Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches

Text for Page 190 [11-12-1853]

              to wait.   Soon the distant roar of one of the huge, high pressure Mis-
sissippi steamboats is heard, and she is seen afar off, doubling the
�trend.�   Half an hour and she is close up to us, has responded to
the niggers energetic waving the flag, by two strokes of her bell;
and runs in against the steep bank for me.     I shake hands with Oliver
Kellam, with a hearty �God bless you!� say good-bye to his uncle,
give the nigger a quarter dollar and jump aboard.   Carpet bag and a big-
bear skin presented to me by Oliver are thrown in, and in another 
moment the �Swamp Fox� is steaming with me, up the Mississippi.
It is a huge vessel, heavily laden, with sugar and molasses, bound for
St Louis: not a regular Mississippi, but a Red River boat, tem-
porarily withdrawn in consequence of the shallowness of the latter.   I
pay my $15 for passage to Cairo, at the mouth of the Ohio, thence
designing going to Louisville, New York wards; secure my cabin, and
walk about.         The boat is, like all Southern ones, high pressure, machi-
nery open on the lower deck; draws but little water 3 1/2 feet.  The rushing
river roars by the unguarded deck scarcely a foot below it.   In the fore-
part, on the heaped up barrels, bales and cordage are some half dozen
negroes, a mother and her woolly headed offspring, one or two men, and
children.  They belong to one of the passengers, who is taking them up the
river. /  A dozen or more rough men, the �hands� of the boat are bury-
ing themselves about the raging fires; two wretchedly anatomical cows
are wedged up betwixt the wood piles, which occupy all the space left
available by bales and barrels.       The aft part of the boat is inaccessible.
  Above, the passengers stroll about on the open space fronting the cabin,
or on the roof; some play cards within.         There are a party of re-
turned Californians, perhaps twenty.   Some have the hugest beards and
the longest hair, others have slightly abridged both, others denuded them-
selves to the stupidity of clean shaven faces.         I talk with some of them,               
  •  
Loading content ...