FICTION

William the Conquered

He renounced the world and all its women —but Kitty knew better

GILBERT WRIGHT December 1 1937
FICTION

William the Conquered

He renounced the world and all its women —but Kitty knew better

GILBERT WRIGHT December 1 1937

William the Conquered

He renounced the world and all its women —but Kitty knew better

GILBERT WRIGHT

THE LANDING float at the foot of the agency’s pier swayed wickedly, but William pretended not to notice it. Resting his large body against the railing, he stared out over the bay as though the float meant nothing. William’s was the face of an earnest young man full of idealism and frustration; the future lay before him like a glittering city of promise, but between him and it all the bridges were out.

A strong breeze was sowing the bay with capricious handfuls of whitecaps. A small sailboat, caught in a gust, heeled over dangerously but it recovered and came on, rhythmically exploding the waves with its bow. William shivered at the sight and lowered his eyes to the animated raft below him. That float haunted him; it represented one of the missing bridges on his road to success. But for his childish fear of the water and all things nautical, William would long ago have had a fine job demonstrating his Uncle George’s speedboats.

According to Professor Xandu, of the Temple of Cosmic Light, who had analyzed William, there was a simple reason for his fear of the water. It was due to the fact that William had stepped in a hole while wading at a tender age. Had he gone back and conquered that hole then and there, said Professor Xandu, William would not now be afraid to stand on a landing float. In fact, by now he would doubtless have been the manager of Uncle George’s company. Professor Xandu had discovered other missing bridges. For example, William was nervous about trafile officers because they symbolized domination, a quality in which he was deficient. Furthermore, William had little or no sales resistance. Professor Xandu proved this conclusively by signing William up for a course in dynamic unfoldment.

It seemed, according to Professor Xandu, that only three things prevented man from complete cosmic mastery: Antagonistic physical entities (such as water), antagonistic personalities (such as traffic officers), and inner desires. All William had to do was to conquer this baleful trinity in the order named and the forces of the universe could, so to speak, be made to jump through a hoop.

FIRED BY new knowledge, William had telephoned Uncle George and, to the old gentleman’s delight, accepted the agency job. Now, by forcing himself to walk down and stand upon the landing float, William was going to grind his fear of the water beneath the iron heel of the human will. Later he would hunt up a few antagonistic personalities and grind them. After that he was prepared to master inner desire and see what came of it. Professor Xandu predicted that William would then begin to shed inner light and be vested with powers like the yogis, clairvoyants and others who formed the inner circle of the temple.

William did not quite believe this.

Still, if after mastering desire he turned into a free soul with unusual powers, it might be a very handy thing.

William took a series of deep breaths, forced a dominating gleam into his eyes, and stared at the float. He straightened, set his jaw, and strode down the short gangway. He was there almost before he knew it and presently, as he stood upon the swaying deck, a delicious sense of accomplishment filled him; he could feel something which was doubtlessly the first quiver of the wings of dynamic

unfoldment. His will had never felt so consciously robust.

William was beginning to wonder if part of the new sensations within him could be approaching seasickness when he was startled by a fluttering slap and a small scream. The little sailboat he had previously noticed now lay on its side a short distance away. Its occupant, a golden-haired girl in a green bathing suit, was extricating herself from the submerged cockpit. Once free, she clung to the boat with one hand, while with the other she swept the hair out of her eyes.

William looked on this scene of distress and gulped. The girl had not yet noticed him, but she turned her head at the sound of his splash.

As he came to the surface William remembered, with a fleeting sense of dismay, that he did not know how to swim. But he set his masterful jaw and began learning while he called in a strangled voice to the girl, “I’m coming !”

He was doing, as he thought, quite splendidly when—on his way down for the third time—a hand twisted in his collar and conducted him back to the float. The girl followed him up the bathing ladder.

Sweeping the hair from her eyes, she regarded William curiously. She seemed to expect some explanation.

“I—it seemed to me,” said William, fishing out a dripping handkerchief to dry his face,

“that you were in trouble.” He nodded toward the little boat, which wind and tide were bringing straight toward them.

“Oh,” said the girl softly. Her eyes smiled in a friendly though amused fashion. “That was sweet of you. And brave. But you see, Ï tum her over pretty often. I’m trying to prove to my father that she’ll carry more sail than he recommended. He won today.” she added.

William nodded emptily.

“Clothes bother one a great deal in swimming,” she said conversationally. “Some very good swimmers are practically helpless when dressed—especially with their coats on.”

