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The Gentleman by Alfred Ollivant

Part 9 out of 9

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The long-lost tears poured down his cheek. He was living again.

"They couldn't make nothing of it, and drew back a bit.

"'What!' cries the Genelman, laughin. 'A round dozen of you, and wopp'd
by one! I wonder what Black Diamond'd think o you?'

"At that Fat George truss Dingy Joe by the arms.

"'Ow's this?' he squeals, and runs him on the Genelman's blade, dodgin
back himself into Red Beard's arms.

"'Good idee!' kughs old Red Beard, and he throws his arms round the fat

"'This'll smother him!' he roars. 'Now, boys, follow up!'

"And down he charge on the Genelman, Fat George in his arms."

For a moment the ghost of the old Knapp walked.

"Fat George weren't for avin it, Fat George weren't," he sniggered,
shaking his head. "And I don't blame Fat George neether. Talk!--talk o
talkin!--and the face on him!"

He lifted one hand and tittered.

"Old Red Beard stagger in along--just his beard, and his eyes, and his
legs beneath, and them hairy arms of is'n like ropes round the fat chap's

"'Your turn now, ole pal,' says he. 'How d'ye like it yourself?' And
somehow I fancies he and Fat George hadn't been best friends.

"Well, I see it was all up then, and the Genelman see it too.

"'Shut the door, Soldier,' says he, very calm, 'and yourself inside of

"'What, sir?' says I, 'and leave--'

"'Do what you're told!' says he, sharp-like."

The little rifleman looked up into the face of his old company commander.

"Well, sir, I'm a soldier. I know my officer. In I goes!"


The Parson was stamping up and down like a man in mortal pain.

"And I wasn't there," he moaned. "I left him to do my dirty work--and

Opening the back-door, he gazed out on the encircling Downs, the light
white now behind their blackness.

Outside the door was a fairy circle--just such a circle as a long-armed
man with a sweeping sword would make--and round it not twinkling fairies
but dead men. It was as though this was a magic ring, fatal to all who
crossed it.

In the centre of the ring he could detect heel-marks, where the Gentleman
had stood.

Fitting his own heels to the dents, he stood with crouching knees, making
play with Polly among the ghosts of the smugglers.

He saw it all: the swarming satyrs, the closing door, the white-faced
rifleman at the crack, and the Gentleman, back to the door, face to the
Downs, his blade leaping out to scorch intruders within the pale.

"O Polly!" he cried. "We three--we three could have held the door against
ten thousand."

The tears flowed down his face. The thought of this young man spending
himself for a legless sailor, and a wounded rifleman, his enemies, who
half-an-hour before had stood between him and his life's success, touched
him to the quick.

"What a man!" he cried.




He turned back into the kitchen.

Knapp was continuing his tale.

"'Pull em off,' says one, black and bitter. 'Don't spoil your own sport.'

"'The sogers are comin,' says another.

"'It's only the foot,' says the first. 'We've ten minutes afore we need
slip it. Roll him on his back,' says he."

The Parson turned to Kit listening with dreadful-eyed fascination.

"Kit, go and tell Blob to come here."

The boy went giddily.

"'Then Fat George chime in,

"'Let him be, boys,' says he, in a fainty kind of a voice. 'He only done
what he ought.' And he goes off in a sort of a croak,

"'It ain't been all my fault, my God,' says he. 'You made me that way,
only You knows why.'

"And Red Beard chime in usky from underneath somewhere,

"'That's it, ole pal,' he says. 'It's for Him as made, us to explain us.'

"And I reck'n he pop off and the fat chap too.'"


"Then he groan, does the Genelman."

The Parson groaned too.

Knapp lifted his face.

"Ah," said he. "And fancy me layin there listenin, just the thick of the
door a-tween us."

He stared at the hands upon his knees.

"I made shift to get on my legs, but lor bless you! I couldn't stir. It
was all, 'O my God, send a thunder-bolt and put him out of his pain!'

"Then he groan again.

"At that old Pipes--I'd thought he were gone--layin back in his chair,
ead all anyhow:--

"'Jack,' he says usky, 'is that the Genelman?'

"'May the Lord ave mercy on im!' I cries. 'It's im. He's dyin for us, Mr.
Piper--dyin slow.'

"'So did Jesus,' says he, calm as you please.

"'But can't we do nothin, my God?' I cries.

"'Nothin,' says he, sleepy-like. 'I'm dyin; you're done. God is our ope
and strength.'

