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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/137

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SUPERHUMAN HORRORS.

creaked and bent back as if in fear. Cyclones in our northern hemisphere circle from left to right, in the same direction as the hands of a watch, with a velocity which is sometimes as much as sixty miles an hour. Although she was entirely at the mercy of the storm, the hooker behaved as if she were out in moderate weather, without any further precaution than keeping her head to the billows, with the wind broad on the bow so as to avoid being caught broadside on. This prudential measure would have availed her nothing in case of the wind's shifting and taking her aback.

A deep rumbling sound was audible in the distance. The roar of ocean,—what can be compared to it? It is the great brutish howl of the universe. What we call matter,—that unsearchable organism, that amalgamation of incommensurable energies, in which can occasionally be detected an almost imperceptible degree of intention which makes us shudder; that blind, benighted cosmos; that enigmatical Pan,—has a cry, a strange cry, prolonged, obstinate, and continuous, which is between speech and thunder. That cry is the hurricane. Other and different voices, songs, melodies, clamours, tones, proceed from nests, from broods, from pairings, from nuptials, from homes. This trumpet-blast comes out of the Naught, which is All. Other voices express the soul of the universe; this expresses its brute power. It is the howl of the formless; it is the inarticulate uttered by the indefinite; it is a thing full of pathos and of terror. Those clamours resound above and beyond man. They rise, fall, undulate; form waves of sound; constitute all sorts of wild surprises for the mind; now burst close to the ear with the importunity of a peal of trumpets, now assail us with the rumbling hoarseness of distance,—giddy uproar which resembles a language, and which in fact is a language.