The Vanished Messenger eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 244 pages of information about The Vanished Messenger.

CHAPTER XXXV

Mr. Fentolin, arrived outside on the stone front of the boat-house, pointed the wheel of his chair towards the Hall.  Hannah Cox, who kept by his side, however, drew it gently towards the beach.

“Down here,” she directed softly.  “Bring your chair down the plank-way, close to the water’s edge.”

“My good woman,” Mr. Fentolin exclaimed furiously, “I am not in the humour for this sort of thing!  Lock up, Sarson, at once; I am in a hurry to get back.”

“But you will come just this little way,” she continued, speaking without any change of tone.  “You see, the others are waiting, too.  I have been down to the village and fetched them up.”

Mr. Fentolin followed her outstretched finger and gave a sudden start.  Standing at the edge of the sea were a dozen or twenty fishermen.  They were all muttering together and looking at the top of the boat-house.  As he realised the direction of their gaze, Mr. Fentolin’s face underwent a strange transformation.  He seemed to shrink in his chair.  He was ghastly pale even to the lips.  Slowly he turned his head.  From a place in the roof of the boat-house a tall support had appeared.  On the top was a swinging globe.

“What have you to do with that?” he asked in a low tone.

“I found it,” she answered.  “I felt that it was there.  I have brought them up with me to see it.  I think that they want to ask you some questions.  But first, come and listen.”

Mr. Fentolin shook her off.  He looked around for Meekins.

“Meekins, stand by my chair,” he ordered sharply.  “Turn round; I wish to go to the Hall.  Drive this woman away.”

Meekins came hurrying up, but almost at the same moment half a dozen of the brown jerseyed fishermen detached themselves from the others.  They formed a little bodyguard around the bath-chair.

“What is the meaning of this?” Mr. Fentolin demanded, his voice shrill with anger.  “Didn’t you hear what I said?  This woman annoys me.  Send her away.”

Not one of the fishermen answered a word or made the slightest movement to obey him.  One of them, a grey-bearded veteran, drew the chair a little further down the planked way across the pebbles.  Hannah Cox kept close to its side.  They came to a standstill only a few yards from where the waves were breaking.  She lifted her hand.

“Listen!” she cried.  “Listen!”

Mr. Fentolin turned helplessly around.  The little group of fishermen had closed in upon Sarson and Meekins.  The woman’s hand was upon his shoulder; she pointed seaward to where a hissing line of white foam marked the spot where the topmost of the rocks were visible.

“You wondered why I have spent so much of my time out here,” she said quietly.  “Now you will know.  If you listen as I am listening, as I have listened for so many weary hours, so many weary years, you will hear them calling to me, David and John and Stephen.  ‘The light!’ Do you hear what they are crying?  ’The light!  Fentolin’s light!’ Look!”

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The Vanished Messenger from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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