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THE“ Nellie," a cruising yawl, there in the luminous estuary, swung to her anchor without a but behind him, within the flutter of the sails, and was at brooding gloom. rest. The flood had made, the Between us there was, as I wind was nearly calm, and have already said somewhere, being bound down the river, the bond of the sea. Besides the only thing for us was to holding our hearts together come to and wait for the turn through long periods of separof the tide.

ation, it had the effect of The sea-reach of the Thames making us tolerant of each stretched before us like the other's yarns

and even conbeginning of an interminable victions. The Lawyer -- the waterway. In the offing the best of old fellows — had, besea and the sky were welded to- cause of his many years and gether without a joint, and in many virtues, the only cushion the luminous space the tanned on deck, and was lying on the sails of the barges drifting up only rug.

The Accountant had with the tide seemed to stand brought out already a box of still in red clusters of canvas dominoes, and was toying archisharply peaked, with gleams tecturally with the bones. Marof varnished sprits. A haze low sat cross-legged right aft, rested on the low shores that leaning against the mizzenran out to sea in vanishing mast. He had sunken cheeks, flatness. The air was dark a yellow complexion, a straight above Gravesend, and farther back, an ascetic aspect, and, back still seemed condensed with his arms dropped, the into a mournful gloom, brood- palms of hands outwards, reing motionless over the biggest, sembled an idol. The Direcand the greatest, town tor, satisfied the anchor had earth.

good hold, made his way aft The Director of Companies and sat down amongst us. We was our captain and our host. exchanged a few words lazily. We four affectionately watched Afterwards there was silence his back as he stood in the on board the yacht. For some bows looking to seaward. On reason or other we did not the whole river there was noth- begin that game of dominoes. ing that looked half so nautical. We felt meditative, and fit for He resembled a pilot, which to nothing but placid staring.

. is trustworthiness The day was ending in personified. It was difficult to serenity that had a still and realise his work was not out exquisite brilliance. The water




a sea.

1 Copyright, 1899, by S. S. M'Clure Co., in the United States of America.


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shone pacifically ; the sky, with- battles of the It had out a speck, was a benign im- known and served all the men mensity of unstained light; the of whom the nation is proud, very mist on the Essex marshes from Sir Francis Drake to Sir was like a gauzy and radiant John Franklin, knights all, fabric, hung from the wooded titled and untitled—the great rises inland, and draping the knights - errant of the sea. low shores in diaphanous folds. had borne all the ships whose Only the gloom to the west, names are like jewels flashing brooding over the upper reaches, in the night of time, from the became more sombre


min- “Golden Hind” returning with ute, as if angered by the ap- her round flanks full of treasure, proach of the sun.

to be visited by the Queen's And at last, in its curved and Highness and thus pass out of imperceptible fall, the sun sank the gigantic tale, to the “Erelow, and from glowing white bus and “Terror," bound on changed to a dull red without other conquests—and that never rays and without heat, as if returned. It had known the about to go out suddenly, ships and the men. They sailed stricken to death by the touch from Deptford, from Greenwich, of that gloom brooding over a from Erith, the adventurers crowd of men.

and the settlers; kings' ships Forthwith a change came and the ships of men over the waters, and the seren- 'Change; captains, admirals, the ity became less brilliant but dark "interlopers” of the Eastmore profound. The old river ern trade, and the commissioned in its broad reach rested un- “ generals ” of East India fleets. ruffled at the decline of day, Hunters for gold or pursuers of after ages of good service done fame, they all had gone out on to the race that peopled its that stream, bearing the sword, banks, spread out in the tran- and often the torch, messenquil dignity of a waterway lead- gers of the might within the ing to the uttermost ends of the land, bearers of a spark from earth. We looked at the vener- the sacred fire. What greatable stream not in the vivid ness had not floated on the ebb flush of a short day that comes of that river into the mystery and departs for ever, but in of an unknown earth?

