- Historic Sites
The Sway Of The Grand Saloon
In the sumptuous history of transatlantic passenger travel it wasn’t all mahogany panelling and ten-course meals. Consider, for instance, war and seasickness
October 1971 | Volume 22, Issue 6
Der Doppelschrauben Schnelldampfer Kronprinzessin Cecilie , loaded with about eleven million dollars’ worth of gold and silver bullion and more than one thousand passengers, was halfway from New York to Plymouth, en route to Bremerhaven. On the night of July 31, 1914, the man on duty in the little shack on deck that housed the wireless was subjected to an intense crackling on his ear set. “Urgent and Confidential … Urgent and Confidential,” followed by a message addressed to the ship’s captain: “Erhard has suffered attack of catarrh of the bladder. Siegfried.” The Marconi man at once took this message to the bridge. Captain Polack—“our precious Polack” to many Americans who had known him since the days, twenty years before, when he was second officer on another German liner, the Spree —recognized it as instructions in code, a code he had earlier been supplied with the means to decipher.
The burden of the message was twofold: war was about to be declared between the Central and Allied powers; the captain was to take every precaution to prevent the capture of his ship—Germany’s most famous liner—by the British. He ordered the course of the Kronprinzessin Cecilie to be reversed, then grandly descended to the grand saloon that was ornamented with paintings representing “ideal” landscapes—motifs from the gardens of the Italian Renaissance palaces of Lante, Farnese, Palmieri, Gorgoni, Albani, Doria, Borghese, and d’Este, and from the Vatican gardens. He silenced an orchestra playing for an after-dinner dance and summoned a few socially prominent individuals among the passengers to join him in that “acme of cosiness,” the Rauchzimmer (“smoking room”). There, as the player piano waited for someone to pump out “The Whistler and His Dog” or “The Skater’s Waltz,” the chosen few lit cigars beneath busts of Apollo and Minerva. “Gentlemen,” the captain said, “it is my duty to inform you that I have orders from the Imperial German Government to take this ship to a neutral port in the United States.”
In no time at all the word had spread to the Vienna Café (where a single à la carte meal cost just about as much as a steerage passage ticket for the whole crossing), to the wind shelters on deck—“an ingenious invention of Director von Helmholt, of Bremen, which has been patented in all civilized states”—to the Imperial suites with their dining and drawing rooms, to the nether regions of the ship where hearty German-Americans played cards in the dim light of barren lounges or slept off big dinners in their iron bunks. In spite of general consternation and disbelief, anyone with an eye to see could tell that the backtracking of the great liner was already a fait accompli : the moon that had lately shone on the starboard was now coldly eyeing the port.
Captain Polack, assuring his passengers that their ship had ample fuel and food to bring them safely into port, asked them “to keep their heads.” Most passengers accepted the circumstance, since there was nothing else to be done anyway. But for men of affairs dismay was unrelieved and desperate. Among the first-class passengers were American executives on financial missions, United States senators en route to an international conference, a large shooting party on the way to Scotland for the grouse. The most affluent of these got together and made up a purse. Then, ready to plunk their cash on the barrelhead, they went to Captain Polack. If he would replace the German imperial standard with the American flag, they said—and thus proceed in safety right under the bowsprits of the British Royal Navy—they would pay five million dollars for the ship and throw in a hefty bonus for the captain himself. The captain refused to be rescued by these Yankee plutocrats. He thanked them, had his ship’s name blacked out, ordered black bands to be painted around the tops of her four yellowish funnels, and proceeded to carry out the instructions he had received from Berlin. His notion was to make his ship look, at least at a distance, like the four-funnelled Olympic , the British White Star liner.
In this naive disguise (almost everyone knew that funnels on German ships were placed in pairs, instead of equidistant, as on the British liners) the Kronprinzessin sped for the nearest American port. This, of all places, turned out to be Bar Harbor—and at the very height of the season. The breakneck pace of the ship through fog and black of night made some passengers uneasy, some panicky. They chose a delegation and sent it to the captain begging him to slow down. But his only concession to their fears was a more liberal use of his foghorn. He knew what passengers did not: The French liner La Savoie , having discovered his position, had alerted the several French and British warships that were in a position to intercept the Cecilie and lay claim to her treasure-trove. Three nights after the dramatic turnabout, her portholes covered over with canvas, not a gleam of light along her length, the big ship, guided by the American yachtsman C. Ledyard Blair, who happened to be aboard, moseyed into Maine’s Frenchman Bay and shut off her engines. A few hours later, early risers among the summer people looked out of their windows. There, riding at anchor among their own little flotilla of yachts and sailboats and Old Town canoes, they saw what most of them took to be the great Olympic , sister ship of the Titanic .
The Kronprinzessin had “dropped her starboard anchor in the inner harbor about midway between the steamboat wharves and the Porcupines,” said a local reporter. “The telephone operators were soon aware of her presence and those early upon the streets became excited as they learned of the presence here of the big German ship, and spread the news. By the middle of the forenoon the shore path was well covered with people and the [small boats] did a big business taking people out and back.” By the time the resort had learned that its own gilt-and-wicker environs had provided safe haven for what the newspapers termed “the German gold ship,” it had also learned of the unexpected return of two of its very own: Mrs. A. Howard Hinkle and her daughter, of Cincinnati, who were summer residents in one of Bar Harbor’s big villas, did not disembark in Plymouth, England, but in their own back yard.
Faced with the option of internment in New England or capture by the British destroyers that were already hungrily cruising just beyond the international limit, Captain Polack chose to stay for the season. Bar Harbor suddenly became Fiddler’s Green, the mythical sailor’s heaven. (A good number of the resort’s summer people knew the captain—“a moustachioed giant, over six feet tall” of “urbane charm and social graces”—because they had crossed on ships under his command.) The United States Coast Guard cutter Androscoggin had meanwhile sidled up to the Kronprinzessin and relieved her of her king’s ransom in gold and silver bars. Special trains carried the bullion back to the vaults of New York’s Guaranty Trust Company and the National Trust Company, from which, barely a week before, it had been removed for shipment to Germany.
Americans were still far enough away from the war and partisan emotions to see the whole thing as a great sport. Almost at once Captain Polack and his officers became part of a summer’s social whirl that saw them kissing the hands of hostesses at lawn parties, dancing at balls, going out on fishing and lobstering expeditions and sailing parties. A local man hired the Star movie theatre to entertain the Kronprinzessin ’s crew; the ship’s band gave concerts on the village green. Of the first of these the Bar Harbor Record reported: A large crowd assembled to hear the music and showed their appreciation by their applause which in itself is most unusual for a crowd in Bar Harbor. For the last piece the band played America . This called for cheers and the blowing of horns by the large number of automobiles which had gathered to hear the music. The band then played Watch on the Rhine , which was so well received the crowd demanded an encore.
But soon upon these revels fell the shadow of the long arm of the law. Annoyed by the failure of the Kronprinzessin to deliver their gold bullion to Plymouth, the bankers concerned sued the North German Lloyd Steamship Company for damages in the amount of $1,040,467, plus interest. When this action was brought in the Bar Harbor Federal Court, doughty Deputy Marshal Eugene C. Harmon, according to the local paper, “left at noon to seize the ship.” And he did.
Watched day and night by the cutter Mohawk and a torpedo boat, caught in the custodial web of the United States marshal for Maine, the great ship lay swinging at anchor late into the fall. With the approach of winter and the possible threat of ice damage, not only Captain Polack but his legal guardians were concerned to have the ship moved to a less hazardous anchorage. When a rumor was spread about that the Kronprinzessin might be taken to Portland, Bar Harbor was both angry and sad. The “ice charge” made its citizens furious; the possible loss of the ship made them prematurely nostalgic. Said the Record : The streets of the town have been made interesting by the presence of the officers and the crew of the big liner, and Captain Polack has been the recipient of many social courtesies and has proven to be a most delightful gentleman as well as the notable and exceedingly efficient navigator he is known to be. Bar Harbor citizens have hoped that the big liner would stay here until the conclusion of the big European war, for business and social reasons.
But the rumors of removal were well founded. “The complication of moving the Kronprinzessin Cecilie is less military than legal,” said the Boston Transcript . “The navigation problem is not insuperable. The course suggested by local pilots would be outside of the Cranberry Isles and Isle au Haut off Penobscot Bay, to Matinicus, passing either inside or outside of that rockpile; thence to Monhegan keeping preferably to eastward of it … and from Monhegan to Portland Head.” When Captain Polack heard of this devious coastal voyage so gratuitously planned for him, he was appalled. The Kronprinzessin , he said, “is not a canoe.”
