The Letters of John Fiske

By Ethel F. Fisk ; John Fiske | Go to book overview

IX

Cunard Steam Ship Samaria
Atlantic Ocean, about 500
miles from Queenstown,
Sunday June 1, 1879.

Dear Abby:

I am feeling very jolly! Everything has been too lovely for anything. Only 12 passengers and those all agreeable. I have had a room to myself and snoozed in chunks. Went to bed Saturday afternoon at 4 and slept 14 hours without so much as turning over. Tell you what, when I go in for sleep I can do it up brown. Dr. Means thinks I must have a mighty clear conscience! Consequence is I feel exactly like a youthful hart or roe a-scamperin' over the hills where spices grow, only I hope those hills don't smell like this Araby-blest of a ship. If it wasn't for the bilge-water and the machine oil and the cooking of the fish, perhaps a ship's odors wouldn't be so wondrously composite. I gorry, what an essence-shop! The "saloon" or messroom, bress de Lor', is, however, tolerably sweet, having large windows each side so we can eat in comfort. And the food is exceptionally good. Breakfast: steak, chops, eggs and bacon, rolls, good coffee, and so on. Dinner at one o'clock: good soups, roast beef, biled mutton, green goose, prairie chickens, sweetbreads, peas, asparagus, plum pudding, delicious oranges and bananas, figs, nuts, raisins, hothouse grapes, café-au‐ cognac, rolls, crackers and cheese, olives, delicious breakfast tea. Supper at 9: welsh rarebit, deviled sardines, poached eggs, grilled bones, brown stout. That's an average specimen of the way they stuff a cove. And I haven't missed a meal except when I have been asleep like Rip van Winkle on my little shelf of a bed.

These old Englishmen know how to set a liberal table. The Cap'n is a mighty jolly old bird—face as red as a biled lobster and as fat as Mr. Weller senior. Today he offered us an old English dish, not aristocratic now-a-days, but suthin' like Boston pork-and-beans—a good Sunday dish. To wit: "Corned leg of pork and pease pudding"! It didn't sound particularly inviting, but when it came on table the sight of it would have whetted the appetite of even the sourest dys

-380-

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