Page images

are nowadays, was delayed all the morning wait- distance between boat and swimmer was perceptiing for a breeze that did not come.

bly lessening: There was the usual noontime crowd of bathers "That 's it! keep it up, boys! We 'll soonon the beach, and among them Marjorie, her Carl was interrupted by Marjorie's anxious brother Carl, and two of the other boys of the tone and entreaty: “Oh, faster, Carl! Faster, volunteer life-saving crew.

boys! She 's-she's gone-down !" Naturally enough, Marjorie's thoughts were A little brown arm had stuck up out of the with Angèle, off there on the Cécile, and natu- water for a second, as though waving a greeting, rally, too, Marjorie's gaze was fixed frequently and then, just as Marjorie was about to wave in in that direction. There was not a sign of life reply, arm, cap, and all disappeared ! aboard the yacht for some time, and then, finally, Carl, who was rowing stroke, responded with she saw Angèle come out on deck in her red bath- renewed energy to Marjorie's appeal for haste, ing-suit and cap. Evidently she intended to have and with so hard a pull at the oars that-crack! one last dip before sailing, Marjorie thought. An his right oar was snapped off just above the unaccountable feeling of uneasiness came over blade, with a suddenness that nearly unseated her that she could not shake off.

him. In her anxiety for Angèle, she ran to the pa- “Here, quick !” said Marjorie, and in a second vilion and borrowed the keeper's binoculars. She she had replaced the useless shaft by her own could watch her plainly with the aid of the steering oar. A few seconds later, Angèle came glasses. Instead of diving overboard, as Marjo- to the surface, struggling bravely. rie had expected her to do, Angèle went over the “A little stronger on your left-there, two side and down the ladder, letting herself slowly more strokes, then stop!” said Marjorie, coolly. into the water. Without looking back at the What then happened took place so quickly that yacht, Angèle started out at once for the beach. the boys, looking on as they gripped their oars,

It was over a half-mile swim straightaway, but, could hardly believe their eyes. Quickly as her with the tide that was setting past, one would be keen wits prompted the impulse, Marjorie, tying obliged to swim nearly twice the distance, and a slip-knot in the end of the coil of rope in the would be carried considerably beyond the raft stern, slipped it over her shoulders, drawing it and toward the rocks at the point. Marjorie's snugly under her arms, and, as the boat reached foreboding was followed by a feeling of genuine the spot where Angèle gradually, though fighting alarm, as she noticed how the tide was steadily desperately, had disappeared, Marjorie plunged bearing the swimmer down toward the point. headlong!

Shaking off the state of inaction, which dread The rope unwound in quick, even spirals from and fright at Angèle's predicament had produced, the flat, mat-like coil in the stern. Carl held his Marjorie called out to Carl and the other two breath, as did the others, in fear and wonder. boys, explaining what she had seen.

Beneath, and considerably ahead of her, Mar“You don't suppose she 's going to try to swim jorie could dimly make out Angèle's struggling all the way inshore, do you ?" Carl asked.

figure, carried down and on by the tide. Strain“What else is there for her to do?" asked Mar- ing every nerve and muscle, Marjorie swam desjorie. “She could n't swim back to the yacht perately, with all her strength. against the current, I 'm sure.”

It seemed impossible to force herself farther “Well, come on, boys !” said Carl, without stop- down, but she could not, she would not, give up, ping to ask further questions.

with her Angèle almost within arm's-reach. The Marjorie jumped into the life-boat and took time had come to use the last resort. Expelling her place in the stern, and the boys ran it down the full breath that she had naturally taken in the smooth planks and into the surf with a rush before diving, she became less buoyant, and her that attracted the attention of the bathers and progress downward was thus made easier. the other people on the beach. A little red spot, If only she could hold out a little longer! The which showed up occasionally on the swells, in firm, strong beating of her heart exaggerated the the line of direction taken by the life-boat, told passing of the time since her plunge, which could them the object of the expedition, and every one still be measured in seconds under a minute, alwas soon eagerly watching its progress.

though to her it was almost unerdurably long Meanwhile, six strong, young arms were forc- and painful. She wanted air. It seemed as ing the little life-boat through the water as fast though her arms could not make another stroke. as they could make it go. Straight on its course "I must not-I must not give up now !" she told Marjorie guided the craft. Tears blurred the herself, and then- her strong, slender fingers sight of that little red cap ahead of her, but the clutched Angèle's shoulder.

Her arms


about Angèle's waist in the next instant, and with to Angèle's father, who had just been rowed out her remaining strength she drew her close. Then from shore, and Angèle was explaining how she came a tug of the rope about her chest !

had intended to swim ashore to say good-by again “There, I dare not wait longer !" Carl was say- to Marjorie, when a cramp had seized her, and ing. "Row ahead a stroke, while I pull in on the had made her powerless to swim. Her father line !" he faltered.

could not say enough in praise of the boys, and A few seconds later, the two girls were being in gratitude to the volunteer life-saving crew. drawn into the boat. “Row with all your might And as for Marjorie, it made them all happy for the yacht! Faster-faster!” Carl urged. again to see the way he hugged and patted her,

On the deck of the Cécile, Angèle was soon re- in his enthusiastic manner, and called her, “Mon vived. With a pitiful little sigh she opened her leetle Surfman Numbaire Seven !" eyes. Marjorie, tearful now, and the yacht's cap- Nor was this quite all. The following sumtain, were bending over her.

mer, before the season had fairly opened, a “Ah, at last! Our little Angèle has come back stanch little life-boat of the best design, selfto us !" said the captain, and he murmured a rev- righting, self-bailing, non-sinkable, and non-caperent “Thank God.”

sizable, arrived from a grateful father for the Half an hour later, Carl was telling the story Volunteer Life-Saving Station at Brenton Beach.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »