It is the pleasant twilight hour, and Frank and Harry Chilton are in
their accustomed seat by their mother's side in the old sofa, that
same comfortable old sofa, which might have listened to many
pleasant and interesting stories that will never be told.
Mother, said Frank, you have often promised us that some time you
would tell us about your travels in Europe. This is a good stormy
evening, and no one will come in to interrupt you; so please, dear
Mother, tell us all you can remember.
It is now, boys, five years since my return from Europe. Much that I
did and saw while there I forget. However, as I have been lately
looking over my hasty journal, I will see what I can remember.
On the first of August I set sail in the steamer Caledonia for
England. At four o'clock in the afternoon, we were out of sight of
land; one by one, we had taken leave of every object which could be
seen from the departing vessel; and now nothing was visible to us
but the sky, the ocean meeting it in its wide, unbroken circle the
sun gradually sinking in the west, and our small but only house, the
ship. How strange, how sublime the scene was! so lonely, so
magnificent, so solemn! At last the sun set, gilding the clouds, and
looking, to my tearful eyes, as if that too said farewell! Then the
moon appeared; and the long, indefinite line of light from where her
rays first touched the waters to our ship, and the dancing of the
waves as they crossed it, catching the light as they passed, were so
beautiful that I was unwilling to leave the deck when the hour for
The wind was against us, and we did not get on very fast; but I
enjoyed the novel scene the next day, and passed all my time on
deck, watching the sailors and the passengers, and noticing the
difference between Englishmen and Americans.
On Sunday it was very cold, and the wind, still contrary, rose
higher and higher; it was impossible to set any sail, but I still
kept on deck, and thus avoided sickness. Soon after breakfast I saw
a white foam rising in different places occasionally, and was told
that it was whales spouting; I saw a great number, and enjoyed it
highly. Presently some one called out, "An iceberg!" and, far off
against the sky, I saw this floating wonder. It was very beautiful;
such a dazzling white, so calm and majestic, and so lonely; it was
shaped, as I thought, like an old cathedral, but others thought like
a sleeping lion, taking what I called the ruined tower for his head
Soon after this, the man on the lookout cried, "Steamship America;"
and in a few moments more we saw her coming swiftly towards us with
her sails all set, for the wind was fair for her.
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