I think it unlikely that that innings has ever had its parallel in the history of horse-billiards.
To place the four disks side by side in the 10 was an extraordinary feat; indeed, it was a kind of miracle.
To miss them was another miracle.
It will take a century to produce another man who can place the four disks in the 10; and longer than that to find a man who can’t knock them out.
I was ashamed of my performance at the time, but now that I reflect upon it I see that it was rather fine and difficult. Mr.
Thomas kept his luck, and won the game, and later the championship. In a minor tournament I won the prize, which was a Waterbury watch.
I put it in my trunk.
In Pretoria, South Africa, nine months afterward, my proper watch broke down and I took the Waterbury out, wound it, set it by the great clock on the Parliament House (8.05), then went back to my room and went to bed, tired from a long railway journey.
The parliamentary clock had a peculiarity which I was not aware of at the time –a peculiarity which exists in no other clock, and would not exist in that one if it had been made by a sane person; on the half-hour it strikes the succeeding hour, then strikes the hour again, at the proper time.
I lay reading and smoking awhile; then, when I could hold my eyes open no longer and was about to put out the light, the great clock began to boom, and I counted ten.
I reached for the Waterbury to see how it was getting along.
It was marking 9.30.
It seemed rather poor speed for a three-dollar watch, but I supposed that the climate was affecting it.
I shoved it half an hour ahead; and took to my book and waited to see what would happen.
At 10 the great clock struck ten again.
I looked–the Waterbury was marking half-past 10.
This was too much speed for the money, and it troubled me.
I pushed the hands back a half hour, and waited once more; I had to, for I was vexed and restless now, and my sleepiness was gone.
By and by the great clock struck 11.
The Waterbury was marking 10.30.
I pushed it ahead half an hour, with some show of temper.
By and by the great clock struck 11 again.
The Waterbury showed up 11.30, now, and I beat her brains out against the bedstead.
I was sorry next day, when I found out. To return to the ship. The average human being is a perverse creature; and when he isn’t that, he is a practical joker.
The result to the other person concerned is about the same: that is, he is made to suffer.
The washing down of the decks begins at a very early hour in all ships; in but few ships are any measures taken to protect the passengers, either by waking or warning them, or by sending a steward to close their ports.
And so the deckwashers have their opportunity, and they use it.
They send a bucket of water slashing along the side of the ship and into the ports, drenching the passenger’s clothes, and often the passenger himself.
This good old custom prevailed in this ship, and under unusually favorable circumstances, for in the blazing tropical regions a removable zinc thing like a sugarshovel projects from the port to catch the wind and bring it in; this thing catches the wash-water and brings it in, too–and in flooding abundance.
L, an invalid, had to sleep on the locker–sofa under her port, and every time she over-slept and thus failed to take care of herself, the deck-washers drowned her out. And the painters, what a good time they had! This ship would be going into dock for a month in Sydney for repairs; but no matter, painting was going on all the time somewhere or other.
The ladies’ dresses were constantly getting ruined, nevertheless protests and supplications went for nothing.
Sometimes a lady, taking an afternoon nap on deck near a ventilator or some other thing that didn’t need painting, would wake up by and by and find that the humorous painter had been noiselessly daubing that thing and had splattered her white gown all over with little greasy yellow spots. The blame for this untimely painting did not lie with the ship’s officers, but with custom.
As far back as Noah’s time it became law that ships must be constantly painted and fussed at when at sea; custom grew out of the law, and at sea custom knows no death; this custom will continue until the sea goes dry. Sept. 8.–Sunday.
We are moving so nearly south that we cross only about two meridians of longitude a day.
This morning we were in longitude 178 west from Greenwich, and 57 degrees west from San Francisco.
To-morrow we shall be close to the center of the globe–the 180th degree of west longitude and 180th degree of east longitude. And then we must drop out a day-lose a day out of our lives, a day never to be found again.
We shall all die one day earlier than from the beginning of time we were foreordained to die.
We shall be a day behindhand all through eternity.
We shall always be saying to the other angels, “Fine day today,” and they will be always retorting, “But it isn’t to-day, it’s tomorrow.” We shall be in a state of confusion all the time and shall never know what true happiness is. Next Day.
Sure enough, it has happened.
Yesterday it was September 8, Sunday; to-day, per the bulletin-board at the head of the companionway, it is September 10, Tuesday.
There is something uncanny about it.
In fact, nearly unthinkable, and wholly unrealizable, when one comes to consider it.
While we were crossing the 180th meridian it was Sunday in the stern of the ship where my family were, and Tuesday in the bow where I was.
They were there eating the half of a fresh apple on the 8th, and I was at the same time eating the other half of it on the 10th–and I could notice how stale it was, already.
