the novel chance

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofChance,byJosephConrad ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:Chance ATaleinTwoParts Author:JosephConrad ReleaseDate:November16,2007[EBook#23506] [Lastupdated:October31,2012] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKCHANCE*** ProducedbyNickHodsonofLondon,England JosephConrad "Chance" Part1—Chapter1 YoungPowellandhisChance I believe he had seen us out of the window coming off to dine in the dinghyofafourteen-tonyawlbelongingtoMarlowmyhostandskipper We helped the boy we had with us to haul the boat up on the landingstage before we went up to the riverside inn, where we found our new acquaintance eating his dinner in dignified loneliness at the head of a longtable,whiteandinhospitablelikeasnowbank The red tint of his clear-cut face with trim short black whiskers under a capofcurlyiron-greyhairwastheonlywarmspotinthedinginessofthat roomcooledbythecheerlesstablecloth Weknewhimalreadybysight astheownerofalittlefive-toncutter,whichhesailedaloneapparently,a fellowyachtsmanintheunpretendingbandoffanaticswhocruiseatthe mouthoftheThames Butthefirsttimeheaddressedthewaitersharply as‘steward’weknewhimatonceforasailoraswellasayachtsman Presently he had occasion to reprove that same waiter for the slovenly manner in which the dinner was served He did it with considerable energyandthenturnedtous “Ifweatsea,”hedeclared,“wentaboutourworkaspeopleashorehigh and low go about theirs we should never make a living No one would employus Andmoreovernoshipnavigatedandsailedinthehappy-goluckymannerpeopleconducttheirbusinessonshorewouldeverarrive intoport.” Since he had retired from the sea he had been astonished to discover thattheeducatedpeoplewerenotmuchbetterthantheothers Noone seemed to take any proper pride in his work: from plumbers who were simply thieves to, say, newspaper men (he seemed to think them a specially intellectual class) who never by any chance gave a correct versionofthesimplestaffair Thisuniversalinefficiencyofwhathecalled “theshoregang”heascribedingeneraltothewantofresponsibilityand toasenseofsecurity “Theysee,”hewenton,“thatnomatterwhattheydothistightlittleisland won’tturnturtlewiththemorspringaleakandgotothebottomwiththeir wivesandchildren.” Fromthispointtheconversationtookaspecialturnrelatingexclusivelyto sea-life On that subject he got quickly in touch with Marlow who in his time had followed the sea They kept up a lively exchange of reminiscenceswhileIlistened Theyagreedthatthehappiesttimeintheir liveswasasyoungstersingoodships,withnocareintheworldbutnotto loseawatchbelowwhenatseaandnotamoment’stimeingoingashore after work hours when in harbour They agreed also as to the proudest moment they had known in that calling which is never embraced on rational and practical grounds, because of the glamour of its romantic associations Itwasthemomentwhentheyhadpassedsuccessfullytheir firstexaminationandlefttheseamanshipExaminerwiththelittleprecious slipofbluepaperintheirhands “ThatdayIwouldn’thavecalledtheQueenmycousin,”declaredournew acquaintanceenthusiastically At that time the Marine Board examinations took place at the Saint Katherine’sDockHouseonTowerHill,andheinformedusthathehada specialaffectionfortheviewofthathistoriclocality,withtheGardensto theleft,thefrontoftheMinttotheright,themiserabletumble-downlittle houses farther away, a cabstand, boot-blacks squatting on the edge of thepavementandapairofbigpolicemengazingwithanairofsuperiority atthedoorsoftheBlackHorsepublic-houseacrosstheroad Thiswas the part of the world, he said, his eyes first took notice of, on the finest day of his life He had emerged from the main entrance of Saint Katherine’sDockHouseafull-fledgedsecondmateafterthehottesttime of his life with Captain R—, the most dreaded of the three seamanship Examiners who at the time were responsible for the merchant service officersqualifyinginthePortofLondon “We all who were preparing to pass,” he said, “used to shake in our shoesattheideaofgoingbeforehim Hekeptmeforanhourandahalf inthetorturechamberandbehavedasthoughhehatedme Hekepthis eyesshadedwithoneofhishands Suddenlyheletitdropsaying,‘You will do!’ Before I realised what he meant he was pushing the blue slip acrossthetable Ijumpedupasifmychairhadcaughtfire “‘Thankyou,sir,’saysI,grabbingthepaper “‘Goodmorning,goodlucktoyou,’hegrowlsatme “The old doorkeeper fussed out of the cloak-room with my hat They alwaysdo Buthelookedveryhardatmebeforeheventuredtoaskina sortoftimidwhisper:‘Gotthroughallright,sir?’ForallanswerIdropped ahalf-crownintohissoftbroadpalm ‘Well,’sayshewithasuddengrin fromeartoear,‘Ineverknewhimkeepanyofyougentlemensolong He failedtwosecondmatesthismorningbeforeyourturncame Lessthan twentyminuteseach:that’sabouthisusualtime.’ “I found myself downstairs without being aware of the steps as if I had floated down the staircase The finest day in my life The day you get yourfirstcommandisnothingtoit Foronethingamanisnotsoyoung then and for another with us, you know, there is nothing much more to expect Yes,thefinestdayofone’slife,nodoubt,butthenitisjustaday andnomore Whatcomesafterisaboutthemostunpleasanttimefora youngster,thetryingtogetanofficer’sberthwithnothingmuchtoshow but a brand-new certificate It is surprising how useless you find that piece of ass’s skin that you have been putting yourself in such a state about Itdidn’tstrikemeatthetimethataBoardofTradecertificatedoes notmakeanofficer,notbyalonglongway Buttheskippersoftheships Iwashauntingwithdemandsforajobknewthatverywell Idon’twonder atthemnow,andIdon’tblamethemeither Butthis‘tryingtogetaship’ isprettyhardonayoungsterallthesame ” Hewentonthentotellushowtiredhewasandhowdiscouragedbythis lessonofdisillusionfollowingswiftlyuponthefinestdayofhislife Hetold ushowhewenttheroundofalltheship-owners’officesintheCitywhere some junior clerk would furnish him with printed forms of application which he took home to fill up in the evening He used to run out just before midnight to post them in the nearest pillar-box And that was all thatevercameofit Inhisownwords:hemightjustaswellhavedropped themallproperlyaddressedandstampedintothesewergrating Thenoneday,ashewaswendinghiswearywaytothedocks,hemeta friend and former shipmate a little older than himself outside the FenchurchStreetRailwayStation He craved for sympathy but his friend had just “got a ship” that very morning and was hurrying home in a state of outward joy and inward uneasiness usual to a sailor who after many days of waiting suddenly getsaberth Thisfriendhadthetimetocondolewithhimbutbriefly He must be moving Then as he was running off, over his shoulder as it were, he suggested: “Why don’t you go and speak to Mr Powell in the ShippingOffice.”OurfriendobjectedthathedidnotknowMrPowellfrom Adam Andtheotheralreadyprettynearroundthecornershoutedback advice:“GototheprivatedooroftheShippingOfficeandwalkrightupto him Hisdeskisbythewindow GoupboldlyandsayIsentyou.” Our new acquaintance looking from one to the other of us declared: “Uponmyword,IhadgrownsodesperatethatI’dhavegoneboldlyupto thedevilhimselfonthemerehintthathehadasecondmate’sjobtogive away.” It was at this point that interrupting his flow of talk to light his pipe but holding us with his eye he inquired whether we had known Powell Marlow with a slight reminiscent smile murmured that he remembered himverywell Thentherewasapause Ournewacquaintancehadbecomeinvolvedin avexatiousdifficultywithhispipewhichhadsuddenlybetrayedhistrust and disappointed his anticipation of self-indulgence To keep the ball rollingIaskedMarlowifthisPowellwasremarkableinanyway “He was not exactly remarkable,” Marlow answered with his usual nonchalance “In a general way it’s very difficult for one to become remarkable Peoplewon’ttakesufficientnoticeofone,don’tyouknow I rememberPowellsowellsimplybecauseasoneoftheShippingMasters inthePortofLondonhedispatchedmetoseaonseverallongstagesof mysailor’spilgrimage HeresembledSocrates Imeanheresembledhim genuinely:thatisintheface Aphilosophicalmindisbutanaccident He reproduced exactly, the familiar bust of, the immortal sage, if you will imagine the bust with a high top hat riding far on the back of the head, andablackcoatovertheshoulders AsIneversawhimexceptfromthe othersideofthelongofficialcounterbearingthefivewriting-desksofthe fiveShippingMasters,MrPowellhasremainedabusttome.” Ournewacquaintanceadvancednowfromthemantelpiecewithhispipe ingoodworkingorder “What was the most remarkable about Powell,” he enunciated dogmaticallywithhisheadinacloudofsmoke,“isthatheshouldhave hadjustthatname Yousee,mynamehappenstobePowelltoo.” It was clear that this intelligence was not imparted to us for social purposes Itrequirednoacknowledgment Wecontinuedtogazeathim withexpectanteyes He gave himself up to the vigorous enjoyment of his pipe for a silent minuteortwo Thenpickingupthethreadofhisstoryhetoldushowhe had started hot foot for Tower Hill He had not been that way since the day of his examination—the finest day of his life—the day of his overweening pride It was very different now He would not have called theQueenhiscousin,still,butthistimeitwasfromasenseofprofound abasement He didn’t think himself good enough for anybody’s kinship Heenviedthepurple-nosedoldcab-driversonthestand,theboot-black boys at the edge of the pavement, the two large bobbies pacing slowly along the Tower Gardens railings in the consciousness of their infallible might,andthebrightscarletsentrieswalkingsmartlytoandfrobeforethe Mint He envied them their places in the scheme of world’s labour And he envied also the miserable sallow, thin-faced loafers blinking their obsceneeyesandrubbingtheirgreasyshouldersagainstthedoorjambs of the Black Horse pub, because they were too far gone to feel their degradation I must render the man the justice that he conveyed very well to us the sense of his youthful hopelessness surprised at not finding its place in thesunandnorecognitionofitsrighttolive He went up the outer steps of Saint Katherine’s Dock House, the very stepsfromwhichhehadsomesixweeksbeforesurveyedthecabstand, the buildings, the policemen, the boot-blacks, the paint, gilt, and plateglassoftheBlackHorse,withtheeyeofaConqueror Atthetimehehad beenatthebottomofhisheartsurprisedthatallthishadnotgreetedhim withsongsandincense,butnow(hemadenosecretofit)hemadehis entryinaslinkingfashionpastthedoorkeeper’sglassbox “Ihadn’tany half-crownstosparefortips,”heremarkedgrimly Theman,however,ran outafterhimasking:“Whatdoyourequire?”butwithagratefulglanceup atthefirstfloorinremembranceofCaptainR—’sexaminationroom(how easyanddelightfulallthathadbeen)hebolteddownaflightleadingto the basement and found himself in a place of dusk and mystery and many doors He had been afraid of being stopped by some rule of noadmittance Howeverhewasnotpursued The basement of Saint Katherine’s Dock House is vast in extent and confusinginitsplan Paleshaftsoflightslantfromaboveintothegloom ofitschillypassages Powellwanderedupanddowntherelikeanearly Christian refugee in the catacombs; but what little faith he had in the successofhisenterprisewasoozingoutathisfinger-tips Atadarkturn under a gas bracket whose flame was half turned down his selfconfidenceabandonedhimaltogether “Istoodtheretothinkalittle,”hesaid “Afoolishthingtodobecauseof course I got scared What could you expect? It takes some nerve to tackle a stranger with a