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It fell to my lot, this last bleak Spring, to
find myself in a watering-place out of the
Season. A vicious north-east squall blew me
into it from foreign parts, and I tarried in it
alone for three days, resolved to be exceedingly

On the first day, I began business by looking
for two hours at the sea, and staring the
Foreign Militia out of countenance. Having
disposed of these important engagements, I
sat down at one of the two windows of my
room, intent on doing something desperate in
the way of literary composition, and writing
a chapter of unheard-of excellencewith
which the present essay has no connexion.

It is a remarkable quality in a watering-
place out of the season, that everything
in it, will and must be looked at. I had
no previous suspicion of this fatal truth; but,
the moment I sat down to write, I began to
perceive it. I had scarcely fallen into my
most promising attitude, and dipped my pen
in the ink, when I found the clock upon the
pier- a redfaced clock with a white rim
importuning me in a highly vexatious manner
to consult my watch, and see how I was
off for Greenwich time. Having no
intention of making a voyage or taking an
observation, I had not the least need of
Greenwich time, and could have put up with
watering-place time as a sufficiently accurate
article. The pier-clock, however, persisting, I
felt it necessary to lay down my pen,
compare my watch with him, and fall into a
grave solicitude about half-seconds. I had
taken up my pen again, and was about to
commence that valuable chapter, when a
Custom-house cutter under the window
requested that I would hold a naval review of
her, immediately.

It was impossible, under the
circumstances, for any mental resolution, merely
human, to dismiss the Custom-house cutter,
because the shadow of her topmast fell upon
my paper, and the vane played on the
masterly blank chapter. I was therefore under
the necessity of going to the other window;
sitting astride of the chair there, like Napoleon
bivouacking in the print; and inspecting
the cutter as she lay, all that day, in the
way of my chapter, O! She was rigged
to carry a quantity of canvas, but her hull was
so very small that four giants aboard of her
(three men and a boy) who were vigilantly
scraping at her, all together, inspired me
with a terror lest they should scrape her
away. A fifth giant, who appeared to
consider himself " below "—as indeed he was,
from the waist downwardsmeditated, in
such close proximity with the little gusty
chimney-pipe, that he seemed to be smoking
it. Several boys looked on from the
wharf, and, when the gigantic attention
appeared to be fully occupied, one or other of
these would furtively swing himself in mid-
air over the Custom-house cutter, by means of
a line pendant from her rigging, like a young
spirit of the storm. Presently, a sixth hand
brought down two little water-casks;
presently afterwards, a truck came, and
delivered a hamper. I was now under an
obligation to consider that the cutter was going
on a cruise, and to wonder where she was
going, and when she was going, and why she
was going, and at what date she might be
expected back, and who commanded her?
With these pressing questions I was fully
occupied when the Packet, making ready to
go across, and blowing off her spare steam,
roared, " Look at me!"

It became a positive duty to look at the
Packet preparing to go across; aboard of
which, the people newly come down by the
railroad were hurrying in a great fluster.
The crew had got their tarry overalls on
and one knew what that meantnot to
mention the white basins, ranged in neat
little piles of a dozen each, behind the door
of the after-cabin. One lady as I looked, one
resigned and far-seeing woman, took her basin
from the store of crockery, as she might have
taken a refreshment-ticket, laid herself down
on deck with that utensil at her ear, muffled
her feet in one shawl, solemnly covered her
countenance after the antique manner with
another, and on the completion of these
preparations appeared by the strength of her
volition to become insensible. The mail-bags
(O that I myself had the sea-legs of a mail-
bag!) were tumbled aboard; the Packet left
off roaring, warped out, and made at the
white line upon the bar. One dip, one roll,
one break of the sea over her bows, and
Moore's Almanack or the sage Raphael could

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