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The National tribune. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, October 01, 1877, Image 2

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THE
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TWAIN'S TALES.
Rambling Notes of an Idlo Excursion by Waiak
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How a Guilolois and Simplo-Mindod Yankee camrit over hi
iBrothcrJn o QravoYard Transaction
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Tho Sjppop and the Gdvcrnor A Retoua at Sm Ttis Chronomolor
Ul WIUVIi
t V
V?T
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s tho on j thing worth
larfr 7i5afs, in A Oato&w Mlantle.) .
All tho journey lrigs I haddono had been purely In tho
way o! business. Tho pleasant May weather suggestod a
.novelty, namely, n trip for pure recreation, the bread-and-butter
clement left out. The reverend said he would go,
too; a good man, one of tho best of men, although a
clergyman. By 11 at night wc were in New Haven and
on board the New York boat. Wo bought our tickets,
and then went wandering around hero and there, in the
solid comfort of being free and idle, and of putting dis
tance between ourselves and tho mails and telegraph.
After a while I went to my stateroom and undressdd,
but the night was too enticing for bed. We were moving
down tho bay now, and it was pleasant to stand at the
window and take the cool night breeze and watch the glid
ing lights on shore. Presently two elderly men sat down
under that window and begau a conversation. Their talk
was properly no business of mine, yet I was feeling friendly
toward tho world and willing to bo entertained. I soon
gathered that they were brothers ; that thoy were from a
small Connecticut village, and that the matter in hand
concerned the cemetery. Said ono :
"Now, John, we talked it all over amongst ourselves,
and this is what we've done. You seo everybody was
a-movin' from the old buryin' ground, and our folks was
most about left to theirselves, as you may say. They was
crowded, too, as you know; lot wa'n't big enough in the
first place; and last year, when Seth's wife died, wo
couldu't hardly tuck her in. She sort o' overlaid Deacon
Shorb's lot, and he soured on her, so to speak, and on the
rest of us, too. So we talked it over, and I was for a lay
out in the now simitery on the hill. They wa'n't unwil
ling, if it was cheap. Well, tho two best and biggest
plots was No. S and No. 9, both of a size; nice comfort
able room for twenty-six, twenty-six full growns, that
is ; but you reckon in children and shorts, and strike an
average, and I should say you might lay in thirty, or may
bo thirty-two or three, pretty genteel, no crowd'n to
signify."
"That's a plenty, William. Which one did you buy? "
"Well, I'm a-coming to that, John. You' see No. 8
"I seo. So's 't you took No. 8."
"You wait. I took No. 9; arid I'll tell you for why.
In the first place, Beacon Shorb wanted it. "Well, after
tho way he'd gone on about Seth's wife overlappin' his
prem'ses, I'd a beat him out of that No. 9, if I'd a had to
stand two dollars extra, let alone one. That's the way I
felt about it. Says I, what's a dollar, any way? Life's
only a pilgrimage, says I; wc ain't here for good, and we
can't take it with us, says I. So I just dumped it down,
kuowjn' theLord don't suffer a good deed to go for nothin',
flnd cal'latin' to take it out o' somebody in the course o'
trade. Then there was another reason, John. No 9's a
long way the handiest lot In the simitcry, and the likeliest
for situation. It lays right on top of a knoll, in tho dead
centre of the buryin' ground ; and you can see Millport
from there, and Tracy's and Hopper Mount, and a raft o'
farms, and so on. There ain't no better outlook from a
buryin' plot in the State. SiHiggins says so, and reckon
he ought to know. Well, and that ain't all. Course,
Shorb had to take N o. 8 ; wan't no help for't. Now, No.
8 jines on to No. 9, but it's on tho slope of tho hill, and
every' time it rains it'll soak right down on to the Shorbs.
Si Higgins says 't when the deacon's, time comes, he
better take out fire and marine insurance both on his
remains."
Here there was the sound of a low, placid, duplicate
chuckle of appreciation and satisfaction.