- the the pacific yet august light of dreams of men, the seed of comabiding memories. And in- monwealths, the germs of emdeed nothing is easier for a pires. man who has, as the phrase The sun set; the dusk fell on goes,

“ followed the sea with the stream, and lights began to reverence and affection, than to appear along the shore. The evoke the great spirit of the Chapman lighthouse, a threepast

upon the lower reaches of legged thing erect on a mudthe Thames. The tidal current flat, shone strongly. Lights of runs to and fro in its unceasing ships moved in the fairway-a service, crowded with memories great stir of lights going up and of men and ships it had borne going down. And farther west

. to the rest of home or to the on the upper reaches the place


No one

of the monstrous town was still brings out a haze, in the likemarked ominously on the sky, ness of one of these misty halos a brooding gloom in sunshine, a that sometimes are made visible lurid glare under the stars. by the spectral illumination of

“And this also,” said Mar- moonshine. low suddenly, “has been one His uncalled - for remark did of the dark places of the not seem at all surprising. It earth.”

was just like Marlow. It was He was the only man of us accepted in silence. who still “followed the sea.” took the trouble to grunt even ; The worst that could be said of and presently he said, very him was that he did not repre- slow, sent his class. He was a seaman, “I was thinking of very old but he was a wanderer too, times, when the Romans first while most seamen lead, if one came here, nineteen hundred may so express it, a sedentary years ago—the other day. life. Their minds are of the Light came out of this river stay-at-home order, and their since—you say Knights? Yes; home is always with them—the but it is like a running blaze on ship; and so is their country, a plain, like a flash of lightthe sea.

One ship is very much ning in the clouds. We live in like another, and the sea is al- the flicker—may it last as long ways the same. In the immuta- as the old earth keeps rolling! bility of their surroundings the But darkness was here yesterforeign shores, the foreign faces, day. Imagine the feelings of a the changing immensity of life, commander of a fine—what d'ye glide past, veiled not by a sense call 'em ?-trireme in the Medi

' of mystery but by a slightly terranean, ordered suddenly to disdainful ignorance; for there the north ; run overland across is nothing mysterious to a sea- the Gauls in a hurry; put in man unless it be the sea itself, charge of one of these craft the which is the mistress of his legionaries,-a wonderful lot of existence and as inscrutable as handy men they must have been Destiny. For the rest, after his too_used to build, apparently hours of work a casual stroll or by the hundred, in a month or a casual spree on shore suffices two, if we may believe what we to unfold for him the secret of a read. Imagine him here—the whole continent, and generally very end of the world, a sea the he finds the secret not worth colour of lead, a sky the colour knowing. The yarns of seamen of smoke, a kind of ship about have a

direct simplicity, the as rigid as a concertina—and whole meaning of which lies going up this river with stores, within the shell of a cracked or orders, or what


like. nut. But Marlow was not Sandbanks, marshes, forests, typical (if his propensity to spin savages, precious little to eat yarns be excepted), and to him fit for a civilised man, nothing the meaning of an episode was but Thames water to drink. not inside like a kernel but out- No Falernian wine here, no side, enveloping the tale which going ashore. Here and there brought it out only as a glow a military camp lost in a wilder





ness, like a needle in a bundle of so that, with his legs folded behay—cold, fog, tempests, dis- fore him, he had the pose of a ease, exile, and death,—death Buddha preaching in European skulking in the air, in the clothes and without a lotuswater, in the bush. They must flower

“Mind, none

of have been dying like flies here. would feel exactly like this. Oh yes—he did it. Did it very What us is efficiency well, too, no doubt, and with- - the devotion to efficiency. out thinking much about it But these chaps were not much either, except afterwards to account, really. They were no brag of what he had gone colonists; their administration through in his time, perhaps. was merely a squeeze, and noThey were men enough to face thing more, I suspect. They the darkness. And perhaps he were conquerors, and for that

