A minute later, and she was looking down on a broad slated roof, on a building of one story, stuck here in a notch of the gully, and in the lee of almost every wind that could blow. Its front faced her as she descended. It had a deep, red-tiled verandah, and under the verandah a line of windows, close-shuttered all but one. This one stood next to the front door, on the right.
The boy, still leading, ran down the sloping path to the door, and lifted the latch. Tilda halted just within the threshold, and looked about her.
The kitchen, on which the door opened, was well furnished, with an open hearth, and a fire laid ready there, and even a row of saucepans twinkling above the mantel-shelf.
Arthur Miles waved a hand around, and pointed to another door at the end of the kitchen.
“There’s a heap of rooms in there. I didn’t stay to search. But look at this!”
He unhitched a card which hung above the mantel-shelf. On it was written:—
“The provisions here are left for any mariners who may find themselves shipwrecked on this Island. All such are welcome to make use of what accommodation they find here. Casual visitors will kindly respect the intention with which this house is kept open, and will leave the place strictly as they find it.”
“(Signed) MILES CHANDON, Bart.”
From the next room came the sound of a window opened and a shutter thrown wide, and Tilda’s voice announced—
“Well, I never! Beds!”
“Beds—and sheets—and blankets.” Tilda reappeared in the doorway. “A ’ole reel ’ouse! But why?—and ’ow in the world?”
Arthur Miles held out the card.
“It’s for sailors shipwrecked here.”
Tilda studied the notice.
“And we ’re shipwrecked! Well, if this ain’t the loveliest. A reel ‘ouse, with reel beds an’ sorsepans!”
Her jaw dropped.
“An’ I flung that blessed book away just as it was tellin’ about breakfast dishes!”
GLASSON IN CHASE.
“Prospero: Hey, Mountain, hey! Ariel: Silver, there it goes, Silver!”—THE TEMPEST.
Like most men of fifty or thereabouts, and like every man who finds himself at that age a bachelor rector of a remote country parish, Parson Chichester had collected a number of small habits or superstitions—call them which you will: they are the moss a sensible stone gathers when it has ceased rolling. He smoked a pipe in the house or when he walked abroad, but a Manila cheroot (he belonged to the age of cheroots) when he rode or drove; and he never rode on a Sunday, but either walked or used a dog-cart. Also by habit—or again, if you please, superstition—he preached one sermon, not necessarily a new one, every week.