When I was a boy, my comrades and I had one permanent ambition - to be a steamboat man. Boy after boy managed to get on the river. By and by I ran away too. Said I could never come home until I was a pilot and come home in glory. I tell you, I love this profession. I take a measureless pride in it. The pilot on a steamboat is the only unfettered, entirely independent human being to walk the face of the earth. She cuts her own course, too, the river. There's a glory to her. She'll take a man any place a man ought to go. She'll kill you, too, if you give her half a chance. I mean to die at the wheel of a steamboat.
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