Miss B—— said pleadingly: “Take care of my dear brother”; and as I promised to care for him as if he were my own, I thought of another sister far away, who, could she be present, would echo the request: “Take care of my dear brother.” With waving handkerchiefs and repeated good-byes, we moved slowly from the wharf, and, steaming round in a great semicircle to where the Olga was lying, we were transferred to the little brig, which, for the next two months, was to be our home.
The steamer towed us outside the “heads” of the Golden Gate, and then cast off; and as she passed us on her way back, our friends gathered in a little group on the forward deck, with the colonel at their head, and gave three generous cheers for the “first Siberian exploring party.” We replied with three more,—our last farewell to civilisation,—and silently watched the lessening figure of the steamer, until the white handkerchief which Arnold had tied to the backstays could no longer be seen, and we were rocking alone on the long swells of the Pacific.
CROSSING THE NORTH PACIFIC—SEVEN WEEKS IN A RUSSIAN BRIG
“He took great content and exceeding delight in his voyage, as who doth not as shall attempt the like.”—BURTON.
AT SEA, 700 MILES N.W. OF SAN FRANCISCO.
Wednesday, July 12, 1865.
Ten days ago, on the eve of our departure for the Asiatic coast, full of high hopes and joyful anticipations of pleasure, I wrote in a fair round hand on this opening page of my journal, the above sentence from Burton; never once doubting, in my enthusiasm, the complete realisation of those “future joys,” which to “fancy’s eye” lay in such “bright uncertainty,” or suspecting that “a life on the ocean wave” was not a state of the highest felicity attainable on earth. The quotation seemed to me an extremely happy one, and I mentally blessed the quaint old Anatomist of Melancholy for providing me with a motto at once so simple and so appropriate. Of course “he took great content and exceeding delight in his voyage”; and the wholly unwarranted assumption that because “he” did, every one else necessarily must, did not strike me as being in the least absurd.
On the contrary, it carried all the weight of the severest logical demonstration, and I would have treated with contempt any suggestion of possible disappointment. My ideas of sea life had been derived principally from glowing poetical descriptions of marine sunsets, of “summer isles of Eden, lying in dark purple spheres of sea,” and of those “moonlight nights on lonely waters” with which poets have for ages beguiled ignorant landsmen into ocean voyages. Fogs, storms, and seasickness did not enter at all into my conceptions of marine phenomena; or if I did admit the possibility of a storm, it was only as a picturesque, highly poetical manifestation of wind and water in action, without any of the disagreeable