Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/187

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

and Jamie—not her aunt, her sole relative, it was she who had sent her brother to this place of restraint; not Mr. Menaida, he had not the moral courage and energy of purpose to succor her in her effort to release Jamie; not Captain Coppinger—him she dare not ask, lest he should expect too much in return. The hand of misfortune was heavy on the girl; if anything was to be done to relieve the pressure, she must do it herself.

As she was going hastily along the lane she suddenly halted. She heard some one a little way before her. There was no gate near by which she could escape. The lane was narrow, and the hedges low, so as not to afford sufficient shadow to conceal her. By the red summer flashes she saw a man reeling toward her round the corner. His hat was on one side of his head, and he lurched first to one side of the lane, then to the other.

"There went three trav'llers over the moor—
   Ri-tiddle-riddle-rol, huph! said he.
 Three trav'llers over the moor so green,
 The one sang high, the third sang low,
   Ri-tiddle-riddle-rol, huph! said he,
 And the second he trolled between."

Then he stood still.

"Huph! huph!" he shouted. "Some one else go on, I'm done for—'Ri-tiddle-de.' "

He saw Judith by the starlight and by the flicker of the lightning, and put his head on one side and capered toward her with arms extended, chirping—" 'Ri-tiddle- riddle-rol, huph! said he.' "

Judith started on one side, and the drunken man pursued her, but in so doing, stumbled, and fell sprawling on the ground. He scrambled to his feet again, and began to swear at her and sent after her a volley of foul and profane words. Had he contented himself with this it would have been bad enough, but he also picked up a stone and threw it. Judith felt a blow on her head, and the lightning flashes seemed to be on all sides of her, and then great black clouds to be rising like smoke out of the earth about her. She staggered into the hedge, and sank on her knees.

But fear lest the tipsy ruffian should pursue her nerved her to make an effort to escape. She quickly rose and ran along the lane, turned the corner, and ran on till her