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John Oxenham
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Carette of Sark.

For many months Rachel Carre lived in instant fear of his unexpectedly turning up again.  But he never came, and in time her mind found rest.  The peace and aloofness of Belfontaine appealed to her, and at her father’s urgent desire she stayed on there, and gave herself wholly to the care of the house and the training of her boy.  The name of Martel, with its unpleasant memories, was quietly dropped, and in time came to be almost forgotten.  The small boy grew up as Phil Carre, and knew no other name.

I am assured that he was a fine, sturdy little fellow, and that he took after his grandfather in looks and disposition.  And his grandfather and Krok delighted in him, and fed his hungry little mind from their own hard-won experiences, and taught him all their craft as he grew able for it, so that few boys of his age could handle boat and nets and lines as he could.  And Philip the elder, being of an open mind through his early travels, and believing that God was more like to help them that helped themselves than otherwise, made him a fearless swimmer, whereby the boy gained mighty enjoyment and sturdy health, and later on larger things still.

But it was his mother who led him gently towards the higher things, and opened the eyes of his understanding and the doors of his heart.  She taught him more than ever the schoolmaster could, and more than most boys of his day knew.  So that in time he came to see in the storms and calms, more than simply bad times and good; and in the clear blue sky and starry dome, in the magical unfoldings of the dawn and the matchless pageants of the sunset, more than mere indications of the weather.

Yet, withal, he was a very boy, full of life and the joy of it, and in their loving watchfulness over his development his mother and grandfather lost sight almost of the darker times out of which he had come, and looked only to that which he might in time come to be.

CHAPTER V

HOW CARETTE AND I WERE GIRL AND BOY TOGETHER

I suppose I could fill a great book with my recollections of those wonderful days when I was a boy of twelve and Carette Le Marchant was a girl of ten, and far and away the prettiest girl in Sercq,—­or in Guernsey or Jersey either, for that matter, I’ll wager.  And at that time I would have fought on the spot any boy not too visibly beyond me who dared to hold any other opinion.

My mother and my grandfather did not by any means approve my endless battles, I am bound to say, and I do not think I was by nature of a quarrelsome disposition, but it seems to me now that a good deal of my time was spent in boyish warfare, and as often as not Carette was in one way or another accountable for it.

Not that herself or her looks could be called in question.  These spoke for themselves, though I grant you she was a fiery little person and easily provoked.  If any attack was made on her looks or her doings it was usually only for my provocation, as the knights in olden times flung down their gauntlets by way of challenge.  But there were other matters relating to Carette, or rather to her family, which I could defend only with my fists, and not at all with my judgment even at twelve years old, and only for her sake who had, of herself, nothing whatever to do with them.

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