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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. Read more Read less. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Life on the Mississippi, Part 1. Mark Twain.
Life on the Mississippi, Part 2. Life on the Mississippi, Part 3. Life on the Mississippi, Part 4. Life on the Mississippi, Part Product description Product Description This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. Pretty soon the watchman was back again, and this time he was gruff. I was annoyed. I said: —. Give him some sugar in a rag and send for the chambermaid to sing rock-a-by-baby to him. About this time Mr. B—— appeared on the scene. Something like a minute later I was climbing the pilot-house steps with some of my clothes on and the rest in my arms.
B—— was close behind, commenting. Here was something fresh—this thing of getting up in the middle of the night to go to work. It was a detail in piloting that had never occurred to me at all. I knew that boats ran all night, but somehow I had never happened to reflect that somebody had to get up out of a warm bed to run them. I began to fear that piloting was not quite so romantic as I had imagined it was; there was something very real and work-like about this new phase of it. It was a rather dingy night, although a fair number of stars were out.
The big mate was at the wheel, and he had the old tub pointed at a star and was holding her straight up the middle of the river. The shores on either hand were not much more than a mile apart, but they seemed wonderfully far away and ever so vague and indistinct. The mate said: —. The vengeful spirit in me exulted. I said to myself, I wish you joy of your job, Mr. The stumps there are out of water at this stage.
And then the mate left. My exultation began to cool and my wonder to come up. Here was a man who not only proposed to find this plantation on such a night, but to find either end of it you preferred. I dreadfully wanted to ask a question, but I was carrying about as many short answers as my cargo-room would admit of, so I held my peace.
All I desired to ask Mr. B—— was the simple question whether he was ass enough to really imagine he was going to find that plantation on a night when all plantations were exactly alike and all the same color. But I held in. I used to have fine inspirations of prudence in those days.
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B—— made for the shore and soon was scraping it, just the same as if it had been daylight. And not only that, but singing—.
It seemed to me that I had put my life in the keeping of a peculiarly reckless outcast. Presently he turned on me and said: —. This manner jolted me. I was down at the foot again, in a moment. But I had to say just what I had said before. The idea of you being a pilot— you! Oh, but his wrath was up!
He was a nervous man, and he shuffled from one side of his wheel to the other as if the floor was hot. He would boil a while to himself, and then overflow and scald me again. This was a red rag to the bull. He raged and stormed so he was crossing the river at the time that I judge it made him blind, because he ran over the steering-oar of a trading-scow. Of course the traders sent up a volley of red-hot profanity. Never was a man so grateful as Mr. B—— was: because he was brim full, and here were subjects who would talk back. He threw open a window, thrust his head out, and such an irruption followed as I never had heard before.
B—— lifted his voice and the weightier his adjectives grew. When he closed the window he was empty. You could have drawn a seine through his system and not caught curses enough to disturb your mother with. Presently he said to me in the gentlest way: —. You have to know it just like A B C. That was a dismal revelation to me; for my memory was never loaded with anything but blank cartridges. However, I did not feel discouraged long. I judged that it was best to make some allowances, for doubtless Mr.
Life on the Mississippi
The stars were all gone, now, and the night was as black as ink. I could hear the wheels churn alone, the bank, but I was not entirely certain that I could see the shore. The voice of the invisible watchman called up from the hurricane deck: —. But I did not chirp. I only waited to see. And I fully believed it was an accident, too. By the time we had gone seven or eight hundred miles up the river, I had learned to be a tolerably plucky up-stream steersman, in daylight, and before we reached St. Louis I had made a trifle of progress in night-work, but only a trifle.
Life on the Mississippi Honors English Preject
It made my heart ache to think I had only got half of the river set down; for as our watch was four hours off and four hours on, day and night, there was a long four-hour gap in my book for every time I had slept since the voyage began. My chief was presently hired to go on a big New Orleans boat, and I packed my satchel and went with him.
She was a grand affair. When I stood in her pilot-house I was so far above the water that I seemed perched on a mountain; and her decks stretched so far away, fore and aft, below me, that I wondered how I could ever have considered the little Paul Jones a large craft.
There were other differences, too. The moment we were under way I began to prowl about the great steamer and fill myself with joy. The boiler deck i. The fires were fiercely glaring from a long row of furnaces, and over them were eight huge boilers! This was unutterable pomp. The mighty engines—but enough of this. I had never felt so fine before. When I returned to the pilot-house St. Louis was gone and I was lost. Here was a piece of river which was all down in my book, but I could make neither head nor tail of it: you understand, it was turned around.
I had seen it, when coming up-stream, but I had never faced about to see how it looked when it was behind me.
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My heart broke again, for it was plain that I had got to learn this troublesome river both ways. Louis and Cairo, where the Ohio comes in was low; and the Mississippi changes its channel so constantly that the pilots used to always find it necessary to run down to Cairo to take a fresh look, when their boats were to lie in port a week, that is, when the water was at a low stage. In time these fellows grew dainty in their tastes, and only infested boats that had an established reputation for setting good tables.
They were likewise welcome because all pilots are tireless talkers, when gathered together, and as they talk only about the river they are always understood and are always interesting. Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth but the river, and his pride in his occupation surpasses the pride of kings. We had a fine company of these river-inspectors along, this trip. There were eight or ten; and there was abundance of room for them in our great pilot-house. Two or three of them wore polished silk hats, elaborate shirt-fronts, diamond breastpins, kid gloves, and patent-leather boots.
They were choice in their English, and bore themselves with a dignity proper to men of solid means and prodi0ious reputation as pilots. The others were more or less loosely clad, and wore upon their heads tall felt cones that were suggestive of the days of the Commonwealth. I was a cipher in this august company, and felt subdued, not to say torpid. I was not even of sufficient consequence to assist at the wheel when it was necessary to put the tiller hard down in a hurry; the guest that stood nearest did that when occasion required—and this was pretty much all the time, because of the crookedness of the channel and the scant water.
I stood in a corner; and the talk I listened to took the hope all out of me. One visitor said to another: —.
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And so they went on talk-talk-talking. At dusk Mr.
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B—— tapped the big bell three times the signal to land , and the captain emerged from his drawing-room in the forward end of the texas, and looked up inquiringly. B—— said: —. That was all.