request for a favour I wished my namesake Powellhadbeenthedevilhimself Ifeltsomehowitwouldhavebeenan easierjob Yousee,Ineverbelievedinthedevilenoughtobescaredof him; but a man can make himself very unpleasant I looked at a lot of doors,allshuttight,withagrowingconvictionthatIwouldneverhavethe pluck to open one of them Thinking’s no good for one’s nerve I concludedIwouldgiveupthewholebusiness ButIdidn’tgiveupinthe end, and I’ll tell you what stopped me It was the recollection of that confounded doorkeeper who had called after me I felt sure the fellow wouldbeonthelook-outattheheadofthestairs IfheaskedmewhatI hadbeenafter,ashehadtherighttodo,Iwouldn’tknowwhattoanswer thatwouldn’tmakemelooksillyifnoworse Igotveryhot Therewasno chanceofslinkingoutofthisbusiness “I had lost my bearings somehow down there Of the many doors of various sizes, right and left, a good few had glazed lights above; some howevermusthaveledmerelyintolumberroomsorsuchlike,because when I brought myself to try one or two I was disconcerted to find that theywerelocked Istoodthereirresoluteanduneasylikeabaffledthief TheconfoundedbasementwasasstillasagraveandIbecameawareof my heart beats Very uncomfortable sensation Never happened to me beforeorsince Abiggerdoortotheleftofme,withalargebrasshandle looked as if it might lead into the Shipping Office I tried it, setting my teeth ‘Heregoes!’ “It came open quite easily And lo! the place it opened into was hardly any bigger than a cupboard Anyhow it wasn’t more than ten feet by twelve; and as I in a way expected to see the big shadowy cellar-like extent of the Shipping Office where I had been once or twice before, I wasextremelystartled Agasbrackethungfromthemiddleoftheceiling overadark,shabbywriting-deskcoveredwithalitterofyellowishdusty documents Under the flame of the single burner which made the place ablazewithlight,aplump,littlemanwaswritinghard,hisnoseverynear the desk His head was perfectly bald and about the same drab tint as thepapers Heappearedprettydustytoo “I didn’t notice whether there were any cobwebs on him, but I shouldn’t wonder if there were because he looked as though he had been imprisonedforyearsinthatlittlehole Thewayhedroppedhispenand satblinkingmywayupsetmeverymuch Andhisdungeonwashotand musty; it smelt of gas and mushrooms, and seemed to be somewhere 120 feet below the ground Solid, heavy stacks of paper filled all the corners half-way up to the ceiling And when the thought flashed upon methatthesewerethepremisesoftheMarineBoardandthatthisfellow mustbeconnectedinsomewaywithshipsandsailorsandthesea,my astonishmenttookmybreathaway Onecouldn’timaginewhytheMarine Boardshouldkeepthatbald,fatcreatureslavingdownthere Forsome reason or other I felt sorry and ashamed to have found him out in his wretched captivity I asked gently and sorrowfully: ‘The Shipping Office, please.’ “He piped up in a contemptuous squeaky voice which made me start: ‘Nothere Trythepassageontheotherside Streetside ThisistheDock thepossibilityofa‘triumphofenviousrivals’—aheavysentence.” I doubt if for love or even for money, but I think possibly, from pity that man provided him with what Mr Powell called “strong stuff.” From what PowellsawoftheveryactIamfairlycertainitmusthavebeencontained in a capsule and that he had it about him on the last day of his trial, perhaps secured by a stitch in his waistcoat pocket He didn’t use it Why? Did he think of his child at the last moment? Was it want of courage?Wecan’ttell Buthefounditinhisclotheswhenhecameoutof jail It had escaped investigation if there was any Chance had armed him Andchancealone,thechanceofMrPowell’slife,forcedhimtoturn theabominableweaponagainsthimself IimpartedmytheorytoMrPowellwhoaccepteditatonceas,inasense, favourabletothefatherofMrsAnthony Thenhewavedhishand “Don’t