You thoroughly deserved to cleave through the cold waters of Iceland in a shapely frigate. The boat heeled over gracefully and floated over the waves like a gull with its wings outstretched. We stood there watching, without a move, until she disappeared behind the headland.
I slipped from the saddle and, holding this by my left hand, swam with my right beside my mount, encouraging him with my shouts. For a time he floated with lips apart and his teeth set firm. In his widely opened eyes was indescribable fear. As soon as I was out of the saddle, he had at once risen in the water and swam more calmly and rapidly.
"But he is a dear little fellow, and he creeps into my bed, and lies in my arms; his hair is all curls, and he told me the story of his drowning, how it happened five thousand years ago. He was carried away in his cot by the flood, and had floated away, seeing the tops of trees, until a great brown bear, weary of swimming, laid hold of the cot and overturned it."
One they saw no more, for Smith had stabbed him, the other floated up near the boat, which already was some yards from the quay, and a sailor battered him on the head with an oar, so that he sank. Smith had vanished also, and they thought he must be drowned.
The day was quiet and dreamy one of those late Indian Summer mornings, when existence itself seems heavenly. The sash was open, and the odor of heliotrope and roses came through, softening the sweet thoughts that floated in her brain, and becoming, as it were, a part of them.
How it bared its breadth of breast, and opened its capacious palm, and floated on, outpouring, with a generous hand, its bright and harmless mirth on everything within its reach!
The young man smiled, and continued playing; and as the rude border music floated from the instrument, the Verty of old days came back, and he was once again the forest hunter. The old woman gazed at him with thoughtful affection, and returned his smile. He went on playing, and the long hours of the autumn night went by like birds into the cloudland of the past.
The subdued din of thousands of human voices floated over the water, and mingled with the occasional shout or song that rose from the fleet and the splash of oars, as boats passed to and from the shore.
Torn clouds floated across the hills towards the north-west, the stars shone dull, and it was very lonely and oppressively silent, nowhere was there a trace of life, human or animal. Lying on deck, I listened to the sound of the surf breaking in the different little bays near and far, in a monotonous measure, soft and yet irresistible.
A portage of four miles brought us to a small stream upon which we launched our boats and floated into Lake Megantic, the principal source of the Chaudière. We encamped here, and the next day, our commander with a party of fifty-five men on shore, and thirteen men with himself, proceeded down the Chaudière to the first French settlements, there to obtain provisions and send them back to us.