Nance found the passage of the Race more trying then ever before. The strain of these latter days had been very great, and the thought of Bernel tended to unnerve her.
On the other hand, the knowledge that Gard had outwitted the whole strength of the Island cheered and braced her, and she struggled valiantly through the broken waters till at last she hung panting on the black ledge where she was in the habit of landing.
She scrambled up among the boulders and made straight for the great wall. She had decided in her own mind that he would probably be somewhere in there, possibly afraid to come out, as he would not know if the Sark men were still on the rock.
As nearly as she could, she climbed to the place she had seen the men go in, and then she cried softly, “Steve! Mr. Gard!” and went on calling, as she moved up and down along the base of the wall.
And at last her heart jumped wildly as she heard her name faintly from inside the wall, and presently Gard himself came crawling from under the big slab and jumped down to her side.
“Nance! You are a good angel to me,” and he flung his arms round her and kissed her again and again.
“But oh, my dear, I would not have you risk your life for me like this.”
“It is nothing. I am all right,” said Nance, forgetting the weariness and dangers of the passage in her joy at finding him alive and well. “I have brought you food,” and she pushed her little parcel into his hands.
“I hardly dare to eat it when I think what it has cost you.”
“That would be foolish, and you must be starving.”
“Truly, I am hungry—”
“Eat, then!” and she seized the package and began to tear it open. “It will make me still more glad to see you eat.”
“Well, then—” and Nance was gladder than ever that she had come.
“Have they all gone back?” he asked anxiously, as he munched.
“They came back this morning, bringing a strange dead man.”
“I know. I put him there—”
“Who is he?”
“I found him in a cave inside the rock. He had been left there very many years ago with his hands and feet tied. I think he must have been a Customs officer of long ago.”
Nance shivered, and he felt it.
“You are cold, Nance dear, and I am thinking only of myself;” and he took off his jacket and put it over her slim wet shoulders, in spite of herself.
“If they have all gone back we could go to the shelter. They may have left some of the things there;” and they went along and found the cloak and blanket, and he wrapped them about her.
“I found a still larger cave out of the other one, and I was in there when they came after me. I had put the dead man in the tunnel, and when I came back he was gone; but I did not dare to come out, for I was afraid they might be on the watch still.”
“The dead man frightened them. I do not think they will come back. They are afraid of ghosts.”