IN due course I got my license. I was a pilot now, full fledged.
I dropped into casual employments; no misfortunes resulting,
intermittent work gave place to steady and protracted engagements.
Time drifted smoothly and prosperously on, and I supposed--and hoped--
that I was going to follow the river the rest of my days, and die
at the wheel when my mission was ended. But by and by the war came,
commerce was suspended, my occupation was gone.
I had to seek another livelihood. So I became a silver miner
in Nevada; next, a newspaper reporter; next, a gold miner,
in California; next, a reporter in San Francisco; next, a special
correspondent in the Sandwich Islands; next, a roving correspondent
in Europe and the East; next, an instructional torch-bearer on
the lecture platform; and, finally, I became a scribbler of books,
and an immovable fixture among the other rocks of New England.
In so few words have I disposed of the twenty-one slow-drifting
years that have come and gone since I last looked from the windows
of a pilot-house.