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LIFE AT SEA, 15

thing of the vague and vast, in idea, which natu-
rally comes over one, in such circumstances. What
a strange thing is it, to step from the “sure and
firm-set earth” to the unstable element—to feel
that divorce from all former possessions and famil-
iar objects, from the fields and the mountains and
the solid world—to be borne on the wings of the
wind, on, on, day after day, day after day, and to
reach no shore—to hear, night after night, rushing
by one's very pillow, the deep, dark, *: )
sea --"
And yet there is a strange mixture of things
too in a life at sea, and on board of one of these
magnificent packets. Reality and romance react
upon each other, making both more strange. We
have been sailing upon the dread and boundless
ocean, naturally associated with none but ideas of
difficulty and danger. And yet here is a saloon,”
more splendid in its cabinet-work and whole finish-
ing than any private apartment perhaps in our
native land; here are a luxurious table and atten-
tive servants; here, upon that tremendous element,
one wave of which, could it put forth its power,
would dash us in pieces, are groups of people easy
and unconcerned—some are reading, some con-

* The George Washington.

versing, some singing, some engaged in amuse-
ments—sports and games: at night all retire to
their chambers in this floating palace; in the morn-
ing they meet, and greet one another at the break-
fast table, as if it were a large party on a visit in
the country.
The grandeur of the ocean on our first getting
out of sight of land, seemed to me something
greater than I had felt before—the whole circle
around boundless: it was, compared with looking
off from the shore, like embracing in one compre-
hensive act of mind, the eternity past and to come.
Yet I defy anybody, not thoroughly accustomed
to the sea, to feel much of its grandeur after
thought, imagination, feeling, sensation, have been
rocked into that indescribable state of ennui, dis-
quiet, discomfort, and inertness which the sea
often produces. No, let me look off from some
headland, or out from some quiet nook of the fast-
anchored earth, to feel the grandeur or to enjoy the
romance of the sea.
I wonder that nobody has talked, or written, or
sung, or satirized, about this horrible discomfort of
a sea voyage. It is said that Cato repented only
of three things during his life—“to have gone by
sea, when he could go by land, to have passed a
day inactive, and to have told a secret to his wife.”

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THE OLD WORLD, 17

I will not discuss the other points with the old
stoic, but with the first I certainly have the most
perfect sympathy. It is not seasickness; I have
had none of it; but it is a sickness of the sea,
which has never, that I know, been described. It
is a tremendous ennui, a complete inaptitude to all
enjoyment, a total inability to be pleased with any-
thing. Nothing is agreeable—neither eating nor
drinking, nor walking nor talking, nor reading nor
Writing, nor even is going to sleep an agreeable
process, and waking is perfect misery. I am
speaking of my own experience, it is true, and
others find a happier fortune upon the sea; but, I
believe that it is the experience of a class, not much
less unhappy than the most miserable victims of
Seasickness.
JUNE 25. We are sailing slowly up St.
George's Channel. It really almost requires an
act of faith, to feel that in sixteen days we have
reached the Old World; that yonder is the coast
of Ireland, and there, on the right, is Snowdon in
Wales. As we move on silently, borne along by
an invisible power, it seems as if this were a spec-
tre ship; and the surrounding objects, a dream.
The stillness and mystery of expectation come
over one's mind like a spell—for this, indeed, is the

mighty gateway to the Old World, and the misty

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curtain before us is about to burst asunder, and
to turn the visions of a whole previous life into
reality! If I were approaching the coast of Kamt-
schatka or New Holland, it would be a different
thing; it would be comparatively a commonplace
occurrence; but here is the birthplace of my lan-
guage, of my mind's nurture—the world where
my thoughts have lived, my fatherland—and yet
strange and mysterious as if it were the land of
some pre-existent being !
The Old World!—my childhood’s dream—my
boyhood’s wonder—my youth's study—I have
read of the wars of grim old kings and barons,
as if they were the wars of titans and giants—
but now it is reality; for I see the very soil they
trod. They come again over those hills and
mountains—they fight again—they bleed, they die,
they vanish from the earth. Yet other crowds
come—the struggling generations pass before me;
and antiquity is a presence and a power. It has
a “local habitation.” Its clouded tabernacle is
peopled with life. Who says that the earth is
cold and dead? It is written all over—its whole
broad surface, every travelled path, every wave
of ocean—with the story of human affections.
Warm, eager life—the life of breathing generations,
is folded in its mighty bosom, and sleeps there,

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THE OLD WORLD, 19

but is not dead! Oh! world ! world ! what hast thou been through the long ages that have gone before us? Ay, what hast thou been 7 In this vast domain of old time before me, every human hearthas been a world of living affections. Every soul that has lived has taken the experience of life, new and fresh, singly and alone, as if no other had ever felt it. Not in palaces only, but in the cottage, has the whole mighty problem of this wonderful humanity been wrought out. Sighings, and tears, and rejoicings, birthday gladness, and bridal joy, and clouding griefs, and death, have been in every dwelling. Gay throngs of youth have entered in, and funereal trains have come forth, at every door. Through millions of hearts on these very shores, has swept the whole mighty procession of human passions. How has it already lengthened out almost to eternity, the brief expanse of time ! LIVERPool, JUNE 26. On approaching the higher latitudes, one of the most remarkable things that drew my attention, was the extreme shortness of the nights. It is not quite two hours from the end of the evening twilight to the first dawn of the morning. The sun sets, I think, at about half-past eight o'clock, and rises at half-past three in the morning, Agentleman onboard said that he had read in

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