Calais Packet, The

A comic description of crossing the English Channel aboard one of the first steam packets emphasising the speed and relative comfort of the service.


Who's for Calais the packet(1) is sailing now
Pray make haste or you'll all be too late
Leave your lunch no time for regaling now
Pray can't you beg of the Captain to wait
Wind and tide never stay(1)
Come, haste now, let's away
Here waiter, what's to pay, all ready now
Charming and very like Twickenham ferry [Note 050.1]
Crossing over to Calais now [Note 050.2]

Spoken: Now Sir, if you mean to go you must come. I am only taking leave of my relations.
O we haven't time to take leave of relations now.
La Captain how I have run. I am quite out of breath. They told me you were gone; I had no time to eat my lunch; and hardly time to pay for it.
Never mind your lunch sir, it will be all the same in an hours time.
Why Captain, there's no fear is there?
Yes ma'am, plenty of fear but no danger.
Dear me, how shall I get on board?
This way ma'am, step on this plank.
That! Bless me it's no broader than a twopenny ribbon;

I am as giddy as a goose and I shouldn't like a duck.
That lady's afraid of a pitch in.
Goose, duck and pigeon, what a horrid pun! That fellow deserves to be sent to the Poultry Compter for it. [Note 050.3]
Take car! Oh I'm so frightful.
You are indeed ma'am.
Stop the ship the Captain don't know his way.
I say Captain.
O don't bother me with your nonsense.
I want to ask you a question, Captain pray how's the wind?
Pretty well thankee, how are you?
Pray Captain, how far are we from Calais?
A little better than five leagues.
A little better; a little worse you mean.
Well never you mind, you'll be there first.
Why sir, you're half seas over(1) already.
O dear, how nice we are going along, I do like it so; I ain't sick a bit; What a way from Dover we are already: there I do think I see the spires of Calais.
Where, here? Where?
Why at Calais to be sure.
Well sir you have no occasion to be so sharp; I don't suppose that you saw them at Deal. [Note 050.4]
Talking of Deal, who's for a rubber(1)?
I doesn't allow no cards aboard my wessel.
Well Twizzle, how do you like it?
Oh I like it werry much, it's just like sailing to Twickenham on a Sunday only it's a little broader and a little salterer.
I should like to have a song; what do you think of the storm. [Note 050.5]
Oh don't mention it! Pa, sing of that song you sung when we went to Chelsea in the funny.
That funny was a wherry my dear.
Oh was it? Why then it was wherry funny.. for....

How pleasant and very like Twickenham ferry
Is crossing from Dover to Calais I vow

All so gay when we entered the packet here
Half seas over, the scene is quite changed
Wind against us confusion and racket here
Sickly visages and toilets deranged
I shall be ill I fear
I feel a little queer
Can't we go back ? my dear: that's too late now

Spoken: Oh! Oh! I never was so ill in all my life  Oh! Oh!
Sarve you right, you would come a pleasuring; now you've got your belly full of it.
I wish I hadn't come, I'm so giddy; The next time I go to France, I'll go the whole way by land. [Note 050.6]
I say, look at Twizzle, he said he should enjoy it, I'll speak to him. 
No, don't.
Yes I must; see what a pickle he's in.
No don't it will be cruel.
I say Twizzle, how do you find yourself?
You seem to be very poorly
Oh! oh! oh! (imitation of sickness)
Ah Pips, how do Pips? you seem to be hard at it there;
I'm going down, can I bring anything up for you?
Who's for a fat mutton chop? Well, never mind, keep a good heart.
Keep  -- a man need have a stomach of iron to keep anything, I think.
Oh dear, Molly! Molly! Where's my servant, I'm dying. [Note 050.7]
So am I ma'am and can't come.
How dare you be ill when I want you.
Captain, Captain, bring me the brandy bottle, I'm going to go.
Pray Captain, was ever any person lost here?
No sir, several been drowned but we've always found them again.
Sir, the next time you're taken so, I'd thank you to turn your head; you've quite spoiled my wife's pelisse(1).
If people's taken suddenly, people cannot help other people's pelisses Sir.
Captain, could I lay down a bit?
Yes sir, there's a bed below, there's only three in it.
Captain, my hat's overboard.
Never mind your hat sir.
I shouldn't but my wig is in it. 
There's a whale, a whale!
Where, where?  I'd give a hundred guineasĀ¹ to see a whale; never see a whale in all my life.
No sir it's only a mispronunification, sir; it's my vife's wail, what she wears over her vig sir.
Oh is it? Then

How charming and very like Twickenham ferry
Is crossing from Dover to Calais I vow

Full six hours after sailing from Dover
Safely anchored at Calais at last
All forgetting their suffering now over
But what's to follow is worse than the rest
Can't make the pier good lack
Carried on shore pick-a-back
Souse in the water smack, these are the joys now

Spoken:- tell me captain, can't you m[illegible] the pier at Calais?
Yes and I can run foul of the bar too.
No, no, I bar that says Twizzle.
Where's the  breahers? (sic)
There, ahead' what's he say? Ah break my head.
No, no the breaker's ahead.
What's that, the bar? Dear me, I always thought it was a large pole of iron. And I always thought it was like Temple Bar! [Note 050.8]
Captain, how are we to go ashore - in a a boat?
No, I wish we could ma'am.
How are we to go ashore then?
As well as we can ma'am; there's these two stout Frenchman will carry you on their shoulders. Particularly horrid. I declare [Note 050.9]
I am so giddy, I don't know I declare whether I'm on my head or my heels.
Oh your right side uppermost now ma'am, depend upon it. 
Oh! oh! I'm black and blue already; these fellow are pinching and pulling me about so.
I say Twizzle do you twig that lady's legs on the two fellows backs carrying her through the water.
Legs! Mill posts you mean.
Why yes, as you say, she don't [illegible] upon trifles -

How charming and very like Twickenham ferry
Is crossing over to Calais I vow

[Note 050.10]