“There he comes!” cried Come, eagerly.
“Eh!” exclaimed Poopy, in alarm.
“Who? where?” inquired Alice, who thought that the boy referred to some one who had unexpectedly appeared on the scene.
“I saw him wink with his left eye,—look!”
All three suspended their labor of love, and, stretching forward their heads, gazed, with breathless anxiety, at the clay-colored face of Jo.
“I must have been mistaken,” said Corrie, shaking his head.
“Go at him agin,” cried Poopy, recommencing her work on the right arm with so much energy that it seemed marvelous how she escaped skinning that limb from fingers to shoulder.
Poor Alice did her best, but her soft little hands had not much effect on the huge mass of brown flesh they manipulated.
“There he comes again!” shouted Corrie.
Once more there was an abrupt pause in the process, and the three heads were bent eagerly forward watching for symptoms of returning life. Corrie was right. The seaman’s left eye quivered for a moment, causing the hearts of the three children to beat high with hope. Presently the other eye also quivered; then the broad chest rose almost imperceptibly, and a faint sigh came feebly and broken from the cold blue lips.
To say that the three children were delighted at this would be to give but a feeble idea of the state of their feelings. Corrie had, even in the short time yet afforded him of knowing Bumpus, entertained for him feelings of the deepest admiration and love. Alice and Poopy, out of sheer sympathy, had fallen in love with him too, at first sight; so that his horrible death (as they had supposed), coupled with his unexpected restoration and revival through their united exertions, drew them still closer to him, and created within them a sort of feeling that he must, in common reason and justice, regard himself as their special property in all future time. When, therefore, they saw him wink, and heard him sigh, the gush of emotion that filled their respective bosoms was quite overpowering. Corrie gasped in his effort not to break down; Alice wept with silent joy as she continued to chafe the man’s limbs; and Poopy went off into a violent fit of hysterical laughter, in which her “hee, hees” resounded with terrible shrillness among the surrounding cliffs.
“Now, then, let’s to work again with a will,” said Corrie. “What d’ye say to try punching him?”
This question he put gravely, and with the uncertain air of a man who feels that he is treading on new and possibly dangerous ground.
“What is punching?” inquired Alice.
“Why, that,” replied the boy, giving a practical and by no means gentle illustration on his own fat thigh.
“Wouldn’t it hurt him?” said Alice, dubiously.
“Hurt him! hurt the Grampus!” cried Corrie, with a look of surprise; “you might as well talk of hurting a hippopotamus. Come, I’ll try.”