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Two Years Before the Mast

Richard Henry Dana


"The change from the tight dress coat, silk cap and kid gloves of an undergraduate at Cambridge, to the loose duck trowsers, checked shirt and tarpaulin hat of a sailor, though somewhat of a transformation, was soon made, and I supposed that I should pass very well for a jack tar. But it is impossible to deceive the practised eye in these matters; and while I supposed myself to be looking as salt as Neptune himself, I was, no doubt, known for a landsman by every one on board as soon as I hove in sight."

Published in 1840

A Boston Brahmin escapes his comfortable life by serving as a common sailor on a voyage up the pre-gold rush west coast.

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