The problem was not resolved until the captain himself went to Washington to confer with the Acting Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. There it was decided that the ship should be guided to Boston by destroyers. Dogged by British cruisers still patrolling offshore, the ship was towed to Boston for safe-keeping in mid-November. There she was interned afloat in President Roads, just off Shirley Point and Deer Island, between the German ships Köln and Ockenfels . “Now that the Bar Harbor season is over,” said a pundit, “perhaps the Cecilie would enjoy Palm Beach.” But Boston would have to do. “You know,” said Captain Polack to a group of local reporters as he pointed to his heart, “down here I am glad that I am in Boston. It was getting to be cold and lonesome at Bar Harbor.”
Members of the Cecilie ’s crew were allowed to go off now and then on fishing expeditions, and before long some of them were attending Boston night schools, taking books out of the Boston Public Library, and being otherwise swept up into the cultural climate of the Hub of the Universe. But when the United States entered the war, their ship was overhauled and converted into a troop transport. With most of her Teutonic features obliterated, the long, lean Kronprinzessin Cecilie became the good old S.S. Mount Vernon . Soon newspaper photographs would show her decks packed with doughboys grinning under the Stars and Stripes as they set off for the mud of France and the task of making the world safe for democracy. As for the urbane Captain Polack and his adaptable crew, who had so neatly fitted into American society, they were unceremoniously interned for the duration.
Of all the scourges visited upon the traveller by sea—piracy, boredom, satyriasis, nymphomania, mildew, impressment into a foreign navy, scurvy, gluttony, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, hijacking, shanghaiing, sunstroke, malaria, paranoia, diarrhea, shipwreck, fire, ice, and fog—the one claiming the greatest number of victims and responsible for the deepest suffering was, by all odds, seasickness. “Gods! What a retrospect!” said one just back from its living grave. “It seems like an eternity of spasmodic suffering—talk of amputation! mental anxiety—chronic disease—why what is the whole catalogue of human ills compared to this attic salt!—this bilious dissolution—this sea-emetic?”
In spite of the witches’ brews of preventives and curatives they carried on board with them, travellers escaped neither its green orchidaceous fever nor the warm soupiness of its embrace. In spite of prayers they offered day and night toward that end, very few travellers died of it. When seasickness overtook people who had survived amputation without anesthesia, suppuration without analgesia, asthmatic suffocation, gastric convulsions, and torture by the exquisite devices of imaginative aborigines, they recalled such miseries with the nostalgia and longing of old men remembering their youth. Anyone who has ever been seasick—classically seasick, as opposed to those mild forms of the malaise in which one is said to be “peaky,” “squeamish” or “off his feed”—knows it is the only and ultimate sickness: the one living death of faculty and will that involves the whole man, individually and ontologically.
The end of this scourge of centuries of seagoing came abruptly and by accident, long after men had given up seriously looking for it. The place where the cure was discovered was the city of Baltimore; the year was 1947; the actual scene was the Allergy Clinic of the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, on whose staff were Dr. Leslie N. Gay and Dr. Paul E. Carliner. Working as a team, these physicians were investigating the possible uses of a number of drugs in the relief of allergic conditions like rhinitis, urticaria, and hay fever. Among their drugs, forwarded to them for experiment by a pharmaceutical company in Chicago, was a synthetic antihistamine, C 17 H 22 NOC 7 H 6 CIN 4 O 2 , called dimenhydrinate, and they had been giving it to a pregnant woman patient afflicted with hives. This patient, who had also suffered all of her life from earsickness, nevertheless had to make her visits to the clinic by streetcar. When it became evident that dimenhydrinate—or Dramamine, as it would soon be generally known—was curing her of hives, it also became evident that if she took a capsule of the drug before setting out on her cross-town journey, she got complete relief from the nausea that had always made her trolley rides a misery.
