A heavy gale was blowing, which shook the windows of the little drawing-room in which Mrs Graybrook and her daughter Hannah were seated at their work. Their cottage was situated close to the sea on the north coast of Wales, so that from it, on a clear day, many a tall ship bound for Liverpool, or sailing from that port, could be seen through the telescope which stood ever ready pointed across the water. A lamp burning on the table, for it was night, shed its light on the comely features and matronly figure of the elder lady, as she busily plied her needle, while it showed that those of Hannah, a fair and interesting-looking girl just growing into womanhood, were unusually pale. Every now and then she unconsciously let her work drop on her lap while, with her eyes turned towards the window and lips apart, she seemed to be listening for some sound which her mother’s ear had not noticed. A glance into the little room might have shown why both mother and daughter should feel anxious when tempests were raging and the sea was tossing with angry waves. The mantel-piece was ornamented with some beautiful branches of coral, several large and rare shells, and two horns of the narwhal, or sea-unicorn, fixed against the wall, and above it was the picture of a ship under all sail, with boats hoisted up along her sides, and flags flying at her mastheads and peak. On the top of a bookcase stood the perfect model of a vessel; another part of the wall was adorned with Indian bows and spears and clubs, arranged in symmetrical order; while one side of the room was hung with pictures, in which boats in chase of the mighty monsters of the deep formed the chief subjects, or which represented scenes on the coasts of far-distant lands.