Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV >> Page 33

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Page 33

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription OLD SEA-DOGS.
cracker, noon of lunch, sunset of tea, and the rarely sublimed
fires of the moonlight, gleaming from a thousand waves, suggest
only a period of repose, in which digestion goes on without any
consciousness of that great engine which he has all day been
packing with fuel. Tell him of porpoise and shark, and his
prayer is that they may be taken. He has no scruples to try a
steak from the ribs of the shark, though it may have swallowed
his own grandmother. Of the porpoise he has heard as the sea-
hog, and the idea of a roast of it, is quite sufficient to justify the
painstaking with which he urges upon the foremast man to take
his place at the prow, in waiting, with his harpoon. Nay, let a
school of dolphins be seen beneath the bows, darting along with
graceful and playful sweep, in gold and purple, glancing through
the billows, like so many rainbows of the deep, he thinks
of them only as a fry�an apology for whiting and cavalli, of
which lie sighs with the tenderest recollections, and for which
he is always anxious to find a substitute. I have already ob-
served that we have two or three specimens of this genus now
on board the Marion.
"I don't know," said our fair companion, " but that steam
has robbed the sea very equally of its charms and terrors."
Ah ! we have now no long voyages. Your coastwise trav-
elling seldom takes you from sight of land, and you scarcely
step from the pier head in one city, before you begin to look out
for the lighthouse of another. Even when crossing the great
pond, you move now so rapidly, and in such mighty vessels, that
you carry a small city with you � a community adequate to all
your social wants�and are thus made comparatively indifferent
to your absolute whereabouts."
Well, there is something pleasant," said one, to be able to
fling yourself into your berth in one city only to awaken in an-
other. I confess that it takes away all motive to thought and
survey. Few persons care to look abroad and about in such
short periods. There is little to amuse or interest, traversing
the ship's decks for a night, in the face of smoke and steam,
jostling with strange people wrapped in cloaks, whom you do not
care to know, as it is not probable that you are ever to meet
again when you part to-morrow. You must be long and lonely
on the seas, before the seas will become grateful in your sight