Carette told us afterwards that the Seigneur stroked her hair, when she had told all her story and proffered her request, assuring him at the same time that the little boat would be of no use to him whatever, as it could not possibly hold him.
“And what do you want with it, little one?” he asked.
“To come over from Brecqhou whenever I want, M. le Seigneur, if you please.”
“My faith, I think you will be better on Sercq than on Brecqhou. But you will be getting yourself drowned in the Gouliot, and that would be a sad pity,” said the Seigneur.
“But I can swim, M. le Seigneur, and I will be very, very careful.”
“Well, well! You can have the boat, child. But if any ill comes of it, remember, I shall feel myself to blame. So be careful for my sake also.”
And so the yellow cockleshell became Carette’s golden bridge, and thereafter her comings and goings knew no bounds but her own wilful will and the states of the tides and the weather.
Krok’s ideas in the matter of seigneurial rights of flotsam and jetsam were by no means as strict as his master’s, especially where Carette was concerned. In his mute, dog-like way he worshipped Carette. In case of need, he would, I believe, have given his left hand in her service; and the right, I think he would have kept for himself and me. He procured from somewhere a great beam of ship’s timber, and with infinite labour fixed it securely in a crevice of the rocks, high up by the Gale de Jacob, with one end projecting over the shelving rocks below. Then, with rope and pulley from the same ample storehouse, he showed Carette how she could, with her own unaided strength, hitch on her cockleshell and haul it up the cliff side out of reach of the hungriest wave. He made her a pair of tiny sculls too, and thenceforth she was free of the seas, and she flitted to and fro, and up and down that rugged western coast, till it was all an open book to her. But so venturesome was she, and so utterly heedless of danger, that we all went in fear for her, and she laughed all our fears to scorn.
HOW I SHOWED ONE THE WAY TO THE BOUTIQUES
Another scene stands out very sharply in my recollection of the boy and girl of those early days, from the fact that it gave our Island folk a saying which lasted a generation, and whenever I heard the saying it brought the whole matter back to me.
“Show him the way to the Boutiques,” became, in those days, equivalent to “mislead him—trick him—deceive him”—and this was how it came about.
I can see the boy creeping slowly along the south side of Brecqhou in a boat which was big enough to make him look very small. It was the smaller of the two boats belonging to the farm, but it was heavily laden with vraic. There had been two days of storm, the port at Brecqhou was full of the floating seaweed, and the fields at Belfontaine hungered for it. Philip Carre and Krok and the small boy had been busy with it since the early morning, and many boat-loads had been carried to Port a la Jument as long as the flood served for the passage of the Gouliot, and since then, into Havre Gosselin for further transport when the tide turned.