Corporal Sam and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 256 pages of information about Corporal Sam and Other Stories.
no, held on with great courage, and even coolness—­up to a point.  Then of a sudden his nerve deserted him.  He loosed his hold of the life-belt, and struck out for his Rescuer.  Worse, as he sank in the effort and Dick gripped him, he closed and struggled.  For half a minute Dick, shaking free of the embrace—­and this only by striking him on the jaw and half stunning him as they rose on the crest of a swell—­was able to grip him by the collar and drag him within reach of the life-belt.  But here the demented man managed to wreathe his legs and arms in another and more terrible hold.  The pair of them were now cursing horribly, cursing whenever a wave left choking them, and allowed them to cough and sputter for breath.  They fought as two men whose lives had pent up an unmitigable hate for this moment.  They fought, neither losing his hold, as their strength ebbed, and the weight of their clothes dragged them lower.  Dick Rendal’s hand still clutched the cord of the life-belt, but both bodies were under water, fast locked, when the liner’s boat at length reached the spot.  They were hauled on board, as on a long line you haul a fish with a crab fastened upon him; and were laid in the stern-sheets, where their grip was with some difficulty loosened.

It may have happened in the struggle.  Or again it may have happened when they were hoisted aboard and lay, for a minute or so, side by side on the deck.  Both men were insensible; so far gone indeed that the doctor looked serious as he and his helpers began to induce artificial respiration.

The young third officer ‘came round’ after five minutes of this; but, strangely enough, in the end he was found to be suffering from a severer shock than Mr Markham, on whom the doctor operated for a full twenty minutes before a flutter of the eyelids rewarded him.  They were carried away—­the third officer, in a state of collapse, to his modest berth; Mr Markham to his white-and-gold deck-cabin.  On his way thither Mr Markham protested cheerily that he saw no reason for all this fuss; he was as right now, or nearly as right, as the Bank.


How’s Rendal getting on?’

Captain Holditch, skipper of the Carnatic, put this question next morning to the doctor, and was somewhat surprised by the answer.

’Oh, Rendal’s all right.  That is to say, he will be all right.  Just now he’s suffering from shock.  My advice—­supposing, of course, you can spare him—­is to pack him straightaway off to his people on a week’s leave.  In a week he’ll be fit as a fiddle.’  The doctor paused and added, ‘’Wish I could feel as easy about the millionaire.’

’Why, what’s the matter with him?  ’Struck me he pulled round wonderfully, once you’d brought him to.  He talked as cheery as a grig.

‘H’m—­yes,’ said the doctor; ’he has been talking like that ever since, only he hasn’t been talking sense.  Calls me names for keeping him in bed, and wants to get out and repair that stanchion.  I told him it was mended.  “Nothing on earth is the matter with me,” he insisted, till I had to quiet him down with bromide.  By the way, did you send off any account of the accident?’

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Corporal Sam and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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