Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/162

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154
IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA.

rosy paradise was to rise out of the proceeds of stuffed birds and snail-shell chimney ornaments.

"Ju! come here, Ju!" cried Jamie.

Then again impatiently, "Ju! come here, Ju!"

"What is it, dear?"

"Here is the very house for us. Do come and see."

On the down, nestled against a wall that had once enclosed a garden, but was now ruinous, stood a cottage. It was built of wreck-timber, thatched with heather and bracken, and with stones laid on the thatching, which was bound with ropes, as protection against the wind. A quaint, small house, with little windows under the low eaves; one story high, the window-frames painted white; the glass frosted with salt blown from the sea, so that it was impossible to look through the small panes, and discover what was within. The door had a gable over it, and the centre of the gable was occupied by a figure-head of Othello. The Moor of Venice was black and well battered by storm, so that the paint was washed and bitten off him. There was a strong brick chimney in the midst of the roof, but no smoke issued from it, nor had the house the appearance of being inhabited. There were no blinds to the windows, there were no crocks, no drying linen about the house; it had a deserted look, and yet was in good repair.

"Oh, Ju! " said Jamie, "we will live here. Will it not be fun? And I shall have a gun and shoot birds."

"Whose house can it be?" asked Judith.

"I don't know. Ju, the door is open; shall we go in?"

"No, Jamie, we have no right there."

A little gate was in the wall, and Judith looked through. There had at one time certainly been a garden there, but it had been neglected, and allowed to be overrun with weeds. Roses, escallonica, and lavender had grown in untrimmed luxuriance. Marigolds rioted over the space like a weed. Pinks flourished, loving the sandy soil, but here and there the rude blue thistle had intruded and asserted its right to the sea-border land as its indigenous home.

Down came the rain, so lashing that Judith was constrained to seek shelter, and, in spite of her protest that she had no right to enter Othello Cottage, she passed the threshold.