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Chapter 6 THE SALVAGES.

  • FOR some minutes we lay upon the bottom of the up-turned boat too exhausted t_peak. I still held the unconscious form of little Esther Bailey in my arms, and protected her, as well as I was able, from the marauding seas. Though th_aves about us upheld many evidences of the terrible catastrophe, such a_ratings, broken spars, portions of boat gear, still, to my astonishment, _ould discover no signs of any bodies. Once, however, I was successful i_btaining possession of something which I knew would be worth its weight i_old to us: it was an oar, part of the equipment of one of the quarter boats _magined; half the blade was missing, but with what remained it would still b_ossible for us to propel the boat on which we had taken refuge.
  • What a terrible position was ours, lodged on the bottom of that overturne_ifeboat, icy seas breaking upon us every few seconds, the knowledge of ou_allant ship, with all our friends aboard, lying fathoms deep below th_urface of the waves, and the remembrance that the same fate might be ours a_ny moment; no possible notion of where we were, no provisions or means o_ustaining life, and but small chance of being picked up by any passing boat!
  • It was Miss Maybourne who spoke first, and, as usual, her conversation was no_bout herself.
  • "Mr. Wrexford," she said, and her teeth chattered as she spoke, "at any ris_omething must be done for that poor child you hold in your arms, she will di_lse. Do you think we could manage to get her up further on to the boat an_hen try to chafe her back to consciousness?"
  • "By all means let us try," I answered, "though I fear it will prove _ifficult matter. She seems very far gone, poor little mite."
  • With the utmost care I clambered further up the boat till I sat with my burde_stride the keel. In the darkness we could scarcely see each other, but onc_he child was placed between us we set to work rubbing her face and hands an_rying by every means in our power to restore consciousness. Suddenly a grea_hought occurred to me. I remembered the flask I had taken from the cabi_here I had found the clothes. In an instant I had dived my hand into m_ocket in search of it, almost trembling with fear lest by any chance i_hould have slipped out when I had dived overboard, but to my delight it wa_till there. I had pulled it out and unscrewed the stopper before anyone coul_ave counted a dozen, taking the precaution to taste it in order to see tha_t was all right before I handed it to Miss Maybourne. It was filled with th_inest French brandy, and, having discovered this, I bade her take a goo_rink at it. When she had done so I put it to the child's mouth and forced _mall quantity between her lips.
  • "Surely you are going to drink some yourself," said my companion, as she sa_e screw on the top and replace it in my pocket.
  • But I was not going to do anything of the sort. I did not need it so vitall_s my charges, and I knew that there was not enough in the bottle to justif_e in wasting even a drop. I explained this and then asked her if she felt an_armer.
  • "Much warmer," she answered, "and I think Esther here feels better too. Let u_hafe her hands again."
  • We did so, and in a few minutes had the satisfaction of hearing the poor mit_tter a little moan. In less than an hour she was conscious once more, but s_eak that it seemed as if the first breath of wind that came our way woul_low the life out of her tiny body. Poor little soul, if it was such _errible experience for us, what must it have been for her?
  • What length of time elapsed from the time of our heading the boat befor_aylight came to cheer us I cannot say, but, cramped up as we were, th_arkness seemed to last for centuries. For periods of something like half a_our at a time we sat without speaking, thinking of all that had happene_ince darkness had fallen the night before, and remembering the rush and agon_f those last few dreadful minutes on board, and the awful fact that all thos_hom we had seen so well and strong only a few hours before were now cold an_ifeless for ever. Twice I took out my flask and insisted on Miss Maybourn_nd the child swallowing a portion of the spirit. Had I not brought that wit_e, I really believe neither of them would have seen another sunrise.
  • Suddenly Miss Maybourne turned to me.
  • "Listen, Mr. Wrexford," she cried. "What is that booming noise? Is i_hunder?"
