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There is not much comfort and peace in this novel. I suppose that his trip through the Thames in England gives a sense of comfort compared to the chaos he will encounter in the Congo.
A ship called the Nellie is cruising down the Thames--it will rest there as it awaits a change in tide. The narrator is an unidentified guest aboard the ship. He describes at length the appearance of the Thames as an interminable waterway, and then he describes the inhabitants of the ship. The Director of Companies doubles as Captain and host. They all regard him with affection, trust, and respect. The Lawyer is advanced in years and possesses many virtues. The Accountant is toying with dominoes, trying to begin a game. They already share the "bond of the sea." They are tolerant of one another.
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