The Case and the Girl eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Case and the Girl.

“Why, we must be crazed to dream of happiness here,” she exclaimed.  “Was there ever before so strange a confession of love?  I am trying to be brave—­but—­but that is too much; that waste of green water, with the grey sky overhead.  There is no ending to it—­just death mocking us in every wave.  Oh, Matthew, can this be all?  Only this little moment, and then—­the end?”

He held her hands tightly, his heart throbbing, but his courage and hope high.

“No, dear,” he whispered eagerly.  “Don’t think that for a moment.  We have passed through too much to dream of such an ending now.  There will be ships—­there must be.  Look! what is that, yonder against the sky-line?  It is, sweet-heart; it is the smoke of a steamer.”

CHAPTER XXIII

AN ESCAPE FROM THE RAFT

They watched with sinking hearts, West rising to his knees, and shading his eyes with his hand, as that thin spiral of smoke crept along the horizon, and finally disappeared into the north.  The raft rode so low in the water that no glimpse of the distant steamer could be perceived, and, when the last faint vestige of smoke vanished, neither said a word, but sat there silent, with clasped hands.  The bitterness of disappointment wore away slowly, and as the uneventful hours left them in the same helpless condition, they fell again into fitful conversation, merely to thus bolster up courage, and lead their minds to other thoughts.  It was maddening to sit there motionless and stare off across the desolate water, seeing nothing but those white-crested surges sweeping constantly toward them, and to feel the continuous leap and drop of the frail raft, which alone kept them afloat.

The hours went by monotonously, with scarcely an occurrence to break the dreariness or bring a ray of hope.  The clouds obscured the sky, yet occasionally through some narrow rift, came a glimpse of the sun, as it rose to the zenith, and then began sinking into the west.  The air was soft, the breeze dying down, and the height of the waves decreasing; the raft floated more easily, and it no longer became necessary for them to cling tightly to the supports to prevent being flung overboard.  But there came out of the void no promise of rescue; the sea remained desolate and untraversed, and finally a mist hung over the water, narrowing the horizon.  During the day they saw smoke but always far to the east, and quickly disappearing.  Once West felt assured his eyes caught the glimmer of a white sail to the southward, but it was too far away for him to be sure.  At best, it was but a momentary vision, fading almost instantly against the grey curtain of sky.  He had scarcely attempted to point it out to Natalie when it completely vanished.

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The Case and the Girl from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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