He sat in their parlours, little, crowded rooms, smelling of stale upholstery and of the last meal, where knitted worsted tidies, very gaudy, covered the backs of the larger chairs and where one inevitably discovered the whatnot standing in one corner, its shelves filled with shell-boxes, broken thermometers and little alabaster jars, shaped like funeral urns, where one kept the matches.
The equipment was finally completed by two wooden shell-boxes to sit on, a short broad paddle and a long punting pole. By now the sun had dipped below the horizon leaving nothing of its glory in the low-hung, hard clouds. All the world seemed clad in velvet-gray, with dark soft shadows. A gleam of light reflected from water as it showed in patches here and there.