Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/106

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BOOK II.

 

THE HOOKER AT SEA.

 
 

CHAPTER I.


SUPERHUMAN LAWS.


THE snow-storm is one of the greatest mysteries of the ocean. It is the most obscure of things meteorological; obscure in every sense of the word. It is a mixture of fog and storm; and even in our own day we cannot well account for the phenomenon. Hence many disasters.

We try to explain all things by the action of wind and wave; yet in the air there is a force which is not the wind, and in the waters a force which is not the wave. That force, both in the air and in the water, is effluvium. Air and water are two nearly identical liquid masses, entering into the composition of each other by condensation and dilatation, so that to breathe is to drink. Effluvium alone is fluid. The wind and the wave are only impulses; effluvium is a current. The wind is visible in clouds, the wave is visible in foam; effluvium is invisible. From time to time, however, it says, "I am here." Its "I am here" is a clap of thunder.

The snow-storm offers a problem analogous to the dry fog. If the solution of the callina of the Spaniards, and the quobar of the Ethiopians be possible, assuredly that