Then they pointed out all the things that lay about, so that they might take an intelligent interest in their surroundings,—Guernsey, and Herm, and Jethou, and Alderney, and the Casquets, and the coast of France, and the Seigneur in his boat, and then they trooped off like a party of school-children.
And presently the old ladies saw them scrambling down the black, scarped sides of the headland opposite, and then they disappeared behind rocks and into crannies. Then a pink meteor flashed from the black ledge, followed in an instant by a dark-blue one, and both went breasting out to sea. And in front of the cave two less venturesome figures beguiled the onlookers and themselves into the belief that they were swimming, though they never went out of their depth and sounded anxiously for it at every second stroke.
And up above, the larks trilled joyously, and the air was soft and sweet as the air of heaven; and down below, the water was bluer than the sky and clear as crystal, so that they could see the great white rocks which lay away down in the depths, and they looked like sea-monsters crawling after their prey. And the shouts of the swimmers came mellowly up to them, and they could see their little limbs jerking like the limbs of frogs.
“It is good to be here,” said Lady Elspeth enjoyably.
“It is very very good to be here. I am very glad we came,” said Mrs. Pixley, with a sigh that was not all sadness.
Many such days of sheer delight they had, and kept the dark cloud resolutely below their horizon. They accommodated their activities to the limited powers of the elders, and took them wherever it was reasonably possible for them to go. They chartered a boat for the day, and took them and all the luncheon-things round from Creux Harbour to Grande Greve, subjecting Charles to long-unaccustomed labours at the oar. In the same way they introduced them to Dixcart Bay, and Derrible, and Greve de la Ville; and, choosing a fit day, they circumnavigated the island again in three boat-loads, landing for lunch on an even keel on Breniere, and penetrating into every accessible cave they came to,—Mrs. Pixley enjoying the wonders in fear and trembling, and breathing freely only when they were safely out in the open once more. And Graeme and Margaret watched the approximating of Hennie Penny and Charles with infinite delight. It needed only a full understanding between these two to complete their own great happiness.
But the dark cloud was there, though they might refuse to look at it, and clouds below the horizon have a way of rising, especially dark ones.
The post-office in Sark is a cottage, or the part of a cottage, turned from private to public use. In former times the service was of a very perfunctory character, Providence largely taking the place of post-master while that official attended first to his fishing and then to his duties, and any who had good and valid reason to expect a letter came down to the mail-bag where it lay on the beach and went through it for themselves.