Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain




















































































































































 -   One was then on its way to us, little as we suspected it;
the water which was to make the - Page 180
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One Was Then On Its Way To Us, Little As We Suspected It; The Water Which Was To Make The Steam Which Should Cause It, Was Washing Past Some Point Fifteen Hundred Miles Up The River While We Talked; - But It Would Arrive At The Right Time And The Right Place.

We doubted if persons not clothed with authority were of much use in cases of disaster and attendant panic;

Still, they might be of SOME use; so we decided that if a disaster ever fell within our experience we would at least stick to the boat, and give such minor service as chance might throw in the way. Henry remembered this, afterward, when the disaster came, and acted accordingly.

The 'Lacey' started up the river two days behind the 'Pennsylvania.' We touched at Greenville, Mississippi, a couple of days out, and somebody shouted -

'The "Pennsylvania" is blown up at Ship Island, and a hundred and fifty lives lost!'

At Napoleon, Arkansas, the same evening, we got an extra, issued by a Memphis paper, which gave some particulars. It mentioned my brother, and said he was not hurt.

Further up the river we got a later extra. My brother was again mentioned; but this time as being hurt beyond help. We did not get full details of the catastrophe until we reached Memphis. This is the sorrowful story -

It was six o'clock on a hot summer morning. The 'Pennsylvania' was creeping along, north of Ship Island, about sixty miles below Memphis on a half-head of steam, towing a wood-flat which was fast being emptied. George Ealer was in the pilot-house-alone, I think; the second engineer and a striker had the watch in the engine room; the second mate had the watch on deck; George Black, Mr. Wood, and my brother, clerks, were asleep, as were also Brown and the head engineer, the carpenter, the chief mate, and one striker; Captain Klinefelter was in the barber's chair, and the barber was preparing to shave him.

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