of Incivility by
A gentleman by the name of Collins stopping with you?
Collins? was the response.
Yes, Collins, or Collings, I ain't sure which, said the
hardy-looking, bronzed seaman, to the gaily-dressed, flippant-mannered,
be-whiskered man of vast importance, presiding over the affairs of one
of our first-class hotels.
Very indefinite inquiry, then, said the hotel manager.
Well, I brought this small package from Bremen for a gentleman who
came out passenger with us some time ago; he left it in Bremenwanted
me to fetch it out when the ship returnedhere it is.
What do you want to leave it here for? We know nothing about the
You don't? Well, you ought to, for the gentleman put up here, and
told me he'd be around when we got into port again. He was a deuced
clever fellow, and you ought to have kept the reckoning of such a man,
said the seaman.
Ha, ha! we keep so many clever fellows, said he of the hotel,
that they are no novelties, sir.
I wonder then, said the seaman, you do not imitate some of them,
for there's no danger of the world's getting crowded with a crew of
If you have any business with us we shall attend to it, sir, but we
want none of your impertinence!
O, you don't? Well, Mister, I've business aboard of your craft; if
you're the commodore, I'd like you to see that my friend Collins is
piped up, or that this package be stowed away where he could come afoul
of it. His name is Collins; here it is in black and white, on the
parcel, and here's where I was to drop it.
One of the understrappers overhearing the dispute, whispered his
dignified superior that Mr. Collins, an English gentleman, late from
Bremen, was in the house, whereupon the dignified empressario, turning
to the self-possessed man of the sea, said
Ah, well, leave the parcel, leave the parcel; we suppose
There it is, said the seaman; commodore, you see that the
gentleman gets it; and I say, says the sailor, pushing back his hat
and giving his breeches a regular sailor twitch, I wish you'd please
to say to the gentleman, Mr. Collins, you know, that Mr. Brace, first
officer of the Triton, would like to see him aboard, any time he's at
But in the multiplicity of greater affairs, the hotel gentleman
hardly attempted to listen or attend to the sailor's message, and Mr.
Brace, first officer of the Triton, bore away, muttering to himself
These land-crabs mighty apt to put on airs. I'd like to have that
powder monkey in my watch about a weekI'd have him down by the lifts
Let us suppose it to be in the glorious month of October, when the
myriads of travellers by land and ocean are wending their way from the
chilly north towards the sunny south, when the invalid seeks the
tropics in pursuit of his health, and the speculative man of business
returns with his invoices, to his shop, or factory, where profit
leads the way.
We are on board shipthe Triton ploughing the deep blue waters of
the ocean track from Sandy Hook to New Orleans; for October, the
weather is rather unruly, damp, and boisterous. We perceive a
number of passengers on board, and by near guess of our memory, we see
a person or two we have seen before. Our be-whiskered friend of the
first-class hotel, is there; he does not look so self-possessed and
pompous on board the heaving and tossing ship as he did behind his
marble slab in the office. The sea, the sea! as the song says, has
quite taken the starch out of our stiff friend, who is not enjoying a
first-rate time. And from an overheard conversation between two hardy,
noble specimens of men that are mentwo officers of the
stoutly-timbered ship, the comfort of the be-whiskered gentleman is in
danger of a commutation.
Do you know him, Mr. Brace?
Yes, I know him; I knew him as soon as I got the cut of his jib
coming aboard. Now, says I, my larky, you and I've got to travel
together, and we'll settle a little odd reckoning, if you please, or if
you don't please, afore we see the Balize. You see, that fellow keeps a
crack hotel in York; I goes in there to deliver a package for a deuced
good fellow as ever trod deck, and this powder monkey, loblolly-looking
swab, puts on his airs, sticks up his nose, and hardly condescends to
exchange signals with me. Ha! ha! I've met these galore cocks before; I
can take the tail feathers out of 'em! says Mr. Brace, who is the same
hardy, frank and free fellow, with whom the reader has already formed
something of a brief acquaintance. The person to whom Brace was
addressing himself was the second officer of the merchantman, and it
was settled that whatever nautical knowledge and skill could do to make
things uneasy for Mr. Lollypops, the empressario of the first-class
hotel, was to be done, by mutual management of the two salt-water
It appears to me, that abless me, sir, ahow this ship rolls!
said Lollypops, coming upon deck, and addressing Mr. Brace; Ia never
saw a ship roll so.
