."
"I believe that I could climb up there," said Rollo; "that is, if the vessel would stop rocking to and fro, and hold still."
Presently, however, a boy, who appeared to be about eighteen or nineteen years of age, and who was upon another mast, accomplished a feat which even Rollo himself admitted that he should not dare to undertake. It seemed that he had some operation to perform upon a part of the rigging down some fifteen feet from where he was; so, with a rope hung over his shoulder, he came down hand over hand, by a single rope or cable called a stay, until he reached the place where the work was to be performed. Here he stopped, and, clinging to the rope that he had come down upon with his legs and one hand, he contrived with the other hand to fasten one end of the short rope which he had brought with him to the stay, and then, carrying the other end across, he fastened it to another cable which was near. He then seated himself upon this cross rope as upon a seat, and clinging to his place by his legs, he had his hands free for his work. When he had finished his work he untied the cross rope, and then went up the cable hand over hand a he had come down.
"I am sure I could not do that," said Rollo. "And I should not think that any body but a monkey could do it, or a spider."
In fact, the lines of rigging, as seen from the place where Rollo and Jane were seated, looked so fine, and the men appeared so small, that the whole spectacle naturally reminded one of a gigantic spider's web, with black spiders of curious forms ascending and descending upon them, so easily and adroitly did the men pass to and fro and up and down, attaching new lines to new points, and then running off with them, as a spider would do with her thread, wherever they were required. But after all, in respect to the power of running about among lines and rigging, the spider is superior to man. She can not only run up and down far more easily and readily wherever she wishes to go, but she can make new attachments with a touch, and make them strong enough to bear her own weight and all other strains that come upon them; while the sailor, as Rollo and Jane observed on this occasion, was obliged in his fastenings to wind his ropes round and round, and tie them into complicated knots, and then secure the ends with "spun yarn."
While Rollo and Jane were watching the sailors, they saw them unfurl one after another of the sails, and spread them to the wind; for the wind was now fair, and it was fresh enough to assist the engines considerably in propelling the ship through the water. Still, as the ship was going the same way with the wind, the breeze was scarcely felt upon the deck. The air was mild and balmy, and the surface of the sea was comparatively smooth, so that the voyage was beginning very prosperously. Rollo looked all around the horizon, but he could see no land in any direction. There was not even a ship in sight; nothing but one wide and boundless waste of waters.
"I should think that there would be some other ships going to England to-day," he said, "besides ours."
Jane did not know what to think on such a subject, and so she did not reply.
"Let us watch for whales," said Rollo. "Perhaps we shall see a whale. You watch the water all along on that side, and I will on this side; and if you see any whale spout, tell me."
So they both kept watch for some time, but neither of them saw any spouting. Jane gave one alarm, having seen some large, black-looking monsters rise to the surface not far from them on one side of the ship. She called out eagerly to Rollo to look. He did so, but he said that they were not whales; they were porpoises. He had seen porpoises often before, in bays and harbors.