  • I did as she commanded, but for some moments could hear nothing save th_plashing of the waves upon the boat's planks. Then a dull, sullen nois_eached my ears that might very well have been mistaken for the booming o_hunder at a great distance. Thunder it certainly was, but not of the kind m_ompanion imagined. It was the thunder of surf, and that being so, I kne_here must be land at no great distance from us. I told her my conjecture, an_hen we set ourselves to wait, with what patience we could command, fo_aylight.
  • What a strange and, I might almost say, weird dawn that was! It was like th_eginning of a new life under strangely altered conditions. The first shaft_f light found us still clinging to the keel of the overturned boat, gazin_opelessly about us. When it was light enough to discern our features, we tw_lder ones looked at each other, and were horrified to observe the chang_hich the terrible sufferings of the night had wrought in our countenances.
  • Miss Maybourne's face was white and drawn, and she looked years older than he_eal age. I could see by the way she glanced at me that I also was changed.
  • The poor little girl Esther hardly noticed either of us, but lay curled up a_lose as possible to her sister in misfortune.
  • As the light widened, the breeze, which had been just perceptible all night, died away, and the sea became as calm as a mill pond. I looked about me fo_omething to explain the noise of breakers we had heard, but at first coul_ee nothing. When, however, I turned my head to the west I almost shouted i_y surprise, for, scarcely a mile distant from us, was a comparatively larg_sland, surrounded by three or four reef-like smaller ones. On the large_sland a peak rose ragged and rough to a height of something like five hundre_eet, and upon the shore, on all sides, I could plainly discern the sur_reaking upon the rocks. As soon as I saw it I turned excitedly to Mis_aybourne.
  • "We're saved!" I cried, pointing in the direction of the island; "loo_here—look there!"
  • She turned round on the boat as well as she was able and when she saw th_and, stared at it for some moments in silence. Then with a cry, "Thank God!"
  • she dropped her head on to her hands and I could see her shoulders shaken b_onvulsive sobs. I did my best to console her, but she soon recovered of he_wn accord, and addressed herself to me again.
  • "These must be the Salvage Islands of which the captain was speaking at dinne_ast night," she said. "How can we reach the shore? Whatever happens, we mus_ot drift past them."
  • "Have no fear," I answered; "I will not let that happen, come what may."
  • So saying, I shifted my position to get a better purchase of the water, an_hen using the broken oar began to paddle in the direction of the bigges_sland. It was terribly hard work, and a very few moments showed me that afte_ll the horrors of the night I was as weak as a kitten. But by patience an_erseverance I at last got the boat's head round and began to lessen th_istance that separated us. At the end of nearly half an hour we were withi_n hundred yards of the shore. By this time I had decided on a landing-place.
  • It was a little bit of open sandy beach, perhaps sixty yards long, withou_ocks, and boasting less surf than any other part of the island I could see.
  • In addition to these advantages it was nearer, and I noted that tha_articular side of the island looked more sheltered than the others.
  • Towards this haven of refuge I accordingly made my way, hoping that I shoul_ot find any unexpected danger lurking there when I should be too close in t_e able to get out again. It was most necessary for every reason that w_hould save the boat from damage, for by her aid alone could we hope to mak_ur way out to passing ships, or, if the worst came, to strike out on our ow_ccount for the Canary Islands. That the rocks we were now making were th_alvage Group, as Miss Maybourne had said, I had no doubt in my own mind, though how the skipper came to be steering such a course was more than I coul_ell.
  • At last we were so close that I could see the sandy bottom quite distinctl_nly a fathom or so below us. A better landing-place no man could have wishe_or. When we were near enough to make it safe I slid off the boat into th_ater, which was just up to my hips, and began to push her in before me.
  • Having grounded her I took Miss Maybourne in my arms and carried her out o_he water up on to the beach and then went back for the child. My heart was s_ull of gratitude at being on dry land again and having saved the two live_ntrusted to my care that I could have burst into tears on the leas_ncouragement.
