(From the 1911 John Murray edition)
CAPTAIN SAMUEL LEWIS,
PENINSULAR AND ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION COMPANY'S
My Dear Lewis,
After a voyage, during which the captain of the ship has displayed
uncommon courage, seamanship, affability, or other good qualities,
grateful passengers often present him with a token of their esteem,
in the shape of teapots, tankards, trays, &c. of precious metal.
Among authors, however, bullion is a much rarer commodity than
paper, whereof I beg you to accept a little in the shape of this
small volume. It contains a few notes of a voyage which your skill
and kindness rendered doubly pleasant; and of which I don't think
there is any recollection more agreeable than that it was the
occasion of making your friendship.
If the noble Company in whose service you command (and whose fleet
alone makes them a third-rate maritime power in Europe) should
appoint a few admirals in their navy, I hope to hear that your flag
is hoisted on board one of the grandest of their steamers. But, I
trust, even there you will not forget the "Iberia," and the
delightful Mediterranean cruise we had in her in the Autumn of
Most faithfully yours,
My dear Lewis,
W. M. THACKERAY.
LONDON: December 24, 1845.
On the 20th of August, 1844, the writer of this little book went to
dine at the - Club, quite unconscious of the wonderful events which
Fate had in store for him.
Mr. William was there, giving a farewell dinner to his friend Mr.
James (now Sir James). These two asked Mr. Titmarsh to join
company with them, and the conversation naturally fell upon the
tour Mr. James was about to take. The Peninsular and Oriental
Company had arranged an excursion in the Mediterranean, by which,
in the space of a couple of months, as many men and cities were to
be seen as Ulysses surveyed and noted in ten years. Malta, Athens,
Smyrna, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Cairo were to be visited, and
everybody was to be back in London by Lord Mayor's Day.
The idea of beholding these famous places inflamed Mr. Titmarsh's
mind; and the charms of such a journey were eloquently impressed
upon him by Mr. James. "Come," said that kind and hospitable
gentleman, "and make one of my family party; in all your life you
will never probably have a chance again to see so much in so short
a time. Consider - it is as easy as a journey to Paris or to
Baden." Mr. Titmarsh considered all these things; but also the
difficulties of the situation: he had but six-and-thirty hours to
get ready for so portentous a journey - he had engagements at home -
finally, could he afford it? In spite of these objections,
however, with every glass of claret the enthusiasm somehow rose,
and the difficulties vanished.
But when Mr. James, to crown all, said he had no doubt that his
friends, the Directors of the Peninsular and Oriental Company,
would make Mr. Titmarsh the present of a berth for the voyage, all
objections ceased on his part: