Page:Black Beauty (1877).djvu/63

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time, we did not start for home till rather late in the afternoon. The wind was then much higher, and I heard the master say to John, he had never been out in such a storm; and so I thought, as we went along the skirts of a wood, where great branches were swaying about like twigs, and the rushing sound was terrible.

"I wish we were well out of this wood," said my master, "Yes, sir," said John, "it would be rather awkward if one of these branches came down upon us." The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when there was a groan, and a crack, and a splitting sound, and tearing, crashing down amongst the other trees, came an oak, torn up by the roots, and it fell right across the road just before us. I will never say I was not frightened, for I was. I stopped still, and I believe I trembled; of course I did not turn round or run away; I was not brought up to that. John jumped out and was in a moment at my head.

"That was a very near touch," said my master, "What's to be done now?" "Well, sir, we can't drive over that tree nor yet get round it; there will be nothing for it, but to go back to the four cross-ways, and that will be a good six miles before we get round to the wooden bridge again; it will make us late, but the horse is fresh."

So back we went, and round by the cross roads; but by the time we got to the bridge, it was very nearly dark, we could just see that the water was over the middle of it; but as that happened sometimes when the floods were out, master did not stop. We were going along at a