All the waves and the billows were going over him. For a few moments he struggled desperately with the black, advancing tide. His sight failed, it was growing dark. Then he threw the last forces of life into one terrible cry, and fell, as a great tree falls, heavily to the ground. The cry rang through the house.
Emily was too much affected by this honest confession to reply immediately, and, while she struggled to overcome the pleadings of her heart, and to act with the decisive firmness, which was necessary for her future peace, she perceived all the danger of trusting long to her resolution, in the presence of Valancourt, and was anxious to conclude an interview, that tortured them both; yet, when she considered, that this was probably their last meeting, her fortitude sunk at once, and she experienced only emotions of tenderness and of despondency.
Up, up, and up, struggled these men of the indomitable will. Step by step, while man after man fell wounded or dead, they pushed forward, taking what cover was possible; firing as steadily as at Aldershot; never wasting shots, keeping the eye vigilant for the black slouch hat above the rocks, which told that a Boer's head was beneath it, and might be caught by a lightning shot.
Those who had crossed stood irresolute, and then, turning, leaped into the water. As they struggled to get out on the opposite side the defenders maintained a deadly fire upon them, but, in two or three minutes, the last survivor had scrambled out, and all were in full flight toward the shore.
I left them one by one, the poor tool Harrison being the last; and by my own unassisted strength, I have struggled forward to the broad and blessed light, whereof thou too, Phoebe, shalt be partaker."
He had warned us of the danger and we had insisted upon coming on; we must now take the consequences. As it was evidently impossible to cross the river at this point, we struggled up its left bank in the teeth of the storm almost half a mile, until we reached a bend which put land between us and the open water. Here we made a second attempt, and were successful.
Those were not the days when babies were raised by scientific rules, and Silas caught the child from its mother's arms and repeated the tossing process, while the baby shouted and struggled. At last the three, followed by the family, retired to convenient chairs about the sitting-room fire.
In spite of Buck's futile struggles, he held it there firmly while the two men moved out of sight down the trail. His face, which still bore the fading marks of Buck's fists, was a trifle pale, but hard and determined, and in his eyes triumph and a curious, nervous shrinking struggled for mastery. But as the moments dragged on leaden wings, not a word passed his tight lips.
Pearlie struggled with her hair to make it lie down and "act dacint," but the image that looked back at her from the cracked glass was not encouraging, even after making allowance for the crack, but she comforted herself by saying, "Sure it's Danny she wants to see, and she won't be lookin' much at me anyway."