As the Leopoldine faded out of vision, Gaud, as if drawn by a magnet, followed the pathway all along the cliffs till she had to stop, because the land came to an end; she sat down at the foot of a tall cross, which rises amidst the gorse and stones. As it was rather an elevated spot, the sea, as seen from there, appeared to be rimmed, as in a bowl, and the Leopoldine, now a mere point, appeared sailing up the incline of that immense circle. The water rose in great slow undulations, like the upheavals of a submarine combat going on somewhere beyond the horizon; but over the great space where Yann still was, all dwelt calm.
Gaud still gazed at the ship, trying to fix its image well in her brain, so that she might recognise it again from afar, when she returned to the same place to watch for its home-coming.
Great swells now rolled in from the west, one after another, without cessation, renewing their useless efforts, and ever breaking over the same rocks, foaming over the same places, to wash the same stones. The stifled fury of the sea appeared strange, considering the absolute calmness of the air and sky; it was as if the bed of the sea were too full and would overflow and swallow up the strand.
The Leopoldine had grown smaller and smaller, and was lost in the distance. Doubtless the under-tow carried her along, for she moved swiftly and yet the evening breezes were very faint. Now she was only a tiny, gray touch, and would soon reach the extreme horizon of all visible things, and enter those infinite regions, whence darkness was beginning to come.
Going on seven o’clock, night closed, and the boat had disappeared. Gaud returned home, feeling withal rather brave, notwithstanding the tears that uncontainably fell. What a difference it would have been, and what still greater pain, if he had gone away, as in the two preceding years, without even a good-bye! While now everything was softened and bettered between them. He was really her own Yann, and she knew herself to be so truly loved, notwithstanding this separation, that, as she returned home alone, she felt at least consoled by the thought of the delightful waiting for that “soon again!” to be realized to which they had pledged themselves for the autumn.
CHAPTER II—THE FIRST OF THE FLEET
The summer passed sadly, being hot and uneventful. She watched anxiously for the first yellowed leaves, and the first gathering of the swallows, and blooming of the chrysanthemums. She wrote to Yann several times by the boats bound for Rykawyk, and by the government cruisers, but one never can be sure of such letters reaching their destination.