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Synopsis

It is commonly supposed by landsmen that the perils of ocean travelling are much greater than those encountered upon land. For my own part, I believe that, once on the open sea, there is no pleasanter or safer mode of locomotion than is to be found in a well-appointed sailing ship or steamer. I certainly was in much greater danger of being drowned while travelling on the railway between Bristol and Plymouth upon one occasion than I have ever known myself to be while on board ship. The autumn had been exceedingly wet, and the low-lying districts in Somersetshire had become flooded, causing the railway to be completely submerged for a distance of about three miles. The water reached to the floors of the railway carriages, while the locomotive in its progress made a great wave in front of the train. The wheels of the locomotive were 8ft. 10in. in height, and the fire-box was 6ft. above the ground. Boats accompanied the train on either side during its passage through the water. Certainly I have never felt in so much danger in the 60,000 miles of ocean travelling which I have had since then. Not that there are no dangers to be met with on the water, as I found to my alarm before I had fairly commenced my last voyage.

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