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VI. The White Blot Henry van Dyke

Section II.

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This much of my train of reasoning along the edge of the dark, I remember sharply. But after this, all was confused and misty. The shore of consciousness receded. I floated out again on the ocean of forgotten dreams. When I woke, it was with a quick start, as if my ship had been made fast, silently and suddenly, at the wharf of reality, and the bell rang for me to step ashore.

But the vision of the white blot remained clear and distinct. And the question that it had brought to me, the chain of thoughts that had linked themselves to it, lingered through the morning, and made me feel sure that there was an untold secret in Falconer's life and that the clew to it must be sought in the history of his last picture.

But how to trace the connection? Every one who had known Falconer, however slightly, was out of town. There was no clew to follow. Even the name "Larmone" gave me no help; for I could not find it on any map of Long Island. It was probably the fanciful title of some old country-place, familiar only to the people who had lived there.

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But the very remoteness of the problem, its lack of contact with the practical world, fascinated me. It was like something that had drifted away in the fog, on a sea of unknown and fluctuating currents. The only possible way to find it was to commit yourself to the same wandering tides and drift after it, trusting to a propitious fortune that you might be carried in the same direction; and after a long, blind, unhurrying chase, one day you might feel a faint touch, a jar, a thrill along the side of your boat, and, peering through the fog, lay your hand at last, without surprise, upon the very object of your quest.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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