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Malbone: An Oldport Romance Thomas Wentworth Higginson

XXI. A Storm

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Fog exaggerates both for eye and ear; it is always a sounding-board for the billows; and in this case, as often happens, the roar did not appear to proceed from the waves themselves, but from some source in the unseen horizon, as if the spectators were shut within a beleaguered fortress, and this thundering noise came from an impetuous enemy outside. Ever and anon there was a distinct crash of heavier sound, as if some special barricade had at length been beaten in, and the garrison must look to their inner defences.

The tide was unusually high, and scarcely receded with the ebb, though the surf increased; the waves came in with constant rush and wail, and with an ominous rattle of pebbles on the little beaches, beneath the powerful suction of the undertow; and there were more and more of those muffled throbs along the shore which tell of coming danger as plainly as minute-guns. With these came mingled that yet more inexplicable humming which one hears at intervals in such times, like strains of music caught and tangled in the currents of stormy air,--strains which were perhaps the filmy thread on which tales of sirens and mermaids were first strung, and in which, at this time, they would fain recognize the voice of Emilia.

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Malbone: An Oldport Romance
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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