Until the Sea gives up its Dead

One of the similarities in ‘Pole-star’ is the longing for ‘the beloved’:

John M’Alister Ray’s thoughts on Flora, especially on her birthday when

he is so distant on far ice fields; and, Captain Craigie’s fiancee who is pursued and

pursuing even in death on those same ice fields — “a death under circumstances of

peculiar horror”. The parallel arouses interest — and wonder.


Did John reach home and his beloved like some mythic hero?

And, what could possibly be the circumstances of the Captain’s

fiancee’s death that made it so peculiar?  Was she murdered, and by whom? 

Could the emotional instability of the captain cast suspicion even on him?


We only know there is reunion and reconciliation even after death for Craigie.

“He was lying face face downwards upon a frozen bank. Many little crystals of ice and 

feathers of snow had drifted on to him as he lay, and sparkled on his dark seaman’s

jacket.” Buried at sea…and there will he be “with his secret until that great day when the

sea shall give up its dead.” 

A romantic ghost story, this ‘Pole-star’, which Owen Dudly Edwards writes was accomplished with, I think, exactly the right word: “delicacy”.




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