As he prepared to lie down, he looked at the girl.
“See that star up there?” he said. “Well, just keep the vessel going the way she is, with that star over your shoulder. Don’t let it get anywhere else. If it does, wake me quickly. If you become afraid, or see anything, let me know at once.”
“Yes,” said the girl, “I understand. Good-night, Daniel.”
In a few minutes Dan was fast asleep. Through the night sailed the girl, alone, sore afraid, but comforted with the assurance that a touch of her hand would bring to her the powerful man who slept at her feet.
Straight she stood at the wheel, and tall, like some figure of a goddess of antiquity. The moon rose, and its light glorified her. It fell upon the shattered deck, defining every dreary detail. The waves rose and fell with the lilt of music. The tinkling breeze was cool and fresh and invigorating. Fear vanished from her. She felt herself a part of the elements, a part of the night, the lone representative of life and consciousness, and God amid the waste of primeval desolation.
So she sailed, exalted, ennobled, until long after midnight. When her thoughts turned to the man sleeping at her feet, she leaned down, gazing long and earnestly upon his face. Then, as he stirred, she let her hand rest on his forehead a moment.
“It is time to awaken, Daniel,” she said.
He was upon his feet in an instant. There was a strange expression upon his face.
“I was far away from here,” he said. “I was dreaming, the bulliest sort of a dream.”
“Dreaming? And what about, pray?”
“You were! Tell me the dream.”
“They say dreams that are told never come true,” replied Dan, slowly.
Their eyes met. Both were smiling. Then her eyes fell; but she still smiled.
“Then,” she said, “I guess you had better not tell me—unless—”
“Unless?” asked Dan, as she paused.
Slowly she arranged the blankets, while Dan waited for the completion of the sentence. Then she lay down.
“Good-night,” she said.
When she awoke, the sun was rising high. The breeze had died away. The wheel was deserted. She looked down the stretch of deck, but Dan was nowhere to be seen. With a fluttering heart she arose and shook out her skirts, hardly daring to peer into the cabin for fear her dreadful intimations might prove true.
He was not in the cabin. She called his name in a low voice, but only the hollow echo resounded from the corridor. In agonized suspense now she ran out on the deck.
“Dan!” she called with all the power of her lungs, not expecting that he would hear her now. “Dan Merrithew, have you left me?”
There came an answering hail, and looking toward the bow she saw Dan clambering out of the forward hatch. His shoes and trousers were dripping wet. As he ran to her she waited, weeping. He caught her hands and held them.