"Now, John, hero's a little, rough draft of the .ground,
that I've made on paper. Up here in tho left-hand corner
we've bunched tho departed; took them from the old
grave-yard and stowed them, one alongside o' t'other, on
a first-come-first-scrved plan, no partialities, withgran'ther
Jones for a starter, on'y because it happened so, and
windin' up indiscriminate with Seth's twins. A little
crowded toward the end of the lay-out, may be, but we
reckoned 't wan't best to scatter the twins. Well, next
comes the livin'. Hero, where it?s marked A, wer'e goin'
to. put Mariar and her family, whn they're willed; B,
that's for brother Hosea and his'n ; C, Calvin and tribe.
What's left is these two lots here, Just the gem of tho
whole patch for general style and outlook; they're for me
and my folks, and you and yourn. Which of them would
you, rutjier bo buried in? " ,
" I swan, you've took mo maghty unexpected, William.
It sort of started tho shivers. Fact Is, I was thinkin' so
busy about makln' things comfortable for tho others, I
hadn't thought about being burled myself."
,aH20 s on y a ncetln' show, John, as tho sayin' is.
'vq all got to go, soonor or later. To go with a clean
record's the main thing.
stjivin' for, John."
'I1 Yes, that's soj:"ViUiam,'s so; there ahivt no gefe,
ting around, It. Which of ho lots would yott recouV
,mond?" ) s
'."Well, it depends, JohnjiAroV?yon particular -tabout'
outlook?" h ','
" I dou't say I am, William don't say. I oitit. Reoly,
I don't know. But malniv.eckbn, I'd seTstoro by-a
.' J'i i ir n ww -TO , ' fl"
soutli exposure."
? X
V
.. '-f..-
town with tho "second
8te"ppedlilto tho'Bevci'
chahco the salt-hrirso in tha
as the boys sty. Some fe
mate, and it so happoncdthat w&
roliotiscr, thinkingThlayjbo wo would
hat'big dlningjrponi for a flyer
llcvs werotalifiiTs just at our
u rntinf S n004r flvorl .Tnlm fi.v'rn hnth mrAtih nvnns-
ure. They take tho sun, arid Shorbs get tho shade."
"How about silo, William &
"D's a sandy slle ; 33's hidly loom."
"You may gimme E, thenfVillla'm ; a sandy silo caves
in, more or less, and costs forpnirs"
"All right; sot yxur name own here, John, under E.
Now, if you don't mind phi mo your share of tho
$14, John, while we're on ,o business, everything is
fixed."
After some higgling and s i'P bargaining, the money
was paid, and John bade his ifther good-night, and took
his leave. There was silence r some moments ; then a
soft chuckle welled up frome lonely William, and he
muttered : " I declare for 't$ haven't made a mistake !
It's D that's mostly loom ; n'c E. Arid John's booked
for a saudy sile arter all."
There was another, soft chuclo, and William departed
to his rest also.
The next day, in New YJorWvas a hot one. Still, we
managed to get uiore or less eifcrtainment out of it. To
ward tiio middle of tho aften)on, we arrived on board
the staunch steamship Bermui with bag and baggage,
and hunted for a shady place It was blazing summer
weather, until wo were half Wtff down the harbor. Then
I buttoned my coat closely. Iif hour later T put oh a
light-ship, I added an ulsterjand tied, a handkerchief
around the collar to hold it anw to my iieck. So rapidly
had the summer gone and wir&r come again I
By nightfall we were far! of! at Sea,-with no hind in
sight. No telegrams couldtc "ere, noletters, no news.
This was an uplifting thonght.ylfcFas still moremplifting.
to reflect that the millions o&rassed people on shore
behind us were suffering just tjj usual .
