Along the three miles of sand running northwards from Whitby at the foot of low alluvial cliffs, I have seen some of the finest sea-pictures on this part of the coast. But although I have seen beautiful effects at all times of the day, those that I remember more than any others are the early mornings, when the sun was still low in the heavens, when, standing on that fine stretch of yellow sand, one seemed to breathe an atmosphere so pure, and to gaze at a sky so transparent, that some of those undefined longings for surroundings that have never been realized were instinctively uppermost in the mind. It is, I imagine, that vague recognition of perfection which has its effect on even superficial minds when impressed with beautiful scenery, for to what other cause can be attributed the remark one hears, that such scenes ‘make one feel good’?
Heavy waves, overlapping one another in their fruitless bombardment of the smooth shelving sand, are filling the air with a ceaseless thunder. The sun, shining from a sky of burnished gold, throws into silhouette the twin lighthouses at the entrance to Whitby Harbour, and turns the foaming wave-tops into a dazzling white, accentuated by the long shadows of early day. Away to the north-west is Sandsend Ness, a bold headland full of purple and blue shadows, and straight out to sea, across the white-capped waves, are two tramp steamers, making, no doubt, for South Shields or some port where a cargo of coal can be picked up. They are plunging heavily, and every moment their bows seem to go down too far to recover.
On mornings when the sea is quieter there are few who can resist the desire to plunge into the blue waters, for at seven o’clock the shore is so entirely deserted that one seems to be bathing from some primeval shore where no other forms of life may be expected than some giant crustaceans. This thought, perhaps, prompted the painful sensations I allowed to prey upon me one night when I was walking along this particular piece of shore from Whitby. I had decided to save time over the road to Sandsend by getting on to the beach at Upgang, where the lifeboat-house stands, by the entrance to a small beck. So dark was the night that I could scarcely be sure that I had not lost my way, until I had carefully felt the walls of the boat-house. Then I stepped cautiously on to the sand, which I discovered as soon as my feet began sinking at every step.
The harbour lights of Whitby were bright enough, but in the other direction I could be sure of nothing. At first I seemed to have made a mistake as to the state of the tide, for there appeared to be a whiteness nearly up to the base of the cliffs; but this proved to be the suffused glow from the lighthouses. Rain had been falling heavily for the last few days, and had produced so many wide streams across the sand that my knowledge of the usual ones merely hampered me. At first I began stepping carefully over large black hollows in the sand, and then a great