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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/126

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

often very boisterous; but there I know every sounding and the nature of the bottom,—mud opposite San Cipriano, shells opposite Cizarque, sand off Cape Peñas, little pebbles off Boncaut de Mimizan; and I know the colour of every pebble."

The captain broke off; the doctor was no longer listening. He was gazing at the northeast. Over that icy face passed an extraordinary expression. All the agony of terror possible to a mask of stone was depicted there. From his mouth escaped the word, "Ha!"

His eyes were dilated with horror as he perceived a speck on the horizon. Then he added, under his breath, "It is well. As for me, I do not object."

The captain looked at him.

The doctor went on talking to himself, or to some one in the deep: "Yes, I say." Then he was silent, and fixed his eyes with renewed attention on that which he was watching, and said: "It is coming from afar off, but it will come none the less surely."

The arc of the horizon which engrossed the visual orbs and thoughts of the doctor, being opposite to the west, was illuminated by the transcendent reflection of twilight, as if it were day. This arc, limited in extent, and surrounded by streaks of greyish vapour, was uniformly blue, but of a leaden rather than cerulean blue. The doctor pointed to this atmospheric arc, and said:

"Captain, do you see?"

"What?"

"That."

"What?"

"Out there."

"A blue spot? Yes."

"What is it?"

"An opening in the heavens."

"For those who go to heaven; for those who go else-