CHAPTER I - FOREWORD
It began in the swimming pool at Glen Ellen. Between swims it was
our wont to come out and lie in the sand and let our skins breathe
the warm air and soak in the sunshine. Roscoe was a yachtsman. I
had followed the sea a bit. It was inevitable that we should talk
about boats. We talked about small boats, and the seaworthiness of
small boats. We instanced Captain Slocum and his three years'
voyage around the world in the Spray.
We asserted that we were not afraid to go around the world in a
small boat, say forty feet long. We asserted furthermore that we
would like to do it. We asserted finally that there was nothing in
this world we'd like better than a chance to do it.
"Let us do it," we said . . . in fun.
Then I asked Charmian privily if she'd really care to do it, and she
said that it was too good to be true.
The next time we breathed our skins in the sand by the swimming pool
I said to Roscoe, "Let us do it."
I was in earnest, and so was he, for he said:
"When shall we start?"
I had a house to build on the ranch, also an orchard, a vineyard,
and several hedges to plant, and a number of other things to do. We
thought we would start in four or five years. Then the lure of the
adventure began to grip us. Why not start at once? We'd never be
younger, any of us. Let the orchard, vineyard, and hedges be
growing up while we were away. When we came back, they would be
ready for us, and we could live in the barn while we built the
So the trip was decided upon, and the building of the Snark began.
We named her the Snark because we could not think of any other name-
-this information is given for the benefit of those who otherwise
might think there is something occult in the name.
Our friends cannot understand why we make this voyage. They
shudder, and moan, and raise their hands. No amount of explanation
can make them comprehend that we are moving along the line of least
resistance; that it is easier for us to go down to the sea in a
small ship than to remain on dry land, just as it is easier for them
to remain on dry land than to go down to the sea in the small ship.
This state of mind comes of an undue prominence of the ego. They
cannot get away from themselves. They cannot come out of themselves
long enough to see that their line of least resistance is not
necessarily everybody else's line of least resistance. They make of
their own bundle of desires, likes, and dislikes a yardstick
wherewith to measure the desires, likes, and dislikes of all
creatures. This is unfair.