Chapter 13 HE HAS A FINE DAY AT SEA, BEGINS TO LIKE IT; BUT CHANGES HI_IND
The second day out of port, the decks being washed down and breakfast over,
the watch was called, and the mate set us to work.
It was a very bright day. The sky and water were both of the same deep hue;
and the air felt warm and sunny; so that we threw off our jackets. I coul_ardly believe that I was sailing in the same ship I had been in during th_ight, when every thing had been so lonely and dim; and I could hardly imagin_hat this was the same ocean, now so beautiful and blue, that during part o_he night-watch had rolled along so black and forbidding.
There were little traces of sunny clouds all over the heavens; and littl_leeces of foam all over the sea; and the ship made a strange, musical nois_nder her bows, as she glided along, with her sails all still. It seemed _ity to go to work at such a time; and if we could only have sat in th_indlass again; or if they would have let me go out on the bowsprit, and la_own between the _manropes_ there, and look over at the fish in the water, an_hink of home, I should have been almost happy for a time.
I had now completely got over my sea-sickness, and felt very well; at least i_y body, though my heart was far from feeling right; so that I could now loo_round me, and make observations.
And truly, though we were at sea, there was much to behold and wonder at; t_e, who was on my first voyage. What most amazed me was the sight of the grea_cean itself, for we were out of sight of land. All round us, on both sides o_he ship, ahead and astern, nothing was to be seen but water-water—water; no_ single glimpse of green shore, not the smallest island, or speck of moss an_here. Never did I realize till now what the ocean was: how grand an_ajestic, how solitary, and boundless, and beautiful and blue; for that day i_ave no tokens of squalls or hurricanes, such as I had heard my father tel_f; nor could I imagine, how any thing that seemed so playful and placid,
could be lashed into rage, and troubled into rolling avalanches of foam, an_reat cascades of waves, such as I saw in the end.
As I looked at it so mild and sunny, I could not help calling to mind m_ittle brother's face, when he was sleeping an infant in the cradle. It ha_ust such a happy, careless, innocent look; and every happy little wave seeme_amboling about like a thoughtless Little kid in a pasture; and seemed to loo_p in your face as it passed, as if it wanted to be patted and caressed. The_eemed all live things with hearts in them, that could feel; and I almost fel_rieved, as we sailed in among them, scattering them under our broad bows i_un-flakes, and riding over them like a great elephant among lambs. But wha_eemed perhaps the most strange to me of all, was a certain wonderful risin_nd falling of the sea; I do not mean the waves themselves, but a sort of wid_eaving and swelling and sinking all over the ocean. It was something I ca_ot very well describe; but I know very well what it was, and how it affecte_e. It made me almost dizzy to look at it; and yet I could not keep my eye_ff it, it seemed so passing strange and wonderful.
I felt as if in a dream all the time; and when I could shut the ship out,
almost thought I was in some new, fairy world, and expected to hear mysel_alled to, out of the clear blue air, or from the depths of the deep blue sea.
But I did not have much leisure to indulge in such thoughts; for the men wer_ow getting some _stun'-sails_ ready to hoist aloft, as the wind was gettin_airer and fairer for us; and these stun'-sails are light canvas which ar_pread at such times, away out beyond the ends of the yards, where the_verhang the wide water, like the wings of a great bird.
For my own part, I could do but little to help the rest, not knowing the nam_f any thing, or the proper way to go about aught. Besides, I felt ver_reamy, as I said before; and did not exactly know where, or what I was; ever_hing was so strange and new.
While the stun'-sails were lying all tumbled upon the deck, and the sailor_ere fastening them to the booms, getting them ready to hoist, the mat_rdered me to do a great many simple things, none of which could I comprehend,
owing to the queer words he used; and then, seeing me stand quite perplexe_nd confounded, he would roar out at me, and call me all manner of names, an_he sailors would laugh and wink to each other, but durst not go farther tha_hat, for fear of the mate, who in his own presence would not let any bod_augh at me but himself.
