As she stood waiting, with her eyes upon his card, which lay upon the table, and Mrs. Cliffs note crumpled up in one hand, she saw the captain for some minutes before it was possible for him to reach her. She saw him on board the Castor, a tall, broad-shouldered sailor, with his hands in the pockets of his pea-jacket. She saw him by the caves in Peru, his flannel shirt and his belted trousers faded by the sun and water, torn and worn, and stained by the soil on which they so often sat, with his long hair and beard, and the battered felt hat, which was the last thing she saw as his boat faded away in the distance, when she stood watching it from the sandy beach. She saw him as she had imagined him after she had received his letter, toiling barefooted along the sands, carrying heavy loads upon his shoulders, living alone night and day on a dreary desert coast, weary, perhaps haggard, but still indomitable. She saw him in storm, in shipwreck, in battle, and as she looked upon him thus with the eyes of her brain, there were footsteps outside her door.
As Captain Horn came through the long corridors and up the stairs, following the attendant, he saw the woman he was about to meet, and saw her before he met her. He saw her only in one aspect—that of a tall, too thin, young woman, clad in a dark-blue flannel suit, unshapely, streaked, and stained, her hair bound tightly round her head and covered by an old straw hat with a faded ribbon. This picture of her as he had left her standing on the beach, at the close of that afternoon when his little boat pulled out into the Pacific, was as clear and distinct as when he had last seen it.
A door was opened before him, and he entered Edna’s salon. For a moment he stopped in the doorway. He did not see the woman he had come to meet. He saw before him a lady handsomely and richly dressed in a Parisian morning costume—a lady with waving masses of dark hair above a lovely face, a lady with a beautiful white hand, which was half raised as he appeared in the doorway.
She stood with her hand half raised. She had never seen the man before her. He was a tall, imposing gentleman, in a dark suit, over which he wore a light-colored overcoat. One hand was gloved, and in the other he held a hat. His slightly curling brown beard and hair were trimmed after the fashion of the day, and his face, though darkened by the sun, showed no trace of toil, or storm, or anxious danger. He was a tall, broad-shouldered gentleman, with an air of courtesy, an air of dignity, an air of forbearance, which were as utterly unknown to her as everything else about him, except his eyes—those were the same eyes she had seen on board the Castor and on the desert sands.
Had it not been for the dark eyes which looked so steadfastly at him, Captain Horn, would have thought that he had been shown into the wrong room. But he now knew there was no mistake, and he entered. Edna raised her hand and advanced to meet him.