The family were the same age that they were when I had left them five minutes before, but I was a day older now than I was then.
The day they were living in stretched behind them half way round the globe, across the Pacific Ocean and America and Europe; the day I was living in stretched in front of me around the other half to meet it.
They were stupendous days for bulk and stretch; apparently much larger days than we had ever been in before.
All previous days had been but shrunk-up little things by comparison.
The difference in temperature between the two days was very marked, their day being hotter than mine because it was closer to the equator. Along about the moment that we were crossing the Great Meridian a child was born in the steerage, and now there is no way to tell which day it was born on.
The nurse thinks it was Sunday, the surgeon thinks it was Tuesday.
The child will never know its own birthday.
It will always be choosing first one and then the other, and will never be able to make up its mind permanently.
This will breed vacillation and uncertainty in its opinions about religion, and politics, and business, and sweethearts, and everything, and will undermine its principles, and rot them away, and make the poor thing characterless, and its success in life impossible.
Every one in the ship says so.
And this is not all–in fact, not the worst.
For there is an enormously rich brewer in the ship who said as much as ten days ago, that if the child was born on his birthday he would give it ten thousand dollars to start its little life with.
His birthday was Monday, the 9th of September. If the ships all moved in the one direction–westward, I mean–the world would suffer a prodigious loss–in the matter of valuable time, through the dumping overboard on the Great Meridian of such multitudes of days by ships crews and passengers.
But fortunately the ships do not all sail west, half of them sail east.
So there is no real loss.
These latter pick up all the discarded days and add them to the world’s stock again; and about as good as new, too; for of course the salt water preserves them. CHAPTER V. — Those are good words for poetry.
Among the best I have ever seen.
There are 81 in the list.
I did not need them all, but I have knocked down 66 of them; which is a good bag, it seems to me, for a person not in the business.
Perhaps a poet laureate could do better, but a poet laureate gets wages, and that is different.
When I write poetry I do not get any wages; often I lose money by it.
The best word in that list, and the most musical and gurgly, is Woolloomoolloo.
It is a place near Sydney, and is a favorite pleasure-resort.
It has eight O’s in it. CHAPTER “VII. To succeed in the other trades, capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do. –Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar. MONDAY,–December 23, 1895.
Sailed from Sydney for Ceylon in the P. & O.
A Lascar crew mans this ship–the first I have seen.
White cotton petticoat and pants; barefoot; red shawl for belt; straw cap, brimless, on head, with red scarf wound around it; complexion a rich dark brown; short straight black hair; whiskers fine and silky; lustrous and intensely black.
Mild, good faces; willing and obedient people; capable, too; but are said to go into hopeless panics when there is danger.
They are from Bombay and the coast thereabouts.
Left some of the trunks in Sydney, to be shipped to South Africa by a vessel advertised to sail three months hence.
The proverb says: “Separate not yourself from your baggage.” This ‘Oceana’ is a stately big ship, luxuriously appointed.
She has spacious promenade decks.
Large rooms; a surpassingly comfortable ship.
The officers’ library is well selected; a ship’s library is not usually that . . . .
For meals, the bugle call, man-of-war fashion; a pleasant change from the terrible gong . . . .
Three big cats–very friendly loafers; they wander all over the ship; the white one follows the chief steward around like a dog.
There is also a basket of kittens.
One of these cats goes ashore, in port, in England, Australia, and India, to see how his various families are getting along, and is seen no more till the ship is ready to sail.
No one knows how he finds out the sailing date, but no doubt he comes down to the dock every day and takes a look, and when he sees baggage and passengers flocking in, recognizes that it is time to get aboard.
This is what the sailors believe.
The Chief Engineer has been in the China and India trade thirty three years, and has had but three Christmases at home in that time . . . .
Conversational items at dinner, “Mocha! sold all over the world! It is not true.
In fact, very few foreigners except the Emperor of Russia have ever seen a grain of it, or ever will, while they live.” Another man said: “There is no sale in Australia for Australian wine.
But it goes to France and comes back with a French label on it, and then they buy it.” I have heard that the most of the French-labeled claret in New York is made in California.
And I remember what Professor S.
Told me once about Veuve Cliquot–if that was the wine, and I think it was.
He was the guest of a great wine merchant whose town was quite near that vineyard, and this merchant asked him if very much V.
Was drunk in America. “Oh, yes,” said S., “a great abundance of it.” “Is it easy to be had?” “Oh, yes–easy as water.
All first and second-class hotels have it.” “What do you pay for it?” “It depends on the style of the hotel–from fifteen to twenty-five francs a bottle.” “Oh, fortunate country! Why, it’s worth 100 francs right here on the ground.” “No!”
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