Gould’s Bluffs and their surroundings were more attractive on this pleasant October afternoon than on the previous evening. The Phipps house was a story and a half cottage, of the regulation Cape Cod type, with a long “L” and sheds connecting it with a barn and chicken yards. The house was spotlessly white, with blinds conventionally green, as most New England houses are. There was a white fence shutting it off from the road, the winding, narrow road which even yet held puddles and pools of mud in its hollows, souvenirs of the downpour of the night before. Across the road, perhaps a hundred yards away, was the long, brown—and now of course bleak—broadside of the Restabit Inn, its veranda looking lonesome and forsaken even in the brilliant light of day. Behind it and beyond it were rolling hills, brown and bare, except for the scattered clumps of beach-plum and bayberry bushes. There were no trees, except a grove of scrub pine perhaps a mile away. Between the higher hills and over the tops of the lower ones Galusha caught glimpses of the sea. In the opposite direction lay a little cluster of roofs, with a church spire rising above them. He judged this to be East Wellmouth village.
The road, leading from the village, wound in and out between the hills, past the Restabit Inn and the Phipps homestead until it ended at another clump of buildings; a house, with ells and extensions, several other buildings and sheds, and a sturdy white and black lighthouse. He was leaning upon the fence rail peering through his spectacles when Primmie came up behind him.
“That’s a lighthouse you’re lookin’ at, Mr. Bangs,” she observed, with the air of one imparting valuable information.
Galusha started; he had not heard her coming.
“Eh? Oh! Yes, so I—ah—surmised,” he said.
“Hey? What did you do?”
“I say I thought it was a lighthouse.”
“’Tis. Ever see one afore, have you?”
Galusha admitted that he had seen a lighthouse before. “Kind of interestin’ things, ain’t they? You know I never realized till I come down here to live what interestin’ things lighthouses was. There’s so much to ’em, you know, ain’t there?”
“I should say there was. I don’t mean the tower part, though that’s interestin’ of itself, with them round and round steps— What is it Miss Martha said folks called ’em? Oh, yes, spinal stairs, that’s it. I never see any spinal stairs till I come here. They don’t have ’em up to North Mashpaug. That’s where I used to live, up to North Mashpaug. Ever been to North Mashpaug, Mr. Bangs?”
“Well, a good many folks ain’t, far’s that goes. Where I lived was way off in the woods, anyhow. My family was Indian, way back. Not all Indian, but some, you know; the rest was white, though Pa he used to cal’late there might be a little Portygee strung along in somewhere. It’s kind of funny to be all mixed up that way, ain’t it? Hello, there’s Cap’n Jethro! See him? See him?”