“Smart boy! How many crows did you see this morning?”
“First I saw two and then I saw three.”
“Two and three make five. Croaker! Five crows mean someone’s going to be sick. And which way did they go this time?”
“Noh, noh! First it wass two, and when they had gone then it wass three more.”
“I see. And two black crows—what might they mean now?”
“Two crows they mean good luck.”
“Clever boy! Continue! Three black crows mean——?”
“Three crows—they mean a marrying,—ouaie, Dame!”
“Ah, a marrying! That’s better! That is very much better. It strikes me, Johnnie, that two lucky crows are worth twopence, and three marrying crows are worth threepence. And as luck would have it I’ve got exactly five pennies in my pocket. Catch, bearer of good tidings! Here you are—one, two, three, four, five! Well caught! Is it going to keep fine?” and Marielihou stopped licking herself to look at Graeme, and then went on again with an air of,—“I could tell you things if I would, but it’s not worth while,”—in her ugly green eyes.
“I don’ think,” said Johnnie, jumping at the chance of ill news.
“You don’t, you little rascal? Here, give me back my hard-earned pence! You’re a little humbug.”
“What’s Johnnie been up to now?” asked Miss Penny, as she came out into the open.
“He’s giving me lessons in necromancy and the black art of crows. He declines to pledge his honour on the continued brightness of the day.”
“Oh, Johnnie! And we’re going to Brecqhou!”
“I cann’d help.”
“But you might send us on our way rejoicing.”
“Gimme six pennies an’ I will say it will be fine.”
“I’m beginning to think you’re of a grasping disposition, Johnnie. If you don’t take care you’ll die rich.”
“Go’zamin, I wu’n’t mind.”
Then Graeme came out again, with the hamper he had had packed in the kitchen under his own supervision, and their cloaks, which, thanks to Johnnie, he had picked off the nails in the passage, and they set off for Havre Gosselin and Brecqhou.
“You’ll not forget to come back for us about eight,” Graeme shouted to the boatmen, as they pushed off from the fretted black rock on which their passengers had just made precarious landing.
“Nossir!” and they pulled away to their fishing.
“If it should be a fine sunset,” he explained to the ladies, “the view of the Sark cliffs from Beleme there, opposite the Gouliots, is one of the finest sights in the island.”
The place they had landed was a rough ledge on the south side just under the Pente-a-Fouaille, some distance past the Pirates’ Cave, and the ascent, though steep, was not so difficult as it looked. Graeme, however, in his capacity of chaperon, insisted on convoying them separately to the top—whereby he got holding Margaret’s hand for the space of sixty pulse-beats—and then went down again for the cloaks and provisions.