“Ay, well! We’ll see. And you saw Torode himself?”
And I told her all I had to tell about Torode, and John Ozanne, whom she had known as a boy.
“He was always good-hearted was John, but a bit slow and easy-going,” said she. “But we’ll hope for the best.”
“Will Carette be across in the next day or two?”
“I doubt it. Those two who got hurt will need her. If you don’t see her you shall leave me a kiss for her,” she chirped.
“I’ll give you a dozen now,” I cried, jumping up, and giving her the full tale right heartily.
“Ma fe, yes! You are getting on, mon gars,” she said, as she set the black sun-bonnet straight again. “You tackle Carette that way next time you see her, and—”
“Mon Gyu, I wouldn’t dare to!” And Aunt Jeanne still found me subject for laughter.
HOW WE CAME ACROSS MAIN ROUGE
I was sorely tempted to run across to Brecqhou for one more sight of Carette before I left home, but decided at last to leave matters as they were. Beyond the pleasure of seeing her I could hope to gain little, for she was not the one to show her heart before others, and too rash an endeavour might provoke her to that which was not really in her.
As things were I could cherish the hopes that were in me to the fullest, and one makes better weather with hope than with doubt. Carette knew now all that I could tell her, and Aunt Jeanne would be a tower of strength to me in my absence. I could leave the leaven to work. And I think that if I had not given my mother that last day she would have felt it sorely, and with reason.
The deepest that was in us never found very full vent at Belfontaine, and that, I think, was due very largely to the quiet and kindly, but somewhat rigid, Quakerism of my grandfather. We felt and knew without babbling into words.
So all that day my mother hovered about me with a quiet face and hungry eyes, but never one word that might have darkened my going. She had braced her heart to it, as the women of those days had to do, and as all women of all times must whose men go down to the sea in ships.
And I do not think there was any resentment in her mind at my feeling for Carette. For she spoke of her many times and always in the nicest way, seeing perhaps the pleasure it gave me. She was a very wise and thoughtful woman, though not so much given to the expression of her wisdom as was Jeanne Falla, and I think she understood that this too was inevitable, and so she had quietly brought her mind to it. But after all, all this is but saying that her tower of quiet strength was built on hidden foundations of faith and hope, and her mother-love needed no telling.
Next day my grandfather and Krok made holiday, in order to carry me over to Peter Port and see the Swallow for themselves, and my mother’s fervent “God keep you, Phil!” and all the other prayers that I felt in her arms round my neck, were with me still as we ran past Brecqhou, and I stood with an arm round the mast looking eagerly for possible, but unlikely, sight of Carette.