  • Having got my charges safely ashore, I waded into the water again to have _ook at the boat and, if possible, to discover what had made her capsize. Sh_as so precious to us that I dared not leave her for an instant. To my deligh_he looked as sound as the day she had been turned out of the shipwright'_ard, and I felt if once I could turn her over she would carry us as well a_ny boat ever built. But how to do that, full of water as she was, was _roblem I could not for the life of me solve. Miss Maybourne's wits, however, were sharper than mine and helped me out of the difficulty.
  • "There is a rope in her bows, Mr. Wrexford," she cried; "why not drive the oa_nto the sand and fasten her to that? then when the tide goes out—you see i_s nearly full now—she will be left high and dry, the water will have run ou_f her, and then you will be able to do whatever you please to her."
  • "You've solved the difficulty for me in a very simple fashion," I answered.
  • "What a duffer I was not to have thought of that."
  • "The mouse can help the lion sometimes, you see," she replied, with a wa_ittle smile that went to my heart.
  • Having got my party safely ashore, and made my boat fast to the oar, a_roposed by Miss Maybourne, the next thing to be done was to discover _uitable spot where we might fix our camp, and then to endeavour to find som_ort of food upon which we might sustain our lives until we should be rescued.
  • I explained my intentions to my elder companion, and then, leaving them on th_each together, climbed the hillside to explore. On the other sides of th_sland the peak rose almost precipitously from the beach, and upon the side o_hich we stood it was, in many places, pretty stiff climbing. At last, however, to my great delight, on a small plateau some thirty yards long b_wenty deep, I discovered a cave that looked as if it would suit my purpose t_erfection. It was not a large affair, but quite big enough to hold the woma_nd the child even when lying at full length. To add to my satisfaction, th_ittle strip of land outside was covered with a coarse grass, a quantity o_hich I gathered and spread about in the cave to serve as a bed. This, with _ew armfuls of dry seaweed, which I knew I should be able to obtain on th_each, made an excellent couch.
  • What, however, troubled me more than anything else, was the fear that th_sland might contain no fresh water. But my doubts on that head were soon se_t rest, for on the hillside, a little below the plateau on which I ha_iscovered the cave, was a fair-sized pool, formed by a hollow in a rock, which, when I tasted it, I found to contain water, a little brackish it i_rue, but still quite drinkable. There was an abundance of fuel everywhere, and if only I could manage to find some shell fish on the rocks, or hit upo_ome way of catching the fish swimming in the bay, I thought we might manag_o keep ourselves alive until we were picked up by some passing boat.
  • Descending to the beach again, I told Miss Maybourne of my discoveries, an_hen taking poor little Esther in my arms we set off up the hill towards th_ave. On reaching it I made them as comfortable as I could and then descende_o the shore again in search of food.
  • Leaving the little sandy bay where we had landed, I tramped along as far a_ome large rocks I could see a couple of hundred yards or so to my left hand.
  • As I went I thought of the strangeness of my position. How inscrutable are th_ays of Providence! However much I might have hated Bartrand, had I not me_ikola I should in all probability never have attempted to revenge myself o_im. In that case I should not have been compelled to fly from England at _oment's notice, and should certainly not have sailed aboard the  _Fij_rincess._ Presuming, therefore, that all would have gone on without me as i_ad done with me, Miss Maybourne would have been drowned off the coast o_pain, and the  _Fiji Princess_  would have gone to the bottom and nobody hav_een left to tell the tale. It was a curious thought, and one that sent _trange thrill through me to think what good had indirectly resulted from m_isfortune.
  • Reaching the rocks mentioned above, I clambered on to them and began my searc_or limpets. Once more Fate was kind to me. The stones abounded with th_ollusks, the majority of which were of larger sizes than I had met with in m_ife before. In considerably less than five minutes I had detached a large_upply than our little party would be able to consume all day.
  • My harvest gathered, I filled my handkerchief and set off for the platea_gain. About half-way I looked up, to find Miss Maybourne standing at the cav_outh watching me. Directly she saw me approaching, she waved her hand t_ncourage me, and that little gesture set my heart beating like a wheat-flail.
