Carpenters appeared and partitioned it off into two rooms, communicating with the gate-house by a narrow doorway pierced in the wall. All this, whilst it was doing, interested Taffy mightily; and he announced his intention of being a carpenter one of these days.
“I hope,” said Humility, “you will look higher, and be a preacher of God’s Word, like your father.”
His father frowned at this and said: “Jesus Christ was both.”
Taffy compromised: “Perhaps I’ll make pulpits.”
This was how he came to have a bedroom with a vaulted roof and a window that reached down below the floor.
MUSIC IN THE TOWN SQUARE.
This window looked upon the Town Square, and across it to the Mayoralty. The square had once been the Franciscans’ burial-ground, and was really no square at all, but a semicircle. The townspeople called it Mount Folly. The chord of the arc was formed by a large Assize Hall, with a broad flight of granite steps, and a cannon planted on either side of the steps. The children used to climb about these cannons, and Taffy had picked out his first letters from the words Sevastopol and Russian Trophy, painted in white on their lead-coloured carriages.
Below the Assize Hall an open gravelled space sloped gently down to a line of iron railings and another flight of granite steps leading into the main street. The street curved uphill around the base of this open ground, and came level with it just in front of the Mayoralty, a tall stuccoed building where the public balls were given, and the judges had their lodgings in assize time, and the Colonel his quarters during the militia training.
Fine shows passed under Taffy’s window. Twice a year came the judges, with the sheriff in uniform and his chaplain, and his coach, and his coachman and lackeys in powder and plush and silk stockings, white or flesh-coloured; and the barristers with their wigs, and the javelin men and silver trumpets. Every spring, too, the Royal Rangers Militia came up for training. Suddenly one morning, in the height of the bird-nesting season, the street would swarm with countrymen tramping up to the barracks on the hill, and back, with bundles of clothes and unblackened boots dangling. For the next six weeks the town would be full of bugle calls, and brazen music, and companies marching and parading in suits of invisible green, and clanking officers in black, with little round forage caps, and silver badges on their side-belts; and, towards evening, with men lounging and smoking, or washing themselves in public before the doors of their billets.