Cover of book Monochromes
Categories: Nonfiction

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. There stands in the Islands a house known as " Les Calais." It has stood there already some three hundred years, and to judge from its stout walls and weather-tight appearance, promises to stand some three hundred more. Built of brown home-quarried stone, with solid stone chimney-stacks and roof of red tiles, its door is set in the centre beneath a semicircular arch of dressed granite, on the keystone of which is deeply cut the date of construction: J VNI 1603 Above the date straggle the letters, L G M M, initials of the forgotten names of the builder of the house and of the woman he married. In the summer weather of 1603 that inscription was cut, and the man and woman doubtlessread it with pride and pleasure as they stood looking up at their fine new homestead. They believed it would carry their names down to posterity when they themselves should be gone; yet there stand the initials to-day, while the personalities they represent are as lost to memory as are the builders' graves. At the moment when this little sketch opens, Les Calais had belonged for three generations to the family of Renouf (pronounced Rennuf), and it is with the closing days of Mr. Louis Renouf that it purposes to deal. But first to complete the description of the house, which is typical of the Islands: hundreds of such homesteads, placed singly or in groups ? then sharing in one common name ? may be found there in a day's walk, although it must be added that a day's walk almost suffices to explore any one of the Islands from end to end. Les Calais shares its name with none. It stands alone, completely hidden, save at one point only, by its ancient elms. On either side of the doorway are two windows, each of twelve small panes, and there is a row of five similar windows above...

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