Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/290

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After many years of separation, father and son were together once more. Early in the morning after the wreck in Dover Bar, Oliver Menaida appeared at his father's cottage, bruised and wet through, but in health and with his purse in his hand.

When he had gone overboard with the wrecker, the tide was falling and he had been left on the sands of the Bar, where he had spent a cold and miserable night, with only the satisfaction to warm him that his life and his money were his. He was not floating, like Wyvill, a headless trunk, nor was he without his pouch that contained his gold and valuable papers.

Mr. Menaida was roused from sleep very early to admit Oliver. The young man had recognized where he was, as soon as sufficient light was in the sky, and he had been carried across the estuary of the Camel by one of the boats that was engaged in clearing the wreck, under the direction of the captain of the coast-guard. But three men had been arrested on the wrecked vessel, three of those who had boarded her for plunder, all the rest had effected their escape, and it was questionable whether these three could be brought to justice, as they protested they had come from shore as salvers. They had heard the signals of distress and had put off to do what they could for those who were in jeopardy. No law forbad men coming to the assistance of the wrecked. It could not be proved that they had laid their hands on and kept for their own use any of the goods of the passengers or any of the cargo of the vessel. It was true that from some of the women their purses had been exacted, but the men taken professed their innocence of having done this, and the man who had made the demand—there was but one—had disappeared. Unhappily he had not been secured.