  • It was the first dawning of a knowledge that was soon to give me the greates_ain I had ever yet known in my life.
  • On reaching the plateau, I hastened towards her and placed my spoils at he_eet.
  • "Fortune is indeed kind to us," I said. "See what splendid limpets  _I_  hav_btained from the rocks down yonder. I was beginning to be afraid lest ther_hould be nothing edible on the island."
  • "But how are we to cook them?" she answered, with a little shudder, for I mus_onfess the things did not look appetising. "I could not eat them raw."
  • "I have no intention that you shall," I cried, reassuringly. "I am going t_ight a fire and cook them for you."
  • "But how can you light a fire? Have you any matches dry enough?"
  • I took from my waistcoat pocket a little Japanese match-box, the lid of whic_losed with a strong spring, and opened it in some trepidation. So muc_epended on the discovery I was about to make. With a trembling hand I presse_ack the lid, and tipped the contents into my palm. Fortunately, the strengt_f the spring and the tight fit of the cover rendered the box almost water- tight, and for this reason the dozen or so matches it contained were only _ittle damp. In their present state, however, they were quite useless.
  • "I think," I said, turning them over and examining them closely, "that if _lace them in a dry spot they will soon be fit for use."
  • "Let me do it for you," she said, holding out her hand. "You have don_verything so far. Why should I not be allowed to help you?"
  • "I shall be only too glad to let you," I answered. "I want to cut the fish ou_f their shells and prepare them for the fire."
  • So saying, I handed over the precious matches to her care; and then, taking m_lasp knife from my pocket, set about my work. When it was finished, and I ha_repared an ample meal for three people, I placed it in a safe place in th_ave, and then set about collecting a supply of fuel for the fire.
  • When this work was done I determined to climb to a point of vantage and searc_he offing for a sail. Just as I was starting, however, Miss Maybourne calle_o me to know where I was going. I informed her of my errand, and sh_mmediately asked permission to accompany me. I told her that I should be ver_lad of her company, and when she had looked into the cave at the littl_hild, who was still fast asleep, we set off together.
  • From the encampment we climbed the hillside for a hundred feet or so, an_hen, reaching another small plateau, turned our attention to the sea. Side b_ide we looked across the expanse of blue water for the sail that was to brin_eliverance to us. But no sign of any vessel could be seen—only a flock o_eagulls screeching round the rocks below us, and another wheeling roundabou_n the blue sky above our heads.
  • "Nothing there," I said bitterly. "Not a single sail of any kind."
  • A fit of anger, as sudden as the squall that ruffles the surface of a mountai_ake, rose in my breast against Fate. I shook my fist fiercely at the plane o_ater softly heaving in the sunlight, and but for my companion's presenc_ould have cursed our fate aloud. I suppose Miss Maybourne must hav_nderstood, for she came a little closer to me and laid her hand soothingl_pon my arm.
  • "Mr. Wrexford," she said, "surely you who have hitherto been so brave are no_oing to give way now, just because we cannot see a ship the first time w_ook for one. No! No! I know you too well, and I cannot believe that."
  • "You shame me, Miss Maybourne," I replied, recovering myself directly. "Upo_y word, you do. I don't know what made me give way like that. I am worse tha_ baby."
  • "I won't have you call yourself names either. It was because you are tired an_ little run down," she answered. "You have done too much. Oh, Mr. Wrexford, _ant you to grant me a favour. I want you to kneel with me while I thank Go_or His great mercy in sparing our lives. We owe everything to Him. Withou_is help where should we be now?"
  • "I will kneel with you with pleasure," I said, "if you wish it, but I am no_orthy. I have been too great a sinner for God to listen to me."
  • "Hush! I cannot let you say that," she went on. "Whatever your past may hav_een, God will hear you and forgive you if you pray aright. Remember, too, that in my eyes you have atoned for all your past by your care of us las_ight. Come, let us kneel down here."
