MoboReader > Literature > The Moon Rock

   Chapter 31 No.31

The Moon Rock By Arthur J. Rees Characters: 34777

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


With a beating heart Sisily gained the shelter of her room and locked the door, her eyes glancing quickly around her. She did not expect to see anything there, but she had reached the stage of instinctive terror when one fears lurking shadows, unexpected noises, or an imagined alteration in the contour of familiar things. There was nothing in the room to alarm her, and her thoughts flew back to the face of the man she had seen in the street outside. The owner of the face had leered at first, and then his glance hardened into suspicion as he looked. When she hurried past him he had shifted his position to stare at her by the light of the street lamp. Had he followed her? That was the question she could not answer. She had heard footsteps behind her in the dark street, horrible stealthy footsteps which had caused terror to rush over her like a flood, and sent her flying along the street to her one haven. As she ran she had felt a touching faith in the security of her room, if she could reach it. Out there, in the open street, it had seemed impregnable, like a fortress.

Now as she sat there she had a revulsion of feeling. The room was not safe, the house was not safe. Not now. She had been very imprudent. She had run straight home to her hiding-place, her only refuge. Why had she not waited to make sure that she was followed? Then she could have slipped away in a different direction until she had evaded pursuit, and returned to her room afterwards. She had been very foolish.

She approached her window and gazed down, but could discern nothing in the darkness. She tried to shake off her fear, telling herself that it was imagination. But her mind remained full of misgivings, and her inner consciousness peopled the obscurity of the street below with lurking figures.

Weariness overcame her. She retired from the window and laid down on her bed, not to sleep, but to think. Her fright had turned her mind temporarily from the contemplation of a greater disaster. That was the arrest of Charles Turold. She had learnt the news from an evening paper which she had bought at the corner of the street. The announcement was very brief, merely stating that he had been arrested in Cornwall. The guarded significance of the information was not lost upon her. Charles had been captured on his way back to her, and her agonized heart whispered that she was responsible for his fate.

Bitterly she now blamed herself for having let him go on the quest. She hardly asked herself whether it had succeeded or failed, perhaps because she had subconsciously accepted the view that Thalassa, after all, had nothing to tell. Nor did she think of the calamity which had again overtaken her love. The effect of her original renunciation was still strong within her, and Charles's discovery of her and her promise to him had not really altered her attitude. His finding her, and their subsequent conversation in the room below, bore an air of the strangest unreality to her, as if she had been merely an actor in a stirring scene which did not actually affect her. Some subtle inward voice told her that these things did not matter to her.

It was part of a feeling which she had always within her-the sense of living under the shadow of some dark destiny which would not be mitigated or withheld. It was a strange point of view for one so young, but it had been hers ever since she remembered anything. The tragedy and the shame which had come into her life recently had found her, as it were, waiting. She regarded them merely as the partial fulfilment of the unescapable thing which had been prepared for her before she was born, and had dogged her lonely footsteps since childhood. In the isolated circumstances of her life and upbringings it was not strange, perhaps, that she had such imaginings.

She had loved Charles Turold with all the strength of a passionate solitary nature, and it was this feeling or instinct of fatality which had given her the strength to renounce him. Indeed, it seemed to her that that inseparable companion of her inmost thoughts had prompted her to linger outside the door at Flint House on this afternoon so that she should overhear her father's words-catch that sinister fragment of a sentence which compelled her to refuse the love of Charles until she had learnt the truth. She could not listen to him with that secret half-guessed. And, the full truth known, no other course was open to her save renunciation.

She had not wavered. Sometimes, in the vain way of the young heart seeking for happiness, she found herself wishing that she had not listened at the door to those few words which sent her back to Flint House that awful night to learn the truth from her father, or, at least, had not acted upon them. The words she overheard had not told her much, and she might have tried to forget them. But she thrust that thought from her like an evil thing. She would have hated herself if she had followed that course and found out the truth of her birth afterwards, deeming herself unworthy of the love of one who had been ready to sacrifice everything for her sake. No! It was better, far better, that she should know.