"'Can't you pray, Mr. Piper?' I begs him. 'You're a good un at that. Ave
a go at em,' I says. 'Maybe they'd listen to you. Sure-ly they can't set
by and see a genelman like that chaw'd up in cold blood.'

"He didn't answer. But I could see his head pitch forward a bit. And I
hears a kind of a mutter.

"Then he stops, and I could see he were listenin,

"'Go it, Mr. Piper,' I says. 'Go it. Pitch it in. You're workin em. Pray!
pray! pray!'

"'I ave prayed,' says he. 'Here's the answer.'

"Then I sat up. And well I might. I could hear it comin meself--low and
far, and all the while a-growin like a mutter o thunder. It made me shake
to hear it--not being brought up religious like.

"Then there was a rushin and a roarin, and the earth shook, and h'all of
a sudden h'out of the whirlwind a great voice ollaed:--

"'Tally-ho! forrad!--mush em up, boys, and no Woody quarter!'

"'Your prayer is eard, Mr. Piper,' says I. 'It's a Jedgement on em.'

"'My prayer is eard,' says pore old Pipea. 'It's the orse-dragoons.'

"Then his ead loll sideways, and he was h'off again."




Knapp was leaning forward, his chin on his hands.

"Yes, it was a sweet cop. They was expectin the foot, and they got the
orse, and got em ot."

He chuckled faintly.

"I couldn't see much, but I eard enough to make my eart glad. Scream!--I
tell ye.... It were better'n beer to me.

"Then I faints for loss o blood."

He paused, staring at the ground.

"When I come to, the foot--soldiers were carrying the Genelman through
the door--them long legs of is'n and all."

His voice began to jerk.

"Just the same--only more paler-like."

He was jigging with his knees, and the words joggled as they came out.

"Then he see me.

"'Hullo, Soldier,' says he. 'No, no, don't get up,' me trying to rise to
me officer. 'We're both a bit dicky, I expect. How are you?'

"'Nicely thank you, sir,' says I, choky. 'And you, sir?'

"He smiles that way of his.

"'I'll be better soon,' says he. But I knoo from the way of his voice
he'd got his marchin orders all right; and I knoo e knoo'd it too."

The little man was sniffing; and the tears were flowing down his nose.

"'Take me to Sailor,' says he to the chaps.

"So they took him to where pore old Pipes lay in his chair, his head
lollin back, somethin dreadful to see.

"The Genelman bends over him, and takes one of his hands.

"That stirs the old man.

"'That you, sir?' says he, usky-like.

"'Ah, friend,' says the Genelman, 'how goes it?'

"'Tarrabul ornary,' says pore old Pipes.

"'You'll be better soon,' says the Genelman, strokin his hand. 'It's a
rough passage,' says he, 'but it's Ome right enough once you're there.'

"'Ome it is,' says Pipes, and back goes his head, and he was h'off again.

"Then the Genelman turn to one of the chaps.

"'Just spread your coat on that dresser, my man, will you?' he says. 'Now
lift him gently. Don't wake him. He's set his course for the Old
Country.... Now just lay me on the floor, and prop me up against the
wall--same as Soldier there.'"

Knapp was sobbing now.

'"Same as Soldier there,' he repeated. 'There weren't to be no difference
a-tween us. O no! 'Same as Soldier there,' he says--and me pull his nose
only yesterday! And strike me dead!"--he lifted a streaming face--"if it
didn't come over me all of a pop what Mr. Piper said about him and


He pulled himself together and went on.

"Then up come the orse-captain, great black charger in a lather.

"'What luck?' says he.

"'Why none,' says the foot-captain, little black and red chap, plumpy.
'The Grenadier chaps in the farm-buildings surrendered at discretion.
Plucky fine sportsmen, these French beggars, ain't they?'

"'Well, you was about a thousand to one, Chollie, so I don't know as I
blames em,' says the orse-captain, laughin.

"'All very well for _you_,' grumbles Plumpy, mighty bitter. 'I suppose
you bagged all _your_ lot.'

"'Every mother's son on em,' says t'other, chuckin himself off. 'Rare
sport. Look there !' and he shows the edge of his sword.

"'Just your luck, Bill,' says Chollie. 'I sweats my soul out to get up in
time, and just when I'm there, up you larrups on them blame ole camels o
your'n, and dashes the cup from my lips. Who'd be a--foot-slogger?' says
he; and he takes the other by the arm; 'Now tell us all about it.'

