... We had a half-day's respite before the second storm hit.
Shomoah's crew were all veterans, whether long-time Duke's Navy or recently recruited from merchantmen we had stopped. They all knew the sea. They knew how to observe the weather. So a sort of murmur ran through the ship when a black line appeared to the southwest. Storm on the horizon... and the horizon was not very far away.
The men had not had time to recover from the previous storm. They would soon be exhausted, and not very lucid in a crisis... so I had to avoid crises.
I ordered my watch aloft to take in all of Shomoah's sails except a heavily reefed foretops'l. Unless the storm was extraordinarily powerful, there should be no further need to send anyone aloft. ...
"It was an ordinary morning on the edge of the Central Plains: a perfectly clear sky, an infinite dome of blue. A morning for mirages.
The cicadas created a constant roar, drowning out all lesser noise. A passing carriage had once come within just a dozen rods of the girl before she heard it, so she always heeded her father's warnings to check the Highway when she first arrived at her garden, and often afterward. She climbed the slope up from the garden onto the roadbed. The surrounding land was lower, and gently rolling. The raised roadbed was as flat as water and as straight as a shaft of light, for as far as one could see in either direction.
So she saw the traveler -- a tiny dot, floating on a shimmering silver band, way out at the horizon."