Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/30

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30

THE HALLIG.

twenty feet above its usual level ; the waves swell and
sink to alternate mountains and valleys, and the ocean
calls out his forces in a quick succession of long surges
to advance against the wharves and sweep them
from his path. The mound, which has for a time
feebly resisted the waves, begins to crumble. Fragment
after fragment yields to repeated attacks, and disap-
pears beneath the waves. The posts of the house,
prudently buried as deeply in the wharf as they pro-
ject above its surface, are bared of their support, and
washed and shaken by the sea. The frightened peas-
ant hastens to secure his best sheep in the houseloft,
and then himself retires to the same shelter. The
wall soon gives way, and but a few studs remain to
sustain the quivering garret floor, the last retreat of
the terrified inmates. With triumphant fury, the
waves roll through the naked frame-work below, they
toss presses, boxes, beds, cradles, violently against each
other, force for themselves wide passages to sweep them
all out into the open sea, there yet more wildly to sport
with their plunder. The supports of the roof are fail-
ing — of that roof whose overthrow must inevitably
plunge in a watery grave a family whose members
were but a few hours before busied together in the
household duties or sleeping peacefully side by side.
The unhappy ones press nearer and nearer to each
other, they listen anxiously for the abating of the
storm, and their hearts beat fearfully at every renewed
shock. In the darkness none sees the pale, terrified
countenance of the other. The thunder roll of the mad
waves drowns the groan of fear; but each one can
measure by his own sufferings the agonizing terror