As he waited for the dining-room doors to open, a girl wrapped in a yellow cape crossed the porch and descended the steps which led to the beach. She wore a yellow bathing cap and yellow shoes. George walked to the top of the bluff and watched her. She threw off the cape, and stood slim and striking for a moment before she dived into the sea. She swam splendidly. It was very cold, and George wondered how she endured it. When she came running back up the steps and across the porch, she was wrapped in the cape. She was rather handsome in a queer dark way. “It was cold,” she said, as she passed George.
He took a step forward. “You were brave——”
She stopped and shrugged her shoulders. “One gets warm,” she said, “in a moment.”
She left him, and he went in to lunch. He stopped at the desk on the way out. “I have changed my mind. My man will bring my bags to-morrow.”
It was still too early for the ’bus, so George walked back up the bluff, turning at last towards the left. Crossing a grassy space, there was ahead of him a ridge which marked the edge of the moor. A little fog was blowing in, and mistily through the fog he saw a figure which moved as light as smoke above the eminence. It was a woman dancing.
As he came nearer, he saw that she wore gray with a yellow sash. Her yellow cape lay on the ground. “I am not sure,” George said, as he stopped beside her, “whether you are a pixie or a mermaid.”
“Look,” she said, smiling, “I’ll show you what I am——”
She began with a light swaying motion, like a leaf stirred by a breeze. Then, whipped into action, she ran before the pursuing elements. She cowered, and registered defiance. Her loosened hair hung heavy about her shoulders, then wound itself about her, as she whirled in a cyclone of movement. Beaten to the ground, she rose languidly, swayed again to that light step and stopped.
Then she came close to George. “You see,” she said, “I am not a pixie or a mermaid. I am the spirit of the storm.”
THE TRUMPETER SWAN
The Admiral’s rheumatism had taken Becky to Boston. “There’ll be treatments every morning,” he said, “and we’ll invite the Copes to visit us, and they will look after you while I am away.”
The Copes were delighted. “Only it seems like an imposition——”
“The house is big enough for an army,” the Admiral told them; “that’s what we built houses for in the old days. To have our friends. Charles, my butler, and his wife, Miriam, who cooks, stay in the house the year round, so it is always open and ready.”
“And you and I shall see Boston together,” Archibald told Becky, triumphantly. “I wonder if you have ever seen Boston as I shall show it to you.”
“Well, I’ve been to all the historic places.”