Lord Jim eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Lord Jim.
producing striking effects by means impossible of detection which is the last word of the highest art.  “Twenty-five minutes—­watch in hand—­twenty-five, no more.” . . .  He unclasped and clasped again his fingers without removing his hands from his stomach, and made it infinitely more effective than if he had thrown up his arms to heaven in amazement. . . .  “All that lot (tout ce monde) on shore—­with their little affairs—­nobody left but a guard of seamen (marins de l’Etat) and that interesting corpse (cet interessant cadavre).  Twenty-five minutes.” . . .  With downcast eyes and his head tilted slightly on one side he seemed to roll knowingly on his tongue the savour of a smart bit of work.  He persuaded one without any further demonstration that his approval was eminently worth having, and resuming his hardly interrupted immobility, he went on to inform me that, being under orders to make the best of their way to Toulon, they left in two hours’ time, “so that (de sorte que) there are many things in this incident of my life (dans cet episode de ma vie) which have remained obscure."’

CHAPTER 13

’After these words, and without a change of attitude, he, so to speak, submitted himself passively to a state of silence.  I kept him company; and suddenly, but not abruptly, as if the appointed time had arrived for his moderate and husky voice to come out of his immobility, he pronounced, “Mon Dieu! how the time passes!” Nothing could have been more commonplace than this remark; but its utterance coincided for me with a moment of vision.  It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts.  Perhaps it’s just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome.  Nevertheless, there can be but few of us who had never known one of these rare moments of awakening when we see, hear, understand ever so much—­everything—­in a flash—­before we fall back again into our agreeable somnolence.  I raised my eyes when he spoke, and I saw him as though I had never seen him before.  I saw his chin sunk on his breast, the clumsy folds of his coat, his clasped hands, his motionless pose, so curiously suggestive of his having been simply left there.  Time had passed indeed:  it had overtaken him and gone ahead.  It had left him hopelessly behind with a few poor gifts:  the iron-grey hair, the heavy fatigue of the tanned face, two scars, a pair of tarnished shoulder-straps; one of those steady, reliable men who are the raw material of great reputations, one of those uncounted lives that are buried without drums and trumpets under the foundations of monumental successes.  “I am now third lieutenant of the Victorieuse” (she was the flagship of the French Pacific squadron at the time), he said, detaching his shoulders from the wall a couple of inches to introduce himself.  I bowed slightly on my side of the table, and told

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Lord Jim from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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