THE LOYAL CLERK
That, as I looked, stared from the fading sky,
A clown's face flour'd for work. And by and by
The wide-winged sunset wanned and waned ;
The lean night-wind crept westward, chilling and sighing;
The poor old hulk remained,
Stuck helpless in mid-ebb. And I knew why—
Why, as I looked, my heart felt crying.
For, as I looked, the good green earth seemed dying—
Dying or dead ;
And, as I looked on the old boat, I said :—
"Dear God, it's I!"
The Adur is no longer the home of birds that once it was, but in the early morning one may still see there many of the less common water fowl. The road to Portsmouth is carried across the Adur by the Norfolk Suspension Bridge, to cross which one must pay a toll,—not an unpleasant reminder of earlier days.
Old Shoreham, a mile up the river, is notable for its wooden bridge across the Adur to the Old Sussex Pad, at one time a famous inn for smugglers. Few Royal Academy exhibitions are without a picture of Old Shoreham Bridge and the quiet cruciform church at its eastward end.
A pleasant story tells how, in some Sussex journey, William IV. and his queen chanced to be passing through Shoreham, coming from Chichester to Lewes, one Sunday morning. The clerk of Old Shoreham church caught sight through the window of the approaching cavalcade, and leaping to his feet, stopped the sermon by announcing : " It is my solemn duty to inform you that their Majesties the King and Queen are just now crossing the bridge." Thereupon the whole congregation jumped up and ran out to show their loyalty.