A queer being,--very queer being; no respect for anything or anybody. So he allowed me to sit with him by the big bell on the hurricane deck, and in time he melted into conversation. B--, unknown to me, of course, sent somebody down to the forecastle with some mysterious instructions to the leadsmen, another messenger was sent to whisper among the officers, and then Mr. B-- was all fixed, and ready to start it to the rear again. Negro firemen, deck hands, and barbers belonging to those boats were distinguished personages in their grade of life, and they were well aware of that fact, too.
In truth, every man and woman and child has a master, and worries and frets in servitude; but in the day I write of, the Mississippi pilot had none. And the head of them is always likely to be filling up, little by little, so that the marks you reckon their depth by, this season, may not answer for next. We reached Louisville in time--at least the neighborhood of it. He was treated with marked courtesy by the captain and with marked deference by all the officers and servants; and this deferential spirit was quickly communicated to the passengers, too. Louis in the early days! Never was a man so grateful as Mr. A few slaves escaped, but most were apprehended, among them Esther, who was owned by Henry Shaw—a name known to all St.
How much will it be? Mark three is three fathoms. Every moment or two a straggler was added to my audience; and before I got to the head of the island I had fifteen or twenty people assembled down there under my nose. I took my supper and went immediately to bed, discouraged by my day's observations and experiences. That night we had the watch until twelve. If I tried to carry all that cargo in my head it would make me stoop-shouldered.
He called then, according to agreement, and came away sugar-coated again, but suffering under another postponement. But as, sure as I am standing here on this ground on this particular brick,--there, I 've scratched a mark on the brick to remember it by,--I 'll borrow that money and pay it over to you at twelve o'clock sharp, to-morrow! New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966. They had discovered their danger when it was too late to pull out of the way; then, when the great guards overshadowed them a moment later, they were prepared and knew what to do; at my chief's order they sprang at the right instant, seized the guard, and were hauled aboard. And if he can do such gold-leaf, kid-glove, diamond-breastpin piloting when he is sound asleep, what could n't he do if he was dead! In 1849, of the 572 steamboats operating on the Western rivers, only 22 were more than five years old. Henry, fatally injured, was taken to a makeshift hospital up the river in Memphis.
He threw open a window, thrust his head out; and such an irruption followed as I never had heard before. Louis was gone and I was lost. Steamer after steamer falls into line, and the stately procession goes winging its way up the river. One could n't come to any harm, whether he ran it right or not; and as for depth. No engineer was ever sleepy or careless when his heart was in a race. Henry Nash Smith and William M.
Such a memory as that is a great misfortune. A word never had tasted so good in my mouth before. There were eight or ten; and there was abundance of room for them in our great pilot-house. The terror of it took my breath away. Everything else is blotted out and gone. I feel justified in enlarging upon this great science for the reason that I feel sure no one has ever yet written a paragraph about it who had piloted a steamboat himself, and so had a practical knowledge of the subject. However, my spirits returned, in installments, as we pursued our way down the river.
When an apprentice has become pretty thoroughly acquainted with the river, he goes clattering along so fearlessly with his steamboat, night or day, that he presently begins to imagine that it is his courage that animates him; but the first time the pilot steps out and leaves him to his own devices he finds out it was the other man's. Louis for five hundred dollars, payable out of the first wages I should receive after graduating. I want you niggers to understan' dat I fires de middle do' on de Aleck Scott! Here, in 1855, a small group of slaves attempted to cross the river to Illinois, among them a woman named Esther and her two children. I could not ring a bell intelligibly with them. Are there many of them? Judgment is a matter of brains, and a man must start with a good stock of that article or he will never succeed as a pilot. Fill that whole region with an impenetrable gloom of smoke from a hundred miles of burning bagasse piles, when the river is over the banks, and turn a steamboat loose along there at midnight and see how she will feel. The boat resisted and refused to answer for a while, and next she came surging to starboard, mounted the reef, and sent a long, angry ridge of water foaming away from her bows.
Soon all the laughers that were left were the owners and crews of boats that had two non-association pilots. If you were to hit it you would knock the boat's brains out. And I fully believed it was an accident, too. I suppose that that bank is about a foot and a half high. Bank-full is a pretty liberal stage. Both of these river towns have been retired to the country by that cut-off.
Every pilot in the lot was watching, now, with fixed eyes, and talking under his breath. In the Kentucky stretch, to see the river you must take a side trip, say, to the Columbus-Belmont State Park, peaceful now but not always—some of its gentle hills are trench walls from the war. He was in debt to every pilot on the river, and to the majority of the captains. And then if you will go on until you know every street crossing, the character, size, and position of the crossing-stones, and the varying depth of mud in each of those numberless places, you will have some idea of what the pilot must know in order to keep a Mississippi steamer out of trouble. But you 'll not be when you 've learned it. The sun dipped behind the horizon, the boat went on.