Part 1 out of 4
This eBook was produced by Vital Debroey, Charles Franks
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[Illustration: "WHAT IS IS THIS TINY DOTTED LINE ACROSS THE
GROUNDS?" WIN INQUIRED]
THE SPANISH CHEST
EDNA A. BROWN
ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS AND FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF FLORENCE AND CLARA
who shared a winter spent in the Channel Islands and
have now gone on a longer journey.
This little book I wrote for thee
Thy friendly eyes will never see.
It was not meant for critics' reading,
Nor for the world that scans unheeding.
For there are lines washed in with tears,
As well as nonsense, mocking fears.
Alas! thine eyes will never see
This little book I wrote for thee.
THE SPANISH CHEST
Once upon a time a clever Japanese artist drew a sketch of a man
who sat industriously painting, when, to his great amazement, all
the little figures on his canvas came to life and began to walk
out of the picture.
Something like that happened to this book. Books grow, you know,
because somebody thinks so hard about the different characters
that gradually they turn into lifelike people, who often insist on
doing things that weren't expected. When this especial book began
to grow, two persons who hadn't been invited, came and wanted to
be in the story.
The author politely remarked that they were grown-up and couldn't
expect to be in a book for young people.
They said that they were not so very grown-up, only twenty-three
and a half and that they still knew how to play.
Connie said that her home was in the Island of Jersey where the
story was going to be, and if she came in, she could make things
much more pleasant for the other characters.
Max said that the story would go to smash without him, because he
should be needed at an important moment.
So, because they looked most wistful and promised very earnestly
to behave as though they were nice children, and not be silly, the
author said they might have a share in the story.
Connie at once offered to lend her collie. So that is how the
beach dog happens to be in the book.
I. AT ROSE VILLA
II. FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS
III. ST. HELIER'S
IV. THE BEACH DOG
V. MONT ORGUEIL
VI. A RACE WITH THE TIDE
VII. MR. MAX
VIII. RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER
IX. CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY
X. THE BUN WORRY
XI. THE MANOR CAVE
XII. WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY
XIII. ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST
XIV. IN THE VAULTS
XV. THE HAUNTED ROOM
XVI. THE MANOR GHOST
XVII. THE DOTTED LINE
XVIII. ROGER THE MAROONED
XIX. AT CORBIERE
XX. WIN WONDERS
XXI. THE TWO CHAINS
XXII. THE CHEST ITSELF
"What is this tiny dotted line across the grounds?" Win inquired
The Village of St. Aubin's
"For a long time people supposed they were called Martello towers
from the man who built them"
Above and behind towered the ruined castle of Orgueil
"Look there is a Jersey cow among the cabbages"
"He'll come for us! He means us to climb this rock and wait"
A most interesting little Church almost on the water's edge
The old Norman gateway leading to Vinchelez Manor
They came upon the loveliest of little beaches
Plémont is the spot where the cable comes in from England
Win's plan of the Manor cellars
What was undoubtedly the Spanish Chest
THE SPANISH CHEST
AT ROSE VILLA
The silence in the little drawing-room had lasted for some moments
before being broken by the man seated in the big wicker chair. His
dress indicated a clergyman of the Church of England, his face
betrayed lines of kindliness and forbearance, but its present
expression showed a perplexity not unmixed with disapproval.
"I suppose, Miss Pearce," he said at length, "there is no use in
trying further to dissuade you from your plan, and of course it
may work out for the best. But--you will excuse me, my dear, for I
have daughters of my own--you seem too young to undertake a
lodging-house. Now a position as governess in a nice family--"
Estelle Pearce interrupted him quickly.
"There is Edith, you know. Should I try teaching, it would mean
separation from her. And I _must_ keep Edith with me. We have only
each other now. No, Mr. Angus, I thank you from the bottom of my
heart for your interest in us, but I am sure it is best to try my
plan. You see I have the house on my hands. When we came to
Jersey, Father leased it for the winter and I can't afford to
forfeit thirty pounds. And there is Nurse as well as Annette.
Surely Nurse lends dignity to any family. But I am older than you
think," she ended with a smile and a pretty blush. "I am twenty-
four, Mr. Angus."
A kindly look came into the eyes bent on her slender, black-robed
figure. "You do not look it, my dear," her visitor said after a
pause. "Well, with two good servants, the plan may be successful.
Much depends on what class of lodgers comes your way. I am told
that Americans are rather desirable inmates, that they pay well
and are not exacting. If you could let your rooms to some refined
American ladies, things might adjust themselves very satisfactorily.
To be sure, few Americans visit the Channel Islands; they are
given to wandering farther afield. But I will speak of your plans to
the postmaster and one or two others. It might be advisable to
put a card in the circulating library at St. Helier's. Rest assured
that both Mrs. Angus and I will do all we can for your father's girls.
Lionel and I were good friends at Oxford though we saw so little of
each other afterwards. I did not think when he wrote me scarcely
six weeks ago that it was to be Hail and Farewell.
"I must go," he added quickly, seeing that Estelle's eyes were
brimming. "Where is Edith? I hoped to see her also."
"She has gone to the sands," replied Estelle. "It is dull for her,
moping here, so I sent her for an errand and told her to run down
and see whether the tide had turned. She begins school on Monday."
Mr. Angus took his leave, and still looking doubtful, went down
the steps of Rose Villa, a quaint little house, covered with
tinted plaster, as is the pretty custom of the Channel Islands,
and appearing even to a masculine ignorance of details much more
neat and attractive than its neighbors.
So Mr. Angus thought, as he turned from his puzzled survey of its
exterior, to walk slowly down the short street at the end of which
glittered the waters of the English Channel.
The tide was on the turn but the expanse of sandy beach lay yet
broad. Far toward St. Helier's the curve of the port showed the
high sea-wall, for this same innocent-looking tide that ebbs and
leaves behind miles of sandy stretches and rocks, can return with
force sufficient to dash over even the lofty breakwater and
surprise the placid Jerseymen at times, by scattering large stones
in the esplanade.
But here at St. Aubin's the curve of Noirmont Point sheltered the
little town from the full force of the waves. Dr. Angus looked
from the end of Noirmont Terrace straight down to the sands and
saw in the distance the sunset air filled with wheeling gulls, a
group of boys playing football on the wide level, and somewhat
nearer, a slender girl of fourteen, dressed in black, with long
fair hair floating over her shoulders.
She was walking slowly and the kind clergyman attributed her
leisurely pace to dejection, but as a matter of fact, Edith was
feeling quite happy and much interested in the tiny bright yellow
snail shells the beach was providing for entertainment. She had
been spared all that was possible of the depression and sorrow of
the past weeks. Daddy had been poorly for years and Edith could
not remember him as ever well and strong. His loss affected her
more because it grieved Estelle, the only mother she had known.
There had been a few sad confused days when nothing seemed real,
and strangers had been kind in a way that Estelle accepted with a
sort of resentful patience, plain even to Edith. But since then,
life had been rather cheerful, with a great deal of attention from
Nurse, and Estelle's time almost wholly given to her. It was
gratifying to share Sister's confidence and to help arrange the
rooms attractively for the possible delightful people who ought to
come to lodge with them.
That they might not be delightful, Sister would not admit for a
moment, so of course they would be. St. Aubin's itself was far
more desirable as a place of residence than the noisy Exeter
street where Edith had spent much of her life. Far back in the
past she could just remember a charming Surrey village with a
pretty vine-covered church where Daddy used to preach. She could
recall exactly how her fat legs dangled helplessly from the high
pew seat. Directly behind sat a stout farmer with four sons. The
boys made faces at Edith on the sly; their mother sometimes gave
Edith's thoughts had wandered rather far afield, though still
alert for any gleam of the yellow shells, when she arrived
opposite Noirmont Terrace and reluctantly left the sands. A light
shone from the drawing-room and she knew that Annette would be
bringing in supper, and Sister would be found poring over a little
account book with a "don't speak just now" look in her eyes.
But Estelle proved to be waiting at the open door and as Edith
began to run on catching sight of her, she thought that Sister
somehow looked happier.
"Did you meet Mr. Angus?" Estelle inquired. "He went toward the
"I saw him in the distance," replied Edith. "Why, Star, you look
like--like a star," she ended laughing. "Was Mr. Angus agreeable?
Did he say you oughtn't to take people?"
"I think he doesn't wholly disapprove now," answered Estelle
gently. "And he is going to do what he can toward sending pleasant
lodgers. Wouldn't it be nice if some dear old ladies should come
and want to stay with us all winter?"
"Just ladies?" queried Edith. "Do they have to be old?"
