Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 List of Illustrations
 A floating city
 The blockade runners
 Back Cover

Group Title: Ville flottante
Title: The floating city and, The blockade runners
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027919/00001
 Material Information
Title: The floating city and, The blockade runners
Uniform Title: Ville flottante
Alternate Title: Blockade runners
Physical Description: iv, 286 p., 42 leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Férat, Jules Descartes, b. 1829 ( Illustrator )
Hildibrand, Henri Théophile ( Engraver )
Pannemaker, Adolphe François, b. 1822 ( Engraver )
Scribner, Armstrong, and Company ( Publisher )
John F. Trow & Co
Publisher: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: John F. Trow & Co., Printers and Bookbinders
Publication Date: 1875
Copyright Date: 1875
Subject: Sailing -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Steamboats -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mental illness -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Seafaring life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Jealousy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sailors -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Marriage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Travelogue storybooks -- 1875   ( local )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Travelogue storybooks   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Summary: While on a trip on board the Great Eastern, bound for New York, a woman goes mad when the man she really loves is on board as well as her husband, whom she detests.
Citation/Reference: Myers & Myers. Verne,
Citation/Reference: Gallagher, E.J. Verne,
General Note: Translation of: Une ville flottante, and: Les forceurs de blocus.
General Note: The 2nd U.S. ed.; cf. Myers & Myers.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Pannemaker and Hildibrand after Férat.
Statement of Responsibility: by Jules Verne ; translated from the French.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027919
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH9743
oclc - 36513655
alephbibnum - 002239217
lccn - 62056543

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    List of Illustrations
        Page iii
        Page iv
    A floating city
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
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        Page 6a
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    The blockade runners
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    Back Cover
        Page 287
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Full Text







The Baldwin Library


I\ A


w P


.Pt7 e d..







205-213 East 12th St.,



One would have taken her for a small Island 4
Carpentering, Rigging, and Painting 6
Then began the slow interminable Ascent 17
Every Man at the capstan-bars was knocked down 22
Soon we came in sight of Queenstown 29
Captain Corsican and I bowed 3
When a body rolled at my feet 40
The waif was the hull of a ship 49
" They," said he, "are people from the Far West 56
I often see them leaning over the railings of the engine-rooms 61
He made an angry gesture, which I arrested 68
"I see," said Dr. Pitferge 76
A fine-looking young fellow . 85
His back rounded, and his head muffled in a hood 91
The Black Lady 96
He treated Drake with supreme contempt xo8
Fabian went near to the cabin doors 13
One of the sailors lying unconscious *. 122
A troop of Minstrels 130
"Do you accept that blow ? . 132
The Prayer for the Dead 741

I remained on deck, watching the storm rise I52
A small schooner was signalled to starboard 153
I turned, and saw Ellen, pale as death 162
The fog cleared off 174
Nature has combined everything to astonish the eye 179
The Cataract falling before us . 187
"Fabian Fabian!" cried she, at last 191
She plunged into the Clyde 199
" The same," replied the Skipper 208
And soon disappeared 213
"Captain !" exclaimed he 220
Thank you, sir, thank you 232
He saw distinctly 235
The Squall 244
Crockston was examining the horizon attentively 246
Miss Halliburtt was standing on the poop 251
"I promise you, Miss Jenny" 260
Mr. Halliburtt ? 271
Jenny fell into her father's arms 275
He took the shell 282
"Well, Uncle Vincent" 286



ON the 8Sth of March, 1867, I arrived at Liverpol, in-
tending to take a berth simply as an amateur traveller on
board the "Great Easterp," which in a few days was to
sail for New York. I had sometimes thought of paying a
visit to North America, and was now tempted to cross the
Atlantic on board this gigantic boat. First of all the.
" Great Eastern," then the country celebrated by Cooper.
This steam-ship is indeed a masterpiece of naval con--
struction ; more ,than a vessel, it is a floating city, part of
the country, detached from English soil, which after having
crossed the sea, unites itself to the American Continent. I
pictured to myself this enormous bulk borne on the waves,
her defiant struggle with the wind, her boldness before the
powerless sea; her indifference to the billows, her stability in
the midst of that element which tosses "Warriors" and.


"Solferinos like ship's boats. But my imagination carried
me no farther; all these things I did indeed see during the
passage, and many others which do not exclusively belong
to the maritime domain. If the Great Eastern is not
merely a nautical engine, but rather a microcosm, and
carries a small world with it, an observer will not be
astonished to meet here, as on a larger theatre, all the
instincts, follies, and passions of human nature.
On leaving the station, I went to the Adelphi Hotel.
The Great Eastern was announced to sail on the 20th
of March, and as I wished to witness the last preparations,
I asked permission of Captain Anderson, the commander,
to take my place on board immediately, which permission
he very obligingly granted.
The next day I went down towards the basins which
form a double line of docks on the banks of the Mersey.
The gate-keepers allowed me to go on to Prince's Landing-
Stage, a kind of movable raft which rises and falls with the
tide, and is a landing place for the numerous boats which
run between Liverpool, and the opposite towlA of Birken-
head on the left bank of the Mersey.
The Mersey, like the Thames, is only an insignificant
stream, unworthy the name of river, although it falls into
the sea.
It is an immense depression of the land filled with
,water, in fact nothing more than a hole, the depth of


which allows it to receive ships of the heaviest tonnage,
such as the "Great Eastern," to which almost every other
port in the world is closed. Thanks to this natural con-
dition, the streams of the Thames and the Mersey have
seen two immense commercial cities, London and Liver-
pool, built almost at their mouths, and from a similar cause
has Glasgow arisen on the Clyde.
At Prince's Landing-Stage, a small tug in the service of
the Great Eastern was getting up steam. I went on
board and found it already crowded with workmen and
mechanics. As the clock in Victoria Tower struck seven,
the tender left her moorings and quickly ascended the
Mersey with the rising tide.
Scarcely had we started, when I saw on the quay a tall
young man, with that aristocratic look which so distin-
guishes the English officer. I thought I recognized in him
a friend whom I had not seen for several years, a captain
in the Indian army; but I must have been mistaken,
for Captain Mac Elwin could not have left Bombay, as
I ought to have known, besides Mac Elwin was a gay,
careless fellow, and a jovial companion, but this person, if
he resembled him in feature, seemed melancholy, and
as though burdened with a secret grief. Be it as it may,
I had not time to observe him more closely, for the tender
was moving rapidly away, and the impression founded on
this resemblance soon vanished from my mind.
B 2


The Great Eastern" was anchored about three miles
up the river, at a depth equal to the height of the tallest
houses in Liverpool. She was not to be seen from Prince's
Stage, but I caught a glimpse of her imposing bulk from
the first bend in the river.
One would have taken her for a small island, hardly
discernible in the mist. She appeared with her bows
towards us, having swung round with the tide; but soon the
tender altered her course, and the whole length of the
steam-ship was presented to our view; she seemed what in
fact she was-enormous Three or four colliers alongside
were pouring their cargoes of coal into her port-holes.
Beside the Great Eastern," these three-mast ships looked
like barges; their chimneys did not even reach the first line
of light-ports in her hull; the yards of their gallant-sails
did not come up to her bulwarks. The giant could have
hoisted these ships on its davits like shore-boats.
Meanwhile the tender approached the "Great Eastern,"
whose chains were violently strained by the pressure of the
tide, and ranged up to the foot of an immense winding
staircase, on the larboard side. In this position the deck
of the tender was only on a level with the load water-line
of the steam-ship, to which line she would be depressed
when in full cargo, and which still emerged two yards.
The workmen were now hurriedly disembarking and
clambering up the numerous steps which terminated at


the fore-part of the ship. I, with head upturned, and my
body thrown back, surveyed the wheels of the "Great
Eastern," like a tourist looking up at a high edifice.
Seen from the side, these wheels looked narrow and
contracted, although their paddles were four yards broad,
but in front they had a monumental aspect. Their elegant
fittings, the arrangements of the whole plan, the stays
crossing each other to support the division of the triple
centre rim, the radius of red spokes, the machinery half
lost in the shadow of the wide paddle-boards, all this im-
pressed the mind, and awakened an idea of some gigantic
and mysterious power.
With what force must these wooden paddles strike the
waves which are now gently breaking over them! what a boil-
ing of water when this powerful engine strikes it blow after
blow! what a thundering noise engulfed in this paddle-box
cavern when the Great Eastern" goes at full speed,
under the pressure of wheels measuring fifty-three feet in
diameter and 166 in circumference, weighing ninety tons,
and making eleven revolutions a minute. The tender had
disembarked her crew; I stepped on to the fluted iron steps,
and in a few minutes had crossed the fore-part of the
"Great Eastern."



THE deck was still nothing but an immense timber-yard
given up to an army of workmen. I could not believe I
was on board a ship. Several thousand men-workmen,
crew, engineers, officers, mechanics, lookers-on-mingled
and jostled together without the least concern, some on
deck, others in the engine-room; here pacing the upper
decks, there scattered in the rigging, all in an indescribable
pell-mell. Here fly-wheel cranes were raising enormous
pieces of cast-iron, there heavy joists were hoisted by steam-
windlasses; above the engine-rooms an iron cylinder, a
metal shaft in fact, was balanced. At the bows, the yards
creaked as the sails were hoisted; at the stern rose a
scaffolding which, doubtless, concealed some building in
construction. Building, fixing, carpentering, rigging, and
painting, were going on in the midst of the greatest dis-
My luggage was already on board. I asked to see

Page 7.