"'Why that's soon told,' says the orse-captain. 'Them we didn't cut up in
the open, we run to earth in a drain, and pots em pretty from the mouth.'

"'Any prisoners?' says Plumpy, mighty keen.

"'There _was_ two,' says, the orse-captain, sniggerin.

"Plumpy turns on his heel.

"'Damme you might ha left me the prisoners, Bill,' says he. 'Given my
chaps a taste o the stuff after all their trouble.' And he says it so ot
and uffy like that the Genelman, leanin against the wall, laughs.

"The orse-captain heard him, and pokes in.

"'Who's that?' he says.

"Then when he saw the Genelman agin the wall, he offs his helmet--he knoo
what was what did the orse-captain, I will say that.

"'Can we do anything for you, sir?' says he, hushed like.

"'Nothing for Sailor and me, thank you,' says the Genelman. 'I don't know
about Soldier there.'

"'I'll send a man back to Lewes for a doctor at once,' says the
orse-captain. 'We must be going on. There's a scare all over the country
that Fighting Fitz has landed at Pevensey at the head of a Cavalry

"The Genelman laughed a bit.

"'A wild-goose chase, believe me,' says he.

"'I think so too, sir,' says the orse-captain. 'Still General Beauchamp
got an express from Pitt to that effect last night. Some chap swore he'd
seen him. And we all know if there's any man in the world'd do it, it's
Fighting Fitz.'

"'I am Fighting Fitz,' says the Genelman. 'There's no landing except what
has took place.'"

Knapp dried his eyes.

"Yes; he was a--General all right, and he give his life for Private






"Where is Piper?" asked the Parson.

The little rifleman pointed to the tall clothes--horse hung about with
cloaks, which made a Sanctuary of the far end of the kitchen.

"Is he dead?" whispering.

"I fancies so, sir. Lingered it out wunnerful, chattin to the Genelman,
ummin an ymn and that. But he's not to say spoke these hours past."

The door opened and Kit entered on tip-toe.

The Parson beckoned him, and drawing aside the clothes-horse, entered the

Kit followed reverently.

Within stood the kitchen dresser. On it, in the religious light, lay the
old foretop-man.

Somebody had flung a horse-blanket about his lower body that, lying so,
the horror of what was not might be concealed.

Yet even so Kit found himself shuddering.

The terror of that lopped trunk, flat on its back, shocked his heart.

Childlike he felt in the dimness for the Parson's fingers, and was made
glad by their grip.

"I think he's gone," whispered the Parson.


The old man's head, moon-white in the dusk, lay on a soldier's knapsack.
An officer's short cloak, buttoned about his throat, was flung back from
his body. The great hands, fingers so touching in their thick-jointed
awkwardness, were folded on his bare and shaggy breast. His wounds were
hidden, but tattooed upon his chest was something that Kit at first
mistook for a cross. Then he saw it was an anchor.

And as he looked the anchor seemed to glow and grow. No longer a blue
smudge on the skin, it was an anchor in the heart, shining through the
flesh--the anchor on which this brave old battleship had ridden out the
gale of life.

The old man lay calm as marble. The cheeks were hollowed, and the fringe
of stiff white hair uplifted.

A more beautiful picture of an Englishman, faithful unto death, it was
impossible to conceive.

Kit thought of Sir Geoffrey Blount, the old Crusader with chipped
nose--mailed hands folded just so, casqued head tilted just so--asleep on
the stone-slab in the lady-chapel at home.

But how far more beautiful than that broken-nosed old warrior was this
Crusader of the Sea!


The Parson bent.

_"Piper!"_ he called low. _"Piper!"_ The old man stirred.

_"D'you know who I am?"_

One great forefinger uplifted and fell.

_"We won through,"_ choked the Parson. _"Nelson's safe."_

The old man's lips parted.

_"Mr. Caryll's brought a message for you from Nelson,"_ continued the
Parson. "Kit!"

The boy bent his lips to the ear of the dying sailor.

_"Piper!"_ he cried, his pure boy's voice ringing out fearlessly.

"He can't hear," choked the Parson. "It's no good."

"Hush," said the boy.

He knew the message would take minutes travelling along the dying
passages to the brain.

At last, at last it reached.

The old man's face broke into a smile, fair as a winter sunset.

_"Love"_ he whispered, nodded deliberately, and died.




