Page images


they neared the rock, the wave still rolled on: the sand became gradually covered, and their last ten steps were up to their knees in water, but they were on the rock.

Quick ! quick !' said the girl ; “there is the passage to cross; and if the second wave comes, we shall be too late.'

She ran on for a hundred yards, till she came to a crack in the rock, six or seven feet wide, along which the water was rushing like a mill-sluice.

• We are lost !' said the girl, 'I cannot cross it; it will carry me away !'

'Is it deep?' asked Cross.
* Not very,' she said; “but it is too strong !'

Cross lifted the girl in his arms, he was a strong, big man; he plunged into the stream, which was up to his waist. With a few strides he was across, and set the girl down. He then held on by the rock, and stretched out his hand to Hope, who was following, like an experienced wader, taking very short steps, and with his legs well stretched out, to prevent his being swept away by the force of the water. Hope grasped the hand thus held out to him, and in another second, the two friends were standing by the girl.

That is tremendous !' said Hope. "If I had not seen it, I never would have believed it !'

"It is indeed,' said Cross; and in winter, or in blowing weather, the tide-wave comes in with far greater force than this we have just seen.'

• Come on! come on !' cried the girl, as she again led the way to the higher point of light-coloured rock, which Hope had remarked in the morning. When they had reached it, she said : 'We are safe now !' and kneeling down, she returned thanks for the deliverance.

After a few minutes thus spent, the girl looked up, and smiled to Cross. "Thank you,' said she, 'for lifting me over! I could not have crossed myself. And,' she continued, the second wave has come, and it is all water now !'

The friends looked ; all around them was the wide sea. They were on an island, which each moment became less ; and this island was three quarters of a mile from the shore.

'I am afraid, sir, you will be cold !' said the little girl. *We are quite safe here, for this point is always above water, except in a storm ; but we shall have to remain here three or four hours before we can go to the shore.

•Cold or hot,' said Cross, 'we may be thankful we are here! But what made you forget the tide, for you must know the coast so well ?' 'I did not forget it,' she said ; 'but I feared you

would be drowned, as you are strangers, and I thought I should be in time to tell you ; but I was too late, and the wave came!'

And did you risk your own life to save ours ?' said Hope, the tears starting into his eyes.

'I thought that at anyrate I should get here,' she replied. “As you are strangers, I knew you would not know that it is always dry here; and on the strand you would be lost : so I came to help you, for the gentleman was kind, and gave me a good price for my crabs. So I hoped I should be in time to warn you, but I was very nearly too late!

Hope took the little girl in his arms, and kissed her. We owe you our lives, brave little creature !' he said. 'I thank you in the meantime, and hope to do more for you hereafter! I wonder what she would most like in the world ?'

• Ask her,' said Cross. Hope did so.

"To have a dress,' she said, “to wear when I go to mass, just like the one Angela's sister had on last Sunday, with a beautiful silver crucifix like hers!'


*You must bring Angela to see us to-morrow, and she will help us to get the dress we have promised.'

Oh, happy, happy day!' she said. “Angela will be so pleased.'

• If ever we get ashore,' said Hope ; for a wave at that moment rolled past, and the waters began to run along the little platform they were sitting on. They all rose, and mounted on the rocky points, where they clustered, supporting each other.

Another wave came, it appeared only like a ripple; but when they looked down, the water was a foot deep, where they had previously been seated. There was silence for awhile.

Another wave came : the water was within six inches of their feet.

It is a terrible high tide,' said the girl ; but if we hold together, we shall not be washed away.' Hope's face was towards the shore.

There are a great many people clustering on the point,' he said. It is always a comfort to know that our fellow-beings take an interest in us; and I suppose those people are watching us.'

The little girl turned to look. A faint sound of a cheer was heard, and they could see the people on shore wave their hats and handkerchiefs.

They think the tide has turned,' she said ; and they are shouting to cheer us.'

She was right; the tide had turned. Another wave came and wet their feet : but when it had passed, the water had fallen, and in five minutes more the platform was again dry.

It was dark before the tide had receded far enough to admit of their wading across the sands to the shore.

Life in Normandy.


O Mary, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee!'
The western wind was wild and dank with foam,

And all alone went she.

The creeping tide came up along the sand,

And o'er and o'er the sand,

And round and round the sand,
As far as eye could see;
The blinding mist came down and hid the land-

And never home came she !

Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair?

A tress of golden hair,

Of drowned maiden's hair,
Above the nets at sea.
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair

Among the stakes on Dee.

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,

The cruel crawling foam,

The cruel hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea :
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,

Across the sands of Dee.


Winter evenings had begun to close in at William's farm. After the labour of the day, the whole family gathered round the fireside, and a few neighbours dropped in to join them, for in those lonely valleys the houses are few and far between, and neighbours are almost like relations.

Sometimes Cousin Prudence would pay them a visit, despite the distance, and then there were gay doings at the farm, for this cousin could tell stories better than any one in those parts. He not only knew all the old tales their grandfathers were wont to tell, but he was also acquainted with books. He knew the origin of all the old houses, and the history of all the old families; he had learned the names of the large moss-covered stones that stood erect like pillars on the hill : in short, he possessed all the traditions and science of the place.

Yet more than this he had—for he was wise ! He could read the human heart and find out the cause of its sorrows it was on this account that they all gave

him the name of Goodman Prudence.

For the first time since the New Year he came to pay

« PreviousContinue »