The electricity, it appeared, had scattered over the iron of the machinery, instead of running on down into the hold.
Some said, “What a lucky escape!” others, “What a kind providence.”
“Sacred love is basely bought
Wives are grown traffic, marriage is a trade.”
They came safely into port. A little crowd of eager, expectant friends stood waiting on the wharf; among them a tall, dark-eyed young man, with a bright, intellectual face, whom Molly, seated on the deck in the midst of the family group, recognized with almost a cry of delight.
The instant a plank was thrown out, he sprang on board, and in another moment she was in his arms, sobbing, “Oh, Dick, Dick. I thought I’d never see you again!”
“Why?” he said with a joyous laugh, “we’ve not been so long or so far apart that you need have been in despair of that.”
Then as he turned to exchange greetings with the others, his ear caught the words, “We had an awful night, expecting every moment to see flames bursting out from the hold.”
“What, what does it mean?” he asked, grasping his uncle’s hand, while his cheek paled, and he glanced hastily from side to side.
“We have had a narrow escape,” said Mr. Dinsmore.
The main facts were soon given, the details as they drove to their hotel, and Dick rejoiced with trembling, as he learned how, almost, he had lost these dear ones.
A few days were spent in Philadelphia, then Mr. Dinsmore and the Travillas sought their seaside homes, Dick going with them.
Their coming was hailed with joy by Mrs. Dinsmore and her daughter Rose, who had been occupying their cottage for a week or more.
The Conlys would linger some time longer in the city, laying in a stock of finery for the summer campaign, then, joined by Mrs. Delaford, they too would seek the seashore.
The cottages were quite out of the town, built facing the ocean, and as near it as consistent with safety and comfort.
The children hailed the first whiff of the salt sea breeze with eager delight, were down upon the beach within a few minutes of their arrival, and until bedtime left it only long enough to take their tea, finishing their day with a long moonlight drive along the shore.
They were given perfect liberty to enjoy themselves to the full; the only restrictions being that they were not to go into danger, or out of sight of the house, or to the water’s edge unless accompanied by some older member of the family or a trusty servant.
The next morning they were all out again for a ramble before breakfast, and immediately after prayers Vi, Rosie, Harold and Herbert, with a man servant in attendance, returned to the beach.
The girls were collecting shells and seaweed, the two boys skipping stones on the water, Ben, the servant, watching the sport with keen interest, and occasionally joining in it.