THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS (Le Camp des Saints) By Jean Raspail CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

Twenty-eight

At three in the afternoon, on Good Friday, the Last Chance Armada passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and into the waters of the Mediterranean. The moment the coast of Europe appeared, sharply outlined in the sun, the deck of every ship in the fleet came suddenly to life. Thousands of arms began waving and shaking, like a forest in the wind. And a slow, singsong chant welled up to the heavens, in mystic incantation or prayer of thanksgiving. Not until Easter Monday morning would arms and voices finally grow still… It had been at precisely three o’clock that Friday, that the monster child, sitting astride the turd eater’s shoulders, was gripped by a violent spasm, that contorted his body and his twisted stumps, and appeared, indeed, to leave him lifeless. At the same time his neckless head drooped ever so slightly. Incredible though it seems, that movement was caught by all eyes in the fleet, and it set off the surge of triumphant chanting on every deck at the selfsame moment. … A cataleptic seizure, nothing more. And one minute after midnight, into Easter Sunday morning, in the clatter of ninety-nine hulls plowing headlong onto the rocks and beaches of the coast of France, the dwarf will wake up and let out a shriek, that old Monsieur Calguès, in his house on the hill, will hear loud and clear, as he crosses himself and mutters: “Vade retro, Satanas …”

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