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[RIESENBERG, Captain Felix?] "OLD SALT".

The bon voyage book.

An intimate guide for the modern ocean traveller.

Published: New York: The John Day Company, 1931

Stock code: 112040

Price: £150

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition, first printing, of this amusing manual, presented in striking art-deco style, for the American cruise-ship tourist bound for luxury, jollity and Europe. The advice includes: such reassuring gems as, “When you hear a bugle, it does not signify a touring company of marines, nor does it indicate the vessel has been rammed by an iceberg. It’s simply the nautical way of saying “dinner is served”.”; the injunction to “keep your eyes out for card sharps. Even though Jesse James and Buffalo Bill have long since been dead and buried, there are just as many professional gamblers crossing the Atlantic as there were in the lusty days of the clipper ships. On the other hand, don’t get excited if the big lumber and fertilizer man from Tacoma happens to beat you at cards, neatly but innocently – you may be merely not as good a player.”; and the sage advice, when faced with seasickness, that “the sensible person will do the wise thing and dine lightly the first day, or will refrain from drinking the ship’s entire liquor supply the first twelve hours out, and go in earnestly for securing his “sea legs.”… Many people claim that a pint of champagne will do wonders when you feel the first symptoms of seasickness, but you need not use that as an excuse.” The book also includes a list of sparky costume suggestions for ship masquerades, the rules and etiquette for ship sports (including, alarmingly, Horse Racing), a tellingly brief chapter on “What to Read”, a nautical dictionary, a European-language vocabulary, and extensive tourist information for the major European ports including a chapter attempting to demystify Cockney Rhyming Slang for any American passenger over-hopeful that English be spoken identically on both sides of the Atlantic. Though the author is given as an anonymous “Old Salt”, the author may have been Captain Felix Riesenberg, who wrote the front flap blurb and the foreword for this book. He was an American maritime officer and author of several fictional and nonfictional maritime works, including two screenplays and an autobiography. The John Day Company did publish Riesenberg’s book “The Maiden Voyage” in 1931.

Octavo. Original yellow and purple cloth decorated with an art-deco style cruise-ship design to front board, all edges dyed purple, yellow endpapers. With the dust jacket reproducing the cloth design. An excellent copy.

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