She had not thought of suspicion falling on herself. Her youth and inexperience, borne upward on the lofty wings of sacrifice, had not foreseen the damning significance which might gather round her secret visit to Flint House and her subsequent disappearance. Not even when she heard of her father's death had the folly of her contemplated action dawned on her. Her dreamy unpractical temperament, keyed up to the great act of abnegation, had not paused to consider what the consequences might be to herself.

Lying there in the darkness of her room, she recalled how that revelation had been made to her. It was the first night after her arrival in London, in the drawing-room of a private hotel near Russell Square, where she had intended staying for a few days while she sought for some kind of employment. There was a group of women seated round the fireplace, talking. She was seated by herself some distance away, turning over the leaves of a magazine, when a loud remark by one of the speakers startled her into an attitude of listening fear. "Have you read about this Cornwall murder?" The words, cold and distinct, had broken into her sad reflections like a stone dropped from a great height. They had gone on talking without looking at her, and she had listened intently, masking her conscious features with the open magazine. It was well that she did. They discussed the murder in animated tones. The strangest case! … A great title … the Turrald title … to be heard before the House of Lords next week … and now the claimant was murdered … he was very wealthy, too. Thus they talked; then the first voice, which seemed to dominate all the others, broke in: "It was thought to be suicide at first, but I see by tonight's paper that his daughter is suspected. She has disappeared, and is supposed to have fled to London. What are girls coming to-always shooting somebody or somebody shooting them! It's the war, I suppose…."

The shock of that double disclosure had been almost too much to bear. Till then she had not known that her father had been murdered, much less that she was suspected of killing him. Dizziness had swept over her. Things seemed to spin round her, yet she saw them rotating with a kind of dreadful distinctness-the false smiling faces of the women, the furniture, a cat blinking on the hearthrug, an empty coffee cup on a small table. One stout lady, enthroned on a pile of red and blue cushions, sailed round and round on a sofa with the preposterous repetition and tragic reality of a fat woman on a roundabout. Then the circling faces and furniture vanished. She swayed with the sensation of growing darkness, and had the oddest fancy that the break of the waves on Cornish cliffs was sounding in her ears. She was dreamily inhaling the sea air….

She had pulled herself sharply together. She had something of her father's tenacity and courage in her composition, and that had nerved her to face the ordeal and saved her from giving herself away. The darkness lightened, the electric lights danced dizzily back into view, and the room became stationary once more. With an effort at calmness she rose from her seat and sought her room, and next morning she left the house. Henceforth her lot was one of furtive movement and concealment.

As she lay there, staring open-eyed into the darkness, her thoughts slipped back to the night of her visit to Flint House in a vain effort to recollect some overlooked incident which might throw light on her father's mysterious death. There was one thing over which she had frequently puzzled without arriving at any interpretation of it. She thought of it now. She saw herself stealing from her father's room with the sound of his last awful words ringing through her being. Beneath, near the foot of the staircase, she could see Thalassa waiting, the glow of the tiny hall light falling on his stern listening face. She was walking along the passage to go to him when some impulse impelled her to glance through a window which looked out on the moors and the rocks near the house.

Her eyes had fallen on a shape, shrouded in the obscurity of the rocks not far from the window, which seemed to have some semblance to the motionless figure of a man. She had stood there for a moment, glancing down intently, but it had not stirred. If it had human semblance, it seemed to be carved in stone. She came to the conclusion that she was mistaken. Experience had taught her what strange shapes the rocks took after nightfall. With another fleeting glance she had hurried downstairs, and from the house.

She thought about it now without arriving at any conclusion as to what it was that she had seen so indistinctly-whether man or rock. Charles had been up there that night, but it was not Charles. This figure or rock was on the other side of the house.

Stupor descended gradually on her tired brain like the coming of darkness, and she fell into sleep-the first rest that had visited her since she learnt of Charles's arrest. But her slumber was disturbed by dreams. She dreamt that she was back in Cornwall, sitting on her old perch at the foot of the cliffs, looking at the Moon Rock. The face in the Rock was watching her, as it had always watched her, but this time with a dreadful sneer which she had never seen before. It frightened her so that she moaned and tossed uneasily, and awoke with a cry, shaking with terror.

As she reached out her hand for the matches by the bedside to light the gas, the sound of the front door-bell pealed through the house. Sisily sprang up, her eyes seeking to pierce the darkness, her ears listening intently. Who could it be? She was alone in the house. Mrs. Johns had gone to one of her spiritualistic meetings, and was not likely to be home until late. Besides, she had her own key, with which she always let herself in. She crept cautiously to the window and strained her eyes downward. She was just able to catch a glimpse of two vague figures underneath in the darkness. The light of the street lamp glinted on something one of them was wearing on his head. It was a policeman's helmet.

The terror of the hunted took possession of her. She sought to remain calm; her trembling lips essayed a sentence of a prayer. But it was no use. She was too young for philosophy or Christian resignation. Terror shook her with massive jaws. She did not want to be caught, to be put in prison, to be killed. She wandered aimlessly about the room like a trapped creature. She must escape-she would escape!

With a great effort she calmed herself to reflect-to calculate if there was any chance of getting away. She esteemed it fortunate that she had not lit the gas in her room. The whole house was in darkness. The policeman might think there was nobody in, and go away. But she dared not reckon on that.

There came another and louder ring of the bell downstairs.

Again she crept to the window and looked down. The policeman and the other man were conferring in a murmur which reached her ears. The policeman stepped back into the garden path and scanned the darkened windows of the house. She shrank back from the window.

The ring was followed by the sound of knocking at the front door-knocking heavy and prolonged, which reverberated solemnly through the silent house. Then once more there was silence.

In her ignorance of the methods of the law she wondered wildly whether the next step would be to break in the door and search the house. Terror shook her again at this thought, scorched her with burning breath. She would escape-she must. But how? Her fingernails pierced the palms of her hands as she vainly tried to think out a way. Should she hide somewhere? She rejected that plan as impracticable. The back way? But there was no outlet-only a small garden abutting on other back gardens. There was a dark side street only a few houses away. If she could only reach it….

She stood quite motionless, expecting the knocking to start again. But it did not. She thought she heard the shuffle of feet and husky whispers in the garden path underneath, but she could not be sure of that. What were they doing? Why were they so silent? "Suppose they got in through the window?" she whispered to herself. Her soul died within her at that thought. She tried to assure herself that the windows were locked, but her staring eyes peopled the invisible staircase with creeping figures. The darkness grew intense and terrifying, like a rushing black torrent flowing over her head. She was alone, in an empty world … The torrent ceased, and the darkness took the form of a great sable wing, moving, flapping, seeking to enfold her. She put up her hands to ward it off.

At that instant a sharp and decisive sound reached her. It was the click of a shut gate. As she recognized the sound a new thought came to her-a hope, when hope seemed gone. She stepped noiselessly to the window and looked down. She was just in time to catch a glimpse of two retreating figures revealed in dark contour beneath the rays of the street lamp. The next moment they passed out of sight.

They had gone! But they would return-she felt sure of that. She must get away at once before they did-run out of the door and make for the side street.

She listened for a moment longer. There was no sound anywhere now. The house was lapped in absolute quietness. She felt for her hat, and calming her nerves with a desperate effort, stole quickly from the room and downstairs. As she stood in the silent hall, facing the closed door, she again thought she heard whisperings. She recoiled in fear, wondering if they were outside, waiting. It was her worst ordeal yet. Then desperation conquered her terror. Her trembling fingers pulled back the bolt, and she issued forth.

There was no one there to check her flight. The streets seemed empty. Without turning her head she ran past the houses which intervened between her and the side street. She gained it, and turned into its friendly darkness. She was as free as a bird again, for the moment.

