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Newspaper Page Text
t& 9 9 9 y" 'i
&e old instincts of the diver came to
him. He knew that, with the proper
poise; he could make the plunge in
safety, to swim to freedom and lurk
along the dock until the sun dried
his clothing plain hlue, such as the
trusties wore. He did not want free
dom TTft wanted dftath.
0 He leaped. He felt himself whirl
through the air. And even then,
against his wilL automatically the
habits of the diver asserted them
selves. He cleft the cool surface of
the water easily, held his breath,
swam under the waves and emerged
upon 'the surface.
He could not drown. He cursed
himself bitterly. What should he do
The answer came automatically.
Not a hundred yards from him the
great steamer lay -anchored, appar
ently no, drifting on the tide. From
her bridge poured a mass of sooty
flame. She was on fire and the wheel
could not be held or reached.
He heard her sirens hoot fearfully.
Then she seemed to keel over, and on
the sloping deck stood tiny figures
that shrieked for help and looked
down in terror into the seas as the
fire, gaining stronger hold, swept the
vessel from end to end.
Boats were pushing out from both
sides of the channel, but the flames
were spreading with terrific speed.
And suddenly Dent found that he
was striking out, like a practiced
swimmer, toward the blazing ship.
Some instinct carried him there, for
there was nothing he could do, and
this accident meant his safety. Why,
he could pass as a passenger!
The heat was almost intolerable"
fc upon his face, but arm over arm he
fought his way onward until at last
he found himself in the water, al
most level with the deck's edge,
while overhead the boats which
could not be launched writhed in the
On the other side of the deck,
along the edge, which towered high
above the waterline, the boats, half-1
lowered had been .broken against the.
side. A group of passengers was
clustered there, making desperate
efforts to launch the last boat that
remained, while the smoke drifted
and coiled about them.
Dent Jooked quickly across the
water after he had scrambled
aboard. The oncoming boats seemed
immeasurably far away. There
seemed no possibility that they could
arrive before the sweeping fires en
gulfed the vessel. Men were already
beginning to jump. Then Dent was
aware of a wdman and child that
stood helplessly at the extreme edge
of the boat The woman was shield
ing the child's face from the flames
and looking down wildlyinto the
As Dent neared them a fat man
came bursting through the crowd.
He snatched a lifebelt from a slight
er man and began hurriedly to adjust
it The other turned upon him,
grasped the lifebelt again and began
putting it upon the woman. The bul
ly turned on him and knocked him
Dent grasped the belt out of his
hand and a wild fight began. The fat
man, coward though he was, fought
like the devil for that one chance of
Hfe. He smashed Dent's face with his
fists, but Dent who had tossed the
lifebelt to the woman, stood up to
his antagonist until a sudden lurch
of the ship threw the fat man from
his feet and sent him sliding across
He entered the fiery hell. His
screams rang out for an instant
above the cries of the panic-stricken
crowd. Then Dent turned to the
"No!" he said, seeing her fitting
the belt about the baby. "I will take
care of it Save yourself.' She is
helpless without you." . "
The woman tremblingly submit
ted, but it was not until Dent had
fitted it about her that he knew he
was speaking to Lucille.
She recognized him, too, with a