Urban Sketches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 70 pages of information about Urban Sketches.
projected oranges and apples, accompanied with some invective.  Yet there is certainly something to interest us in the examination of that cheerless damp closet, whose painted wooden walls no furniture or company can make habitable, wherein our friend is to spend so many vapid days and restless nights.  The sight of these apartments, yclept state-rooms,—­Heaven knows why, except it be from their want of cosiness,—­is full of keen reminiscences to most Californians who have not outgrown the memories of that dreary interval when, in obedience to nature’s wise compensations, homesickness was blotted out by sea-sickness, and both at last resolved into a chaotic and distempered dream, whose details we now recognize.  The steamer chair that we used to drag out upon the narrow strip of deck and doze in, over the pages of a well-thumbed novel; the deck itself, of afternoons, redolent with the skins of oranges and bananas, of mornings, damp with salt-water and mopping; the netted bulwark, smelling of tar in the tropics, and fretted on the weather side with little saline crystals; the villanously compounded odors of victuals from the pantry, and oil from the machinery; the young lady that we used to flirt with, and with whom we shared our last novel, adorned with marginal annotations; our own chum; our own bore; the man who was never sea-sick; the two events of the day, breakfast and dinner, and the dreary interval between; the tremendous importance giver, to trifling events and trifling people; the young lady who kept a journal; the newspaper, published on board, filled with mild pleasantries and impertinences, elsewhere unendurable; the young lady who sang; the wealthy passenger; the popular passenger; the—­

[Let us sit down for a moment until this qualmishness, which these associations and some infectious quality of the atmosphere seem to produce, has passed away.  What becomes of our steamer friends?  Why are we now so apathetic about them?  Why is it that we drift away from them so unconcernedly, forgetting even their names and faces?  Why, when we do remember them, do we look at them so suspiciously, with an undefined idea that, in the unrestrained freedom of the voyage, they became possessed of some confidence and knowledge of our weaknesses that we never should have imparted?  Did we make any such confessions?  Perish the thought.  The popular man, however, is not now so popular.  We have heard finer voices than that of the young lady who sang so sweetly.  Our chum’s fascinating qualities, somehow, have deteriorated on land; so have those of the fair young novel-reader, now the wife of an honest miner in Virginia City.]

—­The passenger who made so many trips, and exhibited a reckless familiarity with the officers; the officers themselves, now so modest and undemonstrative, a few hours later so all-powerful and important,—­these are among the reminiscences of most Californians, and these are to be remembered among the experiences of our friend.  Yet he feels, as we all do, that his past experience will be of profit to him, and has already the confident air of an old voyager.

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Urban Sketches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.