THE Walter Scott:
Of Its Day
WARREN E. SPEHAR*
In Huckleberry Finn the adventures of
Huck and Jim aboard the wrecked steamboat Walter Scott introduce Twain s audience to certain details of superstructure
design of western steamboats. After overcoming Jim's reluctance to board the
apparently abandoned vessel (Chapter
Twelve), Jim and Huck made fast the raft
to the starboard derrick and then proceed
toward the texas, fending off the guys as they go. Reaching the captain's door at the front end of the texas,1 the rectangular structure
mounted on the topmost deck (hurricane), and on which itself was
mounted the pilot house, Huck looks "away down through the texas-
hall [and sees] a light!" Hearing voices from within the texas, Huck
CROSS SECTION OF
E. B. Trail Collection
State Hist. Soc. of Mo.
*Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Mr. Spehar received his B.S. degree
in English from Rockhurst College and his M.A. in the same field from
the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He is currently completing his
Ph.D. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
i No convincing explanation of the application of this term to this steamboat feature has yet been proposed. One view is that staterooms on Mississippi
steamboats were commonly named after states, hence the officers' room, the
largest, is said to have been named "texas."