The Cruise Of The Snark, By Jack London





















































































































 -   All his life Roscoe had lived on land, and therefore in sight
of land.  Being constantly in sight of land - Page 50
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All His Life Roscoe Had Lived On Land, And Therefore In Sight Of Land.

Being constantly in sight of land, with landmarks to guide him, he had managed, with occasional difficulties, to steer his body around and about the earth.

Now he found himself on the sea, wide- stretching, bounded only by the eternal circle of the sky. This circle looked always the same. There were no landmarks. The sun rose to the east and set to the west and the stars wheeled through the night. But who may look at the sun or the stars and say, "My place on the face of the earth at the present moment is four and three-quarter miles to the west of Jones's Cash Store of Smithersville"? or "I know where I am now, for the Little Dipper informs me that Boston is three miles away on the second turning to the right"? And yet that was precisely what Roscoe did. That he was astounded by the achievement, is putting it mildly. He stood in reverential awe of himself; he had performed a miraculous feat. The act of finding himself on the face of the waters became a rite, and he felt himself a superior being to the rest of us who knew not this rite and were dependent on him for being shepherded across the heaving and limitless waste, the briny highroad that connects the continents and whereon there are no mile-stones. So, with the sextant he made obeisance to the sun-god, he consulted ancient tomes and tables of magic characters, muttered prayers in a strange tongue that sounded like INDEXERRORPARALLAXREFRACTION, made cabalistic signs on paper, added and carried one, and then, on a piece of holy script called the Grail - I mean the Chart - he placed his finger on a certain space conspicuous for its blankness and said, "Here we are." When we looked at the blank space and asked, "And where is that?" he answered in the cipher-code of the higher priesthood, "31-15-47 north, 133-5-30 west." And we said "Oh," and felt mighty small.

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