| [Aboard ships]:...the world is far, far away;
it has ceased to exist for you--seemed a fading dream, along in the first
days; has dissolved to an unreality now; it is gone from your mind with
all its businesses and ambitions, its prosperities and disasters, its exultations
and despairs, its joys and griefs and cares and worries. They are no concern
of yours any more; they have gone out of your life; they are a storm which
has passed and left a deep calm behind.
- Following the Equator
from the Dave Thomson collection
On board ship one tires of the aspects in a couple of days and quits looking.
The same vast circle of heaving humps is spread around you all the time, with
you in the center of it and never gaining an inch on the horizon, as far as
you can see one; for a variety, a flight of flying fish, a flock of porpoises
throwing summersaults afternoons, a remote whale spouting Sundays, occasional
phosphorescent effects nights, every other day a streak of black smoke trailing
along under the horizon; on the single red-letter day, the illustrious iceberg.
I have seen that iceberg thirty-four times in thirty-seven voyages; it is always
that same shape, it is always the same size, it always throws up the same old
flash when the sun strikes it; you may set it on any New York doorstep of a
June morning and light it up with a mirror flash and I will engage to recognize
it. It is artificial, and is provided and anchored out by the steamer companies.
I used to like the sea, but I was young then, and could easily get excited over
any kind of monotony, and keep it up till the monotonies ran out.
- "A Humorists Confession," The New York Times, 11/26/1905
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