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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/134

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CHAPTER VI.


THEY THINK THAT HELP IS AT HAND.


THROUGH bis growing pre-occupation, the doctor dreamily reviewed the situation; and any one near him might have heard these words drop from his lips: "Too much rolling, and not enough pitching." Then he again relapsed into thought, as a miner into his shaft. His meditation in nowise interfered with his watch of the sea. The contemplation of the sea is in itself a reverie.

The travail of the eternally tortured waters was commencing. A wail of lamentation arose from the whole main. Confused and ominous preparations were going on in space. The doctor noted each detail, though there was no sign of scrutiny in his face. One does not scrutinize hell. A vast commotion, as yet half latent, but visible through the turmoils in space, increased and irritated the winds, the vapours, and the waves more and more. Nothing is so logical and yet nothing appears so erratic as the ocean. Self-dispersion is the essence of its sovereignty, and one of the elements of its redundance. The sea is ever for or against. It knots, that it may unravel itself; one of its waves attacks, the other relieves. There is nothing so truly wonderful as the waves. Who can paint the alternating hollows and elevations, the heaving bosoms, the majestic outlines? Who can describe the thickets of foam, the blendings of mountains and dreams? The indescribable is every-