THE storm was over. Dawn came with a clear sky and no wind. Though a white-streaked, leaping sea still dashed and thundered upon the encircling reef, the water inside was flat and noiseless save for a gentle plashing at its edge. When, with tropic haste, the sun rose and proclaimed the day, the ocean seemed to have forgotten its anger. Beyond the boiling reef it had become a merry dancing sea of sapphires and diamonds, deep blue and sparkling white ; inside the barrier it lay a placid zone of cobalt, which gradually turned to green as it neared the shore and the yellow sand showed through it. But on the island the palms were bent and tattered ; the foliage of the undergrowth was shriveled and blackened as by a frost; and all along the strand there ran a dark, irregular line of sea-wreck.

A few yards above high-water mark, face downward at the foot of a giant palm, lay a man. One arm rested under his forehead ; the other was stretched out before him. Upon the latter a fullrigged ship had been tattooed. His head and feet were bare, and his torn clothes were still wet.

The sun climbed, the heat increased, the frightened birds in the thickets took courage and began to call again, but the man did not move ; for he was spent by his struggle with the sea.

Later, a gaudy lowrie shrieking overhead roused him, and he sat up, staring about him with wild, frightened eyes. Then, slowly, painfully, he rose, and limping down to the water, he stood, swaying unsteadily, with one hand shading his weak eyes, and looked anxiously seaward.

Now that the tide was out, he could see the swart, jagged crest of the reef upon which the ship had struck. A flock of sea-birds circled and screamed above it in one place, but except the birds, the rocks, and the sea there was nothing.

The man sat down heavily, and covered his face with his hands. Again he lifted his head, and gazed sightlessly at the far-away horizon. After a little while a wandering crab caught his attention. He watched it stupidly for a moment; then suddenly pounced upon it, pulled off its claws, and carried it above the tide-mark. Now that the instinct of self-preservation was stirred in him, he began to search for food. Instead of striking into the forest, as a landsman would have done, he clung tenaciously to the one thing he knew and called his friend, — the sea. The tangled underbrush, the shadowy glades, the mysterious noises of the forest, all caused him apprehension ; but on the shore, with the sound of the ocean in his ears and the invigorating smell of seaweed in his nostrils, he felt more confidence.

Some rock-oysters, chipped laboriously from the stones uncovered by the tide, appeased his hunger. Water he found in the hollows of the higher rocks. Though the salt spray had mingled with the rain and made it brackish, it contented him.

Strengthened and encouraged by his meal, he washed the sand from his black hair and beard, cleansed his torn hands and feet, and, manlike, began to plan. He would see what material he had at hand, what wreckage had been washed up, and would search for his shipmates who had taken to the boats. It could not be possible that he alone out of all the ship’s company had reached the island, — he who had been the last to leave the ship. No, surely he was not alone! Cheered by this new thought, he started hopefully along the beach, turning to the right, with a sailor’s way of doing things “ with the sun.”

The masses of fresh kelp which marked the limit of the sea’s late flood were mixed with sponge growths, coral, polyps, shells, sea-fans, and dead fish. The shore was littered with strange things wrenched from the ocean-bed. Sometimes the man stopped and looked at these things curiously, and once he put a lustrous cowrie in his pocket.

As he walked on and on, however, such objects ceased to interest him ; for he was seeking wreckage and his fellow men, and he found neither. At every point that cut off his view he would say, “ I shall see them when I round that,” and he would put forth all his strength to reach it; but each time he stood at the turn and opened a newr prospect, disappointment awaited him.

The day wore on, and he became very weary. His limping gait grew slower and slower. His head dropped on his chest. A wide bay, without a cheering sign, had to be skirted before he could reach the next cape ; and he felt that he could not go much farther.

Presently, a long white object lay at his feet, and with a cry of joy he opened his half-shut eyes. It was an oar. He looked eagerly round for the boat to which it belonged; but no boat was to be seen, neither was there a footprint nor any trace that one had landed there.

“ Capsized! ” he muttered despondently, and shouldering the oar he limped on.

He had gone but a short distance, however, when he stopped again. This time it was before a “ fancy ” ship’s bucket. The wood was white, the hoops were blue, and the rope handle was an elaborate piece of sailor handiwork. As he turned it over thoughtfully with his foot, he started ; for he saw’ that the name painted upon it was not the name of his ship, but that of another vessel. Then he dropped the oar, and found that it too was branded with the strange name.

