In the Metropolis
NOW I was leaving New England for the first time in my life. After a few days of vacation at Greenfield, I went by a now long-vanished ship route -- the Fall River Line -- to the metropolis of the Western World. The boat train left Boston in the late afternoon and went directly nonstop to the wharf in Fall River, where it was awaited by a magnificent Sound steamer. (This great fleet of Sound steamers no longer exists. There used to be a night boat from New York to New Haven, one to Hartford, one to Stonington, two to Providence, the one to Fall River -- whose return trip to New York I took -- one to New Bedford, and one to Boston -- first around Cape Cod and later, when the Canal was built, right through the Cape itself.)
Which one of the Fall River Line steamships took me to New York I do not remember. It may have been one of the new screw- propeller steamers, but it was more likely to have been a great side-wheeler with its impressive vertical engines connected to the cranks on the paddle-wheel shaft by walking beams. Whether I had a stateroom or not I do not remember. But I do remember the ceremony of lowering the flag at sunset. From the pilot- house, at the proper moment, the Captain descended, wearing a gold-laced cap and with golden epaulets on his shoulders. He stood at attention, gave the order to lower the flag, returned to the pilothouse.