Old Times on the Upper Mississippi: The Recollections of a Steamboat Pilot from 1854 to 1863
A.H. Clark Company, 1909 - Frontier and pioneer life - 323 pages
George Byron Merrick chronicles the panorama of his steamboat experiences in the mid-1800s on the mighty Mississippi, where he started as a cabin boy and worked up to cub pilot. Originally published in 1909, these lively stories about gamblers, shipwrecks, and steamboat races feature rich descriptions of river life and steamboat operations.
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Page 87 - My boy, you've got to know the shape of the river perfectly. It is all there is left to steer by on a very dark night. Everything else is blotted out and gone. But mind you, it hasn't the same shape in the night that it has in the daytime." " How on earth am I ever going to learn it, then?
Page 130 - ... them both good : the one good to eat, the other good to drink. The land is very nourishing, the water is thoroughly wholesome. The one appeases hunger; the other, thirst. But the natives do not take them separately, but together, as nature mixed them. When they find an inch of mud in the bottom of a glass, they stir it up, and then take the draught as they would gruel. It is difficult for a stranger to get used to this batter, but once used to it he will prefer it to water. This is really the...
Page 87 - No! you only learn the shape of the river; and you learn it with such absolute certainty that you can always steer by the shape that's in your head, and never mind the one that's before your eyes.
Page 87 - All shores seem to be straight lines, then, and mighty dim ones, too; and you'd run them for straight lines, only you know better. You boldly drive your boat right into what seems to be a solid, straight wall (you knowing very well that in reality there is a curve there), and that wall falls back and makes way for you. Then there's your gray mist.
Page 87 - Do you mean to say that I've got to know all the million trifling variations of shape in the banks of this interminable river as well as I know the shape of the front hall at home?" "On my honor, you've got to know them better than any man ever did know the shapes of the halls in his own house.
Page 226 - Association, gives it as his opinion that ' ' most of the river pilots are possessed of but little knowledge beyond that required in turning the wheel." The writer knew, personally, two of the officers of the "City Belle" at the time when the young man was lost from the boat — Capt. Kennedy Lodwick and Chief Clerk Edward V. Dawley. Both were educated gentlemen, and I presume as kind-hearted as any business men in any other line of endeavor. I...
Page 204 - Our bruised arms hung up for monuments; Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings, Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front; And now, — instead of mounting barbed steeds, To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, — He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber, To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
Page 87 - ... away from every bunch of timber, because you would take the black shadow of it for a solid cape ; and you see you would be getting scared to death every fifteen minutes by the watch. You would be fifty yards from shore all the time when you ought to be within fifty feet of it. You can't see a snag in one of those shadows, but you know exactly where it is, and the shape of the river tells you when you are coming to it. Then there's your pitch-dark night ; the river is a very different shape on...
Page 87 - A clear starlight night throws such heavy shadows that if you didn't know the shape of a shore perfectly you would claw away from every bunch of timber, because you would take the black shadow of it for a solid cape; and you see you would be getting scared to death every fifteen minutes by the watch. You would be fifty yards from shore all the time when you ought to...
Page 130 - Missouri, and every tumblerful of it holds nearly an acre of land in solution. I got this fact from the bishop of the diocese. If you will let your glass stand half an hour, you can separate the land from the water as easy as Genesis; and then you will find them both good: the one to eat, the other to drink. The land is very nourishing, the water is thoroughly wholesome. The one appeases hunger; the other, thirst. But the natives do not take them separately, but together, as nature mixed them. When...