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made ah honorable offer of marriage
to the woman he lovedt and she had
refused him. 1 " r
After that he evaded 'Bessie, and
her friends as well. One evening he J
maae .a wiae aeiour 10 eyaue uuum
and "Bessie, who were idly drifting in
a frail 'rowboatand, Rodney fancied,
looking serenely, happy.
It yras. a rapid, torturing flight
Rodney finally Beated himself on the
banks of the river three miles down
the stream. The moon came out
brightly, the night was full of sweet
sbundB, the soft drone of the rapids
further along would have lured a
sentimentalist to sleep. Rodney,
however, cherished only bitter,
Perhaps an hour went by when a
cry tpaused him to look ip. The
Tiver was broad and. deep at " this
point, and jits center held patqKes of
little islands. The wider par!' of the
stream lay beyond these. Suddeily
tie saw a boat skim through the chan
hei separating two islands and bear
down directly to the spot where he
'It seemed as if some giant force
nerved him to mighty strength as he
saw in the approaching boat, tossed
like a frail feather from side to side,
a 'female form. And then
He saw her shapejy hands cling
ing to either side of the craft Her
terrorful eyes were fixed ,v tensely
ahead. Rodney threw off ius coat
kicked , off his shoes. A wayward
streak in an' eddy whirled the boat
around. ' it tipped, and with a gurg
ling shriek Bessie disappeared be
neath the water forty feet distant,
but near to ths edge of the island.
The fierce, strong current bandied
Rodney about as he made a direct
plun'fee. It was a, wild, desperate
fight with' the battling waves. .How
he made it -he never knew, but ,he
caught at a limp body swayed along
by the undertow, dragged Bessie
ashore and sat, down beside here,
breathless, .exhausted. '
What a woeful sight she was all
the daintiriessnof the witchery of lace :,
and jewels and form and features be-
draggled, the fair hands cold as ice
as he chafed them. 'He trembled with
direful agony until he felt the faint, d
fluttering vpulse. Then he coum ao
no more save watch and wait, gazing 3
down at the white face so dear to "
him, the moonlight , flooding the
scene with a cold, steely- brillianty
that seemed ominous. t
At length Bessie stirred. There
was a faint moan, she sat up, shud- -,
dered and met his gaze.
"You!" she voiced in hollow ac
cents and his clinging garments told
her intuitively how she had been
saved. Then she turned her face "
away. Strange juncture to be here, i
isolated with the man she had re-1
He read her thoughts. He noted
her lashes fall in" humbled 'pride, in
shame. He realized that her escort
must have acted the coward's part, '
tie recalled her mother, with a weak
heart, unable to -stand any shock.
Rodney arose to his' feet.
"Miss Thurston," he said quietly, '
"we must lose no time. Your mother
and your friends you will not' have "
to stay here for long."
"Come back!" Jtwas.a wild, plead
ing, shriek, a cail of'ariguish, of love,
as she saw him plunge info the flood,
as life and death fought a desperate
battle within her sight But he 1
reached the' shore, though nearly
stunned and his. head bruised and or
bleeding at contact with arock, and r
staggered away put pi sight
She. sat moaning; her head buried i
in her hands, as a.slo'w hour w,ent by.
Then- a. shout from the. shore' from a
theidst of friends a weighted rope -,
cast across the chasm.A strong?
boatman' clasped her and, carried ,hero
thus to the mainland: ,Bessie in one i
swift glance swept the group. Rod
ney was jiiot' there. ' - , j
"My dear Bessier-" for the first j
tiihebegan Go.uld hastening, jto her'.-'t