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creepers on it. They could all make out distinctly the diminutive train, returning back now from the busy Junction, winding along the shore a long way off. They got a fine view of the Bay; the cliffs and the little fortresses marking one corner, while they stood on the other. How beautifully clear and bright the water looked, how the wavelets bobbed up and sparkled, what lots of boats there were going hither and thither in all directions ! The children were enchanted. They also had a much more extended glimpse inland from where they were, at fine open downs with lots of bushes, furze, and heather, and no end of holes in the turf where the rabbits lived. Plenty of haystacks, too, and a shepherd's hut now and then. Sheep with their tinkling bells, the barking of dogs afar off, crows with their loud cawings, the shrill whistlings of boys, that was the only music that fell upon their ears; but it was a hundred times over worth the climb up that hill to hear nevertheless. They spent some time up there, the children running about in the highest spirits, picking the pretty wild flowers, or chancing upon an early blackberry, ripe before its time ; Great-heart very thoughtful, sitting on a hillock, gazing seaward. (The sea always made him thus, he said.)
He called the little ones to him at length, and then the three walked on farther, by the edge of the cliff, where a path was marked with pieces of chalk to guide the coastguardsman on his way through the darkness of the night. Standing out against the bright green of the turf, this line, dotted thus in white, looked quite pretty, as it dipped up and down with the hills, that stretched far away to the east. Presently they came to a charming gap,” much in favour with picnic-parties. There, if you climbed down to the beach beneath, you found a sheltered nook, delightful in its solitude ; or, resting above, looked out from your green hollow on to the lovely ocean stretched in front of you. They clambered on to the shore, and saw, on their left, seven irregular cliffs, their white faces aglow in the sun, sloping sharply down into the sea, their summits cut out bright and clear against the sky. And still you could mark that little path of stones, as it passed over each hill-top, its line growing fainter and fainter until it left the seventh cliff, and faded away from view altogether.
Following their inclinations, the man and his little charges would have sat there and watched until the sun had set, and longer too maybe. But that would not do, for the evenings got chilly there down by the sea, and the children were only thinly clad. So they rose, and retraced their steps by the way they had come.
“You have enjoyed the day, darlings, I hope ?” asked Great-heart later, as he kissed them before they settled off to their slumbers.
“How can you ask, dear!” fervently exclaimed the younger maiden.
There is a moon up, is there not ?" inquired the elder. Yes, a lovely one.
Why?" "I should like to look at it, that's all," was the
Great-heart smiled. "Most energetic of children, you have seen enough for one day.” Then he blessed and left them.
But there was little of that smile upon his face as the man walked later up and down that dreary shore, alone in the stillness of the night, pale, sad, and thoughtful, ever thinking, thinking, thinking, as it seemed to get no comfort from those thoughts. Yet courage, Great-heart. Those little children will bring peace and calm into your troubled life, into that wounded heart of yours, where other means have failed.
THE CHILDREN TAKE A COUNTRY WALK WITH
HATEVER is that noise ?” cried Trixie, as
she jumped out of bed next morning and ran to the window.
“I cannot think," exclaimed Dot, as she did the same.
Great-heart was there ready to tell them.
“Do not be frightened, little ones. It is only a storm.”
“A storm!” they cried out together; "after that beautiful quiet evening yesterday, it seems impossible.”
“ It is often still and calm before: always so afterwards; but when you went to bed last night the wind rose quickly; now it blows a gale."
“ And the poor people at sea, what of them ?” exclaimed tender-hearted Dot.
“ God will watch over them," was the answer. “Dress quickly, darlings, and we will go down to
the beach if you can stand the fury of the wind. Put on your warmest things, you will need them.”
They scampered down shortly afterwards, had a hurried breakfast, and were ready to go out.
“ You must take care," said Great-heart, as they stood in the hall. “You can form little idea of what it will be like outside, here in this cosy shelter.”
Indeed they could not, for as the door was opened, there burst in such a howling, whistling wind as to even there nearly take the little ones off their legs; to make every casement in the place rattle, and set flapping wildly everything that hung from the wall, every book that lay upon the hall table. The children boldly tried to get out alone ; but it was no good. Each time they were beaten back. So Great-heart had to take their light forms under his sheltering wing at last, and thus they sallied forth.
Luckily it did not rain : the high wind kept that off, no doubt; the clouds, however, were thick and menacing. In front of the hotel were six little trees planted in a row, each having all to itself a tiny garden, fringed round with an iron rail. These had been wrapped up in matting, tied tightly round with string, for it was the proprietor's hope to rear these precious trees to strength and manhood. But alas ! it was sad to see how the angry gusts had played havoc