That night we went to bed early, for we were tired, and slept a heavy sleep, till at length, about one in the morning, we were awakened by the shoutings of the messengers who came bearing the terrible news.
RALPH RETURNS INTO THE SEA
Ralph and Suzanne reached their outspan place in safety a little before sunset. I used to know the spot well; it is where one of the numerous wooden kloofs that scar the mountain slopes ends on a grassy plain of turf, short but very sweet. This plain is not much more than five hundred paces wide, for it is bordered by the cliff, that just here is not very high, against which the sea beats at full tide.
When the oxen had been turned loose to graze, and the voorlooper set to watch them, the driver of the waggon undid the cooking vessels and built a fire with dry wood collected from the kloof. Then Suzanne cooked their simple evening meal, of which they partook thankfully. After it was done the pair left the waggon and followed the banks of the little kloof stream, which wandered across the plain till it reached the cliff, whence it fell in a trickling waterfall into the sea. Here they sat down upon the edge of the cliff, and locked in each other’s arms, watched the moon rise over the silver ocean, their young hearts filled with a joy that cannot be told.
“The sea is beautiful, is it not, husband?” whispered Suzanne into his ear.
“To-night it is beautiful,” he answered, “as our lives seem to be; yet I have seen it otherwise,” and he shuddered a little.
She nodded, for she knew of what he was thinking, and did not wish to speak of it. “Neither life nor ocean can be always calm,” she said, “but oh! I love that great water, for it brought you to me.”
“I pray that it may never separate us,” answered Ralph.
“Why do you say that, husband?” she asked. “Nothing can separate us now, for even if you journey far away to seek your own people, as sometimes I think you should, I shall accompany you. Nothing can separate us except death, and death shall bind us more closely each to each for ever and for ever.”
“I do not know why I said it, Sweet,” he answered uneasily, and just then a little cloud floated over the face of the moon, darkening the world, and a cold wind blew down the kloof, causing its trees to rustle and chilling the pair, so that they clung closer to each other for comfort.
The cloud and the wind passed away, leaving the night as beautiful as before, and they sat on for a while to watch it, listening to the music of the waterfall that splashed into the deep sea pool below, and to the soft surge of the waves as they lapped gently against the narrow beach.
At length Ralph spoke in a low voice. “Sweet, it is time to sleep,” he said, and kissed her.
“It is time,” she whispered back, “but, husband, first let us kneel together here and pray to the Almighty to bless our married life and make us happy.”