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The Tidal Wave and Other Stories   By: (1881-1939)

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THE TIDAL WAVE AND OTHER STORIES

by

ETHEL M. DELL

Author of The Lamp in the Desert , The Hundredth Chance , Greatheart , etc.

1919

BY ETHEL M. DELL

The Way of an Eagle The Knave of Diamonds The Rocks of Valpré The Swindler The Keeper of the Door Bars of Iron Rosa Mundi The Hundredth Chance The Safety Curtain Greatheart The Lamp in the Desert The Tidal Wave The Top of the World The Obstacle Race

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Three stories in this volume, "The Magic Circle," "The Woman of his Dream," and "The Return Game," were first published in The Red Magazine.

CONTENTS

THE TIDAL WAVE

THE MAGIC CIRCLE

THE LOOKER ON

THE SECOND FIDDLE

THE WOMAN OF HIS DREAM

THE RETURN GAME

THE TIDAL WAVE

CHAPTER I

STILL WATERS

Rufus the Red sat on the edge of his boat with his hands clasped between his knees, staring at nothing. His nets were spread to dry in the sun; the morning's work was done. Most of the other men had lounged into their cottages for the midday meal, but the massive red giant sitting on the shore in the merciless heat of noon did not seem to be thinking of physical needs.

His eyes under their shaggy red brows were fixed with apparent concentration upon his red, hairy legs. Now and then his bare toes gripped the moist sand almost savagely, digging deep furrows; but for the most part he sat in solid contemplation.

There was only one other man within sight along that sunny stretch of sand a small, dark man with a shaggy, speckled beard and quick, twinkling eyes. He was at work upon a tangled length of tarred rope, pulling and twisting with much energy and deftness to straighten out the coil, so that it leaped and writhed in his hands like a living thing.

He whistled over the job cheerily and tunelessly, glancing now and again with a keen, birdlike intelligence towards the motionless figure twenty yards away that sat with bent head broiling in the sun. His task seemed a hopeless one, but he tackled it as if he enjoyed it. His brown hands worked with a will. He was plainly one to make the best of things, and not to be lightly discouraged a man of resolution, as the coxswain of the Spear Point lifeboat needed to be.

After ten minutes of unremitting toil he very suddenly ceased to whistle and sent a brisk hail across the stretch of sand that intervened between himself and the solitary fisherman on the edge of the boat.

"Hi Rufus Rufus ahoy!"

The fiery red head turned in his direction without either alacrity or interest. The fixed eyes came out of their trance like study and took in the blue jerseyed, energetic figure that worked so actively at the knotted hemp. There was something rather wonderful about those eyes. They were of the deep, intense blue of a spirit fed flame the blue of the ocean when a storm broods below the horizon.

He made no verbal answer to the hail; only after a moment or two he got slowly to his feet and began leisurely to cross the sand.

The older man did not watch his progress. His brown, lined face was bent again over his task.

Rufus the Red drew near and paused. "Want anything?"

He spoke from his chest, in a voice like a deep toned bell. His arms hung slack at his sides, but the muscles stood out on them like ropes.

The coxswain of the lifeboat gave his head a brief, upward jerk without looking at him. "That curly topped chap staying at The Ship," he said, "he came messing round after me this morning, wanted to know would I take him out with the nets one day. I told him maybe you would."

"What did you do that for?" said Rufus.

The coxswain shot him a brief and humorous glance. "I always give you the plums if I can, my boy," he said. "I said to him, 'Me and my son, we're partners. Going out with him is just the same as going out with me, and p'raps a bit better, for he's got the better boat.' So he sheered off, and said maybe he'd look you up in the evening... Continue reading book >>




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