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IN MARCH 1912 A STRANGE ACCIDENT occurred in Naples harbour during the unloading of a large ocean-going liner which was reported at length by the newspapers, although in extremely fanciful terms. Although I was a passenger on the Oceania, I did not myself witness this strange incident — nor did any of the others — since it happened while coal was being taken on board and cargo unloaded, and to escape the noise we had all gone ashore to pass the time in coffeehouses or theatres. It is my personal opinion however, that a number of conjectures which I did not voice publicly at the time provide the true explanation of that sensational event, and I think that, at a distance of some years, I may now be permitted to give an account of a conversation I had in confidence immediately before the curious episode.
When I went to the Calcutta shipping agency trying to book a passage on the Oceania for my voyage home to Europe, the clerk apologetically shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t know if it would be possible for him to get me a cabin, he said; at this time of year, with the rainy season imminent, the ship was likely to be fully booked all the way from Australia, and he would have to wait for a telegram from Singapore. Next day, I was glad to hear, he told me that yes, he could still reserve me a cabin, although not a particularly comfortable one; it would be below deck and amidships. As I was impatient to get home I did not hesitate for long, but took it.
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Скачайте бесплатно электронную книгу (e-book) Стефан Цвейг «Амок» на английском языке. Вы также можете распечатать текст книги. Для этого подойдут форматы PDF и DOC.