Friday, September 7, 2007

Youthful Huxley Ships Out

December 1846

[From Plymouth, to his mother]

You will be very glad to know that I am exceedingly comfortable here. My cabin has now got into tolerable order, and what with my books–which are, I am happy to say, not a few–my gay curtain and the spicy oilcloth which will be down on the floor, looks most respectable. Furthermore, although it is an unquestionably dull day I have sufficient light to write here, without the least trouble, to read, or even if necessary, to use my microscope. I went to see a friend of mine on board the Recruit the other day, and truly I hugged myself when I compared my position with his. The berth where he and seven others eat their daily bread is hardly bigger than my cabin, except in height–and, of course, he has to sleep in a hammock. My friend is rather an eccentric character, and, being missed in the ship, was discovered the other day reading in the maintop–the only place, as he said, sufficiently retired for study. And this is really no exaggeration. If I had no cabin I should take to drinking in a month.

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