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Cruise of the Snark
IT began in the
swimming pool at Glen Ellen. Between swims it
was our wont to come out and lie in the sand and
let our skins breathe the warm air and soak in
the sunshine. Roscoe was a yachtsman. I had
followed the sea a bit. It was inevitable that
we should talk about boats. We talked about
small boats, and the seaworthiness of small
boats. We instanced Captain Slocum and his three
years’ voyage around the world in the Spray.
We asserted that we were not afraid to go around
the world in a small boat, say forty feet long.
We asserted furthermore that we would like to do
it. We asserted finally that there was nothing
in this world we’d like better than a chance to
“Let us do it,” we said . . . in fun.
Then I asked Charmian privily if she’d really
care to do it, and she said that it was too good
to be true.
The next time we breathed our skins in the sand
by the swimming pool I said to Roscoe, “Let us
I was in earnest, and so was he, for he said:
“When shall we start?”
I had a house to build on the ranch, also an
orchard, a vineyard, and several hedges to plant,
and a number of other things to do. We thought
we would start in four or five years. Then the
lure of the adventure began to grip us. Why not
start at once? We’d never be younger, any of us.
Let the orchard, vineyard, and hedges be growing
up while we were away. When we came back, they
would be ready for us, and we could live in the
barn while we built the house...
God Laughs and Other Stories
Carquinez had relaxed finally. He stole a
glance at the rattling windows, looked upward at
the beamed roof, and listened for a moment to
the savage roar of the south-easter as it caught
the bungalow in its bellowing jaws. Then he held
his glass between him and the fire and laughed
for joy through the golden wine.
“It is beautiful,” he said. “It is sweetly sweet.
It is a woman's wine, and it was made for gray-robed
saints to drink.”
“We grow it on our own warm hills,” I said, with
pardonable California pride. “You rode up
yesterday through the vines from which it was
It was worth while to get Carquinez to loosen
up. Nor was he ever really himself until he felt
the mellow warmth of the vine singing in his
blood. He was an artist, it is true, always an
artist; but somehow, sober, the high pitch and
lilt went out of his thought-processes and he
was prone to be as deadly dull as a British
Sunday—not dull as other men are dull, but dull
when measured by the sprightly wight that Monte
Carquinez was when he was really himself.
From all this it must not be inferred that
Carquinez, who is my dear friend and dearer
comrade, was a sot. Far from it. He rarely erred.
As I have said, he was an artist. He knew when
he had enough, and enough, with him, was
equilibrium—the equilibrium that is yours and
mine when we are sober...
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