A kind of exultation seized her at this unexpected deliverance from her adventure, but that mood passed as she reflected upon her present position. She had left the house without her few belongings, and what was far worse, without her money, which she kept in a hand-bag locked up in her small case in the bedroom she had just left.

She had not a penny in the world, and she dared not go back.

That was not the moment to reflect upon the grimness of her situation. The sound of approaching footsteps shaped her fears of capture into renewed action. She walked rapidly away.

The time was near midnight, and the streets were almost empty. She kept her way along dark obscure streets, shunning the lighted thoroughfares. She had no settled plan in her mind, except to keep on. Hers was the instinct of the hunted creature for darkness and obscurity. Her fevered spirit hurried her along, spurring her with the menace of an imprisonment which was worse than the cramped horror of the grave. In the grave there was no consciousness of the weight of the earth above, but in prison, held like an animal, watched by horrible men, beating despairing hands against locked doors-ah, no, no! Her free young body and soul revolted with nausea at the thought. Death would be better than that. She walked still more rapidly.

With that possibility impending she shrank from any chance contact with passers-by, turning into side streets to avoid any one she saw coming. Once, a policeman, appearing unexpectedly out of the shadows, set her heart beating wildly, but he passed by without looking at her.

It grew later, and the streets became quite deserted. She had been walking for more than an hour when she noticed that the houses were scattered, with open spaces now and then, and a bracing freshness in the air which suggested that she was getting away from where the herds of London slept, into open spaces. For some obscure reason this made her nervous, and she turned back. After a while London closed in on her again, but this time in a more squalid quarter, a wilderness of dirty narrow streets, where even in the darkness the debasing m

arks and odours of squalid poverty were perceptible in the endless rows of houses which seemed to crowd in upon her. She came to a bridge and crossed it into an area of gaunt and darkened factories. Here, strange nocturnal noises and sights frightened her. She saw shadowy forms, and heard rough voices on a wharf in the blackness of the river beneath her, followed by a woman's scream. She ran when she heard that-ran along the riverside till she came to another bridge, which she recrossed. She found herself in a quieter and better part of London, where the streets were wide and well-kept, and she slackened her pace into a walk again.

The night wore on like eternity, with immeasurable slowness yet incredible swiftness. She had been walking for hours, and yet she had no feeling of fatigue. She seemed to move through the streets without any effort of her own. Towards the morning she was carried along with a complete absence of bodily sensation, as if she had been in very truth one of those disembodied spirits of Mrs. Johns' spirit world, driven through the solitude of the ages by the implacable decree of some incalculable malignant force called immortality. She felt as though centuries of time had rolled over her head when the murk of the lowering sky lightened, and the London dawn was born, naked and grey.

The dawn brought London to life with a speed which was in the nature of a miracle. From the appearance of the first workers to the flocking of the streets, was, as it were, but a moment. The 'buses and trams commenced running, and shops opened. Sisily found herself walking along Holborn, where the thickening crowds jostled her as she walked. But she did not care for that now, nor did she seek the comparative seclusion of the side streets. Her fear of capture had passed away, and her only feeling was impenetrable isolation and loneliness. The people who were passing had no more existence to her than if they had been a troop of ghosts. She had the sensation of belonging to another world and could not have communicated with them if she had wished. But the spirit which had sustained her during the night disappeared with the clamorous advance of the day. She became in an instant conscious of the grievous pangs of a body which seemed to have been flung back to her in a damaged state. It ached all over. Her head throbbed with a dull buzzing sound, and she was so tired that she could hardly stand. She felt as if she must lie down-in the street, anywhere. And she was tormented by thirst. But she still kept on.

She found herself, after a while, by one of those little backwaters which are the salvation of strangers to London: a green railed square, with trees and fountains, and a quiet pavement where a street artist was drawing bright pictures with crayons. An old four-wheeler was moored in the gutter by the entrance, the horse munching in the depths of a nose-bag, the elderly driver reclining against the side of the cab, smoking and watching the pavement artist.

