“There’s no one on deck. There’s no danger, no trouble, no nothing. Can’t drive ashore, if you was to try: hundred miles off, in the first place. Hatches are closed, she’s light as a cork, rolls over and over just like any other log in the water, and there can’t a drop get into her, if she turns bottom-side up.”
McCray regarded it grimly. He went back in his memory with meticulous care. Had he not looked at, this very spot a matter of moments before? He had. And had there been an open door then? There had not. There hadn"t been even a shadowy outline of the three-sided, uneven opening that stood there now.
"Well, there was an absurd rumor at the time of Fatima"s death—she, too, died of curiosity—that I had been killed by her brothers. Of course the truth came out after a number of unpleasant things had been printed about me. My Uncle Longacre advised me to sue the papers for libel. And now, madam," he said with a malignant smile, "do you still wish to see the closet?"
Outside the cabin door the sun of May shone bright, beautiful, intoxicating. The old negro held his ragged hat in his lap, and sat on the corner of the bench that caught the full glare of the sun, unvexed by the dappled shadows of the black-leaved poplars.
It was not nine o’clock when the storm came down from Glen Scrae upon the Black-moss, and now in a pause of silence the clock struck twelve. Within these three hours William and Hannah had led a life of trouble and of joy, that had enlarged and kindled their hearts within them, and they felt that henceforth they were to live wholly for each other’s sake. His love was the proud and exulting love of a deliverer who, under Providence, had saved from the frost and the snow, the innocence and the beauty of which his young passionate heart had been so desperately enamored; and he now thought of his own Hannah Lee evermore moving about his father’s house, not as a servant, but as a daughter; and when some few happy years had gone by his own most beautiful and most loving wife. The innocent maiden still called him her young master, but was not ashamed of the holy affection which she now knew that she had long felt for the fearless youth on whose bosom she had thought herself dying in that cold and miserable moor. Her heart leaped within her when she heard her parents bless him by his name; and when he took her hand into his before them, and vowed before that Power who had that night saved them from the snow, that Hannah Lee should erelong be his wedded wife, she wept and sobbed as if her heart would break in a fit of strange and insupportable happiness.
“Most letters are a bore,” interpolated the Master. “Or else they’re a bother. But this one is a pure rapture. 101Read it more slowly, won’t you, dear? I want to wallow in every blessèd word of hope it contains. Go ahead. I’m sorry I interrupted. Read on. You’ll never have such another enthusiastic audience.”
He"d have done better, he considered, to do what most humans did after understanding what went on on Thriddar, and what seemingly always must go on on Thriddar. Because the Thrid had noticed that they were the most intelligent race in the universe, and therefore must have the most perfect possible government whose officials must inevitably be incapable of making a mistake....
He sighed. "Give a dog a bad name," he quoted despairingly. "In future I suppose I"d better keep away. It would be wiser for your sake. I"d do anything to save you bother and prevent misunderstandings. I should be the only one to suffer, and I dare say I deserve it."
"How narrow-minded of her. I shouldn"t pay any attention to what she thought or said."
Having entered on his career as a liar, there was now no retreat for Macfarren. Moreover, he was really at a loss for opinions, and his only resource was to lie, promptly, thoroughly, and consistently.
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