Then, at table, Gard was always quietly on the look-out to anticipate her wants. That was a refreshing novelty. Even Bernel, her special crony, thought only of his own requirements when food stood before him.
Now and again Gard began to venture on a question direct to her, generally concerning some bit of the coast he had been scrambling about, and she found it rather pleasant to be able to give information about things he did not know to this undoubtedly clever mine captain.
So, little by little, he grew into her barest toleration but apparently nothing more, and was puzzled at her aloofness and reserve, not understanding at all her bitter feeling against the mines and everything connected with them.
The first time he went to church with her and Bernel was a great white-stone day to him.
He had gone by himself once every Sunday, and done his best to follow the service in French, which he was endeavouring to pick up as best he could. And, if he could only now and again come across a word he understood, still the being in church and worshipping with others—even though it was in an unknown tongue—the sound of the chants and hymns and responses, and the mild austerity and reverent intonation of the good old Vicar, all induced a Sabbath feeling in him, and made a welcome change from the rougher routine of the week, which he would have missed most sorely.
On that special afternoon, he had been lying on the green wall of the old French fort, enjoying that most wonderful view over the shimmering blue sea, with Herm and Jethou resting on it like great green velvet cushions, and Guernsey gleaming softly in the distance, and Brecqhou and the Gouliot Head, and all the black outlying rocks fringed with creamy foam, till it should be time to go along to church.
When he heard voices in the road below and saw Nance and Bernel, he jumped up on the spur of the moment, and pushed through the gorse and bracken, and stood waiting for them.
“Will you let me join you?” he asked, as they came up, fallen shyly silent.
“We don’t mind,” said Bernel, and they went along together.
“This always strikes me afresh, each time I see it, as one of the most extraordinary places I’ve come across,” said Gard, as they dipped down towards the Coupee.
“Wait till we’re coming home,” said Bernel hopefully.
“You see those clouds over there? That’s wind—sou’-west—you’ll see what it’s like after church.”
“Your gales are as extraordinary as all the rest—and your tides and currents and sea-mists. I suppose one must be born here to understand them. We have a fine coast in Cornwall, but I think you beat us.”
“Of course. This is Sark.”
“And does no one ever tumble over the Coupee in the dark?”
“N—o, not often, any way. Nance once saw a man blown over.”
“That was a bad thing to see,” said Gard, turning towards her. “How was it?”