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A BUCKEYE ABROAD.
one can contemplate a long sea voyage to distant lands without foreboding. To a native of the west, unaccustomed to the ocean, and only glancing at its terrors, through a dim and often distorted medium, a journey over its troublous bosom is trebly fearful. Pluck up what courage he may, yet the heart will quail when the hour approaches, in which to sever connec tion with the stable earth. Upon this merry May morning, as we are preparing to board our steamer, there is a sort of "fearful looking for" the terrors of the deep. This is entirely unnecessary, at least for the first three hours. Yet I would not be deprived of this semi-melancholy and this semi-terror which enshroud the mind before a long sea voyage. Madame de Stäel has remarked, very truthfully, that it is a great trial to leave
one's country, when one must cross the sea. There is such solemnity in a pilgrimage, the first steps of which are on the ocean. It seems as if a gulf were opening behind you, and your return becoming impossible. How can it be otherwise to us western folk, whose visions have been circumscribed by hills and forests, rivers and plains? The round "dim inane" of the ocean horizon already, to the mind's eye, fills the imagination with the terror which springs from vagueness. In such a stretch of the sight, not only the eye, but thought even is lost. Suggestions, connate with those which the idea of death prompts, arise in the soul.
And yet, for all these imaginary as well as real experiences of ill, what a compensation has the traveller, in the anticipation of standing upon the shores of the old world, with its scenes of renowned enchantment and heroic deeds, with its very dust golden with historic memory! It is well to be shut out, as if by a wall of brass, from old and familiar things, to enjoy such hallowed and hallowing scenes.
Severed from familiar objects by an abyss of water, more formidable than brass, it will be mine to transcribe the observations and thoughts which these scenes inspire.
The contrasts which a sea voyage present are not unworthy of some note, especially as we have not the opportunity, as yet, to tread in the path of antiquity-to gather moss from its ruined monuments and crumbling towers-to forget the ordinary experiences of every-day life, and to wrap ourselves in the shadowy mantle of the past.
We left the dock at Jersey City upon a fine day. The sun shone mildly. A light breeze, which had not power to curl a single snow-wreath, played in the harbor. All aboard. The deck was thronged with passengers and their friends to bid them "good bye." The boat is cleared of all save the passengers, and we move out, how proudly, from our mooring. The crowd on the dock cheer us; our guns answer with a quiver and a report. Away we dash-past the Battery and down the bay!
A few tears from the ladies; a few farewell wavings of handkerchiefs, and New-York begins to die away in the distance. The Battery becomes an indistinct clump of foliage. The forest of masts becomes pencilled so fine as to seem but one mark; the land soon fades into a blue sky, and we are afloat!
For the first few hours the fresh air of the salt sea and the novel situation, afford agreeable excitement. The frame quivers with a new-born delight. The soul sweeps the horizon with a larger circuit and a bolder wing. The Old World already looms up in the East, a glorious promise to the Eye of Hope!
Soon we hail a vessel, and let off the pilot. The little boat drops astern, amid the foam of our wake, and the steamer again throbs on its way. We had not gone far before a singular phenomena―singular at least to our Buckeye eye-appeared. There was a something spouting salt water against the sky! It proved to be a whale-a live Jonah-swallowing king of the deep! We lingered upon deck to watch the sun sink in splendor. The process of setting sail began, with the cheery songs and cries of the sailors. A west wind is coming along to add to our velocity and give exhilaration to our spirits.
Exhilaration? If you could only have seen your newfledged traveller, from that time forward up to the time when he first seized this pen, you would have found him a perfect embodiment of inverted exhilaration. He began to experience all Oh! this rolling, rolling,
the seven-fold horror of the sea. straining, creaking, pitching, and tossing! all day—all night. When will this voyage end? He begins to count the hours, and measures them by groans. Eating? Horrible! All that he can do is to take down beef-tea, porridges and soups, and such other watery aliment, only fit for the spectre of Melancholy. Old Burton must have been upon the sea, when he wrote the couplet:
"All other griefs to this are jolly,