However, I tried to wake up as much as I could, and keep from dreaming with m_yes open; and being, at bottom, a smart, apt lad, at last I managed to lear_ thing or two, so that I did not appear so much like a fool as at first.
People who have never gone to sea for the first time as sailors, can no_magine how puzzling and confounding it is. It must be like going into _arbarous country, where they speak a strange dialect, arid dress in strang_lothes, and live in strange houses. For sailors have their own names, eve_or things that are familiar ashore; and if you call a thing by its shor_ame, you are laughed at for an ignoramus and a landlubber. This first day _peak of, the mate having ordered me to draw some water, I asked him where _as to get the pail; when I thought I had committed some dreadful crime; fo_e flew into a great passion, and said they never had any _pails_ at sea, an_hen I learned that they were always called _buckets._ And once I was talkin_bout sticking a little wooden peg into a bucket to stop a leak, when he fle_ut again, and said there were no _pegs_ at sea, only _plugs._ And just so i_as with every thing else.
But besides all this, there is such an infinite number of totally new names o_ew things to learn, that at first it seemed impossible for me to master the_ll. If you have ever seen a ship, you must have remarked what a thicket o_opes there are; and how they all seemed mixed and entangled together like _reat skein of yarn. Now the very smallest of these ropes has its own prope_ame, and many of them are very lengthy, like the names of young roya_rinces, such as the _starboard-main-top-gallant-bow-line,_ or the _larboard-
I think it would not be a bad plan to have a grand new naming of a ship'_opes, as I have read, they once had a simplifying of the classes of plants i_otany. It is really wonderful how many names there are in the world. There i_o counting the names, that surgeons and anatomists give to the various part_f the human body; which, indeed, is something like a ship; its bones bein_he stiff standing-rigging, and the sinews the small running ropes, tha_anage all the motions.
I wonder whether mankind could not get along without all these names, whic_eep increasing every day, and hour, and moment; till at last the very ai_ill be full of them; and even in a great plain, men will be breathing eac_ther's breath, owing to the vast multitude of words they use, that consum_ll the air, just as lamp-burners do gas. But people seem to have a great lov_or names; for to know a great many names, seems to look like knowing a goo_any things; though I should not be surprised, if there were a great many mor_ames than things in the world. But I must quit this rambling, and return t_y story.
At last we hoisted the stun'-sails up to the top-sail yards, and as soon a_he vessel felt them, she gave a sort of bound like a horse, and the breez_lowing more and more, she went plunging along, shaking off the foam from he_ows, like foam from a bridle-bit. Every mast and timber seemed to have _ulse in it that was beating with Me and joy; and I felt a wild exulting in m_wn heart, and felt as if I would be glad to bound along so round the world.
Then was I first conscious of a wonderful thing in me, that responded to al_he wild commotion of the outer world; and went reeling on and on with th_lanets in their orbits, and was lost in one delirious throb at the center o_he All. A wild bubbling and bursting was at my heart, as if a hidden sprin_ad just gushed out there; and my blood ran tingling along my frame, lik_ountain brooks in spring freshets.
Yes I yes! give me this glorious ocean life, this salt-sea life, this briny,
foamy life, when the sea neighs and snorts, and you breathe the very breat_hat the great whales respire! Let me roll around the globe, let me rock upo_he sea; let me race and pant out my life, with an eternal breeze astern, an_n endless sea before!
But how soon these raptures abated, when after a brief idle interval, we wer_gain set to work, and I had a vile commission to clean out the chicken coops,
and make up the beds of the pigs in the long-boat.
Miserable dog's life is this of the sea! commanded like a slave, and set t_ork like an ass! vulgar and brutal men lording it over me, as if I were a_frican in Alabama. Yes, yes, blow on, ye breezes, and make a speedy end t_his abominable voyage!