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with them, tearing down the matting, breaking off the boughs, and even blowing one poor sickly little fellow's head right off. There it was, being whirled about in the roadway.
What an extraordinary change had come over the sea during those few short hours the children had not seen it! The last glimpse they had showed it lying calm and peaceful under the rays of the setting sun. And now! a wild, surging, tumbling mass of water, all its beautiful colour gone. The murmuring wavelets of the evening, grown by day into huge angry waves, that either dashed with fury on the beach, and dragged back its stones along with them with grating sound, but to hurl them up again, or, baulked in their efforts to reach the shore, met one another in fiercest strife further out to seaward. Then, as they clashed, up went mountains of spray into the air to be caught by the wind, and driven along before it anywhere. And that poor Parade, never much at the best of times, where was it now? It was hard to tell ; for the waves washed over and the stones covered it entirely in parts, and left no trace of its existence; the seats all blown over too, and the machines run up into the town for safety, where they stood hard by the church, in one melancholy file. The wind, how it tore up and whistled, almost to drown the voice, to make the fragile little ones cling the closer to Great-heart's strong form, as he wound an arm round each of them ; to blow up into their faces the salt sea spray, which sprinkled them too at times from head to foot. Quite a small crowd had come down to gaze upon the storm, as the children did. Some, more venturesome than the rest, watched their chance and tried to follow some wave back from whence it came ; but these were rarely let off without a soaking, either from that same wave returning back in vengeance, or by another following close at its heels. Suddenly Great-heart felt a grip at his arm from Dot, as she cried out eagerly, "Oh, that poor old man, with his model, out in all this. Where is he, dear ? ”
“ He is safe enough, little Dot, up in the town somewhere, his model with him.”
“I do hope so, indeed. He could never keep it together here."
“No, indeed. Is it not a wonderful sight, this storm, children ?”
“ Marvellous !” answered Trixie.
“It is truly superb. Now you can form some idea of the power of the sea, when lashed into such fury as this, by its enemy, the wind. Now you can believe the awful wreckage and disaster it can bring along with it.
You can imagine, too, how, with a higher tide, it can burst so easily in here and flood this little town, as it has done but recently.”
“Ah, those ruined cottages show that !”
“Yes. They are a sad reminder to the inhabitants how close they are to the ocean, how unruly it can be at times.”
Presently Dot inquired, “ Have you ever seen a worse storm than this, dear?”
* Many a time. In many parts of the globe.”
“Yes, I saw one last year, at a place not far distant; where the ruthless sea knew no bounds, for it tore down the pier, dislodged great masses of granite, dragged up the paving-stones as nothing ; men were whirled up into the air, ladies and children blown down. This is but half a gale compared to that one. There it was really dangerous to be abroad.”
"Fancy !” exclaimed the astonished Dot. " I see
no ships about," chimed in Trixie. “Where are they?"
Braving the storm far out at sea, or safely moored in harbour, dear. God help those which are not strong enough to withstand the tempest! The morning after such a gale as this brings always its record of disaster, its sad list of human souls suddenly hurried to their last repose beneath the waves."
"Would the boat we are going by start if the weather were as rough as this to-morrow?" asked Trixie.
" Indeed, no. It could not. No doubt there are many travellers at the hotel we passed yesterday waiting to cross over when they can."
Trixie was disappointed, for she was eager to get off abroad. Dot reminded her
“We have to take this country walk, sister, remember. Of course we cannot go to-day. Shall we to-morrow, if fine?" appealing to her mentor.
"That is my intention and desire," answered he. “That will be nice," cried Dot.
But Trixie was silent. What were all the country walks compared to getting to a fresh continent, seeing new cities? Poor Trixie, still so greedy after change !
They went back to the inn soon, and changed their garments.
Of course it was quite impossible to take the inland excursion that day. So the little ones must make themselves as happy as they could under the circumstances, Great-heart told them. The storm would probably not last long, but rain was almost sure to follow. When the tide turned the wind would drop, the waves subside ; then would the rain come down. And so it did in an hour or two, keeping them prisoners for the rest of the day. But the children did not find it dull, for they watched what was left of the storm from their windows, and when tired of that set to work to clothe Trixie's doll, which must have sadly felt the want of something on it by that time. Besides, they were made much of by the hotel people and visitors, caressed and petted, indeed, more than Great-heart thought quite good for them.
The day passed quickly by, and they were quite astonished when bedtime came. With returning tide the wind had got up again, and it was blowing tremendously hard when the little ones sank off to sleep. But the clouds were not nearly so dense, and as they rushed across the sky at headlong speed, at times left a space, through which darted the light from the moon, for an instant, bright and clear. Then all would be dark again.
“I hope you will sleep soundly through the noise," said Great-heart, as he looked at them the last thing, after he had secured the window from rattling as best he could.
“Never fear," murmured Trixie, but half awake. Dot seemed already asleep. How sweet she looked there, gliding away into childish slumber, Trixie, too, her protecting arm around the younger's neck! The man stood for a while over them and pondered. Then, he heaved a weary sigh and went below, to walk the shore once more in solitude.