“I am so glad,” she answered.
There was a knock at the door. A man entered with a tea-tray. He was in plain clothes and was obviously a servant. Jeanne looked at him in surprise.
“Has Mr. Berners left his servant here?” she asked.
“For a day or two,” Andrew answered hastily. “He may come back, you see, and he went away in a great hurry. Martin, bring another teacup, and make the tea. please.”
The man set down the tray and bowed.
“Very good, sir,” he answered.
Jeannie watched him disappear, perplexed. Was it because he was so perfectly trained a servant that he addressed the man at her side with the same respect that he would have shown to his own master?
“I may stay for tea, may I?” she asked. “That is something, at any rate. I am going to look round at your things. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Certainly not,” he answered. “That big fish on the wall was caught within fifty yards of this island. Those sea-birds, too, were all shot from here.”
“What strange little creatures!” she murmured. “You seem to find quite a lot of time to read and do other things beside fish, Mr. Andrew,” she remarked, as she looked over his bookcases. “You puzzle me very much sometimes. I had no idea,” she added, looking at him hesitatingly, “that people who have to work, as you have to, for a living, understood and read books like this.”
“Ah, well,” he answered, “I had perhaps a little more education than some of them.”
The servant returned with some more things upon a tray. Jeanne sat down with a little laugh in front of the teapot. She was very much afraid of saying more than was polite, and she felt that she was amongst utterly strange surroundings. Yet it seemed to her a most extraordinary thing that a fisherman in a country village should possess a silver teapot and old Worcester china, and should be waited upon by a man servant even though he were the man servant of a lodger.
The storm died away with the coming of evening, but a great sea still broke upon the island beach and floated up the estuary. Andrew stood outside his door and looked across toward the mainland with a perplexed frown. It was barely a hundred yards crossing, but it was certain that no boat could live for half the distance. Jeanne, who had recovered her spirits, stood by his side, and smiled as she saw the white crested waves come rolling up.
“It is beautiful, this,” she declared. “Do you not love to feel the spray on your cheeks, Mr. Andrew? And how salt it smells, and fresh!”
“That is all very well,” Andrew answered, “but I am wondering how we are going to get over to the other side there.”
“I do not think,” she answered, “that it will be possible for a long, long time. You will have to take me as a lodger whether you want to or not. I would not trust myself in a boat even with you, upon a sea like that.”