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Captivity eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 411 pages of information about Captivity.
of families she saw scattered about the deck.  He was a man in knee breeches, leather leggings, a bright blue shirt and a claret and buff blazer.  He wore a wide-brimmed brown hat and a fierce expression.  From his leather belt hung a huge clasp knife and two small pistols.  She thought him very funny, but very much like herself when she had dressed up as King Arthur.  She sympathized entirely with his dressing a part.  Later she heard shouts of cruel laughter as he explained valiantly that he had never in his life been from his native village in the Welsh hills—­that Australia was a new country that needed to be “opened up.”  He quoted Manville Fenn and other writers of boys’ adventure stories thirty or forty years old to show the dangers of Australia and his own indomitable courage in tackling them:  he told of Captain Cook’s heart and many other blood-curdling tales, and was greeted with ironical cheers and laughter.  They explained to him at great length all about the civilization of Australia, and when, an hour after the Devon coast had dropped below the horizon he became miserably sea-sick, they formed a procession before him, carrying fire buckets, brandy and beer to his assistance.

Marcella was muddled.  She frowned and got no nearer a solution to her puzzles, until she remembered that, right at the top of her trunk, put in at the last moment, was a Golden Treasury her mother gave her years ago.

She turned the pages to the end, looking for something she remembered that seemed to fit in with her mood.  In the Ode on the Intimations of Immortality she read it—­

“Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,”

she murmured.  “Well, that means that I’m not the only one.  Wordsworth evidently got worried about things like I do.  But it’s the cruelty—­that’s what I can’t understand.”

There was a little comfort in that thought as she fell asleep:  it gave her a sense of comradeliness that anyone so eminently sane as Wordsworth should have had “blank misgivings.”

CHAPTER VIII

Blue and silver had turned to blue and gold next morning; the light no longer seemed to come from the sea in bright glitters; it was transfused through the air as liquid gold, very mellow and soothing and softened.  It was five o’clock when she wakened.  Through the open port she could see the sea swelling gently, breaking into a little hesitating ripple of foam here and there.  She climbed very carefully down from her bunk; Jimmy was still sleeping soundly.  There was no one about save a few deck hands scrubbing up above; they were out of sight of land now, and she gave a deep sigh of exhilaration as she turned on the sea-water spigot of the bath and, opening the port wide, felt the keen morning breezes blowing in upon her.  Coming out ten minutes later, pink-cheeked and damp-haired, she met Louis in pyjamas, hurrying along with a towel over his arm.

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