and many a good craft out of reckoning in fog, or on a pitch-dark night, has run full against that frowning wall, and perished, ship and crew, without a soul to hear their cries. Yet, though the rock looks hard as adamant, the eternal washing of the wave has worn it out below, and even with the slightest swell there is a dull and distant booming of the surge in those cavernous deeps; and when the wind blows fresh, each roller smites the cliff like a thunder-clap, till even the living rock trembles again.

It was on a ledge of that rock-face that our cave opened, and sometimes on a fine dry Elzevir would carry me out thither, so that I might sun myself and see all the moving Channel without myself being seen. For this ledge was carved out something like a balcony, so that when the quarry was in working they could lower the stone by pulleys to boats lying underneath, and perhaps haul up a keg or two by the way of ballast, as might be guessed by the stanchions still rusting in the rock.

Such was this gallery; and as for the inside of the cave, 'twas a great empty room, with a white floor made up of broken stone-dust trodden hard of old till one would say it was plaster; and dry, without those sweaty damps so often seen in such places - save only in one corner a land-spring dropped from the roof trickling down over spiky rock-icicles, and falling into a little hollow in the floor. This basin had been scooped out of set purpose, with a gutter seaward for the over-flow, and round it and on the wet patch of the roof above grew a garden of ferns and other clinging plants.

The weeks moved on until we were in the middle of May, when even the nights were no longer cold, as the sun gathered power. And with the warmer days my strength too increased, and though I dared not yet stand, my leg had ceased to pain me, except for some sharp twinges now and then, which Elzevir said were caused by the bone setting. And then he would put a poultice made of grass upon the place, and once walked almost as far as Chaldron to pluck sorrel for a soothing mash.

Now though he had gone out and in so many times in safety, yet I was always ill at ease when he was away, lest he might fall into some ambush and never come back. Nor was it any thought of what would come to me if he were caught that grieved me, but only care for him; for I had come to lean in everything upon this grim and grizzled giant, and love him like a father. So when he was away I took to reading to beguile my thoughts; but found little choice of matter, having only my aunt's red Prayer-book that I thrust into my bosom the afternoon that I left Moonfleet, and Blackbeard's locket. For that locket hung always round my neck; and I often had the parchment out and read it; not that I did not know it now by heart, but because reading it seemed to bring Grace to my thoughts, for the last time I had read it was when I saw her in the Manor woods.

Elzevir and I had often talked over what was to be done when my leg should be sound again, and resolved to take passage to St Malo in the Bonoverture, and there lie hid till the pursuit against us should have ceased. For though 'twas war-time, French and English were as brothers in the contraband, and the shippers would give us bit and sup, and glad to, as long as we had need of them. But of this I need not say more, because 'twas but a project, which other events came in to overturn.

Yet 'twas this very errand, namely, to fix with the Bonaventure's men the time to take us over to the other side, that Elzevir had gone out, on the day of which I shall now speak. He was to go to Poole, and left our cave in the afternoon, thinking it safe to keep along the cliff-edge even in the day-light, and to strike across country when dusk came on. The wind had blown fresh all the morning from south-west, and after Elzevir had left, strengthened to a gale. My leg was now so strong that I could walk across the cave with the help of a stout blackthorn that Elzevir had cut me: and so I went out that afternoon on to the ledge to watch the growing sea. There I sat down, with my back against a protecting rock, in such a place that I could see up-Channel and yet shelter from the rushing wind. The sky was overcast, and the long wall of rock showed grey with orange-brown patches and a darker line of sea-weed at the base like the under strake of a boat's belly, for the tide was but beginning to make. There was a mist, half- fog, half-spray, scudding before the wind, and through it I could see the white-backed rollers lifting over Peveril Point; while all along the cliff-face the sea-birds thronged the ledges, and sat huddled in snowy lines, knowing the mischief that was brewing in the elements.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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