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The Civilized, Chapter 36 - English Translation of Les Civilisés


English Text

On the almost sunken torpedo boat, overrun by the encroaching waves, Fierce watched and drank the fruit of his revenge.

The King Edward was in its death throws. At first, they had only been able to make out a vast hubbub on board - shouts, whistles, orders, a tumult of agony that the night breeze carried to the ears of the victors like the sweetest music. Then, the enormous hull had thrummed with a massive vribation. The electric searchlights, immobilized since the explosion, going off here and there on the sea or in the clouds, disks of white rays, started to spiral slowly, all together, like the ship, on this peaceful sea, had been tossed up and dozn in a great rolling wave. Yes, the King Edward was rolling. Clusters of men appeared above the railings, and threw themselves over the sides to plunge into the sea below. The battleship was rolling over to starboard, lower, lower, lower still, without righting itself. The gunwhale dipped into the sea. A second, the bridge going underneath the waves, the ship rotated on its side - and the second too, the bridge swallowed up by the waves, and the bottom of the hull appeared. The side of the hull first, then the keel, the propellors which kept spinning as they were raised up into the air. The King Edward floated a minute, lying on her back, then it tilted downards in the rear, and the poop of the ship sunk beneath the waves suddenly, the bow emerging like a spear thrown up against the uncaring sky. And straight down like a man who dove into the water feet first, the King Edward disappeared into the sea.

The torpedo boat too was sinking. Fierce, happily, smiled, floating spread eagle on his bag on the walkway that the waves lapped at. He wasn't in pain, too weak to feel it, and he had no more blood in his veins. And he fell into the darkness of his final sleep in the cradle of the sea, a last word formed upon his pale cold lips, the last rites of a dying man, the name of Sélysette.

And at the same time in Saigon, in her bedroom, kneeling in front of her cross, Sélysette mercifully prayed for "those who are at sea."

Written in Istanbul, in the year 1321 of the Prophet.

---Thus ends my translation of Claud Farrère's 1905 book Les Civilisés, a book both ahead and behind the times, a prophet of things to come and a representation of its age. My thanks to Gutenberg for putting Farrère's book available online.

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French Text

English Chapters

  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8
  9. Chapter 9
  10. Chapter 10
  11. Chapter 11
  12. Chapter 12
  13. Chapter 13
  14. Chapter 14
  15. Chapter 15
  16. Chapter 16
  17. Chapter 17
  18. Chapter 18
  19. Chapter 19
  20. Chapter 20
  21. Chapter 21
  22. Chapter 22
  23. Chapter 23
  24. Chapter 24
  25. Chapter 25
  26. Chapter 26
  27. Chapter 27
  28. Chapter 28
  29. Chapter 29
  30. Chapter 30
  31. Chapter 31
  32. Chapter 32
  33. Chapter 33
  34. Chapter 34
  35. Chapter 35
  36. Chapter 36

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