The clouds had parted and one little star showed in the blackness, in the dim light Judy could just see Tommy’s eyes glowing from out of his pallid face.
“He is afraid,” she thought to herself, curiously. She was not afraid. She had never been afraid of the water—poor Tommy.
She felt strangely weak, however, and all at once there came to her the knowledge that she could not keep up any longer. The strength of the old days was not hers—and she was tired—so tired—
She caught hold of the life-belt, and as she did so Tommy screamed, “Don’t, Judy. It won’t hold us both. Don’t—”
“He is afraid,” she thought again, pityingly, “and I am not, and we can’t both hold on to that belt—”
Tommy babbled crazily, bemoaning his danger, sobbing now and then—but Judy was very still.
“I can’t keep up much longer. I mustn’t try to hold on with Tommy. He is afraid—poor Tommy—” she looked up at the little star, “and I’m not afraid—I love the sea,” she thought, dreamily. Then for one moment she came out of her trance.
“Tommy, Tommy!” she cried sharply.
“Don’t let go of the belt. Hold on, no matter how tired you are. In the morning—some one—will save you—”
“But you—wh-wh-at are you going to do, Judy?”
“Oh, I—?” she laughed faintly. “Oh, I shall be all right—all right, Tommy,” and her voice died away in an awful silence.
“Judy—” shrieked Tommy, and suddenly the answer came in a choking cry of joy.
“I can touch bottom, Tommy, I thought I was sinking, but it isn’t over our heads at all. We must be near shore.”
Tommy put his feet down gingerly. He had hated to think of the untold fathoms beneath him—depths which in his imagination were strewn with shipwrecks and the bones of lost mariners.
So when his feet came in contact with good firm sand, he giggled hysterically.
“Gee, but it feels good,” he said. “Are you all right, Judy?”
But Judy had waded in and dropped exhausted on the beach.
“I don’t know,” she said, feebly, “I guess so.”
“Where are we?” asked Tommy, splashing his way to her side.
He surveyed the land around them. In the moonlight it showed nothing but wide beach and back of that stiff rustling sea-grass and mounds of sand like the graves of sailors dead and gone. Not a house was in sight—not a sign of life.
“I don’t know where we are,” Judy raised her head for a second, then dropped it back, “but we are safe, Tommy Tolliver, and that’s something to be thankful for.
“I knew the sea wouldn’t hurt me,” she went on—a little wildly, perhaps, which was excusable after the danger she had escaped. “I knew it wouldn’t hurt me.”