After London eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about After London.

The wind was rising, but in uncertain gusts; however, he hoisted the sail, and floated slowly before it.  Nothing but excitement could have kept him awake.  Reclining in the canoe, he watched the serpent-like flames playing over the surface, and forced himself by sheer power of will not to sleep.  The two dark clouds which had accompanied him to the shore now faded away, and the cooling wind enabled him to bear up better against his parching thirst.  His hope was to reach the clear and beautiful Lake; his dread that in the uncertain light he might strike a concealed sandbank and become firmly fixed.

Twice he passed islands, distinguishable as masses of visible darkness.  While the twisted flames played up to the shore, and the luminous vapour overhung the ground, the island itself appeared as a black mass.  The wind became by degrees steadier, and the canoe shot swiftly over the water.  His hopes rose; he sat up and kept a keener look-out ahead.  All at once the canoe shook as if she had struck a rock.  She vibrated from one end to the other, and stopped for a moment in her course.  Felix sprang up alarmed.  At the same instant a bellowing noise reached him, succeeded by a frightful belching and roaring, as if a volcano had burst forth under the surface of the water; he looked back but could see nothing.  The canoe had not touched ground; she sailed as rapidly as before.

Again the shock, and again the hideous roaring, as if some force beneath the water were forcing itself up, vast bubbles rising and turning.  Fortunately it was at a great distance.  Hardly was it silent before it was reiterated for the third time.  Next Felix felt the canoe heave up, and he was aware that a large roller had passed under him.  A second and a third followed.  They were without crests, and were not raised by the wind; they obviously started from the scene of the disturbance.  Soon afterwards the canoe moved quicker, and he detected a strong current setting in the direction he was sailing.

The noise did not recur, nor did any more rollers pass under.  Felix felt better and less dazed, but his weariness and sleepiness increased every moment.  He fancied that the serpent flames were less brilliant and farther apart, and that the luminous vapour was thinner.  How long he sat at the rudder he could not tell; he noticed that it seemed to grow darker, the serpent flames faded away, and the luminous vapour was succeeded by something like the natural gloom of night.  At last he saw a star overhead, and hailed it with joy.  He thought of Aurora; the next instant he fell back in the canoe firm asleep.

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After London from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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