off shoes and heavy skirt plunged in, calling cheerily, "Sit still! I'll come and get you, Milly!"
She could swim like a fish, but encumbered with her clothes and weary with an unusually hard day's work, she soon found that she did not gain as rapidly as she expected upon the receding boat. She did not lose courage, but a thrill of anxiety shot through her as she felt her breath grow short, her limbs heavy, and the tide sweep her farther and farther from the shore.
"If they would only stop screaming and go for help, I could keep up and push the boat in; but the child will be out presently and then we are lost, for I can't get back with her, I'm afraid."
As these thoughts passed through her mind Ruth was swimming stoutly, and trying by cheerful words to keep the frightened child from risking their main chance of safety. A few more strokes and she would reach the boat, rest a moment, then, clinging to it, push it leisurely to shore. Feeling that the danger was over, she hurried on and was just putting up her hands to seize the frail raft and get her breath when Milly, thinking she was to be taken in her arms, leaned forward. In rushed the water, down went the boat, and out splashed the screaming child to cling to Ruth with the desperate clutch she dreaded.
Both went under for a moment, but rose again; and with all her wits sharpened by the peril of the moment, Ruth cried, as she kept herself afloat,—
"On my back, quick! quick! Don't touch my arms; hold tight to my hair, and keep still."