at the time, thought if it had come from some senator,
But this expression of satisfaction died on his lips. At the point where the forest road debouches into the highway, he had already caught a glimpse of their two figures. They were waiting for news, and the brother spoke up the instant he saw Sweetwater:
"Where is he? You've not found him or you wouldn't be coming alone. He cannot have gone up. He cannot manage it without an assistant. We must seek him somewhere else; in the forest or in our house at home. Ah!" The lightning had forked again.
"He's not in the forest and he's not in your home," returned Sweetwater. "He's aloft; the air-ship is not in the shed. And he can go up alone now." Then more slowly: "But he cannot come down."
They strained their eyes in a maddening search of the heavens. But the darkness had so increased that they could be sure of nothing. Doris sank upon her knees.
Suddenly the lightning flashed again, this time so vividly and so near that the whole heaven burst into fiery illumination above them and the thunder, crashing almost simultaneously, seemed for a moment to rock the world and bow the heavens towards them. Then a silence; then Sweetwater's whisper in Mr. Challoner's ear:
"Take them away! I saw him; he was falling like a shot."
Mr. Challoner threw out his arms, then steadied himself. Oswald was reeling; Oswald had seen too. But Doris was there. When the lightning flashed again, she was standing and Oswald was weeping on her bosom.
An Introduction to the Study of Robert Browning's Poetry
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