Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"The sea tugged at his heart--"

(Gentlemen—I didn’t mean to preach. This was written primarily for my children. I have hoped they would catch some of my enthusiasm that Grenfell gave to me.)

The last time we talked (in Spring of 1940), we both wished that we were young enough to go to the English Channel now. Twenty years ago we went as did our ancestors three hundred years before us. We also reluctantly admitted that our boys are not so eager to go as were we, or their ancestors twelve generations ago. They do not see the treat—to Dover sands and all else besides that we covet dear. We (old fellows) wondered if the stock is running out.

For thirty years he was my hero—and still is. He spoke of life and treated it as “An Adventure.” He could steer his ship by the stars or the sun or by dead reckoning. He used to say that a poor chart was worse than none at all. Many poor charts he revised, and many a storm he has outridden (these things are a parable). He wrecked some boats and bumped the bottom of others, but he built a ship railway to repair his own and those of all others.

The sea tugged at his heart—He’s off on another voyage. That’s what he believed. And I believe it too; he taught me. The first books he ever gave me were on immortality. He used to talk about it—quite naturally, just as he talked of other things. I listened, but I wasn’t entirely interested. But now . . . well, one gets older . . . things gain perspective . . .

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