just awash with the flowing tide; the waters heaved over the hidden face of the Shivering Sand. Now this way and now that, with an obstinate patience that was dreadful to see, Sergeant Cuff tried the boot in the footsteps, and always found it pointing the same way -- straight to the rocks. Hunt as he might, no sign could he find anywhere of the footsteps walking from them.

He gave it up at last. Still keeping silence, he looked again at me; and then he looked out at the waters before us, heaving in deeper and deeper over the quicksand. I looked where he looked -- and I saw his thought in his face. A dreadful dumb trembling crawled all over me on a sudden. I fell upon my knees on the beach.

`She has been back at the hiding-place,' I heard the Sergeant say to himself. `Some fatal accident has happened to her on those rocks.'

The girl's altered looks, and words, and actions -- the numbed, deadened way in which she listened to me, and spoke to me -- when I had found her sweeping the corridor but a few hours since, rose up in my mind, and warned me, even as the Sergeant spoke, that his guess was wide of the dreadful truth. I tried to tell him of the fear that had frozen me up. I tried to say, `The death she has died, Sergeant, was a death of her own seeking.' No! the words wouldn't come. The dumb trembling held me in its grip. I couldn't feel the driving rain. I couldn't see the rising tide. As in the vision of a dream, the poor lost creature came back before me. I saw her again as I had seen her in the past time -- on the morning when I went to fetch her into the house. I heard her again, telling me that the Shivering Sand seemed to draw her to it against her will, and wondering whether her grave was waiting for her there. The horror of it struck at me, in some unfathomable way, through my own child. My girl was just her age. My girl, tried as Rosanna was tried, might have lived that miserable life, and died this dreadful death.

The Sergeant kindly lifted me up, and turned me away from the sight of the place where she had perished.

With that relief, I began to fetch my breath again, and to see things about me, as things really were. Looking towards the sand-hills, I saw the men-servants from out-of-doors, and the fisherman, named Yolland, all running down to us together; and all, having taken the alarm, calling out to know if the girl had been found. In the fewest words, the Sergeant showed them the evidence of the footmarks, and told them that a fatal accident must have happened to her. He then picked out the fisherman from the rest, and put a question to him, turning about again towards the sea: `Tell me,' he said. `Could a boat have taken her off, in such weather as this, from those rocks where her footmarks stop?'

The fisherman pointed to the rollers tumbling in on the sand-bank, and to the great waves leaping up in clouds of foam against the headlands on either side of us.

`No boat that ever was built,' he answered, `could have got to her through that.'

Sergeant Cuff looked for the last time at the footmarks on the sand, which the rain was now fast blurring out.

`There,' he said, `is the evidence that she can't have left this place by land. And here,' he went on, looking at the fisherman, `is the evidence that she can't have got away by sea.' He stopped, and considered for a minute. `She was seen running towards this place, half an hour before I got here from the house,' he said to Yolland. `Some time has passed since then. Call it, altogether, an hour ago. How high would the water be, at that time, on this side of the rocks?' He pointed to the south side -- otherwise, the side which was not filled up by the quicksand.

`As the tide makes to-day,' said the fisherman, `there wouldn't have been water enough to drown a kitten on that side of the Spit, an hour since.'

Sergeant Cuff turned about northward, towards the quicksand.

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