"I shouldn't take gentlemen," said Estelle. "Nurse wouldn't
approve, and ladies would be pleasanter. Perhaps there might be a
young mother and some ducky little children. How would you like
"Much better," responded Edith. "I don't want any fussy old freaks
with false fronts and shawls. They'd expect to be read aloud to
and waited on within an inch of their lives. I'd like some babies
to take down to dig and paddle. Do say you'll have children,
"Well, as a matter of fact, I think we'll have to take the people
who want to come," replied Estelle sensibly. "Let's just hope that
somebody very nice will think we'd be nice to stay with. Come in
now, Edith. Annette has shrimps for supper and after we are
finished, we will put a card in the window and see what happens
But the little white card that most modestly announced "Lodgings"
remained in the drawing-room casement for a week, and every day as
Edith came from school, she looked anxiously to see whether it was
gone. Its absence would mean that some one had looked at the rooms
One afternoon as she came up the Terrace, the sight of an unknown
face at an upper window sent a thrill down her back. The card was
yet in evidence but the presence of strangers indicated that some
one had felt attracted by Rose Villa. Yes, there was a cab at the
As Edith entered quietly a voice struck her ear, struck it
unpleasantly, an English voice, high-pitched and rather
"I should require to see your kitchen, Miss Pearce, and your
servants. I am most particular. In fact, I must be free at any
time to inspect the scullery. There must be a definite arrangement
about Marmaduke's meals. He likes a light breakfast with plenty of
cream, and for dinner a chop or a bit of chicken. His dinner must
be served with my luncheon. Then for tea--"
"I am afraid my servants would be unwilling to cook especially for
a dog," interposed Estelle's voice, courteous but with a chilling
tone Edith had never suspected it possessed. "It is useless for
you to consider the lodgings."
"Oh, your rooms are very passable," said the voice. "Small, of
course, and underfurnished, but some pictures and antimacassars
would take off that bare look. And Marmaduke is adorable. Your
cook would soon be devotion itself. Why, at my last lodgings--"
"I really cannot undertake the care of a pet animal," said Estelle
firmly. "I hope to have other lodgers and his presence might be
objectionable to them. You will excuse me now, as I have an
engagement. I will ring for Nurse to show you out."
"Well, really, Miss Pearce," began the voice, but Nurse appeared
on the scene so promptly that one might have suspected her of
being all the time within hearing distance. Edith scuttled into
the drawing-room, just avoiding a very large, over-dressed person,
who came ponderously down the stairs, a moppy white dog festooned
over one arm. Her face was red and perspiring and she seemed to be
indignantly struggling with feelings too strong for words. Edith
could not suppress a stifled laugh as she was ushered from the
house in Nurse's grandest manner.
Emerging from her refuge, Edith saw Estelle on the landing, her
face pale except for a tiny red spot on either cheek, her eyes
"My word, Star!" said Edith, giggling, "didn't you get rid of her
finely? What a fearful person!"
"She was impossible," said Estelle. "Oh, Nurse," she exclaimed
impetuously, seeing the old family servant still lingering in the
hall, "do you suppose only people like that will want lodgings?"
"No, indeed, my lamb," replied Nurse, casting a glance of
satisfaction after the cab disappearing from the terrace. "Don't
you fret, Miss Star, and don't you take the first people who come.
Just bide your time, and there'll be some quality who will be what
you ought to have."
"Mr. Angus thought Americans might be rather desirable," said
Estelle hesitatingly. To prepare Nurse for such a possibility
might be wise.
Nurse pursed her lips significantly. "Well, it's not for me to
disagree with the reverend gentleman," she remarked. "And I
haven't been in contact with Americans. No doubt they're well
enough in their country, but I hope, Miss Star, it'll be some of
our people that want to come. Now an elderly couple or some
middle-aged ladies would be quite suitable and proper, but
Americans--Well, I don't know."
Nurse shook her head dubiously as she left the room. Edith came to
put her arms about Estelle.
"What a fearful woman that was!" she repeated, drawing her sister
toward the window. "Poor Star, I'm sorry you had to talk to her.
Rooms underfurnished, indeed! And you tried so hard not to have
them crowded and messed with frightful crocheted wool things.
She'd want a tidy on every chair and extra ones for Sunday. And
you've made things so pretty, Star!"
"We think so, don't we!" replied Estelle, kissing her little
comforter. "Somebody may yet come who will agree with us. We won't
give up hope."
Estelle was silent for a moment. She did not want Edith to suspect
how very necessary it was that those rooms should prove attractive
"Is that the Southampton boat just rounding the point?" she added.
"She's extremely late."
"They must have had a rough passage," agreed Edith, looking at the
steamer ploughing into the smooth water of St. Aubin's bay. "Let's
put a wish on her, Star. Let's wish, _hard_, that she has on board
the nicest people that ever were and that they're coming straight
out here and say they'd like to spend the winter with us!"
FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS
"I positively refuse," said Mrs. Thayne, "to go out again to-day.
And I wish you wouldn't go either, Wingate," she added to her older
son. "That steamer trip was frightful. What a night we did have!
As for you two," she went on to Frances and Roger, "I suppose you
won't be happy until you are off for an exploring expedition, but
I don't see how you can feel like it."
"Why, Mother, I wasn't seasick," said Roger, a handsome,
mischievous-looking boy about twelve. "I slept like a log till I
heard Win being--hmm--unhappy. That woke me but I turned over and
didn't know anything more till daylight."
"I shouldn't have been sick if you hadn't begun it, Mother,"
observed Frances, turning from the window overlooking the
esplanade. "I feel all right now. Mayn't Roger and I go down on
the beach or take a car ride?" she asked, eagerly.
"I don't imagine there are any electric cars on the island," said
"But out here is a funny little steam tram marked St. Aubin's,"
interposed Frances. "It's going somewhere. Look at the dinky cars
with a kind of balcony and that speck of an engine."
"That's a pony engine for sure," drawled Win, joining his sister
at the window. Except that he was thin and fragile no one could
have known from Win's clever, merry dark face, how greatly he was
handicapped by a serious heart trouble. But the contrast between
his tall, loosely-knit figure and Fran's compact little person
brought a wistful expression into Mrs. Thayne's observant eyes.
Win was seventeen and had never been able to play as other boys
did. Probably all his life would be different, yet he was so
plucky and brave over his limitations.
"There's the _Lydia_ down in the harbor," exclaimed Frances. "My,
didn't she wiggle around last night!"
"Lydia, Lydia, why dost thou tremble?
Answer me true.
Traveler, traveler, I'll not dissemble,
'Tis but the screw.
Lydia, Lydia, why this commotion?
Answer me quick.
Traveler, traveler, 'tis but a notion.
You must be sick!"
drawled Win, following the direction of his sister's glance.
"Win, how bright of you!" she exclaimed. "I wish I could think of
things like that. But, Mother, mayn't we go out and take that
little train wherever it's going?"
"Yes, I suppose so," agreed Mrs. Thayne. "Take care of Fran,
Roger, and don't get separated. You might notice any attractive
places offering lodgings. We don't want to stay in this hotel all
winter and the sooner we are settled the better."
"Come along, Fran," exclaimed Roger. "That infant train is getting
a move on."
The two tore impetuously from the sitting-room. "Such energy!"
Mrs. Thayne remarked with a sigh. "Will you lie down here, Win?"
"No, I think I'll write a bit," replied her son. "I'm not so done
up as you are, Mother."
"Why Roger wasn't ill after the strange combination of food he ate
at Winchester last evening is a miracle," remarked Mrs. Thayne.
"Were you planning to write to Father?"
"I will," replied her son. "Mother, do go and rest. You look like
the latter end of a wasted life. But I hope the kids will light on
some lodgings. I've had enough of hotels. Nothing on earth is so
deadly dull and so deadly respectable as a first-class English
"Why, of course it is respectable," said Mrs. Thayne, looking
"Thunder, yes! But it's so _fearfully_ proper! That head-waiter
down-stairs, with his side-whiskers and his velvet tread and his
confidential voice--why, when he came to take my order, I wanted
to pull his hair or do something to turn him into a human being."
Mrs. Thayne smiled. Much as she loved Win, she did not always
understand him. Shut out from active sports, Win had early taken
refuge in the world of books and his quick perceptions were often
those of a mature mind.
When his mother had gone into her room, Win settled himself by the
west window overlooking the bay where Castle Elizabeth rose on its
rock in the middle distance. Win looked at it approvingly,
promising himself later the fun of finding out its history and
present use. Just now, he would devote himself to getting the
family journal up to date for Father, on duty with the _Philadelphia_,
somewhere near Constantinople. It was to be on the same
side of the Atlantic that the Thaynes had come to England and
a slight attack of bronchitis on Win's part had resulted in this
additional trip. Jersey was reported to possess a mild climate as
well as good schools where Roger and Frances might have new and
probably interesting experiences. Win himself was not equal to
school routine, but there would doubtless be some tutor available
to give him an hour or two every day, a pleasant and easy task for
some young man, for Win was always eager to study when health
Deep in his heart was the ever-present regret that he could not
enter Annapolis nor follow in the footsteps of his father, but if
an elder brother had any influence, Roger was going into the naval
service. At present, Roger showed no inclination to such a future,
and was but mildly interested in his father's career, but Captain
Thayne and Win shared an unspoken hope that a change would come
with the passing years.
