Full text: The waves

in the tops of the beech trees. The pigeon beats the air; 
the pigeon beats the air with wooden wings.” 
“Now you trail away,” said Susan, “ making phrases. 
Now you mount like an air-ball’s string, higher and higher 
through the layers of the leaves, out of reach. Now you 
lag. Now you tug at my skirts, looking back, making 
phrases. You have escaped me. Here is the garden. Here 
is the hedge. Here is Rhoda on the path rocking petals to 
and fro in her brown basin.” 
“ All my ships are white,” said Rhoda. “I do not want 
red petals of hollyhocks or geranium. I want white petals 
that float when I tip the basin up. I have a fleet now 
swimming from shore to shore. I will drop a twig in as a 
raft for a drowning sailor. I will drop a stone in and see 
bubbles rise from the depths of the sea. Neville has gone 
and Susan has gone; Jinny is in the kitchen garden picking 
currants with Louis perhaps. I have a short time alone, 
while Miss Hudson spreads our copy-books on the school- 
room table. I have a short space of freedom. I have 
picked all the fallen petals and made them swim. I have 
put raindrops in some. I will plant a lighthouse here, a 
head of Sweet Alice. And I will now rock the brown basin 
from side to side so that my ships may ride the waves. Some 
will founder. Some will dash themselves against the cliffs. 
One sails alone. That is my ship. It sails into icy caverns 
where the sea-bear barks and stalactites swing green chains. 
The waves rise ; their crests curl; look at the lights on the 
mastheads. They have scattered, they have foundered, all 
except my ship, which mounts the wave and sweeps before 
the gale and reaches the islands where the parrots chatter 
and the creepers . . .” 
“ Where is Bernard ? ” said Neville. ‘ He has my knife. 
We were in the tool-shed making boats, and Susan came 
past the door. And Bernard dropped his boat and went 
after her taking my knife, the sharp one that cuts the keel. 
He is like a dangling wire, a broken bell-pull, always 
twangling. He is like the seaweed hung outside the window,

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