Henry de Stacpoole, The Blue Lagoon (1908) - Longer Extracts

[Button’s] face was like a moon, seen red through tropical mists; and as he played [The Shan van vaught] it wore an expression of strained attention as though the fiddle were telling him tales much more marvellous than the old bald statement about Bantry Bay. [2]

[Button] was a Celt, and all the salt seas that had flowed between him and Connaught these forty years and more had not washed the Celtic element from his blood, nor the belief in fairies from his soul. The Celtic nature is a fast dye, and Mr. Button’s nature was such that though he had been shanghaied by Larry Marr in ’Frisco, though he had got drunk in most ports of the world, though he had sailed with Yankee captains and had been man-handled by Yankee mates, he still carried his fairies with him - they, and a very large stock of original innocence. [2]

The Northumberland had experienced a terrible rounding of the Horn. Bound from New Orleans to Frisco … locked in a calm south of the line. [3]

“He was a Troll,” murmured the Dutch voice. / [Button:] “I’m tellin’ you, he was a Leprachaun, and there’s no knowing the divilments he’d be up to ..” [5]

Arthur Lestrange … evidently in consumption [8] … bound for … the sun and splendour of Los Angeles, where [he] had bought a small estate, hoping to enjoy the life whose lease would be renewed by a long sea voyage. [8]

When Emmeline Lestrange smiled it was absolutely as if the light of Paradise had suddenly flashed upon her face: the happiest form of childish beauty suddenly appeared before your eyes, dazzled them - and was gone. [10]

[Emmeline:] She was a woman, or, at all events, the beginning of a woman, yet she kept her secret to herself - a fact which you will please note. [10]

[Paddy Button] who was always doing the wrong thing in the eyes of men, generally did the right thing in the eyes of children. Children, in fact, when they could get at Mr Button, went for him con amore … as attractive … as a Punch and Judy show … [11]

The Milky Way … a void and bottomless cavern [that] afflicts the imaginative mind with vertigo. To the naked eye it is as black and as dismal as death, but the smallest telescope reveals it beautiful and populous with stars. [12]

[Cpt. Lefarge:] “I don’t know where the wind’s gone … I guess it’s blown through a hole in the firmament, and escaped somewheres to the back of beyond.” [13]

[Lestrange looking in the mirror at his emaciated face] It was just perhaps at this moment that he recognised [11] the fact that he must not only die, but die soon. [12]

[Lestrange:] “My God, Captain, death has laid a heavy hand on my family; can you wonder that I have hid his very name from those two creatures that I love! / … When I was quite a child no older than Dicky, my nurse used to terrify me with tales about dead people. I was told I’d go to hell when I died if I wasn’t a good child. … I cannot tell you how much that has poisoned my life, for the thoughts we think in childhood … are the fathers of the thoughts we think when we are grown up. And can a diseased father have healthy children?” ... “So I said, when these two tiny creatures came into my care, that I would do all in my power to protect them from the terrors of life - or rather, I should say, from the terrors of death. [14]

[Lestrange relates the story of the “sleeping’ cat, in the course of which which Dick says:] “Father, pussy’s in the garden and I can’t wake her.” [Lestrange continues:] “I did not tell him she was buried in the garden … in a week he had forgotten all about her - children soon forget.” [15]

“Sharks,” said Lestrange … He picked up the book he was reading - it was a volume of Tennyson - … the sea had disclosed to him a vision. Poetry, Philosophy, Beauty, Art, the love and joy of life - was it possible that these should exist in the same world as those? [18]

Half mad he [Cpt. Le Farge] seemed, and half mad he was with the knowledge of the terrible thing that was stowed amidst the cargo. [23]

[Button:] “Run for your lives - I’ve just remimbered - there’s two bar’ls of blastin’ powther in the hould!” [25]

[Button] His soul was filled with tragedy and terror. His Celtic imagination heard the ship blowing up, saw himself and the little dinghy blown to pieces - nay, saw himself in hell, being “roasted” by “divils.” / But tragedy and terror could find no room for expression on his fortunate or unfortunate face. [26]

Vast and lazy and sinister, yet steadfast of purpose as Fate or Death, the fog advanced, taking the world for its own. [29]

Now the wind struck the dinghy. It was like a wind from fairyland, almost imperceptible, chill, and dimming the sun. A wind from Lilliput. As it struck the dinghy the fog took the distant ship. [30]

