“Do you know where my daughter is?”
The great rolling voice nearly broke between the “my” and the “daughter,” and the fear left Aladdin.
“Mister St. John,” he said, “she’s up at one of the islands. We went in a boat and couldn’t get back. If you’ll only get a boat and some one to row, I can take you right to her.” Then Aladdin knew that he had not said all there was to say. “Mister St. John,” said Aladdin, “I done it all.”
Men ran out of the smithy to prepare a boat.
“Who is this boy?” said St. John.
“It’s Aladdin O’Brien, the inventor’s boy,” said the smith.
“Are you strong enough to go with me, O’Brien?” said the senator.
“Yes, sir; I’ve got to go,” said Aladdin. “I said I’d come back for her.”
“Give him some whisky,” said St. John, in the voice of Jupiter saying “Poison him,” “and wrap him up warm, and bring him along.”
They embarked. Aladdin, cuddled in blankets, was laid in the bow, St. John, not deigning to sit, stood like a black tree-trunk in the stern, and amidships were four men to row.
A little distance up the river they met a boat coming down. In the stern sat Margaret, and at the oars her godlike young friend. Just over the bow appeared the snout and merry eyes of the spaniel, one of his delightful ears hanging over on each side.
“I am glad to see you alive,” said St. John to Margaret when the boats were within hailing distance, and to her friend he said, “Since you have brought her so far, be good enough to bring her the rest of the way.” And to his own rowers he said, “Go back.” When the boats came to land at the shipyard, Margaret’s father lifted her out and kissed her once on each cheek. Of the godlike boy he asked his name, and when he learned that it was Peter Manners and that his father was Peter Manners, he almost smiled, and he shook the boy’s hand.
“I will send word to your cousins up the river that you are with me,” he said, and thus was the invitation extended and accepted.
“O’Brien,” said the great man to Aladdin, “when you feel able, come to my house; I have something to say to you.”
Then Senator St. John, and Margaret, and Margaret’s godlike young friend, and the spaniel got into the carriage that was waiting for them, and drove off. But Margaret turned and waved to Aladdin.
“Good-by, Aladdin!” she called.
They helped Aladdin back to the smithy, for his only covering was a clumsy blanket; and there he put on his shrunken clothes, which meanwhile had dried. The kindly men pressed food on him, but he could not eat. He could only sit blankly by the fire and nurse the numb, overpowering pain in his heart. Another had succeeded where he had failed. Even at parting, just now, Margaret’s eyes had not been for him, but for the stranger who had done so