Sisily entered the empty square to rest herself. As she sat there on one of the wooden seats the full misery of her situation came home to her, and she asked herself anxiously what she was to do. She had nowhere to go, and no money to buy food or shelter-nothing in the world that she could call her own except the clothes she was wearing. They were the coat and skirt she had put on to come to London, and she noticed with feminine concern that the dark cloth showed disreputable stains and splashes of her night's exposure. Hastily she took her handkerchief from her pocket to remove the tell-tale marks. As she did so a bit of buff cardboard fluttered on to the gravel at her feet. She stooped and picked it up. It was the return half of her ticket to Cornwall.

The remembrance of her arrival at Paddington revived in her as she looked at it-the fright she had had when the ticket collector caught her by the arm to return half of the whole ticket she had given up. She had put the ticket in the pocket of her jacket and never thought of it again. Had Fate decreed her original mistake of taking a return ticket when she needed only a single one? She was at that moment inclined to think so.

The question of its use was decided as soon as she saw it. The ticket would take her back to Cornwall and Thalassa. Thalassa would help and shield her.

The gilt hands of a church clock opposite the square pointed to half-past eight. She knew that the morning express for Cornwall started shortly after ten, but she did not know what part of London she was in or the direction of Paddington. Animated by a new hope, she left her seat and asked the cabman for directions.

The cabman looked at her with a ruminating eye. That eye, with unfathomable perspicacity, seemed to pry into her empty pockets and pierce her penniless state. He did not ask her if she wanted to be driven there, but intimated with a shake of his grey head that Paddington was a goodish walk. Then he gave her directions for finding it-implicit and repeated directions, as though his all-seeing eye had also divined that she was a stranger to the ways of London.

Sisily thanked him and turned away, repeating his directions so that she should not have to ask anybody else. First to the right, second to the left, along Tottenham Court Road to Oxford Street, up Oxford Street to Edgeware Road, down Edgeware Road to Praed Street-so it ran. She followed them carefully, and found herself on Paddington station a quarter of an hour before the departure of the express.

She entered a third-class carriage, but sat in a corner seat, longing for the train to move out. The minutes dragged slowly, and passengers kept thronging in. All sorts of people seemed to have business in Cornwall at that late season of the year. They came hurrying along in groups looking for vacant compartments. Sisily kept an eager eye upon the late arrivals, hoping that they would pass by her compartment. By some miraculous chance she was left undisturbed until almost starting time, then a group of fat women dashed along the platform with the celerity of fear, and crowded ponderously in. The next moment the train began to slip away from the station, and was soon rushing into the open country at high speed.

Of the details of that journey she knew nothing at all. She sat staring out of the window, her thoughts racing faster than the train. The events of the last few days receded from her mental vision like the flying houses and fields outside the carriage window, fading into some remote distance of her mind. Relief swelled in her heart as the train rushed west and London was left farther and farther behind. Something within her seemed to sing piercingly for joy, as though she had been a strange wild bird escaping from captivity to wing her way westward to the open spaces by the sea. London had frightened her. Its crowded vastness had suffocated her, its indifference had appalled her. She had felt so hopelessly alone there; far lonelier than she had ever been in Cornwall or Norfolk. Nature could be brutal, but never indifferent. She could be friendly-sometimes. The sea and the sky had whispered loving greetings to her, but not London. There was nothing but a hideous and blank indifference there. She was glad to get away-away from the endless rows of shops and houses, from the unceasing throngs of indifferent people, back to the lonely moors of Cornwall, to look down from the rocks at the sea, and breathe the keen gusty air.

As the journey advanced and the train swept farther west she became dull, languid, almost inert. Lack of food and the previous night's exposure induced in her a feeling of giddiness which at times had in it something of the nature of delirium. In this state her mind turned persistently to Thalassa, and the object of her return to him. She was struggling towards him, up great heights, under a nightmare burden. She seemed to see him standing there with his hands outstretched, ready to lift the burden off her shoulders if she could only reach him. Then she was back in the kitchen at Flint House, watching him bending over his lamps, listening to the wicked old song he used to sing-

"The devil and me we went away to sea,

In the old brig 'Lizbeth-Jane...."