William grinned sheepishly.

“I’m not a very good swimmer and -er—well, thank you for saving my life.”

“Nonsense,” she replied. The little boat scraped against the float and the girl hooked her toes under the traveller. “I wonder.” she asked, “since you’re wet anyway—would you help me get the boat on the beach so I can bail her?”

“I'd be very glad to,” said William.

“You see, at this tide, the

“Oh,” said William. water is only about three feet deep so we can handle her.”

Working together they soon righted the boat and emptied her.

“You know,” said the girl wistfully, “there’s still a very fine breeze.” She regarded William. “With you as ballast, I believe I can get away with that sail after all. That is, unless you’re cold.”

William was not cold but as he looked at the tippy boat with its towering canvas, his teeth met in a spasmodic chatter. Then his jaw set like concrete and the gleam came into his eye. “I should like very much to see if you can turn her over—that is, I mean ...” William ceased talking and began to shove the boat into the water.

They sailed until sundown. Most of the time the boat lay on one side, with William and the girl leaning far back on the other. By looking down, William could see a full half of the boat’s bottom—a fascinating sight. The girl complimented him, saying that she had never had a better sailing companion in the way of ballast. She thought that with his help she might even get away with a larger jib.

When at last William again stood upon the agency float it seemed as steady as a rock, and his unfoldment was in fine fettle. Besides, her name was Kitty and he knew where she lived.

TOURING THE next few days William acquainted himself with his job and sold three boats. Running a speedboat was absurdly easy and nothing seemed dangerous after his sail with Kitty. He had definitely conquered his fear of the water as an antagonistic physical entity. That step was behind him forever, and he began to look about for a good antagonistic personality.

He had learned at what time Kitty came to the post office, and one afternoon mef her there. The demonstrator was chugging in its slip and he suggested to Kitty that he take her home. She lived in a bay front house a mile down the peninsula.

“We might take a spin out in the ocean and around the bell buoy,” he suggested.

On the way to her pier, William put the demonstrator through its paces. He cut long frothing figure eights around mooring buoys, dashed under the bows of fish boats, chased taxiing water fowl, and plowed a few furrows in submerged mud flats. As a final gesture of seamanship he swooped under a private pier, banked sharply and, streaking between a barge and a pile driver, drew up at Kitty’s float in a smother of subsiding spray.

Kitty stepped out at once. “That was a grand ride.” she said in a relieved tone. “But I’m afraid I can’t go out in the ocean today. I just remembered something.”

Before William could reply, he saw a large man rise from a locker box on the pier above. The man gripped a pair of marine glasses in one fist, the other he shook at William.

“You young fool !” said the man to William.

Kitty introduced them. The man was her father, Captain James. William nodded and murmured something.

Not so Captain James; he stood looking down at William as though formulating a very disagreeable diagnosis.

“I would like,” said Captain James, “to give you a piece of my mind, but there is small use in shooting a harpoon at an anchovy. Seventeen times I’ve been around the Horn; I’ve seen fire and hurricane, shipwreck and mutiny. But the most perilous and disgusting thing on the face of the deep is . . .” He bent forward and thrust a thick finger at William. “Take a grocery clerk and cover his empty skull with a smart yachting cap. Then set him in a mahogany

cracker box driven by a hundredhorsepower motor and turn him loose in a channel full of shipping. Such lubbers might be cured if they paid attention to the Pilot’s Rules. My idea,” he concluded sententiously, “would be to engrave the Rules on a bar of lead ballast, bend same

around the student’s neck and drop the whole mess overside somewhere off the hundred-fathom curve.”

Captain James studied William for a moment longer, then with the marine glasses in one fist and his daughter’s elbow in the other, turned and strode toward the house. His booming voice could be heard throughout the neighborhood as he reproved Kitty for risking her life and seagoing reputation in the company of a smelt-brained apple-duster with hair oil on his collar. To which Kitty replied stoutly that William didn’t use hair oil. The door slammed.

A A 7ILLIAM sat in the chugging demonstrator as he W headed slowly up the bay. He felt very wreak and warm. Quite likely it was necessary for nature to produce such men as Captain James, otherwise ships could not be taken seventeen times around the Horn, but why did such men have to become fathers of girls like Kitty?

Suddenly William paled and sat upright. Then he shook his head and speeded up the demonstrator. Certainly Captain James was an antagonistic personality, but a hunter ought to gain proficiency in shooting rabbits before stepping in front of a rhinoceros.

