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Conrad on the life of a sailor

From Lord Jim:

Surely in no other craft as in that of the sea do the hearts of those already launched to sink or swim go out so much to the youth on the brink, looking with shining eyes upon that glitter of the vast surface which is only a reflection of his own glances full of fire. There is such magnificent vagueness in the expectations that had driven each of us to sea, such a glorious indefiniteness, such a beautiful greed of adventures that are their own and only reward. What we get - well, we won't talk of that; but can one of us restrain a smile? In no other kind of life is the illusion more wide of reality - in no other is the beginning all illusion - the disenchantment more swift - the subjugation more complete. Hadn't we all commenced with the same desire, ended with the same knowledge, carried the memory of the same cherished glamour through the sordid days of imprecation?

I'm in commercial banking, Joe. I feel your pain.

July 22, 2008 in Books | Permalink

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