The train caught up the refrain and thundered it into her tired head … "Went away to sea, went away to sea, In the old brig 'Lizbeth-Jane." And, listening to it, she fell into a dazed slumber.

She awoke with a start to find that it was getting dusk and the train was running smoothly through South Cornwall. As she looked out of the window a grey corpse of a hill seemed to rise out of the sea. It was Mount St. Michael. Then she caught a glimpse of Carn Brea and the purple moors. The people in the carriage began to collect light luggage and put on coats and wraps. The next moment the train came to a standstill at Penzance station.

She clung to the safety of the throng in passing through the barrier, fearing most the St. Fair wagonette which might be drawn up outside. She was not known in Penzance, but the driver of the wagonette might recognize her. But Mr. Crows, indifferent to shillings, had not yet arrived. Sisily hurried past a group scanning the distant heights for the gaunt outline of the descending cab, like shipwrecked mariners on the look-out for a sail.

She reached the moor road by a short cut through the back part of the town, and set out for Flint House in the velvety shadows of the early gloaming.

It had been raining, but the rain had ceased. The sun, hidden through a long grey day, shone with dying brilliance in a patch of horizon blue, gilding the wet road, and making the wayside puddles glitter like mirrors. A soddened little bird twittered joyfully in the hedge, casting a round black eye at her as she passed. The moors, carpeted with purple, stretched all around her, glistening, wet, beautiful.

In the train she had felt hungry and tired, with burning head and cold limbs. As she walked these feelings wore off, and were replaced by a feeling of upliftment which was magical in its change. Her misery and her burden dropped from her. The softness of the moors was beneath her feet, and a sweet wind touched her lips and cheeks with a breath which was a caress. The plaintive distant cry of a gull reached her like a greeting. The solitude of Cornwall surrounded her.

When she reached the cross-roads she struck out across the moors. Before her, at no great distance, she could see the swelling mountainous reaches of green water breaking on the rocks in a long white line of foam, and the dark outline of Flint House clinging to the dizzy summit of the black broken cliffs.

Her false strength failed her suddenly as she neared her journey's end. The house loomed dimly before her tired vision in the fast gathering darkness. She stumbled with faltering steps round the side of the house to the kitchen door, and turned the handle. It was locked. She knocked loudly.

As in a vision she saw the white furtive face of Mrs. Thalassa peering out at her from the window, and her fluttering hands pressed against the glass, as though to thrust her back. Sisily rushed to the window.

"Let me in!" she cried. "It is I-Sisily."

The window opened suddenly, and Mrs. Thalassa stood there looking out at her like a small grey ghost-a ghost with watchful glittering eyes.

"Go away-go away," she whispered with a cunning glance. "Quick! They're looking for you-they'll catch you."

Sisily's heart went cold within her. "Where is Thalassa?" she faltered. "Send him to me-tell him I have come back." Her eyes travelled vainly around the gloom of the empty kitchen in search of him.

"He's gone-gone away!"

"Gone? Oh, no, no! Don't say that. Where has he gone?"

"I don't know. He went away. He's not coming back." She shook her head angrily, with a wild gleam in her eye. "You go away, too, or they'll catch you-the police. They come every night to look for you."

She cast another cunning look at the girl, and shut down the window. Sisily could see her reaching up and fumbling with the lock. Thalassa gone! Despair clutched her with iron hands, and held her fast. She glanced up at the window of her father's study, and thought she saw the dead man there, his stern face looking coldly down upon her. She turned away shuddering. Where could she go? She had nowhere to go, and she knew her strength would not carry her much farther.

She plunged blindly into the shelter of the great rocks near the house. She found herself wandering among them like a being in a dream. Then complete unconsciousness overtook her, and she sank down.

