Friday, September 4, 2009

Sea Monsters: "...As If Attentively Viewing the Vessel"

I've been reading old accounts of sea serpents and/or monsters recently and I just can't help but share. First off, though, let me address the above, which I found while poking around for old engravings of sea monsters.

"Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" is, of course, another attempt to cash in on the popularity of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". The book is due out this month and may actually appeal to someone, although who that person might be escapes me personally. Of note, to me, is the fact that the titular "sea monster" on the cover is in fact a Marine rather than an actual Royal Navy officer. I honestly love Austen's writing but it appears that, even in knock offs, Jane's ladies seem to get it just slightly wrong when choosing their beaux.

To the "real" sea monster: In the August, 1818 addition of the Portland, Maine, Eastern Argus, a small piece appeared about the sighting of a sea monster off the shore of Maine's Monhegan Island. The reporter is a passenger on the schooner Maxamilla coming from Lubec and carrying passengers to New York. The Captain spots a small boat under sail but, when the boat disappears suddenly, he decides the object must be the locally famous "sea serpent". Those aboard waited to see if the monster might reappear. The reporter tells us: "In a few minutes, anticipation was realized - as the monster was discovered about a quarter of a mile to the leeward with his head about 15 feet out of the water, and his tail at the same time about 10 feet out, his breast, or body, near the water, was encircled with a clear white stripe, the diameter to appearance about 6 feet. In this position, the monster remained about two minutes, as if attentively viewing the vessel; and he then began thrashing the water, with his head alternately upon either side, with the utmost fury."

Evidently, whatever our little buddy off the coast of Maine was, he didn't like being stared at. I wonder if the Lovecraftian Marine above had the same issue? Happy Friday, Brethren. If anyone reads "S and S and SM", please leave your humble hostess a comment and let me know how it turns out. I'm guessing Miss Marianne ends up with Cthulhu. What joy!


Timmy! said...

Ahoy Pauline! I doubt that I'll be reading "S & S & SM" any time soon (I think I'll wait for the movie) but thanks for the amusing post (and picture)...

Pauline said...

Ahoy Timmy! No time for pillaged Austen you say? Why ever not?