Then William slowed up the demonstrator. He knew that he was only shirking. Here was an antagonistic personality in a million, the chance of a lifetime. And he was running away. Besides, what would Kitty think?

Captain James, his pipe going like an oil furnace, was watering the geraniums when William walked stiffly up the pier. The young man’s jaw was set and his eyes were gleaming with domination to the point of astigmatism.

William stopped and, thrusting out his arm, pointed at Captain James. “Sir,” he barked.

Captain James looked up, removed his pipe, and scowled heavily.

“I have decided,” said William, in a rather shrill voice,

“that your disgraceful exhibition of rudeness, incivility and downright meanness can’t pass unnoticed . . . You—you can’t get away with it, do you hear?”

Captain James turned off the nozzle and dropped the hose. Next he knocked out his pipe and put it away. He said nothing.

William went on. “Because you are used to browbeating a gang of helpless sailors in the middle of the ocean is no sign you can jump on me. Especially in front of ladies. If you were younger I’d—I’d push your face in ! But you’re a sour old man, and it must be a great relief to your relatives when you are taking your ship seventeen times around the Horn.” William was out of breath and shaking in every fibre. “That,” he concluded in a husky whisper, “is all I have to say !”

He turned to walk grandly down the pier, took two steps and fainted.

He discovered the world again over the top of a glass that Captain James was holding to his lips. “There we are, Bucko,” said Captain James cheerily, his eyes twinkling.

William sat up. Kitty, with a pitcher in her hand, looked at him anxiously.

“Pour us another,” ordered Captain James.

Giving W’illiam a glass. Captain James held up his own. “To our better acquaintance, young man,” he said bluffly.

V\ 7ILLIAM and Kitty sat on the float before her father’s ** house. She had been giving him swimming lessons all afternoon; now in the evening they dabbled their feet in the water, gazed out over the bay, and occasionally made some profound observation on life.

“So,” said Kitty, “you’ve gone two thirds of the way. Is that it?”

William nodded, “I have reached the third and last stage in my dynamic unfoldment. I have already accomplished all that I really wanted to do, but since I’ve gone this far I might as well go ahead and become a free soul. It’s only a matter of conquering inner desire.”

“What.” asked Kitty, “is a free soul?”

“I see it as a sort of cosmic spider,” said William. “You see. the universe is a web of forces. Ordinary people, like bugs, get stuck in the web because they don’t understand it. Now the spider, on the other hand, sits in the centre and pulls any strings he wants. He gets results.” William pointed to the planet Venus. “See that star?” Well, a perfectly free soul could sit here and concentrate on it and make it blink.”

“Could Professor Xandu do that?” asked Kitty.

“Well,” said William hesitatingly, “I suppose he could. According to theory.”

“Did he ever?” asked Kitty.

William was a little nettled. “Of course not. Why should a free soul want to showoff?”

Kitty was silent for a time. “Suppose a free soul needed money. Could he make a thousand-dollar bill appear in his pocketlxx)k?”

“Can a spider pull any string in his web he wants to?” asked William.

“Yes.”

“Well, there you are. But such things never occur to a free soul. Kitty. When the whole universe bows before you, what’s the good of money?”

“But if a free soul can do anything he wants—” began Kitty.

William cut her off with the authority of one who is two thirds unfolded. “The thing you lose sight of. Kitty, is that once you’re a free soui you don’t want anything.”

Kitty sighed. “I guess metaphysics is a little too deep for me. I’ll just sit by and watch you develop. What happens next?”

William was silent for a long time. “I’ve been thinking a good deal about my next step.” he said slowly. “I must grind all desire beneath the iron heel of the will.”

“Well,” said Kitty, “what do you desire?”

William looked at her. “That’s just it,” he said.

“You might smoke a lot of cigarettes and get the habit and then break off,” suggested Kitty. “Or go without eating for a while.”

William shook his head. “Such things are trivial. It isn’t gross desire that holds you back. You’ve got to turn down something that means more than anything in the world.”

KITTY DID not reply. She studied an astonished perch who was investigating her wriggling toes.

William looked at her for a long time. Finally he said, “We’ve been seeing a lot of each other since I conquered your father.”

Kitty looked up and smiled, “We’ve had fun.”

“I’m afraid,” said William, “it’s going farther than that. I’m afraid we might get awfully fond of each other.”

