Le 23 mars 2017, 03:49 dans Humeurs • 0
Ralph eagerly gave the required bond. Fastening the rope to his waist, he straddled the narrow trunk and gingerly began working himself forward toward his imperiled chum.
He got along all right till he was in a position where his feet began to be clawed at by the hurrying waters below. He swayed, recovered himself by a desperate effort, and then once more began his snail-like progress. The sight of Persimmons’ blue lips and white cheeks, for in that land the waters are almost as cold in midsummer as in the depth of winter, gave him fresh determination to continue his hazardous mission.
But even the most determined will cannot always overcome material obstacles. A chunk of driftwood was swept against Ralph’s feet. He was almost overbalanced by the force of the blow. The watchers on shore saw him strive wildly for an instant to recover his equilibrium, and then a cry of alarm broke from their lips as they saw the boy suddenly lose his balance completely and topple off the trunk into the stream.
The rope! Haul on the rope!” shouted the professor, as Ralph vanished, to reappear an instant later fighting for his life in the relentless torrent.
Well it was for the boy then, that he had tied the rope to his waist. Had he not done so, the moment might have been his last, for even the strongest swimmer that ever breasted water would have been but a helpless infant in that titanic current.
They all laid hold of the rope and pulled with every ounce of muscle their combined forces could command. But, even then, so strongly did the swiftly dashing stream suck at its victim that it was all they could do to get him ashore. Blue and shivering from cold, however, Ralph finally found footing and scrambled up the bank. Then, and not till then—such had been the strain—did they recollect Persimmons.
For an instant they hardly dared to look up. They feared that the end of the long log might prove to be tenantless. But, to their unspeakable relief, Persimmons still was clinging there. But even as they gave a shout of joy at the sight of him, another thought rushed in. Of what avail was it that the boy was there, when there appeared no possible way of getting him out of his predicament?
Were they to stand there helplessly and see him swept to his death before their very eyes? Was there nothing they could do? No untried way of getting that precious rope to him?
It appeared that the answer to these questions must be in the negative.