Diary in America: With Remarks on Its Institutions

By Frederick Marryat | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Departure from England

I like to begin at the beginning; it's a good old fashion, not sufficiently adhered to in these modern times. I recollect a young gentleman who said he was thinking of going to America; on my asking him how he intended to go, he replied: "I don't exactly know; but I think I shall take the fast coach." I wished him a safe passage, and said I was afraid he would find it very dusty. As I could not find the office to book myself by this young gentleman's conveyance, I walked down to St. Katherine's docks, went on board a packet, was shown into a superb cabin, fitted up with bird's-eye maple, mahogany, and looking-glasses, and communicating with certain small cabins, where there was a sleeping berth for each passenger, about as big as that allowed to a pointer in a dog-kennel. I thought that there was more finery than comfort; but it ended in my promising the captain to meet him at Portsmouth. He was to sail from London on the 1st of April, and I did not choose to sail on that day--it was ominous; so I embarked at Portsmouth on the 3rd. It is not my intention to give a description of crossing the Atlantic; but as the reader may be disappointed if I do not tell him how I got over, I shall first inform him that we were thirty-eight in the cabin, and 160 men, women, and children, literally stowed in bulk in the steerage. I shall

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