Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Innocents Abroad - First Chapter - 1

by Mark Twain

For months the great pleasure excursion to Europe and the Holy Land was chatted about in the newspapers everywhere in America and discussed at countless firesides. It was a novelty in the way of excursions--its like had not been thought of before, and it compelled that interest which attractive novelties always command. It was to be a picnic on a gigantic scale. The participants in it, instead of freighting an ungainly steam ferry--boat with youth and beauty and pies and doughnuts, and paddling up some obscure creek to disembark upon a grassy lawn and wear themselves out with a long summer day's laborious frolicking under the impression that it was fun, were to sail away in a great steamship with flags flying and cannon pealing, and take a royal holiday beyond the broad ocean in many a strange clime and in many a land renowned in history! They were to sail for months over the breezy Atlantic and the sunny Mediterranean; they were to scamper about the decks by day, filling the ship with shouts and laughter--or read novels and poetry in the shade of the smokestacks, or watch for the jelly-fish and the nautilus over the side, and the shark, the whale, and other strange monsters of the deep; and at night they were to dance in the open air, on the upper deck, in the midst of a ballroom that stretched from horizon to horizon, and was domed by the bending heavens and lighted by no meaner lamps than the stars and the magnificent moon--dance, and promenade, and smoke, and sing, and make love, and search the skies for constellations that never associate with the "Big Dipper" they were so tired of; and they were to see the ships of twenty navies--the customs and costumes of twenty curious peoples—the great cities of half a world--they were to hob-nob with nobility and hold friendly converse with kings and princes, grand moguls, and the anointed lords of mighty empires!

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

More About This Book

This travelogue cemented this rising author's reputation when it was published in 1869.

Chapter Summary: "Popular Talk of the Excursion--Programme of the Trip--Duly Ticketed for the Excursion--Defection of the Celebrities

Photo: Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) by Matthew Brady Feb. 7, 1871.

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