128 A MAINSAIL HAUL
is a simple, hardy being who has had to fight to live, and for a companion in this world we prefer one who has had to depend first and last on what is manly in himself. For this reason Knox's moralizings are never quite tedious. One feels the man behind the writing. There is someone robust and sturdy at the back of it all. Life proved Knox to the bone before he earned his leave to write. A man so proved is genuine whether he be en- lightened or not. .
Knox was not enlightened. Like other unen- lightened men, he finds it difficult to express him- self. His book gives a reader the impression of an entirely sincere man entirely confused. It is as though a jumble of piety, avarice, suspicion, deli- cate noble feeling, utter callousness, and rule of thumb were hung upon a character essentially up- right and simple. Now and then he is even heroic. One of his simple acts of piety strikes us as inde- scribably heroic. His father and he, with other mem- bers of the crew, went ashore on Ceylon and were captured by the Sinhalese. He was allowed to go back to the ship with a message. Before he set out with this message he promised his father that he