The Trespasser (Chapter 7, page 2 of 5)


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Chapter 7

'This is fine, Siegmund!' she said, halting and facing west.

Smiling ironically, he sat down on a boulder. They were quite alone, in
this great white niche thrust out to sea. Here, he could see, the tide
would beat the base of the wall. It came plunging not far from
their feet.

'Would you really like to travel beyond the end?' he asked.

She looked round quickly, thrilled, then answered as if in rebuke: 'This is a fine place. I should like to stay here an hour.' 'And then where?' 'Then? Oh, then, I suppose, it would be tea-time.' 'Tea on brine and pink anemones, with Daddy Neptune.' She looked sharply at the outjutting capes. The sea did foam perilously
near their bases.

'I suppose it _is_ rather risky,' she said; and she turned, began
silently to clamber forwards.

He followed; she should set the pace.

'I have no doubt there's plenty of room, really,' he said. 'The sea only
looks near.' But she toiled on intently. Now it was a question of danger, not of
inconvenience, Siegmund felt elated. The waves foamed up, as it seemed,
against the exposed headland, from which the massive shingle had been
swept back. Supposing they could not get by? He began to smile
curiously. He became aware of the tremendous noise of waters, of the
slight shudder of the shingle when a wave struck it, and he always
laughed to himself. Helena laboured on in silence; he kept just behind
her. The point seemed near, but it took longer than they thought. They
had against them the tremendous cliff, the enormous weight of shingle,
and the swinging sea. The waves struck louder, booming fearfully; wind,
sweeping round the corner, wet their faces. Siegmund hoped they were cut
off, and hoped anxiously the way was clear. The smile became set on
his face.

Then he saw there was a ledge or platform at the base of the cliff, and
it was against this the waves broke. They climbed the side of this
ridge, hurried round to the front. There the wind caught them, wet and
furious; the water raged below. Between the two Helena shrank, wilted.
She took hold of Siegmund. The great, brutal wave flung itself at the
rock, then drew back for another heavy spring. Fume and spray were spun
on the wind like smoke. The roaring thud of the waves reminded Helena of
a beating heart. She clung closer to him, as her hair was blown out
damp, and her white dress flapped in the wet wind. Always, against the
rock, came the slow thud of the waves, like a great heart beating under
the breast. There was something brutal about it that she could not bear.
She had no weapon against brute force.

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