Jacob's Room eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 206 pages of information about Jacob's Room.
Jacob, of course, was not a woman.  The sight of Timmy Durrant was no sight for him, nothing to set against the sky and worship; far from it.  They had quarrelled.  Why the right way to open a tin of beef, with Shakespeare on board, under conditions of such splendour, should have turned them to sulky schoolboys, none can tell.  Tinned beef is cold eating, though; and salt water spoils biscuits; and the waves tumble and lollop much the same hour after hour—­tumble and lollop all across the horizon.  Now a spray of seaweed floats past-now a log of wood.  Ships have been wrecked here.  One or two go past, keeping their own side of the road.  Timmy knew where they were bound, what their cargoes were, and, by looking through his glass, could tell the name of the line, and even guess what dividends it paid its shareholders.  Yet that was no reason for Jacob to turn sulky.

The Scilly Isles had the look of mountain-tops almost a-wash....  Unfortunately, Jacob broke the pin of the Primus stove.

The Scilly Isles might well be obliterated by a roller sweeping straight across.

But one must give young men the credit of admitting that, though breakfast eaten under these circumstances is grim, it is sincere enough.  No need to make conversation.  They got out their pipes.

Timmy wrote up some scientific observations; and—­what was the question that broke the silence—­the exact time or the day of the month? anyhow, it was spoken without the least awkwardness; in the most matter-of-fact way in the world; and then Jacob began to unbutton his clothes and sat naked, save for his shirt, intending, apparently, to bathe.

The Scilly Isles were turning bluish; and suddenly blue, purple, and green flushed the sea; left it grey; struck a stripe which vanished; but when Jacob had got his shirt over his head the whole floor of the waves was blue and white, rippling and crisp, though now and again a broad purple mark appeared, like a bruise; or there floated an entire emerald tinged with yellow.  He plunged.  He gulped in water, spat it out, struck with his right arm, struck with his left, was towed by a rope, gasped, splashed, and was hauled on board.

The seat in the boat was positively hot, and the sun warmed his back as he sat naked with a towel in his hand, looking at the Scilly Isles which—­confound it! the sail flapped.  Shakespeare was knocked overboard.  There you could see him floating merrily away, with all his pages ruffling innumerably; and then he went under.

Strangely enough, you could smell violets, or if violets were impossible in July, they must grow something very pungent on the mainland then.  The mainland, not so very far off—­you could see clefts in the cliffs, white cottages, smoke going up—­wore an extraordinary look of calm, of sunny peace, as if wisdom and piety had descended upon the dwellers there.  Now a cry sounded, as of a man calling pilchards in a main street.  It wore an extraordinary look of piety and peace, as if old men smoked by the door, and girls stood, hands on hips, at the well, and horses stood; as if the end of the world had come, and cabbage fields and stone walls, and coast-guard stations, and, above all, the white sand bays with the waves breaking unseen by any one, rose to heaven in a kind of ecstasy.

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Jacob's Room from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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