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Oh, Macleod, Macleod, are you going away from me for ever? and we will go up the hills together and on the lochs together no more-no more—no more! Oh, the brave lad that he was ! --and the good master !—and who was not proud of him ?-my handsome lad !-and he the last of the Macleods of Dare!”
“Don't you think that," I asked the coachman, in the first stage out of London," a very remarkable sky? I don't remember to have seen one like it."
"Nor 1—not equal to it,” he replied. “That's wind, sir. There'll be mischief done at sea, I expect, before long."
It was a murky confusion-here and there blotted with a colour like the colour of the smoke from damp fuel—of Aying clouds tossed up into most remarkable heaps, suggesting greater heights in the clouds than there were depths below them to the bottom of the deepest hollows in the earth, through which the wild moon seemed to plunge headlong, as if, in a dread disturbance of the laws of nature, she had lost her way and were frightened. There had been a wind all day; and it was rising then, with an extraordinary great sound. In another
* From David Copperfield, by kind permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall.
hour it had much increased, and the sky was more overcast, and it blew hard.
But, as the night advanced, the clouds, closing in and densely overspreading the whole sky, then very dark, it came on to blow, harder and harder. It still increased, until our horses could scarcely face the wind. Many times, in the dark part of the night (it was then late in September, when the nights were not short), the leaders turned about, or came to a dead stop; and we were often in serious apprehension that the coach would be blown over. Sweeping gusts of rain came up before this storm, like showers of steel; and at those times, when there was any shelter of trees or lee walls to be got, we were fain to stop, in a sheer impossib of continuing the struggle.
When the day broke, it blew harder and harder. I had been in Yarmouth when the seamen said it blew great guns, but I had never known the like of this, or anything approaching to it. We came to Ipswich-very late, having had to fight every inch of ground since we were ten miles out of London ; and found a cluster of people in the market-place, who had risen from their beds in the night, fearful of falling chimneys. Some of these, congregating about the inn-yard while we changed horses, told us of great sheets of lead having been ripped off a high church-tower, and flung into a bye-street, which they then blocked up. Others had to tell of country people, coming in from neighbouring villages, who had seen great trees being torn out of the earth, and whole ricks scattered about the roads and fields. ' Still, there was no abatement in the storm, but it blew harder.
As we struggled on, nearer and nearer to the sea, from which this mighty wind was blowing dead on shore, its force became more and more terrific. Long before we saw the sea, its spray was on our lips, and showered salt rain upon us.
The water was out, over miles and miles of the flat country adjacent to Yarmouth; and every sheet and puddle lashed its banks, and had its stress of little breakers setting heavily towards us.
When we came within sight of the sea, the waves on the horizon, caught at intervals above the rolling abyss, were like glimpses of another shore with towers and buildings. When at last we got into the town, the people came out to their doors, all-aslant, and with streaming hair, making a wonder of the mail that had come through such a night.
I put up at the old inn, and went down to look at the sea; staggering along the street, which was strewn with sand and sea-weed, and with flying blotches of sea-foam ; afraid of falling slates and tiles; and holding by people I met at angry corners. Coming near the beach, I saw, not only the boatmen, but half the people of the town, lurking behind buildings; some, now and then braving the fury of the storm to look away to sea, and blown sheer out of their course in trying to get zigzag back.
Joining these groups, I found bewailing women whose husbands were away in herring or oyster boats, which there was too much reason to think might have foundered before they could run in anywhere for safety. Grizzled old sailors were among the people, shaking their heads as they looked from water to sky, and muttering to one another; shipowners, excited and uneasy; children huddling together, and peering into older faces; even stout mariners, disturbed and anxious, levelling their glasses at the sea from behind places of shelter, as if they were surveying an enemy.
The tremendous sea itself, when I could find sufficient pause to look at it, in the agitation of the blinding wind, the flying stones and sand, and the awful noise, confounded me. As the high watery walls came rolling in, and, at their highest, tumbled into surf, they looked as if the least would engulf the town. As the receding wave swept back with a hoarse roar, it seemed to scoop out deep caves in the beach, as if its purpose were to undermine the earth. When some white-headed billows thundered on, and dashed themselves to pieces before they reached the land, every fragment of the late whole seemed possessed by the full might of its wratlı, rushing to be gathered to the composition of another monster. Undulating hills were changed to valleys, undulating valleys (with a solitary stormbird sometimes skimming through them) were lifted up to hills; masses of water shivered and shook the beach with a booming sound; every shape tumultuously rolled on, as soon as made, to change its shape and place, and beat another shape and place away; the ideal shore on the horizon, with its towers and buildings, rose and fell; the clouds flew fast and thick ; I seemed to see a rending and upheaving of all nature.
It was re-assuring, on such a night, to be told that some of the inn servants had agreed together to sit up until morning. I went to bed, exceedingly weary and heavy ; but, on my lying down, all such sensations vanished, as if by magic, and I was broad awake, with every sense refined.
For hours I lay there, listening to the wind and water; imagining now, that I heard shrieks out at sea; now, that I distinctly heard the firing of signal guns; and now, the fall of houses in the town. I got up, several times, and looked out; but could see nothing, excepting the reflection in the window-panes of the faint candle I had left burning, and of my own haggard face looking in at me from the black void.
At length, my restlessness attained to such a pitch, that I hurried on my clothes and went downstairs.
I remained there, I dare say, two hours. Once, I opened the yard-gate, and looked into the empty street. The sand, the seaweed, and the flakes of foam, were driving by, and I was obliged to call for assistance before I could shut the gate again, and make it fast against the wind.
There was a dark gloom in my solitary chamber, when I at length returned to it; but I was tired now, and getting into bed again, fell-off a tower