A STORMY DAY. 55
the four crossways, and that will be a good six miles before we get round to the wooden bridge again; it will make us late, but the horse is fresh."
So back we went and round by the cross-roads, but by the time we got to the bridge it was very nearly dark; we could just see that the water was over the middle of it; but as that happened sometimes when the floods were out, master did not stop. We were going along at a good pace, but the moment my feet touched the first part of the bridge, I felt sure there was something wrong. I dare not go forward and I made a dead stop. "Go on, Beauty," said my master, and he gave me a touch with the whip, but I dare not stir; he gave me a sharp cut; I jumped, but I dare not go forward.
" There's something wrong, sir," said John, and he sprang out of the dog-cart, and came to my head and looked all about. He tried to lead me forward. " Come on, Beauty, what's the matter?" Of course I could not tell him, but I knew very well that the bridge was not safe.
Just then a man at the toll-gate on the other side ran out of the house, tossing a torch about like one mad.
" Hoy, hoy, hoy! hello! stop !" he cried.
" What's the matter?" shouted my master.
" The bridge is broken in the middle, and part of it is carried away; if you come on you'll be into the river."
"Thank God!" said my master. "You Beauty !" said John, and took my bridle and gently turned me round to the right-hand road by the river side. The sun had set some time; the wind seemed to have lulled off after that furious blast which tore up the tree. It grew darker and darker, stiller and stiller. I trotted quietly along, the wheels hardly making a sound on the soft road. For a good while neither master nor John spoke, and then master began in a serious voice. I could not understand much of what they said, but I found they thought, if I had gone on as the master wanted me, most likely the