Willis said this so earnestly, that the smile called forth by the oddness of the remark scarcely dared to show itself on the lips of the listeners.
“Very well,” resumed the little damsel, “if you are not more reasonable, and if you keep talking of throwing your life away, I will never again place my hand in yours as now; I shall not love you any more, and shall find means of letting Susan’s mother know that you went away and killed yourself, and made her a widow.”
Men can only speak coldly and appeal to reason—logic is their panacea in argument. Women alone possess those inspirations, those simple words without emphasis, that find their way directly to the heart, and for which purpose God has doubtless endowed them with those soft, mild tones, whose melodies cause our most cherished resolutions to vanish in the air; like those massive stone gates we have seen in some of the old castles in Germany, that resist the most powerful effort to push them open, but which a spring of the simplest construction causes to move gently on their formidable hinges.
Willis was silent; but no openly-expressed submission could have been more eloquent than this mute acquiescence.
In the meantime the tempest raged with increased fury, the winds howled, and the water splashed; it appeared at each shock as if the elements had reached the utmost limit of the terrific; that the sea, as the poet says, had lashed itself into exhaustion! But, anon, there came another outburst more terrible still, to declare that, in his anger as in his blessings, the All-Powerful has no other limit than the infinite.
“If it is not in the power of human beings to aid the crew of the Nelson,” said Mrs. Becker kneeling, “there are other means more efficacious which we are guilty in not having sought before.”
Every one followed this example, and it was a touching scene to behold the rough sailor yield submissively to the gentle violence of the child’s hand, and bend his bronzed and swarthy visage humbly beside her cherub head.
TO WHAT EXTENT WILLIS THE PILOT HAD IDEAS ON CERTAIN SUBJECTS—THE KNIGHTS OF THE OCEAN.
The storm continued to rage without intermission for three entire days. During this interval, not only was it impossible to send the canoe or pinnace to sea, but even to venture a step beyond the threshold, so completely had the tempest broken up the burning soil, the thirst of which the great Disposer of all things had proportioned to the deluges that were destined to assuage it.
All had at length yielded to bodily fatigue and mental anxiety, for the seeming eternity of these three days and three nights had been passed in prayer, and in the most fearful apprehensions as to the fate of the Nelson and her crew.
Nothing in the horizon as yet indicated that the thunders were tired of roaring, the clouds of rending themselves asunder, the winds of howling, or the waves of frantically beating on the cliffs.