For some time after finishing his letter, Win sat with eyes on
Castle Elizabeth, idly speculating about the coming winter. This
old-world island, with its differing customs and ancient
traditions seemed a place where most interesting things might
happen, a land of romance and fairy gold, offering possibilities
of strange adventure. Just because Win was debarred from most
boyish fun, his mind turned eagerly to deeds of daring. Visions of
pirates, smugglers, and buried hoards often danced through his
brain, and the least suggestion of any mystery was enough to
excite his keen interest. That hoary old castle on its island
proved a source of many romantic ideas to Win, who presently fell
into a day-dream.
The sun set in crimson splendor behind the castle towers and Win's
reverie changed to genuine slumber from which he was roused by the
reappearance of Mrs. Thayne.
"I'm sorry I waked you," she said. "I didn't notice that you were
"Why, I didn't know I was," said Win lazily. "I must have been
dreaming and yet I thought I was awake. It was such an odd dream
about a young man or rather a boy, in queer clothes ornamented
with silver buttons and wearing his hair in curls over his
shoulders. I was following him somewhere through a passage, very
dark and narrow. Then suddenly we were in a room with a big
fireplace and books around the walls. It was a beautiful old room
but I never remember seeing a place like it. Some other people
came, all men, also in queer clothes and very quiet and serious.
On a table was food of some kind and this boy I had been following
began to eat but the others stood about, apparently consulting
over something. Then I woke. Wasn't it a crazy dream? Oh, the
reason we were in that passage was because something was lost. I
don't know what it was nor how I knew it was lost but we were
trying to find it."
"That was odd. You must have read something that suggested it,"
Mrs. Thayne began, just as Fran and Roger came into the room,
bursting with suppressed excitement. For a few moments they talked
in a duet.
"Mother, it's lovely over at St. Aubin's, ever so much nicer than
here," Fran began breathlessly, her brown eyes sparkling. "And
such a funny little train running along the esplanade!"
"You couldn't believe there was such a beach," put in Roger. "Why,
the tide goes out forever, clear to the horizon! Fellows were
playing football down there, two games. How much does this tide
"This book I've been reading says forty feet," replied his
"And the houses!" Fran went on breathlessly, "all colors, cream
and brown and blue and pink."
"Oh, draw it mild, Sis," interrupted Win. "I should admire a pink
"It's out there," said Frances, "and what's more, it's very
"That's right," corroborated Roger. "Wouldn't a pink house look
something fierce at home? But here it's swell and kind of--of
appropriate," he ended lamely.
"And flowers, Mother," Frances took up the tale. "_Hedges_ of
fuchsia, real live tall hedges, not measly little potted plants.
Geraniums as tall as I am, and ever so many roses and violets. Oh,
and we've found some lodgings. You're to see them to-morrow."
"Frances!" exclaimed her horrified mother. "You haven't been in
strange houses, inspecting rooms?"
"Why, you told us to look for them, didn't you, Mother?" replied
her astonished and literal daughter. "Roger was with me. It was
perfectly all right."
"I simply meant you to notice from the outside any attractive
houses that advertised lodgings," explained Mrs. Thayne. "Well--"
she ended helplessly, "I suppose there's no harm done."
"Why, no," Frances agreed. "What could happen? Let me tell you
about them. We took the baby cars and got off at St. Aubin's
because that especial train didn't go any farther. It's lovely
there, Mother, and plenty of lodgings to let. We walked along and
saw one house that looked pleasant, so we went up and rang and a
maid showed us into a parlor. We knew right off we didn't want to
come there, because the place was so dark and stuffy and there
were fourteen hundred family photographs and knit woolen mats and
such things around. I was going to sit down but just as I got near
the chair,--it was rather dark, you see,--something said 'Hello!'
and there was a horrid great parrot sitting on the back of the
chair. I jumped about a foot."
"You screamed, too," said Roger.
"I may have exclaimed," admitted Frances judicially. "It was not a
scream. If I had yelled, you would have known it. Well, a messy
old woman came who called me 'dear,' but when I said I didn't
believe my mother would care for the rooms, she got huffy and said
she was accustomed to rent her rooms to ladies, only she
pronounced it _lydies_.
"We left that place," went on Frances, paying no attention to the
look of silent endurance on her mother's face, "and walked some
distance without seeing anything we liked. But suddenly we came to
a tiny street going down to the sea. There were only six houses
and one had a card in the window. They faced the bay and just big
rocks were on the other side of the street. Now, listen."
Frances went on dramatically. "The house with the card was the
dearest thing, all cream-color and green, with a pink rambler rose
perfectly enormous, growing 'way up to the eaves, and a rough roof
of red tiles and steep gables. The windows were that dinky kind
that open outward and had little bits of panes. Everything was
clean as clean, the steps and the curtains and the glass. While we
were looking, the door opened and a girl came out. She was about
my age, Mother, but _so_ pretty, with gray eyes and yellow hair
and _such_ a complexion. I'd give anything to look like her."
Frances shook her head with disapproval over her own brown hair
and eyes. To be sure the one was curly and the others straightforward
and earnest, while her gipsy little face and figure were considered
attractive by most people and by those who loved her, very satisfactory
"Well, this girl came out and we sort of smiled at each other and
I asked if that card meant that there were rooms to let. I told
her you were seasick, and at the hotel, and my brother and I saw
the card and we were looking for lodgings and all the rest, you
know. She said yes, there were rooms and she'd call Sister.
"Sister came and she was a love, tall and sweet and just
beautiful, only she looked sad and wore a black dress. The younger
girl went away but Sister showed us the rooms and they are just
what we'd like, I'm sure. There wasn't any messy wool stuff nor
ugly vases,--I forgot to mention that in the other place there
were eight pair of vases on the mantel, truly, for Roger counted
them. These rooms were clean and rather bare, with painted floors
and washable rugs and fresh curtains and flowers, just one vase in
each room and a clear glass vase at that. The beds had iron frames
and good springs and mattresses, for I punched them to see. Aren't
you proud to think I knew enough to do that?" Fran interrupted her
"Two bedrooms had the furniture painted white and the rest had
some old mahogany," she went on.
"How many rooms were there?" inquired Mrs. Thayne, attracted by
Fran's enthusiasm and interested by the pleasant picture she was
"On the first floor is the drawing-room, which will be at our
disposal," began Frances, evidently quoting "Sister." "It's pretty
and sweet, Mother dear, very simple with a little upright piano
and quite a number of books and a fireplace. Just behind is a room
where we can have our meals. We can use as many bedrooms as we
like; there are five and Sister said if we wished, one could be
made into an up-stairs-sitting-room. The bathroom was really up-
to-date, and looking _very_ clean."
"And how much does Sister expect for all this?" inquired her
"Well," admitted Frances, "I asked and she smiled so sweetly and
said it depended upon how much service we required and whether we
wanted to do our own marketing and perhaps it would be better to
discuss the terms after you saw whether you liked the rooms. I
told her we were Americans and she said yes, she had thought so. I
don't see why," Frances ended reflectively.
Win gave a chuckle. "Easy enough to guess," he remarked. "I
imagine English girls of fourteen don't go around on their own
hook, engaging lodgings for the family."
"I am almost fifteen," said his sister severely. "And I understood
that Mother wanted me to look for rooms, so I did, but of course
she will make the final arrangements. I thanked Sister and said
I'd try to bring my mother in the morning, for I felt sure she
would like the rooms. And Sister said she'd be very glad to have
young people in the house and that if you wanted references,
Mother, you could apply to some clergyman,--I forget his name,--
but I know it's all right. You'll think so, too, the minute you
see Sister. I fell in love with her. Oh, her name is Pearce,
Estelle Pearce. She gave me her card."
Frances produced it. "You will come and see the rooms to-morrow,
won't you, Mother? Win can come too, for that tiny train is very
comfortable and the walk to the house is short. Rose Villa,
Noirmont Terrace. Isn't that a sweet name?"
[Illustration: THE VILLAGE OF ST. AUBIN'S]
The moment she entered Rose Villa, Mrs. Thayne heartily agreed
with Frances as to its desirability. To Estelle's amazement, she
proceeded to engage all the rooms, offering to pay for the
privilege of having the whole house for her family.
This was better fortune than Estelle had dreamed of and scarcely
two days passed before she realized that a kindly star was
favoring her. Frances and Edith became friends on the spot; Nurse,
who might have proved a problem, took an instant fancy to delicate
Win and started on a course of coddling that luckily amused Win
quite as much as it satisfied Nurse. Blunt, downright Roger
appealed especially to Estelle, who also found Mrs. Thayne
"Aren't we in luck, little sister?" she confided to Edith. "Even
our wildest expectations couldn't have pictured anything more
pleasant than this. If they only stop the winter! But where are
you going now?"
"On the sands with the others," said Edith happily. "Fran asked
me. The boys have gone ahead to the end of the terrace."
Win was singing softly to himself as he stood looking down upon
the sandy beach that stretched for miles towards St. Helier's at
the left, and on the right, though showing more warm red granite
rocks, to Noirmont Point. "Britannia needs no bulwarks, no towers
along the steeps," he hummed just above his breath.
"There's a tower right in front of you," commented Roger, between
the throwing of two stones.
