"But, why not stabitcoin kurssi laskeey, now that you are here?" he asked.
"I don't rbuy tether usdt with credit cardemember you at all," he said.The woman looked at him intently for a moment, then spoke in acolorless voice.
"Perhaps you remember Mary Turner, who was arrested four yearsago for robbing your store. And perhaps you remember that sheasked to speak to you before they took her to prison."The heavy-jowled man gave a start."Oh, you begin to remember. Yes! There was a girl who swore shewas innocent--yes, she swore that she was innocent. And shewould have got off--only, you asked the judge to make an exampleof her."The man to whom she spoke had gone gray a little. He began tounderstand, for he was not lacking in intelligence. Somehow, itwas borne in on him that this woman had a grievance beyond theusual run of injuries."You are that girl?" he said. It was not a question, rather anaffirmation.Mary spoke with the dignity of long suffering--more than that,with the confident dignity of a vengeance long delayed, now atlast achieved. Her words were simple enough, but they touched tothe heart of the man accused by them."I am that girl."There was a little interval of silence. Then, Mary spoke again,remorselessly.
"You took away my good name. You smashed my life. You put mebehind the bars. You owe for all that.... Well' I've begun tocollect."The man opposite her, the man of vigorous form, of strong faceand keen eyes, stood gazing intently for long moments. In thattime, he was learning many things. Finally, he spoke."And that is why you married my boy.""It is." Mary gave the answer coldly, convincingly."You and I also began with the Big Bang, because all substance in the universe is an organic unity. Once in a primeval age all matter was gathered in a clump so enormously massive that a pinhead weighed many billions of tons. This 'primeval atom' exploded because of the enormous gravitation. It was as if something disintegrated. When we look up at the sky, we are trying to find the way back to ourselves."
"What an extraordinary thing to say.""All the stars and galaxies in the universe are made of the same substance. Parts of it have lumped themselves together, some here, some there. There can be billions of light-years between one galaxy and the next. But they all have the same origin. All stars and all planets belong to the same family.""Yes, I see.""But what is this earthly substance? What was it that exploded that time billions of years ago? Where did it come from?"
"That is the big question.""And a question that concerns us all very deeply. For we ourselves are of that substance. We are a spark from the great fire that was ignited many billions of years ago."
"That's a beautiful thought too.""However, we must not exaggerate the importance of these figures. It is enough just to hold a stone in your hand. The universe would have been equally incomprehensible if it had only consisted of that one stone the size of an orange. The question would be just as impenetrable: where did this stone come from?"Sophie suddenly stood up in the red convertible and pointed out over the bay."I want to try the rowboat," she said.
"It's tied up. And we would never be able to lift the oars.""Shall we try? After all, it is Midsummer Eve.""We can go down to the water, at any rate."They jumped out of the car and ran down the garden.
They tried to loosen the rope that was made fast in a metal ring. But they could not even lift one end."It's as good as nailed down," said Alberto.
"We've got plenty of time.""A true philosopher must never give up. If we could just... get it loose . . ."
"There are more stars now," said Hilde."Yes, when the summer night is darkest.""But they sparkle more in winter. Do you remember the night before you left for Lebanon? It was New Year's Day.""That was when I decided to write a book about philosophy for you. I had been to a large bookstore in Kris-tiansand and to the library too. But they had nothing suitable for young people.""It's as if we are sitting at the very tip of the fine hairs in the white rabbit's fur.""I wonder if there is anyone out there in the night of the light-years?"
"The rowboat has worked itself loose!""So it has!"
"I don't understand it. I went down and checked it just before you got here.""Did you?"
"It reminds me of when Sophie borrowed Alberto's boat. Do you remember how it lay drifting out in the lake?""I bet it's her at work again."
"Go ahead and make fun of me. All evening, I've been able to feel someone here.""One of us will have to swim out to it.""We'll both go, Dad."Chapter I THE DOLPHIN
The Clyde was the first river whose waters were lashed into foam by a steam-boat. It was in 1812 when the steamer called the Comet ran between Glasgow and Greenock, at the speed of six miles an hour. Since that time more than a million of steamers or packet-boats have plied this Scotch river, and the inhabitants of Glasgow must be as familiar as any people with the wonders of steam navigation.However, on the 3rd of December, 1862, an immense crowd, composed of shipowners, merchants, manufacturers, workmen, sailors, women, and children, thronged the muddy streets of Glasgow, all going in the direction of Kelvin Dock, the large shipbuilding premises belonging to Messrs. Tod & MacGregor. This last name especially proves that the descendants of the famous Highlanders have become manufacturers, and that they have made workmen of all the vassals of the old clan chieftains.