Captain Anderson, and was told that he had not yet
arrived; but one of the stewards undertook to install
me, and had my packages carried to one of the aft-
"My good fellow," said I to him, "the 'Great Eastern'
was announced to sail on the 20th of March, but is it
possible that we can be ready in twenty-four hours ? Can
you tell me when we may expect to leave Liverpool ?"
But in this respect the steward knew no more than I did,
.and he left me to myself. I then made up my mind to
visit all the ins and outs of this immense ant-hill, and began
my walk like a tourist in a foreign town. A black mire--
that British mud which is so rarely absent- from the pave-
ment of English towns-covered the deck of the steam-
ship; dirty gutters wound here and there. One might have
thought oneself in the worst part of Upper Thames
Street, near London Bridge. I walked on, following the
upper decks towards the stern. 'Stretching on either side
were two wide streets, or rather boulevards, filled with a
compact crowd; thus walking, I came to the centre of
the steam-ship between the paddles, united by a double
set of bridges.
Here opened the pit containing the machinery of the
paddle-wheels, and I had an opportunity of looking at
this admirable locomotive engine. About fifty workmen
were scattered on the metallic skylights, some clinging to


the long suction-pumps fixing the eccentric wheels, others
hanging on the cranks riveting iron wedges with enor-
mous wrenches. After having cast a rapid glance over
these fitting works, I continued my walk till I reached
the bows, where the carpenters were finishing the decora-
tion of a large saloon called the "smoking-room," a
magnificent apartment with fourteen windows; the ceiling
white and gold, and wainscoted with lemon-coloured
panels. Then, after having crossed a small triangular
space at the bows, I reached the stem, which descends
perpendicularly into the water.
Turning round from this extreme point, through an
opening in the mists, I saw the stern of the "Great
Eastern" at a distance of more than two hundred
I returned by the boulevards on the starboard side,
avoiding contact with the swaying pulleys and the ropes
of the rigging, lashed in all directions by the wind; now
keeping out of the way, here of the blows of a fly-wheel
crane, and further on, of the flaming scoria which were
showering from a forge like a display of fireworks. I
could hardly see the tops of the masts, two hundred feet
in height, which lost themselves in the mist, increased by
the black smoke from the tenders and colliers.
After having passed the great hatchway of the engine-
rooms, I observed a small hotel" on my left, and then


the spacious side walls of a palace surmounted by a terrace,
the railings of which were being varnished. At last I reached
the stern of the steam-ship, and the place I had already
noticed where the scaffolding was erected. Here between
the last small deck cabin and the enormous gratings of
the hatchways, above which rose the four wheels of the
rudder, some engineers had just finished placing a steam-
engine. The engine was composed of two horizontal
cylinders, and presented a system of pinions, levers, and
blocks which seemed to me very complicated. I did not
understand at first for what it was intended, but it ap-
peared that here, as everywhere else, the preparations
were far from complete.
And now, why all these delays? Why so many new
arrangements on board the "Great Eastern," a compara-
tively new ship ? The reason may be explained in a few
After twenty passages from England to America, one of
which was marked by very serious disasters, the use of the
" Great Eastern" was temporarily abandoned, and this
immense ship, arranged to accommodate passengers,
seemed no longer good for anything. When the first
attempt to lay the Atlantic cable had failed,-partly
because the number of ships which carried it was insuf-
ficient-engineers thought of the Great Eastern." She
alone could store on board the 2100 miles of metallic wire,


weighing 4500 tons. She alone, thanks to her perfect indif-
ference to the sea, could unroll and immerse this immense
cable. But special arrangements were necessary for storing
away the cable in the ship's hold. Two out of six boilers
were removed, and one chimney out of three belonging to
the screw engine; in their places large tanks were placed
for the cable, which was immersed in water to preserve
it from the effects of variation of the atmosphere; the
wire thus passed from these tanks of water into the sea
without suffering the least contact with the air.
The laying of the cable having been successfully accom-
plished, and the object in view attained, the "Great
Eastern was once more left in her costly idleness. A
French company, called the "Great Eastern Company,
Limited," was floated with a capital of 2,000,000 francs,
with the intention of employing the immense ship for the
conveyance of passengers across the Atlantic. Thus the
reason for rearranging the ship to this purpose, and the con-
sequent necessity of filling up the tanks and replacing the
boilers, of enlarging the saloons in which so many people
were to live during the voyage, and of building extra dining
saloons, finally the arrangement of a thousand berths in
the sides of the gigantic hull.
The "Great Eastern" was freighted to the amount of
25,000 francs a month. Two contracts were arranged
with G. Forrester and Co., of Liverpool, the first to the


amount of 538,750 francs, for making new boilers for the
screw; the second to the amount of 662,500 francs for
general repairs, and fixings on board.
Before entering upon the last undertaking, the Board of
Trade required that the ship's hull should undergo a strict
examination. This costly operation accomplished, a long
crack in her exterior plates was carefully repaired at a
great expense, and the next proceeding was to fix the new
boilers; the driving main-shaft of the wheels, which had
been damaged during the last voyage, had to be replaced
by a shaft, provided with two eccentric wheels, which
insured the solidity of this important part. And now for
the first time the Great Eastern was to be steered by
It was for this delicate operation that the engineers
intended the engine which they had placed at the stern.
The steersman standing on the bridge between the signal
apparatus of the wheels and the screw, has before his eyes
a dial provided with a moving needle, which tells him
every moment the position of his rudder. In order to
modify it, he has only to press his hand lightly on a small
wheel, measuring hardly a foot in diameter, and placed
within his reach. Immediately the valves open, the steam
from the boilers rushes along the conducting tubes into the
two cylinders of the small engine, the pistons move rapidly,
and the rudder instantly obeys. If this plan succeeds,


a man will be able to direct the gigantic body of the
"Great Eastern with one finger.
For five days operations continued with distracting
activity. These delays considerably affected the enterprise
of the freighters, but the contractors could do no more. The
day for setting sail was irrevocably settled for the 26th of
March. The 25th still saw the deck strewn with all kinds
of tools.
During this last day, however, little by little the gan g-
ways were cleared, the scaffoldings were taken down, the
fly-wheel cranes disappeared, the fixing of the engines was
accomplished, the last screws and nails were driven in, the
reservoirs filled with oil, and the last slab rested on its
metal mortise. This day the chief engineer tried the
boilers. The engine-rooms were full of steam; leaning
over the hatchway, enveloped in a hot mist, I could
see nothing, but I heard the long pistons groaning, and
the huge cylinders noisily swaying to and fro on their solid
swing blocks. The muddy waters of the Mersey were
lashed into foam by the slowly revolving paddle-wheels; at
the stern, the screw beat the waves with its four blades ; the
two engines, entirely independent of each other, were
in complete working order.
Towards five o'clock a small steamer, intended as a
shore-boat for the "Great Eastern," came alongside. Her
movable engine was first hoisted on board by means of


windlasses, but as for the steamer herself, she could not be
embarked. Her steel hull was so heavy that the davits
to which it was attached bent under the weight, un-
doubtedly this would not have occurred had they sup-
ported them with lifts. Therefore they were obliged to
abandon the steamer, but there still remained on the
" Great Eastern a string of sixteen boats hanging to the
Everything was finished by evening; not a trace of mud
was visible on the well-swept boulevards, for an army of.
sweepers had been at work. There was a full cargo;
provisions, goods, and coal filled the stewards' room, the
store, and the coal houses. However, the steamer had not
yet sunk to the load water-line, and did not draw the
necessary thirty-three feet. It was an inconvenient position
for the wheels, for the paddles not being sufficiently
immersed, caused a great diminution in the speed.
Nevertheless it was possible to set sail, and I went
to bed with the hope of starting next day. I was not
disappointed, for at break of dawn I saw the English,
French, and American flags floating from the masts.



THE Great Eastern" was indeed preparing to sail.
Already volumes of black smoke were issuing from the
five chimneys, and hot steam filled the engine-rooms.
Some sailors were brightening up the four great fog-can-
nons which were to salute Liverpool as we sailed by.
The top-men climbed the yards, disentangled the
rigging, and tightened the shrouds on the thick repes
fastened to the barricades. About eleven o'clock the
carpenters and painters put the finishing touches to their
work, and then embarked on board the tender which
awaited them. As soon as there was a sufficient pressure,
the steam rushed into the cylinders of the rudder engine,
and the engineers had the pleasure of seeing that this
ingenious contrivance was an entire success.
The weather was fine, with bright gleams of sunshine
darting through the rapidly-moving clouds. There
must have been a strong breeze at sea, but we did not
feel it.


The officers were all dispersed about the deck, making
preparations for getting under sail. The ship's officers
were composed of the Captain, the first officer, two
assistant officers, five lieutenants, of whom one was a
Frenchman, M. H-- and a volunteer who was also
Captain Anderson holds a high place in the commercial
marine of England. It is to him we are indebted for the
laying of the Transatlantic cable, though it is true that if he
succeeded where his predecessors had failed, it was because
he worked under more favourable circumstances, having
the "Great Eastern" at his command. Be it as it may,
his success gained for him the title of" Sir." I found him
to be a very agreeable commander. He was a man of
about fifty years of age, with that tawny complexion
which remains unchanged by weather or age; a thorough
Englishman, with a tall figure, a broad smiling face, and
merry eyes; walking with a quiet dignified step, his hands
never in his pockets, always irreproachably gloved and
elegantly dressed, and invariably with a little piece of his
white handkerchief peeping out of the pocket of his ijue
and gold-laced overcoat.
The first officer presented a singular contrast to Captain
Anderson, and his appearance is easily described:--an
active little man, with a very sunburnt skin, a black beard
almost covering his face, and legs which defied every lurch


of the vessel. A skilful, energetic seaman, he gave his
orders in a clear, decided tone, the boatswain repeating
them with a voice like the roaring of a hoarse lion. The
second officer's name was W-- : I think he was a naval
officer, on board the "Great Eastern" by special permission;
he had all the appearance of a regular Jack-tar."
Besides the ship officers, the engines were under the com-
mand of a chief engineer, assisted by eight or ten engi-
neering officers, and a battalion of two hundred and fifty
men, some stokers, others oilers, who hardly ever left the
This army of men was well occupied night and day,
having ten boilers with ten furnaces and about a hundred
fires to attend to.
As for the crew of the steam-ship proper, what with
quartermasters, topmen, steersmen, and cabin-boys, it
comprised about one hundred men, and besides these,
there were two hundred stewards employed for serving the
Every man was at his post; the pilot who was to conduct
the vessel out of the Mersey had been on board since the
evening before. I saw also a French pilot, who was to
make the passage with us, and on her return to take the
steam-ship into anchorage at Brest.
"I begin to think we shall sail to-day," said I to Lieu-
tenant H--

----~--~~- _u. =- .~. ..--------------- ----


Page 17.