Win cast a glance at the deserted castle of St. Aubin's, a
miniature Castle Elizabeth on its isolated rock off shore, another
at the martello tower on the point.
"I was talking to a man about those little towers," he remarked.
"One can be rented for a pound a year, and there are thirty-two of
them around the island. But they didn't amount to much when it
came to actual fighting. The rocks and tides are what makes Jersey
safe. That's what I meant by this place needing no bulwarks."
"One of those martello towers would make a fine wireless station,"
commented Roger. "Why did they build them if they aren't any use?"
"They thought they were going to be," replied Win, looking to see
whether the girls were coming. "About two centuries ago there was
a battle down in the Mediterranean that was decided by the
possession of one of those little towers, so England built a good
many. But they weren't much use after all."
"I never knew that before," said Edith, as she and Frances joined
"England wasn't the only nation that was taken in by them," Win
went on. "Italy has a number on her southern coast. For a long
time people supposed they were called martello towers from the man
who built them, but I found in a book that the name came from a
vine that grew over this one in Corsica. Before many moons pass
I'm going to get into one of them. Smugglers must have used them
and there may be things left behind."
Frances cast a glance at the tower in question. At first
inspection it looked like a stony mushroom sprouting from the
rocks. Some distance above the base opened a rough entrance and a
low parapet encircled the top. To scramble over the exposed rocks
to the base of this especial tower appeared a hard climb, to say
nothing of the difficulties of ascending. The feat looked beyond
Win's accomplishment but Frances said nothing. To argue with Win
about whether he could or ought to attempt anything was never
wise. Left to himself he would stop within the bounds of prudence
but resented solicitude from others.
"Well, where are we going?" she asked.
"Let's take the train into St. Helier's," suggested Win. "We've
scarcely seen the town."
Edith looked doubtful. "I ought to ask Sister," she said. "Star
thought we were just going on the sands."
"And so we are," replied Roger. "We're taking a train that runs on
the sands," he mimicked in a teasing, boyish way. "Why don't you
call it a beach?"
"Because it _is_ sands," retorted Edith with a pretty flash of
spirit that Roger already delighted to arouse. "The tram-line is
far beyond the shingle."
[Illustration: "FOR A LONG TIME PEOPLE SUPPOSED THEY WERE CALLED
MARTELLO TOWERS FROM THE MAN WHO BUILT THEM."]
"Shingle!" gasped Roger, staring in that direction. "I don't see
"The pebbles, cobbles, beyond the sands," explained Edith.
"Oh, excuse _me_," chuckled Roger. "I thought they were plain
stones. Didn't see anything particularly wooden about them."
Edith looked at him. A few days had made her feel very well
acquainted with these friendly young people, but Roger was often
"Oh, cut it short, Roger," drawled Win. "Run back, will you, and
tell Mother that we want to go into town. She won't care and I
don't believe Miss Estelle will either, but we ought to mention
it. Hustle, because I think that train is coming."
Roger obligingly bolted back, received a nod of possible
comprehension from a mother very much absorbed in an important
letter, and arrived just as the others boarded the steam tram, a
funny affair with a kind of balcony along one side where people
who preferred the air could stay instead of going inside. Edith
and Frances exchanged smiles of happiness.
"I haven't been to St. Helier's often," Edith confided. "Just to
market once with Nurse, and once to choose curtains with Sister.
We thought the drapers' shops quite excellent."
Fran's attention was held for an instant, but after all it seemed
only reasonable that draperies should be purchased at a draper's.
"Isn't the beach lovely?" she confided. "It would be fun to walk
"We might," said Edith. "Would Win care if we did? Or could he do
"He couldn't walk so far," said Fran, "but he won't mind if we
want to. Win is angelic about not stopping us from doing things he
can't do himself."
"Has he always had to be so careful?" asked Edith. She and Frances
sat at a little distance from the boys. Roger was peering around
into the cab of the tiny engine; Win watched the water as it broke
on the beach.
"Always," said Frances. "He was just a tiny baby when they knew
something was wrong with his heart. It isn't painful and may never
be any worse. Only he must take great care not to get over-tired.
Ever so many doctors have seen him and they all say the same
thing,--that if he is prudent and never does too much, he may
outlive us all. Just now in London, he and Mother went to a
specialist but all he told Win was that he must cultivate the art
of being lazy. Mother says the worst was when he was too little to
realize that he mustn't do things. Now, of course, he understands
and takes care of himself. It's hard on Win but Mother says it's
good for Roger and me. It does make Roger more thoughtful. He says
anything he likes to Win and pretends to tease him, but if you
notice, you'll see that he does every single thing Win wants and
always looks to see if he's all right. It helps me too, for I'm
ashamed to fuss over trifles when Win has so much to bear."
The little tram was traveling at a moderate pace toward town,
stopping at several tiny stations where more and more people
"I can't get used to hearing people talk French," said Frances.
"It seems so odd when Jersey is a part of England."
"The French spoken here isn't that of Paris," remarked her
brother, rising from his seat. "It's Norman French."
"I know I can't understand it easily," confessed Edith, "and
Sister has always taken pains to teach me. I'm glad it isn't all
The train came to a stand on the esplanade of St. Helier's. The
four stopped to look over the sea-wall, to the beach far below,
across to the long stone piers forming the artificial sea basin
and up to Fort Regent overhanging the town like a war-cloud.
"That fort looks stuck on the cliff like a swallow's nest,"
commented Roger. "Look, there's a snow-white sea-gull!"
"There's another with a black tail," exclaimed Edith. "Oh, aren't
"In the United States is a city that put up a monument to the sea-
gulls," said Win. "Salt Lake City, ever so far inland. A fearful
plague of grasshoppers ate everything green and turned the place
into a desert. They came the second summer, but something else
came too. Over the Rocky Mountains, away from the Pacific Ocean,
flew a great flock of gulls and ate the grasshoppers. Their coming
seemed so like a miracle that the city erected a beautiful
monument to them."
"Did they ever come again?" asked Edith, greatly impressed.
"No," said Win. "Just that once."
"Without doubt it was a miracle," said Edith so reverently that
the three looked at her.
Roger gave a little snort, started to say something, looked again
at Edith's rapt face and changed his mind. "Boston ought to put up
a monument, too," he remarked at length. "Miracles happen every
summer in Boston. The city swelters with the mercury out of sight
and then along steps the east wind. In ten minutes, everybody puts
on coats and stops drinking ice-water. Some tidy miracle-worker,
our east wind."
"Especially in winter," said Win laughing. "I'm afraid a monument
to the east wind wouldn't be popular along in January. Shall we
come on? Let's go up this street. I've a map, but things look
rather crooked, so we'd better keep together."
The quartette started, Roger and Win leading the way. St. Helier's
streets are indeed crooked, and paved with cobble stones of
alarming size and sonorous qualities. Numerous men and boys
tramped along in wooden sabots which made a most unearthly
clatter. Even little girls wore them, though otherwise their dress
was not unusual. Outside one shop hung many of the clumsy foot-
gear, the price explaining their evident popularity.
Signs over shops were as often French as English and sometimes
both. At one corner, the party met a man ringing a bell and
uttering a proclamation in French. At the next corner he stopped
to announce it in English and the interested boys found that he
was advertising a public auction. No one else seemed in the least
attentive to his remarks.
Fifteen minutes' loitering through narrow, ill-paved streets,
crowded with hurrying people and a great number of dogs, brought
the four to an open square of irregular shape with a gilded statue
at one end. Its curious draperies caught Win's observant eye and
he walked around it thoughtfully.
"What a very queer costume!" he remarked as he completed his
circuit. "What is it doing on a statue of an English king?"
Win spoke aloud, not noticing that the others were beyond hearing,
but his inquiry was answered by a gentleman who chanced to be
"It is a Roman statue," he volunteered, "rescued from a shipwreck.
The thrifty Jerseymen considered it too good to be wasted, so they
gilded it and placed it here in the Royal Square in honor of
George the Second."
Win smiled as he turned to the speaker, a tall, thin Englishman in
riding dress. His bearing suggested a military training and a
second glance showed an empty coat-sleeve.
"This group of buildings may interest you," the speaker added.
"They contain the Court House, Parliament rooms and a small public
Touching his riding-crop to his hat in response to Win's thanks,
he turned into a side street where a young man mounted on a
handsome horse sat holding the bridle of another. With interest
Win watched them ride away. Even from a distance, something about
the younger man struck a chord of recollection in Win's usually
reliable memory. He was almost certain that somewhere, at some
time, they had met. Yet he could not think of any American
acquaintance of that age who would be at all likely to be riding
about the island of Jersey, his companion not only an Englishman,
but obviously an ex-army officer.
Still, the impression of familiarity was strong and Win was yet
wondering about it as he slowly climbed the stairs leading to the
Protesting somewhat, the others followed to look at a rather
uninviting room, appealing to them far less than to Win, already
on the trail for local history. The attendant proved obliging and
after supplying Win with several books brought out a shabby brown
"We have one of your writers on our shelves," he remarked with a
smile, offering the book to Frances.
