As the boat was blown from under them, the passengers thought the end had come and that they must be drowned far beneath the sea; and only the great skill and presence of mind of the Private Secretary prevented their meeting this fate. But as they were starting upward, carried by the violence of the explosion, the Private Secretary caught at the rack where the life-preservers were hanging, and so saved their lives. As they reached the surface he handed each a life-preserver, and soon they were all swimming safely on the surface of a placid green sea.
“I am innocent,” cried the Widow Pickle, “for I did just what you told me to do, I am sure. I threw in the powder; and indeed it seems to me that was what made the explosion.”
“Precisely,” said the Private Secretary. “You put in the wrong powder. You used the malazite instead of the corazine—I know it as well as though I had seen you do it myself.”
“That is quite true,” said the Widow Pickle, “but I thought—”
“It is of no consequence what you thought,” said the Private Secretary. “But, for that matter, it is of no use to argue over it now. We are here, and lucky it is we are not drowned. Happily for us, we have been blown some miles forward on our way, quite over the Agalone Mountains, and shall be able to swim the remaining distance without trouble. Yonder are the shores of the Island now, only about a mile away.”
It was as he said. They swam after him, and soon there appeared a wide white beach, flanked with stately palms, among which they saw rising the white towers and domes of a stately city. Toward this they swam as vigorously as they might, and in course of time stepped upon the hard white sand of the beach and knew that their journey was over.
“I am very sorry that we lost the boat,” said the Widow Pickle, “but I am extremely glad that we are here, for I couldn’t have swum another mile to save my life. My life-preserver belt was very tight. But what a pretty spot this is! I am sure we shall like this place very much indeed, and I am glad we came. Look, is not that some one coming down the beach to meet us?”
“That,” said the Private Secretary, “is none less than his Majesty himself, the King of Gee-Whiz!”