A SHORT farewell to smoke and noise, [Note 618.1]
We're off to taste sweet Margate's joys ;
The Steam Boats wait-you'll be too late,
If you don't make haste to th' Tower Stairs;
See the sun sheds forth its light, F
There's not a single cloud in sight,
While all sorts meet-in low Thames Street,
And coaches hasten with their fares.
Oyster dealers - fish fags - railers -
Gentry -porters -Jews and sailors.
All is bustle, noise and prate,
Around sweet crowded Billingsgate. [Note 618.2]
Eight o'clock's the time for going,
To and fro see wherry's rowing,
Whilst the muddy Thames is flowing.
"Make haste coachee, pray get on,
"Hollo mate, pull up. I say
"Your fish cart here stops up the way,
"I can't sit standing here all day,
"The Steam Boats sure will all be gone."
Spoken: Cup(1), mate, pull o'vun side vill you? I can't stop vhile you loads your cart can't ye ? then let your fare get out and valk, use their legs as we do - vhat, are we to neglect our vork 'cause some folks chuses to go a pleasuring ? - we shan't be more than half an hour- Coachman, we must get out I see - do you vant a porter to carry your bundle ? - no, no ; you may bundle yourself-boat, your honor ?
- Engineer², sir
-no, the Eclipse¹
-vy ay, sir, she does eclipse all the rest-
now, ma'am, mind how you goes - there you are sir
- how much is your fare ?
- what, eighteen-pence for six yards ?
- yes, sir ; there's three on ye, six-pence a piece [Note 618.5]
- why damme 'tis an highway robbery
-no, it an't no robbery at all, and if it was, it cou'dn't be a highway robbery, because d'ye see 'tis on the vater ; but if you don't like to give it me, I'll set you ashore in the mud for nothing
-lawk¹, papa, we looks quite conspicuous ; when we goes to Rome, we must do as Rome does
-vy yes, miss ; and if you don't make haste aboard the Eclipse¹, there will be no room there-now we are off-why, Mr. Spikes, who'd ha' thought of seeing you ?-what takes you to Margate ?-why, the Eclipse steam packet ; what does all the world go for, but to spend the cash that belongs to their creditors, and get rid of the duns for a time - well, with that we have done for a time-LARBOARD ! LARBOARD !-STEADY, STEADY-all,
Mr. Smelt, [Note 618.6] how d'ye do ?-vy, I'm very middling-how are you, ma'am-vy, sir, I'm as lively as a grig, but Mr. Smelt is always like a fish out of water, whenever he's out a pleasuring :
but do you see what a pickle I'm in ?-ah ! see what a pickle she's in-wanting to shew her 'gility in getting into the vherry, her foot slipt and down she com'd as flat as a flounder -
well, never mind, my dear ; I never cares about trifles, but you haven't got no soul-what cause was there for you to say flounder, letting every body know your trade ? you ought to be above fish, now-well, ma'am, so he is ; that is if there are any fish at all in the Thames-
bless me, here's Miss Gore, the dress-maker-oh ! Mr. Smelt, I am in such a pucker , and so alarmed, that I think I must faint ; do you know there's a large fire on board-now, if the vessel takes fire, what are we to do ? we must be either burnt or drowned -
oh, here's the steward : pray, Mr. Watts, tell me, candidly, is there any danger ? - no, miss ; not the least : make yourself perfectly easy, as I can swim like a duck, and if the vessel should take fire, leap on my back, and you may depend on it I will ride you safely on shore [Note 618.7] - all ! there may be no danger of taking fire, and yet we might be blow'd up - blow'd up ! pray, sir, are you married ?-no, sir ; why ?-only if you were, you would think nothing of being blow'd up now and then
I much wonder how the works are constructed to make the vessel go so fast, she seems to fly-she, did you say ? this can't be a she, 'tis a "E-clipse - now, ma'am, I'll tell you all about the works you must know that there's a great large big iron copper pot under the fire ; no, no, over the fire I mean, and the fire's under that, and then there's the steam engine and the steamers, that they boil the legs of mutton and beef in ; and the fire being under the boiler, and the boiler over the fire, the heat of the fire makes the water boil, for there's the hot water and the cold water-and the engine-and the steam-and the wheels-and the smoke-and-and-and-that's the way we go along, ma'am
Madam, that old gentleman has explained it so badly, if you will allow me, I'll expound it thoroughly, for I entirely understand it : in the first place, it is not an iron copper pot, or a copper iron pot ; now, if it is a pot, how can it he a copper ? and if a copper, how can it be a pot ?-in fact, it is neither one nor the other, but a boiler. The fire being under the boiler, the water boils over and falls into the safety valves, and is conducted through con-ductors to a spout at each of the wheels, at the sides of the vessel, and that sets the wheels going, and the wheels set the engine going, and that sets the vessel going.-
There's Greenwich, and here's Blackwall Reach -dear me ! what is that ?-oh that, ma'am, is the men hanging in chains
-oh, I shall faint ! what a shame that they should be exposed to the sight of so many genteel people !-pray tell me when we are past them
now, ma'am, here's Woolwich Warren, and there's the Hulks¹ -
Bulks, pray, sir, what may they be for ?- Bulks, pray, sir, what may they be for ?