The light from above, a light that seemed to come through a vast scuttle of deeply-muffled glass, faint though it was, almost to extinction, still varied as the boat floated through the strata of the mist. / A great sea fog is not homogeneous - its density varies: it is honeycombed with streets, it has it caves of clear air, its cliffs of solid vapour, all shifting and changing place with the subtlety of legerdemain. It has also this wizard peculiarity that it grows with the sinking of the sun and the approach of darkness. [34]

[Button:] “Slapy, is it? Well, down you get in the bottom of the boat, and here’s the shawl for a pilla …” / “I’m a’right,” murmured Emmeline in a dreamy voice.” [36]

It was just in a fog like this that the Merrow could be herald disporting in Dunbeg bay, off the Achill coast. … Merrows are not altogether evil, but they have green hair and teeth, fishes tails and fins for arms; and to hear them walloping in the water around you like salmon, and you alone in a small boat, with the dread of one coming floudering on board, is enough to turn a man’s hair grey. [37]

[Button’s travels] … the bars of Callao … lights of Macao … docks of London [40]

[Button] After forty years of reefing topsails you can’t well rmember off which ship it was that Jack Rafferty fell overboard, or who it was killed who in the fo’cs’le of what though you can still see as in a mirror darkly, the fight, and the bloody face over which a man is holding a kerosene lamp. [40]

I doubt if Paddy Button could have told you the name of the first ship he ever sailed in. If you had asked him, he would probably have replied: “I disremimber; it was to the Baltic, and cruel cowld weather, and I was say-sick - till I near brought me boots up; and it was “O for ould Ireland!” I was crying all the time … [40]

[Paddy] calling to mind roaring drunken scenes and palmshadowed harbours, and the men and the women he had known - such men and such women! The derelicts of the earth and the ocean. [41]

I have known a sailor to open a box of sardines with a tin-tack. He was in prison, the sardines had been smuggled in to him, and he had no can-opener. Only genius and a tin-tack. [45]

It must often strike landsmen and landswomen that the most terrible experience when cast away at sea in an open boat is the total absence of privacy. It seems an outrage on decency on the part of Providence to hear people together so. But, whosoever has gone through the experience will bear me out that [44] in great moments of life like this the human mind enlarges, and things that would shock us ashore are as nothing out there, face to face with eternity. [45]

Mr Button was a person who called a spade a spade … [he] had no more convention than a walrus, and looked after his charges as a nursemaid might … or a walrus after its young. [45] [His] imagination dealt little with the future; almost entirely influenced by his immediate surroundings, it could conjure up no fears from the scene now before it. [47]

.. not for all the dolls in the world would she have exchanged this filthy and nearly formless thing. It was a fetish. [48]

Mr. Button had put in a year as a longshoreman at Deal, and he had got a great lot t tell of his cousin and her husband, and more especially of one, Hannah; Hannah was his cousin’s baby - a most marvellous child … whose first unnatural act on entering the world was to make a snap at the “docther.” [50]

[Dick, remembering the arrival of a baby back in Boston] “The doctor brought it in a bag … [he] dug it out of a cabbage patch; and I got a trow’l and dug all our cabbage patch up, but there weren’t any babies - but there were no end of worms.” [51]

[Emmeline:] “I wish I had a baby,” I wouldn’t send it back to the cabbage patch.’ [51]

[Dicky about the cook who was sacked for telling them the cat is “dead and berried’:] “.. said to Jane, daddy was always stuffing children up with - something or “nother … and I asked daddy to let me see him stuffing up a child - and daddy said the cook’d have to go ..’ [52]

[In Paddy’s story, he sends his grandfather’s pig over a cliff, so his grandfather makes him occupy the stye:] “They kept me for a fortnit on bran mash and skim milk - and well I deserved it.” [53]

[Emmeline] She had once seen a hearse in the streets of Boston, an old-time hearse with black plumes, trappings and all ... the sight had nearly given her a fit, though she did not know in the least the meaning of it. [63]

[Button] had searched for neither food or water as yet; content with the treasure God had given him, for the moment the material things of life were forgotten. [63]

Never did a lot of dead things speak so eloquently as these things spoke. [60]

[Button, rejecting apparently useless objects on the brig, including nautical charts and handbooks:] “Buzz it overboard!”[64]

