On this second full day that I’ve been reading Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, Or, The History of a Young Lady, our situation has taken a turn for the perilous and befuddling.
Not that we aren’t making good progress, we are about 469 pages in. That is almost the entire length and breadth of Pamela, though that is a mere drop in the bucket for Clarissa. Still, the progress is not what worries me. Or, perhaps it is…though for reasons that one might not immediately suspect.
Who would have thought those little letters the crew were constantly scribbling to each other (and me) could potentially lead us into danger? We were so busy with the scribblings (myself reading the cook’s whining account of his trials, as he called them, in attempting to get the bread to rise under sea conditions) that we paid no attention to the sails.
Though, really, why would we have? The ship was moving at incredible speeds and our course stayed true, so why would we think anything wrong?
However, it was only when we looked up for a moment from the scribblings that we noticed that we were totally becalmed. The sea was deathly still, the wind was stonily silent, and the sails completely drooped as if having expired. And yet, our pace was unrelenting. Despite no wind, waves, or motions in our sails, the ship drove onward as fast as I or any of the crew had ever seen.
The crew took this realization surprisingly well. We know not what force has us in its grasp or what it intends to do with us, but perhaps this is just the way things are in this unknown part of the world. Perhaps we are caught in some never before heard of current that will take us quickly to our destination. Of course, perhaps we are now the play toy of some malevolent magick that intends out doom, but it is too early for us to know and we shall not despair until we know more.
Of course, perhaps the scribblings are innocent of our current predicament. Perhaps we would have been caught in this force even if we had been paying all due attention. It is too hard to say for sure.
All we know is that we head forward, under no direction or control of our own, at frightening speeds. We simply hang on and hope for the best. May god have mercy upon our souls.