Kitty resumed her study of the perch. “Well,” she said softly, “s’pose we did?” William’s jaw slowly set and he shook his head. “I’ve thought it over and tried to find a way out. But it’s no use, Kitty. Everything points the same way. You’re it.”

“I'm what?” asked Kitty.

“You’re what I want most in the world. And the terrible part is that fate has arranged the whole thing for the supreme test. When I conquered my fear of the water I got a gcx>d job and a future, making it possible for me to to take care of you. And then, when your father stood in the way, I conquered him. Now everything is ready; nothing stands in the way. The temptation is perfect.”

“I see,” said Kitty. “I guess you really have something there.”

William slowly nodded. “I am now about to rise above inner desire, Kitty.”

Kitty thought for a time. “But we really haven’t known each other for so very long, William. It seems to me that we ought to go on, just as we are, and make things really serious before you renounce all.”

“I don’t know,” said William doubtfully. “I think it’s pretty serious right now. Last night after I had done my breathing exercises, I didn’t drop off to sleep like I usually do.”

“But the more serious it is, the more perfect you’ll be,” said Kitty.

William nodded.

Kitty lay back on the float and looked up at him with a dreamy smile. “William —” she said softly.

He looked down at her and the dominating gleam all but flickered out. Then he recaptured it. He sprang to his feet, with fists closed, fixed his eyes on the bay.

Kitty languorously moved an arm. “I think it would be wonderful to be a free soul. I can help you, William.”

“How?” he grunted.

“Well,” said Kitty, “suppose we go on for a time. I’ll—I’ll do my best to tempt you. Then, when you renounce all, you’ll have something to renounce.”

William looked down at her curiously.

Kitty rose and, stepping very close, tilted up her face with a little smile. “Would you like to kiss me, William?”

He took two steps backward and stood shaking like a man under a heavy load.

“Do you see what I mean?” asked Kitty.

William nodded stiffly. “So be it,” he said dramatically, “so be it.”

TOURING the week that followed, Kitty tempted William. . He withstood her nobly until about Friday, when he began to have hot and cold flashes followed by a gentle perspiration. He discovered that he had lost eighteen pounds. Saturday morning he met her at the post office and they took a short walk along the water front. William’s eyes were hollow and his chest ached from the unwonted repetition of his breathing exercises.

“I think,” he said heavily, “that the time has come.”

Kitty regarded him. “You do look a little overstrained, but I thought we decided that I should keep tempting you until you could blink a star.”

William shook his head. “There are limits to what a man can stand, Kitty. I could never be any more crazy about anyone than I was after last night.”

“Me too,” said Kitty gently.

He turned to face her. His unfoldment stood in the balance. Only by the most heroic effort could he keep his arms to his sides.

“I suppose,” said Kitty, studying him, “that it’s time to break off, then.”

He nodded. “This,” he said fatefully, “this is the bitter end.”

They walked on for a time.

“I love you, William,” said Kitty. "I love you very deeply.”

There was a sharp click as William set his jaw, but he said nothing.

“I know I don’t understand metaphysics,” said Kitty. “But I’ll bet there’s nothing stronger than love. It seems to me real love could wiggle the forces of the universe just as well as anything else.” “Love is desire.” muttered William, “and the free soul rises above desire.” Kitty thought fora time. “William, I’ve decided something. If you’re going to unfold completely, so am I.”

“Humph,” said William.

“Oh, is that so? Well, I shall!”

“How?”

“Why, by resisting temptation. Naturally you wouldn’t be able to help me because it wouldn’t do either of us any good if we just went out and were strong and silent together.”

William shook his head. “Denial shall make you free!”

“Okay,” said Kitty. “Okay! Now I’m going out and find something to deny. You’re not the only one who can get people to tempt you for the good of your unfoldment. I can develop into a cosmic spider too. Good-by !”

“Where are you going?” asked William sharply.

She smiled wryly and tossed her golden head. “I’m going to hunt up some grade A temptation!” She walked briskly away.

V\ 7ILLIAM was very gloomy as he ’ * chugged about in the demonstrator. Shortly after the morning breeze sprang up Kitty came down the bay in her sailboat and, on his return from taking a prospect out around the bell buoy, William saw Kitty’s boat tied to the accommodation ladder of Ray Hudson’s steam yacht. William frowned; if Kitty was looking for temptation she had. according to water-front rumor, gone to the right place.

