Not even a cat was out. The rain surged down with a steady drone. It meant harm to New York and everyone there. The gutters could not contain it. Long ago they had despaired of the job and surrendered. But the rain paid no attention to them. It was bent on an errand of hate against the city.
Jane awoke with a feeling that everyone in New York, perhaps everyone in the world, was unhappy or in trouble. It had been so long since one of her young friends had come to her with news of happiness and good fortune. There were two exceptions, and on them she counted more than she knew — Millie, Broadway flapper; and Professor Myers, contented scientist.
The river was smiling surreptitiously in the bright morning. And there lay the schooner of the evening before, as though she were trying her best to be real, perhaps for Jane’s sake. There was not much doing at the lumber yard across the river, but at least the old watchman had gone. She found an efficient-looking person at last, who was apparently about to start off somewhere in a dirty launch. “That ship?” He waved an expansive arm. “Why, I’m just goin’ out to her. You kin come along, young lady.”
Jane sang as she fried the eggs for breakfast. The world had suddenly changed from a drab, exhausted mud-puddle into a rainbow. She sang ridiculous songs. Why, even the eggs had changed! They were positively smiling now, instead of presenting a wrinkled scowl.
The Annie Marlow glided ahead evenly, obedient to the small snorting tug that was taking her down-river. Gulls veered around her, as if they were glad she was outward bound. They would escort her gracefully down to the open sea. The wake glimmered with their wings, flashing gray and white, beating strongly and softly, in a shifting, weaving crowd.
Jane was up early, and came on deck to feel the incredible blue of a young morning at sea. The wind was like the primrose wind that chases about fragrant pastured hills at dawn; only bolder and freer.
The storm came with a frowning of the sky, and ponderous shadows over the sea’s face. Jane sensed it, early one morning when she went on deck. Serenity was lost, cast away behind. The sea had no use for that now. The world was a gray color, unutterably gray. The wind was gray. It came in whorls, biting at the foam. The waves showed white hungry teeth.
Long afterwards Davidson was to remember a certain moment on the Annie Marlow‘s poop deck as the most dire moment of his life. In times of stress he would compare his trouble to that past horror, and sigh with relief. That was the ultimate. Nothing the world could do to him would ever approach the intensity of it.
They might almost have spent their lives in that one corner of the long beach, exchanging low-voiced conversation, moving only in order to shake low-drooping branches of an orange tree, or pull down another banana. But on the afternoon of the fourth day, black clouds began to pile up over the sea. Leaves rustled and shivered, turning up their pale lower sides.
Davidson was whittling. He sat in the mouth of the cave, with the big green ferns around him, the rocky turrets and soft blue sea for background. He was naked and tawny-colored among green fronds. The thick soft hair on his chest and forearms was spun gold in the sun.