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Where Deep Seas Moan   By:

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GUERNSEY: FREDERICK CLARKE. Printer and Publisher.


"Where Deep Seas Moan."


The autumn wind blew in great gusts over the rocky island of Guernsey, and in the country parishes rushed up hill and down dale, leaving not a lane undisturbed by its vagaries. It rattled the leafless trees which grew at the back of Colomberie Farm, whose deep brown thatched roof rested against the lichened red tiles of the barn adjoining. Surrounded on all sides by green fields outside its charming garden, Colomberie looked the picture of comfort; and its cheery interior laughed the wind to scorn as the curtains were drawn across the kitchen window, and the crâsset was lit at the side of the wide hearth. But the wind had its revenge, for it blew across the country roads pretty young Blaisette, the daughter of Colomberie, who was going out to spend the evening; and who struggled with all her healthy vigour against the impertinent buffetting of the bleak north wester. When she disappeared into a sheltered hollow, the wind, hushed and non plussed for a minute, paused to meditate further mischief; then, with regathered rage, it tore across country, and boomed, with sullen roar, into a valley shut in by brackened and heather covered hills.

Here, a granite built house, sheltered under the rocky cliff, had an air of stern and unkempt loneliness; and there was something sinister about the watermill, whose dingy wheel, green with disuse, was close against the side of the building. Yet there was prosperity to be read in the large open barn stacked high with corn and hay, in the many cows that fed in the meadow below the hill, and in the horses that stamped impatiently in the stable.

The master of Orvillière Farm was Dominic Le Mierre, a bachelor, a hard worker, and a more than respectable member of the parish of Saint Pierre du Bois. It seemed that he did not mind the boisterous wind this evening as he ate his supper hurriedly in the gloomy kitchen, whose windows shook at every touch of the blast.

Over the hills, and once more across country, the howling wind made its way, past the old church of Saint Pierre du Bois, past the lanes to Torteval parish, and along the high road to Pleinmont, where it had full play over a wide moorland district, dotted with low masses of gorze and groups of boulders.

Here, too, was just one little cottage to shake and grip and freeze with biting draughts. It stood in a slight hollow on the summit of a cliff overlooking Rocquaine Bay. Its mossy thatched roof overhung tiny latticed windows, whose panes were golden red from the light of the fire of dried sea weed and furze heaped up on the hearth of stone raised above the earthen sanded floor.

Round the fire a group of girls was gathered; for the most part they were just homely, pleasant creatures, but two stood out distinctly from the rest; one, by reason of her beauty, the other, because of her original and perhaps, forbidding, personality. The beautiful one, Blaisette Simon, of Colomberie Farm, was small and plump and very fair, with cheeks of a rosebud pink and lips full and ripe for kisses. The round innocence of her blue eyes looked away all sense from the men, so it was said, and she had lovers by the dozen. Added to her beauty was the attraction of a very desirable little fortune which she had already inherited from her mother, who was dead; and by and bye, Mess ' Simon would leave her the farm and all his money, for she was an only child. She was disposed to be friendly with Ellenor, again an only child, the one treasure of Jean and Marie Cartier, of Les Casquets Cottage.

People wondered what Blaisette saw in the dark scowling girl, who was reserved and offhand with people in general; and probably Blaisette herself was puzzled as to why she sought Ellenor so constantly. The girls were a distinct contrast, not only in character, but in appearance... Continue reading book >>

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