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Cruise Of The Dolphin

Every Rivermouth boy looks upon the sea as being in some way mixed up with his destiny.  While he is yet a baby lying in his cradle, he hears the dull, far-off boom of the breakers; when he is older, he wanders by the sandy shore, watching the waves that come plunging up the beach like white-maned sea-horses, as Thoreau calls them; his eye follows the lessening sail as it fades into the blue horizon, and he burns for the time when he shall stand on the quarter-deck of his own ship, and go sailing proudly across that mysterious waste of waters.

Then the town itself is full of hints and flavors of the sea.  The gables and roofs of the houses facing eastward are covered with red rust, like the flukes of old anchors; a salty smell pervades the air, and dense gray fogs, the very breath of Ocean, periodically creep up into the quiet streets and envelop everything.  The terrific storms that lash the coast; the kelp and spars, and sometimes the bodies of drowned men, tossed on shore by the scornful waves; the shipyards, the wharves, and the tawny fleet of fishing-smacks yearly fitted out at Rivermouth—­these things, and a hundred other, feed the imagination and fill the brain of every healthy boy with dreams of adventure.  He learns to swim almost as soon as he can walk; he draws in with his mother's milk the art of handling an oar:  he is born a sailor, whatever he may turn out to be afterwards

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 No. 106
 Posted on 7 June, 2006
 
 
 
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