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sea), he directed his attention to minuter and
more difficult observations. He determined
to measure the period of time occupied by the
regular waves in overtaking the ship, their
width from crest to crest, and the rate of
their travelling. The first point to be known
was the speed of the ship; this he ascertained
to be nine knots. His next object was to
note her course in reference to the direction of
the waves. He found that the true course
of the vessel was east, and that the waves
came from the west-north-west, so that
they passed under the vessel at a
considerable angle. The length of the ship was
stated to be two hundred and twenty feet.
Provided with this information the Professor
renewed his observations. He proceeded to
count the seconds the crest of a wave took to
travel from stern to stem of the vessel; these
he ascertained to be six. He then counted
the time which intervened between the
moment when one crest touched the stern of
the vessel, and the next touched it, and he
found the average interval to be sixteen
seconds and a fraction. These results gave
him at once the width between crest and
crest. As the crest travelled two hundred
and twenty feet (or the length of the vessel)
in six seconds, and sixteen seconds elapsed
before the next crest touched the stern, it was
clear that the wave was nearly three times
the length of the vessel; to write accurately,
there was a distance of six hundred and five
feet from crest to crest.

The Professor did not forget that the
oblique course of the ship elongated her line
over the waves; this elongation he estimated
at forty-five feet, reducing the probable
average distance between crest and crest to five
hundred and fifty-nine feet.

Being quite satisfied with the result of
this experiment, the hardy Professor, still
balancing himself on his giddy height, to the
wonder and amusement of the sailors, found
that the calculations he had already made
did not give him the actual velocity of the
waves. A wave-crest certainly passed from
stern to stem in six seconds, but then the
ship was travelling in the same direction, at
the rate of nine geographical miles per hour,
or 15'2 feet per second; this rate the
Professor added to the former measure, which
gave 790'5 feet for the actual distance
traversed by the wave in 16'5 seconds, being at
the rate of 32'67 English miles per hour.
This computation was afterwards compared
with calculations made from totally different
data by Mr. Scott Russell, and found to be
quite correct.

With these facts the Professor scrambled
from the larboard paddle-box of the Hibernia.
He had also made some observations on the
forms of waves. When the wind blows
steadily from one point, they are generally
regular; but when it is high and gusty, and
shifts from point to point, the sea is broken
up, and the waves take a more conical shape,
and assume fantastical crests. While the sea
ran high, the Professor observed now and then
a ridge of waves extending from about a quarter
to a third of a mile in length, forming, as it
were, a rampart of water. This ridge was
sometimes straight, and sometimes bent as of
a crescent form, with the central mass of
water higher than the rest, and not
unfrequently with two or three semi-elliptical
mounds in diminishing series on either side of
the highest peak.

When the wind had subsided, a few of the
bolder passengers crawled upon deck in the
oddest imaginable costumes. They had not
much to encounter, for about a third part of
the greater undulations averaged only twenty-
four feet, from crest to hollow, in height.
These higher waves could be seen and selected
from the pigmy waves about them, at the
distance of a quarter of a mile from the

The Professor had been very unpopular on
board while the stormy weather lasted, and
the ladies had vowed that he was a sarcastic
creature, who would have his little joke on
the gravest calamities of life; but as the
waves decreased in bulk, and the wind lulled,
and the sun shone, and the men took off their
oil-skin coats, and the cabin-windows were
opened, the frowns of the fair voyagers wore
off. Perfect goodwill was general before the
ship sighted Liverpool; and even the cook, as
he prepared the last dinner for the passengers*
was heard to declare (in confidence to one of
the stokers) that, after all, there might be
something worth knowing in the Professor's

When the Professor landed at Liverpool,
he would, on no account, suffer the carpet-bag,
containing his calculations, to be taken out of
his sight. Several inquisitive persons, however,
made the best use of their own eyes, to
ascertain the name of the extraordinary
observer, and found it to be legibly inscribed
with the well-known name of Scoresby.

That his investigations may be the more
readily impressed on the reader's mind, we
conclude with a summary of them. It would
seem from Dr. Scoresby's intrepid investigations,
that the highest waves of the Atlantic
average in

Altitude  . . .  43 feet
Mean Distance between each Wave . . .  559 feet
Width from Crest to Crest  . . .  600 feet
Interval of Time between each Wave   . . .  16 seconds
Velocity of each Wave per hour  . . .  32½ miles

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