And then, suddenly, like a flash, the captain grasped the old fellow’s shoulder.
“Slow down, man,” he shrieked. “I bet all I’ve got you don’t know where you are, and I can hear waves breaking ashore.”
But Sammy lifted up his hand, with an authority that seemed inspired, and gave another pull at the whistle cord. It brought forth a sound that was repeated, again and again, confusedly. For a frightfully long half minute we kept up our speed; then the bell jingled in the engine-room and we slowed down a little. Under the old fisherman’s hands the wheel began to spin around while we breathlessly watched him aim the ship at the furious breakers inshore, at the foot of dark cliffs.
“For God’s sake! What are you doing?” yelled the captain.
The bell rang in the engine room to slow down and suddenly, on both sides of us, appeared like devouring jaws great mass of rock upon which the huge rollers were crashing in a smother of spume. Between them the yacht slipped, gracefully, and this time the siren’s shriek was like a victorious cry. The bell sounded again and the Snowbird, after her long swift flight, came to a stop between the hilly sides of Sweetapple Cove, where men’s voices roared indistinctly at us, and their forms stood dimly revealed by twinkling lanterns.
And now, mother dear, I am writing at the bedside of a man lying in a poor little hut, whom I shall leave soon for a few hours of badly needed rest. I shall stop for the moment, but I have a great deal more to say.
From Miss Helen Jelliffe to Miss Jane Van Zandt
It is again the little girl to whom you have been a mother for so many years who comes to you now, to lay her weary head upon your dear shoulder and seek from you the kindness and sympathy you have always so freely given me.
Last night I slept. Yes, slept like some dead thing that never cared whether it ever returned to life, but which would awaken, at times, stupidly, and toss until oblivion returned. I don’t exactly know what it is that affects me so. It may be the long watching, I suppose, and the uneasiness of a heart that has lost its owner, and seeks and seeks again, turning for comfort like a poor lost dog to every face which may prove friendly. Just now things seem to be in such a dreadful tangle that I can not even find a thread of it that I can unravel.
Late in the evening, the day before yesterday, I was sitting by the bed where Dr. Grant was lying, and the conviction kept on growing upon me that he was becoming worse all the time. I could not help whispering my fears to Mr. Barnett, who gulped when he answered, as if he also knew what it is to have that dreadful lump in one’s throat.
The long, weary hours dragged themselves along, and presently the doctor began to speak, and we bent forward to listen, because it was not very loud and he spoke fast. At first it was all a jumble of delirious words, but suddenly he looked at me and shook his head.