The Inheritance

Cover of book The Inheritance
Categories: Nonfiction

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ich I Discover America OCEAN travel was a vastly different affair forty- five years ago, let me tell you. To begin with, fewer people travelled on the ocean. Those that did, travelled more seldom and more slowly, and regarded each other with deeper interest and respect?as a more definitely selected class. Now the butcher and the baker "step across the Pond," as my devoted countrymen put it, for their little holiday, and the candle-stick maker sends his wife and daughter to patronise hotels whose luxury would have amazed my lord and his lady, half a century ago. Any one who had told the captain of the "big boat" Nana pointed out to me from the trunk we sat on that his successors would command the services of electric lifts, roof gardens, gymnasiums and daily papers?that they would, moreover, desire these unreasonable diversions during a trip of less than five days from New York to Fishguard?would have been regarded as dangerously flighty by that vastly important official. In a word, there was more respect for the Atlantic in those days. And is the air above us, that "blue cerulean" that belonged to the poets exclusively, in the days when I read poetry, is that, too, doomed, and will the school teachers and the authoresses be sailing through it, patronizing Mars over the edge of a Baedeker in their summer holidays, when I am seventy? Let us go back, patient reader, to Nana and me sitting on our new trunks, waiting to be told how and where and when to go. Somewhere in the bustle of luggage and sailors and great drays unloading and packets of mail and weeping relatives (for we wept more, forty-five years ago, on embarking upon a long voyage, and had prayers read over us before and after taking it, too) I got separated from her, and was led about by a kindl...

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