[Button:] “Faith, an’ maybe he’d fetch her [that is, the Moon] a skelp - an’ well she’d desarve it.” / “Why would she deserve it?” asked Dick, who was in one of his questioning moods. [/; 67]

“Because she’s always delutherin’ people and leadin’ them ashtray. Girls or men she moidhers thim all once she gets the comeither [sic] on them; same as she did Buck McCann.” [68]

[Buck McCann fishes for the moon] “Aisy now,” says he, “an’ I’ll driblle the water out gently … an’ we’ll catch her alive at the bottom like a trout.” So he drains the wather out gently … an’ then he looks into the bucket … “She’s gone, bad “cess to her!” says he.’” [68]

The basis of the Irish character as exemplified by Paddy Button is a profound laziness mixed with a profound melancholy. Yet Paddy, in his left-handed way, was as hard a worker as any man on board ship; and as for melancholy, he was the life and soul of the fo’cs’le. Yet there they were, the laziness and melancholy, only waiting to be tapped. [73]

Emmeline sniffed again to make sure … “Flowers” … The breeze … was bearing with it a faint, faint odour: a perfume of vanilla and spice so faint as to be imperceptible to all but the most acute olifactory sense … .. the gentle swell of the Pacific, and the breeze blew, bringing with it the perfume of flowers. [74]

”My God!” said Le Farge [the Captain of the Northumberland]. “Damn that Irishman!” … a tragedy was beginning to unfold around him, the most shocking, perhaps, in the annnals of the sea - a tragedy to be hinted at rather than spoken. [76]

By chance the worst lot of the Northumberland’s crew were in the long-boat - veritable “scowbankers,’ scum; and how scum clings to life you will never know, until you have been amongst it in an open boat at sea. Le Farge had no more command over this lot than you who are reading this book. … .. the ruffian at the bow … was still standing up like an evil genius who had taken momentary command over events [77] … / The quarter-boat, like a horrible phantom, had been haunting and pursing her all day, begging for water when there was not. It was like the prayers one might expect to hear in hell. [78]

”Childer!” shouted Paddy. … He was at the cross-trees in the full dawn while the children … were craning their faces up to him. “There is an island fornint us.” [80]

As they drew nearer the sea became more active, savage, and alive; the thunder of the surf became louder … / … Emmeline shut her eyes tight. [85]

.. this was evidently one of those small, lost islands that lie here and there south by east of the Marquesas. Islands the most lonely and beautiful in the world [83] … The boat floated on an even keel; she opened her eyes and found herself in Wonderland. [85]

.. the soul of it all, the indescribable thing about this picture of mirrored palm trees, blue lagoon, coral reef and sky, was the light / Away at sea the light had nothing to focus itself upon, nothing to exhibit but infinite spaces of blue water and desolation. / Here it made the gazer see the loveliness of the land and reef, the green of palm, the white of coral, the wheeling gulls, the blue lagoon, all sharply outlined - burning, coloured, arrogant, yet tender - heart-breakingly beautiful, for the [87] spirit of eternal morning was here, eternal happiness, eternal youth [88].

Dick, mad with delight at the place in which he found himself, was running about like a dog just out of the water. [89]

”Lave her be, you little divil!” roared Pat … “What’s a “divil,’ Paddy?” asked Dick.” [90]

[Emmeline’s secret box] … she took the lid off and disclosed a tiny tea service of china … / / “Heugh!” said Dick in disgust; “I thought it might a’ been soldiers.” [92]

[Button:] “don’t be talkin,’ or its the Cluricaunes will be after us … Little men no bigger than your thumb who make the brogues for the Good People” [94]

[I]t was a lichen-covered skull, with a great dent in the back of it where it had been cloven by an axe [98] or some sharp instrument … [Button:] “there’s been black doin’s here in days gone by.” [99]

It was a strange place to be, up here. To find oneself surrounded by grass and flowers and trees, and all the kindliness of nature … to feel the breeze blow, to smoke one’s pipe, and to remember that one was in a place uninhabited and unknown. [102]

In this solitude the beetle was a carefully painted and the flower as carefully tended as though all the peoples of the civilised world were standing by to criticise and approve. … Nowhere in the world, perhaps, so well as here, could you appreciate Nature’s splendid indifference to the great affairs of Man. [102]

”Lave thim berries down! … thim’s the never-wake-up berries.” [102]

