Life on the Mississippi

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Harper & Brothers, 1917 - 526 Seiten
Both a memoir and a travel book, Mark Twain recalls his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War, and then many years after, recounts a trip as passenger along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to New Orleans. The book begins with a brief history of the river as reported by Europeans and Americans, beginning with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, continues with Twain's anecdotes of his training as a steamboat pilot, as the 'cub' (apprentice) of an experienced pilot, and the science of navigating the ever-changing Mississippi River. On the later trip downriver, despite of improvements in navigation and boat construction, the time of the steamboat is passing. There is competition from railroads, and as he describes new, large cities, and he adds observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture.
 

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Seite 33 - Steam-boat a-comin'!' and the scene changes! The town drunkard stirs, the clerks wake up, a furious clatter of drays follows, every house and store pours out a human contribution, and all in a twinkling the dead town is alive and moving. Drays, carts, men, boys, all go hurrying from many quarters to a common centre, the wharf.
Seite 49 - My boy, you must get a little memorandum-book; and every time I tell you a thing, put it down right away. There's only one way to be a pilot, and that is to get this entire river by heart. You have to know it just like AB C.
Seite 32 - WHEN I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village* on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We had transient ambitions of other sorts, but they were only transient.
Seite 316 - A LIFE on the ocean wave, A home on the rolling deep, Where the scattered waters rave, And the winds their revels keep! Like an eagle caged, I pine On this dull, unchanging shore: Oh!
Seite 79 - Whosoever has done me the courtesy to read my chapters which have preceded this may possibly wonder that I deal so minutely with piloting as a science. It was the prime purpose of those chapters; and I am not quite done yet. I wish to show, in the most patient and painstaking way, what a wonderful science it is Ship-channels are buoyed and lighted, and therefore it is a comparatively easy undertaking to learn to run them; clear-water rivers with gravel bottoms, change their channels very gradually,...
Seite 154 - In the space of one hundred and seventy -six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod.
Seite 161 - My profit is various in kind and degree; but the feature of it which I value most is the zest which that early experience has given to my later reading. When I find a well-drawn character in fiction or biography, I generally take a warm personal interest in him, for the reason that I have known him before— met him on the river.
Seite 376 - Quixote and those wrought by Ivanhoe. The first swept the world's admiration for the medieval chivalry silliness out of existence; and the other restored it. As far as our South is concerned, the good work done by Cervantes is pretty nearly a dead letter, so effectually has Scott's pernicious work undermined it.
Seite 483 - ... young man the character of his entertainer. When he looked upon him, he had the icy visage of Peboan.* Streams began to flow from his eyes. As the sun increased, he grew less and less in stature, and anon had melted completely away. Nothing remained on the place of his lodge fire but the miskodeed,' a small white flower, with a pink border, which is one of the earliest species of northern plants. "The Undying Head...
Seite 34 - Ten minutes later the steamer is under way again, with no flag on the jack-staff and no black smoke issuing from the chimneys. After ten more minutes the town is dead again, and the town drunkard asleep by the skids once more.

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