I don’t know how Jerry could have thought of so many things; for it was he who thought of very carefully breaking the bottom off the root-beer bottle and using it for a cup. Of course the bottom might have cracked all to pieces, but it was quite heavy and Jerry was very careful. It came off wonderfully well, though rather jaggy. Jerry tried to grind the cutty edges off by rubbing them against the rock, but it didn’t work. Then we remembered being very thirsty once on a long picnic-walk ages ago, and Father wrapping his handkerchief around the top of the tin can the soup had come in and giving us a drink at a pump. So we knew that we could do that with the broken bottle. Jerry dodged out into the rain through the tide-pools and came back after a while with some water.
“I couldn’t get much,” he said, “because the place I found was very shallow, but I can go again.”
I remembered reading in books that you mustn’t give much water to fever-stricken people in any case. We lifted Greg’s head up,—that is, Jerry did, while I held the root-beer bottle glass, and said:
“Here’s the drink, Gregs, dear.”
It was very hard to tell what I was doing, and some of the water trickled over the handkerchief and down the front of Greg’s jumper. But he drank the rest, and said: “Thank you very much” in the same careful voice.
“Oh, I wish he wouldn’t be so blooming polite!” Jerry said sharply, as we were laying Greg back again, and I felt something wet and warm splash down on my wrist. But I didn’t tell Jerry I’d felt it.
If I wrote volumes and volumes I couldn’t begin to tell how long that night seemed. It was longer than years and years in prison; it was as long as a century. I think Jerry slept a little, and perhaps I did, too, for when I peered out at the cave entrance again there were two or three bluish, wet stars in the piece of sky I could see, and the rain-sound had stopped. Jerry was huddled up at my feet with his dear old head propped uncomfortably against me. He was snoring a little, and somehow it was the nicest sound I’d ever heard. Greg’s hand was still in mine, and it was not very hot.
Dawn always disappoints me a little. You think it’s going to be perfectly gorgeous, and then it’s usually nothing but one cold, pinkish streak, and the shadows all going the wrong way. But when I saw a faint wet grayness beginning to creep along the horizon beyond the Headland, I thought it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen in my life. The gray spread till the whole sky was the color of zinc, with the sea a little darker, and then one spikey yellow strip began to show on the sky-line. I could see Greg at last, with the jersey under his head, and the white brocade waistcoat all dark and stained at the shoulder, and his poor dear face ghastly white. And Jerry asleep, with the ruffle still pinned to his wet shirt and a big hole torn in the knee of his knickerbockers. And I saw the slimy pools that the tide had left beside us—it was on the ebb again—and the pieces of the root-beer bottle that Jerry had broken off, and the horrible, high, black head of the Sea Monster above us.