'I can make it! Stand by with a rope!'
What a rousing cheer they gave him! The chief mate took his stand in
the glare of a torch-basket, a coil of rope in his hand, and his men
grouped about him. The next moment the swimmer's face appeared in the
circle of light, and in another one the owner of it was hauled aboard,
limp and drenched, while cheer on cheer went up. It was that devil Tom.
The yawl crew searched everywhere, but found no sign of the two men.
They probably failed to catch the guard, tumbled back, and were struck
by the wheel and killed. Tom had never jumped for the guard at all, but
had plunged head-first into the river and dived under the wheel. It was
nothing; I could have done it easy enough, and I said so; but everybody
went on just the same, making a wonderful to do over that ass, as if he
had done something great. That girl couldn't seem to have enough of
that pitiful 'hero' the rest of the trip; but little I cared; I loathed
her, any way.
The way we came to mistake the sounding-boat's lantern for the buoy-
light was this. My chief said that after laying the buoy he fell away
and watched it till it seemed to be secure; then he took up a position a
hundred yards below it and a little to one side of the steamer's course,
headed the sounding-boat up-stream, and waited.