“Come on!” cried Bailey, rushing down into the first line of surf, as a big roller lifted the object and flung it onward. “Grab it and pull!”
Larry sprang down the sand. He waded out into the water, surprised to find how strong it was even in the shallow place. He made a grab for the dim white object. His hands grasped a rope. At the same time the fisherman got hold of another rope.
“Pull!” cried Bailey, and Larry bent his back in an effort to snatch the raft from the grip of the sea.
At first the waves shoved the raft toward them, then, as the waters receded, the current sucked it out again. But the fisherman was strong and Larry was no weakling. They hauled until they had the raft out of reach of the rollers. Then, while there came a wilder burst of the storm, and a dash of spray from the waves, Bailey leaned over the raft.
“There’s a man lashed to it!” the fisherman cried. “We must get him to my shack and try to save him! Hurry now!”
THE MAN AT THE HUT
With a few quick strokes of his knife Bailey severed the ropes that bound the unconscious man to the raft. Then, taking him by the shoulders, and directing Larry to grasp the stranger’s legs, they started for the hut.
“Queer there weren’t more to come ashore on that raft,” the fisherman remarked as they trudged over the sand. “It would hold a dozen with safety. Maybe they were all swept off but this one. Poor souls! there’ll be many a one in Davy Jones’s locker to-night I’m afraid.”
“Is he—is he dead?” asked Larry, hesitatingly, for he had never handled a lifeless person before.
“I’m afraid so, but you never can tell. I’ve seen ’em stay under water a good while and brought back to life. You’d best help me carry him in, and then run for some of the life guards. I’ll be working over him, and maybe I can bring him around.”
Through the storm the two staggered with their burden. They reached the hut, and the man was tenderly placed on the floor near the fire.
“You hurry down the coast, and if you can see any of the guards tell ’em to come here,” Bailey said to Larry. “They can’t do anything for the wreck to-night.”
Larry glanced at the man he had helped save from the sea. The stranger was of large size, and seemed well-dressed, though his clothes were anything but presentable now. His face was partly concealed by the collar of his coat, which was turned up, and Larry noted that the man had a heavy beard and moustache.
These details he took in quickly while he was buttoning his oilskin jacket tighter around his neck for another dash into the storm. Then, as he opened the door of the hut to go in search of a coast-guard, Bailey began to strip the wet garments from the unconscious man.
Larry was met by a heavy gust of wind and a dash of rain as he went outside again. He bent his head to the blast and made his way down the beach, the lantern he carried making fantastic shadows on the white sand.