“’Laddin, I forgot something. Come back.”
He came, his white lips drawn into a sort of smile. Then they kissed each other on the mouth with the loud, innocent kiss of little children, and after that Aladdin felt that the river was only a river, the cold only cold, the danger only danger and flowers—more than flowers.
He moved the log easily and waded with it into the icy waters, until his feet were dragged from the bottom, and after one awful instant of total submersion the stanch little ship Good Luck and valiant Captain Kissed-by-Margaret were embarked on the voyage perilous. His left arm over and about the log, his legs kicking lustily like the legs of a frog, his right hand paddling desperately for stability, Aladdin disappeared into the fog. After a few minutes he became so freezing cold that he would have let go and drowned gladly if it had not been for the wonderful lamp which had been lighted in his heart.
Margaret, when she saw him borne from her by the irresistible current, cried out with all the illogic of her womanly little soul, “Come back, ’Laddin, come back!” and sank sobbing upon the empty shore.
However imminent the peril of the man, it is the better part of chivalry to remain by the distressed lady, and though impotent to be of assistance, we must linger near Margaret, and watch her gradually rise from prone sobbing to a sitting attitude of tears. For a long time she sat crying on the empty shore, regarding for the most part black life and not at all the signs of cheerful change which were becoming evident in the atmosphere about her. The cold breath across her face and hands and needling through her shivering body, the increasing sounds of treetops in commotion, the recurring appearance of branches where before had been only an opaque vault, did little to inform her that the fog was about to lift. The rising wind merely made her the more miserable and alone. Nor was it until a disk of gold smote suddenly on the rock before her that she looked up and beheld a twinkle of blue sky. The fog puffed across the blue, the blue looked down again,—a bigger eye than before,—a wisp of fog filmed it again, and again it gleamed out, ever larger and always more blue. The good wind living far to the south had heard that in a few days a little girl was to be alone and comfortless upon a foggy island, and, hearing, had filled his vast chest with warmth and sunshine, and puffed out his merry cheeks and blown. The great breath sent the blue waves thundering upon the coral beaches of Florida, tore across the forests of palm and set them all waving hilariously, shook the merry orange-trees till they rattled, whistled through the dismal swamps of Georgia, swept, calling and shouting to itself, over the Carolinas, where clouds were hatching in men’s minds, banked up the waters of the Chesapeake so that there was a great high tide and the ducks were sent scudding