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remained on the clouds were reflected in the quiet waters.'
“ Father is coming in,” said the children; and the whole party rushed down to the shore, to watch the boat gently gliding in, and to help, or think they helped, in unloading her.
“ Father, may I go out to-morrow?” said Jack.
“No; not to-morrow. All in good time. Lydia, you
be up at five. Sort the fish, and take them to the shop; and if they do not want them all, you will stop for market.”
The wind was howling round Morrison's cottage, and its wild sound mixed with the roar of the sea. Lydia sat within alone netting by the firelight. The three children slept soundly in the inner room; and for five hours of darkness she had been left to her own thoughts, and they were all on one subject the storin, that had risen since her father and brothers went out in the morning. She was ready to welcome them home: the faggots burnt cheerfully, the floor was well swept, every thing in its place on the well-rubbed shelves, and the table was laid for the supper, with three basins ready for the broth that was simmering over the fire. She never now let her father come in cold and wet to eat his dry crust and creep comfortless to bed ; she had often sat up and been rewarded by a happy meeting; but now her heart sunk as hour after hour went by and no one came, and the storm grew louder.
She tried to say comforting texts to herself“When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee;" "Then are they at rest, for so He bringeth them to the haven where they would be ;” “The waves of the sea are mighty and rage horribly, but yet the Lord who dwelleth on high is mightier.” She repeated them over and over; “but still,” she said to herself, “ they do not promise me that father will come ashore safe,-people are drowned in storms, and how can I be easy?”
After puzzling over it some time, she remembered a sermon of Mr. Chaloner's on the text, “It is the Lord ; let Him do what seemeth Him good.” She remembered his saying that we shall not find in shrinking from evils, but in receiving good and evil alike submissively at the hand of God.
It was not promised that Christians should be safe from earthly dangers, but that they should always be in His keeping, whatever their lot. She tried to keep in mind that was with those she loved in the stormy waters, and to be content with this; and while she prayed that if it pleased Him, they might be brought back to her safely, she tried to be resigned to whatever might be ordered for her.
She thought she would feel more easy by seeing how the weather went on, so she wrapped her cloak round her and went out. The gust of wind was so violent that she had a hard matter to shut the door after her, or to stand upon the beach.
The rain had stopped, and the moon shone out every now and then from between the heavy black clouds. The sea was quite dark, except that the tops of all the waves were covered with foam, looking whiter than ever in the moonlight. Each wave as it drew near burst in one long line upon the coast with a sound like thunder, and with clouds of foam and spray which flew higher than Lydia's head.
It was a grand sight, but to her a terrible one. She well knew that no boat could come ashore in such a sea, and her only hope now was, that her father might be able to keep out till the gale should lull. But what a night they would have of it in those tossing waters ! And poor dear little Jack, who was unused to such rough work-how could he bear it?
She climbed to the highest part of the beach, and holding back the hair that flew all over her face, looked steadily out on the sea.
She could see no boat moving, and that was some comfort. Most of the boats were drawn up on the shore-how safe they looked ! two or three were out, and in the cot
tages to which they belonged lights were still burning. The
poor fishermen's wives were watching for them, as Lydia had watched for her father. She had half a mind to go in and speak to them. She longed to hear the sound of any voice; but on second thoughts it seemed more her duty to go back and mind the children than to get talking with her neighbours : so she turned back to spend the time till morning in hopeless waiting, for she could not think of going to bed. At that moment she heard steps behind her, treading on the loose shingle (for the tide was high and covered the sands). She stopped: they came nearer; and presently a voice said, “ There is sister looking out for us, I declare.” It was Robert's voice. And there they came, Robert and his father carrying between them a heavy basket of fish, and Jack lagging behind. Lydia was almost beside herself; she ran and kissed her father, and could not speak for joy. He seemed to take it all very quietly. “Rough weather, my girl,” he said ; " but I've seen worse — wind chopped round to the south and caught us.”
“ Where's the boat, father?”
“Got her in t'other side the point, under the lee of the Kettle rocks; she lies quite safe, we hauled her well up; and please God the wind goes down, we'll have her off with the morning tide ; — kept her head to the wind some time, and then got an offing and ran down to the point.”
Lydia felt half ashamed of being so much more frightened than her father. Bob was also very patient, and took things easy ; and was a boy of few words. Jack's tongue seemed more silent than common; and when they were in the cottage she thought she saw tears on his face; but they might be drops of salt water. She busied herself now to help them off with their wet jackets, and throw on more sticks, and light the candle, and pour out the broth. And it did look comfortable; and all the trouble seemed forgotten. Jack did not talk, however; only when Lydia stooped over him to ask if he liked his supper, he put his arm round her neck and kissed her. She had no doubt he had been frightened and tired; but was ashamed to say so, because his father liked him to be manly, and to make no complaints. She saw that he was too sleepy to hold up his bead long; 80 she took him up to bed while his father and Robert were finishing their supper, and made him comfortable with a nice dry shirt. She was very much pleased that, tired as he was, he knelt down to say his
prayers as usual, and stopped in the middle to ask, “ Sister, should not I put in something about being saved from the storm ?”
Lydia told him what she thought he had better say. Afterwards, when he was in bed, and she kissed him, and wished him good night, he said, “Sister, I did pray to God when I was frightened in the boat.”
Morrison and Bob were already climbing the little staircase, and Lydia went down and put things straight, and looked out of window once more at the raging waters. What did she care for them now? Her thanksgivings were offered up with a full and grateful heart; and she sought pardon for having distrusted the goodness of God, and not borne her fears patiently. She resolved to try not to be so disturbed again; but in a life that must often have anxiety, a life that must often lead those she loved into danger, to commit them fearlessly into His hands, who could protect them in the stormy waters as safely as on the dry firm land. These thoughts were still in her mind, when she crept gently into her bed, and composed herself on its edge, that she might not wake her little sisters. She listened to the sound of winds and waters, which no longer made her heart sink. She said over to herself, what she had once read, that the sea and the winds were His work, and given us for blessing and sustenance, as well as the fruitful field; and that we must not shrink from seeing them sometimes angry. She was begin
ning to make resolutions about how to bear the next storm, and how to help being frightened, but she fell asleep in the middle of them.
The next morning was bright and beautiful. There was not a cloud in the sky; but there was still much wind blowing, and the effect of the storm had made the sea still very rough. The noise of the waves was as loud as ever, and the foam dashed as high, and sparkled in the sun.
Mrs. Forbes was walking on the beach to admire the sea, and she stopped at Morrison's cottage. Lydia was coming out of the door with her large basket, looking clean, and bright, and happy. Every thing was tidy within; the walls whitewashed, and the tables well scrubbed, and no litter to be seen. Morrison and Bob were gone to bring home the oars and nets; for there was no getting the boat round the point in this sea. It was Saturday; so the children were not gone to school: but George and Mary sat upon the steps, and Peggy was left in charge of the house ; and they were told not to go near the sea to-day, for they could be trusted now to do as they
Mrs. Forbes was quite surprised that any boats had been out, or any fish caught; and she bought some, and sent Jack with it to her house; and I believe Jack was rather glad to-day to turn his back upon the sea.
She could not but think of the difference from the day when she first saw Lydia ; and how much any persons, however young, may do, who set themselves earnestly to their duty. Lydia, too, thought of the difference; and in her heart thanked her kind friend for it, as she poised the basket on her head, and set off with a firm step along the sand, in the fresh smell of the sea, and the brightness of the morning sun; and those verses came into her head :
“ Lord, the water-floods have lifted,
Ocean-floods have lift their roar ;