Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
12
MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY

As a consequence, during the remainder of the voyage they had to eat their desserts strongly flavored with turpentine.

At the close of the voyage, the midshipmen presented to Lafayette, as a mark of their personal friendship, a beautiful silver urn appropriately engraved with scenes of the Capitol at Washington, Lafayette's visit to the tomb of Washington, and the arrival of the Brandywine at Havre. At this French port, Lafayette disembarked, taking with him the flag of the American vessel as a souvenir of the voyage. From here Maury's ship proceeded to Cowes where she was caulked, and then sailed for the Mediterranean, Joining Commodore John Rodgers' squadron at Gibraltar on the 2nd of November. The ship was refitted here during the winter, and the following spring she returned to the United States, arriving at New York in May, 1826.

Such in brief outline was Maury's first cruise. Though none of his letters giving his impressions of these first months at sea have been preserved, yet it is not difficult to imagine with what eagerness and delight his active young mind observed the strange sights and assimilated the new experiences. Many years afterwards he wrote of how he secured a Spanish work on navigation in order that he might acquire a new language and a science at the same time. In this connection he related how he resorted to various artifices for study while on watch. "If I went below only for a moment or two," he wrote, "and could lay hands upon a dictionary or any book, I would note a sentence, or even a word, that I did not understand, and fix it in my memory to be reflected upon when I went on deck. I used to draw problems in spherical trigonometry with chalk on the