Adele had often pictured her wedding to herself, as what young girl has not? Often in her dreams she had knelt before the altar with Amory in the temple of the Rue St. Martin. Or sometimes her fancy had taken her to some of those smaller churches in the provinces, those little refuges where a handful of believers gathered together, and it was there that her thoughts had placed the crowning act of a woman’s life. But when had she thought of such a marriage as this, with the white deck swaying beneath them, the ropes humming above, their only choristers the gulls which screamed around them, and their wedding hymn the world-old anthem which is struck from the waves by the wind? And when could she forget the scene? The yellow masts and the bellying sails, the gray drawn face and the cracked lips of the castaway, her father’s gaunt earnest features as he knelt to support the dying minister, De Catinat in his blue coat, already faded and weather-stained. Captain Savage with his wooden face turned towards the clouds, and Amos Green with his hands in his pockets and a quiet twinkle in his blue eyes! Then behind all the lanky mate and the little group of New England seamen with their palmetto hats and their serious faces!
And so it was done amid kindly words in a harsh foreign tongue, and the shaking of rude hands hardened by the rope and the oar. De Catinat and his wife leaned together by the shrouds when all was over and watched the black side as it rose and fell, and the green water which raced past them.
“It is all so strange and so new,” she said. “Our future seems as vague and dark as yonder cloud-banks which gather in front of us.”
“If it rest with me,” he answered, “your future will be as merry and bright as the sunlight that glints on the crest of these waves. The country that drove us forth lies far behind us, but out there is another and a fairer country, and every breath of wind wafts us nearer to it. Freedom awaits us there, and we bear with us youth and love, and what could man or woman ask for more?”
So they stood and talked while the shadows deepened into twilight and the first faint gleam of the stars broke out in the darkening heavens above them. But ere those stars had waned again one more toiler had found rest aboard the Golden Rod, and the scattered flock from Isigny had found their little pastor once more.
THE LAST PORT.
For three weeks the wind kept at east or north-east, always at a brisk breeze and freshening sometimes into half a gale. The Golden Rod sped merrily upon her way with every sail drawing, alow and aloft, so that by the end of the third week Amos and Ephraim Savage were reckoning out the hours before they would look upon their native land once more. To the old seaman who was used to meeting and to parting it was a small matter, but Amos, who had never been away before, was on fire with impatience, and would sit smoking for hours with his legs astride the shank of the bowsprit, staring ahead at the skyline, in the hope that his friend’s reckoning had been wrong, and that at any moment he might see the beloved coast line looming up in front of him.