[Emmeline:] “Mrs Sims said [the cat] was deadn’ berried ..” [Dicky:] “I remember,” said Dick. “It was the day I went to the circus, and you told me not to tell daddy the cat was deadn’ berried ..” [Mrs James man … said he guessed they went to hell … for they were always scratching up the flowers … he gave me five cents [not to say he told me the word].” [105]

[Emmeline, on Buttons’ fairies:] “Mrs. Sims said she liked to see children b’lieve in fairies … [and that] the world was getting too - something or another ..” [Paddy:] “I’m doubtful if there’s any in these parts, though down in Connaught they were as thick as blackberries in the ould days. Ó musha, musha! the ould days, the ould days! when will I be seeing them again?” [107]

”I don’t want my old britches on!” … Dick has discovered the keenest joy in life - to be naked. … To be free from the curse of clothes, to shed civilisation on the beach in the form of breeches, boots, coats, and hat, and to be one with the wind and the sun and the sea. [111]

The tireless of Dick, young and active, with no original laziness in his composition, no old bones to rest, or pipe to smoke … wanted to build a house. [124]

months of semi-savagery had made a good deal of difference to [their] appearance [127]

Paddy Button would as soon [130] gone on board a ship manned by devils and captained by Lucifer, as on board a South Sea whaleman. He had been there before, and he knew. … for the ship was “the devil’s own ship’ … and if the men on board caught them they’d skin them alive and all. [131]

Next morning the whaleman was off and away, leaving as a token of her visit the white sand all trampled, and empty bottle, … and the wigwam torn to pieces. [132]

[Emmeline was] intensely fond of coloured things, coloured flowers especially; and she had the prettiest way of making them into a wreath for [the] head … hat-making instinct … feminine instinct [133]

Button’s drinking song:] “Hoist up the flag! Long may it wave!/Long may it lade us to glory or the grave./Stidy, boys, stidy - around the jubilee/For Babylon has fallen and/The nigggers are all set free.” [139]

Paddy had been trained all his life to rhythmical drunkenness [144]

[Button’s death] … the swimmer, scrambling on the reef in an exhausted manner, forgetful of the object for which he had returned, made for the rum cask, and fell beside it as though sleep had touched him instead of death. [149]

[On the eating of the seed potatoes from the brig:] Young was be was, Dick felt the absolute thriftlessness of this proceeding. Emmeline did not … though she could have told you the colour of all the birds in the island … Dick came of the people who make sewing machines and typewriters. Mr. Button came of a people notable for ballads and tender hearts, and potheen. That was the main difference. [155]

.. some hurricane beyond the Navigators or Gilberts [156]

[Emmeline, walking on the coral reef] The soles of her feet, as is always the case with highly nervous people, were sensitive [160]

[Button] The mouth hung open, and from the mouth darted a little crab … [161]

the terrible figure … wild with terror … fleeing the horror - nameless horror … Emmeline had lost consciousness [161-62]

The idea of spiritual life must be innate in the the heart of man … the fear that filled them was that their old friend might suddenly darken the entrance and seek to lie beside them. [163]

The thing, for them, had no precedent, and no vocabulary. They had come across death raw and real, uncooked by religion, undeodorised by the sayings of sages and poets … festering carcass … a wide-open mouth that once spoke comforting words, and now spoke living crabs … They did not philosophise about it … [not terror but] a vague feeling that what they had beheld was obscene, unspeakable, and a thing to avoid [held them from speaking about it, 164]

Lestrange had … told them there was a good God who looked after the world; determined as far as he could to exclude demonology and sin and death form their knowledge, he had rested content with the bald statement that there was a good God who looked after the world, without explaining fully that the same God would torture them for ever and ever should they fail to believe in Him or keep His commandments. [164] This knowledge of the Almighty, therefore, was but a half-knowledge, the vaguest abstraction. [165]

The manliness in him greater and more beautiful than physical strength, developed in those dark hours [165]

A girl of 15 or 16, naked, except for a kilt of gaily-striped material reaching from her waist to her knees. Her long black hair was drawn back from the forehead, tied behind with a loop of elastic vine. A Scarlet bloosom was stuck behind her ear, after the fashion of a clerk’s pen. Her face was beautiful, powdered with tiny freckles; escpeciialy under the eyes, which were of a deep tranquil blue-grey. … The girl was Emmeline Lestrange. [175] … the whole thing as far as her beauty was concerned had happened during the last six months. [176]

[the tamed bird] was now one of the family [175]