"Poems of Oliver Wendell Holmes," she read aloud. "Haven't you any
other American authors?" she demanded in amazement. "And how did
you know I was an American?"
The librarian shook his head. "I have often thought we should have
more American books," he replied, "but they are so extremely dear
as compared with those published on this side of the Atlantic that
we have not afforded them. How did I know your nationality? By the
way you speak."
Frances looked disgusted. She said little more, but soon persuaded
the reluctant Win to postpone his investigations and come down
again into the Royal Square.
"Now, Sis, what's the matter with you?" Win inquired on seeing her
"Oh, you didn't hear that man say he knew I was an American by the
way I talked," sniffed Frances indignantly.
"Anybody would think you didn't want to be one," commented Roger
"I wouldn't be anything else," retorted Frances, "only I don't
care to have fun poked at the way I talk."
Win's glance traveled from his sister's annoyed face to Edith's,
which wore a look of perplexity.
"We're polite," he remarked. "Here's Edith, who wouldn't be
anything but English."
"No," said Edith gravely. "One always feels that way about one's
country. But I understand what Frances means. And I see why people
know you are not English. It isn't so much your pronunciation, but
you put words in odd places in the sentence and some of your
expressions are most unusual," she ended apologetically. "I like
them. It is interesting to hear things called by new names. Just
now Fran said 'poke fun' when she meant 'criticise,' and Roger
says a thing is 'fine and dandy' when I should call it 'top-hole.'
That is the difference, is it not?"
The others laughed and Edith's attempt to bridge a dangerous
situation ended successfully. Presently their whereabouts absorbed
their attention for Win had left the map behind him on the library
For a time they wandered at random, following one narrow street
after another, seeing interesting shop windows, but presently
discovered that they did not know where they were.
"The esplanade must lie at our left," said Win. "If we keep
turning in that direction we shall surely strike it."
"Look at that candy," exclaimed Roger, attaching himself to a
confectioner's window. "Here's a chance to acquire some choice
English. What is black-jack, Edith? Looks like liquorice. Bismarck
marble, Gladstone rock, toffy,--what's toffy?"
"It is sweets made of treacle instead of sugar," explained Edith,
turning surprised eyes upon him.
"Sweets! treacle!" exclaimed Roger after a petrified instant.
"Bring me a fan! Give me air!"
"Why," said Frances, a sudden light dawning on her. "Treacle! I
never knew before what Alice in Wonderland meant by her treacle
well. It's molasses, Edith. There are some chocolate peppermints!"
Without stopping for further speech Frances dashed into the shop.
Presently she emerged, carrying a white paper bag, or "sack" as
Edith designated it, and with an odd expression of face.
"Joke?" inquired Win. "What did you ask for?" he demanded,
accepting a piece of candy.
"I got what I wanted," said Fran evasively. "It's always possible
to walk behind a counter and help yourself if you don't know the
names of things."
Later she drew Edith aside. "What do you call these?" she asked
"Peppermint chocolate drops," replied Edith. "What else could they
Turning constantly to the left did not bring them to the sea.
Instead they walked a long distance only to find themselves in a
poorer part of the town, with increasing crowds of children
inclined to follow. Their appearance seemed a source of interest
to older people as well and presently Win was induced to inquire
his way to the boulevard.
To his surprise the reply came in French, but between his own
knowledge and that of Edith, they made out that they were
traveling inland instead of toward the shore. This sounded
impossible unless they had completely lost all sense of direction.
But a second inquiry brought the same answer, so they followed the
offered advice, coming at last to the bay of St. Aubin's more than
a mile below St. Helier's, fortunately near one of the tram
stopping-places. Edith was good for a walk home and Roger would
have gone also if challenged, but both Win and Frances were tired
so Edith did not propose to return by the beach. Indeed, the tide
was now so high that they would have been forced to go part of the
way by the road.
"School for us to-morrow," said Frances dismally. "But I think we
should plan to do something very interesting every holiday all
"We will take a tea-basket and lunch out of doors," replied Edith
happily. "There are beautiful spots to visit in Jersey."
Win looked up suddenly. "Fran," he asked, "did you notice those
gentlemen who rode out of the square while we were looking at the
statue? Had you ever seen the younger one before?"
Fran shook her head. "I noticed only the one who spoke to you,"
she replied. "I was looking at their horses."
"All the same," mused Win thoughtfully, "I've seen that young
fellow before and it must have been in the United States, for I
know I should remember encountering him over here."
THE BEACH DOG
"You would certainly smile if you could see the school I am going
to," Frances wrote to her chum, Marjorie Benton, "but when I think
of you and the other girls back at the dear old Boston Latin, I
feel more like crying.
"First I must tell you about Edith Pearce, the girl in the house
where we are staying. She has long flaxen hair which hangs over
her shoulders in the most childish way, though she's our age. Her
eyes are gray with dark lashes and when she looks at you they are
like surprised stars. And she has the most beautiful complexion in
the world, just pink and white. She is lovely to look at and I
feel like a tanned, homely gipsy beside her. She's sweet too, but
very easily shocked and I'm afraid she's not only good but pious.
She can never take your place so don't worry, only, as I have to
be here, I might as well have some fun with her.
"I go to school with Edith and it is as unlike the Latin School as
the North Pole and Boston Common. There are about thirty boarders,
some of them little bits of things--Edith calls them 'tinies'--who
have been sent home from India where their parents couldn't keep
them any longer. About fifty day-scholars attend, from kindergarten
"I'm the only American and I can tell you I was well stared at. At
first the girls couldn't believe it, insisted that I must be
Scotch or at least Canadian, so now I wear a little United States
flag pin all the time. Gracious, but things are different,
especially clothes! Mine are the prettiest in school, if I do say
it, and Edith thinks so too. She says my 'frocks' are 'chic.'
"Most of the girls, even the big ones almost eighteen, wear their
hair hanging and have _such_ dresses,--frocks, I mean. They fit
like meal bags, and being combinations of many colors, look
perfectly dreadful. And yet the girls are very nice, some of them
from really important families.
"To cap the climax, most of them sport ugly black mohair aprons
which they call 'alpaca pinnies.' Marjorie, can you imagine what
they look like? I told Mother if she wanted me to be English to
the extent of wearing a pinafore, I should lie down and die and
I'm thankful to say that she simply grinned. But many of the girls
have wonderful yellow or red-gold hair and stunning peachy
complexions, so they aren't such frights as you'd think.
"Instead of going around from one class to another as in any
sensible school, the girls stay in one room and teacher after
teacher,--I mean mistress, comes to them. I get so everlastingly
tired sitting still. Never before did I realize what a rest it was
to walk from class to class and get a chat on the way. The only
exceptions to this rule are preparation, when we sit at desks
under the eye of a monitress, and gymnasium work.
"Marjorie, when I first beheld that gymnasium teacher, I nearly
fainted. Her molasses-colored hair was frizzed hard in front and
pinned in a round bun at the back of her head. She had on tight-
fitting knee trousers, not bloomers, believe me. Over these she
wore a white sweater of a very fancy weave. Over this was a weird
tunic of alpaca with two box-plaits in front and three in back.
This fell an inch or so below her knees, and every time she bent
over or stretched up, those queer tight trousers showed. Her shoes
were ordinary ones with heels. The girls wear either their usual
frocks or an arrangement like this. I can tell you my pretty brown
gym suit was the event of the day when I appeared in it.
"Everybody wears slippers at school, puts them on when she first
comes and no wonder, because the English shoes are the worst-
looking and clumsiest things ever invented by man. Edith's feet
look twice as big in her boots as in slippers. You'd think by
their appearance that English feet were a different shape from
ours, but they are not; it is only the shoes. They make them so
thick and stout that they last for years. Edith was plainly
shocked when I told her I had a new pair every few months. She
thinks mine suitable only for the house. Well, I will admit that
English girls can out-walk me.
"The other mistresses aren't so queer as the gym teacher but look
more like other people except that they wear too much jewelry.
Everybody wears a great deal and you know what we think at home of
ladies who appear on the street with rings and chains and lockets.
Edith and her sister Estelle don't dress so, but Mother says they
are quite exceptional.
"As for lessons, we have to study. They expect a lot of grammar
and parsing, and dates in history and solid facts in geography and
all that. Mother approves; she thinks the English system much less
faddy than at home. We have Bible instruction in regular lessons.
I'll admit that these English girls know more than I do about
things in books, but they haven't any idea what's going on in the
present world. They didn't know much about the Panama canal and
the tolls. Win howled when I said I explained it to them and vowed
he'd give a dollar to have heard me. And several didn't know who
was president of the United States. Imagine that, when we're the
most important republic in the world! I knew their old king.
"We begin school at half-past eight and have prayers and a Bible
exercise. Different classes follow until eleven when a gong rings
and everybody rushes into the garden, a lovely place with box-
edged beds and a sun dial and gravel walks. There are myrtles and
geraniums, great big bushes of them, and japonicas and heavenly
wall-flowers and _trees_ of lemon verbena and fuchsias up to the
eaves. This is solid truth, and in November, too.
