He ploughed forward at a tremendous rate, and the correspondent, half-running, swung in behind with the evident intention of taking the pace. Corliss, still in the dark, lifted his head and watched them go; but when he saw the pocket-miner swerve abruptly to the right and take the trail up Adams Creek, the light dawned upon him and he laughed softly to himself.
Toni said nothing, but shoving aside the helmsman with a stroke of his paw, he grasped the wheel, making the boat swerve in another direction. The movement was opportune. Only a few seconds had passed by when there began to be seen upon the water a black back of dizzying speed headed directly for the steamer. "Torpedo!" shouted the captain. The anxious waiting lasted but a few seconds.
Thou hast good natural instincts, without which no knowledge is worth anything; commend thyself to God, and try not to swerve in the pursuit of thy main object; I mean, always make it thy aim and fixed purpose to do right in all matters that come before thee, for heaven always helps good intentions; and now let us go to dinner, for I think my lord and lady are waiting for us."
All this was mere byplay; a momentary swinging of their mood to pleasantry, because they were a temperamentally cheerful lot, and laughter came to them easily, as it always does to youth and perfect mental and physical health. Their brief hilarity over Slim's misfortune did not swerve them from their purpose, nor soften the mood of them toward their adversaries.
Suddenly a shadow seemed to leap out upon them, out of the darkness the shadow of a man. There was a moment's hideous clamour of the brakes, a sickening swerve of the machine, a man's shout, a sudden instant's flash of gleaming trunks brought sharply into focus, and then a slow, gradual letting down of her side of the car, inch by inch.
It was a faith from which he did not swerve. He had as implicit a confidence that one day or other Kara, the magnificent, would play into his hands. There were some queer stories in circulation concerning the Greek, but on the whole they were stories and rumours which were difficult to separate from the malicious gossip which invariably attaches itself to the rich and to the successful.
He could see the men with rifles, aiming, as it seemed, straight at him, and then he ducked his head as he saw the smoke once more belch from the seven-pounder. At the same moment he was nearly capsized by the sudden swerve of the Okapi, as she almost turned on her keel. The shot struck the water so close that the spray drenched them. Compton looked round and shouted aloud "They're aground!
She said, too, that such a peace must be a general one, including both the King of France and the States of the Netherlands, for with these powers she had but lately made an offensive and defensive league against the King of Spain, from which she protested that for no consideration in the world would she ever swerve one jot.
But that such sentiments or aspirations caused him to swerve the ninth part of a hair from what he considered the direct path of duty; that he determined to fight out the great fight with Spain and Rome until the States were free in form, in name, and in fact; only that he might then usurp a sovereignty which would otherwise revert to Philip of Spain or be snatched by Henry of Navarre of all this there is no proof whatever.
As the galley had been taken out only that instruction might be given to the young knights, the work was frequently broken. Sometimes they went ahead at full speed for a few hundred yards, as if to chase an adversary; then they would swerve aside, the slaves on one side rowing, while those on the other backed, so as to make a rapid turn.