It was a grey, grey January day with almost nothing to commend it, other than the fact that it was more or less dry, and not terribly windy.

Algy snuggled down deep in the Marram grass to keep warm, and stared at the sullen sea. Half-awake and half-asleep in the low winter light, he dreamed idly of life in a brighter, warmer climate, remembering a poem he had once read:

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
    And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
    Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
    Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
    And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
    Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
    And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
    Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
    And ferns that never fade.

[Algy is quoting the poem After the Winter by the early 20th century American poet Claude McKay.]


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