[Dick] Auburn-haired and tall, looking more like 17 than 16, with a restless and dring expression, half a child, half a man, half a civilised being, half a savage, he had both progressed and retrograded during the five years of savage life. [179] … without being taciturn, he wasted little words [180]

As for Dick … if you caught the words, you would find they referred to no abstraction, but to some trifle he had on hand … forgotten the past completely [181]

.. something mysterious in her personality, something secretive. Her mind seemed half submerged in twilight. Though she spoke little, and though the subject of their conversations was almost entirely material … her mind would wander into abstract fields and the land of chimerae and dreams.[180] / … Born of these things … the terror of loosing Dick [181]

The island, the lagoon, and the reef were the three volumes of a great picture book, as they were for Emmeline, though in a different manner. The colour and the beauty of it all fed some mysterious want in her soul. Her life was a long reverie, a beautiful vision - troubled with shadows. Across all the blue and coloured spaces, she could still see as in a glass dimly the Northumberland, smoking against the wild background of fog … and nearer, the tragic form on the reef that still haunted terribly her dreams. … [but] she kept … the secret of her feelings about these things [182]

He and his spear … formed a picture savage enough, and well in keeping with the general desolation of the background. She watched him lie down and cling to a piece of coral, while surf rushed round and over him, and then rise and shake himself like a dog, and pursue his gambols, his body all glittering with the wet. [185]

Vliegen atoll in the Low Archipelago … in the Marshall Archipelago, Rimsky Korsacoff [189]

.. divest himself of his one and only garment [185] naked and defenceless’ [195]

This girl was contemplating the scene before her. Nature in her friendliest mood seemed to say, “Men call me cruel … deceitful, even treacherous. I - ah well! my answer is, “Behold! me’” [193]

[After the octopus aventure] Emmeline rose up and seized him, sobbing and clinging to him, and kissing him. He clasped her with his left arm round her body, as if to protext her, but it was a mechanical action. He was not thinking of her. [196] … a new terror had come into her life. She had seen death for the second time, but this time active and in being. [198]

In the last few months she had changed; even her face had changed. A new person had come upon the island, it seemed to him, and taken the place of the Emmeline [that Dick] had known from earliest childhood. This one looked different. He did not know that she had grown beautiful, he just knew that she looked different; also she had developed new ways that displeased him - she would go off and bathe by herself, for instance. [205]

[Dick’s restlessness] It may have been the spirit of civilisation crying out … of cities … streets … houses … businesses.. strving after gold … power … It may have been simply the man in him crying out for Love, and not knowing that Love was at his elbow. [206]

tabu [208]

The sand on the beach was eloquent. The foot pursuing and the foot pursued; the knee of the fallen one, and then the forehead and the outspread hands; … the head of the man dragged on his back to be butchered - of these things spoke the sand. [208]

.. a mass of offal; the entrails of a dozen sheep seemed cast here in one mound, yet there were no ship on the island, and sheep are not carried as a rule in war canoes. [208]

How much of the horror of the thing was revealed to his subconsicous intelligence, who can say? [210]

.. the lord of the place … a monstrous grey shadow … The great shark [208-09]

[T]o Dick, who had not been broken into the idea of death, who had not learned to associate it with graves and funerals, sorrow, eternity, and hell, the thing [Button’s skeleton] spoke as it never could have spoken to you or me. … / If you had asked him what lay before him … he would have answered you, “change.” / All the philosophy in the world could not have told him more than he knew just then about death - he, who even did not know its name. He was held spellbound by the marvel and miracle of the thing and the thoughts that suddenly crowed his mind like a host of spectres for whom a door has just been opened. / Just as a child by unanswerable logic knows [213] that a fire which has burned him once will burn again … he knew that just as the form before him was, his form would some day be - and Emmeline’s [214]

Then came the vague qustion which is not born of the brain, but the heart, and which is the basis of all religions - where shall I be then … the corpse that had shocked and terrified him five years ago had cast seeds of though with its dead fingers upon his mind, the skeleton had brought them to maturity. The full fact of universal death suddenly appeared before him, and he recognised it. [214] ... The savage in him had received a check. [215]

[On the reef] as usual [he] divested himself of clothing / It was strange that out here he would go about stark naked, yet on the island always wore some covering. But not so strange, perhaps, after all. / The sea is a great purifier of the mind and the body; before that great sweet spirit people do not think in the same way as they think far inland. What woman whould appear in a town or on a country road, or even bathing in a river, as she appears bathing in the sea? / some instinct made Dick cover himself up on shore, and strip naked on the reef. [219]

