Page:Confederate Portraits.djvu/285

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Nor was this patriotism of Semmes much tempered by personal ambition or by any stimulus of excitement or adventure. As to ambition, however, it may be interest- ing to compare Semmes's letter to Howell Cobb, sug- gesting that it would be well for the Confederacy to have only a small regular navy and to give resigning United States naval officers rank equivalent to what they for- merly held.33 But the captain of the Alabama was well over fifty, and at that age personal comfort means more than plaudits and laurels. It is really most curious to see the supposedly triumphant and exultant pirate sighing over the tediousness and weariness of his lot and eager to give a thousand leagues of sea for one acre of bar- ren ground." ** Perhaps this constant, stormy tumbling about at sea is the reason why we seamen are so calm and quiet on shore. We come to hate all sorts of com- motion, whether physical or moral." ^4 And again, even more vividly and pointedly: " Barometer gradually fall- ing. Ship rolling and pitching in the sea and all things dreary looking and uncomfortable. I am supremely disgusted with the sea and all its belongings. The fact is, I am past the age when man ought to be subjected to the hardships and discomforts of the sea. Seagoing is one of those constant strifes which none but the vigorous, the hardy, and the hopeful — in short, the youthful, or, at most, the middle-aged — should be engaged in. The very roar of the wind through the rigging, with its accompaniments of roll-

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