With infinite toil and many a scrape and bruise, he got round at last, and could look right down into the dim green depths, and what he saw there filled him with sickening fear.
The water was crystal clear, and in through the nearer opening, as he looked, a huge octopus propelled itself in leisurely fashion, its great tentacles streaming out behind, its hideous protruding eyes searching eagerly for prey.
Just inside the opening it gathered itself together for a moment, and seemed to look so meaningly right up into his eyes that he found himself shrinking behind a rock lest it should see him. Then it clamped itself to the side of the opening and spread wide its arms for anything that might come its way.
He watched it, fascinated. He saw fishes large and small unconsciously touch the quivering tentacles, which on the instant twisted round them and dragged them in to the rending beak below the hideous eyes. And then he saw another similar monster come floating in on similar quest, and in a moment they were locked in deadly fight—such a writhing and coiling and straining and twisting of monstrous fleshy limbs, which swelled and thrilled, and loosed and gripped, with venom past believing—such a clamping to this rock and that—such tremendous efforts at dislodgment.
It was a nightmare. It sickened him. He turned and crawled feebly away, anxious only now to get out of this awful place without falling foul of any similar monsters among the rocks.
HOW NANCE WATCHED FROM AFAR
From the headland above Breniere, Nance had watched the boats go plunging across to L’Etat.
Very early that morning she had sped across the Coupee and up the long roads to the Seigneurie, but the Seigneur was away in Guernsey still, busied on the vital matter of raising still more money for the mines in which he was a firm believer, mortgaging his Seigneurie for the purpose, assured in his own mind that all would be well in the end.
Then to the Vicar and the Senechal, and these set off at once for the harbour, but found themselves powerless in the face of public opinion. Argument and remonstrance alike fell on deaf ears. The Vicar appealed to their sense of right; the Senechal forbade their going. But their minds were doggedly set on it, and they went.
“I shall hold you to account,” stormed Philip Guille.
“B’en, M. le Senechal, we’ll pay it all among us,” and away they went; and back to her look-out by Breniere went Nance, and the Vicar with her for comfort in this dark hour.
They watched the boats circling the rock, round and round. They heard the firing, and Nance flung herself on the ground in an agony of weeping, sure that the end had come. For they could only be firing at Gard, and what could one man do against so many?
“They have killed him,” she moaned.