  • So saying, she dropped on to her knees on that little plateau, and without _econd's hesitation I followed her example. It must have been a strange sigh_or the gulls, that lovely girl and myself kneeling, side by side, on tha_indy hillside. Overhead rose the rugged peak of the mountain, below us wa_he surf-bound beach, and on all sides the treacherous sea from which we ha_o lately been delivered. What were the exact words of the prayer Mis_aybourne sent up to the Throne of Grace I cannot now remember; I only know i_eemed to me the most beautiful expression of thankfulness for the past, an_upplication for guidance and help in the future that it would be possible fo_ human being to give utterance to. When she had finished we rose, and havin_iven a final glance round, went down the hill again. On reaching our camping- place she went to the cave to ascertain how little Esther was, while I sough_he spot where she had set the matches to dry. To my delight they were no_eady for use. So placing them back in my box as if they were the greates_reasures I possessed on earth—as they really were just then—I went across t_he fire I had built up. Then striking one of the matches upon a stone I li_he grass beneath the sticks, and in less time than it takes to tell had th_atisfaction of seeing a fine bonfire blazing before me. This done, I crosse_o the cave to obtain the fish I had placed there.
  • On entering, I discovered Miss Maybourne kneeling beside the child.
  • "How is she now?" I enquired, surprised at discovering the poor little mit_till asleep upon the bed of grass.
  • "She is unconscious again," answered Miss Maybourne, large tears standing i_er beautiful eyes as she spoke. "Oh, Mr. Wrexford, what can we do to save he_ife?"
  • "Alas! I cannot tell," I replied. "Shall we give her some more brandy? I hav_till a little left in the flask."
  • "We might try it," she said. "But I fear it will not be much use. What th_oor little thing needs most is a doctor's science and proper nursing. Oh! i_ only knew what is really the matter, I might be able to do something fo_er. But, as it is, I feel powerless to help her at all."
  • "At any rate, let us try the effect of a few sips of this," I said, as I too_he flask from my pocket. "Even if it does no good, it cannot possibly do an_arm."
  • I knelt beside her, and having opened the little child's mouth, poured into i_ few drops of the precious spirit. We then set to work and chafed her hand_s briskly as possible, and in a few minutes were rewarded by seeing the mit_pen her eyes and look about her.
  • "Thank God," said Miss Maybourne, devoutly. "Oh, Esther darling, do you kno_e? Do you remember Aggie?"
  • To show that she understood what was said to her, the little one extended he_and and placed it in that of her friend. The action was so full of trust an_onfidence that it brought the tears to my eyes.
  • "How do you feel now, darling?" asked her friend, as she lifted the littl_ufferer into a more comfortable position.
  • "A pain here," faltered Esther, placing her hand on the side of her head. The_ooking round the cave as if in search of someone, she said, "Miss Maybourne, where is mother?"
  • At this point my pluck forsook me altogether, and seizing the fish for which _ad come, I dashed from the cave without waiting to hear what answer the brav_irl would give her. When she joined me, ten minutes later, large tears wer_unning down her cheeks. She made no attempt to hide them from me, but cam_cross to where I knelt by the fire, and said, in a choking voice:
  • "I have been preparing that poor child for the sad news she must soon hear, and I cannot tell you how miserable it has made me. Do you really think i_our own heart that we are the only people who escaped from that ill-fate_essel? Isn't it just possible that some other boat may have been lowered, an_hat the child's mother may be among those who got away in her? Tell m_xactly what you think, without hiding anything from me, I implore you."
  • "Of course it may be  _just_  possible, as you say, that a boat  _did_  ge_way; but I must confess that I think it is most, unlikely. Had such a thin_ccurred, we should have been almost certain to have seen her, and in tha_ase we should have been able to attract her attention, and she would hav_icked us up. No, Miss Maybourne. I wish I could comfort you with such a_ssurance; but I fear it would be cruel to buoy you up with any false hopes, only to have them more cruelly shattered later on. I'm afraid we must accusto_urselves to the awful thought that the  _Fiji Princess_  and all her company, with the exception of ourselves, have met a watery grave. Why I should hav_een saved when so many worthier people perished I cannot imagine."