The Parson turned to the window, weeping.

Kit crossed to comfort him.

"It's all right, sir," he said tenderly, taking the other by the arm.

A hand plucked at his ankle.

"Little Chap," whispered a voice.

The boy looked down.

At his feet, propped on a straw-stuffed haversack against the wall, lay
the Gentleman.

Kit was kneeling beside him in an instant.

"O, sir!" he cried, with sobbing heart.

The other tweaked his nose with tender fingers.

"Cela ne fait rien."

"But are you hurt, sir?"

"Pas trop.... Not quite what I was at dawn; and not quite what I shall
be at dark."

He was sitting strangely huddled.

"May I see?" begged Kit, fingers at his breast.

"Certainly not," the other replied with his faint chuckle.

"But have they made you comfortable?"

"Quite.... So kind, you English--once you've got your own way. I've been
lying here, dreaming and drifting, while the flies buzzed and Sailor on
the table there muttered about his Saviour."

The Parson bent over him.

"Sir," he said, "what you must think of me--"

His voice came in gusts.

The other lifted his face.

"Comfort yourself, my friend. In your place I should have done the same."

"I swear to you--" gasped the Parson, broken and blubbering.

The other took his fingers.

"Friend," he said, "you won; but I didn't lose."

The old flicker of swords was in his eyes.

"Defeat can't touch the man who won't admit it. Look at Sailor there! He
was impregnable. So am I."


A robin sang outside.

The trill fell sweetly on the silence.

The Parson bent above the dying man.

"Is there anything we can do for you, sir?"

The other raised wistful eyes, mischievous a little.

"I should like to pose my last under the stars."

The Parson's mouth twitched. He gathered the other in his arms, easily as
a reaper gathers his sheaves.

They left the Sanctuary.

"Come along, Little Chap."

He held out his finger for the boy.

Kit grasped it.

So they passed out into the holy evening.

The light streamed from behind dark hills in floods.

As he felt the evening sweet about him, the Gentleman drew a delicious

"The peace of God that passeth all understanding," he murmured, and
saluted with languid hand.


Blob was coming across the greensward towards them.

He was lolling along, both hands tucked in his waist-band, whistling.

Then he looked up, and saw the limp figure with the dangling legs being
carried towards him.

He stopped dead, gaping.

The colour left his cheek; his face puckered like a child's making ready
to cry.

That helpless man, borne as he had seen babies borne, flashed a light on
his twilight mind. For one swift second he saw, as others see, the pathos
of things human. A rumour of the world's tragedy pierced to his remote
soul; and the pity of it staggered him.

Flinging back his head he thrust out a questioning finger.

"Why?" he wailed.

"That," said the Gentleman as he was carried by, "is the question which
Life asks and Death answers. Good-night, Monsieur Moon-calf. Beautiful



Half-way up the Wish, in the hollow where yesterday Knapp had stolen upon
him, the Parson laid him down.

He lay long-legged, gazing towards the hills, whence came the light.

Beneath him the flint cottage, against which he had broken his strength
in vain, rose sturdily.

"A nice fight, eh, Parson?"

"I shall get no better--this side of heaven," replied the Parson simply.

"There's only one thing," continued the other. "I think you should
have a peep at those powder-barrels in the sluice. Powder's a funny
thing--especially when it don't go off."

"I will, sir," said the Parson. "Thank you. I ought to have thought of it

He started down the slope.

A few steps away he paused and plucked a blade of grass. Then he climbed
slowly back, the square face very grave.

At the feet of the dying man he halted, and took the grass-blade from his

"Sir," he said, "are you a Christian?"

At that moment, in that light, sudden though it was, the question seemed
beautifully fitting.

"All men are when they are dying," came the quiet reply. "They must be.
As the world-tide ebbs, the Christ-tide flows. That is the Law."

"I ask," continued the Parson in labouring voice, "for this reason:
I've no doubt you're a better man than I am. Still I'm a clergyman,
though I'm not much good at it. And if you've got anything on your
conscience--anything you care to tell me--I'll--I'll--in duty-bound

Kit made a move to rise.

The dying fingers closed round his own.

"I forget nothing," said the Gentleman simply. "I regret nothing."

"Nothing?" asked the Parson, stubborn to do his duty.

The other closed his eyes.

"One thing perhaps."


There was a sighing silence.

"Ireland," came the quivering reply.

"Sir," cried Kit, with flashing intuition, "you are dying for her."