-why, madam, they are for the reception of all the hulking fellows about town, who don't like work, and when town don't agree with them, our Government kindly send them down here for the benefit of the air, but sometimes they are sent t'other side of the water to cultivate Botany; and some of them are so ungrateful as never to return, and those who do, never think of returning thanks to Government for providing such comfortable situations for them.-[Note 618.8]
Well, bless me what ingratitude there is in the world
- here, do you see that windmill there ? that's Gravesend, and then, t'other side, is Bilbery Fort, and that Fort's a castle, and it's fortified all round with a fortification, and it was took by Queen Elizabeth from the Danish Armada [Note 618.9]; it's got a counter-part in it, and javelins and ten nails to load the cannon with
Thus every object as we go,
For conversation gives a theme ;
Each mode of travelling's far below
The pleasures of a Margate Steam.
The water now gets much more wide,
A large expanse is on each side,
We glide along the sea so strong,
Much faster than a horse could stride.
And now, to catch the fresh'ning gale,
The sailors quick hoist up a sail, [Note 618.10]
'Which soon does fill, and quicker still
We leave each vessel at our tail.
The wind gets up, the waters swell,
The steward's man comes with his bell ;
Whilst " Steady ! Steady !" quick does chime,
Announces that 'tis dinner time.
One by one we slowly go, to the cabin down below,
When seated, eating's sweet delights,
Soon settles all our appetites.
Spoken: Well, this mutton is fine ; Southdown, I suppose - mouthdown ;
O yes, sir,'tis certainly down in the mouth -
my dear, don't you eat too much of the turnips, perhaps you'll be sick -
fie, papa, you might say un-well- [Note 618.11] but I think I could eat a bushel -very strange I have such an appetite, 'tis the sea air I suppose -
sea hare, ma'am, I don't think there is such an animal -
pray, were you ever at sea before ?-
no, sir ; but I have been up to Richmond in a cutter [Note 618.12] , but this is much more pleasanter -
oh, much more, ma'am ; we don't want oars here -
oars, sir, oh no, but I'm glad to see so many skulls -
sculls, ma'am ?
-oh yes ; and the ladies all feather their skulls-and the gentlemen have skulls as light as a feather-
well, now isn't this better than travelling by the coach-allow'd eight minutes to eat your dinner, five of which are taken up in placing it on the table, so by then you have the first mouthful in, the coachman comes in too, with " now ladies and gentlemen, all ready," - " can't wait"-oh, the devil take all travelling excepting by steam [Note 618.13] -
why, what's the matter, my dear ?-
oh, papa, I'am so sick-O-h, why I feel queerish too - let's go on deck-Oh, how rough the sea is-yes, daddy Neptune¹ has got his night-cap¹ on
-Oh ! o-h ! I wish I had mine on snug at home, o-h !-Och what an imposition !-
a what, sir ?
- an imposition, for it can be nothing else, to make us all sick directly after dinner-
och ! och ! what'll I do ? what'll I do ? oh, if it had been before dinner, I wouldn't care a paring of a potatoe about it; but what'll I do? -
why, sir, if you walk to the other side and put your head over the railing, it will be more decent, because you see the wind blows it directly over those persons who have no inclination to be sick - Inclination! Och, by the powers, I have no inclination myself, but o-h! O - h !-well, my dear, how d'ye do now ? -
oh, papa, the turnips-
lawk, father, look if there an't a mile stone
- phoo, phoo, 'tis a buoy,-a boy;
I'm sure it an't a boy, nor a man neither ;
what's it for?-
'tis to direct the ships in their courses, and sometimes to fasten them to-you see the sea looks quite green and the taste is salt -
what is it in this pond they catch all the salt fish ?-
how long shall we be before we reach Margate ? -
not long now, sir-well sir, your sickness has been unlucky ; you've lost the Reculvers [Note 618.14]
-och, by the powers, I'll soon recover that loss, for I must have another dinner--
pray, what birds are those ?
they are sea gulls-sea gulls,
oh I've heard of them; are there many about Margate ?-
oh Yes, sir ; in fact Margate is reckon'd a famous place to see gulls-indeed;
do the Margate folks catch them to eat?-
why, sir, tho' not exactly to eat, they may be said to live entirely on them, as they pluck all that's worth having of them and set them flying, and in the course of the season they stand a chance of picking them up again [Note 618.15]
-only look what a number of genteel people on the pier [Note 618.16]-
here we are at last-well, Miss, how do you find yourself now ?
-thank'y, sir, I'm better than I were-you were, you was, you should say-say where I was, papa ;
why, I was along with that squinting lady in the cabin, and directly she came in I says, says I we shall all be sick, and so we was-so we were ;
have you forgotten your grammar ? I was sick, He was sick, We were sick, They were sick-
why, papa, to tell the truth, I think we was all sick, but I see no cause for your catching at all that falls from my mouth-
well, sir, what's your opinion of the Eclipse? -
why, sir, the ECLIPSE¹ is certainly the FAVOURITE¹; she goes along so MAJESTIC¹, and so swift, that, in a race with even the ENGINEER², she would be sure to obtain the VICTORY²
Thus every object as we go,
For conversation gives a theme ;
Each mode of travelling is below
The pleasures of a Margate Steam.