The Ship of Stars eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 204 pages of information about The Ship of Stars.
one in each arm, and could just manage to push them up the bank and prop them there with his open hand; and while he bent, the tide rose and his heart cracked for the third time.  Though he was dead, his stiff arms kept the children propped against the bank.  But just at the turning of the tide the one with the ankle-weight slipped and was drowned.  The other was found next morning by the inland people, high and dry.  And some do say,” Taffy wound up, “that his brother was not really drowned, but turned into a bird, and that, though no one has seen him, it is his voice that gives the ‘crake,’ imitating the sound made by John’s heart when it burst; but others say it comes from John himself, down there below the sands.”

There was silence for a minute.  Even Honoria had grown excited toward the end.

“But it was unfair!” she broke out.  “It ought to have been the convict-child that was saved.”

“If so, I shouldn’t be here,” said George; “and it’s not very nice of you to say it.”

“I don’t care.  It was unfair; and anyone but a boy “—­with scorn—­” would see it.”  She turned upon the staring Taffy—­“I hate your tale; it was horrid.”

She repeated it, that evening, as they turned their faces homeward across the heathery moor.  Taffy had halted on the top of a hillock to wave good-night to George.  For years he remembered the scene—­the brown hollow of the hills; the clear evening sky, with the faint purple arch, which is the shadow of the world, climbing higher and higher upon it; and his own shadow stretching back with his heart toward George, who stood fronting the level rays and waved his glittering catch of fish.

“What was that you said?” he asked, when at length he tore himself away and caught up with Honoria.

“That was a horrid story you told.  It spoiled my afternoon, and I’ll trouble you not to tell any more of the sort.”

CHAPTER XI.

LIZZIE REDEEMS HER DOLL AND HONORIA THROWS A STONE.

A broad terrace ran along the southern front of Tredinnis House.  It had once been decorated with leaden statues, but of these only the pedestals remained.

Honoria, perched on the terraced wall, with her legs dangling, was making imaginary casts with a trout-rod, when she heard footsteps.  A child came timidly round the angle of the big house—­Lizzie Pezzack.

“Hullo!  What do you want?”

“If you please, miss—­”

“Well?”

“If you please, miss—­”

“You’ve said that twice.”

Lizzie held out a grubby palm with a half-crown in it:  “I wants my doll back, if you please, miss.”

“But you sold it.”

“I didn’t mean to.  You took me so sudden.”

“I gave you ever so much more than it was worth.  Why, I don’t believe it cost you three ha’pence!”

“Tuppence,” said Lizzie.

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The Ship of Stars from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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