Harding Temained on deck thinking
of her for hours.
It was all .so sudden that nobody
auerwara rememDerea mucn aDouc
it The ship had struck an uncharted
reef. Iff a moment the' submarine
rocks had torn a great hole in her
bottom. She was filling rapidly and
In the confusion all order was dis
solved. The Italian crew pushed -the
passengers aside and rushed the
boats. Harding, dressing hastily, had
sought Miss Wayne's .stateroom, to
-find her "pale but composed, jsX the
' doorway. He seized her by the arm
and hurried her on deck.
The boats were being lowered, but
the cowardly crew filled them. There
was a struggle about each. Revolver
shots were fired. In the confusion
Harding caught sigljt of Cqunt Fos
cari trying to enter one. A sailor
thrust him back. At this time the
deck was almost flush with the tops
of the waves. , - -
- The ship was sinking rapidly and
it was evident that she had only a
few more minutes to live.' Harding
grasped the girl and fought his way
frantically to one of th boats, toss
ing the salvors aside right and left.
He got the girl into it. The boat was
lowered. It touched the water and,
swinging against the side of the ship,
was overset. At that moment Fos
cari jumped with an agonized cry.
But Harding and Elsa Wayne were
struggling in the water. - "
The vessel's prow was uplifted. Si
lently and with hardly any suction,
she went down. A minute after Hard
ing found himself alone with the girl
in his arms and Foscari near them.
The overturned boat' had been
righted by a wave. Harding swam
toward it, dragged the girl in and
followed. It was half full of water
and dangerously low. Harding be
gan to bail with his hands.
Count . FoScari's head! appeared j
above the waves. The man was J
awiuiiiuug luwiuu me, uuui. .lit; i
grasped the edge with his hands uh- (
til it heeled over.
x -"Do you want to sink us?" shout
But the man was crazed with fear.
Harding contemptuously pulled him
in. The boat was almosf level with
the water now. But Harding bailed
furiously until at last she began to
ride higher. He turned to Foscari,
who was lying in the bottom. "Where v
is your mother?" he asked.
Foscari spread out his hands in ,a
gesture of helpless ignorance.
Harding bailed the boat as nearly
dry as possible. Then they drifted
upon the smooth surface of the sea.
the sole survivors. The current was
taking them rapidly toward a little,
From the island they could see tjie
distant coast, with1 the white houses,
but they had been there two weeks
and no fishing boat had come near
then. The island was quite uninhab
ited. It was about a mile in diameter.
It -had contained a small settlement
at one'time and the cultivated grapes
and wheat had run wild, affording
sustenance for the castaways. Elsa
ground the ripe grains between two
stones, mixing unleavened flour for
They reckoned that they could Iivef
while the wheat lasted. That meant
two weeks longer. Then it would be
slow starvation or a diet of mussels
and wild- fruits. "
Sometimes a fishing boat was seen
far away, but nobody ever seemed to
see the white skirt waving from the
pole on a tall tree.
Foscari lav in the sun most of the
day. He scowled savagely whenever
Harding went near him. Harding
and Elsa were unconcernedly inter
ested in each other. They spoke of
"You are not bound to him, dear,"
said Harding. "His act in deserting
xml | txt