She established him upon the branch again with the comforts that she had promised, and then she gave him one thing more, of which she had not spoken before. It was a bag of food that would last, if need be, for several days.
He took it as evidence that she had lied to him in her assurance that she could return the next night. As she moved her boat out of the secret openings among the dead trees, she heard him whining with fear and calling a volley of curses after her.
That her father’s words were all profane did not trouble Ann in the least. It was a meaningless trick of speech. Markham meant no more at this time by his most shocking oaths than does any man by his habitual expletive. Ann knew this perfectly. God knew it too.
Yet if his profanity was mechanical, the man himself was without trace of good. There was much reason that Ann’s heart should be wrung with pity. It is the divine quality of kinship that it produces pity even for what is purely evil. Ann rowed her boat homeward with a hard determination in her heart to save her father at any cost.
An hour later the small solitary boat crept up the current of the moonlit river. The weary girl plied her oars, looking carefully for the nook under the roots of the old pine whence she had taken the boat.
She saw the place. She even glanced anxiously about the ground immediately around it, thinking that in the glamour of light she could see everything; and yet in that rapid glance, deluded, no doubt, into supposing the light greater than it was, she failed to see a man who was standing ready to help her to moor the boat.
Bart Toyner watched her with a look of haggard anxiety as she came nearer.
A uniform is a useful thing. It is almost natural to an actor to play his part when he has assumed its dress. A man in any official capacity is often just an actor, and the best thing that he can do at times is to act without a thought as to how his inner self accords with the action, at least till we have attained to a higher level of civilisation. Toyner had no uniform, nor had he mastered the philosophy that underlies this instinct for playing a part; he had an idea that the whole mind and soul of him should be in conscientious accord with all that he did. It was this ideal that made his fall certain.
He had no notion that the girl had not seen him. Before she got out, when she put her hand to tether the boat, she felt his hand gently taking the rope from her and fell back with a cry of fear.