The ground served for a floor, and the fire-place was made of stones. The roof was formed of sheets of hemlock bark, laid, like slates upon rafters made of the stems of slender trees. Albert promised Mary Erskine that, as soon as the snow came, in the winter, to make a road, so that he could get through the woods with a load of boards upon a sled, he would make her a floor.
We may be sure that Montaigne's marginalia are of a very different value. As he walked up and down in his orchard, or in his library, beneath the rafters engraved with epicurean maxims, he jotted his thoughts hastily on the volume in his hand on the Pliny, or Suetonius, or Livy.
The long rows of immense marble pillars had some faded remains of painting on them. There were a few battered fragments of mosaic in the clerestory, dimly glittering. But the general effect of the whitewashed walls, the ancient brown beams and rafters of the roof, the large, empty space, was one of extreme simplicity.
The rafters therefore, are covered with a kind of tar which, undoubtedly, acts as an antiseptic, and also keeps away the insects. The mosquitoes indeed, will not face wood smoke, but tobacco smoke is useless as a shield against their attacks. Both sexes here are practically nude.
The grianan was in the north end of the palace behind the king's throne. In the hall men could see above them the rafters which upheld the roof and the joining of the great central pillar with the same. From the upper storey of the grianan a door opened upon the great hall directly above the throne of the king, and before that door was a railed gallery.
James's palace, coming to Castle Yard direct from his Majesty's levee. Yet another, with such a look of dead hope in his eyes as haunts me yet, would talk to us by the hour of the Devonshire house where he was born, of the green valley and the peaceful stream, and of the old tower-room, caressed by trees, where Queen Bess had once lain under the carved oak rafters.
"I shall never forget my sensations then," Mark said, "for, with the exception of this present hour, when I hold you, my darling, in my arms, and know the danger is over, I never experienced a moment of greater happiness and rest than when, up in that squalid garret, where the rafters, festooned with cobwebs and dust, could be touched by stretching out my hand, and where the sunlight only found an entrance through an aperture in the roof, which admitted the rain as well, I came back to life again, the pain in my head all gone, and nothing left save a delicious feeling of languor, which prompted me to lie quietly for several minutes, examining my surroundings, and speculating upon the chance which brought me there.
When he came to the shore of the pond, we found your rafter laid there, and that made us think you must have gone upon the ice, but we couldn't imagine what for. At last, we found where you had left the sled, and then we began to halloo to you." "But, uncle," said Josey, "didn't you see our heap of rafters, by the road where we turned off?" "No," said his uncle. "We put a load there."
"Oh, Nan," he exclaimed, looking down at her while taking the weapon from her hand in the vague dusk where she knelt beside him, he stood on the shelf that served as banquette to bring him within reach of the loophole, placed so high in the hope that a chance shot entering might range only among the rafters, "How quick you are! How you help me!"
Now, as we have said, this was about the time that chimneys came into fashion. In very old days, the Cymric house was a round hut, with a thatched roof, without glass windows, and the smoke got out through the door and holes in the walls, in the best way it could. The only tapestry in the hut was in the shape of long festoons of soot, that hung from the roof or rafters.