The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 47

no canvas, no boats;
and though I am not much of a sailor, I can see that there is little
likelihood of our effecting a landing on the shore ahead either with or
without boats---it looks most forbidding. Then the wind has gone down,
and when it comes up again it is possible that it will carry us away
from the land, or if it takes us toward it, dash us to pieces at the
foot of those frightful cliffs."

"I see you are too good a sailor by far to be cheered by any
questionable hopes," laughed Theriere; "but you must take the will
into consideration--I only wished to give you a ray of hope that might
lighten your burden of apprehension. However, honestly, I do think that
we may find a way to make a safe landing if the sea continues to go
down as it has in the past two hours. We are not more than a league from
shore, and with the jury mast and sail that the men are setting under
Mr. Ward now we can work in comparative safety with a light breeze,
which we should have during the afternoon. There are few coasts, however
rugged they may appear at a distance, that do not offer some foothold
for the wrecked mariner, and I doubt not but that we shall find this no
exception to the rule."

"I hope you are right, Mr. Theriere," said the girl, "and yet I cannot
but feel that my position will be less safe on land than it has been
upon the Halfmoon. Once free from the restraints of discipline which
tradition, custom, and law enforce upon the high seas there is no
telling what atrocities these men will commit. To be quite candid, Mr.
Theriere, I dread a landing worse than I dreaded the dangers of the
storm through which we have just passed."

"I think you have little to fear on that score, Miss Harding," said the
Frenchman. "I intend making it quite plain that I consider myself your
protector once we have left the Halfmoon, and I can count on several of
the men to support me. Even Mr. Divine will not dare do otherwise. Then
we can set up a camp of our own apart from Skipper Simms and his faction
where you will be constantly guarded until succor may be obtained."

Barbara Harding had been watching the man's face as he spoke. The memory
of his consideration and respectful treatment of her during the trying
weeks of her captivity had done much to erase the intuitive feeling
of

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