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By The Way
by [?]

Cliffs by the blue bay held many fossil shells. Children sometimes strayed here and there with hammers, pounding out fossils from fallen pieces of the cliffs. On the extent of sands that bordered the cliffs and stretched up the coast between them and the breakers, old stumps that had been months before brought in by the waves lay half buried from sight. A short distance farther up the coast, the sands went a greater way inland, forming a nook where driftwood and stumps had accumulated. On the sand in this nook stood a horse and an old wagon. Beyond a large log, a little fire of driftwood had been started, and a woman was endeavoring to fry some fish in a spider. Two children had partly unharnessed the horse, and were giving him some dry grass.

From afar, a woman and a girl who had been taking a walk on a road high up on the cliffs, looked curiously down at the persons in the sandy nook.

“I wonder who they are, and what they are traveling that way for?” said the girl to her mother.

“It’s the same wagon that was on, the sands last night, I suppose,” returned her mother. “The milk boy said he saw a wagon drive on the beach about dark. I wonder if they stayed up here all night? Suppose we walk down, Addie, and talk with that woman.”

“I’m afraid she won’t want to see us,” objected the daughter. “If they had wanted to see anybody, they’d have stopped at the settlement.”

Notwithstanding this objection, the mother began to descend the path toward the sands at the bottom of the cliffs. Both Mrs. Weeks and her daughter Addie were somewhat breathless by the time they had pushed their way through the heavy white sand to the spot where the stranger, was cooking. The spider contained only a few very small fish.

“Good-morning,” said Mrs. Weeks, pleasantly.

The brown-faced woman who held the spider lifted her eyes and nodded.

“Have you been fishing?” asked Mrs. Weeks.

“We didn’t have much luck,” murmured the other woman. “Maybe we didn’t fish in the best place. Tillie was wanting fish.”

The younger of the two children colored and hung her head at this reference to her. The other smiled shyly.

“We have some fresh rock cod up at our house. My brother catches fresh fish for us every day,” said Addie to the older little girl. “Don’t you want to walk back with me, and, get some of the fish for your mother?”

The child nodded. “We’re not beggars, Miss. You must not rob yourself of your own fish,” remonstrated, the child’s mother; but Addie assured the woman that fish were so plentiful in the settlement that neighbors often gave part of the results of a catch to some one else.

The girl went away over the cliffs with the child. Mrs. Weeks sat down on a log. When Addie and the little girl came back with the fish and some milk, Mrs. Weeks rose and went home with her daughter.

“The woman’s husband is dead, and she’s driving north with her children,” Mrs. Weeks told Addie. “She has an idea she can get work in some cannery up the coast. I told her there were some unoccupied tents in our settlement, and I wished she and the children would come and sleep in the tents, while she’s here. But she won’t come. I was sorry they slept on the beach last night, but she says they are used to sleeping in the wagon, and it is warm weather, you know.”

The wagon did not drive on that day, though the woman and the children kept away from the little summer settlement.

It was the custom of the people of this small settlement to go down on the beach, after dark at evening, and have a camp-fire. Some old stump would be lit, and the people would sit on logs or on the sand about the fire, and talk and sing. The last thing, every night, hymns were sung.