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The talk washed back and forth across the hulks of classic sea mysteries, new and old; of the City of Boston, which went down with all hands, leaving for record only a melancholy scrawl on a bit of board to meet the wondering eyes of a fisherman on the far Cornish coast; of the Great Queensland, which set out with five hundred and sixty-nine souls aboard, bound by a route unknown to a tragic end; of the Naronic, with her silent and empty lifeboats alone left, drifting about the open sea, to hint at the story of her fate; of the Huronian, which, ten years later, on the same day and date, and hailing from the same port as the Naronic, went out into the void, leaving no trace; of Newfoundland captains who sailed, roaring with drink, under the arches of cathedral bergs, only to be prisoned, buried, and embalmed in the one icy embrace; of craft assailed by the terrible one-stroke lightning clouds of the Indian Ocean, found days after, stone blind, with their crews madly hauling at useless sheets, while the officers clawed the compass and shrieked; of burnings and piracies; of pest ships and slave ships, and ships mad for want of water; of whelming earthquake waves, and mysterious suctions, drawing irresistibly against wind and steam power upon unknown currents; of stout hulks deserted in panic although sound and seaworthy; and of others so swiftly dragged down that there was no time for any to save himself; and of a hundred other strange, stirring and pitiful ventures such as make up the inevitable peril and incorrigible romance of the ocean.