Three Men and a Maid (Chapter 7, page 2 of 14)


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Chapter 7

However, these were small matters. No doubt she had been in a hurry and all that sort of thing. The important point was that he was going to see her. When a man's afraid, sings the bard, a beautiful maid is a cheering sight to see; and the same truth holds good when a man has made an exhibition of himself at a ship's concert. A woman's gentle sympathy, that was what Samuel Marlowe wanted more than anything else at the moment. That, he felt, was what the doctor ordered. He scrubbed the burnt cork off his face with all possible speed and changed his clothes and made his way to the upper deck. It was like Billie, he felt, to have chosen this spot for their meeting. It would be deserted and it was hallowed for them both by sacred associations.

She was standing at the rail, looking out over the water. The moon was quite full. Out on the horizon to the south its light shone on the sea, making it look like the silver beach of some distant fairy island. The girl appeared to be wrapped in thought, and it was not till the sharp crack of Sam's head against an overhanging stanchion announced his approach that she turned.

"Oh, is that you?"

"Yes."

"You've been a long time."

"It wasn't an easy job," explained Sam, "getting all that burnt cork off. You've no notion how the stuff sticks. You have to use butter...."

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