His lonely rock, when he looked round at it in wonder, was all unfamiliarly red. There was a red fantastic glow in the very air, and he himself was as red as though he had in very fact killed Tom Hamon, and drenched himself with his blood.
So startling and unnatural was it all, that he found himself wondering fearfully if these outside things were really all blood-red, or whether something had gone wrong with his brain and eyes, and only caused them to look so to him alone, or whether it was indeed the end of all things shaping itself slowly under his very eyes. And in that thought and fear he was not by any means alone.
But the wonderful red, which in its universality and intensity had become overpowering and fearsome, faded at last, and he hailed its going with a sigh of relief. His eyes and his brain were all right, he had not killed Tom Hamon, and this was not the earth’s last sunset.
And again that night, as he sat on the ridge on sentinel duty till the rising tide should lock the doors of his castle, the sea all round him shone with phosphorescence; every breaking wave along the black plain was a lambent gleam of lightning, and where they tore up the sides of his rock they were like flames out of a fiery sea, so that he sat there looking down upon a weltering band of nickering green and blue fires, which clung to the black ledges and dripped slowly back into the seething gleam below.
It was all very strange and very awesome, and he wondered what it might portend in the way of further marvels.
And he had not long to wait.
Far away in the Atlantic a cyclone had been raging, and carrying havoc in its skirts. Now it was whirling towards Europe, and the puffins crept deep into their holes, and the gulls circled with disconsolate cries, and the cormorants crouched gloomily in lee of their snuggest ledges, and all nature seemed waiting for the blow.
Gard was awakened in the morning by the gale tearing at the massive stones of his shelter as though it would carry them bodily into the sea.
And when he crawled out, flat like a worm, the wind caught him even so, and he had to grimp to earth and anchor himself by projecting pieces of rock.
Such seas as these he had never imagined round Sark; forgetting that behind Guernsey lay thousands of miles of waters tortured past endurance and racing now to escape the fury of the storm.
A white lash of spray came over him as he lay, and soaked him to the skin, and, turning his face to the storm, he saw through the chinks of his eyes a great wavering white curtain between him and the sky line. The south-west portion of his island, where his freshwater pools were, and the valley of rocks, were all awash, the mighty waves roaring clean over the south stack, and rushing up into the black sky in rockets of flying spray. The tide had still some time to run, and he feared what it might be like at its fullest. It seemed to him by no means impossible that it might sweep the whole rock bare.