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Lands of the Slave and the Free eBook

Henry Murray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 564 pages of information about Lands of the Slave and the Free.
of ladies, could they but see them going about with nothing but an oyster-shell bonnet stuck at the back of their heads!  Take another remnant of barbarism, handed down to us in the shape of powder.  Masters have taken care of themselves, and got rid of the abomination; so have upper servants; but so wedded are some people to the habit, that they still continue to pay a poll-tax of 1l. 3s. 6d. for the pleasure of powdering and plastering their footmen’s heads, as if they had just escaped from a flour-mill and passed a greasy hand over their hair:  will any one deny, that the money spent in the tax would promote “John’s” comfort and cleanliness much more, if expended in good baths, brown Windsor, and small-tooth combs.

Pardon me, reader, I feel that there is no analogy between a Bloomer and a small-tooth comb; it is from following out the principle of recording the reflections which what I saw gave rise to, that I have thus wandered back to the old country; with your permission, we are again at Rochester, and the Bloomer has gone out of sight round the corner.

The shades of evening having closed in upon me, I retired to roost.  My head was snugly bedded in my pillow; I was in that charmingly doubtful state in which thoughts and dreams have become imperceptibly blended.  Suddenly there was a trumpet-blast, loud as a thunder-clap, followed by bells ringing as rapidly as those of the churches in Malta; as these died away, the hum of human voices and the tread of human feet along the passages followed, and then all was once more hushed in silence.  I turned over, gave the clothes an extra jerk, and again sought the land of dreams.  Vain and delusive hope!—­trains seemed starting or arriving every half-hour, and the whole night was spent ’mid the soothing varieties of mineral trumpets and bells, and animal hoofs and tongues, till from sheer exhaustion, about five A.M., I dropped off into a snooze, which an early start rendered it necessary to cut short soon after seven.

Mem.—­What a nice thing it is to put up at an hotel quite handy to a railway station.

Reader, you are doubtless aware that Rochester is on Lake Ontario, and a considerable distance from New York; but I must nevertheless beg you to transport yourself to the latter place, without going through the humdrum travelling routine of—­stopped here, stopped there, ate here, ate there, which constituted the main features of my hasty journey thither, undertaken for the purpose of seeing my brother off, on his return to Europe, which duty bringing me within the yachting waters of New York, I think this a legitimate place for a chapter on the “Black Maria.”

CHAPTER VII.

Construction and Destruction.

The “Black Maria” is a vessel so unique in every respect, that the most detailed description of her cannot but be most interesting to all yachting men; and, so far from apologizing for the length of my observations, I would rather crave indulgence for the scanty information which this chapter will afford; but as it must prove pre-eminently dull to those who are ignorant of such matters, I would entreat them to pass it over, lest, getting through the first page, their ideas become bewildered, and, voting me a bore, they throw down the book, subjoining a malediction upon my poor innocent head.

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