OFF—EXPERIENCES IN A PULLMAN CAR—HOARDING THE "ONTARIO"—THE CAPTAIN— THE SEA AND SEA-SICKNESS—IMAGININGS IN THE STORM—LANDING AT BIRKENHEAD.
On January 27th I bade good-bye to my friends and set my face resolutely towards the land whither I had desired to return. Knowing that sickness and unrest were before me, I formed an almost cast-iron resolution, as Samantha would say, to have one good night's rest on that Pulman car before setting out on the raging seas. Alas! a person would persist in floating about, coming occasionally to fumble in my belongings in the upper berth. Prepared to get nervous. Before it came to that, I sat up and enquired if the individual had lost anything, when he disappeared. Lay down and passed another resolution. Some who were sitting up began to smoke, and the fumes of tobacco floated in behind the curtains, clung there and filled all the space and murdered sleep. Watched the heavy dark shelf above, stared at the cool white snow outside, wished that all smokers were exiled to Virginia or Cuba, or that they were compelled to breathe up their own smoke, until the morning broke cold and foggy.
Emerged from behind the curtains, and blessed the man who invented cold water. Too much disturbed by the last night's dose of second-hand smoke for breakfast at Island Pond. The moist-looking colored gentleman who was porter, turned back to Montreal before we reached Portland. I strongly suspect that a friend had privately presented him with a fee to make him attentive to one of the passengers, for he came twice with the most minute directions for finding the Dominion Line office, at Portland. Still his conscience was unsatisfied, for finally he came with the offer of a tumbler full of something he called pure apple juice. There are some proud Caucasians who would not have found it so difficult to square a small matter like that with their consciences.
It was pleasant to look at the comfortable homes on the line as we passed along. Not one squalid looking homestead did we pass; every one such as a man might be proud to own. All honor to the State of Maine.
The train was three hours late—it was afternoon when we arrived in Portland. Following the directions of my colored friend, I went up an extremely dirty stair into a very dirty office, found an innocent young man smoking a cigar. He did not know anything, you know, so sat grimly down to wait for the arrival of some one who did. Such a one soon appeared and took a comprehensive glance of the passenger as he took off his overshoes.
"Passenger for the 'Ontario,'" explained the innocent young man.
"Take the passenger over to the ship," said the energetic one, decidedly. "We will send luggage after you. How much have you?"
Explained, handed him the checks, and meekly followed my innocent guide down the dirty stair, across a wide street, up some dirty-looking steps on to the wharf where the 'Ontario' lay, taking in her cargo. Large and strong-looking, dingy white was she, lying far below the wharf.
My guide enquired for the captain, who appeared suddenly from somewhere— a tall man with a resolute face and keen eye, gray as to hair and whiskers, every inch a captain....