The other squeezed his fingers.

"Ah, thank you, thank you! how generous! How kind! how most un-English!"

"We mean well anyway," grunted the Parson.

"Yes," said the other slowly. "You did her to death: but you did it for
the best. That's England to the core!"

The man's white bitterness struck like a sword. It was something new; it
was something terrible.

"Drogheda in the name of God!"

"What's done can't be undone," growled the Parson, all the Englishman
coming out in him. "I believe we're trying now."

He bent over his fading enemy.

A thousand dim emotions troubled his heart. Words surged up like waves in
the fog of his mind and were gone again, unuttered.

"Good-bye," he said at last gruffly, and made a stiff little bob.

A hand sought his.

The Parson hugged it between both his own, and turned, dumb still.



The dusk began to shroud them.

Beneath them the Parson was climbing out of the creek, making for the
mouth of the drain.

"That's a dear man," said the Gentleman. "He's so English--true as steel,
and thick as mud."

He rolled his head round. Kit caught the ghost of the old gay twinkle in
his eyes.

"Shall I tell you a secret?"


"What d'you think was in those powder-barrels?"

"Beer," flashed the boy.

"Sand, Little Chap--best Eastbourne sand."

The boy rippled off into low laughter.

The Parson, on hands and knees at the mouth of the drain, heard him and
looked back. It was not quite his notion of how a dying should be
conducted: still, they were both a bit mad, those two on the hill-side,
both the poet-y kind, and so must be excused.

"Yes," said the Gentleman, "I think I had the best of you there."

"I think you had."

His comrade's courage warmed the boy's heart.

He had always associated a death-bed with drawn blinds, hushed voices,
sniffling women on their knees and the like.

And here lay this long-limbed man on the grass in the evening, the night
bending to kiss him, the sea hushed behind, making ready for the plunge
with the high heart and twinkling humour of the lad running down the
sands to bathe.

A little wind breathed on them chilly.

The Gentleman began to shudder.

The boy brooded over his dim outline.

A sudden burning curiosity kindled his heart.

"Is it--very aweful?" he ventured at last.

"Not a bit," whispered the other. "It's as easy as living, once you know

The boy rippled.

"Have you ever done it before?"

"Every hour of every day since the beginning."

The boy hugged his hand. He then too had the sense of reiterated life,
eternal here on earth.

"Ah, you feel that," he said comfortably. "Then I know you're not

"Not a bit," sleepily. "I'm too interested--the undiscovered
country, you know." His chest was sinking in upon his voice. "What's it
going to be?"

Piper's last word leapt to the lad's tongue.

"Love," he said, before he knew that he had said it.

The Gentleman nodded.

"I believe you," he whispered. "Yes, yes, yes.

"_The face familiar smiling through His tears--_

"I can see it."

Kit was crying, he knew not why.

Unable now to see the other's face, he stretched a hand and stroked it.

"Are you there, sir?"

"Always there, Little Chap."

The voice was far, and getting further.

"How--how d'you feel?"

"Why, as I never felt before," chuckling still.

For long he lay still, the night gathering about him. Then the voice came
again out of the darkness.

"Ah! there's the first star!"

He lay with hands folded, and face starward. He was drinking in the dark
as it began to people, and humming to himself. Kit, listening with all
his heart, heard as it were the voice of one singing in Eternity. And
whether his ear heard words, or whether only his heart heard the song the
other's heart was singing, he never knew.

"Hark to her, hark to the Voice of the Beautiful Spring,
Calling to come,
Calling to come,

Over the moon-whitened wave on a kittiwake's wing,
Over the foam,
Furrow and foam,

Leap to her, leap, O my heart, when thou hearest her sing,
Home to her, home,
Home to her, home."

The song ceased.

There was an age-long silence.

Then out of the darkness from millions of miles away a whisper,

"Kiss me, Little Chap."



The Parson bore the dead man down the hill beneath the stars, Kit still
holding the cold hand.

Here yesterday this same limp and lolling figure had chased Knapp with
rousing limbs. Now not all the trumpets of his own Brigade could stir his
little finger.

Over the greensward the Parson bore his burthen, past the hushed
sycamores, into the kitchen.

They entered the Sanctuary.

One candle there showed a Union Jack shrouding a still something on the

Beside it the Parson laid his dead.

Knapp, bloody-bandaged, crept through the curtain and joined them, Blob
at his heels.

