Every night the cold mists sank upon the land, as she gazed over the depressing heath through her little window, and watched the thin puffs of white smoke arise from the chimneys of other cottages scattered here and there on all sides. There the husbands had returned, like wandering birds driven home by the frost. Before their blazing hearths the evenings passed, cozy and warm; for the springtime of love had begun again in this land of North Sea fishermen.
Still clinging to the thought of those islands where he might perhaps have lingered, she was buoyed up by a kind hope, and expected him home any day.
* * * * * *
But he never returned. One August night, out off gloomy Iceland, mingled with the furious clamor of the sea, his wedding with the sea was performed. It had been his nurse; it had rocked him in his babyhood and had afterwards made him big and strong; then, in his superb manhood, it had taken him back again for itself alone. Profoundest mystery had surrounded this unhallowed union. While it went on, dark curtains hung pall-like over it as if to conceal the ceremony, and the ghoul howled in an awful, deafening voice to stifle his cries. He, thinking of Gaud, his sole, darling wife, had battled with giant strength against this deathly rival, until he at last surrendered, with a deep death-cry like the roar of a dying bull, through a mouth already filled with water; and his arms were stretched apart and stiffened forever.
All those he had invited in days of old were present at his wedding. All except Sylvestre, who had gone to sleep in the enchanted gardens far, far away, at the other side of the earth.
THE SALVING OF THE YAN-SHAN
From “In Blue Waters,” BY H. DE VERE STACKPOOLE
The Heart of Ireland was spreading her wings to the north-west trades, making a good seven knots, with the coast of California a vague line on the horizon to port and all the blue Pacific before her.
Captain Blood was aft with his mate, Billy Harman, leaning on the rail and watching the foam boosting away from the stern and flowing off in creamy lines on the swirl of the wake. Ginnell, owner and captain of the Heart of Ireland, shanghaied and reduced to deck hand, was forward on the look-out, and one of the coolie crew was at the wheel.
“I’m not given to meeting trouble half-way,” said Blood, shifting his position and leaning with his left arm on the rail, “but it ’pears to me Pat Ginnell is taking his set down a mighty sight too easy. He’s got something up his sleeve.”
“So’ve we,” replied Harman. “What can he do? He laid out to shanghai you, and by gum, he did it. I don’t say I didn’t let him down crool, playin’ into his hands and pretendin’ to help and gettin’ Captain Mike as a witness, but the fac’ remains he got you aboard this hooker by foul play, shanghaied you were, and then you turns the tables on him, knocks the stuffin’ out of him and turns him into a deck hand. How’s he to complain? I’d start back to ’Frisco now and dare him to come ashore with his complaints. We’ve got his ship, well, that’s his fault. He’s no legs to stand on, that’s truth.