THERE is always great interest manifested at the wharves in New York on the departure of steamers for their voyage across the Atlantic. Many persons gather at the pier on such an occasion, some to bid their friends "good-by," others simply to witness the departure of the ship. Those who, like ourselves, come to the ship early, avoid the crowd and confusion. 

As our ship lies only a few rods from where, about ten years ago, I embarked for a journey of over five thousand miles on a Pacific Mail Steamer to California, I recall a circumstance that occurred on that occasion. We had eleven hundred passengers, and there were, at least, as many more persons thronging the wharves. As we neared the time of sailing, the people, though warned not to do so, crowded the "gang-plank" full, till finally, under the great weight, it broke, and about half a dozen persons fell into the water, some of whom were passengers. They were, fortunately, all safely rescued, but suffered the inconvenience of a thorough wetting at an unfavorable time. One of our number, however, lost a $5.00 hat, which he scolded about every day until we reached Panama.

The time for sailing has fully come; the passengers are all safely on board; the whistle gives a loud, gum blast; the gang-plank is drawn; the pilot from his position on the paddle-box gives his order to cast off the ropes, signals to the engineer to put on the steam, and majestically our great boat glides away from the pier into the river. Now comes a second farewell from those on the ship to those still watching on the pier, by an exchange of hat and handkerchief waving. This is continued as long as such objects are discernible to the eye. While engaged in this demonstration, the steamer moves out, of the river into the harbor toward the sea, where she gives her "good-by" to America by firing a cannon over the bow of the ship. 

Looking at the shores as we pass out of New York Bay, we behold scenes of romantic beauty. We see villas and cottages, shade-trees and smooth grassy lawns, vast fortifications with great cannons peeping out of the casement, and observatories, lighthouses, and buoys.

While these land scenes are fast receding from view, our pilot is calling out his directions to the helmsman, who is at the wheel in the stern of the ship, guiding the boat. The pilot calls out" Port!" and an officer of the ship on the deck calls out after him, "Port" thus passing it on to the helmsman, who says, "Port" by which it is then known that he has received the word of the pilot. Now the pilot calls out, "Starboard!" next it is, "Steady!" When he says, "Starboard!" he means put the helm to the right; when to the left, he says, "Port!" When he wishes the ship to go straight forward he says, "Steady!" The pilot takes full command of the sailing of the ship until we are fully out at sea; then the captain takes charge.

Here we pass a war-ship, and the ships salute each other in turn by lowering their flags a few feet, and then quickly raising them again. This they call dipping their colors. The pilot-boat is coming for our pilot. Our engines are suddenly stopped. 

A small rowboat comes up and takes the pilot to his sailboat. Our captain now takes his position on "the bridge" from one paddle-box to the other, signals to the engineer to put on steam, and with a few words of command, he has the ship put a few points to the north of east with the strong order, "Steady!" We realize now in good earnest that we are going to sea. Soon the land is out of sight, and naught is visible but" the broad blue ocean."

J. N. L,.


IN our last, we were just out of sight of land after leaving New York harbor. 

Nearly all the passengers remained on deck viewing the broad expanse of blue water, and watching the white and gray seagulls. 

These birds follow our ship till we leave the banks of Newfoundland, picking up the refuse food that is thrown overboard from the table. It is very amusing to see two or 

three of them get hold of one piece of meat at once and try to fly off with it. When, in their flight, they become tired, they rest a few minutes on the waters and then fly on to overtake us.

As we get fully out to sea, a strong December breeze makes us all glad to leave the upper deck. This deck is also called the "promenade deck," because that here is a place, when it is not rough weather, for all to walk about, get exercise, and view the sea. From this deck, we enter a saloon with windows all around it and furnished with settees so that we can look out upon the sea even in time of storm. In one end of this saloon are short stairways 

leading down to the lower deck, where is the dining-saloon of the ship. This saloon is sixty feet long and twenty feet wide. 

Extending through the center of this room is a long table.  Suspended from the ceiling, over the table, is a shelf. In this shelf are slits and sockets, which hold the various colored 

wine glasses, tumblers, and decanters. Everything is made to fit securely to the shelf,

so that although the shelf swings with the motion of the ship, nothing is thrown from its place.

On either side of the table are cushioned seats with backs, which are so constructed 

that they may be made to face the table, or, after meals, one may sit with his back 

toward the table. These seats, as well as the table, are all securely fastened to the floor with bolts; if they were not, in time of rough seas, both table and seats would be dashed about the saloon in the wildest confusion.

Over the table there is a long sky-light so constructed as to admit an abundance of 

light from the upper deck. There are, also, many curiously constructed lamps 

about the room, which are left burning all night. These lamps are hung on double pivots, so that the ship may move in any direction, and yet the lamps keep right side up.

On each side of the dining-saloon are staterooms with passageways leading to 

them from the dining-saloon. Between these passageways are large mirrors securely fastened to the sides of the room. 

These mirrors are about fourteen feet in length and four feet high. Above and below the mirrors is carved and gilded work, with beautiful paintings of flowers, landscapes, birds, animals, etc. The mirrors, presenting a reflection of all these, make the room appear three times as large as it really is. Around the edge of the room, near the floor, is a steam-pipe, which warms the room with the exhaust steam of the ship's engine. The stewards are very particular to keep everything in this room tidy and scrupulously clean.

How pleasant it is to have so nice and cheery a place in which to sit during the 

days of our voyage! When the storm clouds gather without, one is apt to be 

gloomy, and this would be increased if obliged to sit in a doleful, dreary place; 

but to have a room so beautiful and home-like takes away much of this unpleasant 


To help us to amuse ourselves, at the end of the room stands an open piano, inviting any of the passengers who understand music, to play. Besides the music of the piano, there are two other sounds that we hear that are not so musical. One of these is the noise of the engine and the wheel of the propeller, not a very unpleasant sound when we become accustomed to it, as it says, that "we are still on our way." 

The other is the striking of the bell every half-hour. This is done in the wheelhouse 

of the ship by the helmsman, who steers the boat. Commencing at noon, the bell strikes 

once at half-past twelve; at one it strikes twice; at half-past one it strikes three times; 

and when it strikes eight times in succession it is four o'clock. At half-past four it begins again by striking one. Every four hours, that is, at four, eight, and twelve, it completes its eight strokes, and at these points changes are made in the officers of the ship.

But night is coming on, and, as the sailors say, "we must turn into our bunks."

J. N. L.