“God bless him for that!”
And even as I spoke, the door opened and Krok came in, but a Krok that we hardly knew.
He was in a state of most intense agitation. I thought at first that it was on my account,—that he had heard of my arrival. But in a moment I saw that it was some greater thing still that moved him.
At sight of me he stopped, as if doubting his senses,—or tried to stop, for that which was in him would not let him stand still. He was bursting with some news, and my heart told me it was ill news. His eyes rolled and strained, his dumb mouth worked, he fairly gripped and shook himself in his frantic striving after communication with us.
My mother was alarmed, but yet kept her wits. Truly it seemed to me that unless he could tell us quickly what was in him something inside must give way under the strain. She ran quickly to a drawer in her dresser, and pulled out a sheet of paper and a piece of charcoal, and laid them before him on the table. He jumped at them, but his hand shook so that it only made senseless scratches on the paper. I heard his teeth grinding with rage. He seized his right hand with his left, and held it and quieted himself by a great effort. And slowly and jerkily he wrote, in letters that fell about the page,—“Carette—Torode—” and then the charcoal fell out of his hand and he rolled in a heap on the floor.
My heart gave a broken kick and fell sickly. It dropped in a moment to what had happened. Failing to end us, Torode had swung round Le Tas and run for Brecqhou, where Carette, alone with her two sick men, would be completely at his mercy. He would carry her off, gather his gear on Herm, and be away before Peter Port could lift a hand to stop him. If I held his life in my hand, he held in his what was dearer far than life to me. And I had been pluming myself on getting the better of him!
“See to him, mother. I must go. Carette is in danger,” and I kissed her and ran out.
I went down the zigzag at Port a la Jument in sliding leaps, tumbled into the boat from which Krok had just landed, and once more I was pulling for life and that which was dearer still.
HOW THE HAWK SWOOPED DOWN ON BRECQHOU
The Race was running furiously through the Gouliot, but I would have got through it if it had been twice as strong. There was a wild fury in my heart at thought of Carette in Torode’s hands, which ravened for opposition—for something, anything, to rend and tear and overcome.
If I had come across Torode himself I would have hurled myself at his throat, though all his ruffians stood between; and had I clutched it they had hacked my hands off before I had let go.
I whirled up to the Gale de Jacob before prudence told me that two men armed are of more account than one man with nothing but a heart on fire, and that it would have been good to run round for Le Marchant. But my one thought had been to get to the place where Carette was in extremity, and the fire within me felt equal to all it might encounter.