At the same time he made instinctively a movement of repulsion. His head had sunk in the water without his being conscious of it. A bitter liquid was beginning to filter through his mouth....
He made a mighty effort to keep himself in a vertical position, looking again at the sky, still black as ink, and all the stars as red as drops of blood.
Suddenly he felt a certain consciousness that he was not alone, and he closed his eyes.... Yes, somebody was near him. It was a woman!...
It was a woman white as the clouds, white as the sail, white as the foam. Her sea-green tresses were adorned with pearls and phosphorescent corals; her proud smile was that of a goddess, in keeping with the majesty of her diadem.
She stretched her pearly arms around him, pressing him close against her life-giving and eternally virginal bosom. A dense and greenish atmosphere was giving her whiteness a reflection like that of the light of the caves of the sea....
Her pale mouth then pressed against the sailor’s, making him feel as though all the light of this white apparition had liquefied and was passing into his body by means of her impelling kiss.
He could no longer see, he could no longer speak.
His eyes had closed, never to open again; a bitter river of salt was flowing down his throat.
Nevertheless he continued looking at her,—more luminous, pressed closer and closer,—with a sad expression of love in his glassy eyes.... And thus he went down and down the infinite levels of the abyss, inert, and without volition, while a voice within him was crying, as though just recognizing her: