Their Pilgrimage Ch. 1–2 [1/8]
Charles Dudley Warner
Novel, Travelogue, Serial
Military Technology, Steamships, Gender, Nationalism, Navigation, Psychical Research, Pathology, Instruments, Race, Amusement
Having determined to go on a 'pilgrimage to the holy places of America' (666), the mixed group of travellers first visit the naval docks at Newport News in Virginia, where the narrator reflects that in 'nothing does the American woman better show her patriotism than in her desire to inspect naval vessels and understand dry-docks under the guidance of naval officers'. Although, while inspecting the officer's cabin of one of the 'training-ships', a 'young lady discovered that the novels of Zola were among the nautical works needed in the navigation of a ship of war'. As the party travel along the Virginia capes, they ask 'a hundred questions about the batteries, and whence the Merrimac appeared, and [...] from what place the Monitor darted out upon its big antagonist [i.e. css Virginia]. (663) Later observes that 'mind-reading' and 'palmistry' are 'an aid to mild flirtation' (666), and when one of the male characters says to the obviously reluctant Miss Irene 'Surely you are not uninterested in what is now called psychical research?', she replies 'If I were a physician, I should like to watch the operation of the minds of "sensitives" as a pathological study. But the experiments I have seen are merely exciting and unsettling, without the least good result, with a haunting notion that you are being tricked or deluded' (666–67). In Atlantic City, the group notice, among many other things, 'a bevy of little girls grouped about an ancient colored man, the very ideal old Uncle Ned [...] lazy good-nature oozing out of every pore of him, kneeling by a telescope', who is teaching the girls to use the 'object-glass, shutting first one eye and then the other' [a scene illustrated in an engraving on the previous page] (676).
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