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CHAPTER XXIII.


THE FLOOD.

     And such a night ! through life's long years,
          Fixed as a rock, it bides for aye ;
      Its image on the heart impressed,
          No flood of tears can wash away.

 
  So came the third of February, 1825. The portion
of the story which follows, consists almost entirely of
simple historical facts ; and if much should seem to the
reader like too bold a picture of the imagination, we
can assure him of its entire truthfulness. It is precisely
in those points where the events seem to pass into the
region of the marvelous, that the greatest care has been
taken to give the facts without any coloring ; and for this
reason, the materials, for the following description, were
taken entirely from an account of that terrible night of
distress in the author's own congregation.
  Heavy storms from the northward had driven the
waves over the island, so that even during the ebb, the
hallig remained covered with water. But accustomed
to such storms, and comparing its strength and direc-
tion with previous ones, the inhabitants supposed they
had nothing to fear on this occasion ; and while the
waves dashed against the wharves, and the cabins