s .y li' -
We are only waiting for our 'passengers," replied my'
Are there many ? -"
"Twelve or thirteen tundre'd."'
At half-past eleven:. the. tender was. hailed, laden
with passengers, who,' as I afterwards learnt, were-
Californians, Canadians, Americans, Peruvians, English,
Germans, and two: or three Frenchmen. Among the
most distinguished :were the celebrated Cyrus Field of,
New York, the Honourable John Rose of Canada,' the
Honourable iJ., Mac. Alpine of New York, Mr. and Mrs.
Alfred Cohen of San Francisco, Mr. and Mrs. Whitney of
Montreal, Captain, Mc:Ph-- and his wife. Among-the
French was the Tfunder of the "Great Eastern Freight
Company," M. Jules D-, representative of the Tele-
graph Construction and Maintenance Company," who had
made a contribution of twenty thousand pounds to the*
fund, '
The tender ranged herself at the foot of a flight of steps,
and then began the slow,: iriterminable'ascent of passengers
and luggage. ; j
The first care of each passenger, when he had once set
foot on the steamer, was to go and secure his place in the
dining-room; his card, or, his name written on a scrap of
paper, was enough to insure his possession.
I remained on deck in order to notice all the details of


embarkation. At half-past t.-elve the luggage v.--s all on
board, and I saw thousands of packages of every descrip-
tion, from chests large enough to contain a suite of
furniture, to elegant little travelling-cases and fanciful
American and English trunks, heaped together pell-mell,
All these -were soon cleared from the deck, and stowed
away in the store-rooms; workmen and porters returned
to the tender, which steered off, after having blackened
the side of the Great Eastern with her smoke.
I was going back towards the bows, when suddenly I
found myself face to face with the young man I had seen
on Prince's Landing-Stage. He stopped on seeing me, and
held out his hand, which I warmly shook.
"You, Fabian! I cried. "You here ?"
"Even so, my dear friend."
"I was not mistaken, then; it was really you I saw on
the quay a day or two since."
"It is most likely," replied Fabian, but I did not see
"And you are going to America ?"
Certainly! Do you think I could spend a month's
leave better than in travelling ?"
How fortunate that you thought of making your tour
in the Great Eastern'!"
"It was not chance at all, my dear fellow. I read in
the newspaper that you were one of the passengers; and as


we have not met for some years now, I came on board,
in order to make the passage with you."
Have you come from India ?"
"Yes, by the 'Godavery,' which arrived at Liverpool
the day before yesterday."
"And you are travelling, Fabian ?" I asked, noticing
his pale, sad face.
"To divert my mind, if I can," interrupted Captain
Mac Elwin, warmly.pressing my hand.




FABIAN left me, to look for his cabin, which, according to
the ticket he held in his hand, was number seventy-three
of the grand saloon series. At this moment large volumes
of smoke curled from the chimneys; the steam hissed
with a deafening noise through the escape-pipes, and fell
in a fine rain over the deck; a noisy eddying of water
announced that the engines were at work. We were at
last going to start.
First of all the anchor had to be raised. The Great
Eastern" swung round with the tide; all was now clear,
and Captain Anderson was obliged to choose this moment
to set sail, for the width of the "Great Eastern" did not
allow of her turning round in the Mersey. He was more
master of his ship and more certain of guiding her skil-
fully in the midst of the numerous boats always plying on
the river when stemming the rapid current than when
driven by the ebb-tide; the least collision with this
gigantic body would have proved disastrous.


To weigh anchor under these circumstances required
considerable exertion, for the pressure of the tide stretched
the chains by which the ship was moored, and besides this,
a strong south-wester blew with full force on her hull, so
that it required powerful engines to hoist the heavy
anchors from their muddy beds. An anchor-boat, intended
for this purpose, had just stoppered on the chains, but the
windlasses were not sufficiently powerful, and they were
obliged to use the steam apparatus which the "Great
Eastern had at her disposal.
At the bows was an engine of sixty-six horse-power.
In order to raise the anchors it was only necessary to
send the steam from the boilers into its cylinders
to obtain immediately a considerable power, which could
be directly applied to the windlass on which the chains
were fastened. This was done; but powerful as it
was, this engine was found insufficient, and fifty of
the crew were set to turn the capstan with bars, thus
the anchors were gradually drawn in, but it was slow
I was on the poop at the bows with several other pas-
sengers at this moment, watching the details of departure.
Near me stood a traveller, who frequently shrugged his
shoulders impatiently, and did not spare disparaging jokes
on the tardiness of the work. He was a thin, nervous little
man, with quick, restless eyes: a physiognomist could


easily see that the things of this life always appealed on
their funny side to this philosopher of Democrates school,
for his risible muscles were never still for a moment; but
without describing him further, I need only say I found
him a very pleasant fellow-traveller.
"I thought until now, sir," said he to me, "that engines
were made to help men, not men to help engines."
I was going to reply to this wise observation, when
there was a loud, cry, and immediately my companion
and I were hurled towards the bows; every man at the
capstan-bars was knocked down; some got up again, others
lay scattered on the deck. A catch had broken, and
the capstan being forced round by the frightful pressure
of the chains, the men, caught by the rebound, were
struck violently on the head and chest. Freed from
their broken rope-bands, the capstan-bars flew in all direc-
tions like grape-shot, killing four sailors, and wounding
twelve others; among the latter was the boatswain, a
Scotchman from Dundee.
The spectators hurried towards the unfortunate men, the
wounded were taken to the hospital at the. stern; as for the
four already dead, preparations were immediately made to
send them on shore: so lightly do-Anglo-Saxons regard
death, that this event made very little impression on board.
These unhappy men, killed and wounded, were only tools,
which could be replaced at very little expense. The

i Zi


-ag -e 2 2.


tender,. already some distance off, was hailed, and in a few
minutes she was alongside.
I went towards the fore-part of the vessel, the staircase
had not yet been raised." The four corpses, enveloped in
coverings, were let down, and placed on the deck of the
tender. One of the surgeons on board embarked to go
with them to Liverpool, with injunctions to rejoin the
" Great Eastern" as quickly as possible. The tender
immediately sheered off, and the sailors went to the bows,
to wash the stains of blood from the deck.
I ought to add that one of the passengers, slightly
wounded by the breaking of the pinion, took advantage of
this circumstance to leave by the tender; he had already
had enough of the Great Eastern."
I watched the little boat going off full steam, and, turn-
ing round, I heard my ironical fellow-traveller mutter,-
"A good beginning for a voyage! "
A very bad one, sir," said I. "I o whom have I the
honour of speaking ?"
"( To Dr. Dean Pitferge."



THE work of weighing anchors was resumed; with the help
of the anchor-boat the chains were eased, and the anchors at
last left their tenacious depths. A quarter past one sounded
from the Birkenhead clock-towers, the moment of departure
could not be deferred, if it was intended to make use of the
tide. The captain and pilot went on the foot-bridge; one
lieutenant placed himself near the screw-signal apparatus,
another near that of the paddle-wheel, in case of the
failure of the steam-engine; four other steersmen watched
at the stern, ready to put in action the great wheels placed
on the gratings of the hatchings. The Great Eastern,"
making head against the current, was now only waiting to
descend the river with the ebb-tide.
The order for departure was given, the paddles slowly
struck the water, the screw bubbled at the stern, and the
enormous vessel began to move.
The greater part of the passengers on the poop were


gazing at the double landscape of Liverpool and Birken-
head, studded with manufactory chimneys. The Mersey,
covered with ships, some lying at anchor, others ascending
and descending the river, offered only a winding passage
for our steam ship. But under the hand of a pilot, sensible
to the least inclinations of her rudder, she glided through
the narrow passages, like a whale-boat beneath the oar of
a vigorous steersman. At one time I thought that we
were going to run foul of a brig, which was drifting across
the stream, her bows nearly grazing the hull of the Great
Eastern," but a collision was avoided, and when from the
height of the upper deck I looked at this ship, which was
not of less than seven or eight hundred tons burden, she
seemed to me no larger than the tiny boats which children
play with on the lakes of Regent's Park or the Serpentine.
It was not long before the Great Eastern" was opposite
the Liverpool landing-stages, but the four cannons which
were to have saluted the town, were silent out of respect
to the dead, for the tender was disembarking them at this
moment; however, loud hurrahs replaced the reports
which are the last expressions of national politeness.
Immediately there was a vigorous clapping of hands
and waving of handkerchiefs, with all the enthusiasm with
which the English hail the departure of every vessel, be it
only a simple yacht sailing round a bay. But with what
shouts they were answered what echoes they called forth


from the quays There were thousands of spectators on
both the Liverpool and Birkenhead sides, and boats laden
with sight-seers swarmed on the Mersey. The -sailors
manning the yards of the "Lord Clyde," lying at anchor
opposite the docks, salted the giant with their hearty
But even the noise of the cheering could not drown the
frightful discord of .several oands playing at the same
time. Flags were incessantly hoisted in honour of the
" Great Eastern," but soon the cries grew faint in. the
distance. Our steam-ship ranged near the "Tripoli," a
Cunard emigrant-boat, which in spite of her 2000 tons
burden looked like a mere barge; then the houses grew
fewer and more scattered on both shores, the landscape was
no longer blackened with smoke; and brick walls, with the
exception of some long regular buildings intended for
workmen's houses, gave way to the open country, with
pretty villas dotted here and there. Our last salutation
reached us from the platform of the lighthouse and the
walls of the bastion.
At three o'clock the "Great Eastern" had crossed the
bar of the Mersey, and shaped her course down St.
George's Channel. There was a strong sou'wester blowing,
and a heavy swell on the sea, but the steam-ship did not
feel it.
Towards tour o'clock the Captain cave orders to heave


to; the tender put on full steam to rejoin us, as she was
bringing back the doctor. When the boat came along-
side a rope-ladderwas thrown out, bywhich he ascended, not
without some difficulty. Our more agile pilot slid down
by the same way into his boat, which was awaiting him,
each rower provided with a cork jacket. Some minutes
after he went on board a charming little schooner waiting
to catch the breeze.
Our course was immediately continued; under the
pressure of the paddles and the screw, the speed of the
" Great Eastern" greatly increased; in spite of the wind
ahead, she neither rolled nor pitched. Soon the shades of
night stretched across the sea, and Holyhead Point was
lost in the darkness.