Alerted by her offhand report, the two doctors made their finding known to the United Stales Army—with the result that a troop transport engaged in ferrying military personnel and their families between Bremerhaven and New York was put at their disposal to carry out “Operation Sea-sickness.” This ship was the thirteen-thousand-ton U.S.A. I. ( General Ballou , with a capacity of 1,376 passengers in austerity accommodations. She was scheduled to make a trip to Germany in November when, for the purposes of Drs. Gay and Carliner, the weather would be obligingly rough. To test the drug for both its preventive and curative properties, the physicians divided the 485 men chosen as subjects for the experiment into two groups. The first group, those chosen for testing Dramamine as a preventive, was then divided again, and approximately half of the men were given a Dramamine capsule of one hundred milligrams as the ship sailed out of New York Harbor. The second part of the subdivided group got a capsule containing only sugar. With the doctors alone in possession of the knowledge of who got what, similar capsules were administered six hours later, then once before each meal, and before bedtime. One hundred and thirty-four men EJOI Dramamine, and not one of them complained of nausea or vomiting while taking it. A hundred and twenty-three men got sugar capsules; of these, thirty-five became seasick within twelve hours of sailing. Drs. Gay and Carliner reported: The corridors … were congested by sick men, so ill that they were unable to reach the latrines. The men who reached these areas were unable to return to their compartments and remained stretched out in semi-conscious condition on (he Hoors until more seaworthy individuals managed to drag them to sick bay or back to their hammocks. The latrines became temporarily indescribably repulsive.
With one exception, all the afflicted men were brought back to normal by Dramamine within three hours.
None of the men in the second group, the curative trial group, got any Dramamine at the beginning of the voyage. Fifteen of these became seasick; twelve got better at once when Dramamine was administered. In a whole crisscross schedule of tests and countertests on this voyage and a return voyage in December, on which a large number of the trial subjects were women, the doctors found that less than 2 per cent of the passengers who got Dramamine as a preventive measure were vulnerable to seasickness.
The way the drug worked, it turned out, was by offsetting “vestibular imbalance,” the disturbance of the inner ear caused by prolonged unusual motion.
Drab in her Army gray, the General Ballou came back to New York bearing no visible sign that she was a ship of historical import, that she was worthy of a medal to be hung beside those memorializing the Argo , the Golden Hind , and the Robert E. Lee , or that the still-secret burden she carried was, to generations yet unborn, salvation on earth and a hope of heaven. Had Army regulations allowed it, the General Ballou should have run up a pennant imprinted with one word: Eureka!
A little pellet worth its weight in pitchblende had suddenly made obsolete all previous remedies for the prevention, cure, or endurance of mal de mer . These included the following: bismuth, soda, salol, opium, valerian, a combination of Beltafoline and soluble camphor, chloral, chloreton, “a little soup with cayenne,” morphine with atropine, a slice of fat pork fried with garlic, “patience and a good walk on shore,” hyoscine hydrobromide, a pint of sea water “in one gulp,” phenacetin with caffeine, arrowroot and wine, sodium amytal, tomato sauce, mustard leaf, animal magnetism, trinitrin and cocaine, veronal, a spinal ice bag, luminal, small doses of tincture of iodine, mustard pickles, lemon and ginger, toasting the ear canals, caviar, cannabis indica, Worcestershire sauce, sodium nitrate, chewing gum, musk pills, dry toast, a belladonna plaster on the stomach, vinegar and water in sips, capsules of sodium phenobarbital.
“How pure and sweet the air would be at sea,” said one lyrical observer, “if it were not for the repeated vomiting of bile, whose effluvia are extremely volatile and settle down at once in the curtains, floor, ceiling, paint, sofa and beds of the cabins.” To cope with the effects of “ship’s smell” and that disposition to immediate surrender it all but guaranteed, many people after 1908 depended upon a little pill that came, somewhat inappropriately, from Detroit. This was Mothersill’s Seasick Remedy, certified “not to contain cocaine, morphine, opium, chloral, or any coal-tar products.” Mothersill’s, according to its makers, had received unqualified endorsements from such people as Bishop Taylor Smith, Lord Northcliffe, and hosts of “doctors, bankers and professional men, as well as leading clubwomen,” all of whom had presumably been tranquillized and edified by the pill while “sailing the English Channel, Irish Sea and the Baltic.” The cost of a box that would last the entire transatlantic voyage was one dollar. During World War I the firm’s promotion reached out particularly to mothers of servicemen. “To Prevent Seasickness,” read the advertisements, “and insure him a pleasant voyage, be sure to remember to put in his bag a package of Mothersill’s Seasick Remedy.”