Kelvin Dock is situated a few minutes' walk from the town, on the right bank of the Clyde. Soon the immense timber-yards were thronged with spectators; not a part of the quay, not a wall of the wharf, not a factory roof showed an unoccupied place; the river itself was covered with craft of all descriptions, and the heights of Govan, on the left bank, swarmed with spectators.There was, however, nothing extraordinary in the event about to take place; it was nothing but the launching of a ship, and this was an everyday affair with the people of Glasgow. Had the Dolphin, then-for that was the name of the ship built by Messrs. Tod & MacGregor-some special peculiarity? To tell the truth, it had none.
It was a large ship, about 1,500 tons, in which everything combined to obtain superior speed. Her engines, of 500 horse-power, were from the workshops of Lancefield Forge; they worked two screws, one on either side the stern-post, completely independent of each other. As for the depth of water the Dolphin would draw, it must be very inconsiderable; connoisseurs were not deceived, and they concluded rightly that this ship was destined for shallow straits. But all these particulars could not in any way justify the eagerness of the people: taken altogether, the Dolphin was nothing more or less than an ordinary ship. Would her launching present some mechanical difficulty to be overcome? Not any more than usual. The Clyde had received many a ship of heavier tonnage, and the launching of the Dolphin would take place in the usual manner.In fact, when the water was calm, the moment the ebb-tide set in, the workmen began to operate. Their mallets kept perfect time falling on the wedges meant to raise the ship's keel: soon a shudder ran through the whole of her massive structure; although she had only been slightly raised, one could see that she shook, and then gradually began to glide down the well greased wedges, and in a few moments she plunged into the Clyde. Her stern struck the muddy bed of the river, then she raised herself on the top of a gigantic wave, and, carried forward by her start, would have been dashed against the quay of the Govan timber-yards, if her anchors had not restrained her.
The launch had been perfectly successful, the Dolphin swayed quietly on the waters of the Clyde, all the spectators clapped their hands when she took possession of her natural element, and loud hurrahs arose from either bank.But wherefore these cries and this applause? Undoubtedly the most eager of the spectators would have been at a loss to explain the reason of his enthusiasm. What was the cause, then, of the lively interest excited by this ship? Simply the mystery which shrouded her destination; it was not known to what kind of commerce she was to be appropriated, and in questioning different groups the diversity of opinion on this important subject was indeed astonishing.However, the best informed, at least those who pretended to be so, agreed in saying that the steamer was going to take part in the terrible war which was then ravaging the United States of America, but more than this they did not know, and whether the Dolphin was a privateer, a transport ship, or an addition to the Federal marine was what no one could tell."Hurrah!" cried one, affirming that the Dolphin had been built for the Southern States.
"Hip! hip! hip!" cried another, swearing that never had a faster boat crossed to the American coasts.Thus its destination was unknown, and in order to obtain any reliable information one must be an intimate friend, or, at any rate, an acquaintance of Vincent Playfair & Co., of Glasgow.
A rich, powerful, intelligent house of business was that of Vincent Playfair & Co., in a social sense, an old and honourable family, descended from those tobacco lords who built the finest quarters of the town. These clever merchants, by an act of the union, had founded the first Glasgow warehouse for dealing in tobacco from Virginia and Maryland. Immense fortunes were realised; mills and foundries sprang up in all parts, and in a few years the prosperity of the city attained its height.The house of Playfair remained faithful to the enterprising spirit of its ancestors, it entered into the most daring schemes, and maintained the honour of English commerce. The principal, Vincent Playfair, a man of fifty, with a temperament essentially practical and decided, although somewhat daring, was a genuine shipowner. Nothing affected him beyond commercial questions, not even the political side of the transactions, otherwise he was a perfectly loyal and honest man.
However, he could not lay claim to the idea of building and fitting up the Dolphin; she belonged to his nephew, James Playfair, a fine young man of thirty, the boldest skipper of the British merchant marine.It was one day at the Tontine coffee-room under the arcades of the town hall, that James Playfair, after having impatiently scanned the American journal, disclosed to his uncle an adventurous scheme.