February 18, 2012

To keep a watch, especially a watch on the bridge was torture: the first shock of that bitter wind seared the lungs, left a man fighting for breath: if he had forgotten to don gloves – first the silk gloves, then the woollen mittens, then the sheepskin gauntlets – and touched a handrail, the palms of his hands seared off, the skin burnt as by white-hot metal: on the bridge; if he forgot to duck when the bows smashed down into a trough, the flying spray, solidified in a second into hurtling slivers of ice, lanced cheek and forehead open to the bone: hands froze, the very marrow of the bones numbed, the deadly chill crept upwards from feet to calves to thighs, nose and chin turned white with frostbite and demanded immediate attention: and then, by far the worst of all, the end of the watch, the return below deck, the writhing, excruciating agony of returning circulation.

Now THAT, my friends, is a sentence.

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