He made various attempts to push the boat free, but the mooring-rope which held it fast making his efforts futile, he was constrained to abandon them, and returned to us, after having given us the most striking example we had ever had of attention and reflection among savage peoples." Presently the companion of the young aboriginal came down the hill and joined the group.
The officer at her side saw nothing of her movements, and his first knowledge of her intention was the sudden and mysterious appearance of a bluish flame close beside him and the tingle of burning brimstone in his nostrils. With a wild yell, he leaped into the air and then, half crazed by fear, tumbled into the boat and cut the mooring-rope with his sword. "Cast off cast off!" he screamed.
The next moment, he had swung her off her feet, and lowered her carefully to the cushions in the bow of the canoe. Then, jumping in himself with a force that made the boat rock, he loosened the mooring-rope, seized the paddle, and pushed off. In making love, as in every other branch of life, consistency is the quality most to be aimed at. To hedge is fatal.
He was a simple man, and he puffed at his stump of a black cigar and strolled down to the boat to find out whether the Cripple and the Son of the Fool had spliced that old spare mooring-rope which had done duty last night and had been found chafed this morning.
A mooring-rope was flung and grasped, and I found myself pulled down to a level with a great crowd of Selenites, who jostled to see me. "It was an incredible crowd. Suddenly and violently there was forced upon my attention the vast amount of difference there is amongst these beings of the moon. "Indeed, there seemed not two alike in all that jostling multitude.
Then, unfastening the mooring-rope, the boy picked up a boat-hook, and by hooking on to the side rocks here and there he piloted the boat along the devious watery lane, with the mighty walls towering high on either side and whispering or echoing back every sound he produced on his way out to the open sea.
It was some time after the Flying Dutchman parted her one insufficient mooring-rope before Kirk realized that the sound of the water about her had changed from a slap to a gliding ripple. There was no longer the short tug and lurch as she pulled at her painter and fell back; there was no longer the tide sound about the gaunt piles of the wharf.
They let go the mooring-rope and went churning into a whirlpool of yeasty spray. All hands bent their strength to the poles. The raft dipped out of sight, but was presently seen riding safely and calmly below the rapids. Those watching the Scarborough from the bank breathed freely again and plucked up heart; but the worst was yet ahead.
A sailor was near me coiling the loosened mooring-rope on the deck. I asked him to what port the vessel was bound. The man looked at me in surly amazement, and answered: "To Rotterdam." IT mattered little to me to what port the vessel was bound. Go where I might, I knew that I was on my way to Mrs. Van Brandt. She had need of me again; she had claimed me again.
A vessel with her flags flying and her canvas already loosened was hanging to a buoy some distance out in the stream, and as the boat came near enough for the captain to distinguish those on board, the mooring-rope was slipped, the head sails flattened in, and the vessel began to swing round. Before her head was down stream the boat was alongside.