The next day brought us ir' the midst of tho Atlantic
solitudes out of smoke-cokm soundings irito fathomless
deep blue No ships .visibl inywhere over the wide
oceanno! company butrMolljL fekons whee ;
rpafesengers, and e&nversa
cernins: ships and sailors.
uamn'grskimming the
some sea-faring men among
tion drifted, into matters c
One said that " true as a net to the pole " was 'a
flgure, since tho needle sekMi. pointed to the polo.
ships
bad
VnSiifnrl t-n. 4- r rnlf TTfl
'3"vl "- "U "VV.UIU PVUU'UiUUlUlUU IU llHU 1JIU, i-ivj
said a ship's compass' was r. '' faithful to any particular
point, but was the most fioklcand treacherous of the ser
vants of man. It was forejeiv changiug. It changed
every day in the year. Consquently the amount of the
daihr variation had to be ciphered out and allowance made
for it, else the mariner would 50 utterly astray. Auother
said there was a vast -fortune waiting for the geuins who
should invent a compass that Vould not be affected by the
local influences of an iron shij.. He said there was only
ono creature more fickle thai a wooden-ship's compass,
and that was the compass of an iron ship. Then came
reference to tho well-known Jact that an experienced
mariner can look at the compass of a now iron vessel
thousands of miles from her birthplace, and tell which
way her head was pointing wfym she was in process of
building. K.
Now, an ancient whale-ship master fell to talking about
the sort of crews they used jtpjtyave in his -early, days,.
Salu ne : . ;
"Sometimes we'd have a'bkfcliof college students.
Queer lot. Ignorant? Why tlieydldn't? know tho cat
heads from the main-brace. (jBut if you took them iov
fools, you'd get bit, sure. Thljy'd learn more in a month
than another man would in a .year. We had one once, in
the Mary Ann, that came aboard with gold spectacles on.
And besides, he was rigged omt from raahi-truck to keel
son in the nobbiest clothes th.il ever saw a fo'castlo; He
had a chest full, too ; cloaks , and broadcloth coats, and
velvet vests; everything sweld, you know ; and didn't the
salt water fix them out for hi n? J guess not ! Well, go
ing to sea, the mate, told bin 1 to, go aloft, and help shake
out the fore-to'gallants'l. t "p lie shins to the foretop,
with his spectacles on, and.p aminuto, down he comes
again, looking insulted. Sayi the mate, l What did you
come down for?' 'P'raps' rW didn't notice that there
ain't any ladders above thor You seo, we hadii't a'riy
shrouds above the foreton. l I ie 5men bnrsted out in a
laugh, such as I guess you ne
olbow.tand oiid says". ' Yontior's tho5riew Governor of Mas-
WhusoUs, at tho tiablo over there, with thtrladies.' Wo
took a good look, my mate and 1, for we hadn't cither of
lis ever seen a governor before. 1 looked and looked at
that face, and then all of a sudden lb popped on me. But
;Fdidnjt glvo any sign. Says I .'Mate, I'vo'ii notion to go
over, and shako hands with hlinV Says heXthink I seo
von doimr it, Tom.' Says I. lMatc, I'm a-goniMo do it.
Says he, Oh, yes, Lguess so. May bo you don't want to
bet you will, Tom? ' Says I, ;I don't mind going a V on
it, mate.' Says he, 'Put it up.' lUp she goes,' says I,
planking tho cash. This surprised him. But lie covered
it, and says, pretty sarcastic, 'Hadn't you better take
your grub with the governor and the ladies, Tom? ' Says
I, ' Upon second,thouglvts, I will.' Says he, 'Well, Torn,
you arc a diuii fool.' Says "I, 'Maybe I am, may be I
ain't; but tho main question is, do you want to risk two
and a half that I won't do it? ' . 'Make it a V,' sa3's he.
'Done,' says I. I started, him a giggling aud slapping
his hand on his thigh, ho felt so good. I went over thore
and leaned my knuckles on the table a minute, and looked
the governor in tho face, and says I, 'Mr. Gardner, don't
you know me?' Ho stared, and I stared, and he stared
Then all of a sudden he sings out, 'Tom Bowling, by tho
holy poker I Ladies, its old Tom Bowlirig, that you'vo
heard me talk about, ship mate of rhino in the Mary
Ann.' He rose up, and shook hands with mo ever so.
hearty -I sore of glanced around, and took a realiziug;
sense of my mate's saucer eyesand then says the gov
ernor, 'Plant yourself, Tom, plaut yourself; you can't
cat your anchor again till you've had a feed with mo
and the ladies 1 ' I planted myself alongside the governor
and canted my eye around toward my mate. Well,sUy
his dead-lights were bugged out like tompions,and his
mouth stood that wide open that you could have laid a,
ham In it without him noticing it."
