To the unimaginative visitor, the plan that has been adopted will appeal. To him the ancient broken tower, standing alone, would have little charm in comparison with this faithful restoration of the old church, that enables him to see what he never could have seen but for its being shown to him in brick and mortar. But to the pilgrim of the other sort—day-dreamer, if you will—there must come a sense not of gain but of loss. He will feel that, for a questionable combination of a restoration with a ruin, there has been sacrificed the most impressive spectacle on the island—the ancient church tower of vanished James Towne, standing in the shadow of the little grove by the river, broken, desolate, alone.
As we stood amidst ruins and building stuff, we tried to bear in mind that, of the two pilgrims, the unimaginative one is much the bigger; but we were so hopelessly a part of the other fellow.
IN THE OLD CHURCHYARD
For two or three days after our visit to the church ruins, rain kept us prisoners within the houseboat. Such times are good tests to determine how much one possesses of the houseboating spirit. All the charms usually associated with such a life are blotted out by the lowering clouds, washed away by the falling water. And how the houseboat shrinks when it gets so wet! With decks unavailable, what a little thing the floating home suddenly becomes! Then there is the ceaseless patter overhead, and so close overhead that one almost feels like raising an umbrella.
But to the true houseboater there is a charm in it all. With water above, below, and all around, the little craft is yet tight and snug. There is plenty of food for the mind on the book-shelves above and plenty for the body in the lockers below. Lady Fairweather found a diversion of her own. She sat for a good part of one wet afternoon, with a short pole thrust out of a window, a baited hook in the water, and an expectant look on her face. But we had an omelet for supper.
On the first bright morning we made preparations to visit the island again. As we were about to start, the sailor rushed into the forward cabin with story enough in his eyes, but only one word on his lips—” Fire!”
Then there was commotion. Nautica ran into the galley and Lady Fairweather ran for the Commodore, who was out on deck. He reached the galley to find one end of it in flames and himself half buried under a shower of boxes, cans, paper bags, and packages of breakfast food. Nautica, suddenly remembering one of the best things for extinguishing burning gasoline, was making everything fly as she frantically sought to reach a stowed-away bag of flour. The bag and the Commodore appeared about the same time, and together they made toward the gasoline stove from which the blaze was flaming across the galley. In an instant all of the flour was cast into the flames. It proved wholly insufficient, though warranted on the bag to go farther than any other brand.