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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


was going distracted, when his action brought an old remembrance to
my mind of a once dear friend.

Ham watched the sea, standing alone, with the silence of suspended
breath behind him, and the storm before, until there was a great
retiring wave, when, with a backward glance at those who held the
rope which was made fast round his body, he dashed in after it, and
in a moment was buffeting with the water; rising with the hills,
falling with the valleys, lost beneath the foam; then drawn again
to land. They hauled in hastily.

He was hurt. I saw blood on his face, from where I stood; but he
took no thought of that. He seemed hurriedly to give them some
directions for leaving him more free - or so I judged from the
motion of his arm - and was gone as before.

And now he made for the wreck, rising with the hills, falling with
the valleys, lost beneath the rugged foam, borne in towards the
shore, borne on towards the ship, striving hard and valiantly. The
distance was nothing, but the power of the sea and wind made the
strife deadly. At length he neared the wreck. He was so near,
that with one more of his vigorous strokes he would be clinging to
it, - when a high, green, vast hill-side of water, moving on
shoreward, from beyond the ship, he seemed to leap up into it with
a mighty bound, and the ship was gone!

Some eddying fragments I saw in the sea, as if a mere cask had been
broken, in running to the spot where they were hauling in.
Consternation was in every face. They drew him to my very feet -
insensible - dead. He was carried to the nearest house; and, no
one preventing me now, I remained near him, busy, while every means
of restoration were tried; but he had been beaten to death by the
great wave, and his generous heart was stilled for ever.

As I sat beside the bed, when hope was abandoned and all was done,
a fisherman, who had known me when Emily and I were children, and
ever since, whispered my name at the door.

'Sir,' said he, with tears starting to his weather-beaten face,
which, with his trembling lips, was ashy pale, 'will you come over
yonder?'

The old remembrance that had been recalled to me, was in his look.
I asked him, terror-stricken, leaning on the arm he held out to
support me:
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