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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty-seven
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Pomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty-seven Post by :mrtwist Category :Long Stories Author :Frank R Stockton Date :May 2012 Read :2949

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Pomona's Travels - Letter Number Twenty-seven


I send you this, madam, to let you know that we arrived here safely yesterday afternoon, and that we are going to-day to Jone's mother's farm where Corinne is.

I liked sailing from Southampton because when I start to go to a place I like to go, and when we went home before and had to begin by going all the way up to Liverpool by land, and then coming all the way back again by water, and after a couple of days of this to stop at Queenstown and begin the real voyage from there, I did not like it, although it was a good deal of fun seeing the bumboat women come aboard at Queenstown and telescope themselves into each other as they hurried up the ladder to get on deck and sell us things.

We had a very good voyage, with about enough rolling to make the dining saloon look like some of the churches we've seen abroad on weekdays where there was services regular, but mighty small congregations.

When we got in sight of my native shore, England, Scotland, and even the longed-for Italy, with her palaces and gondolas, faded from my mind, and my every fibre tingled with pride and patriotism. We reached our dock about six o'clock in the afternoon, and I could scarcely stand still, so anxious was I to get ashore. There was a train at eight which reached Rockbridge at half-past nine, and there we could take a carriage and drive to the farm in less than an hour, and then Corinne would be in my arms, so you may imagine my state of mind--Corinne before bedtime! But a cloud blacker than the heaviest fog came down upon me, for while we was standing on the deck, expecting every minute to land, a man came along and shouted at the top of his voice that no baggage could be examined by the custom-house officers after six o'clock, and the passengers could take nothing ashore with them but their hand-bags, and must come back in the morning and have their baggage examined. When I heard this my soul simply boiled within me! I looked at Jone, and I could see he was boiling just as bad.

"Jone," said I, "don't say a word to me."

"I am not going to say a word," said he, and he didn't. All our belongings was in our trunks. Jone didn't carry any hand-bag, and I had only a little one which had in it three newspapers, which we bought from the pilot, a tooth-brush, a spool of thread and some needles, and a pair of scissors with one point broken off. With these things we had to go to a hotel and spend the night, and in the morning we had to go back to have our trunks examined, which, as there was nothing in them to pay duty on, was waste time for all parties, no matter when it was done.

(Illustration: "Jone didn't carry any hand-bag, and I had only a little one")

That night, when I was lying awake thinking about this welcome to our native land, I don't say that I hauled down the stars and stripes, but I did put them at half mast. When we arrived in England we got ashore about twelve o'clock at night, but there was the custom-house officers as civil and obliging as any people could be, ready to tend to us and pass us on. And when I thought of them, and afterward of the lordly hirelings who met us here, I couldn't help feeling what a glorious thing it would be to travel if you could get home without coming back.

Jone tried to comfort me by telling me that we ought to be very glad we don't like this sort of thing. "In many foreign countries," said he, "people are a good deal nagged by their governments and they like it; we don't like it, so haul up your flag."

I hauled it up, and it's flying now from the tiptop of my tallest mast. In an hour our train starts, and I shall see Corinne before the sun goes down.

Frank R Stockton's fiction book: Pomona's Travels

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