It Was Absurd And Grotesque.
But Roscoe, Still Looking East, Averred That It Was Not Yet Twelve
He was bent on giving us a twenty-knot clip.
began to train our sextants rather wildly all around the horizon,
and wherever we looked, there was the sun, puzzlingly close to the
sky-line, sometimes above it and sometimes below it. In one
direction the sun was proclaiming morning, in another direction it
was proclaiming afternoon. The sun was all right - we knew that;
therefore we were all wrong. And the rest of the afternoon we spent
in the cockpit reading up the matter in the books and finding out
what was wrong. We missed the observation that day, but we didn't
the next. We had learned.
And we learned well, better than for a while we thought we had. At
the beginning of the second dog-watch one evening, Charmian and I
sat down on the forecastle-head for a rubber of cribbage. Chancing
to glance ahead, I saw cloud-capped mountains rising from the sea.
We were rejoiced at the sight of land, but I was in despair over our
navigation. I thought we had learned something, yet our position at
noon, plus what we had run since, did not put us within a hundred
miles of land. But there was the land, fading away before our eyes
in the fires of sunset. The land was all right. There was no
disputing it. Therefore our navigation was all wrong.
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