“I will stop here and help you,” she said, with sudden vehemence. “They shall not have you. They shall not! They are wicked, crazy men,” and the little cloaked figure shook again with the spirit that was in it.
“Dear!” he said, putting his arm round her, and drawing her close. “You must not stop. They must not know you have been here. I do not know what the end will be. We are in God’s hands, and we have done no wrong. But if ... if the worst comes, you will remember all your life, dear, that to one man you were as an angel from heaven. Nance! Nance! Oh, my dear, how can I tell you all you are to me!”—and as he pressed her to him, the bare white arms stole out of the cloak and clasped him tightly round the neck.
“But how are you going to get back, little one? You cannot possibly swim that Race again?” he asked presently, holding her still in his arms and looking down at her anxiously.
“Yes, I can swim,” she said valiantly. “I knew it would be worse than usual, and I brought these”—and she slipped from his arms and groped on the ground, and presently held up what felt to him in the darkness like a pair of inflated bladders with a broad band between them. “And here is a little bread and meat, all I could carry tied on to my head. We feared you would be starving.”
“You should not have burdened yourself, dear. It might have drowned you. And I have eggs—puffins’—”
“They are better than nothing, and I beat them up with cognac. But are you safe in the Race, Nance dear, even with those things?”
“You cannot sink. If Bernel had only taken them! But he laughed at them, and now—”
He kissed her sobs away, but was full of anxiety at thought of her in the rushing darkness of the Race.
“I will go with you,” he said eagerly, “and you will lend me your bladders to get back with.”
“You would never get back to L’Etat in the dark”—and he knew that that was true. “We of Sark can see, but you others—”
“I shall be in misery till I know you are all right,” he said anxiously.
“I will run home. My things are in the gorse above Breniere. And I will get a lantern and come down by Breniere and wave it to you.”
“Will you do that? It will be like a signal from heaven,” he said eagerly, “a signal from heaven waved by an angel from heaven.”
“And to-morrow I will go to the Vicar, and the Senechal, and the Seigneur, if he has come home, and I will make them stop these wicked men from coming here again.”
“They shall. They must. They are the law and it is not right.”
“It is worth trying, at any rate,” he said cheerfully, as they reached the eastern corner and struck down across his puffin-warren to the point immediately opposite Breniere. But he had not much hope that the Vicar and the Senechal and the Seigneur all combined would avail him, for the men of Sark are a law unto themselves.