But all this never would be said except in dreams; it was too late! Yann would not hear her. Try and talk to him a second time? Oh, no! what kind of a creature would he take her then to be? She would rather die.
Yet to-morrow they would all start for Iceland. The whitish February daylight streamed into her fine room. Chill and lonely she fell upon one of the chairs along the wall. It seemed to her as if the whole world were crashing and falling in around her. All things past and present were as if buried in a fearful abyss, which yawned on all sides of her. She wished her life would end, and that she were lying calm beneath some cold tombstone, where no more pain might touch her.
But she had sincerely forgiven him, and no hatred mingled with her desperate love.
CHAPTER XII—STRIKING THE ROCK UNKNOWN
The sea, the gray sea once more, where Yann was gently gliding along its broad, trackless road, that leads the fishermen every year to the Land of Ice.
The day before, when they all had set off to the music of the old hymns, there blew a brisk breeze from the south, and all the ships with their outspread sails had dispersed like so many gulls; but that breeze had suddenly subsided, and speed had diminished; great fog-banks covered the watery surface.
Yann was perhaps quieter than usual. He said that the weather was too calm, and appeared to excite himself, as if he would drive away some care that weighed upon him. But he had nothing to do but be carried serenely in the midst of serene things; only to breathe and let himself live. On looking out, only the deep gray masses around could be seen; on listening, only silence.
Suddenly there was an almost imperceptible rumbling, which came from below, accompanied by a grinding sensation, as when a brake comes hard down on carriage wheels. The Marie ceased all movement. They had struck. Where, and on what? Some bank off the English coast probably. For since overnight they had been able to see nothing, with those curtains of mist.
The men ran and rushed about, their bustle contrasting strongly with the sudden rigidity of their ship. How had the Marie come to a stop in that spot? In the midst of that immensity of fluid in this dull weather, seeming to be almost without consistence, she had been seized by some resistless immovable power hidden beneath the waves; she was tight in its grasp, and might perish there.
Who has not seen poor birds caught by their feet in the lime? At first they can scarcely believe they are caught; it changes nothing in their aspect; but they soon are sure that they are held fast, and in danger of never getting free again. And when they struggle to get free, and the sticky stuff soils their wings and heads, they gradually assume that pitiful look of a dumb creature in distress, about to die. Such was the case with the Marie. At first it did not seem much to be concerned about; she certainly was careened a little on one side, but it was broad morning, and the weather was fair and calm; one had to know such things by experience to become uneasy, and understand that it was a serious matter.