Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/20

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CHAPTER II.

A PASSAGE OF ARMS.

The stillness preceding the storm had yielded. A gale had broken over the coast, raged against the cliffs of Pentyre, and battered the walls of the parsonage, without disturbing the old rector, whom no storm would trouble again, soon to be laid under the sands of his buried church-yard, his very mound to be heaped over in a few years, and obliterated by waves of additional encroaching sand. Judith had not slept all night. She—she, a mere child, had to consider and arrange everything consequent on the death of the master of the house. The servants—cook and house-maid—had been of little, if any, assistance to her. When Jane, the house-maid, had rushed into the kitchen with the tidings that the old parson was dead, cook, in her agitation, upset the kettle and scalded her foot. The gardener's wife had come in on hearing the news, and had volunteered help. Judith had given her the closet-key to fetch from the stores something needed; and Jamie, finding access to the closet, had taken possession of a pot of raspberry jam, carried it to bed with him, and spilled it over the sheets, besides making himself ill. The house-maid, Jane, had forgotten in her distraction to shut the best bedroom casement, and the gale during the night had wrenched it from its hinges, flung it into the garden on the roof of the small conservatory, and smashed both. Moreover, the casement being open, the rain had driven into the room unchecked, had swamped the floor, run through and stained the drawing-room ceiling underneath, the drips had fallen on the mahogany table and blistered the veneer. A messenger was sent to Pentyre Glaze for Miss Dionysia Trevisa, and she would probably arrive in an hour or two.

Mr. Trevisa, as he had told Judith, was solitary, singularly so. He was of a good Cornish family, but it was