"...The downpour rushed on. In the thick of it, great guns seemed to boom.
Huge noises as of the tearing and rending of oak trees could be heard.
There were also wild cries and terrible inhuman groanings. But Orlando
stood there immovable till Paul's clock struck two, and then, crying
aloud with an awful irony, and all his teeth showing, 'Jour de ma vie!'
he dashed the lantern to the ground, mounted his horse and galloped he
knew not where.

Some blind instinct, for he was past reasoning, must have driven him to
take the river bank in the direction of the sea. For when the dawn broke,
which it did with unusual suddenness, the sky turning a pale yellow and
the rain almost ceasing, he found himself on the banks of the Thames off
Wapping. Now a sight of the most extraordinary nature met his eyes.
Where, for three months and more, there had been solid ice of such
thickness that it seemed permanent as stone, and a whole gay city had
been stood on its pavement, was now a race of turbulent yellow waters.
The river had gained its freedom in the night. It was as if a sulphur
spring (to which view many philosophers inclined) had risen from the
volcanic regions beneath and burst the ice asunder with such vehemence
that it swept the huge and massy fragments furiously apart. The mere look
of the water was enough to turn one giddy. All was riot and confusion.
The river was strewn with icebergs. Some of these were as broad as a
bowling green and as high as a house; others no bigger than a man's hat,
but most fantastically twisted. Now would come down a whole convoy of ice
blocks sinking everything that stood in their way. Now, eddying and
swirling like a tortured serpent, the river would seem to be hurtling
itself between the fragments and tossing them from bank to bank, so that
they could be heard smashing against the piers and pillars. But what was
the most awful and inspiring of terror was the sight of the human
creatures who had been trapped in the night and now paced their twisting
and precarious islands in the utmost agony of spirit. Whether they jumped
into the flood or stayed on the ice their doom was certain. Sometimes
quite a cluster of these poor creatures would come down together, some on
their knees, others suckling their babies. One old man seemed to be
reading aloud from a holy book. At other times, and his fate perhaps was
the most dreadful, a solitary wretch would stride his narrow tenement
alone. As they swept out to sea, some could be heard crying vainly for
help, making wild promises to amend their ways, confessing their sins and
vowing altars and wealth if God would hear their prayers. Others were so
dazed with terror that they sat immovable and silent looking steadfastly
before them. One crew of young watermen or post-boys, to judge by their
liveries, roared and shouted the lewdest tavern songs, as if in bravado,
and were dashed against a tree and sunk with blasphemies on their lips.
An old nobleman--for such his furred gown and golden chain proclaimed
him--went down not far from where Orlando stood, calling vengeance upon
the Irish rebels, who, he cried with his last breath, had plotted this
devilry. Many perished clasping some silver pot or other treasure to
their breasts; and at least a score of poor wretches were drowned by
their own cupidity, hurling themselves from the bank into the flood
rather than let a gold goblet escape them, or see before their eyes the
disappearance of some furred gown. For furniture, valuables, possessions
of all sorts were carried away on the icebergs. Among other strange
sights was to be seen a cat suckling its young; a table laid sumptuously
for a supper of twenty; a couple in bed; together with an extraordinary
number of cooking utensils.

Dazed and astounded, Orlando could do nothing for some time but watch the
appalling race of waters as it hurled itself past him. At last, seeming
to recollect himself, he clapped spurs to his horse and galloped hard
along the river bank in the direction of the sea. Rounding a bend of the
river, he came opposite that reach where, not two days ago, the ships of
the Ambassadors had seemed immovably frozen. Hastily, he made count of
them all; the French; the Spanish; the Austrian; the Turk. All still
floated, though the French had broken loose from her moorings, and the
Turkish vessel had taken a great rent in her side and was fast filling
with water. But the Russian ship was nowhere to be seen. For one moment
Orlando thought it must have foundered; but, raising himself in his
stirrups and shading his eyes, which had the sight of a hawk's, he could
just make out the shape of a ship on the horizon. The black eagles were
flying from the mast head. The ship of the Muscovite Embassy was standing
out to sea.

Flinging himself from his horse, he made, in his rage, as if he would
breast the flood. Standing knee-deep in water he hurled at the faithless
woman all the insults that have ever been the lot of her sex. Faithless,
mutable, fickle, he called her; devil, adulteress, deceiver; and the
swirling waters took his words, and tossed at his feet a broken pot and a
little straw..."

Woolf, Orlando, 1. Bölüm'den


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