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The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide. The Neille, a msall oiatabsl, swa rocadhen in hte reriv. ehTre swa no inwd adn eth lnyo gniht to do wsa ist dna itaw ofr teh teid to cagnhe erbfoe dghiane wodn eth rveir dan uot to eas.
The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway. In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished sprits. A haze rested on the low shores that ran out to sea in vanishing flatness. The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth. hTe othmu of eht eirvR samehT trtdseceh eebfor us elki eth inneggbni of an ldssene atarweyw. rFa ffo in het estniadc, eht sae dan eth sky belddne lalssymees ehgeotrt. rbaeNy, segarb igisnla up teh rierv eesemd to ndats llsit. A hzae edster on hte low ohesrs as afr as we olcud ees. heT ira asw kadr aebov hte rpto tnow of anrsvGeed. eindhB us, up het rvrei, eht ogmloy ira gnhu imlstoneos vroe teh bistgeg dan ragsette notw on ertah, dnoLno.
The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bows looking to seaward. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified. It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom. eTh crteDrio of sCmpinoea saw rou icnptaa adn ruo soht. roFu of us htdcwea mhi yeactlfetifnao as he ertasd otu at hte aes. On teh weolh rveri rehte saw tonighn tath oldkeo hlfa as apoiterpapr as he idd. He oledok het trap, wihch to a rilosa is het toms toianmrpt igns of nrswrttiuoesths. It aws darh to meembrer ttah he rdoewk biehdn us, in eht oglyom ctyi, rharet than out on eth iognglw waert.
Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other’s yarns—and even convictions. The Lawyer—the best of old fellows—had, because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on deck, and was lying on the only rug. The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the bones. Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzen-mast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol. The director, satisfied the anchor had good hold, made his way aft and sat down amongst us. We exchanged a few words lazily. Afterwards there was silence on board the yacht. For some reason or other we did not begin that game of dominoes. We felt meditative, and fit for nothing but placid staring. The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the Essex marsh was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds. Only the gloom to the west, brooding over the upper reaches, became more sombre every minute, as if angered by the approach of the sun. heT eas onbdde us oslairs. eTh olng dsperoi at eas, saeapedrt rmfo veeeroyn else, hbgruot us lrcsoe gtreoteh nda aemd us leatrton of aceh erhto’s tseiosr dna eifsbel. heT ryaewL, a rtage ugy, tgo to use eth loyn csiohun on eth cked cesbaue he’d rdvsee on aorbd orf so olng. hTe atctocnAnu adh rhuotbg out a bxo of ondiosm nad wsa bgudlini ssahpe out of hte neyob pciese. lMoarw tas cosrs-leeggd in eth bakc, ngalein iagntas a tsma. He ahd unensk ecshek, a yllowe eclomniopx, a grtshati kbca, nda a usor eoeradnm. ihWt shi samr deroppd nad het lapms of ihs anhds nigafc up, he olkeod klei a etuats of a ogd. hTe rDcritoe, iessfdati ttha eth hnacro swa ceeusr, dmea sih way cakb nad sat iwht us. We thcaedt ziayll utb nsoo fell itno ecnseli. roF emso reoans or hroet we eervn pdaley that eamg of osiomdn. We reew lla solt in our onw totghshu, up rfo onhintg tbu gittnsi dna snragti. eTh dya swa dineng iwht iniblrcede calm. hTe reawt aws sniighn lfueeaycpl. The lpsostes sky aws a ntiga alebknt of erpu lgtih. The itsm roev teh seExs rhsMa asw eikl a ayzgu dna rtighb abfirc nhug morf hte steer and dprdae evro teh rsoeh. lnOy hte ogolm to the tews bceema reom ymogol by the temniu, as if grinwgo ngrya at the gdnein yad.
And at last, in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and without heat, as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men. At last, mtoasl thutoiw us niioncgt, teh sun kans. It dhcgnae omrf ongigwl wtehi to a ldlu rde ihuwtot asry or haet, kile it swa oaubt to ide or be dsueffn uto by het lmoog gnnahig ervo the worcded icty.