“There’s no sun There,” said Mab. “But I guess it will be very bright. And there will be crowds and crowds along the Shore to see us come into Port. And I’ll see my little baby among them. I told you about him, Big Bear. Finest little chap in New York City. He’ll be holding out his arms to me, just like he used. Ah! I can almost see him now. Look at his curls. Aren’t they fine? And his little angel face. There isn’t anyone like him, I guess. Everybody said he was the cutest baby in U.S. Coming, darling! Coming!”
Mab’s hands slackened from Merefleet’s clasp, and suddenly she stretched out her arms to the sky. The holiest of all earthly raptures was on her face.
Then with a sharp sigh she came to herself and turned back to Merefleet. A piteous little smile hovered about her quivering lips.
“I guess I’ve been dreaming, Big Bear,” she said. “Such a dream! Oh, such a gorgeous, heavenly dream!”
And she hid her face on his breast and burst into tears.
Before the sun set they were sighted by the cruiser returning to her anchorage outside the little fishing-harbour. Mab, worn out by hunger and exposure, had slipped back to her former position in the bottom of the boat. She was half asleep and seemed dazed when Merefleet told her of their approaching deliverance. But she clung fast to him when a boat from the cruiser came alongside; and he lifted her into it himself.
“By Jove, sir, you’ve had a bad time!” said a young officer in the boat.
“Thirty hours,” said Merefleet briefly.
He kept his arm about the girl, though his brain swam dizzily. And Mab, consciously or unconsciously, held his hand in a tight clasp.
Merefleet felt as if she were definitely removed out of his reach when she was lifted from his hold at length, and the impression remained with him after he gained the cruiser’s deck. He met with most courteous solicitude on all sides and was soon on the high-road to recovery.
Later in the evening, when Mab also was sufficiently restored to appear on deck, the cruiser steamed into Silverstrand Harbour, and the two voyagers were landed by one of her boats, in the midst of great rejoicing on the quay.
Seton, who had long since returned from a fruitless search for tidings, was among the crowd of spectators. He said little by way of greeting, and there was considerable strain apparent in his manner towards Merefleet. He hurried his cousin back to the hotel with a haste not wholly bred of the moment’s expediency. Merefleet followed at a more leisurely pace. He made no attempt to join them, however. He had done his part. There remained no more to do. With a heavy sense of irrevocable loss he went to bed and slept the dreamless sleep of exhaustion for many hours.
The adventure was over. It had ended with a tameness that gave it an almost commonplace aspect. But Merefleet’s resolution was of stout manufacture.