"We must climb the bluff again. Be a good Indian!" he cried, groping for a footing.
Climbing the west bluff by daylight for the sake of adventure was very unlike this struggle in the darkness to escape the widening river, with a wind-driven torrent of rain sweeping down the land behind the first storm-fury, and Elinor Wream clung to her companion's arm almost helpless with fear.
"Do you think you can ever get us out? she asked, as the limestone ledge blocked the way.
"Do you know what my mother named me?" The carelessness of the tone was surprising.
"Then don't forget it," Burleigh said. "It's a dreadfully rough way before us, little girl, but we'll soon be safe from the river. Don't mind this little bit of a storm, and you'll get personally conducted into Lagonda Ledge before midnight."
In her sheltered life, Elinor had never known anything half so dreadful as this storm and darkness and booming flood, but the fearlessness of the strong man beside her inspired her to do her best. It was only two hours since they were here before. How could she know that these two hours had marked the crisis of a lifetime for Victor Burleigh. With a friendly little pressure on his arm, she said bravely:
"I'd rather be here with you than over the river with anybody else. I feel safer here."
Vic knew she meant only to be courteous, but the words were comforting. On the crest of the ledge the fierceness of the storm was revealed. Great sheets of wind-blown rain were flung athwart the landscape, and the utter blackness that followed the lightning's glare, and the roaring of the wind and river were appalling.