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The transition is a keen one, I assure you, from a schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks?
What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other’s shoulder-blades, and be content.
It is out of the idolatrous dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses the pyramids.
No, when I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast, plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head.
But though the picture lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs like leaves upon this shepherd’s head, yet all were vain, unless the shepherd’s eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him.
With other men, perhaps, such things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I ever heard of. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid. Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the fore-castle deck.