Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion 265
at the head of the table, the purser at the foot of it. A small company, but small companies are pleasantest.
No racks upon the table; the sky cloudless, the sun brilliant, the blue sea scarcely ruffled; then what had become of the four married couples, the three bachelors, and the active and obliging doctor from the rural districts of Pennsylvania? — for all these were on deck when we sailed down New York harbor. This is the explanation. I quote from my note-book:
Thursday, 3.30 p.m, Under way, passing the Battery. The large party, of four married couples, three bachelors, and a cheery, exhilarating doctor from the wilds of Pennsylvania, are evidently traveling together. All but the doctor grouped in camp-chairs on deck.
Passing principal fort. The doctor is one of those people who has an infallible preventive of sea-sickness; is flitting from friend to friend administering it and saying, "Don't you be afraid; I know this medicine; absolutely infallible; prepared under my own supervision." Takes a dose himself, intrepidly.
4.15 p.m. Two of those ladies have struck their colors, notwithstanding the "infallible." They have gone below. The other two begin to show distress.
5 p.m. Exit one husband and one bachelor. These still had their infallible in cargo when they started, but arrived at the companionway without it.
5.10. Lady No. 3, two bachelors, and one married man have gone below with their own opinion of the infallible.
5.20. Passing Quarantine Hulk. The infallible has done the business for all the party except the Scotchman's wife and the author of that formidable remedy.
Nearing the Light-Ship. Exit the Scotchman's wife, head drooped on stewardess's shoulder.
Entering the open sea. Exit doctor!
The rout seems permanent; hence the smallness of the company at table since the voyage began. Our captain is a grave, handsome Hercules of thirty-five, with a brown hand of such majestic size that one can-