The Wizard's Son, Volume 2 (of 3) by Margaret Oliphant

The Wizard's Son, Volume 2 (of 3)

byMargaret Oliphant

Kobo ebook | February 17, 2015

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When Walter seated himself beside Oona in the boat, and Hamish pushed off from the beach, there fell upon both these young people a sensation of quiet and relief for which one of them at least found it very difficult to account. It had turned out a very still afternoon. The heavy rains were over, the clouds broken up and dispersing, with a sort of sullen stillness, like a defeated army making off in dull haste, yet not without a stand here and there, behind the mountains. The loch was dark and still, all hushed after the sweeping blasts of rain, but black with the reflections of gloom from the sky. There was a sense of safety, of sudden quiet, of escape, in that sensation of pushing off, away from all passion and agitation upon this still sea of calm. Why Oona, who feared no one, who had no painful thoughts or associations to flee from, should have felt this she could not tell. The sense of interest in, and anxiety for, the young man by her side was altogether different. That was sympathetic and definable; but the sensation of relief was something more. She looked at him with a smile and sigh of ease as she gathered the strings of the rudder into her hands.

"I feel," she said, "as if I were running away, and had got safe out of reach; though there is nobody pursuing me that I know of," she added, with a faint laugh of satisfaction.

The wind blew the end of the white wrapper round her throat towards her companion, and he caught it as she had caught the rudder ropes.

"It is I that am pursued," he said, "and have escaped. I have a feeling that I am safe here. The kind water, and the daylight, and you—but how should you feel it? It must have gone from my mind to yours."

"The water does not look so very kind," said Oona, "except that it separates us from the annoyances that are on land—when there are annoyances."

She had never known any that were more than the troubles of a child before.

"There is this that makes it kind. If you were driven beyond bearing, a plunge down there and all would be over——"

"Lord Erradeen!"

"Oh, I don't mean to try. I have no thought of trying; but look how peaceful, how deep, all liquid blackness! It might go down to the mystic centre of the earth for anything one knows."

He leant over a little, looking down into those depths profound which were so still that the boat seemed to cut through a surface which had solidity; and in doing this put the boat out of trim, and elicited a growl from Hamish.

It seemed to Oona, too, as if there was something seductive in that profound liquid depth, concealing all that sought refuge there. She put out her hand and grasped his arm in the thrill of this thought.

"Oh, don't look down," she said. "I have heard of people being caught, in spite of themselves, by some charm in it." The movement was quite involuntary and simple; but, on second thoughts, Oona drew away her hand, and blushed a little. "Besides, you put the boat out of trim," she said.

"If I should ever be in deadly danger," said Walter, with the seriousness which had been in his face all along, "will you put out your hand like that, without reflection, and save me?"

Oona tried to laugh again; but it was not easy; his seriousness gained upon her, in spite of herself.

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Title:The Wizard's Son, Volume 2 (of 3)Format:Kobo ebookPublished:February 17, 2015Publisher:R. CLAY, SONS, AND TAYLOR, PRINTERSLanguage:English

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