the water lose all his power of direction, and so move in an endless circle until he sank exhausted?
It required a deliberate and conscious effort to keep my brain quite cool.
I have not the reputation of being of an excitable temperament, but the contrary; yet I could at that moment see my way to a condition in which one might become insane in an instant.
It was as if a fissure opened somewhere, and I saw my way into a mad-house; then it closed, and everything went on as before.
Once in my life I had obtained a slight glimpse of the same sensation, and then, too, strangely enough, while swimming, in the mightiest ocean-surge into which I had ever dared plunge my mortal body.
hints at the same sudden emotion, in a wild poem written among the Scottish mountains
It was not the distinctive sensation which drowning men are said to have, that spasmodic passing in review of one's whole personal history.
I had no well-defined anxiety, felt no fear, was moved to no prayer, did not give a thought to home or friends; only it swept over me, as with a sudden tempest, that, if I meant to get back to my own camp, I must keep my wits about me. I must not dwell on any other alternative, any more than a boy who climbs a precipice must look down.
Imagination had no business here.
That way madness lay. There was a shore somewhere before me, and I must get to it, by the ordinary means, before the ebb laid bare the flats, or swept me below the lower bends of the stream.
That was all.
Suddenly a light gleamed for an instant before me, as if from a house in a grove of great trees upon a bank; and I knew that it came from the window of a ruined plantation-building, where our most advanced outposts had their Headquarters.
The flash revealed to me