Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV >> Page 34

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Page 34

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 34 SOUTHWARD HO
and reveal their wonders. Steam has removed this necessity and thus taken away all the wonders of the deep. You now see no mysteries in the surging billows�hear no spiritual voices from the shrouds. The spell has been taken from the waters�the trident is broken in the hands of the great '.Triton. Steam, a mightier magic, has puffed away, as by a breath, a whole world of unsubstantial, but very beautiful fable. The ocean is now as patient as the wild horse under the lasso subdued to the will of a rider who was never known to spare whip or spur."" The worst feature in this improved navigation is its unsocial influence. It deprives you of all motive to break down those idle little barriers of convention which are apt to fetter the very best minds, and cause a forfeiture of some of their sweetest humanities. You seek to know none of the virtues of your companions, and certainly never care to put in exercise your own. One ceases to be amiable in a short voyage. A long one, on the contrary, brings out all that is meritorious as well in your-self as your shipmate. A sense of mutual dependence is vastly promotive of good fellowship.� Then you see something of one another, and hear something of the world. People show what they are, and tell you what they have seen ; and intimacies, thus formed, have ripened into friendships, which no after events have been able to rupture. Commend me to the ancient slowand-easy packet ships that left you time for all these things ; � that went between Charleston and New York, and never felt any impatience to get to the end of their journey ,�that took every advantage afforded by a calm to nap drowsily on the bosom of the broad element in which they loved to float ; � and rocked lazily upon the great billows, as if coquetting with the breezes rather than using them for progress."
There was leisure then for study and philosophy and poetry; nay, love-making was then an easy and agreeable employment, to such as had the stomach for it. It will not be easy for me to forget my thousand experiences of the tender passion on such voyages�by moonlight and starlight ' with one sweet spirit for my minister,' gazing together on the great mirror-like ocean, or up into the persuasive Leavens, till we drank in floods of tenderness, from a myriad of loving eyes."" Ah !" cried Duyckman archly, " one is reminded of Moore