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There’s a salt in the hard-driven spray between Point Judith and Cape Cod; salt coming over the bow and along the lee rail. And there’s salt in the blue, impalpable haze that drifts in from the ocean, to soften and smooth the rugged landscape.
And there’s salt in this book. Among men tanned by years of sun and wind on the Seven Seas, Llewellyn Howland learned to swim, to build and sail a boat, to dig clams and catch fish, to respect and deal with a cow’s tail at milking time, to work with tools, and to know ash from oak. He learned and remembered, and now imparts the sights and sounds and smells in tantalizing fashion, even to the gastronomic delights of clams—steamed on hot rocks covered with rockweed, filling the glade with wisps and jets of delicious-smelling steam in a compound of odors once enjoyed, never forgotten.
The savor of the sea is in this book: the silvery rain purling in the sea in countless dimples; nights when the moon is full, and sails darken and lighten in its gleam; other nights of foghorns and Nantucket sleigh-rides, howling storms and raging seas. Wrecks, overturned lifeboats, rescues, men marooned on an ice floe—all have their part in the story. These characters of the piece are sturdy, sea-faring men and women living a lonely life on Noman’s Land behind small-paned windows which are ribbed and scoured by the sand whipped and driven from the beach in the winter gales.