So they gathered in the half-light: the garrison who had held the Fort,
and the man who had stormed it.

It was but the kitchen of a cottage; yet no soul there but felt that he
was standing upon hallowed ground.

Kit bent above the dead.

Beautiful as he had been in life, the Gentleman was yet lovelier in

Reverently Kit crossed the dead man's hands and laid his sword beside

As he raised his head, one standing at the foot of the dresser bent. It
was Blob. Kit shot out a hand, fearing some irreverence. Then he saw and

Something in the spirit of the occasion, the stillness, the hallowed
light, had waked in the boy some inherited memory of noble death-beds,
brave as they were beautiful.

The soul of the past, quickening the dull present, stirred him to lovely

He kissed the dead man's feet, and withdrew weeping.

Across the dresser Knapp was blubbering.

"E were a genelman," he repeated over and over again. "E were a

From the head of the table the Parson echoed him.

"He was a soldier and a gentleman; and he lies beside the bravest man and
truest Christian who ever trod a deck."

He paused and they could hear the flutter of his breath.

"And now I am going to honour him as never foreigner was honoured yet."

He flung back the flag that shrouded the old fore-top-man, and spread it
over both.

"In death we are all friends," he said, arranging it with tender fingers.
"Let us pray."

And in the dusk the living knelt beside the dead.

It was high noon.

The _Victory's_ barge lay on Southsea Beach.

A midshipman, with keen long face and anxious eyes, was standing by it, a
curly-haired parson at his side.

"Listen here, Kit," the latter was saying, "this is the _Times_ of a week

"_The intelligence which we announced yesterday, respecting the breaking
up of the camp at Boulogne, has been confirmed by the crew of a gun-boat,
which was captured on its way from that port to Havre_."

He laid his hand on the boy's arm.

"Nap's given it up," he said. "And we know why."

"Hark!" cried Kit. "Here comes Nelson."

And come he did, the man for whom they had fought and conquered.

They could see nothing for the swell of the beach; but they could hear.

And what they heard was the Voice of England marching shorewards to see
her hero off.

A roaring flood of sound made the stillness tremble. It was stupendous.

The vanguard of the mob trickled over the bank with tossing arms and
backward faces. Behind them a vast black tide of people brimmed, welled
over, and rippled down towards the watchers; and aloft on their shoulders
was a figure, dark against the light.

How small he looked, that battered little man, shorn of an arm, and one
eye bashed; yet riding the flood, and ruling it!

His cocked hat was in his hand, his white hair bare to heaven.

He looked what he was--the man on whom the world's eyes were set, and
aware of it.

It was an inspiration to behold him.

Kit was moved to dumb madness. His heart was all tears and triumph. He
was a flood in flames. A glory was looking through his eyes. The veil of
flesh was fading.

Nelson was far the calmest there. He was radiant indeed, but with the
radiance of the moon, steering its way amid droves of clouds. That high
pale look hid the blazing heart.

So he came, shoulder-borne: here a hand to an old stumping sailor; there
a smile to a woman; anon a wave to a familiar face.

Grimy navvies wept, roared, stamped, as they bore him. They fought for a
grip of his hand. They jostled for a look. They sang hymns and bawdy
ballads, the tears rolling down their faces. Women, drunk with ecstasy,
screamed and tossed their babies. Urchins howled and tumbled. Young men
lurched, laughed, and fought. In front a tiny boy in a blue jersey
marched manfully, thumping a toy drum.

A grey virago, locks a-flutter, fell on her knees in the path of the mob.

"Save us, Lard Nelson, save us!" she screamed.

In a lull of the tempest, the clear voice, somewhat shrill, made answer,

"Yes, I'll save you."

There was a second's quiet, one of those tremendous seconds such as must
have been before the world was: then a roar to shatter hearts.

A hand gripped Kit's.

The boy looked up into the Parson's blue and brimming eyes.

"It was worth it," those eyes said.

Then the crowd broke all about them. The boy was carried off his feet. It
was like swimming amid breakers.

He caught a tumbling glimpse of Nelson stretching a hand over many heads
to the Parson; and his eye read the words,

"But for you, old friend!"

Then dimly, as in a dream, he was butting his way towards the boat, he
and the Parson, Nelson between them.

A hand touched his--a touch, no more; but it was the Nelson-touch.

Then he would have liked to die.

Earth contained no more for him; and he was sure of heaven.

[_ I will answer no questions about this book_--A. O.]

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