Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - Страница 1 из 289


›Nellie‹, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a
flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind
was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it
was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide. The sea-reach
of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an
interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded
together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails
of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red
clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A
haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing
flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still
seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the
biggest, and the greatest, town on earth. The Director of
Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched
his back as he stood in the bows looking to seaward. On the whole
river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a
pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified. It was
difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous
estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom. Between us
there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea.
Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of
separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each


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