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Excerpt:-Amongst my ancestors were several sailors, who had served the king or queen of their times in the navy of the state. A portrait of Ebenezer Rockafellar, who was a rear-admiral in the early years of George the Second's reign, hung in the dining-room at home, and represented a face like that of the man in the moon when the planet rises very crimson out of the sea on a hot summer's evening. He had a tail on his back and a great copper speaking-trumpet under his arm and his forefinger, on which was a huge ring, rested upon a globe of the world. The artist had painted in a picture of a thunderstorm happening through a window, with the glimpse of a rough sea, and an old-fashioned ship like a castle tumbling about in it resembling a toy Noah's ark tossing on the strong ripples of a pond.
It might have been my looking at this red-faced ancestor of mine, and admiring his speaking-trumpet, and the noble colour of weather which stained his face that first put it into my head to go to sea. I cannot say. Who can tell where little boys get their notions from? I would stand before that picture, and in my small way dream about the ocean, about sharks, tropic islands full of cocoa-nut trees, and monkeys, and parrots gorgeous as shapes of burnished gold; and I would dream also, all in my small way, of flying-fish like little lengths of pearl flashing out of the dark-blue brine on wings of gossamer, and elephants and ivory tusks, and of black men in turbans and robes glittering with jewels, like the dark velvet sky on a midsummer night ; and so on, and so on, until there arose in me a passion to go to sea, and behold with my own little eyes the wonders of the world.