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Suddenly a gust of fresh wind caught Sally's hat, and off it flew, a wide-winged pink bird, over the old, old sea-wall of Clovelly, down among the rocks of the rough beach, tumbling and jumping from one gray stone to another, and getting so far away that, in the soft violet twilight, it seemed as lost as any ship of the Spanish Armada wrecked long ago on this wild Devonshire coast. "Oh!" cried Sally distractedly, and clapped her hands to her head with the human instinct to shut the stable door after the horse is gone. "Oh!" she cried again; "my pretty hat! And oh! it's in the water!" But suddenly, out of somewhere in the twilight, there was a man chasing it. Sally leaned over the rugged, yellowish, grayish stone wall and excitedly called to him. "Oh, thank you!" she cried, and "That's so good of you!" The hat had tacked and was sailing inshore now, one stiff pink taffeta sail set to the breeze. And in a minute, with a reckless splash into the dashing waves, the man had it, and an easy, athletic figure swung up the causeway, holding it away from him, as if it might nip at him. He wore a dark blue jersey, and loose, flapping trousers of a seaman. "He's only a sailor," Sally said under her breath; "I'd better tip him." Her hand slipped into her pocket and I heard the click of her purse. He looked from one to the other of us in the dim light inquiringly, as he came up, and then off went his cap, and his face broke into the gentlest, most charming smile as he delivered the hat into Sally's outstretched hands. "I'm afraid it's a bit damp," he said. All dark-eyed, stalwart young fellows are attractive to me for the sake of one like that who died forty years ago, but this sailor had a charm of manner that is a gift of the gods, let it fall to prince or peasant; the pretty deference of his few words, and the quick, radiant smile, were enough to win friendliness from me. More than that, something in the set of his head, in the straight gaze of his eyes, held a likeness that made my memory ache. I smiled back at him instantly. But Sally's heart was on her hat; hats from good shops did not grow on trees for Sally Meade. "I hope it isn't hurt," she said, anxiously, and shook it carefully, and hardly glanced at the rescuer, who was watching with something that looked like amusement in his face. Then her good manners came back. "Thank you a thousand times," she said, and turned to him brightly. "You were so quick--but, oh! I'm afraid you're wet." She looked at him, and I saw a little shock of surprise in her face. Beauty so striking will be admired, even in a common sailor. "It's nothing," he said, looking down at his sopping, wide trousers; "I'm used to it," and as Sally's hand went forward I caught the flash of silver, and at the same moment another flash, from the man's eyes. It was enough to startle me for the fraction of a second, but, as I looked again, his expression held only a serious respect, and I was sure I had been mistaken. He took the money and touched his cap and said, "Thank you, miss," with perfect dignity. Yet my imagination must have been lively, for as he slipped it in his pocket, his look turned toward me, and for another breath of time a gleam of mischief--certainly mischief--flashed from his dark eyes to mine. Then Sally, quite unconscious of this, perhaps imaginary, by-play, had an idea. "Are you a sailor?" she asked. The man looked at her. "Yes--miss," he answered, a little slowly. "We want to engage a boat and a man to take us out. Do you know of one? Have you a boat?" The young fellow glanced down across the wall where a hull and mast gleamed indistinctly through the falling night, swinging at the side of the quay. "That's mine, yonder," he said, nodding toward it. And then, with the graceful, engaging frankness that I already knew as his, "I shall be very glad to take you out"--including us both in his glance. "Sally," I said, five minutes later, as we trudged up the one steep, rocky street of Clovelly,--the picturesque old street that once led English smugglers to their caves, and that is more of a staircase than a street, with rows of stone steps across its narrow width--"Sally, you are a very unexpected girl. You took my breath away, engaging that man so suddenly to take us sailing to-morrow. How do you know he is reliable? It would have been safer to try one of the men they recommended from the Inn. And certainly it would have been more dignified to let me make the arrangements. You seem to forget that I am older than you." "You aren't," said Sully, giving a squeeze to my arm that she held in the angle of hers, pushing me with her young strength up the hill. "You're not as old, cousin Mary. I'm twenty-two, and you're only eighteen, and I believe you will never be any older." I think perhaps I like flattery. I am a foolish old woman, and I have noticed that it is not the young girls who treat me with great deference and rise as soon as I come who seem to me the most charming, but the ones who, with proper manners, of course, yet have a touch of comradeship, as if they recognized in me something more than a fossil exhibit. I like to have them go on talking about their beaux and their work and play, and let me talk about it, too. Sally Meade makes me feel always that there is in me an undying young girl who has outlived all of my years and is her friend and equal. "I'm sorry if I was forward, cousin Mary, but the sailing is to be my party, you know, and then I thought you liked him. He had a pretty manner for a common sailor, didn't he? And his voice--these low-class English people have wonderfully well-bred, soft voices. I suppose it's particularly so here in the South. Cousin Mary, did you see the look he gave you with those delicious dark eyes? It's always the way--gentleman or hod-carrier--no one has a chance with men when you are about." It is pleasant to me, old woman as I am, to be told that people like me--more