“ D-r-u-i-d, Druid,” he said. “ My God ! Then there were two wrecks ! ” After a pause he continued : “ And only one man saved ! Ha! ha ! ha ! What a joke ! Ha ! ha ! ” and he broke into shouts of hoarse laughter.

Suddenly his unnatural merriment ended ; for far down the beach, near to the water’s edge, there was a dark something that moved. Though at the moment it was still, the man could have sworn that he had seen it stir, and was instantly filled with a vague fear. Rigid and breathless, he stood and watched the thing. It moved again. Then, cautiously, with mingled feelings of curiosity, fear, and hope, the man approached it. At one moment it looked like a roll of seaweed, at another a seal, and at yet another a human body. As he got nearer, he saw that a rocking motion was given to the tiling by an occasional wave that ran up higher than its fellows, and that the thing itself was a woman.

Forgetting his weariness and pain, the man ran ; then stopped, looking down with dismay at the piteous heap before him. The woman lay on her side in a little bed which the weight of her body and the incoming waves had made in the sand; her face and hands were pallid, her lips were set, and her long brown hair was spread upon the beach like a delicate seaweed. About her waist two lifebelts had been securely lashed, and from her neck there hung by a silken string a small chamois bag.

As the man bent over her he was filled with pity, and tears rolled down his cheeks, — tears that were partly for her, and partly for his lonely self. Why, oh why, had she not lived ? He touched her cold hands and face, placed his ear to her mouth, but could detect no life. On a sudden a new hope sprang within him, and, growing strong with it, he lifted the woman in his arms and staggered up the beach, where he laid her down in the warm sand, out of the reach of the sea.

Quickly loosing the life-belts from about her waist, he found to his delight that she was still warm. Though she was apparently drowned, life was not extinct, and, with a sailor’s knowledge, he began at once to practice the methods used to produce artificial breathing. He worked with grim, deliberate perseverance, until she breathed naturally ; then he restored warmth and circulation by stones which had lain in the sun and by rubbing. At last the woman opened her large blue eyes, and gazed wonderingly into the man’s eager face. Then she closed them again and fell asleep. With a great joy in his heart the man rose, and went away to collect shellfish; for he knew now that the woman would not die.

After the castaways had lived upon rock-oysters and cocoanuts for two days the man made a fire-drill, and by dint of much labor produced fire, which he kept burning day and night. With a sharp stone he hewed out a rude spear for spearing fish, and a throwing-stick to kill the many tame birds that flew about the island. Turtle eggs he found in a cove near by, and in the forest an abundance of yams and plantains. When there was no longer any need of being anxious about food, he built the woman a little hut of boughs, so that she might be sheltered from the heavy rains and be alone.

The woman, however, grieved exceedingly, and would not be comforted. All day she sat in the shadow of the palms, staring at the sea. Though she tried to be brave before the man, he would often return from hunting or fishing to find her weeping bitterly.

Fearful that she would go mad or die, he tried to distract her by seeking her advice and help. He taught her to twist cocoa fibre into strings and ropes, to make a net from the same material; he stripped the life - belts of their canvas coverings, and asked her to make him a coat; he took her with him to the cove for turtle eggs and to the forest for fruit, making pretense always that he needed her assistance. And ever he spoke in strong, hopeful words of the future. Some day, he told her, a ship would come and carry them away from their island prison. So cheery, so full of faith was he that she came to believe him ; whereupon her grief abated and her courage came back.

One day he came to her and said, " On the other side of the island I have found a better place to live than this. There is plenty of good water and fruit, and a high cliff from which to keep a lookout; and a signal - fire lighted on the cliff could be seen for thirty miles. Shall we go ? ”

The woman’s eyes brightened, and she said, “ Yes ! yes ! Let us go at once.”

When they reached the new place, and the woman saw the cliff, the crystal rivulet that went singing across the yellow sand to the sea, and the wealth of gay, perfume - laden flowers that decked the slope, she cried, “ Oh, how beautiful! ” For the first time since she had been upon the island she smiled.

As soon as they were settled in their new camp the man began to build a huge bonfire on the bald summit of the cliff. As all the wood had to be carried from below, and as he had neither axe nor knife to aid him, the task was a long and hard one. He laid alternate layers of dry wood and green branches, so that the fire, when lighted, should send up a column of black smoke. It took him three weeks to raise the pile to the size he wanted, and during this time the woman helped him bundle the wood and cooked their simple meals.