"In the garden we find a table with jugs of milk,--notice my
English, please--and biscuit, that is, crackers, and we gobble and
faith, we have reason! Studying so hard makes one famished. Then
recreation follows for half an hour and we play ball or tennis.
Some of the girls are splendid players. School again until two,
when we day-scholars leave.
"Three afternoons a week, we have to go back for gym work and
English composition, which is beastly. On Wednesday there is no
"Do you want to know what I've learned in one week of school in
"Well, I can speak three sentences in French. I'll write you in
French next time.
"I know that Amos and Hosea and Isaiah were all prophets and said
that Israel was a very bad place.
"I know that Paleolithic man was probably the first inhabitant of
"I know how few people like to join mission study classes.
"And I know that I love you."
Fran finished her letter, directed and sealed the envelope,
affixed a stamp, sniffing slightly at the head of King George
instead of George Washington, and ran down-stairs.
"Do you know where Edith is?" she asked of Nurse.
"She is out in front, Miss Frances," replied Nurse. "Are you going
for a walk?"
"Just to the beach. We'll be back for tea."
Edith stood at the gate and the two ran down to the shore. The
tide, half-way out, left bare a tremendous expanse of wet sand,
iridescent under the sun's rays. The water showed wonderful shades
of blue, green and turquoise, and in the edge of the retreating
waves walked hundreds of gulls, searching for food.
The girls started up the beach toward St. Helier's, chatting
happily as they watched the water and the birds. Little sandpipers
appeared and some huge gray cormorants.
Presently a handsome collie ran up to them, dropped a stone before
Frances and stood looking at her, his head cocked on one side, all
"You darling," said Frances, picking up the pebble. "Does he want
to be played with? Well, he shall."
She threw the stone down the beach and the collie shot after it at
full speed, his beautiful tawny coat shining in the sunlight.
"Twice before," said Edith, "when I've been on the sands, he has
begged me to throw stones for him to chase. He's a thorough-bred.
Such fine markings! He looks like one of the Westmoreland sheep
dogs. You've heard of them, haven't you? They are so intelligent
about taking care of sheep and they understand everything their
masters want. We saw one once that separated and brought to his
master three sheep out of a big flock and the man didn't say one
word, only motioned to him. He wants you to throw it again."
"I can't throw stones for you all night," said Fran at last. "You
take a turn, Edith."
Edith threw a pebble picked up at random. The collie raced for it
and after a sniff, returned without it.
"He wants his own stone and no other," laughed Frances. "See, he's
hunting all about. There, he's found it!"
For a good mile down the beach the collie accompanied them, till
both were tired of play. Convinced that they would throw his stone
no longer, the dog reluctantly left them. Looking back, they saw
him accosting a young man, who promptly yielded to the mute
"I wonder whose dog he is," said Edith. "He didn't seem to belong
to any one we passed. I fancy he's here on his own."
"We really ought to go over to Castle Elizabeth soon," observed
Frances. "Doesn't it look like a huge monster stranded out there
in the harbor?"
"Sister is afraid of the tides," replied Edith. "A soldier was
drowned there the other day, trying to cross the causeway after
the tide had turned. Look, Fran, I believe that must be his
funeral up on the road now. It is a military one at any rate."
Frances looked with interest. First marched a guard of soldiers,
two by two, then a band with muffled drums, playing the Dead
March. After the band came a gun-carriage drawn by four horses and
bearing the coffin, over which was draped the English flag.
Several barouches followed with officers in uniform, and then the
rest of the regiment, walking very slowly, their guns reversed.
As the procession approached, every man on the route uncovered and
did not replace his hat until it had passed, a mark of respect
which struck Frances forcibly. "They have better manners than we
have," she acknowledged half to herself.
Edith looked surprised. "Men always uncover on meeting a funeral,"
she remarked. "This was a private, but if he had been an officer,
his helmet and sword would be on the flag, and directly behind the
gun-carriage, his orderly would lead his riderless horse. A
military wedding is so pretty, Frances. I saw one once in Bath
Abbey. The officers were all in full uniform and after the
ceremony they formed in the aisle, two lines going way down out of
the church and at a signal, drew their swords and crossed them
with a clash above their heads and the bride and groom came down
this path through the glittering swords. I was just a tiny then,
but I decided I'd marry a soldier so I could have the arch of
"It must have been very pretty," Frances agreed. "Why, what are
those? See, like immense horseshoes in the water."
"The bathing pools," explained Edith. "They show only when the
tide is very low. They keep back water for bathing."
"And a good job, too, when you have a tide that goes out of
sight," commented Frances approvingly, as she looked at the two
huge masonry walls near St. Helier's, set in the expanse of wet
sand. "Look at the boys sailing boats."
"Sometimes there are real races with little model yachts," said
Edith. "There's a club of the young officers and some of the
townspeople and they have the prettiest little miniature boats
with keels about a metre long, rigged exactly like real racing
yachts. It's great sport to see them. But ought we not to go
The girls turned for they were already far from home. To their
surprise they were presently greeted again by the collie who tore
up to hail them rapturously.
"Still chewing your stone?" Frances inquired. "Come along. I
suppose we'll have to take you part way back."
The collie flew for the pebble as though for the first time of the
afternoon. Before they had gone more than a quarter of a mile, a
pretty young lady came up.
"I'm afraid my bad Tylo has been bothering you," she said
apologetically. "He is forever coming on the sands and badgering
people into playing with him."
"Oh, we liked to play," said Frances, smiling. "I think he's a
brick. What did you call him?"
"Tylo," replied the young lady. "After the dog in the 'Blue Bird,'
Edith also smiled. Their new acquaintance was looking from one to
another, a charming and rather mischievous expression lighting a
"You're a little sister compatriot," she said to Edith; "but I
fancy this little lady comes from across the ocean."
"Yes, I do," said Frances, "but how did you know?"
The young lady laughed merrily. "Oh, I've knocked about a good
bit. And I happen to have known one American boy very well.
Indeed, we really grew up together in Italy and England. 'Brick'
is rather an American word, isn't it? I've surely heard my friend
use it. Americans seldom find their way to Jersey. Are you
"Perhaps all winter," replied Frances.
"There are many delightful excursions to make in the island," said
the young lady. "Come along, Tylo. We must go home to tea. Oh,"
she added to the girls, "when you go on picnics, don't forget to
look for caves."
With another smile and a charming little nod, she left them.
"I wonder who she is," said Frances, frankly looking after her.
The erect lithe figure was crowned by a finely poised head and a
wealth of beautiful fair hair, prettily arranged. Something in her
face suggested possibilities of good comradeship, and her dress,
while simplicity itself, betrayed a French origin.
"She looks nice enough and ladylike enough to be an American,"
thought Frances approvingly and with a sudden stab of homesickness.
"I wish she'd told us her name," she went on aloud, "and who the
American boy was. Perhaps we might know him."
"He can scarcely be a boy now if they grew up together," observed
Edith. "Wasn't she sweet? I hope we'll see her again."
"And what did she mean by caves?" Frances continued, pursuing her
train of thought. "That sounded very interesting and mysterious."
To find a tutor for the boys proved less easy than Mrs. Thayne
anticipated. There seemed a dearth of available young men in
Jersey and she had about decided to send Roger to the best school
and let Win work as he chose by himself, when Mr. Angus heard of a
young Scotchman, already acting as secretary to a gentleman in St.
Helier's and who could give the boys his afternoons.
Such an arrangement was not ideal, but Win took an instant liking
to the tall raw-boned person, who announced himself in a
delightful manner as "Weelyum Feesher."
Roger promptly dubbed him Bill Fish and refused to speak of him by
any other term, causing his mother to live in terror lest Mr.
Fisher should in some way learn of the disrespectful abbreviation.
Roger was not at all enthusiastic about Bill Fish but liked still
less the two schools he visited. To accept the tutor seemed the
lesser of two evils.
The chief drawback proved that the boys were occupied at just the
time when the girls were free, with the exception of Wednesday, a
holiday for all.
The result was that Edith and Frances were thrown much together.
Frances found it fortunate that she had a companion of her own
age, for the island ladies soon called upon Mrs. Thayne and drew
her into numerous social engagements. The little community had a
strong army and navy tinge and naturally welcomed Mrs. Thayne. She
would have taken far less part in the various festivities had she
been leaving her daughter alone, but the two girls proved so
congenial and Mrs. Thayne was so well satisfied with Edith as a
companion for Frances that she felt free to indulge her own social
instincts and enjoy the pleasant circle so invitingly opened.
Whenever they went out, the girls kept a close watch for the "collie
lady" and the "beach dog." Twice Tylo came to hail them on the
sands, once apparently entirely alone. The other time he merely
greeted them and bounded away to rejoin two riders on the road.
One was his lady, her companion a slender young man of distinctly
foreign aspect, dark and distinguished-looking. Their horses were
walking slowly, the riders engaged in deep conversation and the
beach dog's mistress did not see the eager faces of the girls.
They talked a good deal about her, wondering who she was, where
she lived and whether they would ever know her. After seeing her
on horseback, they fell more and more under the spell of her charm
and began to picture her the heroine of all sorts of stories.
