An Autobiography: Herbert Spencer - Vol. 2

By Herbert Spencer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LVIII.
A VISIT TO AMERICA. 1882. ÆT. 62.

PARAPHRASING a familiar remark, one may say,-- Happy are the voyagers whose narratives are dull. Ours answered to this description. It was prosperous, and without noteworthy incident. Of entries in my diary, one made on the 16th, after only four days at sea, shows my constitutional impatience--"Getting very much bored." On the 19th there is the entry--" Magnificent sunset; the finest in colour I ever saw." And a wretched night, noted on the 18th, was accompanied by the remark-- "Terrific disturbance from fog-whistle."

This last entry reminds me of an error I had made. It will scarcely be said of me that I usually accept current statements without sufficient criticism; but even I am not infrequently misled by too readily giving credence. It is commonly alleged that a berth amid-ships is the best, because the motion from pitching is there the smallest; and the berth which I took in the "Servia" was in this position. I quite forgot that, as I am a good sailor (I had not a qualm either going or returning), avoidance of much motion was of secondary moment, and that for me a state-room in the bow, where the noises are least, was the most desirable. The result of the mistake was that not only by the shrieks of the fog-

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