You observe that under a cheerful exterior I have got a spirit that is angry with me and gives me freely its contempt. I can get away from that at sea, and be tranquil and satisfied; and so, with my parting love and benediction for Orion and all of you, I say good-by and God bless you all-and welcome the wind that wafts a weary soul to the sunny lands of the Mediterranean!
THE INNOCENTS AT SEA
Holy land pleasure excursion
Steamer: Quaker City.
Captain C. C. Duncan.
Left New York at 2 P.m., June 8, 1867.
Rough weather—anchored within the harbor to lay all night.
That first note recorded an event momentous in Mark Twain’s career—an event of supreme importance; if we concede that any link in a chain regardless of size is of more importance than any other link. Undoubtedly it remains the most conspicuous event, as the world views it now, in retrospect.
The note further heads a new chapter of history in sea-voyaging. No such thing as the sailing of an ocean steamship with a pleasure-party on a long transatlantic cruise had ever occurred before. A similar project had been undertaken the previous year, but owing to a cholera scare in the East it had been abandoned. Now the dream had become a fact—a stupendous fact when we consider it. Such an important beginning as that now would in all likelihood furnish the chief news story of the day.
But they had different ideas of news in those days. There were no headlines announcing the departure of the Quaker City—only the barest mention of the ship’s sailing, though a prominent position was given to an account of a senatorial excursion-party which set out that same morning over the Union Pacific Railway, then under construction. Every name in that political party was set dawn, and not one of them except General Hancock will ever be heard of again. The New York Times, however, had some one on its editorial staff who thought it worth while to comment a little on the history-making Quaker City