There were times when she imagined that he was indifferent to the shock his pride had received at her hands, and at such times she was puzzled to find herself piqued and annoyed. A little gnawing pain kept her awake with these intermittent fears.
She became expert in the art of making garments from the woven grass. Her wardrobe contained some remarkable gowns, and his was enlarged by the addition of “Sunday trousers” and a set of shirt blouses. They wore sandals instead of shoes. Each had a pair of stockings, worn at the time of the wreck, but they were held in sacred disuse against the hoped-for day of deliverance.
One day, late in September, after the sun had banished the mists from the air and the dampness from the ground by a clear day’s process, they wandered down between the gateposts to the beach where they had first landed with Pootoo. The sun was sinking toward the water-line and they sat wistfully watching it pass into the sea. For nearly five months they had lived with the savages, for the greater portion not unhappily, but always with the expectation that some day a vessel would come to take them back to civilization.
“It has not been so unpleasant, after all, has it?” she asked. “We have been far more comfortable than we could have prayed for.”
“I should enjoy seeing a white man once in a while, though, and I’d give my head for this morning’s Chicago newspaper,” he answered rather glumly.
“I have been happier on this island than I ever was in my life. Isn’t it strange? Isn’t it queer that we have not gone mad with despair? But I, for one, have not suffered a single pang, except over the death of our loved ones.”
“Lord Huntingford included,” maliciously.
“That is unkind, Hugh. I am ashamed to say it, but I want to forget that he ever lived.”
“You will have plenty of time to forget all you ever knew before we die. We’ll spend the rest of our days in that nigger village back there. If I should die first I suppose you’d forget me in a week or so. It—”
“Why, Hugh! You know better than that! Why do you say such disagreeable things?”
“I’m not worth remembering very long,” he said lamely. She smiled and said the statement threw a different light on the question. Whereupon he did not know whether to laugh or scowl.
“This dear old island,” she cried, looking toward the great rocks lovingly. “Really, I should be sorry to leave it.”
“When the ship comes, I’ll go back to America, and you may remain here if you like and be the only Izor in the business.” He said it in jest, but she looked at him solemnly for a moment and then turned her eyes out to sea. She was reclining on her side, her hand supporting her head, her elbow in the sand. He sat five feet away, digging holes in the sand with an odd little walking stick. One of her sandalled feet protruded from beneath the hem of her garment, showing ever so little of the bare, white, fascinating ankle.