After that we sought the sea-cave each time we woke, and whenever the light was in it we sat there, and ate, and talked of all we had done, and thought, and feared, and hoped, during those long months when we were apart. And once and again Carette fell on earlier times still, and we were boy and girl together under the Autelets and Tintageu, or swimming in Havre Gosselin, and trembling through the Gouliot caves behind Krok’s tapping stick. And we talked of Aunt Jeanne’s party, and our Riding Day, and Black Boy, and Gray Robin. And she told me much of the Miss Maugers, and their school, and her school-fellows. And at times she fell silent, and I knew she had sudden thought of her brother Helier. But, you see, she had so long thought of him as dead, that the fact that he had died later than she had supposed had not the power to cloud her greatly. And perhaps the fact that we were together, and going to part no more, was not without its effect on her spirits.
And I told her more fully than I had done of all that had happened to me on Herm, and on the French ship in the West Indies, and at Amperdoo, and of our escape into France in the preventive officers’ boat, and of that last desperate pull across from Surtainville.
“But, mon Gyu, Phil, what a strange man!” she said of Torode. “Why should he let you live one time, and try his hardest to kill you another?”
“I do not know. I have puzzled over it to no purpose. Now I have given it up.”
“He is perhaps mad,” she suggested.
“He did not seem so, except in not making an end of me when he had the chance, and that truly was madness on his part.”
The time was never long with us, for we were strangely set apart from time and its passage. We ate and slept, and talked and walked, just whenever the inclination came, and measurements of time we had none. But Aunt Jeanne’s pie was finished and we were down to the ham bone, and what little bread and gache we had left was growing hard, and by that Carette said we had been there at least three days, and we looked for George Hamon’s coming at any moment, except when the tunnel was growling and the Boutiques roaring and sobbing.
HOW LOVE FOUGHT DEATH IN THE DARK
I woke from a very sound sleep with a start, and lay with a creeping of the back and half asleep still, wondering what I had heard.
It was dark, with a blackness of darkness to be felt, and all was very still, which meant that the tide was out, so it was probably early morning. But it seemed to me that a sound unusual to the place lingered in my ear, and I lay with straining senses.
It was not such a sound, it seemed to me, as Carette might have made in her sleep or in wakening, but something altogether foreign and discordant.
Whether, in my sudden wakening, I had made some sound, I do not know, but there had been heavy silence since. And in that thick silence and darkness I became aware of another presence in the place besides our own,—by what faculty I know not, but something told me that we were not alone. My very hair bristled, but I had the sense to lie still, and there was in me a great agony of fear lest Carette should move and draw upon herself I knew not what.