The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book—a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.
Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835–1910), U.S. author. Life on the Mississippi, ch. 9 (1883).
of learning to pilot a steamboat on the Mississippi. Nonetheless, Twain went on to explain, "All the grace, the beauty, the poetry had gone out of the majestic river!... All the value any feature had for me now was the amount of usefulness it could furnish toward compassing the safe piloting of a steamboat."