They could not know that. It was only after an unusual interval in the powerful wind-blast that Dan looked upward and suddenly held up his hand. He looked at the vague form of the girl and bared his teeth in a quick, mirthless smile.
“The wind is changing,” he muttered. “What now?”
There came another rush of wind. But it was not so strong as its predecessors had been; and looking into the sky he could see the cloud movement. He shook Virginia by the shoulder, and there was a triumphant ring in his voice as he shouted into her ear,
“The gale is passing!”
Gradually but surely the shrieking of the elements diminished; the seas were palpably falling. Great, dark shapes could now be seen rushing across the lightening firmament, and once the girl, stretching her arm upward, exclaimed, as through a rift overhead she caught a glimpse of a little star.
Half an hour—there came a great peace.
Now, a man and a woman out of the chaos—with the world and all its civilization and its manners and its men and its affairs as though they had never been, as though the two had lived for a flashing minute in some old dream—the strain of years that makes for ceremony and diffidence and convention and custom suddenly stopped, turned backward.
They were the first man and the first woman on the verge of upheaval, having felt fear, not as we feel it, but in a dull, instinctive way—wondering horribly. Just two, just a man and a woman, emerging from all the destructive might of the world.
She—not Virginia Howland now—just She—turned toward the man who crouched with one hand still clutching the wheel, the other lying loosely, palm downward upon the deck. Her face was filled with the glow of returning blood, her hair streamed, her eyes shone.
Gone, the tempest. The waves were lashing, surly, hissing a monotone as old as Time is old. The darkness was the gloom of an age before the sun was born. The air was filled with low sounds that had been dead for aeons. And she turned to him, and he turned to her.
Her bosom was rising and falling; he could hear her quick, hard breathing. As though without volition, she moved a step forward, and with a low cry held out her arms to him, trembling no more, her heart filled with a wild, joyous song. Suddenly she felt his breath upon her face, felt herself crushed in his arms, as she would be crushed. Gently he kissed her upon the lips, and then again and again and again. For a moment she lay dumb in his arms, and then as he drew back his head she put her arms around his neck and held his lips to hers. So they stood.
A force far greater than the unharnessed might of the ocean now thrilled and filled and exalted them. Slowly she raised her hands and passed them over his face, lingeringly; once more she felt herself drawn to him, and laughed joyously.
As Dan turned, out of the darkness ahead he saw a light. He looked again. He saw it plainly now, that steady white disc with its red sector.