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No season this for counsel or delay,
GWENTHLEAN had been spending a long day alone with Mr. Lloyd, the last she would probably ever spend with him as Gwenthlean Llewellen. She had promised her mother to return early, because Mr. Grant, Lord Hastings, and Colonel Llewellen, who had gone on an expedition up the mountains, were to finish the evening at the cottage. The afternoon had been stormy, and an occasional flash of lightning, a peal of distant thunder, or a few large drops of rain, seemed to presage tempestuous weather. The sea-gulls had collected together as if for mutual protection, and flew about like moving clouds, uttering their melancholy scream in concert. The bosom of the sea heaved and fell, as if agitated by passion, and Walter the clerk, who was a sailor and fisherman, said he feared there would be rough work at sea, and bad weather at home.
Gwenthlean begged him to hasten to get the large ferry boat for her, as she wished to leave before the storm came on. Mr. Lloyd asked her to remain the night; but she thought it better to refuse, knowing that she should be expected at home. Gwenthlean had been accustomed to cross the little bay in all weathers, therefore feared nothing; and, besides, she said, the summer storms, if they had one, soon passed away. A heavy peal of thunder was heard as she spoke, and a flash of lightning darted across the window. Thick clouds were lowering in the heavens, and the atmosphere was dense and oppressively hot. The birds ceased to sing, and cowered amongst the bushes, whilst the sheep that were grazing upon the mountains, ran to covert.
“The boat is ready, Miss," said Walter ; “and I have got Morgan to come along, and to help the ferrymen to row you across quickly. We shall be able to get over before the storm comes on, though I am afraid we shall have a rough row."
Mr. Lloyd and Gwenthlean were looking out of the window, and the former said,
“ You had better make haste, my love, for the sooner you get over the better;" then he added, in a whisper, “ I shall see you again before the day; but you must excuse an old man like me from joining a
wedding party, as well as from officiating at the ceremony. It would be too much for me.”
Mr. Lloyd's involuntary sigh was interrupted by Watty, who exclaimed
“ There is a vessel out yonder, just coming up. She looks sadly tossed about. I hope she wont strike upon the sands.”
“God forbid,” said Mr. Lloyd.
The sands alluded to, were dangerous quicksands, at a distance from the little bay, in the open sea; upon which many vessels had been wrecked, and to which, shameful to relate, some had been known to be guided by false lights placed by wreckers, who, here and there, infested the coast. Gwenthlean looked towards the sea, and saw a ship battling with the waves in the extreme distance ; but some way from the frightful quicksands, though out of the right line of sail. She shuddered as she gazed, having already witnessed some fearful scenes near the spot. She wished Mr. Lloyd good bye, and ac
companied Watty to the beach, where Morgan was waiting, with a good-sized, safe boat, and two sailors, to row her over.
It generally took from twenty minutes to half an hour to get across-in the present turbulent condition of the elements, they could scarcely expect to achieve the passage so speedily, since the heaving of the waves tossed the boat about, and made the oars difficult to manage. The sailors had thrown up a kind of tarpauling-awning for Gwenthlean, under which she sat, fearless of rain or wind, watching the movements of the ship, that tossed about in the distance. But there was more difficulty, and, perhaps, danger, in her own passage, than she imagined ; and so the sailors found when they were about a quarter of the way across. The wind increased, and the sea became more and more tumultuous, whilst the sky was black as ink, and the storm that had been so long brewing, began to come on in good