“To one unaccustomed to such scenes, this is a very striking time on shipboard. The gloom through which the great black mass holds its direct and certain course; the rushing water, plainly heard, but dimly seen; the broad, white, glistening track that follows in the vessel’s wake; the men on the lookout forward; the helmsman at the wheel, with the illuminated card before him, shining, a speck of light amidst darkness, like something sentient and of Divine intelligence; the melancholy sighing of the wind through block, and rope, and chain; the gleaming forth of light from every crevice, nook, and tiny piece of glass about the deck as though the ship were filled with fire in hiding.”

Charles Dickens – American Notes: The Voyage Out (1842)

(Dickens made two trips to America – a rather unhappy visit in 1842 and a longer, and highly lucrative, speaking tour in 1867-68. Mark Twain saw him perform in New York.)