“’Yes. The man I saw on the beach was Miss Felicia’s gardener, John Emmet. He has shaved his beard; but I’ll swear to him.’
“All that Dick could do was to pull the pipe from his mouth and give a long whistle. ‘But what do you make of it?’ he asked with a frown.
“‘As yet, nothing. Where does the man live?’
“’In a small cottage at the end of the village, just outside the gate of the kitchen-garden.’
“’No: a large family lives next door and he pays the eldest girl to do some odd jobs of housework.’
“‘Then to-morrow,’ said I, ‘I’ll pay him a call.’
“‘Seen your man?’ asked Dick next evening, as we walked up towards the house, where again we were due for dinner.
“’I have just come from him: and what’s more I have a proposition to make to Miss Felicia, if you and she can spare me an hour this evening.’
“The upshot of our talk was that, a week later, as I drove home from the station after my long railway journey, John Emmet sat by my side. He had taken service with me as gardener, and for nine years he served me well. You’ll hardly believe it”—here the Vicar’s gaze travelled over the unkempt flower-beds—“but under John Emmet’s hand this garden of mine was a picture. The fellow would have half a day’s work done before the rest of the parish was out of bed. I never knew a human creature who needed less sleep—that’s not the way to put it, though— the man couldn’t sleep: he had lost the power (so he said) ever since the night the Nerbuddha struck.
“So it was that every afternoon found the day’s work ended in my garden, and John Emmet, in my sixteen-foot boat, exploring the currents and soundings about Menawhidden. And almost every day I went with him. He had become a learner—for the third time in his life; and the quickest learner (in spite of his years) I have ever known, for his mind was bent on that single purpose. I should tell you that the Trinity House had discovered Menawhidden at last and placed the bell-buoy there —which is and always has been entirely useless: also that the Lifeboat Institution had listened to some suggestions of mine and were re-organising the service down at the Porth. And it was now my hope that John Emmet might become coxswain of the boat as soon as he had local knowledge to back up the seamanship and aptitude for command in which I knew him to excel every man in the Porth. There were jealousies, of course: but he wrangled with no man, and in the end I had my way pretty easily. Within four years of his coming John Emmet knew more of Menawhidden than any man in the parish; possibly more than all the parish put together. And to-day the parish is proud of him and his record.