Master Salter’s swine suffered neglect at the hands of several successors to the office Abel had held, and Master Salter—whilst alluding to these in indignant terms as “young varments,” “gallus-birds,” and so forth—was pleased to express his regret that the gentle and trustworthy Abel had given up pig-minding for nursing.
The pigs’ loss was the baby’s gain. No tenderer or more careful nurse could the little Jan have had. And he throve apace.
The windmiller took more notice of him than he had been wont to do of his own children in their babyhood. He had never been a playful or indulgent father, but he now watched with considerable interest the child who, all unconsciously, was bringing in so much “grist to the mill.”
When the weather was not fine enough for them to be out of doors, Abel would play with his charge in the round-house, and the windmiller never drove him out of the mill, as at one time he would have done. Now and then, too, he would pat the little Jan’s head, and bestow a word of praise on his careful guardian.
It may be well, by-the-by, to explain what a round-house is. Some of the brick or tower mills widen gradually and evenly to the base. Others widen abruptly at the lowest story, which stands out all round at the bottom of the mill, and has a roof running all round too. The projection is, in fact, an additional passage, encircling the bottom story of the windmill. It is the round-house. If you take a pill-box to represent the basement floor of a tower-mill, and then put another pill-box two or three sizes larger over it, you have got the circular passage between the two boxes, and have added a round-house to the mill. The round-house is commonly used as a kind of store-room.
Abel Lake’s windmill had no separate dwelling-house. His grandfather had built the windmill, and even his father had left it to the son to add a dwelling-house, when he should perhaps have extended his resources by a bit of farming or some other business, such as windmillers often add to their trade proper. But that calamity of the broken sails had left Abel Lake no power for further outlay for many years, and he had to be content to live in the mill.
The dwelling-room was the inner part of the basement floor. Near the door which led from this into the round-house was the ladder leading to the next story, and close by that the opening through which the sacks of grain were drawn up above. The story above the basement held the millstones and the “smutting” machine, for cleaning dirty wheat. The next above that held the dressing machine, in which the bran was separated from the flour. In the next above that were the corn-bins. To the next above that the grain was drawn up from the basement in the first instance. The top story of all held the machinery connected with the turning of the sails. Ladders led from story to story, and each room had two windows on opposite sides of the mill.