LONDON, Tuesday, May 6th, 1851.
I desire to address a few words of advice to persons about to cross the
Atlantic or any other ocean for the first time. I think those who follow
my counsel will have reason to thank me.
I. Begin by providing yourself with a pair of stout, well-made thick
boots–the coarser and firmer the better. Have them large enough to
admit two pair of thick, warm stockings, yet sit easily on the feet. Put
them on before you leave home, and never take them off during the voyage
except when you turn in to sleep.
II. Take a good supply of flannels and old woolen clothes, and
especially an overcoat that has seen service and is not afraid of seeing
more. Should you come on board as if just out of a band-box, you will
forget all your dandyism before your first turn of sea-sickness is over,
and will go ashore with your clothes spoiled by the salt spray and your
own careless lounging in all manner of places and positions. Put on
nothing during the voyage that would sell for five dollars.
III. Endure your first day of sea-sickness in your berth; after that, if
you cannot go on deck whenever the day is fair, get yourself carried
there. You may be sick still–the chance is two to one that you will be;
but if you are to recover at all while on the heaving surge this is the
IV. Move about as much as possible; think as little as you can of your
sickness; but interest yourself in whatever (except vomiting) may be
going forward–the run of the ship, the management of her sails, &c. &c.
Keep clear of all sedentary games, as a general rule; they may help you
to kill a few hours, but will increase your headache afterwards. Talk
more than you read; and determine to walk smartly at least two hours
every fair day, and one hour any how.
V. As to eating, you are safe against excess so long as you are sick;
and if you have bad weather and a rough sea, that will be pretty nearly
all the way. I couldn’t advise you, though ever so well, to eat the
regular four times per day; though my young friend who constantly took
_five_ hearty meals seemed to thrive on that regimen. In the matter of
drink, if you can stick to water, do so; I could not, nor could I find
any palatable substitute. Try Congress Water, Seidlitz, any thing to
keep clear of Wines and Spirits. If there were some portable, healthful
and palatable acid beverage devoid of Alcohol, it would be a blessed
thing at sea.
VI. Finally, rise early if you can; be cheerful, obliging, and
determined to see the sunny side of everything whereof a sunny side can
be discovered or imagined; and bear ever in mind that each day is
wearing off a good portion of the distance which withholds you from your
destination. The best point of a voyage by steam is its brevity;
wherefore, I pray you, Mr. Darius Davidson, to hurry up that new steamer
or screamer that is to cross the Atlantic in a week. I shall want to be
getting home next August or September.
VII. Don’t bother yourself to procure British money at any such rate as
$4.90 for sovereigns, which was ruling when I came away. Bring American
coin rather than pay over $4.86. You can easily obtain British gold here
in exchange for American, and I have heard of no higher rate than $4.87.
VIII. Whatever may be wise at other seasons, never think of stopping at
a London hotel this summer unless you happen to own the Bank of England.
If you know any one here who takes boarders or lets rooms at reasonable
rates, go directly to him; if not, drive at once to the house of Mr.
John Chapman, American Bookseller, 142 Strand, and he will either find
you rooms or direct you to some one else who will.
IX. If the day of your embarkation be fair, take a long, earnest gaze at
the sun, so that you will know him again when you return. They have
something they call the sun over here which they show occasionally, but
it looks more like a boiled turnip than it does like its American
namesake. Yet they cheer us with the assurance that there _will be_ real
sunshine here by-and-by. So mote it be!
- The Project Gutenberg EBook of Glances at Europe, by Horace Greeley