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End of the Tether - Joseph Conrad

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THE END OF THE TETHER

I

For a long time after the course of the steamer Sofala
had been altered for the land, the low swampy coast had
retained its appearance of a mere smudge of darkness
beyond a belt of glitter.  The sunrays seemed to fall
violently upon the calm sea--seemed to shatter them-
selves upon an adamantine surface into sparkling dust,
into a dazzling vapor of light that blinded the eye and
wearied the brain with its unsteady brightness.

Captain Whalley did not look at it.  When his
Serang, approaching the roomy cane arm-chair which
he filled capably, had informed him in a low voice that
the course was to be altered, he had risen at once and
had remained on his feet, face forward, while the head
of his ship swung through a quarter of a circle.  He
had not uttered a single word, not even the word to
steady the helm.  It was the Serang, an elderly, alert,
little Malay, with a very dark skin, who murmured the
order to the helmsman.  And then slowly Captain
Whalley sat down again in the arm-chair on the bridge
and fixed his eyes on the deck between his feet.

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