Saturday, December 20, 2014

`A Punch Like Some Giant Fitzsimmons'

With the exception of three brief landfalls, my family and I will be shipboard in the Gulf of Mexico from today until Dec. 27. Internet connections will be unreliable at best. For this week, Anecdotal Evidence will more closely resemble a commonplace book than a sequence of brief essays. Updates will be contingent on technology, inclination and severity of queasiness. Maritime-themed passages follow. 

“By this time the ship was rolling (after all yesterday’s kind assurances). There was no mistake about it: and my vanity and observation were at once cut short by a surprise attack of sea-sickness. A dismal cowardice came on me. The wind seemed changing, or perhaps–I inquired but little–the course of the ship; the effect needed no inquiry. Time and again, lowering my morale at each arrival, the seas beat in a great crash upon the ship’s sides, and, with the attendant tilt, the scarcely less welcome seethe of the waters flowing down the decks would follow. The ship seemed to be provided with cogs, on which she was raised and lowered with horrible deliberate jolts over a half-circle: then again, the big wave would jump in with a punch like some giant Fitzsimmons. My experience was growing. The sunshine died off the porthole; the breeze was half a gale already, droning and whining louder and louder; and I felt that my breaking-in was to be thorough enough.” 


Subbuteo said...

Bon voyage!

George said...

I recall Vile Bodies, in which all the passengers are suffering gravely from sea-sickness, while a female American evangelist tries to rally some of them with hymns. Meanwhile, on the bridge, one officer says to another, "Bit of a swell tonight."