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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Rescue - Introduction
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The Rescue - Introduction Post by :iwzone Category :Long Stories Author :Joseph Conrad Date :January 2011 Read :1184

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The Rescue - Introduction

The shallow sea that foams and murmurs on the shores of the
thousand islands, big and little, which make up the Malay
Archipelago has been for centuries the scene of adventurous
undertakings. The vices and the virtues of four nations have been
displayed in the conquest of that region that even to this day
has not been robbed of all the mystery and romance of its
past--and the race of men who had fought against the Portuguese,
the Spaniards, the Dutch and the English, has not been changed by
the unavoidable defeat. They have kept to this day their love of
liberty, their fanatical devotion to their chiefs, their blind
fidelity in friendship and hate--all their lawful and unlawful
instincts. Their country of land and water--for the sea was as
much their country as the earth of their islands--has fallen a
prey to the western race--the reward of superior strength if not
of superior virtue. To-morrow the advancing civilization will
obliterate the marks of a long struggle in the accomplishment of
its inevitable victory.

The adventurers who began that struggle have left no descendants.
The ideas of the world changed too quickly for that. But even far
into the present century they have had successors. Almost in our
own day we have seen one of them--a true adventurer in his
devotion to his impulse--a man of high mind and of pure heart,
lay the foundation of a flourishing state on the ideas of pity
and justice. He recognized chivalrously the claims of the
conquered; he was a disinterested adventurer, and the reward of
his noble instincts is in the veneration with which a strange and
faithful race cherish his memory.

Misunderstood and traduced in life, the glory of his achievement
has vindicated the purity of his motives. He belongs to history.
But there were others--obscure adventurers who had not his
advantages of birth, position, and intelligence; who had only his
sympathy with the people of forests and sea he understood and
loved so well. They can not be said to be forgotten since they
have not been known at all. They were lost in the common crowd of
seamen-traders of the Archipelago, and if they emerged from their
obscurity it was only to be condemned as law-breakers. Their
lives were thrown away for a cause that had no right to exist in
the face of an irresistible and orderly progress-- their
thoughtless lives guided by a simple feeling.

But the wasted lives, for the few who know, have tinged with
romance the region of shallow waters and forest-clad islands,
that lies far east, and still mysterious between the deep waters
of two oceans.

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THE RESCUEA ROMANCE OF THE SHALLOWSBYJOSEPH CONRAD'Allas!' quod she, 'that ever this sholde happe!For wende I never, by possibilitee,That swich a monstre or merveille mighte be!' --THE FRANKELEYN'S TALETOFREDERIC COURTLAND PENFIELDLAST AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OFAMERICA TO THE LATE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE, THISOLD TIME TALE IS GRATEFULLY INSCRIBEDIN MEMORY OF THE RESCUE OF CERTAINDISTRESSED TRAVELLERS EFFECTED BY HIMIN THE WORLD'S GREAT STORM OF THE YEAR 1914 AUTHOR'S NOTEOf the three long novels of mine which suffered an interruption,"The Rescue" was
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