‘Dear me, Alick,’ my grandfather would often say, ’how little you and me thought that stormy night what a little treasure we had got wrapped up in that funny little bundle!’
The child was growing fast; the fresh sea did her great good, and every day she became more intelligent and pretty.
We were very curious to know who was appointed in Jem Millar’s place; but we were not able to find out even what his name was. Captain Sayers said that he did not know anything about it; and the gentlemen who came over once or twice to see about the house being repaired and put in order for the new-comer were very silent on the subject, and seemed to think us very inquisitive if we asked any questions. Of course, our comfort depended very much upon who our neighbour was, for he and my grandfather would be constantly together, and we should have no one else to speak to.
My grandfather was very anxious that we should give the man a welcome to the island, and make him comfortable on his first arrival. So we set to work, as soon as the Millars were gone, to dig up the untidy garden belonging to the next house, and make it as neat and pretty as we could for the new-comers.
‘I wonder how many of them there will be,’ I said, as we were at work in their garden.
‘Maybe only just the man,’ said my grandfather. ’When I came here first, I was a young unmarried man, Alick. But we shall soon know all about him; he’ll be here next Monday morning, they say.’
‘It’s a wonder he hasn’t been over before,’ I said, ’to see the house and the island. I wonder what he’ll think of it?’
’He’ll be strange at first, poor fellow, said my grandfather; ’but we’ll give him a bit of a welcome. Have a nice bit of breakfast ready for him, Alick, my lad, and for his wife and bairns too, if he has any—hot coffee and cakes, and a bit of meat, and any thing else you like; they’ll be glad of it after crossing over here.’
So we made our little preparations, and waited very anxiously indeed for Monday’s Steamer.
OUR NEW NEIGHBOUR.
Monday morning came, and found us standing on the pier as usual awaiting the arrival of the steamer.
We were very anxious indeed to see our new neighbours. A nice little breakfast for four or five people was set out in our little kitchen, and I had gathered a large bunch of dahlias from our garden, to make the table look cheerful and bright. All was ready, and in due time the steamer came puffing up towards the pier, and we saw a man standing on the deck, talking to Captain Sayers, who we felt sure must be the new lighthouse-man.
[Illustration: ‘PUFF, PUFF,’ SAID LITTLE TIMPEY.]
‘I don’t see a wife,’ said my grandfather.
‘Nor any children,’ said I, as I held little Timpey up, that she might see the steamer.
‘Puff, puff, puff,’ she said, as it came up, and then turned round and laughed merrily.