Day-dreams and romantic stories however, had but a small place in
a world so busily filled with lessons of various kinds. One
Tuesday evening, Frances was openly groaning over the need of
writing an essay upon Julius Caesar.
"Wouldn't you like him better if you saw something he did?"
inquired Win, hearing her lamentations. "There's a castle in
Jersey, part of which he built."
Fran's eyes opened incredulously and Roger whistled. "Is that one
of Bill Fish's yarns?" he demanded.
"Ante-dates him," replied Win. "It's Mont Orgueil, over the other
side of the island. Let's have a picnic there to-morrow, take our
lunch and stay all day. Mother, you must come. Don't say you've
promised to make calls."
"I can go perfectly well," said Mrs. Thayne. "Only there is
Roger's appointment with the dentist in the afternoon. He'll have
to keep that, but there will be plenty of time for the picnic if
we start early."
"Think of having an outdoor picnic in December," exclaimed
Frances. "We'll take Edith, of course."
"Of course," assented her mother. "And Estelle, if she will go. I
wish she would. She shuts herself up so closely and seems to
shrink from seeing people, but perhaps she will go to Orgueil just
Even Edith could not persuade her sister to join the party though
Estelle was touched by their regret, evidently genuine.
"If you only would, Star," begged Edith. "You would enjoy it. You
don't know how funny and nice they are to go with."
"I couldn't, little sister," said Estelle gently. "You go and tell
me about it afterwards."
Edith was not satisfied but all persuasion proved useless. She had
a vague idea that Star was worried. Just why, Edith did not see,
since the plan of letting lodgings had come out so pleasantly.
Everything was going smoothly at present; why should Star borrow
trouble from the future?
Mont Orgueil is reached by a miniature railway leading from St.
Helier's to the fishing village of Gorey. By this time the young
people were all well accustomed to the absurd little narrow gauge
tramways with their leisurely trains. But if the train into St.
Helier's crawled, the one to Gorey snailed, to quote Roger. Time
was ample to note the pretty stuccoed houses, pink, cream or
brown, with gardens and climbing vines that even in December made
them spots of beauty. They passed under the frowning cliffs of
Fort Regent and saw several lovely turquoise-blue bays with
shining sandy beaches. Farther on farms succeeded the villas,
stone farmhouses with tiled or thatched roofs, some with orange or
other fruit trees trained against their southern walls. Suddenly
Frances rose to her feet.
"What on earth are those?" she demanded. "Just look at those
cabbages on top of canes."
The others looked and saw something answering exactly to Fran's
"Oh, yes" said Mrs. Thayne, "those are the cow cabbages of Jersey.
They are common in the interior of the island. It's a peculiar
kind of cabbage growing five or six feet high. The farmers pick
the leaves on the stalk and leave just the head on top. These
stalks are made into the canes we have seen in shops."
"I saw them," said Win, "but I didn't realize what they were.
Look, there's a Jersey cow among the cabbages."
"The Jersey cattle are so pretty," said Frances admiringly.
"They are very valuable," said Edith. "The farmers coddle them
Gorey proved a picturesque village with many schooners and boats
of different kinds drawn up on the beach and in every direction
fish nets drying. Above and behind towered the ruined castle of
Orgueil, rising more than three hundred feet sheer from the sea.
Mrs. Thayne sent Roger to find and engage a donkey which Win
mounted without protest, after one glance at the climb before him,
though he insisted on swinging the boxes of luncheon before him on
the little animal's neck. Its owner was dismissed, Roger agreeing
to pull the beast up the hill.
Mont Orgueil forms the crest of a lofty conical rock and looks
down like a grim giant upon the blue waters that stretch away to
the coast of France. Tier after tier the fortifications mount the
cone, crowned at the apex by a flagstaff.
At the castle entrance, gained after a steady climb, a small boy
appeared, sent by the castle keeper to act as guide. He tied the
donkey to an iron post and led the way into the interior.
"This is the oldest part," he began shyly. "They do say this tower
was built by Julius Caesar."
"Gracious, that's some story!" whistled Roger, looking with all
"I believe it is true," said Mrs. Thayne. "Win, you were reading
about the castle before we started."
"Yes," said Win. "That's straight about Caesar. That's why I
wanted Fran to see it. And most of the place was built a thousand
years ago. Is it ever used now!"
[Illustration: ABOVE AND BEHIND TOWERED THE RUINED CASTLE OF
"In summer the signal service is quartered here," replied the boy.
"This is the well, ninety feet deep."
As he spoke, he dropped a pebble over a low parapet. Some seconds
later came a hollow splash.
The guide showed them a cell where condemned prisoners were once
kept, a ruined chapel with a very old crypt, and above the chapel
a room reached by winding stairs. The girls entered with a
simultaneous shriek of delight.
"What a love of a room!" said Edith.
"Mother, isn't this too sweet for words?" demanded Frances.
"This is the Cupola room," explained their guide. "Charles the
Second stopped here during his exile from England."
"Prince Charles!" exclaimed Win, his imagination fired at once.
"Oh, I read that in the guide book, but this--his room--"
Win's voice trailed into silence. To read a fact in a book was
different from standing under the very roof that had once
sheltered bonnie Prince Charlie. He looked about him, trying to
picture to himself those far past days.
The ceiling rose in a huge dome and one immense window framed a
wonderful view. From a little sally-port leading to a platform one
could look sheer down to the rocks or across fourteen miles of
tossing water to beautiful France. By using a little imagination
the girls agreed that they could detect the spire of the cathedral
of Coutances easily visible in clear weather.
"In the French revolution the governor of Jersey signalled to the
army of the Vendée by means of a flagpole held in place by
chains," said Mrs. Thayne.
"Yes," said their small guide. "The chains are still on the wall
but the pole is new. The naval men use it in summer."
"Do they sleep here?" asked Win.
"Down in the chapel, sir."
"I'd stay here," said Win. "Say, how much would you rent this room
"Three and six a week, sir, with the platform thrown in," replied
their small guide so gravely that they all looked to see whether
he was really in earnest.
"That's cheap enough, considering the view," said Mrs. Thayne,
Fascinated by the picturesque old castle, Win wandered off by
himself, deciphering the inscriptions placed on the many doors.
There is no guard in the guard-room, no stores are kept in the
storeroom, and the chapel never hears a sermon save those preached
by its own stones to those who have ears to hear. But the sunlight
falling on the green platforms, the pigeons cooing on the walls,
the blue sea stretching to the shining cliffs of France, the
glamour of old-world romance struck impressionable Win. Dreamily
he recalled that whether Caesar built the tower or not, no
reasonable doubt exists that Orgueil was occupied if not built by
the mighty Prince Rollo, grandfather of William the Conqueror.
Over the main entrance to the castle-keep his coat of arms
survives the centuries. For centuries to come, Orgueil will remain
gathering more legendary charm as the slow years pass.
Win shook off the feeling of awe gently creeping over him and
joined the others, investigating a tiny cell where Prynne the
Puritan leader was confined for three years. Roger was immensely
impressed by the ruins of a secret staircase, connecting a dungeon
where the criminals were executed, with the keep and sally-port.
"There's a many secret stairs in the old Jersey houses,"
volunteered their guide, noticing his interest.
"Where can we see them?" demanded Roger at once, but this their
small informer could not tell.
"Gentry lives in those houses," he volunteered. "They'se not open
"To what?" demanded Roger.
"Visitors, strangers like," explained the boy.
"I like that," said Roger, flushing indignantly.
"Hush, Roger," interposed his mother. "No offense was meant. What
are these chains? They seem very old."
"They were used long time ago to hang criminals. They do say they
put 'em there alive and left 'em to the corbies."
"Corbies? Oh, crows," interpreted Win. "Nice custom! Mother, look
at the heaps of rocks exposed by the tide."
"There's more this side," said their guide, turning a corner of
the rampart with Roger close at his heels. The rest were about to
follow when suddenly Mrs. Thayne gave an exclamation.
"Listen!" she said. "That must be a skylark."
From somewhere in the blue above fell a rain of happy music, so
liquid and so sweet that it scarcely seemed to come from any
"Where is it?" asked Frances excitedly, peering into the air and
dropping on her knees the better to look up. Mrs. Thayne did the
same and both stared into the sky, trying to detect the tiny spot
of feathered joy, the source of all this melody. Presently Edith
and Win joined them.
Back around the corner came Roger and the guide, both stopping
short at sight of the rest of the party down on their knees on the
"Whatever are they doing?" ejaculated the boy.
"Oh, it's a skylark!" exclaimed Frances enthusiastically. "Come
Mouth open in amazement, their small guide stood rooted to the
spot. "A skylark!" he muttered, staring at the four in their
attitude of devotion. "Lookin' at a skylark!" he repeated as
though unable to credit the testimony of his own eyes.
Win burst out laughing and rose to his feet. "Take this," he said,
producing a shilling. "Thank you for showing us about. We'll stay
a while longer and eat lunch here."