THE next day, the 27th of March, the Great Eastern"
coasted along the deeply-indented Irish shore. I had
chosen my cabin at the bows; it was a small room well
lighted by two skylights. A second row of cabins
separated it from the first saloon, so that neither the noise
of conversation, nor the rattling of pianos, which were
not wanting on board, could reach me. It was an isolated
cabin; the furniture consisted of a sofa, a bedstead, and a
The next morning at seven o'clock, having crossed the
first two rooms, I went on deck. A few passengers were
already pacing the upper decks; an almost imperceptible
swell balanced the steamer; the wind, however, was high,
but the sea, protected by the coast, was comparatively
From the poop of the smoking-room, I perceived that
long line of shore, the continual verdure of which has won
for it the name of "Emerald Coast." A few solitary


Page 29.


houses, a string of tide-waiters, a wreath of white smoke
curling from between two hills, indicating the passing of a
train, an isolated signal-post making grimacing gestures
to the vessels at large, here and there animated the
The sea between us and the coast was of a dull green
shade; there was a fresh breeze blowing, mists: floated
above the water like spray. Numerous vessels, brigs and'
schooners, were awaiting the tide; steamers puffing away.
their black smoke were soon distanced by the "'Great
Eastern," although she was going at a very moderate
Soon we came in sight of Queenstown, a small '(calling-
place," before which several fishermen's boats were at
work. It is here that all ships bound for Liverpool,
whether steamers or sailing-ships, throw out theirs
despatch-bags, which are carried to Dublin in a few
hours by an express train always in readiness. From
Dublin they are conveyed across the channel to Holy-
head by a fast steamer, so that despatches thus sent
are one day in advance of the most rapid Transatlantic
About nine o'clock the bearings of the "Great Eastern"
were west-north-west. I was just going on deck, when I met
Captain Mac Elwin, accompanied by a friend, a tall, robust
man, with a light beard and long moustache which mingled
man W,


with the whiskers and left the chin bare, after the fashion
of the day. This tall fellow was the exact type of an
English officer; his figure was erect without stiffness, his
look calmr, his walk dignified but easy; his whole appear-
ance seemed to indicate unusual courage, and I was not
mistaken in him.
My friend, Archibald Corsican," said Fabian to me,
"a captain in the 22nd regiment of the Indian army,
like myself."
Thus introduced, Captain Corsican and I bowed.
"We hardly saw each other yesterday, Fabian," said I,
shaking Captain Mac Elwin's hand, we were in the bustle
of departure, so that all I know about you is that it was
not chance which brought you on board the 'Great
Eastern.' I must confess that if I have anything to do
with your decision-"
Undoubtedly, my dear fellow," interrupted Fabian;
"Captain Corsican and I came to Liverpool with the inten-
tion of taking our berths on board the 'China,' a Cunard
steamer, when we heard that the Great Eastern' was going
to attempt another passage from England to America; it
was a chance we might not get again, and learning that
you were on board I did not hesitate, as I had not seen
you since we took that delightful trip in the Scandinavian
States three years ago; so now you know how it was that
the tender brought us here yesterday."



Page 30.


"My dear Fabian," I replied, "I believe that neither
Captain Corsican nor yourself will regret your decision, as
a passage across the Atlantic in this huge boat cannot fail
to be interesting even to you who are so little used to the
sea. But now let us talk about yourself. Your last letter,
and it is not more than six weeks since I received it, bore
the Bombay post-mark, so that I was justified in believing
you were still with your regiment."
"We were so three weeks ago," said Fabian, "leading
the half-military, half-country life of Indian officers,
employing most of our time in hunting; my friend here
is a famed tiger-killer; however, as we are both single and
without family ties, we thought we would let the poor wild
beasts of the peninsula rest for a time, while we came to
Europe to breathe a little of our native air. We obtained
a year's leave, and travelling by way of the Red Sea, Suez,
and France, we reached Old England with the utmost
possible speed."
Old England," said Captain Corsican, smiling; "we are
there no longer, Fabian; we are on board an English ship,
but it is freighted by a French company, and it is taking us
to America; three different flags float over our heads, sig-
nifying that we are treading on Franco-Anglo-American
"What does it matter," replied Fabian, and a painful
expression passed over his face; "what does it matter, so


long as it whiles away the time ? Movement is life;' and
it is well to be able to forget the past, and kill the present
by continual change. In a few days I shall be at New
York, where I hope to meet again my sister and her children,
whom I have not seen for several years; then we shall visit
the great lakes, and descend the Mississippi as far as
New Orleans, where we shall look for sport on the Amazon.
From America we are going to Africa, where the lions and
elephants will make the Cape their 'rendezvous,' in order
to celebrate the arrival of Captain Corsican. Finally, we
shall return and impose on the Sepoys the caprices of the
Fabian spoke with a nervous volubility, and his breast
heaved; evidently there was some great grief weighing on
his mind, the cause of which I was as yet ignorant of, but
with which Archibald seemed to be well acquainted. He
evinced a warm friendship for Fabian, who was several years
younger than himself, treating him like a younger brother,
with a devotion which at times almost amounted to
At this moment our conversation was interrupted by the
sound of a horn, which announced the half-past twelve
lunch. Four times a day, to the great satisfaction of the
passengers, this shrill horn sounded: at half-past eight
for breakfast, half-past twelve for lunch, four o'clock for
dinner, and at seven for tea. In a few minutes the long


streets were deserted, and soon the tables in the immense
saloons were filled with guests. I succeeded in getting a
place near Fabian and Captain Corsican.
The dining-rooms were provided with four long rows of
tables; the glasses and bottles placed in swing-racks kept
perfectly steady ; the roll of the steamer was almost imper-
ceptible, so that the guests-men, women, and children-
could eat their lunch without any fear. Numerous waiters
were busy carrying round the tastily-arranged dishes, and
supplying the demands for wine and beer; the Californians
certainly distinguished themselves by their proclivities for
champagne. Near her husband sat an old laundress, who had
found gold in the San Francisco washing-tubs, emptying a
bottle of champagne in no time; two or three pale, delicate-
looking young ladies were eagerly devouring slices of red
beef; and others discussing with evident satisfaction the
merits of rhubarb tart, &c. Every one worked away in the
highest spirits; one could have fancied oneself at a
restaurant in the middle of Paris instead of the open sea.
Lunch over, the decks were again filled; people bowed and,
spoke to each other in passing as formally as if they were
walking in Hyde Park; children played and ran about, throw-
ing their balls and bowling hoops as they might have done
on the gravel walks of the Tuileries ; the greater part of the
men walked up and down smoking; the ladies, seated on
folding-chairs, worked, read, or talked together, whilst the:


governesses and nurses looked after the children. A few
corpulent Americans swung themselves backwards and for-
wards in their rocking-chairs; the ship's officers were con-
tinually passing to and fro, some going to their watch on the
bridge, others answering the absurd questions put to them
by some of the passengers; whilst the tones of an organ
and two or three pianos making a distracting discord,
reached us through the lulls in the wind.
About three o'clock a loud shouting was heard; the
passengers crowded on to the poop; the Great Eastern"
had ranged within two cable-lengths of a vessel which she
had overhauled. It was the Propontis," on her way to
New York, which was saluting the giant of the seas on her
passage, which compliment the giant returned.
Land was still in sight at four o'clock, but hardly dis-
cernible through the mist which had suddenly surrounded
us. Soon we saw the light of Fastenet Beacon, situated on
an isolated rock. Night set in. during which we must have
doubled Cape Clear, the most southerly point of Ireland.



I SAID that the length of the "Great Eastern" exceeded
two hectometres. For the benefit of those partial to com-
parisons, I will add that it is a third longer than the Pont
des Arts;" in reality this steam-ship measures 673 feet at
the load water-line, between the perpendiculars; the upper
deck is 680 feet from stem to stern; that is to say, its
length is double that of the largest transatlantic steamers;
its width amidships is about 71 feet, and behind the paddles
about 107 feet.
The hull of the Great Eastern is proof against the
most formidable seas; it is double, and is composed of a
number of cells placed between the deck and hold; besides
these, thirteen compartments, separated by water-tight
partitions, increase the security against fire or the inlet of
water. Ten thousand tons of iron were used in the con-
struction of this hull, and 3,000,000 rivets secured the iron
plates on her sides.
D 2


The Great Eastern" draws 30 feet of water with a
cargo of 28,500 tons, and with a light cargo, from 20 to 30
feet. She is capable of receiving Io,ooo passengersso that
out of the 373 principal districts in France, 274 are less
populated than this floating sub-prefecture with its average
number of passengers.
The lines of the Great Eastern are very elongated;
her straight stem is pierced with hawse-holes, through
which the anchor-chains pass; no signs of dents or pro-
tuberances are to be seen on her finely-cut bows, but the
slight sweep of her rounded stern somewhat mars the
general effect.
From the deck rise six masts and five chimneys. The
three masts in front are the fore-gigger and the fore-
mast" (both of them mizen-masts) and the main-mast."
The last three astern are the "after-main-mast," "mizen-
mast," and "after-gigger." The fore-masts and the main-
masts carry the schooner-sails, the top-sails, and the
gallant-sails; the four other masts are only rigged with
ordinary sails; the whole forming 5400 square yards of
good canvas. On the spacious mastheads of the second
and third masts a band of soldiers could easily manceuvre.
Of these six masts, supported by shrouds and metallic
back-stays, the second, third, and fourth are made of sheet-
iron, and are really masterpieces of ironwork. At the base
they measure 43 inches in diameter, and the largest (the


main-mast) rises to the height of 207 French feet, which is
higher than the towers of Notre Dame.
As to the chimneys, the two belonging to the paddle-
engine and the three belonging to the screw, they are
enormous cylinders, 90 feet high, supported by chains
fastened to the upper deck.
The arrangements with regard to the interior are ad-
mirable. The laundries and the crew's berths are shut
off at the fore-part, then come the ladies' saloon and a
grand saloon ornamented with lustres, swinging lamps,
and pictures. These magnificent rooms are lighted by
side sky-lights, supported on elegant-gilded pillars, and
communicate with the upper-deck by wide staircases with
metallic steps and mahogany balusters.
On deck are arranged four rows of cabins separated
by a passage, some are reached by a landing, others on
a lower story by private staircases. At the stern the
three immense dining-rooms run in the same direction as
the cabins, a passage leads from the saloons at the stern to
those at the bows round the paddle-engine, between its
sheet-iron partitions and the ship's offices.
The engines of the "Great Eastern" are justly con-
sidered as masterpieces-I was going to say of clock-
work, for there is nothing more astonishing than to
see this enormous machine working with the precision
and ease of a clock, a singular contrast to the screw,


which works rapidly and furiously, as though getting itself
into a rage.
Independently of these two engines, the Great Eastern"
possesses six auxiliary ones to work the capstans, so that
it is evident steam plays an important part on board.
Such is this steam-ship, without equal and known every-
where; which, however, did not hinder a French captain
from making this naive remark in his log-book: Passed
a ship with six masts and five chimneys, supposed to be the
' Great Eastern.'"



