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Gray dawn beneath the dying storm;
A figure gaunt and thin Went splashing through the tangled sedge
To drag the treasure in;
For when the darkness broke away,
The lances of the moon
A wrecking picaroon.
What matter if the open day
Bore witness to his shame? 'T was his the wreck and his the gold,
And none had seen to blame.
He did not know the eyes of men
Were watching from afar,
The length of Ipswich Bar.
They told the Ipswich fisher-folk,
Who, all aghast and grim, Came running down through Pudding Lane
In maddened search for him;
No word, - no blow, - no bitter jest,
They did not strike or mar,
That day on Ipswich Bar.
They marched him out at ebb of tide
Where lay the shattered wreck, And bound him to the dripping rocks
With chains about his neck;
With chains about his guilty neck
They left him to the wave The lapping tide rose eagerly
To hide the wrecker's grave.
And now, when sudden storms strike down
With hoarse and threatening tones, Old Harry Main must rise again
And gird his sea-wracked bones
To coil a cable made of sand
Which ever breaks in twain,
Is heard his clanking chain.
When rock and shoal are white with foam,
The watchers on the sands Can see his ghostly form rise up
And wring his fettered hands.
And out at sea his cries are heard
Above the storm, and far, Where, cold and still, old Heartbreak Hill
Looks down on Ipswich Bar.
THE WILD MOTHER
BY DALLAS LORE SHARP
One of the most interesting instances of variation of the mother-instinct in birds which has ever come under my observation occurred in the summer of 1912, in the rookeries of the Three-Arch Rocks Reservation off the coast of Oregon.
We had gone out to the Reservation in order to study and photograph its wild life, and were making our slow way toward the top of the outer rock. Up the sheer south face of the cliff we had climbed, through rookery after rookery of nesting birds, until we reached the edge of the blade-like back, or top, that ran up to the peak. Scrambling over this edge, we found ourselves in the midst of a great colony of nesting murres — hundreds of them covering the steep rocky part of the top.
As our heads appeared above the rim, many of the colony took wing and whirred over us out to sea, but most of them sat close, each bird upon her egg or over her chick, loath to leave, and so expose to us her hidden treasure.
The top of the rock was somewhat cone-shaped, and in order to reach the peak, and the colonies on the west side, we had to make our way through this rookery of the murres. The first step among them, and the whole colony was gone, with a rush of wings and feet that sent several of the top-shaped eggs rolling, and several of
the young birds toppling, over the cliff to the pounding waves and ledges far below.
We stopped instantly. We had not come to frighten and kill. Our climb up had been very disturbing to the birds, and had been attended with some loss of both eggs and young. This we could not help; and we had been too much concerned for our own lives really to notice what was happening. But here on the top, with the climb beneath us, the sight of a young murre going over the rim, clawing and clinging with beak and nails and unfledged wings, down from jutting point to shelf, to ledge, down, down — the sight of it made one dizzy and sick.
We stopped, but the colony had bolted, leaving scores of eggs and scores of downy young squealing and running together for shelter, like so many beetles under a lifted board.
But the birds had not every one bolted, for here sat two of the colony among the broken rocks. These two had not been frightened off. That both of them were greatly alarmed, anyone could see from their open beaks, their rolling eyes, their tense bodies on tiptoe for flight. Yet here they sat, their wings out like props, or more like gripping hands, as if they were trying to hold themselves down to the rocks against their wild desire to fly.
And so they were in truth, for under their extended wings I saw little black feet moving. Those two mother murres were not going to forsake their babies — no, not even for fear of these approaching monsters, which had never been seen clambering over their rocks before!
One of the monsters stood stock-still a moment for
the other one, the photographer, to come up. Then both of them took a step nearer. It was very interesting. I had often come slowly up to quails on their nests, and to other birds. Once I crept upon a killdeer in a bare field until my fingers were almost touching her. She did not move because she thought I did not see her, it being her trick thus to hide within her own feathers, colored as they are to blend with the pebbly fields where she lays her eggs. So the brown quail also blends with its brown grass nest. But those murres, though colored in harmony with the rocks, were still, not because they hoped I did not see them. I did see them. They knew it. Every bird in the great colony had known it, and had gone — with the exception of these two.
What was different about these two? They had their young ones to protect. But so had every bird in the great colony its young one, or its egg, to protect; yet all the others had gone. Did these two have more love than the others, and with it, or because of it, more courage, more intelligence?
We took another step toward them, and one of the two birds sprang into the air, knocking her baby over and over with the stroke of her wing, coming within an inch of hurling it across the rim to be battered on the ledges below. The other bird raised her wings to follow, then clapped them back over her baby. Fear is the most contagious thing in the world, and that flap of fear by the other bird thrilled her, too; but as she had withstood the stampede of the colony, so she caught herself again and held on.
She was now alone on the bare top of the rock, with ten thousand circling birds screaming to her in the air