“You must not do that!” she cried in horror.
“Let me save her, for God’s sake. I cannot leave her to the sea.”
“Be calm!” she wailed. “Hours ago I would have leaped into the sea myself, but the thought came to me that she may not be lost after all. There is something for you to live for.”
“There is nothing. She is lost,” he cried.
“As I stood here, I wondered if she might not have been saved as miraculously as we. Wonder grew into hope and hope took the shape of possibility. Hugh, she may be alive and as safe as we!”
His eyes brightened like a flash; his breath came quickly; he tried to speak, but could not for the joy of hope.
“The hope that she may have been saved and may yet be given back to you kept me from ending the life that did not belong to me, but to her. Hugh Ridgeway, I have spent a thousand years on these rocks, trying to find courage to live. But for me she would be standing here with you. You would have saved her had I not been in the way last night,” she whispered. He could see that she suffered, but he was again blind to everything but his own great despair.
“Yes,” he cried savagely, “but for you I would have saved her. Oh, I could curse you—curse you!” She shrank back with a low moan, covering her eyes with her hands.
“Don’t say that!” she murmured piteously. “I would to God I could have gone down with the ship.” His eyes softened and a wave of remorse swept over him.
“Forgive me,” he groaned, “I am mad or I could not have said that to you. I did not mean it.” He placed his hand on hers, clasping the fingers firmly. “Forget that I spoke so cruelly. I devoutly thank God that your life was spared. We both loved the one who was left behind.”
She glanced down at his face doubtingly, unbelievingly, at first. Then a gleam of joy flooded her tired eyes, illumined her face. Sinking down beside him, she placed her head upon his shoulder and wept softly. He did not move from his position on the rock below. His heart was full of tenderness for the living and grief for the dead. His eyes stared out over the sea wistfully.
“I cannot look at that water!” he suddenly shrieked, drawing back in abject terror. “It is horrible! Horrible!”
He left her side and dashed madly away, strength having come with sudden abhorrence. She looked after him in alarm, her eyes wide with the fear that he was bereft of reason. Down the rocks and up the beach he fled, disappearing among the strangely shaped trees and underbrush that marked the outskirts of the jungle. Again she leaned back against the rock and looked at the unfriendly billows beyond, a feeling that she sat deserted forever on that barren shore plunging her soul into the very lowest pits of wretchedness.
Hours afterward he crept painfully from the cool, lonely jungle into the bright glare of the beach,—calmer, more rational, cursing no more. A shudder swept over him, a chill penetrated to the marrow of his bones as he looked again upon the sea. His eyes sought the rocks upon which he had left her; his heart was full of an eagerness to comfort her and be comforted in return.