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A Story Of The Sea
by [?]

“A curse upon your briny waters that seem a world of bitter tears, rank with dead men’s bones and the rotting hulls of ships! They have called me back to thy dreary, ever- moaning verge to mock myself for loving one who scorns; for wasting my hot heart upon a block of frozen stone, hoping by foolish prayers and unmanly tears to move the gods to breathe into it the breath of human life,–to prevail, even as did that old Greek, who became enamored of a statue, less divinely formed, but with the self-same heart.

“‘Tis madness leads me to this folly,–the old, old curse that hath hung about our house, like a baleful shadow, for thrice a hundred years, bursting at times into bloody feuds without apparent cause, and dreadful mutinies against the laws of man and will of God. ‘Tis vain to further fight with fate! ‘Twill drag me down, even as it did my great-grandsire, who climbed fame’s dizzy heights and stood, poised in mid- Heaven, the master mind of Britain’s mighty world; then, like a tall mountain pine blasted at the top by the writhen bolts of God, plunged, a falling star, to the depths of everlasting darkness, and died a decade before his death. Nor iron will descended through my sire from a score of barbarous kings; nor mother’s prayerful amulets, woven like golden threads through every low, sweet lullaby that soothed my infancy, can avail me aught. I can but fight and fall. She might have helped me beat back the shadows; but would not–and ’tis well.”

Then taking from a case a withered rose, he kissed it, cast it far out upon the wave, watched it dance there, and said with a bitter smile:

“The last link that binds me to other days, and it is broken. ‘The wage of sin is death,’ and I am dead these long months past and fathoms deep in Hell, yet walk the earth because nor land nor sea will yield a resting-place among its honored dead to one so ignobly slain.”