[Birds] The love-making and the nest-building were condcted quite in the usual manner, according to the rules laid down by Nature and carried out by men and birds. All sorts of quaint sounds came filtering down through the leaves from the branch where the sapphire-coloured lovers sat side by side, … sounds like the flirting of a fan, the sounds of a squabble, followed by the sounds that told of a squabble made up. [227-28]

[A] great stone figure roughly carved … mysterious-looking, the very spirit of the place. This figure … inspired Emmeline with deep curiosity and vague fear. [225]

All across the Pacific for thousands of miles you find relics of the past, like these scattered through the islands. / … These temples are nearly all the same; great terraces of stone, massive idols, desolation overgrown with foliage … They hint at one religion, and a time when the sea space of the Pacific was a continent, which, sinking slowly through the ages, has left only its higher islands and hill-tops visible in the form of islands. The idols are immense, their faces vague [225] … the gods of a people for ever and ever lost … The stone man was the name Emmeline had given the idol … he seemed forever listening … not good to be alone with … [226]

[Emmeline] stared at [Dick] for a moment in troubled amazement, a sob came to her throat. Then some veil seemed lifted, some wizard’s wand stretched outsome mysterious vial broken … He suddenly and fiercely clapsed her in his arms … held her like this for a moment, dazed, stupified, not knowing what to do with her. Then her lips told him, for they met his in an endless kiss. [227]

The moon him rose up that evening and shot her silver arrows at the house under the artu tree … / … The keeper of the lagoon [i.e., the shark] rose to greet her, and the fin of him broke her reflection on the mirror-like surface into a thousand glittering ripples. She saw the white staring ribs of the form on the reefs [and] the great stone idol [which] had kept its solitary vigil for five thousand years, perhaps, or more. [228]

.. two human beings, naked, clasped in each other’s arms, and fast asleep [228]

The thing had been conducted just as the birds conduct their love affairs. An affair absolutely natural, absolutely blameless, and without sin. / It was a marriage according to Nature, without feasts, or guests, consummated with accidental cynicism under the shadow of a religion a thousand years dead. / So happy in their ignorance were they, that they only knew that suddenly life had changed, that the skies and the sea were bluer, and that they had become in some magical way one and a part of the other. The birds on the tree above were equally happy in their ignorance, and in their love.

Dick had lost his restlessness … could not have found anything more desirable than what he had. [230] He talked to [Emmeline] no longer in half sentences … She … half-showed him her mind … a curious mind: the mind of a dreamer, almost the mind of a poet. The Cluricaunes dwelt there, and vague shapes born of things she had heard about or dreamt about: she had thoughts about the sea and stars, the flowers and birds. … [Dick] His practical mind would take no share in the dreams of his other half, but her conversation pleased him … admiring her ..[231]

Her breasts, her shoulders, her knees, her little feet, every bit of her, he would examine and play with and kiss … love-making would come on them in fits, then everything would be forgotten [232]

[The bird] Koko’s children … a few days ago each of these things was imprisoned in a pale green egg. A month ago there were nowhere. [233]

[Emmeline approaches the house with a baby in her arms] “Where did you get it?’ … [she does not know how childbirth occurred:] “I found it in the woods’ [245]

Then she told him things - things that completely shattered the old “cabbage bed’ theory, supplanting it with a truth far more wonderful, far more poetical, too, to he who can appreciate the marvel and the mystery of life. [246]

A physician would have shuddered [at the umbilical cord and placenta], but, perhaps fortunately enough, there was no physician on the island. Only Nature and she put everything to rights in her own time and way. [246]

Emmeline in despair clasped [the baby] to her naked breast, where from, in a moment, it was hanging like a leech. It knew more about babies than they did. [248]

[Death] The mystery of the affair still hung over them both. A week ago they had [249] been alone, and suddenly from nowhere this new individual had appeared. [250]

There is nothing more wonderful than the birth of a man, and all that goes to bring it about. Here … in perfect purity of thought, they would [251] discuss the question from beginning to end without a blush … In thoughts vague and beyond expression in words, they linked this new occurence with that old occurence on the reef six years before. The vanishing and the coming of a man. [252]

