MacMillan's Reading Books eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 344 pages of information about MacMillan's Reading Books.

At last we neared it, and then a new danger appeared.  The first row of breakers, rolling like a cataract, was still far off shore, at least a hundred yards; and between it and the beach appeared a white yeast of raging waters, evidently ten or twelve feet deep, through which, weary as we all were, and benumbed with the night-chill and the unceasing splash of the spray over us, I felt it to be very doubtful whether we should have strength to struggle.  But there was no avoiding it; and when we drew near the long white line which glittered like a watchfire in the night, I called out to Yoosef and the lad, both of whom lay plunged in deathlike stupor, to rise and get ready for the hard swim, now inevitable.  They stood up, the sailors laid aside their oars, and a moment after the curling wave capsized the boat, and sent her down as though she had been struck by a cannon-shot, while we remained to fight for our lives in the sea.

Confident in my own swimming powers, but doubtful how far those of Yoosef might reach, I at once turned to look for him; and seeing him close by me in the water, I caught hold of him, telling him to hold fast on, and I would help him to land.  But, with much presence of mind, he thrust back my grasp, exclaiming, “Save yourself!  I am a good swimmer; never fear for me.”  The captain and the young sailor laid hold of the boy, the captain’s nephew, one on either side, and struck out with him for the shore.  It was a desperate effort; every wave overwhelmed us in its burst, and carried us back in its eddy, while I drank much more salt water than was at all desirable.  At last, after some minutes, long as hours, I touched land, and scrambled up the sandy beach as though the avenger of blood had been behind me.  One by one the rest came ashore—­some stark naked, having cast off or lost their remaining clothes in the whirling eddies; others yet retaining some part of their dress.  Every one looked around to see whether his companions arrived; and when all nine stood together on the beach, all cast themselves prostrate on the sands, to thank Heaven for a new lease of life granted after much danger and so many comrades lost.


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Perhaps my readers will not think it loss of time to accompany us on a morning visit to the camp and market, to the village gardens and wells; such visits we often paid, not without interest and pleasure.

Warm though Raseem is, its mornings, at least at this time of year (the latter part of September), were delightful.  In a pure and mistless sky, the sun rises over the measureless plain, while the early breeze is yet cool and invigorating, a privilege enjoyed almost invariably in Arabia, but wanting too often in Egypt in the west, and India in the east.  At this hour we would often thread the streets by which we had first entered the town, and go betimes to the

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MacMillan's Reading Books from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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