ON Wednesday night the weather was very bad, my
balance was strangely variable, and I was obliged to
lean with my knees and elbows against the sideboard,
to prevent myself from falling. Portmanteaus and bags
came in and out of my cabin; an unusual hubbub reigned
in the adjoining saloon, in which two or three hundred.
packages were making expeditions from one end to
the other, knocking the tables and chairs with loud
crashes; doors slammed, the boards creaked, the partitions
made that groaning noise peculiar to pine wood; bottles
and glasses jingled together in their racks, and a cataract
of plates and dishes rolled about on the pantry floors. I
heard the irregular roaring of the screw, and the wheels
beating the water, sometimes entirely immersed, and at
others striking the empty air; by all these signs I con-
cluded that the wind had freshened, and the steam-ship was
no longer indifferent to the billows.
At six o'clock next morning, after passing a sleepless


night, I got up and dressed myself, as well as I could with
one hand, while with the other I clutched at the sides of my
cabin, for without support it was impossible to keep one's
feet, and I had quite a serious struggle to get on my over-
coat. I left my cabin, and helping myself with hands and
feet through the billows of luggage, I crossed the saloon,
scrambling up the ,stairs on my knees, like a Roman
peasant devoutly climbing the steps of the "Scala santa"
of Pontius Pilate; and at last, reaching the deck, I hung
on firmly to the nearest kevel.
No land in sight; we had doubled Cape Clear in
the night, and around us was that vast circumference
bounded by the line, where water and sky appear to meet.
The slate-coloured sea broke in great foamless billows.
The ," Great Eastern" struck amidships, and, supported by
no sail, rolled frightfully, her bare masts describing immense
circles in the air. There was no heaving to speak of, but
the rolling was dreadful, it was impossible to stand upright.
The officer on watch, clinging to the bridge, looked as if he
was in a swing.
From kevel to kevel, I managed to reach the paddles on
the starboard side, the deck was damp and slippery from
the spray and.mist: I was just going to fasten myself to
a stanchion of the bridge when a body rolled at my feet.
It was Dr. Pitferge, my quaint friend : he scrambled on
to his knees, and looking at me, said,-


Page 40,
*"*\ A


"That's all right, the amplitude of the arc, described by
the sides of the 'Great Eastern,' is forty degrees; that is,
twenty degrees below the horizontal, and twenty above it."
"Indeed!" cried I, laughing, not at the observation, but
at the circumstances under which it was made.
"Yes !",replied the Doctor. "During the oscillation the
speed of the sides is fifty-nine inches per second, a trans-
atlantic boat half the size takes but the same time to
recover her equilibrium."
"Then," replied I, "since that is the case, there is an
excess of stability in the 'Great Eastern.' "
"For her, yes, but not for her passengers," answered
Dean Pitferge gaily, "for you see they come back to the
horizontal quicker than they care for."
The Doctor, delighted with his repartee, raised himself,
and holding each other up, we managed to reach a seat on
the poop. Dean Pitferge had come off very well, with only
a few bruises, and I congratulated him on his lucky escape,
as he might have broken his neck.
Oh, it is not over yet," said he; "there is more trouble
"To us ?"
"To the steamer, and consequently to me, to us, and to
all the passengers."
"If you are speaking seriously, why did you come on
board ?"


"To see what is going to happen, for I should not be at
all ill-pleased to witness a shipwreck!" replied the Doctor,
looking at me knowingly.
"Is this the first time you have been on board the
'Great Eastern' ?"
"No, I have already made several voyages in her, to
satisfy my curiosity."
"You must not complain, then."
"I do not complain; I merely state facts, and patiently
await the hour of the catastrophe."
Was the Doctor making fun of me? I did not know
what to think, his small twinkling eyes looked very
roguish; but I thought I would try him further.
"Doctor," I said, "I do not know on what facts your
painful prognostics are founded, but allow me to remind
you that the Great Eastern' has crossed the Atlantic
twenty times, and most of her passages have been satis-
"T That's of no consequence; this ship is bewitched, to
use a common expression, she cannot escape her fate; I
know it, and therefore have no confidence in her. Remem-
ber what difficulties the engineers had to launch her; I
believe even that Brunel, who built her, died from the
" effects of the operation,' as we doctors say."
Ah, Doctor," said I, "are you inclined to be a
materialist ?"


"Why ask me that question ?"
Because I have noticed that many who do not believe
in God believe in everything else, even in the evil eye."
"Make fun if you like, sir," replied the Doctor, but allow
me to continue my argument. The 'Great Eastern' has
already ruined several companies. Built for the purpose of
carrying emigrants to Australia, she has never once been
there; intended to surpass the ocean steamers in speed, she
even remains inferior to them."
"From this," said I, "it is to be concluded that-"
"Listen a minute," interrupted the Doctor. "Already
one of her captains has been drowned, and he one of the
most skilful, for he knew how to prevent this rolling by
keeping the ship a little ahead of the waves."
Ah, well !" said I, the death of that able man is to be
"Then," continued Dean Pitferge, without noticing my
incredulity, "strange stories are told about this ship; they
say that a passenger who lost his way in the hold of
the ship, like a pioneer in the forests of America, has never
yet been found."
"Ah!" exclaimed I ironically, "there's a fact!"
"They say, also, that during the construction of the
boilers an engineerwas melted by mistake in the steam-box."
"Bravo!" cried I; "the melted engineer! '2 ben
trovato.' Do you believe it, Doctor?"


"I believe," replied Pitferge, I believe quite seriously
that our voyage began badly, and that it will end in the
same manner."
"But the Great Eastern' is a solid structure," I said,
and built so firmly that she is able to resist the most
furious seas like a solid block."
Solid she is, undoubtedly," resumed the doctor; but
let her fall into the hollow of the waves, and see if she will
rise again. Maybe she is a giant, but a giant whose
strength is not in proportion to her size; her engines are
too feeble for her. Have you ever heard speak of her
nineteenth passage from Liverpool to New York ?"
CNo, Doctor."
"Well, I was on board. WVe left Liverpool on a Tuesday,
the Ioth of December; there were numerous passengers,
and all full of confidence. Everything went well so long
as we were protected by the Irish coast from the billows of
the open sea; no rolling, no sea-sickness; the next day,
even, the same stability; the passengers were delighted.
On the 12th, however, the wind freshened towards morn-
ing; the "Great Eastern,' heading the waves, rolled con-
siderably; the passengers, men and women, disappeared
into the cabins. At four o'clock the wind blew a hurri-
cane; the furniture began to dance; a mirror in the saloon
was broken by a blow from the head of your humble ser-
vant; all the crockery was smashed to atoms; there was a


frightful uproar; eight shore-boats were torn from the
davits in one swoop. At this moment our situation was
serious; the paddle-wheel-engine had to be stopped;
an enormous piece of lead, displaced by a lurch of the
vessel, threatened to fall into its machinery; however, the
screw continued to send us on. Soon the wheels began
turning again, but very slowly; one of them had been
damaged during the stoppage, and its spokes and paddles
scraped the hull of the ship. The engine had to be
stopped again, and we had to content ourselves with the
screw. The night was fearful; the fury of the tempest was
redoubled; the Great Eastern' had fallen into the trough
of the sea and could not right herself; at break of day
there was not a piece of iron-work remaining on the wheels.
They hoisted a few sails in order to right the ship, but no
sooner were they hoisted than they were carried away;
confusion reigned everywhere; the cable-chains, torn from
their beds, rolled from one side of the ship to the other; a
cattle-pen was knocked in, and a cow fell into the ladies'
saloon through the hatchway; another misfortune was the
breaking of the rudder-chock, so that steering was no longer
possible. Frightful crashes were heard; an oil tank,
weighing over three tons, had broken from its fixings, and,
rolling across the tween-decks, struck the sides alternately
like a battering-ram. Saturday passed in the midst of a
general terror, the ship in the trough of the sea all the


time. Not until Sunday did the wind begin to abate, an
American engineer on board then succeeded in fastening
the chains on the rudder; we turned little by little, and
the 'Great Eastern' righted herself. A week after we
left Liverpool we reached Queenstown. Now, who knows,
sir, where we shall be in a week ?"



IT must be confessed the Doctor's words were not very
comforting, the passengers would not have heard them
without shuddering. Was he joking, or did he speak
seriously ? Was it, indeed true, that he went with the
"Great Eastern in all her voyages, to be present at some
catastrophe ? Everything is possible for an eccentric,
especially when he is English.
However, the "Great Eastern" continued her course,
tossing like a canoe, and keeping strictly to the loxodromic
line of steamers. It is well known, that on a flat surface, the
nearest way from one point to another is by a straight line.
On a sphere it is the curved line formed by the circumfer-
ence of great circles. Ships have an interest in following
this route, in order to make the shortest passage, but sail-
ing vessels cannot pursue this track against a head-wind,
so that steamers alone are able to maintain a direct course,
and take the route of the great circles. This is what the
" Great Eastern did, making a little for the north-west.


The rolling never ceased, that horrible sea-sickness, at
the same time contagious and epidemic, made rapid pro-
gress. Several of the passengers, with wan, pallid faces,
and sunken cheeks, remained on deck, in order to breathe
the fresh air, the greater part of them were furious at the
unlucky steam-ship, which was conducting herself like a
mere buoy, and at the freighter's advertisements, which
had stated that sea-sickness was "unknown on board."
At nine o'clock in the morning an object three or four
miles off was signalled from the larboard quarter. Was it
a waif, the carcass of a whale, or the hull of a ship ? As
yet it was not distinguishable. A group of convalescent
passengers stood on the upper-deck, at the bows, looking
at this waif which was floating three hundred miles from
the nearest land.
Meanwhile the "Great Eastern" was bearing towards
the object signalled; all opera-glasses were promptly
raised, and there was no lack of conjecture. Between
the Americans, and English, to whom every pretext for a
wager is welcome, betting at once commenced. Among
the most desperate of the betters I noticed a tall man,
whose countenance struck me as one of profound duplicity.
His features were stamped with a look of general hatred,
which neither a physiognomist, nor physiologist could mis-
take; his forehead was seamed with a deep furrow, his
manner was at the same time audacious and listless,

Pate 49.


his eyebrows nearly meeting, partly concealed the stoty
eyes beneath, his shoulders were high and his chin thrust
forward, in fact all the indications of insolence and knavery
were united in his appearance. He spoke in loud
pompous tones, while-some, of his worthy associates
laughed at his coarse jokes. This personage pretended
to recognize in the waif the carcass of a whale, and he.
backed his opinion by, heavy stakes, which ,soon found
ready acceptance.
These wagers, amounting to several hundred dollars, he
lost every one; in fact, the waif was the hull of a ship;,
the steamer rapidly drew near it, and we could already see
the rusty copper of her keel. It was a three-mast ship of,
about five or six hundred tons, deprived of her masts and
rigging, and lying on one side, with broken chains hanging
from her davits.
Had this steam-ship been abandoned by her crew? "
This was now the prevailing question, however no one
appeared on the deck, perhaps the shipwrecked ones had:,
taken refuge inside. I saw an object moving for several
moments at the bows; but it turned out to be only the
remains of the jib lashed to and fro by the wind.
The hull was quite visible at the distance of half a mile;
she was a comparatively new ship, and in a perfect state of
preservation; her cargo, which had been shifted by the
wind, obliged her to lie along on her starboard side.