William felt that lie was to blame; he should have warned the girl that she did not have as strong a will as himself. In fact, Kitty’s will was hardly more than a slight stubbornness; certainly insufficient to carry her safely past such a man as the young millionaire was said to be. Kitty should have begun her development by cutting down on ice cream or something. William was greatly relieved when, at noon, Kitty sailed home.

However, toward two o’clock, the yacht steamed down the bay and anchored in front of Kitty’s house, and on his next trip out around the bell buoy William saw Kitty and Hudson on the beach throwing a rubber ball back and forth. It was an extremely silly sight. Captain James, seated on the pier with his pipe, waved to William and shouted something about playing poker. William shook his head.

That night William did his breathing exercises three times hand running and went to bed. But sleep did not come to him.

AT THE agency wharf William was listlessly tuning up the demonstrator when Kitty bounced down the gangway. She was dressed in sailor slacks embroidered with anchors and stars. She had never looked so fresh and lovely and full of spirit. “’Morning, William.”

He looked at her sourly. “Hello.” “William, would you take me out to Hudson’s yacht? We’re going on a cruise and I want to help him get ready. He was to come to get me but I’m afraid he’s still asleep. He was out late last night.”

“Hmm,” said William. “I’m expecting a valuable prospect at ten.”

“You’ve got more than an hour,” said Kitty. “Please.”

William looked at her. “Who’s going on this yachting trip?”

“Oh, Ray and I and some friends of his. We’re going over to the islands and come back some time tonight. There’s a moon at twelve.”

“What does your father think of all this?” asked William, frowning.

“Why, nothing —why should he?” William indicated the seat and Kitty climbed in beside him. “I think,” he

said, “that I ought to talk to you. I’ll take you out around the bell buoy and then bring you back to the yacht. There are some things about metaphysics you ought to know.”

“Well, all right,” said Kitty. “But, of course, it won’t do us any good as far as unfoldment goes.”

“I don’t intend that it should,” said William, as they sped away from the dock.

Kitty said nothing. The demonstrator passed the triangular bell buoy a hundred yards beyond the end of the jetty and was in the open sea.

“Not that I care,” said William suddenly. “I have conquered all emotional stress.”

Kitty nodded. Neither spoke for a matter of minutes. The demonstrator chugged up and down the great oily swells. Kitty looked back and caught her breath. “William—we’re miles out! You can hardly see the bell buoy!”

He glanced around and grunted. “I suppose the fog is beginning to shut down,” he said unconcernedly.

“But we can’t even see the buoy now!” said Kitty a moment later.

“It’s not important,” he replied.

Kitty studied him for a moment. “William,” she asked slowly, “have you a compass?”

T_JE SHOOK his head. “Did you ever hear of a homing pigeon needing a compass? Such instincts prove that compasses aren’t necessary, don’t they?”

“Yes, but I . ” Kitty paused to

examine a thought that had entered her mind.

“A free soul,” said William, “is certainly not inferior to a pigeon. Just because you can’t see the bell buoy with your physical eyes you get panicy. I can see it with my mental eye.”

“So can I,” said Kitty. “But I’d feel better if I could see it with my regular equipment. Please turn around, William.”

He smiled. “All right, Kitty. The free soul never seeks to bewilder others. But I want you to realize that you are far from that stage of development where you can safely go in for things beyond your capacity. Like Ray Hudson.”

Kitty was silent for a moment. “It seems to me that the bell buoy was more over this way.” She pointed to the right of the bow.

William smiled and continued on his course. After several moments of anxiety, Kitty heard the bell tolling far to the left. “See; what’d I tell you?” asked William, turning the demonstrator.

Kitty sighed as the bell buoy loomed through the thickening fog. “I’m glad I’m out here with a cosmic spider instead of an ordinary person. Which way is the jetty from here?”

William pointed. “Why, right over there -of course. It’s only a hundred yards off.”

Kitty shook her head admiringly. “It’s wonderful, William.”

“You see,” he explained, as he started the demonstrator away from the buoy, “there’s a track in my mind connecting the jetty with the buoy. All I have to do is to follow it.”

“Like a spider’s web,” said Kitty.

“Exactly,” said William.

Several minutes passed and William, peering anxiously ahead, advanced the throttle to half speed.

“How long,” asked Kitty presently, “does it take this boat to go a hundred yards?”

“At this speed, we’re making exactly eight miles an hour,” said William. “But time seems longer in a fog.”

The demonstrator chugged on like a lost atom in interstellar space. Suddenly Kitty could stand the strain no longer. “William,” she implored, “we cant be right ! We must be headed straight out to sea. We’re miles and miles from the bell buoy.”

