and rounding the head of the pier.


Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849)
Question: When he starts to look at the ship, was ship moving or not moving? If it rounded the head of the pier, it must have been in moving.
How much time is there between these two actions?

Particularly, I remembered standing with my father on the wharf when a large ship was getting under way, and rounding the head of the pier. I remembered the yo heave ho! of the sailors, as they just showed their woolen caps above the high bulwarks. I remembered how I thought of their crossing the great ocean; and that that very ship, and those very sailors, so near to me then, would after a time be actually in Europe.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The ship was moving. "Getting under way" means beginning to move (although it can also include an element of preparing to move). For a sailing ship this could cover all the time from unmooring to being under full sail, which might occupy a period of a couple of hours, maybe more.
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