"Come, now, George, don't improvise. It looks too egotistical. It will provoke remark. Just stick to 'Coronation,' like the others. It is a good tune--you can't improve it any, just off-hand, in this way."

"Why, I'm not trying to improve it--and I am singing like the others-- just as it is in the notes."

And he honestly thought he was, too; and so he had no one to blame but himself when his voice caught on the center occasionally and gave him the lockjaw.

There were those among the unregenerated who attributed the unceasing head-winds to our distressing choir-music. There were those who said openly that it was taking chances enough to have such ghastly music going on, even when it was at its best; and that to exaggerate the crime by letting George help was simply flying in the face of Providence. These said that the choir would keep up their lacerating attempts at melody until they would bring down a storm some day that would sink the ship.

There were even grumblers at the prayers. The executive officer said the pilgrims had no charity:

"There they are, down there every night at eight bells, praying for fair winds--when they know as well as I do that this is the only ship going east this time of the year, but there's a thousand coming west--what's a fair wind for us is a head wind to them--the Almighty's blowing a fair wind for a thousand vessels, and this tribe wants him to turn it clear around so as to accommodate one--and she a steamship at that! It ain't good sense, it ain't good reason, it ain't good Christianity, it ain't common human charity. Avast with such nonsense!"

The Innocents Abroad Page 18

Mark Twain

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Mark Twain
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