“I’ve seen a many as did not care to cross that, first time they saw it,” said old Tom with a chuckle.
“Well, I’m not surprised at that. It’s apt to make one’s head spin.”
“I brought captain of brig up here and he wouldn’t put a foot on it. Not for five hundred pounds, he said.”
“It would have taken more than five hundred pounds to piece him together if he’d tumbled down there.”
A young moon, and a clear sky still rarely light and lofty in the amber after-glow, gave them a safe passage back.
When they reached the house among the trees, Gard bethought him of his belongings.
“And my things from the quay?” he suggested.
“G’zammin! That boy has forgotten all about them, I’ll be bound. I’ll take the cart down myself.”
“I’ll go with you.”
When they got back with the box and bag, which no one had touched since they were dropped on to the platform four hours before, they found that Nance and Bernel had got home and gone off to bed, having taken advantage of being across in Sark to call on some of their friends there.
Gard wondered how they would have fared if they had happened to be on the Coupee when the white horse went thundering across.
He dreamed that night that he was cautiously treading an endless white path that swung up and down in the darkness like a piece of ribbon in a breeze. And a great white horse came plunging at him out of the darkness, and just as he gave himself up for lost, a sweet firm face in a black sun-bonnet appeared suddenly in front of him, and the white horse squealed and leaped over them and disappeared, while the stones he had displaced went rattling down into the depths below.
HOW NANCE SHONE THROUGH HER MODEST VEILING
As soon as the old captain’s time was up, Gard took up his work in the mines with energetic hopefulness.
His hopefulness was unbounded. His energy he tempered with all the tact and discretion his knowledge of men, and his experience in handling them, had taught him.
His father had been lost at sea the year after his son was born. His mother, a good and God-fearing woman, had strained every nerve to give her boy an education. She died when Stephen was fourteen. He took to his father’s calling and had followed it with a certain success for ten years, by which time he had attained the position of first mate.
Then the owner of the Botallack Mine, in Cornwall, having come across him in the way of business, and been struck by his intelligence and aptitude, induced him by a lucrative appointment to try his luck on land.
The managers of the Sark Mines, seeking a special man for somewhat special circumstances, had applied to Botallack for assistance, and Stephen Gard came to Sark as the representative of many hopes which, so far, had been somewhat lacking in results.