The Woman Thou Gavest Me eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 708 pages of information about The Woman Thou Gavest Me.

Paper—­third e’shen—­loss of the Sco-sha.”

Faster and faster I hurried along.  But the awful cry was always ringing in my ears, behind, before, and on either side.

When I reached our boarding-house my limbs could scarcely support me.  I had hardly strength enough to pull the bell.  And before our young waiter had opened the door two news men, crossing the square, were crying: 

Paper—­third edition—­reported loss of the ’Scotia.’

EIGHTY-THIRD CHAPTER

As I passed through the hall the old colonel and the old clergyman were standing by the dining-room door.  They were talking excitedly, and while I was going upstairs, panting hard and holding on by the handrail, I heard part of their conversation.

“Scotia was the name of the South Pole ship, wasn’t it?”

“Certainly it was.  We must send young John out for a paper.”

Reaching my room I dropped into my chair.  My faculties had so failed me that for some minutes I was unable to think.  Presently my tired brain recalled the word “Reported” and to that my last hope began to cling as a drowning sailor clings to a drifting spar.

After a while I heard some of our boarders talking on the floor below.  Opening my door and listening eagerly I heard one of them say, in such a casual tone: 

“Rather sad—­this South Pole business, isn’t it?”

“Yes, if it’s true.”

“Doesn’t seem much doubt about that—­unless there are two ships of the same name, you know.”

At that my heart leapt up.  I had now two rafts to cling to.  Just then the gong sounded, and my anxiety compelled me to go down to tea.

As I entered the drawing-room the old colonel was unfolding a newspaper.

“Here we are,” he was saying.  “Reported loss of the Scotia—­Appalling Antarctic Calamity.”

I tried to slide into the seat nearest to the door, but the old actress made room for me on the sofa close to the tea-table.

“You enjoyed the rehearsal?  Yes?” she whispered.

“Hush!” said our landlady, handing me a cup of tea, and then the old colonel, standing back to the fire, began to read.

"Telegrams from New Zealand report the picking up of large fragments of a ship which were floating from the Antarctic seas.  Among them were the bulwarks, some portions of the deck cargo, and the stern of a boat, bearing the name ‘Scotia.’

“Grave fears are entertained that these fragments belong to the schooner of the South Pole expedition, which left Akaroa a few weeks ago, and the character of some of the remnants (being vital parts of a ship’s structure) lead to the inference that the vessel herself must have foundered."_

“Well, well,” said the old clergyman, with his mouth full of buttered toast.

The walls of the room seemed to be moving around me.  I could scarcely see; I could scarcely hear.

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The Woman Thou Gavest Me from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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