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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAladdin O'brien - Book 1 - Chapter 4
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Aladdin O'brien - Book 1 - Chapter 4 Post by :myverysimple Category :Long Stories Author :Gouverneur Morris Date :May 2012 Read :3564

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Aladdin O'brien - Book 1 - Chapter 4

BOOK I CHAPTER IV

However imminent the peril of the man, it is the better part of chivalry to remain by the distressed lady, and though impotent to be of assistance, we must linger near Margaret, and watch her gradually rise from prone sobbing to a sitting attitude of tears. For a long time she sat crying on the empty shore, regarding for the most part black life and not at all the signs of cheerful change which were becoming evident in the atmosphere about her. The cold breath across her face and hands and needling through her shivering body, the increasing sounds of treetops in commotion, the recurring appearance of branches where before had been only an opaque vault, did little to inform her that the fog was about to lift. The rising wind merely made her the more miserable and alone. Nor was it until a disk of gold smote suddenly on the rock before her that she looked up and beheld a twinkle of blue sky. The fog puffed across the blue, the blue looked down again,--a bigger eye than before,--a wisp of fog filmed it again, and again it gleamed out, ever larger and always more blue. The good wind living far to the south had heard that in a few days a little girl was to be alone and comfortless upon a foggy island, and, hearing, had filled his vast chest with warmth and sunshine, and puffed out his merry cheeks and blown. The great breath sent the blue waves thundering upon the coral beaches of Florida, tore across the forests of palm and set them all waving hilariously, shook the merry orange-trees till they rattled, whistled through the dismal swamps of Georgia, swept, calling and shouting to itself, over the Carolinas, where clouds were hatching in men's minds, banked up the waters of the Chesapeake so that there was a great high tide and the ducks were sent scudding to the decoys of the nearest gunner, went roaring into the oaks and hickories of New York, warmed the veins of New England fruit-trees, and finally coming to the giant fog, rent it apart by handfuls as you pluck feathers from a goose, and hurled it this way and that, until once more the sky and land could look each other in the face. Then the great wind laughed and ceased. For a long time Margaret looked down the cleared face of the river, but there was no trace of Aladdin, and in life but one comfort: the sun was hot and she was getting warm.

After a time, in the woods directly behind where she sat hoping and fearing and trying to dry her tears, a gun sounded like an exclamation of hope. Had Aladdin by any incredible circumstance returned so soon? Mindful of his warning not to stray from where she was, Margaret stood up and called in a shrill little voice

"Here I am! Here I am!"

Silence in the woods immediately behind where Margaret stood hoping and fearing!

"Here I am!" she cried. And it had been piteous to hear, so small and shrill was the voice.

Presently, though much farther off, sounded the merry yapping bark of a little dog, and again, but this time like an echo of itself, the exclamation of hope--hope deferred.

"Here I am! Here--I--am!" called Margaret.

Then there was a long silence--so long that it seemed as if nothing in the world could have been so long. Margaret sat down gasping. The sun rose higher, the river ran on, and hope flew away. And just as hope had gone for good, the merry yapping of the dog broke out so near that Margaret jumped, and bang went the gun--like a promise of salvation. Instantly she was on her feet with her shrill,

"Here I am! Here I am!"

And this time came back a lusty young voice crying:

"I'm coming!"

And hard behind the voice leaves shook, and a boy came striding into the sunlight. In one hand he trailed a gun, and at his heels trotted a waggish spaniel of immense importance and infinitesimal size. In his other hand the boy carried by the legs a splendid cock-grouse, ruffled and hunger-compelling. The boy, perhaps two years older than Aladdin, was big and strong for his age, and bore his shining head like a young wood-god.

Margaret ran to him, telling her story as she went, but so incoherently that when she reached him she had to stop and begin over again.

"Then Senator St. John is your father?" said the boy at length. "You know, he's a great friend of my father's. My father's name is Peter Manners, and he used to be a congressman for New York. Are you hungry?"

Margaret could only look it.

They sat down, and the boy took wonderful things out of his wonderful pockets--sandwiches of egg and sandwiches of jam; and Margaret fell to.

"I live in New York," said the boy, "but I'm staying with my cousins up the river. They told me there were partridges on this island, and I rowed down to try and get some, but I missed two." The boy blushed most becomingly whenever he spoke, and his voice, and the way he said words, were different from anything Margaret had ever heard. And she admired him tremendously. And the boy, because she had spent a night on a desert island, which he never had, admired her in turn.

"Maybe we'll find 'Laddin on the way," said Margaret, cheerfully, and she looked up with great eyes at her godlike young friend.

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BOOK I CHAPTER VMeanwhile to Aladdin and his log divers things had occurred, but the wonderful lamp, burning low or high at the will of the river, had not gone out. Sliding through the smoking fog at three miles an hour, kicking and paddling, all had gone well for a while. Then, for he was more keen than Margaret to note the fog's promise to lift, at the very moment when the shores began to appear and mark his course as favorable, at the very moment when the sun struck one end of the log, an eddy of the current struck
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BOOK I CHAPTER IIIEven in the good north country the white breath of the melting icebergs takes turn and turn with diamond nights and days, people did not remember so thick a fog; nor was there a thicker recorded in any chapter of tradition. Indeed, if the expression be endurable, so black was the whiteness that it was difficult to know when morning came. There was a fresher shiver in the cold, the sensibility that tree-tops were stirring, a filmy distinction of objects near at hand, and the possibility that somewhere 'way back in the east the rosy fingers of
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