Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/117

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CHAPTER XV.


CHAINED.

To ascend is easier than to go down. Judith was no longer alarmed. There was danger still, that was inevitable; but the danger was as nothing now to what it had been. It is one thing to descend in total darkness into an abyss where one knows that below are sharp rocks, and a drop of two hundred feet to a thundering, raging sea, racing up the sand, pouring over the shelves of rock, foaming where divided waves clash. When Judith had been on the beach in the afternoon the tide was out; now it was flowing, and had swept over all that tract of white sand and pebble where she had walked. She could not indeed now see the water, but she heard the thud of a billow as it smote a rock, the boil and the hiss of the waves and spray. To step downward, groping the way, with a depth and a wild-throbbing sea beneath, demanded courage, and courage of no mean order; but it was other to mount, to be able to feel with the foot the ascent in the track, and to grope upward with the hand from one point of clutch to another, to know that every step upward was lessening the peril, and bringing nearer to the sward and to safety.

Without great anxiety, therefore, Judith turned to climb. Cruel Coppinger had allowed her to essay it unaided. Would he have done that had he thought it involved danger, or, rather, serious danger? Judith was sure he would not. His confidence that she could climb to the summit unassisted made her confident. As she had descended she had felt an interior qualm and sinking at every step she took; there was no such sensation now as she mounted.

She was not much inconvenienced by the wind, for the wind was not directly on shore; but it soughed about her, and eddies caught her cloak and jerked it. It would have been better had she left her cloak above on the