The river-path along the Severn shore at Gatcombe was almost knee-deep with turbid water, and only a post here and there showed where river ordinarily ended and firm land began. Fishers and foresters stood in the pelting rain and buffeting wind anxiously calculating what havoc the sudden summer storm might work, helpless themselves to put forth a hand to save anything from its fury. Stout doors and firm casements (both were needed in the river-side hamlet) bent with the fury of the sou'-wester that beat upon them. The tide roared up the narrowing estuary like a mill-race, and the gale tore off the tops of the waves, raised them with the lashing raindrops, and hurled both furiously against everything that fringed the shore. Gatcombe Pill leapt and plunged muddily between its high, red banks, and the yellow tide surged up the opening and held back the seething waters like a dam. There was black sky above, and many-coloured earth and water below.