Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/93

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
83
THE READING-CLUB.

been named], who had before enjoyed the sublimity of the coming storm, now began to realize its terrors, and to watch the handsome boatman with the deepest anxiety. The sails flapped idly in the motionless air, and Dipper Bay was still half a mile distant.

"Don't be alarmed, Miss Hamilton," said Leopold. "If the squall will keep off only a few moments, we shall be in a safe place."

The skipper evidently "meant business;" and, shipping the long oars, he worked with a zeal which seemed to promise happy results, and Rosabel began to feel a little re-assured. But the sloop was too large, and too broad on the beam, to be easily rowed, and her progress was necessarily very slow.

"Can't I help you, Leopold?" asked the maiden, when she saw what a tremendous effort the boatman was making.

"You may take the tiller, and steer for Dip Point, if you please," replied Leopold, knowing that his beautiful passenger would be better satisfied if she could feel that she was doing something.

Leopold plied his oars with all the vigor of a manly frame, intent upon reaching the little bay, where the high rocks would shelter his craft from the fury of the storm. Then a breeze of wind came, and he resumed his place at the tiller. He had almost reached the haven when he saw coming down over the waters a most terrific squall. Before he could haul down his mainsail, the tempest struck the "Rosabel." He placed his fair charge in the bottom of the boat, which the savage wind was driving towards the dangerous rocks. Before he could do any thing to secure the sail, the mainsheet parted at the boom. He cast off the halliards, but the sail was jammed and would not come down.

The "Rosabel" was almost upon the rocks. Seizing an oar, Leopold, satisfied that he could do nothing to save the boat, worked her away from the rocks, so that she would strike upon the narrow beach he had just left. The fierce squall was hurling her with mad speed upon the shore. By the most tremendous exertion, and at the imminent peril of his life, he succeeded in guiding her to the beach, upon which she struck with prodigious force, crushing in her keel and timbers beneath the shock. Without a word of explanation, he grasped the fair Rosabel in his arms, and leaped into the angry surges, which were driven high upon the rocks above him. The tide had risen so that there was hardly room