Heavy sea on, sir, said Brace; nothing to what we'll catch before
a week's out.
Bad coast, I believe, at this time o' year? said Lollypops,
balancing himself on first one leg and then the other.
Worst coast in the world, sir; I'd rather go to Calcutta any time
than go to Orleans; more vessels lost on the coast than are lost
anywhere else on the four seas.
You don't say so! said Lollypops.
Fact, sir, said Brace, who occasionally kept exchanging private
and mysterious signals with the second officer, who held the wheel.
Let her up a point, Mr. Brown, let her up! Mr. Brown did let her
up, and the way the Triton took head down and heels up and a roll to
windward, did not speak so well for the nautical menage of the
officers as it did for the quiet deviltry of the salt-water Joe
Millers. The avalanche of brine inundated the decks, making the sailors
look quite asquirt, and driving Mr. Lollypops, an ancient voyager or
two, and sundry other travelling gentryvery suddenly into the cabin.
The next day the same performance followed; the appearance of Lollypops
on deck was a signal for Brace or Brown, to go in, get up a double
roll on the ship, an imaginary gale was discussed, wrecks and
reefs, dangerous points and dreadful currents were descanted upon,
until Mr. Lollypops' health, at the end of the first week, was no
better fast; in fact, he was getting sick of the voyage, while others
around grew fat upon it. A fine morning induced the invalid to light
his regalia and walk the decks; immediately Mr. Brace, or Brown, gave
orders to wash down the decks. Mr. Lollypops went aloft, ergo,
as far as the main top; immediately the first officer had the men
going about, heaving here and letting go there; in short, so
endangering the hat and underpinning of the be-whiskered landlord of
the first-class hotel that he was fain to crawl down, take the wet
decks, tip-toe, and crawl into the cabin, damp as a dishcloth, and
utterly disgusted with what he had seen of the sea! Accidentally, one
afternoon, a tar pot fell from aloft; somehow or other, the careless
sailor who held it, or should have held itlet go all just when Mr.
Lollypops was in the immediate neighborhood; the result was that he had
a splendid dressing-gown and other equipmentsruined eternally! Going
into the cabin, Lollypops inquires for the Captain
Sir! says he, I am mad, Sir, very mad, Sir; yes, I am, Sir; look
at me, only look at me! In rough weather we do not expect pleasant
times at sea, but, Sir, ever since I have been on board, Sir, your
infernal officers, Sir, have thrown this ship into all manner of
unpleasant situations, kept the decks wet, rattled chains over my
berth, wang-banged the rigging around, and finally, by thunder, I'm
covered all over with villanous soap fat and tar! Now, Sir, this is not
all the result of accidentit's premeditated rascality!
Sirsays the bully mate, coming forward, at this crisis, my
name's Mr. Brace; when I was aboard your craft, in New York, you rather
put on airs, and I said if you and I ever got to sea
togetherwe'd have a blow out. Now we're about even; if you're
a mind we'll call the matter square
Yes, yes, for heaven's sake, let us have no more of this! says
We'll have a bottle together, and wish for a clean run to Orleans!
continued officer Brace.
Lollypops agreed; he not only stood the wine, but got over his
anger, vowed to look deeper into character, and never again rebuff
honest manliness, though hid under the coarse costume of a son of
Neptune! A hearty laugh closed the scene, and fair weather and a fine
termination attended the voyage of the Triton to New Orleans; for a
finer, drier craft never danced over the ocean wave, than that good
ship, under rational management.