“I’m thinking you can do it if any man can.”
“I’ll have a good try any way.”
“Whereabouts does the Seigneur live?” he asked presently, and inconsequently as it seemed, but following out a train of thought of his own which needed no guessing at.
“The Seigneur? Over there in Sark—across the Coupee.”
“What’s the Coupee?”
“The Coupee?—Mon Gyu!”—at such colossal ignorance—“Why, ...the Coupee’s the Coupee.... Come along, then. Maybe you can get a look at it before it’s too dark.”
They had got quite out of sound of the clanking engine, and were travelling a well-made road, when their attention was drawn to a lively struggle proceeding on the common between the road and the cliff.
Tom, setting out after the troubled Peter, had caught sight of the Seigneur’s white horse and had forthwith decided to take him home. Peter, agreeing that it was a piece of neighbourliness which the Seigneur would appreciate, had turned back to give his assistance.
By some cajolery they had managed to slip a halter with a special length of rope over the wary white head, and there for the moment matters hung. For the white horse, with his forelegs firmly planted, dragged at one end of the rope and the two men at the other, and the issue remained in doubt.
The doubt, however, was suddenly solved by the white horse deciding on more active measures. He swung his great head to one side, dragged the men off their feet and started off at a gallop, they hanging on as best they could.
Old Tom and Gard set off after them to see the end of the matter, and suddenly, as the roadway dipped between high banks and became a hollow way, the white beast gave a shrill squeal, flung up his heels, jerked himself free, and vanished like a streak of light into the darkness of the lofty bank in front.
“Mon Gyu!” cried old Tom, and sped up the bank to see the end.
But the white horse knew his way and had no fear. They were just in time to hear the rattle of his hoofs, as he disappeared with a final shrill defiance into the outer darkness on the further side of a mighty gulf, while a stone dislodged by his flying feet went clattering down into invisible depths.
“He’s done it,” panted old Tom, while Gard gazed with something like awe at the narrow pathway, wavering across from side to side of the great abyss, out of which rose the growl of the sea.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“Coupee. It’s a wonder he managed it. The path slipped in the winter and it’s narrow in places.”
“And do people cross it in the dark?” asked Gard, thinking of the girl and boy who had gone to see the Seigneur.
“Och yes! It is not bad when you’re used to it. Come and see!” and he led the way back across the common to the road.
Gard walked cautiously behind him as he went across the crumbling white pathway with the carelessness of custom, and, sailor as he had been, he was not sorry when the other side was reached, and he could stand in the security of the cutting and look back, and down into the gulf where the white waves foamed and growled among the boulders three hundred feet below.