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Here is the next installment from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape With Figures:

“When I went to bed last night the sky clouded over and a strong, humid wind had sprung up. It blew harder as the night wore on and by four a.m. had worked itself up to a gale velocity (as I learned from the radio weather report this morning) with occasional gusts that were much higher.

It had a low-pitched, resonant hum, that rose at intervals to a high whine – the kind of sound I always imagined was meant by ‘the singing in the shrouds’ in the days of real sailing vessels. Then would come a sudden independent gust hurling itself against the house with a ferocious roar. And tossed into the medley capriciously was a variety of abrupt shrieks and whistles and occasionally what sounded like a couple of cats making passes at each other.

The hammock on the porch was thumping against the house and I could hear the light chairs sliding around. Regretfully I remembered my blue bowl of roses out there on the small table and dreaded to hear them smashed; but by then a hard, slanting rain was coming down and I had no desire to go out and get soaked. However, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a chair striking against glass, I decided it was better to get wet than have a window broken.

I went down and put on a raincoat, got the front door open and closed again without its being blown off the hinges, tied the hammock to the porch railing, turned over the furniture that hadn’t already been upset, and rescued the bowl of flowers. Before I got through I was almost ready to order the lifeboats lowered. I felt and looked half-drowned.

Shortly after daybreak the rain stopped and the wind tapered off considerably but has continued to blow fairly hard all day under the lowering sky. It goes through the pines in great heaving sighs. That’s another word we need – a word to describe that sound, a soft, porous word that breathes. If ‘soughing’ didn’t sound affectedly poetic and if it were pronounced to rhyme with ‘coughing,’ it would come close. But on checking it, I find that it’s pronounced to rhyme with ‘roughing’ or ‘ploughing,’ so it won’t do at all.

Speaking of words, why has ‘tempest’ fallen into desuetude except in the metaphorical sense of emotional tumult? We have storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, typhoons, blizzards and other upheavals in weather, but tempests occur only in teapots and Shakespeare.”

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