By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)
An impossibly imperturbable old sea captain, with two hundred Chinese labourers aboard his steamship, faces a terrifying typhoon for the first time in his life. When emigré Austrian peasant Yanko is washed up on an English beach, he encounters widespread hostility from the local people on account of his foreign ways, and only in time earns a meagre measure of grudging respect. Captain Falk — seemingly half man, half tug boat - desperately loves a shapely young woman, but standing in the way of any possible match is a most delicate question indeed. A young woman compelled to care for her blind father caringly refrains, over a period of years, from disillusioning crusty old Captain Hagberd, her landlord and immediate neighbour, when he maintains adamantly that his long-lost son, a sailor, will return imminently, and will naturally want to marry her. Conrad's short fiction is often lighter than his novels. With the exception of Yanko's tale , these beautifully crafted, eminently readable stories tend to strike a sardonic, rather than a tragic, note.