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Monday, December 9, 2019

The recruiting of the Innocents

Mark Twain introduced himself to the world with the account of his international travels in The Innocents Abroad. From the very beginning you can hear his excitement and fascination with the excursion: “Who could read the program of the excursion without longing to make one of the party?”

The party was to travel to “Paris, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy—Garibaldi! The Grecian Archipelago! Vesuvius! Constantinople! Smyrna! The Holy Land! Egypt and ‘our friends the Bermudians’!” The reader can tell he particularly enjoyed that latter reference.

There were also travel suggestions:
This supplementary program also instructed the excursionists to provide themselves with light musical instruments for amusement in the ship, with saddles for Syrian travel, green spectacles and umbrellas, veils for Egypt, and substantial clothing to use in rough pilgrimizing in the Holy Land.

Furthermore, it was suggested that although the ship's library would afford a fair amount of reading matter, it would still be well if each passenger would provide himself with a few guidebooks, a Bible, and some standard works of travel.

A list was appended, which consisted chiefly of books relating to the Holy Land, since the Holy Land was part of the excursion and seemed to be its main feature.
Rare as this kind of travel was at the time, the U.S. government also pitched in with “‘battery of guns’ from the Navy Department (as per advertisement) to be used in answering royal salutes.”

News was something more to be made than consumed on this voyage. To that end, “I was glad to know that we were to have a little printing press on board and issue a daily newspaper of our own.”

Notable passengers on board included, “I was proud to observe that among our excursionists were three ministers of the gospel, eight doctors, sixteen or eighteen ladies, several military and naval chieftains with sounding titles, an ample crop of ‘Professors’ of various kinds, and a gentleman who had ‘COMMISSIONER OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO EUROPE, ASIA, AND AFRICA’ thundering after his name in one awful blast!”

Compared to normal life in the 1800's, “This was pleasuring with a vengeance.”

Notable priorities were heralded “when the gong sounded for prayer meeting.”

I enjoyed this book. I read it after seeing it mentioned in Jonathan Cahn's book, The Oracle.

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