“Venus’s Bath,” he told them. “Those round stones at the bottom have churned about in there for hundreds of years, I suppose. The tide fills it each time, as you will see presently, but the stones cannot get out and they’ve helped to make their own prison-house,—wherein I perceive a moral. It’s a delicious plunge from that rock.”
“You bathe here?” asked Margaret.
“I and the dogs bathe here at times. There’s one other thing you must see, and I think you may see it to-day. The tide is right, and the wind is right, and there’s a good sea on.”
They waited till the long waves came swirling up over the rocks and filled the basin and set the great round stones at the bottom grinding angrily. Then off again along the splintered face of the cliff, one by one, that is two by two over the difficult bits, till he had them seated among some ragged boulders with the waves foaming white below them, and swooking and plunking in hidden hollow places.
The wind was rising, and the crash of the seas on the rocks made speech impossible. He pointed suddenly along the cliff face, and not twenty yards away, with a hiss and a roar, a furious spout of water shot up into the air a rocket of white foam, a hundred feet high, and fell with a crash over the rocks and into the sea.
Twenty times they watched it roar up into the sky, and then they crawled back up the face of the cliff, wind-whipped and rosy-faced, and with the taste of salt in their mouths.
“That is a fine sight,” said Margaret, with sparkling eyes and diamond drops in her wind-blown hair. He thought he had never seen her so absolutely lovely before. He had certainly never seen anyone to compare with her.
“That’s the Souffleur—the blow-hole. There’s a bigger one still in Saignie Bay, we’ll look it up if the wind gets round to the north-west. I’m glad you’ve seen this one. It was just a chance.”
“I’m blow-holed all to rags, and, Meg, your hair is absolutely disgraceful,” said Miss Penny. So differently may different eyes regard the same object, especially when the heart has a say in it. He would have given all he was worth for an offered lock of that wind-blown hair.
As Margaret turned she caught his eye, perhaps caught something of what was in it.
“Am I as bad as all that?” she laughed in rosy confusion.
“You’re”—he began impetuously, but caught himself in time.—“You’re all right. When you go to see the Souffleur you must expect to get a bit blown.”
“It’s worth it,” she said. “And I’m sure we’re much obliged to you for taking us. We could never have got there alone.”
“We’d never have got to Little Sark, to say nothing of the Souffleur,” said Miss Penny very emphatically.
“And now perhaps you’ll forgive me for making you buy those shoes.”
“My, yes! They’re great,” said Miss Penny, looking critically at her feet. “But decidedly they’re not beautiful.”