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 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, brood-
ing motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town
The Director of Companies was our captain and our
host. We four affectionately watched his back as he
stood in the bows looking . . .