Oil painting by an unknown Artist
Peasant Family in a Cottage Interior
Adriaen van Ostade, 1610-1685
"It was such a strange scene to me, and so confined and dark, that, at first, I could make out hardly anything; but, by degrees, it cleared, as my eyes became more accustomed to the gloom, and I seemed to stand in a picture by Ostade. Among the great beams, bulks, and ringbolts, of the ship, and the emigrant berths, and chests, and bundles, and barrels, and heaps of miscellaneous baggage--lighted up, here and there, by dangling lanterns; and elsewhere by the yellow daylight straying down a wind sail or a hatchway--were crowded groups of people, making new friendships, taking leave of one another, talking, laughing, crying, eating and drinking; some, already settled down into the possession of their few feet of space, with their little households arranged, and tiny children established on stools, or in dwarf elbow chairs; others, despairing of a resting place, and wandering disconsolately. From babies who had but a week or two of life behind them, to crooked old men and women who seemed to have but a week or two of life before them; and from plowmen boduly carrying out soil of England on their boots, to smiths takin gaway samples of its soot and smoke upon their skins; every age and occupation appeared to be crammed into the narrow compass of the tween decks."
An excerpt from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens