Benjamin Franklin

Journal of a Voyage

 1726

Friday, July 22—Yesterday in the afternoon we left London and came to an anchor off Gravesend about eleven at night. I lay ashore all night and this morning took a walk up to the Windmill Hill, whence I had an agreeable prospect of the country for about twenty miles round, and two or three reaches of the river, with ships and boats sailing both up and down, and Tilbury Fort on the other side, which commands the river and passage to London. This Gravesend is a cursed biting place; the chief dependence of the people being the advantage they make of imposing upon strangers. If you buy anything of them and give half what they ask, you pay twice as much as the thing is worth. Thank God, we shall leave it tomorrow.

Saturday, July 23—This day we weighed anchor and fell down with the tide, there being little or no wind. In the afternoon we had a fresh gale, that brought us down to Margate, where we shall lie at anchor this night. Most of the passengers are very sick. Saw several porpoises, etc.

Sunday, July 24—This morning we weighed anchor, and coming to the Downs, we set our pilot ashore at Deal, and passed through. And now, while I write this, sitting upon the quarterdeck, I have, methinks, one of the pleasantest scenes in the world before me. It is a fine, clear day, and we are going away before the wind with an easy, pleasant gale. We have near fifteen sail of ships in sight, and I may say in company. On the left hand appears the coast of France at a distance, and on the right is the town and castle of Dover, with the green hills and chalky cliffs of England, to which we must now bid farewell. Albion, farewell!

Charlotte Brontë

Villette

 1853

I was not sick till long after we passed Margate, and deep was the pleasure I drank in with the sea breeze; divine the delight I drew from the heaving Channel waves, from the seabirds on their ridges, from the white sails on their dark distance, from the quiet yet beclouded sky, overhanging all. In my reverie, methought I saw the continent of Europe, like a wide dreamland, far away. Sunshine lay on it, making the long coast one line of gold; tiniest tracery of clustered town and snow-gleaming tower, of woods deep massed, of heights serrated, of smooth pasturage and veiny stream, embossed the metal-bright prospect. For background, spread a sky, solemn and dark blue, and—grand with imperial promise, soft with tints of enchantment—strode from north to south a God-bent bow, an arch of hope.

Cancel the whole of that, if you please, reader—or rather let it stand, and draw thence a moral—an alliterative, text-hand copy—“Daydreams are delusions of the demon.” Becoming excessively sick, I faltered down into the cabin.

I am sorry to say Miss Fanshawe tormented me with an unsparing selfishness during the whole time of our mutual distress. As dark night drew on, the sea roughened: larger waves swayed strong against the vessel’s side. It was strange to reflect that blackness and water were round us, and to feel the ship plowing straight on her pathless way, despite noise, billow, and rising gale. Articles of furniture began to fall about, and it became needful to lash them to their places; the passengers grew sicker than ever; Miss Fanshawe declared, with groans, that she must die.

Related Reads