Imágenes de páginas

away, with only their slender masts to

be seen standing out against the sunlit sky ; just enough wind to make the smaller craft dance merrily, or to send them, large and small, along upon their journeys. Tiny waves bobbing up with their white crests, caught the light of the sun, and broke with gentle murmurs on the shore ; countless ripples sparkled and glittered all over that wide expanse, to throw their reflections back in dazzling lustre. Along over the surface of the sea, their long grey wings flapping in the breeze, skimmed many lovely birds, which swooped down at times to rest awhile or swallow some luckless fish, and then fly up again. The glorious orb of day, set in the sky above, shining out on all alike in its blazing splendour. A lovely sight indeed. Only those who recall the remembrance of their first glimpse of the sea, and of such a sea and on such a day as this, can imagine the impression created on those little children's minds. They were amazed, appalled beyond all at its vastness. They could only gaze enraptured ; too overpowered to speak even, beyond at times to give vent to some cry of joy.

Great-heart watched them tenderly. How delightful to see that pure enjoyment, that childish rapture, at the sight of this great element of nature. He

sighed, and thought to himself what he would not give to be a child once more.

“What do you think of it, darlings?” he inquired presently.

They both turned round and exclaimed together,—

“It is superb, heavenly. Can we ever thank you enough for showing it to us?”

The man smiled. “Only in the way I told you of,” he said.

“ You need not fear,” cried Trixie, impulsively.

“ It would be impossible to glean other than noble thoughts from such a scene as this, love," murmured little Dot.

“I most earnestly trust so," was the comment.

In a few minutes they were at the place they journeyed to. Here it was evident Great-heart was well known, for as they pulled up at the platform, two or three porters were round their carriage-door in a moment, vying with one another in their attentions to the party.

Both the man in charge of the train and the one who lived at the station also knew him well, for they came up with smiles, and made friendly remarks about the weather. There was a small cluster of people on the platform to meet friends, and a good many excited greetings took place. One cab, or rather fly, stood at the station-door, but the three preferred to walk down to the inn they intended stopping at. They waited until a brown-faced man in a white coat, with a wideawake, who was all sorts of things in onea fisherman, a porter, and an idle lounger on the beach in slack times—had got their things on to a truck. Then they all walked off together. Greatheart chatted with the man, and gathered a good deal of information in a short space of time. It seemed that this good fellow combined with his other functions that of general news purveyor of things and people. He knew a great deal, that man did, evidently, and was nothing loth to tell it. The children found out afterwards that he was quite a “ character," and had lived where they found him, “man and boy, nigh on thirty yeer,” his uniform life varied only by an occasional trip to a large and fashionable watering-place along the coast. There he liked to go and visit a splendid cave where they had enticed lots of fish into glass tanks, there to swim about quite contentedly, with people staring at them all day. This fisherman enjoyed a day like this very much. It gave him pleasure to watch these fish; it seemed as if he got a peep into the depths of that sea he himself had so often netted in vain.

Since Great-heart's last visit to the spot they had built an hotel there. Although he intended taking his little friends to the only inn he knew of,

ever saw.

called the “New," but in reality the oldest in the place, he yielded to the earnest entreaties of the porter-fisherman, and said he would give the hotel a trial. This gratified the man very much. He altered the course he was taking, and soon landed the party in front of the neatest little hostelry you

Outside looks were certainly in its favour. The few days' experience showed that they did not belie it.

“As soon as we have got to rights a bit, you will take us round the town, and show us all the sights, will you not ?" were the first words the energetic Trixie uttered as they stood in the hall.

“ It can hardly be a town, can it?" inquired Dot.

Great-heart smiled. "I was on the point of trying to set your sister right on that head by calling this small place a village only. But on reflection, I think I should have been wrong had I done so. In the matter of size it is only that truly. But, if my memory serve me aright, it is, or was, at any. rate, more correctly a 'port,' one of several along the coast, with its mayor, corporation, officers, too, like a full-grown town or city. Is not that odd ? With a baby town-hall also, and I fancy many curious customs and observances attaching to it as an old burgh of the county kept up to this day. I remember well it has a high bailiff, a small farmer in the neighbourhood, which always struck me as being very amusing. Certainly I will take you round and show the place to you, whatever it may be. That is my intention. But I think it will not take long to do so ; nor will you find many of those sights' Miss Trixie is so eager after. Yet it is quaint and pretty, for all that, in no small degree. Indeed, a primitiveness attaches thereto still (unless it has much altered since my last visit) it would be difficult to find in any other seaside spot for many a mile round the coast; a quietude rarely found anywhere of holiday resort in these bustling times. Where, however, I want you to find the greatest enjoyment and change is not in the place itself, but on the hills and downs around. Were it not for this, and other things I hope to show you farther inland, I think I should not have brought you here, little

As a place, it has few attractions for the traveller, unless he be a weary one and seeks repose. Then will he find that here in very truth. Yet,” and Great-heart sighed, "I fear in this it is altering much, as what does not ? suffering at the hands of those who would try to make it popular, who, by persistently calling attention to its quiet, thereby rob the spot of its greatest treasure."

“Do you mean by bringing plenty of people


« AnteriorContinuar »