OCR Interpretation


Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 17, 1938, Image 75

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1938-04-17/ed-1/seq-75/

What is OCR?


Thumbnail for 9

libera tel y fool a man into loving you when
»u were going straight to the arms of another?
at perhai>s it was the other who was Ix-ing
ofcd? He shook his head, remembering Scott’s
luthful charms. For Brack no longer felt
>ung: he felt old, a hundred years old. Old and
ild.
He kxiked about, vaguely surprised that the
isy traffic of the smoke room went on as if
thing had happened.
In the next instant the busy traffic of that
Kurious nxnn stopped forever.
To a shattering roar of sound which went up
one hoarse crescendo, the ship reeled and
iggered. People were Hung from chairs, win
ws flew in splinters, glasses were sent smash
{. For the fraction of a second after, there was
ter silence and lack of movement, as if the
n of life had jammed. The ship and all her
nple were stunned.
Then, in the smoke nxim, a man s voice
ched tautly high, said in a whisper which
ibbed into every corner,"Mined’Great God!”
Above the siren hooted, and at that derisive
nal bedlam broke loose. A steward shouted,
Ks all right! They'll beach her! Stay quiet!”
it the words did not register on ears still
ivering under the stroke of that death-deal
[ explosion. Some few st<xxl firm and they
ght have calmed the rest, but, before their
arts could avail, a worse thing happened,
ic roar was repeated, agonizingly, killingly,
that the nerves screamed out for mercy.
The pulse of life in the ship stopped, and
rkness crashed down, complete and absolute,
reams and oaths and appeals crowded the
rkness with terror.
track, still numbed by his own affairs, was
adier than most. Me said aloud amidst the
i, “We’ve Ix-en hit again. In the engine nxim
s time.”
His table was in a corner ol trie room ana ne
s lying where he had been flung across it.
try! At the thought of her he leapt up and.
imbling over chairs and slipping on spilt
nks and glass, joined the milling mob. This
ght be his chance. If he could save her! He
st save her! Young men could be afraid or
in a crisis for some other reason. 1 Ie was still
lething of a swimmer, and he would not let
i panic grip him.
'or her sake he thrust and fought and kept
feet with grim determination. Nad they
ked out. the place could have been cleared
wo minutes, but they had not done so and
ire he reached the deck Brack had been
iggling for what seemed like an hour. The
m had gone and the deck, though better
n the shut-in room, was a tossing river
ring in all directions, full of whirlpools, in
deep dark.
Ringing to a bar along the deckhouse he
d to discover what to do. Where did one
t to look? How call her name in that pan
lonium so that she would hear!' Kven if, by
iracle, lie found her, w hat could he do?
n officer, shouting through a megaphone,
Wished what was by comparison a lull.
Sio need for panic. Ships on way. Plenty of
Is for all, and if you don’t behave like luna
and just go quietly to the boats and wait,
’ll save your silly necks.”
hey greeted that with a ragged cheer,
ut it didn’t find Mary,
nd that alone mattered to Brack just then.
;h more than his own silly neck. For this
the chance of a lifetime. The decks still
seethed and were littered with wreckage, but
he fought his way along calling her name with
desirerate insistence.
The boats were swinging out now, and people
were crowding towards them, held back by the
crew. The sea lapped closer, unseen but sensed.
It dragged at the murdered ship; it sucked her
down. Brack suddenly had a picture of Mary
lying hurt somewhere, deserted, doomed,
alone. For calamity had banished the thought
of Scott. Mary was as he had known her on the
deck that night. He started to run wildly,
knocking people down, thrusting them aside.
A large man, like a policeman in a sailor’s
uniform, seized him roughly.
“Here, that's enough of that. How can we
keep ’em in hand with a damn fool like you
rushing about. Get into this here boat.”
“But Mary — ”
“We’ll look after her. You’re only a nui
sance.”
ihe policeman-sailor did not waste further
words. He took Mr. John Brack, M. P„ by the
scruff of the neck and the seat of the trousers,
ran him to the rail, lifted him up bodily, and
pushed him into the boat. The falls whined and
the boat plopped into the water that was so
near. An ignominious exit for a lover who
sought to be a hero.
The dark sea was dotted with the ghosts of
boats all pulling away from the doomed ship.
Oars splashed wildly, for many were in inexpert
hands and elbow room was scant. The shouts
of those seeking lost ones echoed to and fro.
Brack joined in them. No answer. The strange
flotilla crept on over the calm waters which
were suddenly disturbed by a succession of
smoothly rounded waves. The seas slapped up
against the hulls and set them swaying. Back
where the shadow of the ship had made a
blacker silhouette against the blackness there
was a void.
Authoritative voices shouted orders. Noth
ing to be gained by pulling further, for the
lights of vessels hurrying to the rescue were
near at hand. The flotilla paused and waited.
Voices grew more cheerful — there was even
some cheering and a few started to sing — but
Brack, his throat sore from calling, sat in
melancholy silence. Mary had not answered
him; he had failed her; he had lost her. And
s! ill he did not remember that Mary was really
Scott’s affair. The scene in the smoke room had
been blotted out by that which followed so
swiftly.
Dreat living white swords struck through the
night. They fell on the boats, lighting faces
with a blinding brightness. The dark sea
glittered into smoky silver. Cheers broke out
anew.
“Destroyers, four of them,” explained the
third officer in Brack’s boat. “Bit of luck, and
a sight better for them to be looking after us
taxpayers than fussing about the ruddy Span
iards. If they’re going to mine places why can't
they make the mines fast properly so they don’t
break away?”
The low, swift bearers of the white swords
came up, white water at their bows. For a time
they cruised slowly, looking for chance survi
vors, since those in the boats were safe. They
then put out boats themselves, and at last the
task of embarkation began. The flotilla split
up, the boats heading for the nearest destroyer.
People were laughing now and chattering ex
citedly.
(Continued on page 15)
Clinging to a bar along the deckhouse he tried to discover what to do

xml | txt