Within a quarter of an hour the light bark canoes were speeding toward the harbor mouth, big brown arms manning the paddles vigorously. Ridgeway and Tennys sat facing each other in the foremost boat, the chief steering. Their turtle shell was in another boat, and Hugh did not forget the good old spar that lay on the beach below. Hour after hour passed, the oarsmen paddling the same stroke, never tiring, never faltering. The passengers at last began to lose interest in the gorgeous scenery along the coast they were skirting. Where would this startling journey end? When would the indefatigable oarsmen lay down their paddles to rest? When would they be able to procure food and drink?
The sun was sinking toward the water line, the forest along the uneven coast was merging into one vast green shadow, the waters were growing blacker and blacker, and yet the row of canoes continued its wearisome glide toward a seemingly unattainable end. Lady Tennys became so tired and sleepy that her long lashes could not be restrained from caressing her cheeks, nor could her dreamy eyes bear the strain of wakefulness. Hugh, observing her fatigue, persuaded her to turn about in the boat and lie back against his shoulder. Soon she was sleeping soundly, her face protected from the dying sun by a readjustment of her palm-leaf bonnet.
Ridgeway was beginning to fight against the effects of an ungovernable drowsiness when the boat in which they sat suddenly turned toward the beach. Long, powerful strokes sent the little craft whizzing in the new direction. Just as the sun’s last rays lost themselves in the night, the prow glided upon the sand and the oarsmen sprang out to carry him and the fair sleeper ashore.
FLESH SUCCEEDS STONE
Lady Tennys rubbed her eyes and stared blankly about her when Hugh awoke her. The darkness and the strange forms frightened her, but his reassuring words brought remembrance of the unique trip and with it the dim realization that they had landed at last.
If their first landing place was wonderful, this was doubly so. Despite the darkness, they were able to see quite distinctly the general outline of the coast. Two mammoth rocks, as large apparently as the one they had left behind, rose toward the hazy moonlit sky, far in shore, like twin sentinels, black and forbidding. Between them a narrow stretch of sky could be seen, with the moon just beyond. Entranced, they gazed upon the vivid yet gloomy panorama bursting from the shades of night almost as if it were advancing upon them. So immense, so startling, were these vast towering columns, so brilliant was the sky behind them, that the wonder-struck strangers found difficulty in controlling a desire to turn about and fly from the impending rush of mountain, moon and sky. In the first moments of breathless observation it seemed to them that the great rocks were moving toward the sea and that the sky was falling with them, giving the frightful impression that they were soon to be crushed in the ponderous fall. They were exchanging expressions of relief when the big chief came up and prostrated himself at their feet.