There was great applause at the conclusion of the old
captain's, story; then, after a moment's silence, a grave,
pale young man said :
"Had you ever met the governor before?"
The old captain looked steadily at this inquirer awhile. '
and then got up and walked aft without making any.
reply. One passenger after another stole a furtive glance
at the inquirer, but failed to make him out, and so gayer
him up4 IUookojniUittle,WQi;k ..tc-ej; tile talK-raacmii-eryto
running "smoothly again after this derangement';;
but at length a conversation sprang up about that important
and. jealously-guarded instrumenta ship's timcrkeopery
its exceeding delicate accuracy, and the wreck and de
struction that have sometimes resulted from its varying a,
few seemingly trilling moments from the true time ; then,,
in due course, my comrade, the reverend, got oft on a
yarn, with a fair wind and .everything drawing. It was a,
true stoiy, too, about Captain Rounceville's shipwreck
true in every detail. It was to this effect t
Captain Rounceville's vessel was lost in mid-Aclantic,
and likewise his wife and his two little children. Captain
Rounceville and seven seamen escaped with life, but with
little else. A small, rudely-constructed raft was to b&
their homo for eight days. They had neither provisions
nor water. They had- scarcely any clothing ; no one had
a coat but the captain. This coat was changing hands all
the time, for the weather was very cold. Whenever 0,
man became exhausted with tho cold, they put the coat
on him and laid him down between two shipmates until
the garment and their bodies had warmed life into him
again. Among the sailors was a Portuguese, who knew
no English. He seemed to have no thought of his own
calamity, but was concerned only about the captain's
bitter loss of wife and' children. By day he would look
his' dumb compassion in the captain's face; and by night,
- ?
4
: i ie 'men
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mi
heard tho like of. Next
night, which was dark and iiw:,;thc mate ordered this
chap to go aloft about somotlhhg,and I'm dumme'd if ho
didn't start up with an uml arclh mid lantern 1 But no
matter; he made a mighty g ood sailor' before tho VoyagO
was done, and ye.had tp hun; Mp something olsqi to laugh
at. , Years. afterward, when i lad, forgot all about him, J.
" ' m . . 1 . ' -i ' ' r . t J, 1 3. " " ' ' " "
comes mco boston, mate of a
in the darkness of the driving spray and rain, he would
seek out tho captain, and try to comfort him with caress
ing pats, on tho shoulder. One day, when hunger and,
thirst were making their sure inroads upon the men's
strength and spirits, a floating barrel was seen at a dis
tance. It seemed a great find, for doubtless it contained
food of some sort. A brave fellow swam to it, and, after
long and exhausting effort, got it to the rafti It was
eagerly opened. It was a barrel of magnesia 1 On the
fifth day an onion was spied. A sailor swam off and gets
it. Although perishing -with hunger, ho brought it in its
integrity and put it into tho captain's hand, The history
of the sea teachQS that, among starving, shipwrockc.il
men, selfishness is rare, and a wpiider-couipellltjg magna
nimity the niloj The onion was equally divided into,
eight parts, and eaten with-deep thanksgivings. On the
eighth day. a distant ship was sighted, Attempts were
made to hoist an oar, with Captain RonncovUVs coat on
it for a signal. There were many failures, for the mom.
ivnfn"hiih blrnlfi't-n'na nm'v' ruwl stl'OhffthlCSS.
Atliist success" :was achieved, but tho signal brouglrt no.
belp.. The ship faded out of sigtic aim leicticspair uumm
lip, and was loafing ar
ound
n
her, BxajKlpyjanptlshin appeared,, and , pass,cu b?r
near $t Jhft envoys, FTPP, $W$ni0 sPr
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