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THE HORRORS OF TRAVEL
(Harpers Weekly Sept. 23, 1865)
“All aboard” a train
Riding into another train
Or over a cliff because someone
Or something broke a rail!
Whether intentionally or innocently
It is equally horrible for you and the conductor.
That’s it, that’s all, your life is over!
So long, so short
Now no difference.
Think of playing an accordion so blithe
Aboard a side-wheeler, enjoying the cruise.
The steamer blows up – in two.
You, the squeezebox, the purser go three ways.
There is no help – no big sand pail
No caustic for a ship breaking up
Or glue for its passengers and crew.
In spite of all the jolly talk
About comfort and progress,
Or gainful commerce taught
About investments in transshipments,
“Where Rail Meets Sail”
Was once also a horrific thought,
Immigrants jostled in schooners in a storm,
Tourists steaming aboard a Blue Funnel
Travelers riding west on a Mountain Goat
Most expected that those machines were well wrought
With handiwork fit tight and crews well taught
But still climbing up the riders’ throats
Were the old horrors of travel.
Boarding a train or schooner
You don’t have to any longer.
But there are modern ways
To find perdition sooner.
Take your own motorcar
Or ride a motorbike
Into a slippery night.