The sailor said this in an easy and careless manner, as if, after all,
he was not much concerned about the danger. Still, Marco was surprised
that he should fear it at all. He was not aware how much the fears
which people feel, are occasioned by the mere novelty of the danger
which they incur. A stage-driver, who is calm and composed on his box,
in a dark night, and upon dangerous roads, will be alarmed by the
careening of a ship under a gentle breeze at sea, - while the sailor
who laughs at a gale of wind on the ocean, is afraid to ride in a
carriage on land.
"An't you a sailor?" asked Marco.
"Yes," replied his companion.
"I shouldn't think that a man that had been used to the sea, would be
afraid of upsetting in a coach."
"I'm not a _man_" said the sailor.
"What are you?" said Marco.
"I'm a boy. I'm only nineteen years old; though I'm going to be rated
seaman next voyage."
"Have you just got back from a voyage?" asked Marco.
"Yes," said the sailor. "I've been round the Horn in a whaler, from
old Nantuck. And now I'm going home to see my mother."
"How long since you've seen her?" asked Marco.
"O, it's four years since I ran away."
Here the sailor began to speak in rather a lower tone than he had done
before, so that Marco only could hear.