Around me shone the kitchen I'd worked in each day: the copper pans hung neatly, the scratched wooden table and neat blue plates set in rows on the dresser. I got up to rake out the cinders and suddenly clutched at the black stone of the hearth. How long was it since as a new girl I'd first spiked a fowl and set it to roast on that fire? What great sides of beef had we roasted on the smoke-jack, while bacon dangled on hooks, and meat juices basted puddings as light as eggy clouds? Never, in all my ten years at Mawton, had I let that fire die out. Every dawn, in winter or summer, I'd riddled the dying embers and set new kindling on the top. I touched the rough stone and let my cheek press on its everlasting warmth, wishing I could take that loyal fire with me. Foolish, I know, but a fire is a cook's truest friend. It was a good fire at Mawton: blackened with hundreds of years of smoking hot dinners.I think no heathen ever worshipped fire like a cook. So I kissed the smutty hearth wall and packed instead my little tinderbox, to light new fires I knew not where.