'Twixt Land and Sea

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Doubleday, Page, 1921 - Oceania - 238 pages
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User Review  - motorbike - LibraryThing

I do like Joseph Conrad. He is a great storyteller. The stories in this volume are engaging and enjoyable as his other works. The central theme of most of Conrad’s works is the civilized western ... Read full review

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Drags a long for a bit, then suddenly will have a poignant section that captures your imagination and has you re-reading it over and over.

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Page 115 - All right. Get the ladder over." I hesitated. Should I whisper something to him? But what? His immobility seemed to have been never disturbed. What could I tell him he did not know already? . . . Finally I went on deck.
Page 126 - No, sir. I could have sworn I had heard you moving in there not a moment ago. It's most extraordinary . . . very sorry, sir." I passed on with an inward shudder. I was so identified with my secret double that I did not even mention the fact in those scanty, fearful whispers we exchanged. I suppose he had made some slight noise of some kind or other. It would have been miraculous if he hadn't at one time or another. And yet, haggard as he appeared, he looked...
Page 122 - My double down there in my cabin must have heard, and certainly could not feel more relieved than I. Four fellows came running out from somewhere forward and went over the side, while my own men, appearing on deck too, lined the rail. I escorted my visitor to the gangway ceremoniously, and nearly overdid it. He was a tenacious beast. On the very ladder he lingered, and in that unique, guiltily conscientious manner of sticking to the point: "I say . . . you . . . you don't think that " I covered his...
Page 131 - You don't suppose I am afraid of what can be done to me? Prison or gallows or whatever they may please. But you don't see me coming back to explain such things to an old fellow in a wig and twelve respectable tradesmen, do you? What can they know whether I am guilty or not — or of what I am guilty, either? That's my affair. What does the Bible say? 'Driven off the face of the earth.
Page 116 - I asked, with an appearance of polite interest. "No!" He sighed. "Painful duty." As he persisted in his mumbling and I wanted my double to hear every word, I hit upon the notion of informing him that I regretted to say I was hard of hearing. "Such a young man, too!
Page 117 - I've never heard of such a thing happening in an English ship. And that it should be my ship. Wife on board, too." I was hardly listening to him. "Don't you think," I said, "that the heavy sea which, you told me, came aboard just then might have killed the man? I have seen the sheer weight of a sea kill a man very neatly, by simply breaking his neck.
Page 106 - I inquired, in the hardly audible murmurs we used, after he had told me something more of the proceedings on board the Sephora once the bad weather was over. 'When we sighted Java Head I had had time to think all those matters out several times over. I had six weeks of doing nothing else, and with only an hour or so every evening for a tramp on the quarterdeck.
Page 141 - And all the time I dared not look towards the land lest my heart should fail me. I released my grip at last and he ran forward as if fleeing for dear life. I wondered what my double there in the sail-locker thought of this commotion. He was able to hear everything — and perhaps he was able to understand why, on my conscience, it had to be thus close — no less. My first order "Hard alee!
Page 120 - ... that he viewed my politeness as a strange and unnatural phenomenon. And yet how else could I have received him? Not heartily! That was impossible for psychological reasons, which I need not state here. My only object was to keep off his inquiries. Surlily? Yes, but surliness might have provoked a point-blank question. From its novelty to him and from its nature, punctilious courtesy was the manner best calculated to restrain the man. But there was the danger of his breaking through my defence...
Page 138 - ... tried hurriedly in the dark to ram it on my other self. He dodged and fended off silently. I wonder what he thought had come to me before he understood and suddenly desisted. Our hands met gropingly, lingered united in a steady, motionless clasp for a second. . . . No word was breathed by either of us when they separated. I was standing quietly by the pantry door when the steward returned. "Sorry, sir. Kettle barely warm. Shall I light the spirit-lamp?

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