Hannah, despite his unfortunate name, was certainly a most virile and engaging baby. [252] … The were beginning now to experience a phenomenon, as wonderful as the birth of the child’s body - the birth of his intelligence … of a little personality with predilections of its own, likes and dislikes. [253]

She had never been clever … Yet her mind was of that order into which profound truths come by short cuts. She was intuitive. / Great knoweldge may lurk in the human mind without the owner of the mind being aware. He or she acts in such or such a manner from intuition; in other words, as the outcome of the profoundest reasoning. [255]

When we have learned to call storms, storms, and death, death, and birth, birth … we have already made ourselves half blind. We [255] have become hypnotised by words and names … the commonplace has triumphed. [256]

It is a rare experience for a man to hold a tame and unstruggling and unfrightened bird in his hands; next to pressing a woman in his arms, it is the pleasantest tacile sensation he will ever experience, perhaps, in his life. He will feel a desire to press it to his heart, if he has such a thing. [271]

The terror and the prolonged shock [of the cyclone] reduced them from thinking beings to the level of frightened animals whose one instinct is preservation [263]

If anything, the cyclone had been almost too kind to them; it had let them pay off too little of that mysterious debt they owed to the gods. [270] … Hannah would press Koko to his little brown stomach, as if in artless admission of where his heart lay … extraordinarily bright and intelligent … in civilisation … would have been the possessor of [toys] [but] … All the toys in the world would not have pleased him better than those things [flowers and shells], the toys of Troglodyte children [273]

Love had come to her under its shade [i.e., the stone man’s]; and under its shade the spirit of the child had entered her - from where, who knows? But certainly from heaven. Perhaps the thing which had been the god of some unknown people had inspired her with the instinct for religion … if so … his last worshipper on earth [the stone man was destroyed by the cyclone] [274]

Ponape, Huahine, Easter Island … great idols felled like this, temples slowly dissolving from sight … softly and subtly into shapless mounds of stone. [274]

[He had not told her all the secrets of the island] Contempt for women is the first law of savagery, and perhaps the last law of some old and profound philosophy. [281]

[Hannah] looked like a little brown Cupid … He had all the grace of a curled-up feather. Sleep was always in pursuit of him, and would catch him up at the most unexpected of moments [landing him] on some fortunate beach in dreamland. [282]

[The shark] 40 years he had floated adrift … a prey to anything … out of a billion like him born in the same year, he and a few others only had survived. … The things he had devoured … would have made a mountain; yet he was as clear of enmity as a sword, as cruel, and as soulless. He was the spirit of the lagoon. [287]

All the wonders in their short existence had culminated in this final wonder, this passing away together from the world of Time. This strange voyage they had embarked on - to where? / Now that the first terror was over, they felt neither sorrow nor fear. They were together … their lips met, their souls met, mingling in one dream … Canopus shone like the pointed sword of Azrael. / Clasped in Emmeline’s hand was the last and most mysterious gift of the mysterious world they had known - the branch of crimson berries. [291]

Mad Lestrange … the will of man has … the power to reject death. the disease that was killing him ceased in its ravages or rather was slain in turn by the increased vitality against which it had to strive. [297]

[Estrange’s premonition is] like a waking dream … [a] sensation … through some window of the mind, from before which a curtain has been drawn … “This something tells me … that there is a danger threatening the -’ [321]

[Captain Stannistreet:] “Polynesians can’t really be called savages; they are a decent lot … a kanaka is as white as a whiteman - which is not saying much … Most of the islands are civilised now’ [322]

“I think that we civilised folk put on a lot of airs and waste a lot of pity on savages … who is happier than a naked savage in a warm climate? Oh, he’s happy enough, and he’s not always holding a corroboree. He’s a good deal of a gentleman; he has perfect health; he lives the life that a man was born to live face to face with Nature. He doesn’t see the sun through an office window or the moon through the smoke of factory chimneys … The whites have driven him out.’

[Lestrange:] “Suppose they were like that, would it not be a cruelty to bring them to what we call civilisation? [324]

In the bottom of the dinghy lay the girl … One of her arms was clasped around the neck of a form that was half hidden by her body, the other clasped partly to herself, partly to her companion, the body of a baby. They were natives, evidently, wrecked or lost ... their breasts rose and fell gently, and clasped in the girl’s hand was a branch of some tree, and on the branch a single withered berry. / “Are they dead?’ … / “No, said Stannistreet; “they are asleep.’ [326] END

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