She flung herself on his breast and kissed him; but only for a few seconds did her soft arm linger round his neck. She did not wish to give way, and yet she felt that she would not be able to control herself much longer. She hurriedly picked up her oilskin cape from the floor and seized her fisherman’s hat. Heideck fervently desired to say something affectionate and tender, but his throat seemed choked as it were by an invisible hand; he could only utter, in a voice that sounded cold and dry, the words, “Farewell, my love! farewell!”
When he heard the door close behind her, he started up impetuously, as if he meant to rush after her and call her back. But after the first step he stood still and pressed his clenched left hand upon his violently beating heart. His face, as if turned to stone, wore an expression of inflexible resolution, and the corners of his mouth were marked by two deep, sharp lines, as if within this single hour he had aged ten years.
EDITH’S LAST JOURNEY
Skipper Brandelaar had given Edith the name of the inn near the harbour, where he expected a message from Heideck in the course of the night; for he felt certain that the Major would be anxious to speak to him as soon as possible.
But he was considerably surprised when, instead of the messenger he expected, he saw his beautiful disguised passenger enter the low, smoke-begrimed taproom. He went to meet Edith with a certain clumsy gallantry, to shield her from the curiosity and importunities of the men seated with him at the table, whose weatherbeaten faces inspired as little confidence as their clothing, which smelt of tar and had suffered badly from wind and weather.
Utterly surprised, he was going to question Edith, but she anticipated him.
“I must get back to Dover to-night,” she said hurriedly, in a low tone. “Will you take me across? I will pay you what you ask.”
The skipper shook his head slowly, but resolutely.
“Impossible. Even if I could leave again, it couldn’t be done in such weather.”
“It must be done. The weather is not so bad, and I know you are not the man to be afraid of a storm.”
“Afraid—no! Very likely I have weathered a worse storm than this with my smack. But there is a difference between the danger a man has to go through when he cannot escape it, and that to which he foolishly exposes himself. When I am on a journey, then come what pleases God, but—”
“No more, Brandelaar,” interrupted Edith impatiently. “If you cannot, or will not go yourself, surely one of your acquaintances here is brave and smart enough to earn a couple of hundred pounds without any difficulty.”
The skipper’s little eyes twinkled.
“A couple of hundred pounds? Is it really so important for you to leave Flushing to-day? We have hardly landed!”