Like every other remedy, Mothersill’s for the most part worked only for those who thought it did. These were not apt to be among the serious sufferers, and many a box of the stuff lay barely touched beside the pale hands of the stricken.
Although later investigations would show decisively that psychogenic factors were of small account, the most time-honored method of treating seasickness was entirely verbal: you simply told the victim—in a tone of voice implying that some slackening of moral fiber was involved—that it was all in his mind. Sympathy for the man or woman who is intractably supine and viridescent is, like gratitude, an emotion noted for its short term. Sometimes it has no term at all. Mark Twain, observing anguish all about him, handsomely states the case for those who are not only unsusceptible to the malaise but who also lack any shred of human feeling. Said Twain of his unfortunate shipmates: I knew what was the matter with them. They were seasick. And I was glad of it. We all like to see people seasick when we are not, ourselves. Playing whist by the cabin lamps, when it is storming outside, is pleasant; walking the quarter-deck in the moonlight is pleasant; smoking in the breezy foretop is pleasant, when one is not afraid to go up there; but these are all feeble and commonplace compared with the joy of seeing people suffering the miseries of seasickness.
On the other hand Irwin S. Cobb’s bout with seasickness made him philosophical. “As in the case of drowning persons,” he noted, “there passed in review before my eyes several of the more recent events of my past life—meals mostly.” To the elderly Canadian humorist Thomas Chandler Haliburton, rejuvenated by a voyage on the Great Western , seasickness was a frustration: How I should like to make love, if it was only for the fun of the thing just to keep one’s hand in; but alas! all the young girls are sick—devilish sick, and I trust I need not tell you that a love-sick girl is one thing, and a seasick girl another. I like to have my love returned, but not my dinner.
The distress of another early steamship passenger is expressed with sincerity and erudition. “I felt, rather than saw my enemy approach,” he said. “He came upon a tall wave, with a white ensign, and a sparkling lance. His first blow was aimed at the very point of the system where the Ancients seated courage.” When his ship—Cunard’s paddle-wheeled Asia —came within sight of icebergs, his companions urged him to come see. He said: But if each iceberg had been as radiant with gold and orange, green and violet, and prismatic generally as Trinity Church windows, with a Polar bear surmounting each glittering pinnacle, the scene would not have aroused my sense of the beautiful. If there is to be found beauty or sublimity upon the ocean, the mental tentacula must reach out and find it. But when they are paralyzed and shrunken by this everlasting sea-sickness—where is the sub—, I beg pardon. Eureka! It is the sublimity Burke discovered in Spencer’s Cave of Error,—the nauseate sublime! Its monosyllabic expression is simply—Ugh!
The most drastic and costly measure ever taken to deal with seasickness was that by Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of the process bearing his name by which steel is produced by the action of a blast of air forced through molten iron. On a cross-Channel trip from Calais to Dover in 1868 Sir Henry was overcome by seasickness of such an intensity that he suffered not only throughout the voyage but for the duration of the train ride up to London and into the day following his arrival home. His personal physician, alarmed, sat with him through the length of a night and eventually brought him around by administering small doses of prussic acid. The experience turned Bessemer’s inventive mind “to the causes of this painful malady,” which he—as did almost everyone else—mistakenly “attributed to the diaphragm being subjected to the sudden motions of the ship.” The upshot was that famous contribution to the catacombs of pretentious curiosities known as the Bessemer Saloon.
In conception nothing could have been simpler: to isolate a part of the passenger deck of a ship “to prevent it from partaking of the general rolling and pitching motion,” Bessemer built a model in which was installed a suspended cabin, supported on separate axes placed at right angles to each other. Pleased by the success of back-yard experiments under contrived conditions that he somehow thought were duplicates of conditions on the English Channel, he organized the Bessemer Saloon Steamboat Company and proceeded to build a pioneer vessel.
Patented in 1869, the finished product came out in 1873—a cabin of such proportion and appointments as had never before been seen on “the Silver Streak” (the English Channel). Seventy feet long and thirty feet wide, with a ceiling twenty feet from the floor, the salon de Bessemer was furnished with seats covered in morocco placed among carved oak divisions and spiral columns. Its wall panels, on which were hand-painted cartoons, were prettily touched up with gilt. It gave, said Bessemer, “an idea of luxury to the future Channel passage which all seemed to appreciate.”
