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The Ebbing Of The Tide
South Sea Stories - 1896

written by "Becke, Louis, 1855-1913"
...ar from his overcoat he bent his head and struck a light. Ere he raised it the white-haired man had sprung upon him like a tiger, and seized his throat in his brawny hands. For a minute or so Cressingham struggled in that deadly grip, and then lay limp and insensible in the bottom of the boat. Challoner, with malignant joy, leaned over him with a world of hate in his black eyes, and then proceeded to business. Lifting the unconscious man he carried him for'ard, and, placing him upon a thwart, gagged and bound him securely. Then he went aft and, taking the tiller, hauled the sheet in and kept the boat away again upon her course for the Belted Will. He passed within a quarter of a mile of the huge, black mass with the bright riding light shining upon the fore-stay, and the look-out from the steamer took no notice of the boat as she swept past toward the open sea. Daylight at last. For six hours the boat had swept before the strong northerly wind, and the land lay nearly thirty miles astern, lost in a sombre bank of heavy clouds and mist. Challoner had taken off his rough overcoat and thrown it over the figure of his enemy. He did not want him to perish of cold. And as he steered he fixed his eyes, lighted up with an unholy joy, upon the bent and crushed figure before him. Cressingham was conscious now, and stared with horror-filled eyes at the grim creature in the craft before him—a gaunt, dark-faced man, clad in a striped guernsey and thin cotton pants, with a worn and ragged woollen cap stuck upon his thick masses of white curly hair. Who was he? A madman. Challoner seemed to take no notice of him, and looked out upon the threatening aspect of sea and sky with an unconcerned face. Presently he hauled aft the sheet a bit, and kept the boat on a more westerly course, and the bound and wondering man on the for'ard thwart watched his movements intently. The boat had made a little water, and the whit...

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