When she came to herself again night had descended and a storm was brewing. She sat up wonderingly and looked around her, indifferent to the rain which had commenced to fall on her uncovered head. Gradually remembrance came back to her. She saw that she was lying on the great slab of basalt which overhung the Moon Rock. She could hear the beat of the sea far beneath her, but she felt no fear. She was not conscious of her body or limbs-of nothing but a burning brain, and wide-open eyes which gazed out into the darkness and stillness around her.

As she looked it seemed to her startled imagination that the masses of rocks which littered the edge of the cliff moved closer to each other, starting out of the shadows into monstrous grotesque life, then circling round her in a strange and dizzy whirl. It was as though the old Cornish giants had come back to life for a corybantic dance with the demirips of their race-dancing to the music of the sea sucking and gurgling into the caves at the base of the cliffs. With swimming eyes Sisily watched them careering and pirouetting around her. Faster and faster they went, advancing, retreating, bending clumsily, then wavering, toppling, reeling, like giants well drunk. A great stone fell into the sea with a splash, as if dislodged by a giant foot. As though that signalled the cockcrow of their glee, the dancers stopped in listening attitudes, and sank back into rocks once more.

Sisily turned her eyes weakly from the slumbering rocks to the hills. The light of a coming moon behind them showed the outline of the granite pillars and stone altars of the Druids, where they had once sought to appease their savage gods, like the Israelites of old. Sisily had often meditated by these places of sacrifice, trying to picture the scene. Now, as she looked, it was enacted before her eyes. A red light brooded on one of the hills, growing brighter and brighter. Brutish shaggy figures came out of the darkness, dragging a youth to the altar. Sisily saw him distinctly. He was naked, with a beautiful face, haggard and white, and was bound with cords. Suddenly he freed himself, and dashed down the slope into the darkness. He was pursued and brought back, and the cries of his pursuers mingled with an appalling scream for help which seemed to float down the mountain side to where she lay, filling the silent air with echoes.

This scene, too, faded away, and the beams of the rising moon, now beginning to show over the hill-tops, formed in her mind the mirage of a beautiful day-one of those exquisite days which Nature produces at long intervals. Sisily saw a blue sky, sunlight like burnished silver, green fields and clear pools in which everything was reflected … a slumbrous perfect day, with drowsy cattle knee-deep in grass, bees, and floating butterflies, and the shrill notes of happy birds.

Once more the tangled loom of her fevered brain wove a new picture. She was back in her bedroom at Flint House, looking down at the graven face of the Moon Rock. As she looked, a great hand seemed to come out of the sea and beckon to her. The summons was one she dare not disobey. She left her bed, crept downstairs in the darkness, out to the edge of the cliff, and looked down. The face of the Moon Rock was watching her intently. She thought it called her name.

Ah, what was that cry? She came to her senses, startled, and looked fearfully round her. She was alone on the cliffs, above the Moon Rock, and she could hear the sea hissing at its base. But what else had she heard? Had somebody called her name? It was still very dark. To the south the light of the Lizard stabbed the black sky with a white flaming finger as if seeking to pierce the darkness of eternity. Nearer, the red light of the Wolf rock gleamed-a warning to passing souls flying southward from England to eternal bliss to fly high above the rock where the spirit dog lay howling in wait. Had the cry come from there?

"Sisily! Sisily!"

No. It was not the howl of the Wolf dog that she had heard. That was her own name. She crept closer to the edge of the cliff and looked down into the sea-down at the Moon Rock. The old Cornish legend of the drowned love came back to her. Was Charles dead? and calling her to him? She would go to him gladly. She had loved him in life, and if he wanted her in death she would go to him.

She clutched a broken spur of rock on the brink and looked down to where the sea bored round the black sides of the Moon Rock. She could see her own pool too, lying peaceful and calm in the encircling arm of the rock. In her delirium she struggled to her feet and started to climb down the face of the cliff.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top

shares