« السابقةمتابعة »
Jimmy saw one of his father's hands relax, and the oar fall from it, and float off far beyond their reach. He sprang over to where his father was sitting, and tried to rouse him, to make him know their danger; but the only reply he got was a gruff demand to be let alone. Jimmy seized the remaining oar, and tried with all his strength to guide the boat. The wind was blowing fresh and cold, and the waves, which had a short time before been ripples, were every moment growing higher, rocking the little skiff roughly from one to another. His father swayed back and forth with the motion, or leaned heavily against him, so all he could do was to cling to him, and call for help; but they only drifted farther out, and no one heard.
Jimmy's hands grew numb from holding the oar, and grasping his father's arm, and just when he was making a last effort to waken him, the boat mounted a wave higher than any other, and Jimmy felt the arm he was holding slip from under his hand, and, as they sank back to their level, he saw his father reel over the boat's side, and plunge down out of sight, far below the dark surface.
It seemed like a frightful dream to him ; for, even as he stretched forth his hands to catch him the waters closed, and the great circle of ripples made by his fall were met by the waves and obliterated, and the lightened boat went dancing off
, and he was alone on the lake. Poor Jimmy watched in vain to see his father rise, and he called his name over and over again, but the echo.was all that replied; he uttered a wild cry of despair, and the lake, shore, and sky faded from his sight. When he opened his eyes again, the moon was shining down upon him, and lighting the glistening water brightly, but he could not endure to look at it. He covered his face with his hands, and sank down in the boat. All night long he drifted, until, in the first light of morning, he was found by a party of neighbors who had been rowing over the lake, looking for his father and himself. As they neared home, he saw his mother standing on the beach, waiting for their return; and that was the last sight he remembered; for many weeks he lived the dreadful night over in a fierce fever. Then he grew well, but the recollection of it will never pass from his mind. Do you wonder now that poor little Jimmy has frightened eyes ?
Annie T. Howells.