letusthinkofit.” Iacquiescedandverysoonheobserveddreamily: “IwaswithCaptainandMrsAnthonysailingallovertheworldfornearon sixyears AlmostaslongasFranklin.” “Ohyes!WhataboutFranklin?”Iasked Powellsmiled “HelefttheFerndaleayearorsoafterwards,andItook hisplace CaptainAnthonyrecommendedhimforacommand Youdon’t thinkCaptainAnthonywouldchuckamanasidelikeanoldglove Butof courseMrsAnthonydidnotlikehimverymuch Idon’tthinksheeverlet outawhisperagainsthimbutCaptainAnthonycouldreadherthoughts.” And again Powell seemed to lose himself in the past I asked, for suddenlythevisionoftheFynespassedthroughmymind “Anychildren?” Powell gave a start “No! No! Never had any children,” and again subsided,puffingathisshortbriarpipe “Wherearetheynow?”Iinquirednextasifanxioustoascertainthatall Fyne’s fears had been misplaced and vain as our fears often are; that there were no undesirable cousins for his dear girls, no danger of intrusion on their spotless home Powell looked round at me slowly, his pipesmoulderinginhishand “Don’tyouknow?”heutteredinadeepvoice “Knowwhat?” “ThattheFerndalewaslostthisfouryearsormore Sunk Collision And CaptainAnthonywentdownwithher.” “You don’t say so!” I cried quite affected as if I had known Captain Anthonypersonally “Was—wasMrsAnthonylosttoo?” “You might as well ask if I was lost,” Mr Powell rejoined so testily as to surpriseme “Youseemehere,—don’tyou.” He was quite huffy, but noticing my wondering stare he smoothed his ruffledplumes Andinamusingtone “Yes Good men go out as if there was no use for them in the world It seemsasiftherewerethingsthat,astheTurkssay,arewritten Orelse fatehasatryandsometimesmissesitsmark Yourememberthatclose shave we had of being run down at night, I told you of, my first voyage withthem Thisgoitwasjustatdawn Aflatcalmandafogthickenough to slice with a knife Only there were no explosives on board I was on deckandIrememberthecursed,murderousthingloomingupalongside and Captain Anthony (we were both on deck) calling out, ‘Good God! What’sthis!Shoutforallhands,Powell,tosavethemselves There’sno dynamite on board now I am going to get the wife! ’ I yelled, all the watchondeckyelled Crash!” MrPowellgaspedattherecollection “ItwasaBelgianGreenStarliner, theWestland,”hewenton,“commandedbyoneofthosestop-for-nothing skippers FlahertywashisnameandIhopehewilldiewithoutabsolution She cut half through the old Ferndale and after the blow there was a silencelikedeath NextIheardthecaptainbackondeckshouting,‘Set yourenginesslowahead,’andahowlof‘Yes,yes,’answeringhimfrom herforecastle;andthenawholecrowdofpeopleuptherebeganmaking arowinthefog Theywerethrowingropesdowntousindozens,Imust say IandthecaptainfastenedoneofthemunderMrsAnthony’sarms:I remembershehadasortofdimsmileonherface.” “Haul up carefully,” I shouted to the people on the steamer’s deck “You’vegotawomanonthatline.” The captain saw her landed up there safe And then we made a rush round our decks to see no one was left behind As we got back the captain says: “Here she’s gone at last, Powell; the dear old thing! Run downatsea.” “Indeedsheisgone,”Isaid “Butitmighthavebeenworse Shinupthis rope,sir,forGod’ssake Iwillsteadyitforyou.” “Whatareyouthinkingabout,”hesaysangrily “Itisn’tmyturn Upwith you.” ThesewerethelastwordsheeverspokeonearthIsuppose Iknewhe meant to be the last to leave his ship, so I swarmed up as quick as I could, and those damned lunatics up there grab at me from above, lug me in, drag me along aft through the row and the riot of the silliest excitement I ever did see Somebody hails from the bridge, “Have you gotthemallonboard?”andadozensillyassesstartyellingalltogether, “All saved! All saved,” and then that accursed Irishman on the bridge, with me roaring No! No! till I thought my head would burst, rings his enginesastern Heringstheenginesastern—Ifightinglikemadtomake myselfheard!Andofcourse Isawtears,ashowerofthemfalldownMrPowell’sface Hisvoicebroke “TheFerndale went down like a stone and Captain Anthony went down withher,thefinestman’ssoulthateverleftasailor’sbody Iravedlikea maniac, like a devil, with a lot of fools crowding round me and asking, ‘Aren’tyouthecaptain?’ “I wasn’t fit to tie the shoe-strings of the man you have drowned,” I screamedatthem Well!Well!Icouldseeformyselfthatitwasnogood loweringaboat Youcouldn’thaveseenheralongside Nouse Andonly think, Marlow, it was I who had to go and tell Mrs Anthony They had takenherdownbelowsomewhere,first-classsaloon Ihadtogoandtell her!ThatFlaherty,Godforgivehim,comestomeaswhiteasasheet,“I think you are the proper person.” God forgive him I wished to die a hundredtimes Alotofkindladies,passengers,werechatteringexcitedly aroundMrsAnthony—arealparrothouse Theship’sdoctorwentbefore me Hewhispersrightandleftandthentherefallsasuddenhush Yes,I wishedmyselfdead ButMrsAnthonywasabrick HereMrPowellfairlyburstintotears “NoonecouldhelplovingCaptain Anthony Ileaveyoutoimaginewhathewastoher Yetbeforetheweek wasoutitwasshewhowashelpingmetopullmyselftogether.” “IsMrsAnthonyinEnglandnow?”Iaskedafterawhile Hewipedhiseyeswithoutanyfalseshame “Ohyes.”Hebegantolook formatches,andwhiledivingfortheboxunderthetableadded:“Andnot veryfarfromhereeither Thatlittlevillageupthere—youknow.” “No!Really!OhIsee!” Mr Powell smoked austerely, very detached But I could not let him off likethis Theslybeggar Sothiswasthesecretofhispassionforsailing abouttheriver,thereasonofhisfondnessforthatcreek “AndIsuppose,”Isaid,“thatyouarestillas‘enthusiastic’asever Eh?IfI wereyouIwouldjustmentionmyenthusiasmtoMrsAnthony Whynot?” He caught his falling pipe neatly But if what the French call effarement was ever expressed on a human countenance it was on this occasion, testifying to his modesty, his sensibility and his innocence He looked afraidofsomebodyoverhearingmyaudacious—almostsacrilegioushint —as if there had not been a mile and a half of lonely marshland and dykesbetweenusandthenearesthumanhabitation Andthenperhaps he remembered the soothing fact for he allowed a gleam to light up his eyes,likethereflectionofsomeinwardfiretendedinthesanctuaryofhis heartbyadevotionaspureasthatofanyvestal Itflashedandwentout Hesmiledabashfulsmile,sighed: “Pah! Foolishness You ought to know better,” he said, more sad than annoyed “ButIforgotthatyouneverknewCaptainAnthony,”headded indulgently IremindedhimthatIknewMrsAnthony;evenbeforehe—anoldfriend now—hadeverseteyesonher AndashetoldmethatMrsAnthonyhad heardofourmeetingsIwonderedwhethershewouldcaretoseeme Mr Powellvolunteerednoopinionthen;butnexttimewelayinthecreekhe said,“Shewillbeverypleased Youhadbettergoto-day.” TheafternoonwaswelladvancedbeforeIapproachedthecottage The amenity of a fine day in its decline surrounded me with a beneficent, a calminginfluence;Ifeltitinthesilenceoftheshadylane,inthepureair, inthebluesky Itisdifficulttoretainthememoryoftheconflicts,miseries, temptations and crimes of men’s self-seeking existence when one is alone with the charming serenity of the unconscious nature Breathing thedreamlesspeacearoundthepicturesquecottageIwasapproaching, itseemedtomethatitmustreigneverywhere,overalltheglobeofwater andlandandintheheartsofallthedwellersonthisearth Flora came down to the garden-gate to meet me, no longer the perversely tempting, sorrowful, wisp of white mist drifting in the complicatedbaddreamofexistence:Neitherdidshelooklikeaforsaken elf I stammered out stupidly, “Again in the country, Miss Mrs ” She was very good, returned the pressure of my hand, but we were slightly embarrassed Thenwelaughedalittle Thenwebecamegrave Iamnoloverofday-breaks Youknowhowthin,equivocal,isthelightof the dawn But she was now her true