pleasant, I think, every year. I never take it for truth, of course, but I believe it means good feeling, and it makes an atmosphere easy to breathe. I purred like a contented cat under Sally's talking, yet, to save my dignity, kept up a protest. "Sally, my dear! Delicious dark eyes! I'm ashamed of you--a common sailor!" "I didn't smile at him," said Sally, reflectively. So, struggling up the steep street of Clovelly, we went home to the "New Inn," to cold broiled lobster, to strawberries and clotted Devonshire cream, and dreamless sleep in the white beds of the quiet rooms whose windows looked toward the woods and cliffs of Hobby Drive on one side, and on the other toward the dark, sparkling jewel of the moon-lighted ocean, and the shadowy line of Lundy Island far in the distance. That I, an inland woman, an old maid of sixty, should tell a story of sailing and of love seems a little ridiculous. My nephews at college beguile me to talk about boats, and then laugh to hear me, for I think I get the names of things twisted. And as for what I know of the other--the only love-making to which I ever listened was ended forty years ago by one of the northern balls that fell in fiery rain on Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. Yet, if I but tell the tale as it came to me, others may feel as I did the thrill of the rushing of the keel through dashing salt water, the swing of the great white sail above, the flapping of the fresh wind in the slack of it, the exhilaration of moving with power like the angels, with the great forces of nature for muscles, the joy of it all expanding, pulsing through you, till it seems as if the sky might crack if once you let your delight go free. And some may catch, too, that other thrill, of the hidden feeling that glorified those days. Few lives are so poor that the like of it has not brightened them, and no one quite forgets. It is partly Sally Meade's Southern accent that has made me love her above nearer cousins, from her babyhood. The modulations of her voice seem always to bring me close to the sound of the voice that went into silence when Geoffrey Meade, her father's young kinsman, was killed long ago. The Meades, old-time planters in Virginia, have been very poor since the distant war of the sixties, and it has been one of my luxuries to give Sally a lift over hard places. Always with instant reward, for the smallest bit of sunlight, going into her prismatic spirit, comes out a magnificent rainbow of happiness. So when the idea came that they might let me have the girl to take abroad that summer, her friend, the girl spirit in me, jumped for joy. There was no difficulty made; it was one of the rare good things too good to be true, that yet are true. She did more for me than I for her, for I simply spent some superfluous idle money, while she filled every day with a new enjoyment, the reflection of her own fresh pleasure in every day as it came. So here we were prowling about the south of England with "Westward Ho!" for a guide-book; coaching through deep, tawny Devonshire lanes from Bideford to Clovelly; searching for the old tombstone of Will Cary's grave in the churchyard on top of the hill; gathering tales of Salvation Yeo and of Amyas Leigh; listening to echoes of the three-hundred-year-old time when the great sea-battle was fought in the channel and many ships of the Armada wrecked along this Devonshire coast. And always coming back to sleep in the fascinating little "New Inn," as old as the hills, built on both sides of the one rocky ladder street of Clovelly, the street so steep that no horses can go in it, and at the bottom of whose breezy tunnel one sees the rolling floor of the sea. In so careless a way does the Inn ramble about the cliff that when I first went to my room, two flights up from the front, I caught my breath at a blaze of scarlet and yellow nasturtiums that faced me through a white-painted doorway opening on the hillside and on a tiny garden at the back. The irresponsible pleasure of our first sail the next afternoon was never quite repeated. The boat shot from the landing like a high-strung horse given his head, out across the unbordered road of silver water, and in a moment, as we raced toward the low white clouds, we turned and saw the cliffs of the coast and the tiny village, a gay little pile of white, green-latticed houses steeped in foliage lying up a crack in the precipice. Above was the long stretch of the woods of Hobby Drive. Clovelly is so old that its name is in Domesday Book; so old, some say, that it was a Roman station, and its name was Clausa Vaillis. But it is a nearer ancientness that haunts it now. Every wave that dashes on the rocky shore carries a legend of the ships of the Invincible Armada. As we asked question after question of our sailor, handsomer than ever to-day with a red silk handkerchief knotted sailor-fashion about his strong neck, story after story flashed out, clear and dramatic, from his answers. The bunch of houses there on the shore? Yes, that had a history. The people living there were a dark-featured, reticent lot, different from other people hereabouts. It was said that one of the Spanish galleons went ashore there, and the men had been saved and had settled on the spot and married Devonshire women, but their descendants had never lost the tradition of their blood. Certainly their speech and their customs were peculiar, unlike those of the villages near. He had been there and had seen them, had heard them talk. Yes, they were distinct. He laughed a little to acknowledge it, with an Englishman's distrust of anything theatrical. A steep cliff started out into the waves, towering three hundred feet in almost perpendicular lines. Had that a name? Yes, that was called "Gallantry Bower." No; it was not a sentimental story--it was the old sea-fight again. It was said that an English sailor threw a rope from the height and saved life after life of the crew of a Spaniard wrecked under the point.