The "-Great Eastern drew nearer, and, passing round,
gave notice of her presence by several shrill whistles; but
the waif remained silent, and unanimated; nothing was to
be seen, not even a shore-boat from the wrecked vessel was
visible on the wide expanse of water.
The crew had undoubtedly had time to leave her, but
could they have reached land, which was three hundred
miles off? Could a frail boat live on a sea like that which
had rocked the Great Eastern" so frightfully ? And
when could this catastrophe have happened ? It was evi-
dent that the shipwreck had taken place farther west, for
the wind and waves must have driven the hull far out
of her course. These questions were destined to remain
When the steam-ship came alongside the stern of the
wreck, I could read distinctly the name "Lerida," but the
port she belonged to was not given.
A merchant-vessel or a man-of-war would have had no
hesitation in manning this hull which, undoubtedly, con-
tained a valuable cargo, but as the Great Eastern was
on regular service, she could not take this waif in tow for
so many hundreds of miles; it was equally impossible to
return and take it to the nearest port. Therefore, to the
great regret of the sailors, it had to be abandoned, and it
was soon a mere speck in the distance. The group of
passengers dispersed, some to the saloons, others to their


cabins, and even the lunch-bell failed to awaken the slum-
berers, worn out by sea-sickness. About noon Captain
Anderson ordered sail to be hoisted, so that the ship,
better supported, did not roll so much.

E 2



IN spite of the ship's disorderly conduct, life on board was
becoming organized, for with the Anglo-Saxon nothing is
more simple. The steam-boat is his street and his house
for the time being; the Frenchman, on the contrary,
always looks like a traveller.
When the weather was favourable, the boulevards were
thronged with promenaders, who managed to maintain the
perpendicular, in spite of the ship's motion, but with the
peculiar gyrations of tipsy men. When the passengers
did not go on deck, they remained either in their private
sitting-rooms or in the grand saloon, and then began the
noisy discords of pianos, all played at the same time,
which, however, seemed not to affect Saxon ears in the
least. Among these amateurs, I noticed a tall, bony
woman, who must have been a good musician, for, in order
to facilitate reading her piece of music, she had marked all
the notes with a number, and the piano-keys with a
number corresponding, so that if it was note twenty-seven,

-- --- rl-- ii i i- -
she struck key twenty-seven, if fifty-three, key fifty-three,
and so on, perfectly indifferent to the noise around her, or
the sound of other pianos in the adjoining saloons, and
her equanimity was not even disturbed when some dis-
agreeable little children thumped with their fists on the
unoccupied keys.
Whilst this concert was going on, a bystander would
carelessly take up one of the books scattered here and
there on the tables, and, having found an interesting
passage, would read it aloud, whilst his audience listened
good-humouredly, and complimented him with a flattering
murmur of applause. Newspapers were scattered on the
sofas, generally American and English, which always look
old, although the pages have never been cut; it is a very
tiresome operation reading these great sheets, which take
up so much room, but the fashion being to leave them
uncut, so they remain. One day I had the patience to
read the New York Herald from beginning to end under
these circumstances, and judge if I was rewarded for my
trouble when I turned to the column headed Private: "
"M. X. begs the pretty Miss Z--, whom he met yester-
day in Twenty-fifth Street omnibus, to come to him to-
morrow, at his rooms, No. 17, St. Nicholas Hotel; he
wishes to speak of marriage with her." What did the
pretty Miss Z-- do? I don't even care to know.
I passed the whole of the afternoon in the grand saloon


talking, and observing what was going on about me. Con-
versation could not fail to be interesting, for my friend
Dean Pitferge was sitting near me.
"Have you quite recovered from the effects of your
tumble ?" I asked him.
Perfectly," replied he, "but it's no go."
"What is no go? You ?"
No, our steam-ship; the screw boilers are not working
well; we cannot get enough pressure."
You are anxious, then, to get to New York ?"
"Not in the least, I speak as an engineer, that is all.
I am very comfortable here, and shall sincerely regre,
leaving this collection of originals which chance has.thrown
together... for my recreation."
"Originals!" cried I, looking at the passengers who
crowded the saloon; "but all those people are very much
Nonsense! exclaimed the Doctor, "one can see you
have hardly looked at them, the species is the same, I
allow, but in that species what a variety there is! Just
notice that group of men down there, with their easy-going
air, their legs stretched on the sofas, and hats screwed
down on their heads. They are Yankees, pure Yankees,
from the small states of Maine, Vermont, and Con-
necticut, the produce of New England. Energetic and
intelligent men, rather too much influenced by 'the


Reverends,' and who have the disagreeable fault of never
putting their hands before their mouths when they sneeze.
Ah! my dear sir, they are true Saxons, always keenly
alive to a bargain; put two Yankees in a room together,
and in an hour they will each have gained ten dollars from
the other."
I will not ask how," replied I, smiling at the Doctor,
"but among them I see a little man with a consequential
air, looking like a weather-cock, and dressed in a long
overcoat, with rather short black trousers,-who is that
gentleman ?"
He is a Protestant minister, a man of 'importance' in
Massachusetts, where he is going to join his wife, an ex-
governess advantageously implicated in a celebrated law-
"And that tall, gloomy-looking fellow, who seems to be
absorbed in calculation ?"
That man calculates: in fact," said the Doctor, he is
for ever calculating."
Problems ?"
"No, his fortune, he is a man of 'importance,' at any
moment he knows almost to a farthing what he is worth;
he is rich, a fourth part of New York is built on his land;
a quarter of an hour ago he possessed 1,625,367 dollars
and a half, but now he has only 1,625,367 dollars and a


How came this difference in his fortune ?"
Well! he has just smoked a quarter-dollar cigar."
Doctor Dean Pitferge amused me with his clever
repartees, so I pointed out to him another group stowed
away in a corner of the saloon.
"They," said he, "are people from the Far West, the
tallest, who looks like a head clerk, is a man of 'importance,'
the head of a Chicago bank, he always carries an album
under his arm, with the principal views of his beloved city.
He is, and has reason to be, proud of a city founded in a
desert in 1836, which at the present day has a population
of more than 400,000 souls. Near him you see a Cali-
fornian couple, the young wife is delicate and charming,
her well-polished husband was once a plough-boy, who
one fine day turned up some nuggets. That gentle-
Is a man of 'importance, said I.
"Undoubtedly," replied the Doctor, "for his assets count
by the million."
And pray who may this tall individual be, who moves
his head backwards and forwards like the pendulum of a
clock ?"
"That person," replied the Doctor, "is the celebrated
Cockburn of Rochester, the universal statician, who has
weighed, measured, proportioned, and calculated every-
thing. Question this harmless maniac, he will tell you

Page 56.


how much bread a man of fifty has eaten in his life, and
how many cubic feet of air he has breathed. He will tell
you how many volumes in quarto the words of a Temple
lawyer would fill, and how many miles the postman
goes daily carrying nothing but love-letters; he will tell
you the number of widows who pass in one hour over
London Bridge, and what would be the height of a pile of
sandwiches consumed by the citizens of the Union in a
year; he will tell you-"
The Doctor, in his excitement, would have continued for
a long time in this strain, but other passengers passing us
were attracted by the inexhaustible stock of his original
remarks. What different characters there were in this
crowd of passengers! not one idler, however, for one does
not go from one continent to the other without some
serious motive. The most part of them were undoubtedly
going to seek their fortunes on American ground, for-
getting that at twenty years of age a Yankee has made
his fortune, and that at twenty-five he is already too old to
begin the struggle.
Among these adventurers, inventors, and fortune-hunters,
Dean Pitferge pointed out to me some singularly interest-
ing characters. Here was a chemist, a rival of Dr. Liebig,
who pretended to have discovered the art of condensing all
the nutritious parts of a cow into a meat-tablet, no larger
than a five-shilling piece. He was going to coin money


out of the cattle of the Pampas. Another, the inventor of
a portable motive-power-a steam horse in a watch-case-
was going to exhibit his patent in New England, Another,
a Frenchman from the "Rue Chapon," was carrying to
America 30,000 cardboard dolls, which said "papa" with
a very successful Yankee accent, and he had no doubt
but that his fortune was made.
But besides these originals, there were still others whose
secrets we could not guess; perhaps among them was some
cashier flying from his empty cash-box, and a detective
making friends with him, only waiting for the end of the
passage to take him by the collar; perhaps also we might
have found in this crowd clever genii, who always find
people ready to believe in them, even when they advocate
the affairs of The Oceanic Company for lighting Polynesia
with gas," or "The Royal Society for making incom-
bustible coal."
But at this moment my attention was attracted by the
entrance of a young couple who seemed to be under the
influence of a precocious weariness.
"They are Peruvians, my dear sir," said the Doctor, "a
couple married a year ago, who have been to all parts of
the world for their honeymoon. They adored each other
in Japan, loved in Australia, bore with one another in
India, bored each other in France, quarrelled in England,
and will undoubtedly separate in America."


