A narrative


Übersetzt von Ernst Wolfgang Freißler
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022




… But the Dwarf answered:
No; something hu­man is dear­er to me
than the wealth of all the world.
Grimm’s Tales.
This could have oc­curred nowhere but in Eng­land, where men and sea in­ter­pen­et­rate, so to speak
— the sea en­ter­ing into the life of most men, and the men know­ing something or everything about the sea, in the way of amuse­ment, of travel, or of bread-win­ning.
We were sit­ting round a ma­hogany table that re­flec­ted the bottle, the claret-glasses, and our faces as we leaned on our el­bows.
There was a dir­ect­or of com­pan­ies, an ac­count­ant, a law­yer, Mar­low, and my­self.
The dir­ect­or had been a Con­way boy, the ac­count­ant had served four years at sea,
the law­yer — a fine crus­ted Tory, High Church­man, the best of old fel­lows, the soul of hon­our
— had been chief of­ficer in the P. & O. ser­vice in the good old days
when mail-boats were square-rigged at least on two masts, and used to come down the China Sea be­fore a fair mon­soon with stun’-sails set alow and aloft.
We all began life in the mer­chant ser­vice.
Between the five of us there was the strong bond of the sea, and also the fel­low­ship of the craft,
which no amount of en­thu­si­asm for yacht­ing, cruis­ing, and so on can give,
since one is only the amuse­ment of life and the oth­er is life it­self.
Mar­low (at least I think that is how he spelt his name) told the story, or rather the chron­icle, of a voy­age:
“Yes, I have seen a little of the East­ern seas; but what I re­mem­ber best is my first voy­age there.
You fel­lows know there are those voy­ages that seem ordered for the il­lus­tra­tion of life, that might stand for a sym­bol of ex­ist­ence.
You fight, work, sweat, nearly kill your­self, some­times do kill your­self,
try­ing to ac­com­plish something — and you can’t. Not from any fault of yours.
You simply can do noth­ing, neither great nor little — not a thing in the world
— not even marry an old maid, or get a wretched 600-ton cargo of coal to its port of des­tin­a­tion.
“It was al­to­geth­er a mem­or­able af­fair.
It was my first voy­age to the East, and my first voy­age as second mate; it was also my skip­per’s first com­mand.
You’ll ad­mit it was time. He was sixty if a day;
a little man, with a broad, not very straight back, with bowed shoulders and one leg more bandy than the oth­er,
he had that queer twis­ted-about ap­pear­ance you see so of­ten in men who work in the fields.
He had a nut-crack­er face — chin and nose try­ing to come to­geth­er over a sunken mouth
— and it was framed in iron-grey fluffy hair, that looked like a chin strap of cot­ton-wool sprinkled with coal-dust.
And he had blue eyes in that old face of his, which were amaz­ingly like a boy’s,
with that can­did ex­pres­sion some quite com­mon men pre­serve to the end of their days by a rare in­tern­al gift of sim­pli­city of heart and rectitude of soul.
What in­duced him to ac­cept me was a won­der.
I had come out of a crack Aus­trali­an clip­per, where I had been third of­ficer,
and he seemed to have a pre­ju­dice against crack clip­pers as ar­is­to­crat­ic and high-toned.
He said to me, ‘You know, in this ship you will have to work.’
I said I had to work in every ship I had ever been in.
‘Ah, but this is dif­fer­ent, and you gen­tle­men out of them big ships; … but there! I dare say you will do. Join to-mor­row.’

Joseph Conrad
Youth / Jugend
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Ernst Wolfgang Freißler

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