Six months at sea! Yes, reader, as I live, six months out of
sight of land; cruising after the sperm-whale beneath the
scorching sun of the Line, and tossed on the billows of the
wide-rolling Pacific--the sky above, the sea around, and nothing
else! Weeks and weeks ago our fresh provisions were all
exhausted. There is not a sweet potato left; not a single yam.
Those glorious bunches of bananas, which once decorated our stern
and quarter-deck, have, alas, disappeared! and the delicious
oranges which hung suspended from our tops and stays--they, too,
are gone! Yes, they are all departed, and there is nothing left
us but salt-horse and sea-biscuit. Oh! ye state-room sailors,
who make so much ado about a fourteen-days' passage across the
Atlantic; who so pathetically relate the privations and hardships
of the sea, where, after a day of breakfasting, lunching, dining
off five courses, chatting, playing whist, and drinking
champagne-punch, it was your hard lot to be shut up in little
cabinets of mahogany and maple, and sleep for ten hours, with
nothing to disturb you but 'those good-for-nothing tars, shouting
and tramping overhead',--what would ye say to our six months out
of sight of land?
Oh! for a refreshing glimpse of one blade of grass--for a snuff
at the fragrance of a handful of the loamy earth! Is there
nothing fresh around us? Is there no green thing to be seen?
Yes, the inside of our bulwarks is painted green; but what a vile
and sickly hue it is, as if nothing bearing even the semblance of
verdure could flourish this weary way from land. Even the bark
that once clung to the wood we use for fuel has been gnawed off
and devoured by the captain's pig; and so long ago, too, that the
pig himself has in turn been devoured.
There is but one solitary tenant in the chicken-coop, once a gay
and dapper young cock, bearing him so bravely among the coy hens.