But nothing worked. The saloon refused to swing in a compensating direction, or sometimes even at all. To the assaults on equilibrium made by normal rolling and pitching it added the wild disorientation of a carnival ride. The first actual opensea tests were disastrous, yet Bessemer was convinced that once he had got the bugs out so that his device could work at sea as smoothly as it had worked on land, a new era of salubrious water travel would begin. But ironically the vessel in which the saloon was contained turned out to be even more eccentric than the saloon itself, and Bessemer was robbed of his chance to prove his invention. At some crucial point in its docking maneuvers the mechanism of the Bessemer Saloon ship apparently refused to respond to orders. After banging into the pier at Calais on her first trip, the ship was repaired and made ready for a second chance. On this occasion, in May, 1873, Bessemer was himself aboard. He wrote in his diary: We had arrived very slowly, it must be admitted—at the entrance of Calais Harbour. I, knowing what had occurred on a previous occasion, held my breath while the veteran Captain Pittock gave his orders to the man at the helm. But the ship did not obey him, and crash she went along the pier sides, knocking down the huge timbers like so many ninepins! I knew what it all meant to me. That five minutes had made me a poorer man by thirty-four thousand pounds; it had deprived me of one of the greatest triumphs of a long professional life, and had wrought the loss of the dearly-cherished hope that buoyed me up and helped to carry me through my personal labours. I had fondly hoped to remove forever from thousands yet unborn the bitter pangs of the Channel passage, and thus by intercourse, and a greater appreciation of each other, to strengthen the bonds of mutual respect and esteem between two great nations. … All this had gone forever. It will be readily understood that this second catastrophe at Calais finally determined the fate of the Bessemer Saloon Steamboat Company, which had thus become hopelessly discredited.
Bessemer died believing that his invention had not failed—simply that it had never really been properly tried. Over the smirks and laughter (an oscillating ballroom had slammed into France like a battering ram!) no champion arose to prove him right, no investor was willing to let him make another try.
Except by accident, or do-it-your;elf voodoo, no one had yet been able to cure himself of seasickness. But the actual cause of it had been discerned, and some ingenious if ineffectual means of dealing with it devised as early as 1870. In that year, an unknown writer defined the trouble succinctly: The sickness is not occasioned, as is quite often supposed, by the mechanical effect of the motion of the ship on the digestive organs. The derangement of the system by the motion of the sea is primarily an affection of the brain, the affects upon the other organs being secondary and symptomatic; and the function of the brain through the disturbance of which the morbid action begins is what is called the ‘instinct of equilibrium,’—that is, the instinct by which the mind, through some hidden action of the brain, takes cognizance of the relation of the body to the perpendicular.
Among the random and gratuitous kinds of advice for the victim were a number of ideas based on this diagnosis. “If qualms persist,” said one authority, “pack the ears with gauze until a firm pressure on the tympanic membrane can be felt.” When therapy by electric device was possible, someone invented a “seasick collar,” by which to warm the neck and the base of the brain; and there was a related device by which the ear canals could be “toasted.” The closest thing to Dramamine in its effects was probably the therapy offered by the medical staffs of the Bremen and Europa in the early thirties. This was the Dammert Inhalation Treatment. For fifty cents a go, this could be administered, to those in need of it, twice every day. As one advocate of the method said: The patient who takes it lies down and breathes, through a nose-and-mouth cap, a mixture of oxygen and atropine. Atropine acts specifically to soothe the balancing system of the body which lies in the vestibulary apparatus of the inner ear, and once these centers are calmed, even a tottering great-aunt may become a trapeze performer.
To such instances of ingenuity old salts remained impervious and unconvinced. “The cure for seasickness,” said a commodore of the Cunard fleet, “is to separate the passenger from the ship.” Yet one of the most remarkable things about the ocean was that its romantic attraction triumphed even in the teeth of its tendency to reduce the most ardent sea lover to a comatose bundle of bile. At its boisterous worst the sea for many people was a manifestation of divine grandeur not to be denied by so trivial a thing as a man’s organic disfunction. One of these wrote: The solitude of a stormy night upon the ocean! What pen can describe! And yet who can be insensible to the luxury of that solitude—to its melancholy sublimity! And now as I write, our ship plunges and rolls in the heavy sea, and a death-like nausea comes over me. Our ship rises and plunges over these vast waves with much grandeur. It is majestically sickening, sublimely nauseating.