  • "To save us, Mr. Wrexford," she answered. "Think what you are saying, an_emember that but for you we should not be here now."
  • "I thank God, then, for the opportunity He gave me," I answered; and what _aid I meant from the very bottom of my heart.
  • Whatever she may have thought of my speech, she vouchsafed no reply to it; bu_n looking up a moment later, I discovered that her face was suffused with _eautiful blush that was more eloquent than any words. After that I turned m_ttention to the meal which I was preparing, and gave her time to recove_erself a little.
  • Having no pot in which to cook the fish, I had to use the largest of th_hells I had discovered. These did not prove altogether a good substitute, bu_s they were all I had got, I had to make the best of them or go without.
  • When the mussels were sufficiently done, I lifted them off the fire an_nvited my companion to taste the dish. She did so, and the grimace whic_ollowed told me that she was not overpleased at the result. I followed he_xample, and felt obliged to confess that they made but poor fare to suppor_ife upon.
  • "If we cannot get something better, I don't know what we shall do," she cried.
  • "These things are too horrible."
  • "Perhaps I may be able to hit upon a way of catching some fish," I said; "o_t is just possible I may be able to get a trap and catch some birds. There i_o knowing what I may not be able to do with a little practice. In th_eantime, you must endeavour to swallow as much of this mess as possible, an_ry to get the little one in the cave there to do the same."
  • Putting some of the fish into another shell,  _I_  gave it to her, and sh_arried it off to her sick friend. After I had scraped and washed i_arefully, I filled a larger shell with pure water from the pool and gave i_o them to drink. When they had finished their meal—and it was not much tha_hey ate—I called Miss Maybourne outside and informed her that I was going t_uild up a large fire, after which I should set off on a tramp round th_sland to see if I could discover anything better to eat. While I was away, _dvised her to dry her own and the child's things by the blaze, for though w_ad been some time under the influence of the hot sun, still our garment_ould not be said to be anything like dry. She promised to do as I wished, an_hen I had piled what remained of my heap of fuel upon the fire I made my wa_own to the shore, and then set off for a tramp round the island.
  • My first call was at the group of rocks from which I had gathered th_hellfish of which my companion had so strongly disapproved. I wanted to se_f I could discover a place where it would be possible for me to construc_ome sort of a trap for fish. But though I searched diligently, nothin_uitable could I find. At last I had to give it up in despair, and set m_rain to work on another plan for stocking my larder. That fish were plentifu_ could see by looking over the edges of the rocks, but how I was to captur_hem was by no means so plain. I think at that moment I would have given _ear of my life for the worst hook and line I had used as a boy among th_ticklebacks of Polton Penna.
  • Leaving the rocks behind me, I turned the point and made for the brow of a lo_ill that overlooked the sea on the further side. I had noticed that the se_irds gathered here in greater numbers than elsewhere, and when I reached th_liff, to my surprise and delight, I found the ground literally covered wit_ests. Indeed, it was a matter of some difficulty to move without treadin_pon the eggs. My delight can scarcely be overestimated, for here was a ne_ood supply, and one that, while it would be unlikely to give out for som_eeks to come, would be infinitely preferable to the wretched limpets upo_hich we had almost made up our minds we should have to subsist. I hastened t_ill my handkerchief and pockets with the spoil, and when I could stuff in n_ore, continued my walk in a much easier, and consequently more thankful, frame of mind.
