TOMMY Benton, on his first visit to Earth, found the long-anticipated wonders of twenty-first-century New York thrilling the first week, boring and unhappy the second week, and at the end of the third he was definitely ready to go home. The never-ending racket of traffic was torture to his abnormally acute ears. Increased atmospheric pressure did funny things to his chest and stomach. And quick and sure-footed on Mars, he struggled constantly against the heavy gravity that made all his movements clumsy and uncoordinated.
The story of American ships and sailors is an epic of blue water which seems singularly remote, almost unreal, to the later generations. A people with a native genius for seafaring won and held a brilliant supremacy through two centuries and then forsook this heritage of theirs. The period of achievement was no more extraordinary than was its swift declension. A maritime race whose topsails flecked every ocean, whose captains courageous from father to son had fought with pike and cannonade to defend the freedom of the seas, turned inland to seek a different destiny and took no more...
Chopin's father, a Frenchman by birth, was a schoolmaster. (So was the father of Franz Schubert, you
remember.) The boy's mother was a native of Poland. From the time when he was a little boy, the future great
composer loved his mother's country and the people just as much as he loved the dear mother herself.
The father knew that his little son was musical, so he took the greatest care to have him taught by the best
teachers. He watched over him quite as Leopold Mozart watched the progress of Wolferl; and as
Mendelssohn's mother guided Felix and Fanny in their first music lessons.