self, she was like a fine tranquil afternoon—andnotsoveryfaradvancedeither Awomannotmuchover thirty,withadazzlingcomplexionandalittlecolour,alotofhair,asmooth brow, a fine chin, and only the eyes of the Flora of the old days, absolutelyunchanged IntheroomintowhichsheledmewefoundaMissSomebody—Ididn’t catchthename,—anunobtrusive,evenanindistinct,middle-agedperson inblack Acompanion Allveryproper Shecameandwentandevensat down at times in the room, but a little apart, with some sewing By the timeshehadbroughtinalightedlampIhadheardallthedetailswhich really matter in this story Between me and her who was once Flora de Barraltheconversationwasnotlikelytokeepstrictlytotheweather The lamp had a rosy shade; and its glow wreathed her in perpetual blushes,madeherappearwonderfullyyoungasshesatbeforemeina deep,high-backedarmchair Iasked: “TellmewhatisityousaidinthatfamousletterwhichsoupsetMrsFyne, andcausedlittleFynetointerfereinthisoffensivemanner?” “It was simply crude,” she said earnestly “I was feeling reckless and I wrote recklessly I knew she would disapprove and I wrote foolishly It wastheechoofherownstupidtalk IsaidthatIdidnotloveherbrother butthatIhadnoscrupleswhateverinmarryinghim.” Shepaused,hesitating,thenwithashyhalf-laugh: “IreallybelievedIwassellingmyself,MrMarlow AndIwasproudofit WhatIsufferedafterwardsIcouldn’ttellyou;becauseIonlydiscovered myloveformypoorRoderickthroughagoniesofrageandhumiliation I came to suspect him of despising me; but I could not put it to the test becauseofmyfather Oh!Iwouldnothavebeentooproud ButIhadto spare poor papa’s feelings Roderick was perfect, but I felt as though I were on the rack and not allowed even to cry out Papa’s prejudice against Roderick was my greatest grief It was distracting It frightened me Oh! I have been miserable! That night when my poor father died suddenlyIamcertaintheyhadsomesortofdiscussion,aboutme ButI didnotwanttoholdoutanylongeragainstmyownheart!Icouldnot.” Shestoppedshort,thenimpulsively: “Truthwillout,MrMarlow.” “Yes,”Isaid Shewentonmusingly “Sorrowandhappinessweremingledatfirstlikedarknessandlight For monthsIlivedinaduskoffeelings Butitwasquiet Itwaswarm ” Againshepaused,thengoingbackinherthoughts “No!Therewasno harm in that letter It was simply foolish What did I know of life then? Nothing ButMrsFyneoughttohaveknownbetter Shewrotealetterto herbrother,alittlelater YearsafterwardsRoderickallowedmetoglance atit Ifoundinitthissentence:‘ForyearsItriedtomakeafriendofthat girl; but I warn you once more that she has the nature of a heartless adventuress’ ‘Adventuress!’repeatedFloraslowly ‘Sobeit Ihavehad afineadventure.’” “Itwasfine,then,”Isaidinterested “Thefinestintheworld!Onlythink!IlovedandIwasloved,untroubled,at peace, without remorse, without fear All the world, all life were transformedforme AndhowmuchIhaveseen!Howgoodpeoplewere to me! Roderick was so much liked everywhere Yes, I have known kindnessandsafety Themostfamiliarthingsappearedlightedupwitha newlight,clothedwithalovelinessIhadneversuspected Theseaitself! Youareasailor Youhavelivedyourlifeonit Butdoyouknowhow beautifulitis,howstrong,howcharming,howfriendly,howmighty ” Ilistenedamazedandtouched Shewassilentonlyalittlewhile “It was too good to last But nothing can rob me of it now Don’t think that I repine I am not even sad now Yes, I have been happy But I rememberalsothetimewhenIwasunhappybeyondendurance,beyond desperation Yes You remember that And later on, too There was a timeonboardtheFerndalewhentheonlymomentsofreliefIknewwere when I made Mr Powell talk to me a little on the poop You like him?