  • As I tramped along, glancing ever and anon at the sea, the sordid details o_y past life rose before me. When I considered it, I felt almost staggered b_he change that had come over me. It seemed scarcely possible that so short _ime could have passed since I had plotted against Bartrand and had been s_iserable in London. In my present state of usefulness, I felt as if centurie_ad elapsed since then, instead of barely a couple of weeks, as was really th_ase. I wondered what would be said in England when the news got into th_apers, as I supposed it inevitably must, that I had found a watery grave i_he ill-fated  _Fiji Princess._  Would there be anyone to regret me? I ver_uch doubted it. One hope occurred to me. Perhaps, under cover of th_upposition that I was dead, I might manage to outwit the law after all, an_hen an opportunity would be afforded me of beginning a new life in a strang_and—the land that was the home of Agnes Maybourne.
  • From  _a_  consideration of this important chance I fell to thinking of th_irl herself. Could it have been for the reason that I was ultimately to sav_er life that Fate had raised her face before my eyes to warn me tha_iserable night in London? It looked very much like it. If, however, that wa_he beginning, what was the sequel to be? for surely it could not be intende_hat Fate, having brought me so far, should suddenly abandon me at the end.
  • "Oh! if I were only clean handed like my fellow-men," I cried, in miserabl_elf-abasement, "how happy might I not be!" For I must mention here that in m_wn mind I had quite come to the conclusion that Agnes Maybourne entertained _iking for me. And, God knows, I on my side had discovered that I loved he_etter than my own soul. What was to be the end of it all? That the futur_lone could decide.
  • The other side of the island—that is to say, the side exactly opposite tha_pon which we had landed—was almost precipitous, and at the foot of th_liffs, extending for some distance out into the sea, were a number of smal_slets, upon which the seas broke with never-easing violence. I searched tha_ffing, as I had done the other, for a sail, but was no better rewarded. A_oon as I had made certain that there was nothing in sight, I turned upon m_racks and hastened back to the plateau as fast as I could go. For some reaso_r another, I experienced a great dread lest by any chance something ill migh_ave befallen my charges. But when I reached the beach below the plateau an_ooked up, to see the fire still burning brightly and Miss Maybourne movin_bout between it and the cave, I was reassured.
  • The tide by this time had gone out, and the lifeboat lay high and dry upon th_each. Before rejoining my companions I made my way towards her.
  • To roll her over into her proper position was only a matter of smal_ifficulty now that the water was out of her, and once this was accomplished _as able to satisfy myself as to her condition. As far as I could gather, there was nothing amiss with her, even her oars lay fastened to the thwarts a_sual. How she could have got into the water was a mystery I could not solv_or the life of me. I examined her most carefully, and having done so, foun_ome pieces of wood to act as rollers, and dragged her up the beach till I ha_ot her well above high water mark. After that I picked up my parcel of egg_nd climbed the hill to the plateau. It was now well on into the afternoon, and I had still much to do before nightfall.'
  • When I showed Miss Maybourne the eggs I had found, she expressed her grea_atisfaction, and we immediately cooked a couple to be ready against th_ittle sufferer's waking.
  • The rest of the afternoon was spent in carrying drift wood from the beach t_he plateau; for I had determined to keep a good flare burning all night, i_ase any ships might happen to pass, and think it worth their while to stan_ff and on till daylight should show them the reason of it. When I had stacke_t ready to my hand there was yet another supply of grass to be cut, wit_hich to improve the bed-places in the cave. Then my own couch had to b_repared somewhere within call. After which there was the evening meal t_ook. By the time this was done, darkness had fallen, and our first night o_he island had commenced.
  • When I bade Miss Maybourne "good night" she was kind enough to express he_hanks a second time for the trouble I had taken. As if the better to giv_oint to her gratitude, she held out her hand to me. I took it and raised i_o my lips. She did not attempt to stop me, and then, with another "goo_ight," she passed into the cave, and I was left alone.
  • For hours I sat watching my blaze and listening to the rumbling of the sur_pon the shore. The night was as still as a night could well be. Not even _reath of wind was stirring. When I laid myself down in my corner between th_ocks near the cave's mouth, and fell asleep, it was to dream of Agne_aybourne and the happiness that might have been mine but for the one drea_hing which had made it quite impossible.