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After a few yards, he began to feel the pull of the sand. He knew he was reaching the end of his strength. He went more slowly and each dune seemed a bit higher than the one before. Giant, sand-scoured rocks pushed through the dunes here and he had to stumble around them. At the base of the largest of these monoliths was a straggling clump of knotted vegetation.

Autumn 1917. XVI. The Dunes The dunes are in another world. They are two miles across the uncertain and hazardous tide races of the estuary. The folk of the village never go over. The dunes are nothing. They are the horizon. They are only seen in idleness, or when the weather is scanned, or an incoming ship is marked.

As they drew near to the Zaouïa of Temacin, and the great oasis city of Touggourt, the dunes increased in size, surging along the horizon in turbulent golden billows.

Near Coxyde, and at the corner where the road from Furnes turns in the direction of La Panne, is a piece of waste ground which travellers on the Vicinal railway pass without notice. But here once stood the famous Abbey of the Dunes.

Sitting idly in his room, he enjoyed his repose, apart from a certain feeling of shame; otherwise he was sunk in apathy. On sunny mornings he got up early and slipped out of the town. All day long he would stroll in the great pine-woods or lie on the dunes by the shore, with the murmur of the sea sounding through his half- slumber.

The few scattered trees that had braved the onslaughts of repeated gales listed landward, but the pines sheltered in the hollows of the dunes stood erect and darkly mysterious, their plumes bending idly in the soft wind. It was all a part of the idyl, the daydream, Robert Morton thought, too flawless a thing to last.

What are these "dunes"? The winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay have not much consciousness, and yet they have with great care "selected," from among an infinity of masses of silex of all shapes and sizes, which have been submitted to their action, all the grains of sand below a certain size, and have heaped them by themselves over a great area.

There was a ten-mile stretch of level ground, blown hard as rock, from which the sustenance had been bleached, for not a spear of grass grew there. And following that was a tortuous passage through a weird region of clay dunes, blue and violet and heliotrope and lavender, all worn smooth by rain and wind. Wildfire favored the soft ground now. He had deviated from his straight course.

From Budapest the train takes us over the Hungarian plain, a very singular country, like a trough, for it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. There is abundance of rain, especially up on the mountain slopes. The winter is cold and the summer warm, as is always the case in countries far removed from the sea. Dust and sand storms are common, and in some parts blown sand collects into dunes.

First a coarse grass or rush is sown; then a finer herbage comes; then a tough brushwood, with flowers and blackberry-vines; so that while the seaward slopes of the dunes are somewhat patched and tattered, the landward side and all the pleasant hollows between are fairly held against such gales as on Long Island blow the lower dunes hither and yon.

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