"How can we know the sufferings of that long and fearful watch--what falterings of purpose, what childish terrors came over the boy as he thought of the warm little bed at home, of his parents, his brothers and sisters, then looked into the cold, dreary night! If he drew away that tiny finger, the angry waters, grown angrier still, would rush forth, and never stop until they had swept over the town. No, he would hold it there till daylight--if he lived! He was not very sure of living. What did this strange buzzing mean? And then the knives that seemed pricking and piercing him from head to foot? He was not certain now that he could draw his finger away, even if he wished to.
"At daybreak a clergyman, returning from the bedside of a sick parishioner, thought he heard groans as he walked along on the top of the dike. Bending, he saw, far down on the side, a child apparently writhing with pain.
"'In the name of wonder, boy,' he exclaimed, 'what are you doing there?'
"'I am keeping the water from running out,' was the simple answer of the little hero. 'Tell them to come quick.'
"It is needless to add that they did come quickly and that--"
"Jenny Dobbs," said the teacher, rather impatiently, "if you cannot control your feelings so as to read distinctly, we will wait until you recover yourself."
"Yes, sir!" said Jenny, quite startled.
It was strange, but at that very moment, Ben, far over the sea, was saying to Lambert, "The noble little fellow! I have frequently met with an account of the incident, but I never knew, till now, that it was really true."