Who Could Tell Whether I Housed On
The Port Or Starboard Side Of Steerage No.
2 and 3?
And it was
only there that my superiority became practical; everywhere else I
was incognito, moving among my inferiors with simplicity, not so
much as a swagger to indicate that I was a gentleman after all, and
had broken meat to tea. Still, I was like one with a patent of
nobility in a drawer at home; and when I felt out of spirits I
could go down and refresh myself with a look of that brass plate.
For all these advantages I paid but two guineas. Six guineas is
the steerage fare; eight that by the second cabin; and when you
remember that the steerage passenger must supply bedding and
dishes, and, in five cases out of ten, either brings some dainties
with him, or privately pays the steward for extra rations, the
difference in price becomes almost nominal. Air comparatively fit
to breathe, food comparatively varied, and the satisfaction of
being still privately a gentleman, may thus be had almost for the
asking. Two of my fellow-passengers in the second cabin had
already made the passage by the cheaper fare, and declared it was
an experiment not to be repeated. As I go on to tell about my
steerage friends, the reader will perceive that they were not alone
in their opinion. Out of ten with whom I was more or less
intimate, I am sure not fewer than five vowed, if they returned, to
travel second cabin; and all who had left their wives behind them
assured me they would go without the comfort of their presence
until they could afford to bring them by saloon.
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