"And," said I, "who is that tall, haughty-looking man
just coming in? from his appearance I should take him for
an officer."
"He is a Mormon," replied the doctor, "an elder, Mr.
Hatch, one of the great preachers in the city of Saints,
What a fine type of manhood he is! Look at his proud
eye, his noble countenance, and dignified bearing, so
different from the Yankee. Mr. Hatch is returning from
Germany and England, where he has preached Mormonism
with great success, for there are numbers of this sect in
Europe, who are allowed to conform to the laws of their
"Indeed !" said I; "I quite thought that polygamy was
forbidden them in Europe."
Undoubtedly, my dear sir, but do not think that poly-
gamy is obligatory on Mormons; Brigham Young has
his harem, because it suits him, but all his followers do
not imitate him, not even those dwelling on the banks of
the Salt Lake."
"Indeed! and Mr. Hatch?"
"Mr. Hatch has only one wife, and he finds that quite
enough; besides, he proposes to explain his system in a
meeting that he will hold one of these evenings."
"The saloon will be filled."
"Yes," said Pitferge, "if the gambling does not attract
too many of the audience; you know that they play in a


room at the bows ? There is an Englishman there with an
evil, disagreeable face, who seems to take the lead among
them, he is a bad man, with a detestable reputation. Have
you noticed him ?"
From the Doctor's description, I had no doubt but that
he was the same man who that morning had made himself
conspicuous by his foolish wagers with regard to the waif.
My opinion of him was not wrong. Dean Pitferge told me
his name was Harry Drake, and that he was the son of a
merchant at Calcutta, a gambler, a dissolute character, a
duellist, and now that he was almost ruined, he was most
likely going to America to try a life of adventures. "Such
people," added the Doctor, "always find followers willing to
flatter them, and this fellow has already formed his circle
of scamps, of which he is the centre. Among them I have
noticed a little short man, with a round face, a turned-up
nose, wearing gold spectacles, and having the appearance of
a German Jew; he calls himself a doctor, on the way to
Quebec; but I take him for a low actor and one of Drake's
At this moment Dean Pitferge, who easily skipped from
one subject to another, nudged my elbow. I turned my head
towards the saloon door: a young man about twenty-eight,
and a girl of seventeen, were coming in arm in arm.
A newly--married pair ?" asked I.
No," replied the Doctor, in a softened tone, an engaged


Illllllillf 1011' 1)111111"i 111olifflumolll(


f i f1

I / jil /
liir :ilmm Flllii

Pua co~a


couple, who are only waiting for their arrival in New York
to get married, they have just made the tour of Europe, of
course with their family's consent, and they know now that
they are made for one another. Nice young people; it is a
pleasure to look at them. I often see them leaning over
the railings of the engine-rooms, counting the turns of the
wheels, which do not go half fast enough for their liking.
Ah! isir, if our boilers were heated like those two youthful
hearts, see how our speed would increase!"



THIS day, at half-past twelve, a steersman posted up on the
grand saloon door the following observation :-
Lat. 51 15' N.
Long. 18 13' W.
Dist.: Fastenet, 323 miles.
This signified that at noon we were three hundred and
twenty-three miles from the Fastenet lighthouse, the last
which we had passed on the Irish coast, and at 510 15' north
latitude, and 180 13' west longitude, from the meridian of
Greenwich. It was the ship's bearing, which the captain thus
made known to the passengers every day. By consulting
this bearing, and referring it to a chart, the course of the
" Great Eastern might be followed. Up to this time she
had only made three hundred and twenty miles in thirty-
six hours, it was not satisfactory, for a steamer at its ordi-
nary speed does not go less than three hundred miles in
twenty-four hours.


After having left the Doctor, I spent the rest of the day
with Fabian; we had gone to the stern, which Pitferge called
"walking in the country." There alone, and leaning over
the taffrail, we surveyed the great expanse of water, while
around us rose the briny vapours distilled from the spray;
small rainbows, formed by the refraction of the sun's rays,
spanned the foaming waves. Below us, at a distance of
forty feet, the screw was beating the water with a tremen-
dous force, making its copper gleam in the midst of what ap-
peared to be a vast conglomeration of liquefied emeralds, the
fleecy track extending as far as the eye could reach, mingled
in a milky path the foam from the screw, and the paddle
engines, whilst the white and black fringed plumage of the
sea-gulls flying above, cast rapid shadows over the sea.
Fabian was looking at the magic of the waves without
speaking. What did he see in this liquid mirror, which
gave scope to the most capricious flights of imagination ?
Was some vanished face passing before his eyes, and bid-
ding him a last farewell ? Did he see a drowning shadow
in these eddying waters ? He seemed to me sadder than
usual, and I dared not ask him the cause of his grief.
After the long separation which had estranged us from
each other, it was for him to confide in me, and for me to
await his confidences. He had told me as much of his past
life as he wished me to know; his life in the Indian garrison,
his hunting, and adventures; but not a word had he said of


the emotions which swelled in his heart, or the cause of the
sighs which heaved his breast; undoubtedly Fabian was
not one who tried to lessen his grief by speaking of it, and
therefore he suffered the more.
Thus we remained leaning over the sea, and as I turned
my head Isaw the great paddles emerging under the regular
action of the engine.
Once Fabian said to me, "This track is indeed magnifi-
cent. One would think that the waves were amusing them-
selves with tracing letters Look at the l's' and'e's'. Am I
deceived ? No, they are indeed always the same letters."
Fabian's excited imagination saw in these eddyings that
which it wished to see. But what could these letters signify?
What remembrance did they call forth in Fabian's mind ?
The latter had resumed his silent contemplation, when
suddenly he said to me,-
Come to me, come; that gulf will draw me in "
"What is the matter with you, Fabian," said I, taking
him by both hands; "what is the matter, my friend ?"
"I have here," said he, pressing his hand on his heart,
"I have here a disease which will kill me."
A disease ?" said I to him, "a disease with no hope of
cure ?"
No hope."
And without another word Fabian went to the saloon,
and then on to his cabin.



THE next day, Saturday, 30th of March, the weather was
fine, and the sea calm ; our progress was more rapid, and
the "Great Eastern was now going at the rate of twelve
knots an hour.
The wind had set south, and the first officer ordered the
mizen and the top-mast sails to be hoisted, so that the
ship was perfectly steady. Under this fine sunny sky the
upper decks again became, crowded; ladies appeared in
fresh costumes, some walking about, others sitting down-
I was going to say on the grass-plats beneath the shady
trees, and the children resumed their interrupted games.
With a few soldiers in uniform, strutting about with their
hands in their pockets, one might have fancied oneself on
a French promenade.
At noon, the weather being favourable, Captain Anderson
and two officers went on to the bridge, in order to take the
sun's altitude; each held a sextant in his hand, and from


time to time scanned the southern horizon, towards which
their horizon-glasses were inclined.
Noon," exclaimed the Captain, after a short time,
Immediately a steersman rang a bell on the bridge, and
all the watches on board were regulated by the statement
which had just been made.
Half-an-hour later, the following observation was posted
up :-
Lat. 51 1o i N.
Long. 24 13' W.
Course, 227 miles. Distance 550.
We had thus made two hundred and twenty-seven miles
since noon the day before.
I did not see Fabian once during the day. Several times,
uneasy about his absence, I passed his cabin, and was con-
vinced that he had not left it,
He must have wished to avoid the crowd on deck, and
evidently sought to isolate himself from this tumult. I met
Captain Corsican, and for an hour we walked on the poop.
He often spoke of Fabian, and I could not help telling him
what had passed between Fabian and myself the evening
Yes," said Captain Corsican, with an emotion he did not
try to disguise. Two years ago Fabian had the right to
think himself the happiest of men, and now he is the most
unhappy." Archibald Corsican told me. in a few words, the


at Bombay Fabian had known a charming young girl, a
Miss Hodges. He loved her, and was beloved by her.
Nothing seemed to hinder a marriage between Miss Hodges
and Captain Mac Elwin ; when, by her father's consent, the
young girl's hand was sought by the son of a merchant at
Calcutta. It was an old business affair, and Hodges, a harsh,
obstinate, and unfeeling man, who happened at this time to
be in a delicate position with his Calcutta correspondent,
thinking that the marriage would settle everything well,
sacrificed his daughter to the interests of his fortune. The
poor child could not resist; they put her hand into that of
the man sh'e did not and could not love, and who, from
all appearance, had no love for her. It was a mere business
transaction, and a barbarous deed. The husband carried
off his wife the day after they were married, and since then
Fabian has never seen her whom he has always loved.
This story showed me clearly that the grief which
seemed to oppress Fabian was indeed serious.
"What was the young girl's name?" asked I of Captain
"Ellen Hodges," replied he.
"Ellen,-that name explains the letters which Fabian
thought he saw yesterday in the ship's track. And what
is the name of this poor young woman's husband ? said I
to the Captain.
Harry Drake."
F 2


. "Drake!" cried I, "but that man is on board."
He here! exclaimed Corsican, seizing my hand, and
looking straight at me.
Yes," I replied, he is on board."
Heaven grant that they may not meet!" said the Cap-
tain gravely. Happily they do not know each other, at
least Fabian does not know Harry Drake; but that name
uttered in his hearing would be enough to cause an out-
I then related to Captain Corsican what I knew of Harry
Drake, that is to say, what Dr. Dean Pitferge had told me
of him. I described him such as he was, an insolent, noisy
adventurer, already ruined by gambling, and other vices,
and ready to do anything to get money; at this moment
Harry Drake :passed close to us; I pointed him out to the
Captain, whose eyes suddenly grew animated, and he made
an angry gesture, which I arrested.
Yes," said he, "there is the face of a villain. But where
is he going ?"
"To America, they say, to try and get by chance what
he does not care to work for."
"Poor Ellen!" murmured the Captain; "where is she
now ?"
Perhaps this wretch has abandoned her, or why should
she not be on board?" said Corsican, looking at me.
This idea crossed my mind for the first time, but I re-



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Page 68.


ejected it. No; Ellen was not, could not be on board ; she
could not have escaped Dr. Pitferge's inquisitive eye. No!
she cannot have accompanied Drake on this voyage!
May what you say be true, sir!" replied Captain Cor-
sican; "for the sight of.that poor victim reduced to so
much misery would be a terrible blow to Fabian: I
do not know what would happen, for Fabian is a man who
would kill Drake like a dog. I ask you, as a proof of your
Friendship, never to lose sight of him; so that if anything
should happen, one of us may be near, to throw ourselves
between him and his enemy. You understand a duel must
not take place between these two men. Alas neither here
nor elsewhere. A woman cannot marry her husband's
murderer, however unworthy that husband may have
I well understood Captain Corsican's reason. Fabian
could not be his own justiciary. It was foreseeing, from a
distance, coming events, but how is it that the uncertainty
of human things is so little taken into account ? A pre-
sentiment was boding in my mind. Could it be possible,
that in this common life on board, in this every-day
mingling together, that Drake's noisy personality could
remain unnoticed by Fabian ? An accident, a trifle, a mere
name uttered, would it not bring them face to face ? Ah!
how I longed to hasten the speed of the steamer which
carried them both! Before leaving Captain Corsican I pro-


mised to keep a watch on our friend, and to observe Drake,
whom on his part he engaged not to lose sight of; then he
shook my hand, and we parted.
'Towards evening a dense mist swept over the ocean,
and the darkness was intense. The brilliantly-lighted
saloons contrasted singularly with the blackness of the
night. Waltzes and ballad songs followed each other; all
received with frantic applause, and even hurrahs were not
wanting, when the actor from T---, sitting at the piano,
bawled his songs with the self-possession of a strolling




