Riding High: The Stories that Jupiter's Travels Didn't Tell
The most extraordinary thing about him, though, was his absolute immobility. The ship came within thirty yards of him, I could have ringed him with a quoit, but he never raised his head nor let a flicker of emotion change his expression, which was one of total resignation, as he floated by, more like a waxwork effigy than a man.
I watched this with great surprise, feeling sure that in his position I would have had to laugh or shout or, at least, acknowledge the hundreds of spectators gazing down at me. Then we were past and leaving him behind.
"Why aren't they going for him?'" I asked indignantly. "Why don't they get a line out?" Every new episode in this affair astonished me.
A passenger leaning over the ship's rail shouted excitedly in his own language, pointing down. Whether he had heard my question or not, he provided the answer.
Below us, beautifully visible in every detail and circling lazily beside the ship's hull was a shark. It was eight feet long or more, dark brown in colour shading to white at the tips of its fins, an elegant and menacing fish.
People all around were calling out now. "Look, look, shark! Oh dear! White finned shark. Most dangerous . . ." and so on. A juddering vibration ran through the ship as the propellers went into reverse. The loudspeakers began to bark.
". . . Number three lifeboat," I heard. The derricks rattled and a boat, with several men inside, swung out over the side on the two cables and slowly descended. What then followed was a scene of danger and violence I would never forget."
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