The boy pocketed the coin and withdrew, his face still a picture
of incredulous astonishment over the actions of this singular and
apparently insane group of excursionists. At last sight, he was
still slowly shaking his head and murmuring, "Lookin' at a
[Illustration: "LOOK, THERE IS A JERSEY COW AMONG THE CABBAGES."]
A RACE WITH THE TIDE
After luncheon, time passed too quickly. Before it seemed
possible, Mrs. Thayne declared the hour had come for Roger to keep
his appointment with the dentist in St. Helier's.
"Let him go alone, Mother," said Win. "He's no kid. We want you to
stay with us."
"Of course he could go alone," agreed Mrs. Thayne, "but I ought to
consult the dentist myself and do an errand or two. There's no
reason why you and the girls should cut short your stay. This is a
lovely place to spend the afternoon and the day too perfect to
hurry home. Just be back for dinner."
"Let Roger return the donkey," suggested Win. "I sha'n't need him
going down hill and very likely we shall strike across beyond the
Mrs. Thayne departed, Roger clattering ahead on the donkey, and
the three were left in the meadow by the castle entrance, a meadow
starred with most fascinating pink-tipped English daisies.
"Just see the dears and then think that it's really winter,"
sighed Frances. "I can't believe that at home everybody is wearing
furs and the ground is frozen. It doesn't seem possible that
Christmas is so near."
Win was lying flat on the close-cropped turf, his attitude
indicating that he contemplated a nap. After a glance at his
prostrate figure, the girls wandered to a little distance, seeking
the pinkest daisies. Presently they were surprised by the sudden
arrival of a beautiful collie, who poked a cold nose into Edith's
"O-oh!" she exclaimed. "Go to Frances. She's the one who likes
dogs. I prefer nice soft little pussy-cats."
"It's the beach dog," said Frances. "Do you suppose his lady is
Edith looked eagerly about. The elevated castle meadow commanded a
rather extended view but in no direction was any one visible.
"I don't see her anywhere. Come here, Tylo. Oh, Fran, let's read
the plate on his collar. Perhaps it will have her name."
Hot and panting from a run, Tylo willingly lay down by the girls
and made not the least objection to having his collar examined.
The unusually long plate bore considerable lettering.
"Laurel Manor, St. Brelade's," read Frances in excitement. "Here's
some French, Edith."
"It's Italian, Fran. 'Palazzo Grassi, Via Ludovisi, Roma.' Just
two addresses and no name!" Edith ended in disappointment.
"Oh, but wait!" exclaimed Frances. The light struck the plate at
such an angle as to make visible to her some additional lettering,
not engraved but apparently scratched with a knife. Though small,
the words were extremely neat and legible and the girls deciphered
"Her name must be Connie!" Edith declared, turning excited eyes
upon her companion. "Speak, Tylo! Is your mistress called
Tylo vouchsafed no answer, only pricked his ears, hearing
something inaudible to the girls. The next instant came a distinct
though faint whistle.
The beach dog departed at once, tearing down over the meadow in a
graceful curve to leap a hedge into a shady lane beyond.
"Well, we've learned a little," sighed Frances. "His mistress is
called Connie and she lives at Laurel Manor. The rest ought to be
easy. Let's go down to the shore. I want to explore that point of
"But Win's asleep," said Edith hesitatingly. "Ought we to leave
"It's all right," said Frances. "He couldn't scramble on the rocks
and it's splendid for him to sleep in this fine air. I'll leave a
note telling him where to look for us."
Edith supplied a blunt pencil and Fran wrote her message on a bit
of paper torn from the luncheon box, pinning it carefully to her
brother's coat where he could not fail to see it. Then they ran
down to the cove beyond Orgueil.
The water, far on the horizon, showed only as a gleaming line of
light, leaving bare heaps and piles of rocks, inextricably turned
on end in some prehistoric upheaval. In places the rocks were
continuous, in others separated by spaces of wet sand.
Over the rocks grew masses of vari-colored seaweed, brown, yellow,
blue-green, even pink. Footing proved both slippery and
treacherous, but offered the fascination of exploring an unknown
region. As they walked farther out, curious shell-fish were
clinging to the stone.
"These are ormers and limpets," said Edith. "I saw them the day
Nurse and I went to market. What a huge winkle!"
Fran stared at this new specimen. "Is that a winkle?" she demanded
in disgust. "I call it a plain snail. Why, all my life, I've read
about winkles and thought I'd like to eat some but I'd die before
I'd eat a snail. Oh! Oh! Oh!"
Edith turned so quickly that she almost fell on the slippery weed.
Frances was fairly dancing with excitement, wholly however of
In the hollowed rock lay a pool of clear sea water, at first sight
filled with bright-hued flowers, pink, purple, orange. The next
glance showed them to be living organisms.
"Sea-anemones!" breathed Edith softly. "I never saw anything so
The anemones were pulpy brown bodies varying in size from a pea to
a tomato. From their anchorage on the rock they stretched waving
tentacles of soft iridescent hues, transforming the little pool
into a marine fairyland. Between the anemones a bright yellow
lichen-like growth almost covered the warm red granite, and tiny
yellow, rose, and black and white striped snails were set like
jewels on this background. Two or three sharp limpet shells waved
feathery seaweed fans.
A long time passed and the girls still lingered. They discovered
that most of the pools boasted anemones, some not unlike an
ordinary land daisy with light-colored tentacles stretching ray-
shaped from a yellow centre. When touched with an empty shell, the
anemone would close over it, folding both the shell and itself
into a tight brown ball, then open slowly and drop the shell. The
only food the girls had with them was some sweet chocolate, so
they experimented with this, watching the lovely living sea-
flowers seize upon fragments held within reach of their feelers.
"I suppose it will give them frightful pains," remarked Frances at
last, rising from her cramped position. "Goodness! the tide is
"Yes, but it's far out," replied Edith, casting a glance at the
line of water, still distant a full half-mile. "Look, Frances,
here's a tiny pink crab."
For a moment Frances again bent over the aquarium but soon started
to her feet.
"Let's go back, Edith. We're a long way from shore and you know
how very fast the tide comes in."
"Oh, is that crab gone? I thought you would mind where he went,"
said Edith as she reluctantly rose. "I wanted to take him to Win."
The two began to retrace their way, at first over piles of red
rock covered with seaweed, farther on over stretches of sand
surrounding rock islands.
Just as they left the last of the solid rock a big wave came
curling lazily along its side. For a second the water clung to it
like fingers, then withdrew.
"Fran, we must run," said Edith quietly, but her face had grown
Frances made no reply. Both ran as fast as they could across the
stretch of level hard sand. Before they reached the first rock
island, long fingers of foam again darted past at one side.
Neither girl spoke. Automatically they seized hands and redoubled
their efforts. One island after another was left behind, then
Edith, looking over her shoulder, saw that the tide was gaining.
Its next incoming heave would overtake them.
"We'll have to climb these rocks!" she gasped.
"_No!_" said Fran, giving her hand a tug. "Keep on. No matter if
we do get wet. We _must_ get nearer in. These rocks will be
Edith kept pace. They seemed to have reached a higher ridge of the
beach since presently the water, instead of pursuing directly,
passed on either side, stretching shorewards.
Too terrified to consider what this would mean when the tongues of
water should meet before them, the girls pressed on blindly.
Suddenly there came a shout from shore, now measurably nearer.
Down the beach sped a galloping horse, his rider waving to attract
Fran's quick wits grasped the situation. "He'll come for us!" she
exclaimed. "He means us to climb this rock and wait."
This seemed what the rider meant for as they scrambled up the
ledge, he ceased to call and merely urged his horse to greater
effort. Edith reached the top without accident, but Frances
slipped and soaked both feet.
The horse, a beautiful chestnut thoroughbred with tossing mane,
came at quick speed. In the distance, his rider looked a mere boy,
but as he approached, the girls saw that he was a young man of
twenty-three or four, with a fine, clean-cut face, who sat his
horse as though a part of it.
Arriving by their rock, the chestnut checked himself in full
gallop and turned almost in his stride.
"Give me your hand," said the young man to Edith. "Step on my
foot. Swing round behind me and hold on any way you can."
Edith instantly obeyed. "Here," he added to Frances, "scramble up
in front. Quick! There's no time to lose. Steady on, Saracen!" he
added as the horse jumped and snorted at touch of the water
curling about his heels.
They were perhaps a quarter-mile from shore and the return was
made at a fast pace, yet as they came up above tide mark, the
waves were lapping the shingle and only a rock here and there
During the hurried trip the young man had spoken only to his
horse, words of encouragement uttered in a pleasant voice, and
both girls were still too stunned by the sudden peril and their
equally sudden rescue to realize their very unconventional
situation; Edith with both arms around the stranger, her cheek
pressed into his shoulder; Fran sitting on the saddle-bow, held in
position by his left arm while his right hand clasped the reins.
Once in safety, Saracen stopped of his own accord, looking around
as though, now the hurry was over, he would like to know what sort
of unaccustomed load he had been carrying.
"Right we are!" said the young man cheerily. "Now I wonder if you
can slide down."
Still speechless, Frances did so. The young man swung himself from