TUE next day, the 31st of March, was Sunday. How
would this day be kept on board? Would it be the
English or American Sunday, which closes the "bars" and
the "taps" during service hours; which withholds the
butcher's hand from his victim; which keeps the baker's
shovel from the oven ; which causes a suspension of busi-
ness; extinguishes the fires of the manufactories; which
closes the shops, opens the churches, and moderates the
speed of the railway trains, contrary to the customs
in France? Yes, it must be kept thus, or almost
First of all, during the service, although the weather was
fine, and we might have gained some knots, the Captain
did not order the sails to be hoisted, as it would have been
" improper." I thought myself very fortunate that the
screw was allowed to continue its work, and when I in-
quired of a fierce Puritan the reason for this tolerance,
" Sir," said he to me, that which comes directly from God


must be respected; the wind is in His hand, the steam is
in the power of man."
I was willing to content myself with this reason, -and in
the meantime observed what was going on on board.
All the crew were in full uniform, and dressed with ex-
treme propriety. I should not have been surprised to see
the stokers working in black clothes; the officers and
engineers wore their finest uniforms, with gilt buttons;
their shoes shone with a British lustre, and rivalled their
glazed hats with an intense irradiation. All these good
people seemed to have hats and boots of a dazzling bright-
ness. The Captain and the first officer set the example,
and with new gloves and military attire, glittering and per-
fumed, they paced up and down the bridges awaiting the
hour for service.
The sea was magnificent and resplendent beneath the
first rays of a spring sun ; not a sail in sight. The Great
Eastern" occupied alone the centre of the immense ex-
panse. At ten o'clock the bell on deck tolled slowly and at
regular intervals; the ringer, who was a steersman, dressed
in his best, managed to obtain from this bell a kind of solemn,
religious tone, instead, of the metallic peals with which
it accompanied the whistling of the boilers, when the ship
was surrounded by fog. Involuntarily one looked for the
village steeple which was calling to prayer.
At this moment numerous groups appeared at the doors


of the cabins, at the bows and stern; the boulevards were
soon filled with men, women, and children carefully dressed
for the occasion. Friends exchanged quiet greetings; every
one held a Prayer-book in his hand, and all were waiting for
the last bell which would announce the beginning of service.
I saw also piles of Bibles, which were to be distributed
in the church, heaped upon trays generally used for sand-
The church was the great saloon, formed by the upper-
deck at the stern, the exterior of which, from its width and
regularity of structure, reminded one very much of the
hotel of the Ministere des Finances, in the Rue de Rivoli.
I entered. Numbers of the faithful were already in their
places. A profound silence reigned among the congrega-
tion; the officers occupied the apsis .of the church, and, in
the midst of them, stood Captain Anderson, as pastor.
My friend Dean Pitferge was near him, his quick little eyes
running over the whole assembly. I will venture to say he
was there more out of curiosity than anything else.
At half-past ten the Captain rose, and the service began;
he read a chapter from the Old Testament. After each
verse the congregation murmured the one following; the
shrill soprano voices of the women and children distinctly
separate from the baritone of the men. This Biblical
dialogue lasted for about half-an-hour, and the simple, at
the same time impressive ceremony, was performed with a


puritanical gravity. Captain Anderson assuming the office
of pastor on board, in the midst of the vast ocean, and
speaking to a crowd of listeners, hanging, as it were, over
the verge of an abyss, claimed the respect and attention of
the most indifferent. It would have been well if the service
had concluded with the reading; but when the Captain
had finished a speaker arose, who could not fail to arouse
feelings of violence and rebellion where tolerance and
meditation should reign.
It was the reverend gentleman of whom I have before
spoken-a little, fidgety man, an intriguing Yankee; one
of those ministers who exercise such a powerful influence
over the States of New England. His sermon was already
prepared, the occasion was good, and he intended to make
use of it. Would not the good Yorrick have done the
same ? I looked at Dean Pitferge; the Doctor did not
frown, but seemed inclined to try the preacher's zeal.
The latter gravely buttoned his black overcoat, placed
his silk cap on the table, drew out his handkerchief, with
which he touched his lips lightly, and taking in the assembly
at a glance-
"In the beginning," said he, "God created America, and
rested on the seventh day." . . .
Thereupon I reached the door.




AT lunch Dean Pitferge told me that the reverend gentle-
man had admirably enlarged on his text. Battering rams,
armed forts, and submarine torpedoes had figured in h's
discourse; as for himself, he was made great by the great-
ness of America. If it pleases America to be thus extolled,
I have nothing to say.
Entering the grand saloon, 1 read the following note :-
Lat. 500 8' N.
Long. 300 44' W.
Course, 255 miles.
Always the same result. We had only made eleven
hundred miles, including the three hundred and ten
between Fastenet and Liverpool, about a third part of our
voyage. During the remainder of the day officers, sailors,
and passengers continued to rest in accordance with esta-
blished custom. Not a piano sounded in the silent saloons ;
the chess-men did not leave their box, or the cards their
case; the billiard-room was deserted. I had an oppor-


tunity this day to introduce Dean Pitferge to Captain
Corsican. My original very much amused the Captain by
telling him the stories whispered about the Great Eastern."
He attempted to prove to him that it was a bewitched
ship, to which fatal misfortune must happen. The yarn of
the melted engineer greatly pleased the Captain, who,
being a Scotchman, was a lover of the marvellous, but he
could not repress an incredulous smile.
I see," said Dr. Pitferge, "the Captain has not much
faith in my stories."
"Much! that is saying a great deal," replied Cor-
"Will you believe me, Captain, if I affirm that this ship
is haunted at night ?" asked the Doctor, in a serious tone.
Haunted!" cried the Captain ; what next ? Ghosts?
and you believe in them ?"
"I believe," replied Pitferge, "I believe what people who
can be depended on have told me. Now, I know some of
the officers on* watch, and the sailors also, are quite
unanimous on this point, that during the darkness of
the night a shadow, a vague form,- walks the ship. How it
comes there they do not know, neither do they know how
it disappears."
"By St. Dunstan!" exclaimed Captain Corsican, "we
will watch it well together."
"To-night ?' asked the Doctor.




^{==^^\-j-------ii-- --- ~ ^^-/f

Page 76.


To-night, if you like; and you, sir," added the Captain,
turning to me, will you keep us company ?"
No," said I; "I do not wish to trouble the solitude of
this phantom; besides, I would rather think that our
Doctor is joking."
"I am not joking," replied the obstinate Pitferge.
"Come, Doctor," said I. "Do you really believe in the
dead coming back to the decks of ships ?"
"I believe in the dead who come to life again," replied
the Doctor, and this is the more astonishing as I am a
"A physician !" cried the Captain, drawing back as if
the word had made him uneasy.
"Don't be alarmed, Captain," said the Doctor, smiling,
good-humouredly; "I don't practise while travelling."



THE next day, the Ist of April, the aspect of the sea wa3
truly spring-like; it was as green as the meadows beneath
the sun's rays. This April sunrise on the Atlantic was
superb; the waves spread themselves out voluptuously,
while porpoises gambolled in the ship's milky track.
When I met Captain Corsican, he informed me that the
ghost announced by the Doctor had not thought proper to
make its appearance. Undoubtedly, the night was not
dark enough for it. Then the idea crossed my mind that
it was a joke of Dean Pitferge's, sanctioned by the Ist of
April; for in America, England, and France this custom is
very popular. Mystifiers and mystified were not wanting ;
some laughed, others were angry; I even believe that blows
were exchanged among some of the Saxons, but these
blows never ended in fighting; for it is well known that in
England duels are liable to very severe punishment; even
officers and soldiers are not allowed to fight under any
pretext whatever. The homicide is subject to the most


painful and ignominious punishments. I remember the
Doctor telling me the name of an officer who was sent to a
convict prison, for ten years, for having mortally wounded
his adversary in a very honourable engagement. One can
understand, that in face of this severe law duels have
entirely disappeared from British customs.
The weather being so fine, a good observation could be
made, which resulted in the following statement : Lat. 48"
47', and 360 48' W. L. ; dist., 250 miles only. The slowest
of the Transatlantic steamers would have had the right to
offer to take us in tow. This state of things very much
annoyed Captain Anderson. The engineers attributed the
failure of pressure to the insufficient ventilation of the new
furnaces; but for my part, I thought that the diminution
of speed was owing to the diameter of the wheels
having been imprudently made smaller.
However, to-day, about two o'clock, there was an im-
provement in the ship's speed; it was the attitude of the
two young lovers which revealed this change to me.
Leaning against the bulwarks, they murmured joyful
words, clapped their hands, and looked smilingly at the
escape-pipes, which were placed near the chimneys, the
apertures of which were crowned with a white wreath of
vapour. The pressure had risen in the screw boilers; as yet
it was only a feeble breath of air, a wavering blast; but our
young friends drank it in eagerly with their eyes. No, not


even Denis Papin could have been more delighted, when he
saw the steam half raise the lid of his celebrated saucepan.
"They smoke! they smoke !" cried the young lady,
whilst a light breath also escaped from her parted lips.
"Let us go and look at the engine," said the young man,
placing her arm in his.
Dean Pitferge had joined me, and we followed the loving
couple on to the upper-deck.
How beautiful is youth !" remarked the Doctor.
Yes," said I, "youth affianced."
Soon we also were leaning over the railing of the engine-
rooms. There, in the deep abyss, at a distance of sixty
feet below us, we saw the four long horizontal pistons
swaying one towards the other, and with each movement
moistened by drops of lubricating oil.
In the meanwhile the young man had taken out his
watch, and the girl, leaning over his shoulder, followed the
movement of the minute-hand, whilst her lover counted
the revolutions of the screw.
"One minute," said she.
" Thirty-seven turns," exclaimed the young man.
"Thirty-seven and a half," observed the Doctor, who had
entered into the work.
"And a half," cried the young lady. "You hear,
Edward! Thank you, sir," said she, favouring the worthy
Pitferge with one of her most pleasing smiles.

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