In Youth: A Narrative, Joseph Conrad writes:
“We had fair breezes, smooth water right into the tropics, and the old Judea lumbered along in the sunshine. When she went eight knots everything cracked aloft, and we tied our caps to our heads; but mostly she strolled on at the rate of three miles an hour. What could you expect? She was tired—that old ship. Her youth was where mine is—where yours is— you fellows who listen to this yarn; and what friend would throw your years and your weariness in your face? We didn’t grumble at her. To us aft, at least, it seemed as though we had been born in her, reared in her, had lived in her for ages, had never known any other ship. I would just as soon have abused the old village church at home for not being a cathedral.
I don't exactly understand the last sentence, but my intuitions are that the sentiment of the last sentence contradicts that of the former sentences. It seems to me, that initially Marlow expresses a sentimentality for the ship, and possibly a veneration for its endurance as it becomes increasingly dilapidated, and requiring of repairs during its journey to Java head, whereas the last sentence conveys the sentiment that he would rather chastise a similar old object (a church) for not having the efficacy that an, assumedly, well-furnished and maintained cathedral would, without consideration of its past service. Is this sarcasm?