Jeanne Of The Marshes
Andrew looked up from his gardening, startled by the sudden peal of thunder.
Absorbed in his task, he had not noticed the gathering storm. The sky was black
with clouds, riven even while he looked with a vivid flash of forked lightning. The
ground beneath his feet seemed almost to shake beneath that second peal of
thunder. In the stillness that followed he heard the cry of a woman in distress. He
threw down his spade and raced to the other side of the garden. About twenty
yards from the shore, Jeanne, in a small boat, was rowing toward the island. She
was pulling at the great oars with feeble strokes, and making no headway against
the current which was sweeping down the tidal way. There was no time for
hesitation. Andrew threw off his coat, and wading into the water, reached her just
in time. He clambered into the boat and took the oars from her trembling fingers.
He was not a moment too soon, for the long tidal waves were rushing in now
before the storm. He bent to his task, and drove the boat safely on to the beach.
Then he stood up, dripping, and handed her out.
"My dear young lady," he said, a little brusquely, and forgetting for the moment
his Norfolk dialect, "what on earth are you about in that little boat all by yourself?"
She was still frightened, and she looked at him a little piteously.
"Please don't be angry with me," she said. "I wanted to come here and see you,
to--to ask your advice. The boat was lying there, and it looked such a very short
distance across, and directly I had started the big waves began to come in and I
The storm broke upon them. Another peal of thunder was followed by a
downpour of rain. He caught hold of her hand.
"Run as hard as you can," he said.
They reached the cottage, breathless. He ushered her into his little sitting-room.