Frederick Douglass Diary - page 7 of 72
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Tuesday Sept 21. The sea rough but the City of Rome wonderfully firm and steady, dashing the heavy bellows from her brow in a manner to commend her to all who go down to the sea in ships and to do business on the deep. I never felt in any vessel such a perfect sense of safety on the sea. Everybody seemed cheerful in the prospect of a speedy termination of the voyage, notwithstanding the resistance of a heavy head wind, and rolling billows some of the latter frequently sending their spray over the forward deck driving passengers from that part of the ship. We have on board a serious and somewhat entertaining old sea captain from New Hampshire who has been all round the world and is now bound to Calcutta, who may well be called the “ancient mariner”. It seemed to be his amusement to show good naturedly how much he knows and other conceited folk how little they know. Something of a fore and aft. I like him. He likes a good listener and finds in Helen and myself an audience that suits him well. We are all eyes and ears and no tongues. We hear his stories and observe his impressive gestures with appropriate admiration and wonder, and he perceiving is greatly encouraged to go on with his narratives, which though prolix are not dull.