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As I swam steadily, but with some sense of fatigue, towards this phantom-line, I found it difficult to keep my faith steady and my progress true; everything appeared to shift and waver, in the uncertain light. The distant trees seemed not trees, but bushes, and the bushes seemed not exactly bushes, but might, after all, be distant trees. Could I be so confident that, out of all that low stretch of shore, I could select the one precise point where the friendly causeway stretched its long arm to receive me from the water? How easily (some tempter whispered at my ear) might one swerve a little, on either side, and be compelled to flounder over half a mile of oozy marsh on an ebbing tide, before reaching our own shore and that hospitable volley of bullets with which it would probably greet me! Had I not already (thus the tempter continued) been swimming rather unaccountably far, supposing me on a straight track for that inviting spot where my sentinels and my drapery were awaiting my return?

Suddenly I felt a sensation as of fine ribbons drawn softly across my person, and I found myself among some rushes. But what business had rushes there, or I among them? I knew that there was not a solitary spot of shoal in the deep channel where I supposed myself swimming, and it was plain in an instant that I had somehow missed my course, and must be getting among, the marshes. I felt confident, to be sure, that I could not have widely erred, but was guiding my course for the proper side of the river. But whether I had drifted above or below the causeway I had not the slightest clew to tell.

I pushed steadily forward, with some increasing sense of lassitude, passing one marshy islet after another, all

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