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Of the positive identity of the apparition I would assure myself
as soon as the small clock of my courage should have ticked out the
right second; meanwhile, with an effort that was already sharp enough,
I transferred my eyes straight to little Flora, who, at the moment,
was about ten yards away. My heart had stood still for an instant
with the wonder and terror of the question whether she too would see;
and I held my breath while I waited for what a cry from her, what some
sudden innocent sign either of interest or of alarm, would tell me.
I waited, but nothing came; then, in the first place--and there is
something more dire in this, I feel, than in anything I have to relate--
I was determined by a sense that, within a minute, all sounds from her
had previously dropped; and, in the second, by the circumstance that,
also within the minute, she had, in her play, turned her back to the water.
This was her attitude when I at last looked at her--looked with the confirmed
conviction that we were still, together, under direct personal notice.
She had picked up a small flat piece of wood, which happened to have in it
a little hole that had evidently suggested to her the idea of sticking
in another fragment that might figure as a mast and make the thing a boat.
This second morsel, as I watched her, she was very markedly and intently
attempting to tighten in its place. My apprehension of what she was doing
sustained me so that after some seconds I felt I was ready for more.
Then I again shifted my eyes--I faced what I had to face.