Youth - Joseph Conrad - Страница 1 из 47


YOUTH
A NARRATIVE
By Joseph Conrad
"... But the Dwarf answered: No; something human is dearer to me
than the wealth of all the world." GRIMM'S TALES.
TO MY WIFE
YOUTH
This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea
interpenetrate, so to speak--the sea entering into the life of most men,
and the men knowing something or everything about the sea, in the way of
amusement, of travel, or of bread-winning.
We were sitting round a mahogany table that reflected the bottle, the
claret-glasses, and our faces as we leaned on our elbows. There was a
director of companies, an accountant, a lawyer, Marlow, and myself. The
director had been a _Conway_ boy, the accountant had served four years at
sea, the lawyer--a fine crusted Tory, High Churchman, the best of old
fellows, the soul of honour--had been chief officer in the P. & O.
service in the good old days when mail-boats were square-rigged at least
on two masts, and used to come down the China Sea before a fair monsoon
with stun'-sails set alow and aloft. We all began life in the merchant
service. Between the five of us there was the strong bond of the sea,
and also the fellowship of the craft, which no amount of enthusiasm for
yachting, cruising, and so on can give, since one is only the amusement
of life and the other is life itself.
Marlow (at least I think that is how he spelt his name) told the story,
or rather the chronicle, of a voyage:
"Yes, I have seen a little of the Eastern seas; but what I remember best


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