, was cheered by keeping his eye you want only brute forceon a chance of promotion to the nothing to boast of, when you fleet at Ravenna by-and-by, if have it, since your strength is he had good friends in Rome just an accident arising from and survived the awful climate. the weakness of others. They Or think of a decent young grabbed what they could get citizen in a toga—perhaps too for the sake of what was to be much dice, you know—coming got. It was just robbery with out here in the train of some violence, aggravated murder on prefect, or tax - gatherer, a great scale, and men going at trader even, to mend his for- it blind -as is very proper for tunes. Land in

swamp, those who tackle a darkness. march through the woods, and The conquest of the earth, in some inland post feel the which mostly means the taking savagery, the utter savagery, it away from those who have a had closed round him, all that different complexion or slightly mysterious life of the wilderness flatter noses than ourselves, is that stirs in the forest, in the not a pretty thing when you jungles, in the hearts of wild look into it too much.

What There's initiation redeems it is the idea only. An either into such mysteries. He idea at the back of it; not a

a has to live in the midst of the sentimental pretence but incomprehensible, which is also idea ; and an unselfish belief in detestable. And it has a fas- the idea — something you can

cination, too, that goes to work set up, and bow down before, upon him. The fascination of and offer a sacrifice to. the abomination — you

know. He broke off. Flames glided Imagine the growing regrets, in the river, small green flames, the longing to escape,

to escape, the red flames, white flames, purpowerless disgust, the sur- suing, overtaking, joining, crossrender, the hate."

ing each other—then separating He paused.

slowly or hastily. The traffic “Mind,” he began again, lift- of the great city went on in ing one arm from the elbow, the deepening night upon the the palm of the hand outwards, sleepless river. We looked on,





an on

waiting patiently, there was tired of resting. Then I began

— nothing else to do till the end to look for a ship-I should of the flood; but it was only think the hardest work after a long silence, when he earth. But the ships wouldn't said, in a hesitating voice, “I even look at me.

And I got suppose you fellows remember tired of that game too. I did once turn fresh - water “Now when I was a little sailor for a bit,” that we knew chap I had a passion for maps. we were fated, before the ebb I would look for hours at began to run, to hear about South America, or Africa, or one of Marlow's inconclusive Australia, and lose myself in experiences.

all the glories of exploration. “I don't want to bother you At that time there were many much with what happened to blank spaces on the earth, and me personally," he began, show- when I saw one that looked

, ing in this remark the weak- particularly inviting on a map ness of many tellers of tales (but they all look that I would who seem

so often

unaware put my finger on it and say, of what their audience would When I

When I grow up I will go best like to hear ; “yet to there. The North Pole was understand the effect of it on one of these places, I remember. me you ought to know how Well, I haven't been there yet, I got out there, what I saw, and shall not try now.

The how I went up that river to glamour's off. Other places the place where I first met the were scattered about the Equapoor chap. It was the farthest tor, and in every sort of latipoint of navigation and the cul- tude all over the two hemiminating point of my experi- spheres. I have been in some ence. It seemed somehow to of them, and well, we throw a kind of light on every- won't talk about that. But thing about me—and into my there was one yet—the biggest, thoughts. It

sombre the most blank, so to speakenough too-and pitiful—not that I had a hankering after. extraordinary in any way—not “True, by this time it was very clear either. No, not very not a blank space any more. clear. And yet it seemed to It had got filled since my boythrow a kind of light.

hood with rivers and lakes and “I had then, as you remem- names. It had ceased to be ber, just returned to London a blank space of delightful after a lot of Indian Ocean, mystery — a white patch for Pacific, China Seas—a regular a boy to dream gloriously over. dose of the East—six years or It had become a place of darkso, and I was loafing about, ness. But there was in it one hindering you fellows in your river especially, a mighty big work and invading your homes, river, that you could see on the just as though I had got á map, resembling an immense

a heavenly mission to civilise snake uncoiled, with its head you. It was very fine for a in the sea, its body at rest curvtime, but after a bit I did get ing afar over a vast country, VOL. CLXV.—NO. M.


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