When the great work was finished and ready for the torch, they went up and looked at it admiringly, and both were filled with eager hopefulness. They felt now that they were ready for the ship; that when she came they should be seen and saved.

Each morning and evening they climbed to their lookout, the man carrying a large bundle of sticks, the woman a small one ; for it pleased them to increase the size of their beacon. Panting they would reach the top, and, dropping their burdens, seat themselves in the cool breeze of the height, to scan the horizon and anticipate the coming of the ship. Sometimes they speculated upon her, — wondered from which direction she would come, whether she would be a steamer or a sailing vessel, and whither she would take them. The ship, indeed, was the one theme of their conversation, their one and only hope, their future.

Time went on, the weeks grew to months, but no vessel appeared. Such was their faith, however, that they did not cease to believe, nor stop adding fuel to their great unlighted beacon. In this common work and faith, in spite of daily disappointment, they drew closer together, and were strangely content. Plain food, physical labor, and an open-air life brought the color back to the woman’s cheeks, gave health and vigor to both man and woman. Laughter came to their lips easily, gladness to their eyes ; they sang as they worked, went hand in hand through the forest plucking flowers, and, as though by magic, became children again.

They deceived themselves into thinking that these things were born of sympathy and their mutual interest. Yet, notwithstanding this, there was one subject which they guiltily avoided, — the past. In the beginning the past had been their chief topic, but as the months went by they tacitly agreed to bury it.

The man, being an ingenious, handy fellow, made tools out of the iron hoops of the bucket he had found, and with them manufactured many things that they needed. Before the rainy season set in he built a stone house for the woman, which he made waterproof with a thatch of reeds ; and for himself he hollowed out a little cave at the foot of the cliff. As soon as these things were accomplished he set to work making a bark canoe, for he wished to search the barrier reef for wreckage.

In everything they did, however, neither the man nor the woman forgot that their work was but a makeshift, — that it was merely to tide them over until they were rescued. Nor did they cease to climb the cliff morning and evening, nor to add continually to their monster signal, nor to plan for the coming of the ship.

And in all they undertook, all their plans and anticipations, they found a happiness which constantly brought them nearer and nearer together.

By the calendar which the man had scratched upon the smooth surface of a rock, the castaways had been imprisoned by the sea nearly five months before the awakening came. Then, one day, while he was gathering fruit, he looked out over the ocean and saw a great white vessel standing close in to the island. Thereupon he ran down quickly to the beach where the woman was, crying joyously, “ The ship ! The ship!

When she saw it she laughed and cried by turns. For a moment they stood holding each other’s hands very tightly, and looking rapturously at this the realization of their one hope.

Their ship had come at last!

Then the man plucked a burning brand from the camp-fire, and ran with all his speed up the winding pathway they had worn to the beacon. On the way he snatched a handful of dry grass, with which to kindle the blaze. Excited, breathless, and flushed, he impatiently shook himself clear of the view-destroying underbrush, and reached the hilltop. The vessel was then almost abreast of the cliff, and so near that he could look down and see people upon her deck.

Realizing that no time was to be lost, the man knelt hurriedly at the foot of the bonfire, thrust the dry grass beneath a mass of small dead wood, and began to blow the smoking firebrand into life. At the third puff, however, he stopped; his hands fell limply at his sides; his face became contorted, and he shrank back from the pile, shuddering. For at that moment there came to him knowledge, and with it fear. He knew then that he loved the woman, and he knew that the lighting of the fire meant separation. Fearfully he laid the brand down ; then rose and edged away from it as though it were a snake.

“ I will not! I will not! ” he muttered fiercely. “ I will tell her the brand went out.’’

After a brief struggle, however, the man’s better nature asserted itself, and he came back. With a trembling hand he again lifted the fire-stick. Once more the charcoal glowed; once more he was on the point of sending aloft the signal. But as he hesitated he heard quick steps behind him, and a sound, — half cry, half sob. He turned, and saw that it was the woman.

Now, when the man and the woman looked into each other’s eyes they understood all. With a smile upon her loveillumined face, the woman lifted the firebrand and threw it into the sea beneath them. Then the man opened his arms, and the woman came to them.

And there at the edge of the cliff, with their signal-fire behind them, these two, who had drifted so strangely together, stood and watched the ship sail away. A thin haze rolling up from the southward soon enveloped the vessel. She became a phantom shape, then a thin dark line, which grew fainter and fainter, and finally disappeared.

H. Phelps Whitmarsh.