— Don’tyou?” “Excellentfellow,”Isaidwarmly “Youseehimoften?” “Ofcourse Ihardlyknowanothersoulintheworld Iamalone Andhe has plenty of time on his hands His aunt died a few years ago He’s doingnothing,Ibelieve.” “Heisfondofthesea,”Iremarked “Helovesit.” “Heseemstohavegivenitup,”shemurmured “Iwonderwhy?” She remained silent “Perhaps it is because he loves something else better,”Iwenton “Come,MrsAnthony,don’tletmecarryawayfromhere theideathatyouareaselfishperson,huggingthememoryofyourpast happiness,likearichmanhistreasure,forgettingthepooratthegate.” Irosetogo,foritwasgettinglate Shegotupinsomeagitationandwent out with me into the fragrant darkness of the garden She detained my hand for a moment and then in the very voice of the Flora of old days, with the exact intonation, showing the old mistrust, the old doubt of herself,theoldscaroftheblowreceivedinchildhood,patheticandfunny, shemurmured,“Doyouthinkitpossiblethatheshouldcareforme?” “Justaskhimyourself Youarebrave.” “Oh,Iambraveenough,”shesaidwithasigh “Thendo Forifyoudon’tyouwillbewrongingthatpatientmancruelly.” I departed leaving her dumb Next day, seeing Powell making preparations to go ashore, I asked him to give my regards to Mrs Anthony Hepromisedhewould “Listen,Powell,”Isaid “Wegottoknoweachotherbychance?” “Oh,quite!”headmitted,adjustinghishat “And the science of life consists in seizing every chance that presents itself,”Ipursued “Doyoubelievethat?” “Gospeltruth,”hedeclaredinnocently “Well,don’tforgetit.” “Oh, I! I don’t expect now anything to present itself,” he said, jumping ashore Hedidn’tturnupathighwater IsetmysailandjustasIhadcastofffrom the bank, round the black barn, in the dusk, two figures appeared and stoodsilent,indistinct “Isthatyou,Powell?”Ihailed “And Mrs Anthony,” his voice came impressively through the silence of the great marsh “I am not sailing to-night I have to see Mrs Anthony home.” “ThenImustevengoalone,”Icried Flora’s voice wished me “bonvoyage” in a most friendly but tremulous tone “Youshallhearfrommebeforelong,”shoutedPowell,suddenly,justas myboathadclearedthemouthofthecreek “This was yesterday,” added Marlow, lolling in the armchair lazily “I haven’theardyet;butIexpecttohearanymoment Whatonearthare you grinning at in this sarcastic manner? I am not afraid of going to church with a friend Hang it all, for all my belief in Chance I am not exactlyapagan ” |Part1Chapter1||Part1Chapter2||Part1Chapter3||Part1Chapter4||Part1 Chapter5||Part1Chapter6||Part1Chapter7||Part2Chapter1||Part2Chapter2|| Part2Chapter3||Part2Chapter4||Part2Chapter5||Part2Chapter6| EndoftheProjectGutenbergEBookofChance,byJosephConrad ***ENDOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKCHANCE*** *****Thisfileshouldbenamed23506-h.htmor23506-h.zip***** Thisandallassociatedfilesofvariousformatswillbefoundin: http://www.gutenberg.org/2/3/5/0/23506/ ProducedbyNickHodsonofLondon,England Updatededitionswillreplacethepreviousone theoldeditions willberenamed Creatingtheworksfrompublicdomainprinteditionsmeansthatno oneownsaUnitedStatescopyrightintheseworks,sotheFoundation (andyou!)cancopyanddistributeitintheUnitedStateswithout permissionandwithoutpayingcopyrightroyalties Specialrules, setforthintheGeneralTermsofUsepartofthislicense,applyto 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Heenvied the purple-nosedoldcab-driverson the stand, the boot-black boys at the edge of the pavement, the two large bobbies pacing slowly along the Tower Gardens railings in the consciousness of their... stepsfromwhichhehadsomesixweeksbeforesurveyed the cabstand, the buildings, the policemen, the boot-blacks, the paint, gilt, and plateglassof the BlackHorse,with the eyeofaConqueror At the timehehad beenat the bottomofhisheartsurprisedthatallthishadnotgreetedhim... blinking their obsceneeyesandrubbingtheirgreasyshouldersagainst the doorjambs of the Black Horse pub, because they were too far gone to feel their degradation I must render the man the justice
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