My chief was presently hired to go on a big New Orleans boat, and I packed
my satchel and went with him. She was a grand affair. When I stood in her pilot-house
I was so far above the water that I seemed perched on a mountain; and her decks
stretched so far away, fore and aft, below me . . . the pilot house was a sumptuous
glass temple; room enough to have a dance in; showy red and gold window-curtains;
an imposing sofa; leather cushions and a back to the high bench where visiting
pilots sit, to spin yarns and 'look at the river;' bright, fanciful 'cuspidors'
instead of a broad wooden box filled with sawdust; nice new oil-cloth on the
floor; a hospitable big stove for winter; a wheel as high as my head, costly
with inlaid work; a wire tiller rope; bright brass knobs for the bells; and
a tidy, white aproned, black 'texas-tender,' to bring up tarts and ices and
coffee during mid-watch, day and night.
- Life on the Mississippi
Photo of a river pilot aboard the MISSISSIPPI, a Corps of Engineers boat that took
Teddy Roosevelt during part of his trip on the Mississippi River.
Photo courtesy of Ralph DuPae, Murphy Library
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