William paled and shut off the motor. “Listen for the bell,” he commanded.

They listened a full minute, but heard nothing save the quiet lap of waves along the side of the boat and the beating of their hearts.

“Can—can you hear anything?” whispered Kitty. “Oh, William—I’m afraid you’re really not unfolded after all!”

“Keep still now and let me concentrate.” William stared off into the fog like a man in a trance.

“Shh!” whispered Kitty frantically. “What’s that?”

Out of the fog to their left came a rhythmic swishing, followed by several soft thumps. Kitty clutched William. Together they stared at the impenetrable white curtain of fog that met the water ten feet from the boat.

“It’s—it’s some sea monster—” jittered Kitty.

William was very pale. “I guess,” he swallowed, “I guess maybe we are out in the ocean. I’m sorry .{Kitty, that I was such a fool ...”

“Start the motor,” whispered Kitty, “and let’s get away from here.”

“Shh,” said William, clutching her, “there it is!”

A large, dim shape grew slowly out of the fog. Something like a tall fin rose out of its back, moving slowly in time to the swishing sound.

Then came a flaw in the fog, sudden and revealing. A man with yellow whiskers stood on a float, sweeping it with a bristle broom. After a few long strokes he thumped the broom and began in a new place.

“We’re in the bay,” cried William joyfully. “See, what did I tell you! For a moment I almost lost faith.”

When asked the location of the pavilion, the sweeper pointed with his broom and observed the distance to be half a mile.

V\ 7JTH A confident glance at the broom * V end, William started the demonstrator into the fog. He felt that his powers were vindicated, and for some minutes he reproved himself for doubting them even for an instant.

Kitty said little but it was evident that she had something on her mind. “William,” she said at last. “Shouldn’t we be almost there?”

He nodded.

Kitty waited a while. “Have you tried to blink a star since you unfolded?”

“No, but I shouldn’t be surprised if I could,” said William. “I’ve conquered the

fog. Fog, Kitty, is a physical entity and so isa star.”

Something triangular and tall materialized out of the fog and William slumped in his seat.

“It’s the buoy again!” exclaimed Kitty.

William nodded. “I guess,” he said drearily, “Professor Xandu must have slipped up somewhere.”

“Will you let me try?” asked Kitty.

“What?”

“I want to run the boat.”

YY7TLLIAM relinquished his seat.“Your W guess is as good as mine,” he said.

“I don’t think I will be guessing,” said Kitty. “I told you a long time ago I believed love was as strong as anything in the universe.”

William shook his head. “No, Kitty. I’d advise you never to monkey with metaphysics.”

“I’m going to try,” said Kitty. “And I’ll only succeed if you’ll help.”

“What shall I do?”

“Look at your watch,” commanded Kitty, “and tell me every ten seconds that you love me.”

“But—”

“Go ahead,” said Kitty, starting the demonstrator into the fog at half speed.

“I love you,” said William. “I love you ... I love you ...”

Kitty did not even look where she was going, though that would have been useless anyway. She bowed her head and appeared to concentrate while William’s voice intoned the three words at ten-second intervals. At the end of a minute he observed a dim line in the fog at their left, and announced in an awed voice that they seemed to be travelling into the bay parallel to the jetty.

“Don’t bother me,” muttered Kitty. “Keep saying it!”

“I love you,” said William hastily, “I love you ... I love you ...”

For ten minutes William never ceased repeating the magic formula nor did Kitty lift her head. Her lips moved as though counting and several times she turned the wheel to take new directions. At last she looked up. “You can stop now—if you want to.”

William looked at her. “I love you,” he said, “I love—•”

His jaw dropped. Something enormous loomed ahead. It was the pavilion. Kitty turned the demonstrator slightly, cut the motor, and the boat drifted into its slip.

Captain James, being very anxious on learning that William and Kitty were out in the fog, was pacing back and forth on the dock. Quite by accident he glanced toward the demonstrator’s slip. He strode over with blood in his eye. William and Kitty were wrapped in each other’s arms and William’s voice intoned with feeling, “Hove you . . . I love you.”

Captain James stopped and looked down upon the blissful pair. Then he peered curiously. Kitty’s hand was moving surreptitiously over the side of the boat. The fingers relaxed and something dropped into the water. Captain James shook his head; he could understand the main features of the situation before him. It was obvious. But why had Kitty dropped overboard her pocket compass?